Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Friday, September 21, 2018

USS Gem of the Sea at Myakka River Skirmish-- Part 1

From the Charlotte County Portal.

Myakka River Civil War Skirmish.

During the American Civil War in late 1863, Union forces and "refugee rangers" encountered local combatants in a brief skirmish on the east shore of the Myakka River near today's El Jobean  It is the only recorded Civil war skirmish within the boundaries of present-day Charlotte County.

From December 24 to 39, Union military regulars commanded by Acting Ensign J.H. Jenks on small boats from the bark USS Gem of the Sea encountered signal fires and sporadic gunfire from local Southern sympathizers.

--Old B-Tunner

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The USS Gem of the Sea and the Useppa Island Rescue

From the Useppa Island Historical Society "A History of 10,000 Years."

Back on September 6, 2018, I wrote about the USS Gem of the Sea escorting Florida Rangers off Useppa Island in Florida.

In 1863   Union soldiers encamp on Useppa Island.  Charlotte Harbor is blockaded to prevent beef shipments to the Confederacy.  The area is sparsely populated by hunters, fishermen and farmers.

Union sympathizers  find refuge on the island under the protection of the Union Army.  Some of them are active in the Union Florida Rangers cavalry unit.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September 19, 1863: Horace Hunley Wants Command of His Submarine in Charleston Harbor

SEPTEMBER 19TH, 1863:    Horace L. Hunley wrote General Beauregard, commanding Charleston, S.C., requesting that command of the submarine bearing his name be turned over to him.  "I propose," Hunley said, "if you will place the boat in my hands to furnish a new crew (in whole or part) from Mobile who are well acquainted with its management & make an attempt to destroy a vessel of the enemy as early as practicable."

Three days later, Brigadier General  Jordan, Beauregard's Chief of Staff, directed that the submarine be "cleaned and turned over to him with the understanding that said Boat shall be ready for service in two weeks."

Under Hunley's direction, a crew was brought to Charleston from Mobile, the H.L. Hunley was readied, and a number of practice dives carried out preparatory to making an actual attack.

Getting ready.

Confederate Sub Hunley May Move From North Charleston-- Part 2:

But a lot has changed since 2004.    North Charleston has withdrawn its offer.  It is taking much longer to conserve than expected.  Plus, S.C. Senator Glenn McConnell, a major leader in getting the Hunley to North Charleston has retired.

Patriots Point already has a lot of visitors to its aircraft carrier Yorktown and several other ships and aircraft, so even more people would visit the Hunley.  North Charleston says they can accommodate a new Hunley museum and conservation area.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Confederate Sub Hunley May Move from North Charleston

From the August Charleston (SC) Post and Courier "Confederate sub Hunley may move from North Charleston to Mount Pleasamdt" by Robert Behre.

It has been almost two years since the Confederate submarine Hunley was raised from the water but it is now unclear where its final resting place will be.  It is in North Charleston, S.C., right now, but may end up at Patriot's Point naval and maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant.

In 2004, after two years of jockeying, the city of North Charleston beat out Mount Pleasant and Charleston as the planned site for the Hunley Museum, partly because North Charleston pledged $13 million toward its construction.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, September 17, 2018

USS Glasgow: A Busy Ship

On July 1, 1864, the USS Glasgow fired on an unknown blockade runner also under the guns of Fort Morgan.  When Fort Gaines surrendered to Union forces on August 8, 1864, the Glasgow was there.  Admiral David Farragut came onboard for a brief visit November 26.

During 1865, the Glasgow continued her duties and in addition, due to her speed and light draft, was flagship of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron.  She struck an obstruction and sank in shoal water off Mobile 8 May 1865, and was not raised until  19 June.

After that, the ship went to Pensacola, Florida, for repairs and returned to duty 1 July 1866.

The Glasgow was chosen to continue in the U.S. Navy after the war and continued cruising in the Gulf of Mexico.  She served as a storeship and visited  New Orleans, Lakeport and Mexican ports until she entered the Pensacola Navy Yard for repairs 23 January 1868.

The Glasgow departed Pensacola 10 March and spent five months cruising with the squadron on the lower Mississippi River and off Pensacola where she returned 6 August.

Decommissioning came 17 October 1868 and was sold 4 June 1869 to Thomas McClellan.

NOTE.  This ship should not be confused with the USS Eugenie (1862).  This is the first Eygenie I wrote about last week.

This still doesn't clear up the question of which ship captured the blockade runner Alabama.

--Old B-R'er

The Huntress, Last Slave Ship to Leave the Congo in 1865

From Wikipedia.

The Huntress was out of New York and was a hermaphrodite schooner that transported slaves.  It is the last slave ship to leave the Congo of Africa after buying slaves from the Africans.

In March 1865, the Huntress left with a capacity of 200  slaves headed for Louisiana.  When the slave trade ended in 1808, slave readers turned to fast ships, largely topsail schooners and brigs, to outrun the vessels of Britain's West Africa Squadron and the American Navy's African Slave Trade Patrol.

"Negro Island" in the Mermentau River is thought to be the location where the Huntress' cargo died under horrible conditions.  However, records show a Huntress-type vessel landed a cargo of slaves in Cuba in 1864.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, September 15, 2018

'Skull Island' on the Mermentau River: Remains of the Last Slaves From Africa?

In the last post, I mentioned the USS Eugenie/USS Glasgow going on an expedition to Mermentau Lake in Louisiana.  Wikipedia made no mention of the lake, but did of the river.

It is located in the western part of the state.

The Mermentau River has the infamous "Negro Island"  (also known as "Skull Island") near the tiny village of Grand Chenier. In March 1867, countless skeletons, skulls and leg bones were found still shackled by rusting leg irons.

It is thought that with the Civil War over, a slaver ship, fearful of being caught violating the 1820 U.S. law on Slave Trade would be charged with piracy and hanged.

It is believed that this gruesome discovery might be the human cargo carried by the slaver  schooner Huntress which is known to be the last slave ship to leave the Congo with a cargo of 200 slaves.

A Horrible Story.  --Old B-Runner

USS Glasgow-- Part 2: Mermantau Lake and the Name Change

The Eugenie was sent on an expedition to Mermentau River/Lake, Louisiana, on 22 December 1863 for the capture of two British blockade runners, the schooner Derby was captured, but had to be burnt  because of heavy enemy shore fire on the attacking party.


The Eugenie was renamed USS Glasgow on January 21, 1864. after a week of repairing in New Orleans.  In early February it was back on station wit the blockading fleet near Mobile, Alabama.

Serving mainly as a dispatch boat, the Glasgow aided in the destruction of the blockade runner Ivanhoe under the fire of Fort Morgan 30 June 1864.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, September 14, 2018

USS Glasgow; Was This The Ship That Captured the Blockade Runner Alabama-- Part 2

USS Glasgow (1863)

Was a blockade runner captured by the U.S. Navy.  Used mainly as a dispatch boat and storeship.

The Glasgow was originally the blockade runner Eugenie, captured off Mobile by the USS  R.R. Cuyler.  She was purchased from the U.S. Prize Court in Key West, Florida, and commissioned 9 July 1863, Acting Ensign N.M. Dyer in command.

252 tons, sidewheel, armament one 12-pdr.  howitzer, one 12-pdr.  rifle.

She was assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and served as a dispatch boat and supply ship for the squadron between  Mobile Bay and Pensacola, Florida.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Some Confusion On the USS Eugenie-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Was a captured Confederate schooner acquired by the U,S. Navy through prize court and put into service at Key west, Florida.  Not much is known about her, but 150 tons and mounted one gun.

Original name Eugenie Smith captured February 7, 1862, by the brig Bohio near the mouth of the Mississippi as it attempted to run the blockade.  Sent to Key West for condemnation by the prize court and renamed the Eugenie on 22 April 1862.

Fitted as a guard ship for the port of Key West and placed in command of Acting Master S.F. Holbrook.  Continued as a guard ship until sold in November 1864.

Nothing about it capturing the blockade runner Alabama.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Blockade Runner Alabama

From the Encyclopedia of Alabama.

The first three steamers to run the blockade out of Mobile were the locally owned Alabama, Cuba and Fanny (a captured ship that had been the Fox).  Between may 1862 and September 1863, these three ships were responsible for carrying more than 4,000 bales of cotton to Havana, Cuba.

Using the figures of one of the Alabama's runs to Havana in June 1863 as a base figure, with a cotton bale weighing about 510 pounds and cotton selling for  32 cents a pound, a little more than $3 million in cotton was exported in 16 months.  Even so, this was just one-seventh what had been exported before the war from Mobile.

The Alabama, Cuba and Fanny were lost by mid-September 1863, however.  The Cuba was burned to prevent capture in May 19, 1863; the Alabama was captured on September 12 and the Fanny was burned the same day to prevent capture.

--Old B-R'er

September 12, 1863: Steamer Alabama Captured By USS Eugenie

SEPTEMBER 12TH, 1863:  USS Eugenie, Acting Master's Mate F. H. Dyer, captured steamer Alabama odd Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana.

The Chandeleur Islands are on the easternmost part of Louisiana.  They are barrier islands.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 11 Attacks: It Was 17 Years Ago Today On a Tuesday

From Wikipedia.

Wikipedia refers to the event as the "September 11 Attacks."  But, it also is referred to as "9/11"  I call it "9-11."

It was a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist  group al-Qaeda against the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.  Additional people died of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory disease in the months and years following the attacks.

Monday, September 10, 2018

USS Gem of the Sea-- Part 3: Those Monthly Reports

Selections from the correspondence copy book.

DECEMBER 24, 1861

Off Georgetown, S.C., to J.B. Marchand,  Cmding. USS James Adger, asking permission to destroy a schooner laying aground  at North Island, and requesting two boats from the James Adger to assist in the task.

JUNE 15, 1862

"Blockading off Georgetown (SC) addressed to Samuel F. Du Pont, Flag Officer Commanding, an 8.5  page report of everything the gem of the Sea had done between April 10 and June 16.  These were sent every four to ten weeks.

--Old B-Runner