Saturday, March 30, 2013

Union Ironclads in North Carolina

From Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

Union ironclads were also associated with North Carolina.  The famous USS Monitor sank off  Cape Hatteras in the early hours of December 31, 1862.  This was the most famous of the Union ironclads, the majority of which were classified as monitors with one or two revolving turrets.

The single-turreted monitors USS Canonicus, Dictator, Mahopac and Saugus and double-turreted Monadnock and ironclad warship New Ironsides took part in the attack on Fort Fisher at the end of December 1864 and January 1865.

After the war, ironclads were largely useless in that their low seaboard made them unseaworthy.  The majority were scrapped and repaced with new entirely steel warships.  Even so, there were still a few around into the early 1900s.  "Nevertheless, ironclads were a crucial innovation in the history of naval warfare.

Spelled the End of the Wooden Warship with Fixed Broadsides.  --Old B-R'er

Confederate Ironclads in North Carolina

From Encyclopedia of North Carolina.  Bought this huge book at Books-A-Million in Goldsboro, NC, for $5, a great deal.  This is an interesting book, well worth just paging through it and finding all sorts of interesting information.

"Ironclads were warships designed to be impervious to enemy shot and shell by virtue of their iron-armored wooden hulls."

By June 1861, the Confederacy had decided to go with this as the ships they needed to fight the Union's naval superiority.  The first Confederate ironclad was the CSS Virginia, built from the hull of the Union steam frigate USS Merrimack'

Construction of a dozen or more ironclads was scheduled in North Carolina, though most were not completed because of the early fall of many coastal towns.  The complete number is unkown due to lack of Confederate records, but four are known to have been completed and commissiond:  The CSS Raleigh and North Carolina at Wilmington, the Neuse built on the Neuse River at Whitehall and completed at Kinston, and the Albemarle, built at Edwards Ferry and completed atHalifax on the Roanoke River. 

North Carolina had a definite lack of maritime industry so the completion of these ships was remarkable.  The Neuse was referred to as the ironclad built in a cornfield.

An Amazing Feat.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, March 29, 2013

Lightships to Ironclads

From Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

"At least two ironclad floating batteries were converted from existing lightships.  The Frying Pan Shoals lightship was being converted to a floating battery in the rear of Fort Caswell, near the Western Bar Inlet of the Cape Fear River, when a party from the Union ship Mount Vernon burned it in late december 1861.

The Arctic was converted in 1863 and later used as a receiving ship for the Wilmington Station.  In March 1863 and January 1865 the Union navy reported Confederate ironclad sightings but there is no documentation to confirm either account."

I have heard of the CSS Arctic, but there is not much information on the ship.  I would imagine it was destroyed when Wilmington fell.

Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 28, 2013

CSS Wilmington: Not Your Standard Confederate Ironclad-- Part 2

Construction on the CSS Wilmington began almost immediately.  Most of the timber came from South Carolina and iron plating was salvaged from the CSS Raleigh and North Carolina.  Work progressed quickly, but the ship was still unfinished when Fort Fisher fell January 15, 1865.

The ship was destroyed by fire on the stocks the day before Union forces occupied Wilmington on February 22, 1865.

From the Cape Fear Historical Institute.

The CSS Wilmington was 226 feet long and built by Beery's Shipyard.  When burned, it was 95% complete and its machinery made at Columbus Naval Works in Georgia. 

It was to be different from the usual Confederate ironclads in that instead of a large casemate to house the guns, it was to have two small casemates and would resemble more the Union double turret monitors.

I have come across pictures of what it was to look like and will put it on this blog next week.  I can't put a picture up on this laptop.

An Ironclad of a Different Sort.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The CSS Wilmington: Not Your Standard Confederate Ironclad-- Part 1

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

I knew about this ironclad, but not much beyond the fact that it was destroyed while incomplete when the Federals captured its namesake city in February 1865.  I came across the name of the ship in the NC Encyclopedia, looked it up in Yahoo! and came across a discussion about it ion the Civil War Talk site under Naval War.  This was quite a different-looking Confederate ironclad than what you normally expect to see.

The CSS Wilmington was the last of three Confederate ironclads constructed at Wilmington during the war.  The first two were begun in the spring of 1862 and proved unsatisfactory.  The CSS Raleigh ran aground in the Cape Fear River in May 1864 and was a total loss.  The CSS North Carolina leaked badly anf became a floating battery, sinking at her moorings in September 1864.

In late May 1864, Confederate Sceretary of the Navy, Stephen Mallory sent naval shipbuilder John L.Porter to Wilmington to build a new ironclad.  That was the CSS Wilmington.

New Boat, New Name.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fort Fisher Rundown-- Part 1

From Fort Wiki.  Nice summary and pictures.

Originally called Battery Bolles after Captain Charles P. Bolles who oversaw the construction of the first fortifications at the site.  Later name changed to Fort Fisher when other batteries constructed.  Named after Col. Charles Fisher of the 6th NC who was killed at the First battle of Bull Run (Manassas).

Colonel William Lamb arrived in July 1862, and under him, the fortifications really took shape in the shape of a huge "L" with a mile-long seaface and half-mile landface across the peninsula.

The seaface was anchored by 43 foot high Battery Lamb (also called Mound Battery).

Another four-gun fortification was constructed right at where the Cape Fear River met New Inlet, the favored point of entry and exit for blockade-runners, which Fort Fisher guarded.

More to Come.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, March 25, 2013

CSS Pee Dee, Confederate Gunboat-- Part 2: USS Philadelphia


After 18 years of searching, the Pee Dee's cannons were found, but still remain underwater today.  When they are finally brought up, two will go on display at the Florence (SC) Museum and the other will be headed for the Horry Count (SC, Myrtle Beach) Museum.


Rufus Perdue was fishing for grouper off the coast of McClellanville, SC, when he discovered the wreck of the USS Philadelphia.  After the war was over, this ship was transporting surplus cannons from Charleston, SC, when it sank under their weight, north of the city.

So far, about 25 cannons have been found on the wreck and brought up and now on display at Perdue's Murrells Inlet home.

I wouldn't mind checking them out.

Beach Music and Civil War Cannons!!  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The CSS Pee Dee, Confederate Gunboat-- Part 1

From the February 1, 2013, WMBF News "Civil War discoveries tell our history."

Horry County.  The CSS Pee Dee was built on the Pee Dee River, hence its name.

Conway native Ted Gragg, grew up hearing stories about this Confederate ship whose propellers were found in 1925 and placed in thne Horry County Museum.  In the 1950s, there was a failed attempt to raise the wreck of it, but the location of the cannons remained a mystery.

Gragg and his friends continued to look for them and then, one day in the 1990s, while sitting on what he thought was a large piece of driftwood, he suddenly discovered it was actually a lifeboat.

"I said 'That's it, we're not going to search anymore.'  This boy that was with us went over to the water and washed his hands and he screamed.  We ran over to him and he had a 7 inch Confederate cannon ball in his hands."

More to Come.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Is Fort Fisher Haunted?

From the Wilmington (NC) Star-News "My Reporter.:

According to the folks at Port City Paranormal PCP), it is.  They conducted a nighttime investigation of the fort back in November 2008.

Throughout the years, there have been reports and stories about ghostly stories and battle sounds from the fort.  Spirit activities range from disembodied voices, shadows, ghosts and even psychokinetic activity.

Two teams walked the grounds and both noted static energy and felt they were being watched.

They debunked the cannonfire determining the loud booms were caused by shipping containers being loaded onto barges across the river.  One member felt something tap his neck several times and two-way radios occasionally crackled to life on their own.

One group thought they saw 2 figures wearing tan clothing running in a crouched position through some yellow mist.  Could they have been Confederate soldiers during the huge bombardment?

Is It, Or Isn't It?  --Old B-Runner

Monday, March 18, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 31st, 1863: Attack on Washington, NC, and Pesky Torpedoes


Confederate troops opened a sustained attack and siege on Union troops at Washington, NC.  Despite enemy batteries along Pamlico River, the Union fleet moved quickly to the relief of the city.  The attack was finally broken April 16th and brought in supplies. 

Confederate General A.P. Hill wrote, "We were compelled to give up the siege of Washington as the Yankee supply boats ran the blockade.  Two more days and we would have starved the garrison out."

Once again, the flexibility of Union naval units prevailed.

The Ram Switzerland completed repairs and joined Farragut below Warrenton.

Commander John Guest wrote S.P. Lee regarding a way to remove those pesky Confederate torpedoes by "raft and grapnel."  A raft with four or five grapnel hung over the side and spars rigged out forward and aft to give a greater spread to the grapnels.

Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 29th to 30th,1863


Grant wrote Porter requesting two gunboats be placed below Vicksburg to cut off enemy trade with the west bank of the Mississippi and to cover a possible Army landing.

Commander Duncan of the USS Norwich reported to Du Pont of the Union evacuation of Jacksonville, Fla., after destroying most of the city.


CSS Florida seized bark M.J. Colcord loaded with provisions, which were taken on board the Florida.  Lt. Maffitt wrote "Living like lords on Yankee plunder."

USS Monticello captured British schooner Sue off Little River, NC.

Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Two Monitor Sailors Buried at Arlington

From the March 8, 2013 Boston (Mass) Herald by AP.

Two unknown Union sailors were buried Friday with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.  There was a gun salute and a band played "America the Beautiful."  These may be the last two Civil War sailors buried at Arlington.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus spoke at the proceedings.

The coffins were transported to the graves by two horse-drawn caissons; one with six white horses and the other with six black.  White-gloved sailors carried the caskets from the caissons.  Some of those in attendance wore Civil War uniforms and there were ladies dressed in Civil War-era dresses.

Eventually, a marker will be erected at the site honoring all sixteen Union sailors who died when the ship sank in 1862.

After 150 Years, A Well-Deserved Burial.  --Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 26th to 28th: US Submarine Alligator


Asst. Secy of Navy Fox notified Admiral Du Pont, "We have sent you down the semisubmarine boat 'Alligator' that may be useful in making reconnaissances. "  The Alligator was designed by the French inventor Brutus de Villeroy and built for the government in Philadelphia, was 46 feet long, 4.5 feet in beam and carried a crew of 17 men.

Originally designed to be propelled with folding oars, that had been replaced by a hand-operated screw propeller (like the Hunley's).

One of its earlier commanders during trials was none other than Thomas O. Selfridge, the sinker of ships.  The Alligator later sank off Cape Hatteras on its way to Du Pont, but Selfridge was not on the ship at the time.


The USS Hartford passed and engaged Confederate batteries at Warrenton.


CSS Florida, Lt. Maffitt, captured bark Lapwing with cargo of coal.  He transferred a howitzer and ammunition to it and renamed it Oreto to be used as a tender.

You Almost Never Hear of Submarines Other Than the Hunley.  Well, the North Had One As Well.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, March 15, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 23rd to 25th, 1863


Lt. Webb, CSN, issued instructions regarding the defense of Charleston Harbor in the event of a Union ironclad attack.  Should the ironclads get past the batteries, elaborate plans were made to sink them by torpedoes.


General Alfred W. Ellet informed the Navy that he intended to send the rams Lancaster and Switzerland past Vicksburg to aide Farragut at Warrenton and blockading the Red River.

The USS Mount Vernon seized British schooner Mary Jane attempting  to run the blockade near New Inlet, NC, with cargo of soap, salt, flour and coffee.


Before daybreak the Lancaster and Switzerland made their dash.  They were hoping to get close without being detected, but they were spotted and came under a terrific fire.  The Lancaster sank and the Switzerland heavily damaged.

CSS Alabama captured ships Charles Hill and Nora off the coast of Brazil.

USS State of Georgia and USS Mount Vernon captured the Rising Dawn near New Inlet, NC with large cargo of salt.

Still Trying to Get Ahead On These Entries Before the Vacation.  --Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 20th to 22nd,1863-- Steele's Bayou Expedition Called Off


Farragut  wrote Grant and Porter that he would like to close off the Red River trade and recapture the Queen of the West and Indianola if he had coal.. Porter replied that running the Vicksburg batteries would not be a good idea.  Grant floated a coal barge down to Farragut.


The USS Victoria captured the blockade-runner Nicolai I in "thick and rainy" weather off Cape Fear.  It was carrying a cargo of dry goods, arms and ammunition and had been turned back from a similar attempt at Charleston two days earlier.


General Sherman's troops reached Porter's ships at Steele's Bayou, but the admiral did not consider there to be enough and called off the expedition. His ships had to drift downriver and at a bend, Confederates had felled trees and a brisk fight ensued.

Thus ended what Porter termed "a most novel expedition."

Farragut tells Grant that the Confederates were building a very formidable casemated work at Warrenton.

Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 16th to 19th,1863

Due to an upcoming trip the rest of the month, I will be trying to get ahead on these Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago posts.  I don't take that huge Civil War Naval Chronology book with me.


Attack on Fort Pemberton renewed.  USS Chillicothe badly damaged.  The next day the expedition fell back and no more major attacks made on the fort.

General Grant orders General Sherman's troops to cooperate with Porter's expedition through Steele's Bayou.

MARCH 18th

The USS Wissahickon seized and destroyed the steamer Georgiana attempting to run into Charleston with a valuable cargo, including rifled guns.  It was said to be pierced for 14 guns and thought to be intended for commerce raiding.

Welles wrote Du Pont that he would rather have had her captured (probably for use as a blockader), but was glad it was no longer a threat.


Farragut, in the USS Hartford, had managed to run past Port Hudson and began operations north of the stronghold as far as the mouth of the Red River.  Engaged the batteries at Grand Gulf on this date.

Porter says the Steele's Bayou had reached to within one and a half miles of Rolling Fork, Mississippi., saying, "No one would believe that anything in the shape of a vessel could get through Black Bayou, or anywhere beyond."

Confederates were felling trees into the river and sharpshooters were all along the banks.

Du Pont wrote of problems with his monitors saying the Montauk had been damaged heavily by the mine at Fort McAllister.  "I think these monitors are wonderful conceptions, but, oh, the errors of details, which would have been corrected if these men of genius could be induced to pay attention to the people who are to use their tools and inventions."

Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 14th to 15th ,1863: Battle of Port Hudson


Rear Admiral Farragut began his attack on Confederate defenses at Port Hudson, Mississippi, downriver from Vicksburg after receiving word from General Banks that his troops were ready to attack.  The action was opened with the mortar boats firing, then Farragut's fleet, with larger ships inboard of the fort and smaller ones outboard.

Some of the ships were hit and the USS Mississippi blew up in the unsuccessful attempt.

Rear Admiral Porter launched the difficult and hazardous Steele's Bayou, Mississippi, expedition aimed at taking Vicksburg from the rear.  Very slow going.


Boats from the USS Cyane seized the schooner J.M. Chapman in San Francisco, suspected of being fitted out as a Confederate commerce raider.

CSS Alabama captured and released on bond the Punjab northeast of Brazil.

Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Confederate Navy in Georgia-- Part 2

CSS JACKSON--  Built at Columbus in 1864, an armored  steam-powered ram built along the lines of the CSS Virginia.  Also known as the CSS Muskogee.  It had just been completed when it was burned to the waterline and sunk near the war's end.

The hull was raised in the 1960s and now can be seen at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus.


Built at the Saffold Confederate Naval Yard, 150 miles south of Columbus.  Entered service in February 1863 and served on the rivers in southern Georgia and northern Florida.

There were always problems with its steam engine.  On May 27, 1863, a boiler explosion killed many sailors and disabled the ship.

It was taken to Columbus for repairs in June 1864 and scuttled to prevent capture in December.  Its hull was also raised and today it is the only Confederate gunboat to survive the war and is also on display at the Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus.

Old B-R'er

The Confederate Navy in Georgia-- Part 1

From the Civil War in Georgia website.

Ships were constructed at the Savannah Confederate Shipyard, Saffold Confederate Navy Yard and the Columbus CSA Naval Works.

Some of the better-known ships made in Georgia:

CSS ATLANTA--  Originally the merchant ship Fingal, ran the Union blockade into Savannah, but stuck there once the enemy closed the port.  It was then converted into the casemate ironclad CSS Atlanta in 1862.

It twice attacked Union ships and was captured the second time and taken into the USS Navy as the USS Atlanta.  In June 1865, it was sold to the Haitian Navy, but sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras.

More to Come.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 13-14

Admiral Du Pont continued about his upcoming attack on Charleston.

"This is about the worst thing yet--for I look for such pounding as done to the Montauk [monitor], today, by the torpedo--it is bad and hard to mend--but we can, we think, close the leak from the inside for the present."

CSS Florida captured and burned the ship Aldebaran.

MARCH 13-14

Confederate troops launch a night attack against Fort Anderson on the Neuse River, NC.  Union gunboats forced them to break off the assault.

Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 12th to 13th,1863: Thinking Charleston-- Part 1


Farragut arrives at Baton Rouge to make final preparations for attack on Port Hudson.


Union ships engaged Confederate Port Pemberton in the Yazoo Pass Expedition.  The USS Chillicothe hit 38 times and exhausted its ammunition.  The Union ships withdrew.

Du Pont wrote Professor Alexander D. Bache of the Coast Survey about the planned attack on Charleston:  "We are steadily preparing for the great experiment, to see whether 20 guns, counting one broadside of the Ironsides, can silence or overcome some hundreds [referring to Confederate guns in Charleston Harbor]."  He also wrote that he had tried out four ironclads "against a live target in the shape of Fort McAllister.

"Then Dahlgren writes the life of his fifteen inch [gun] is 300 [firings].

Old B-Runner

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blockade-Runners Took Advantage of Florida's Coastline-- Part 3: CSS Florida


The Union sailors from the USS Tahoma and Adela surprised the crews of the Scottish Chief and Kate Dale, blockade-runners, and they quickly surrendered.  Both ships were loaded with cotton with plans to run out through the blockade.  Both were burned.

The Kate Dale lies where it sank near today's Lowry Park Zoo.  The Scottish Chief was refloated and being repaired for a return to service before it burned and sank near Tampa Heights where it rests today.


This ship was second only to the more famous CSS Alabama in number of ships destroyed and captured.  It was commissioned August 17, 1862, just four months after its namesake, the SS Florida was captured in St. Andrew's Bay (by Panama City) in north Florida.  Captain was Wilmington, NC's John Newland Maffitt.

In two years of service, the ship destroyed some $4 million worth of American commerce.

While in the neutral port of Bahia, Brazil, the USS Wachusett attacked and captured it (against international maritime law).  There arose a big dispute about the capture while the Florida was taken to Hampton Roads, Virginia, where it sank after being "accidentally" rammed by a Union ship.

Not Such a Backwater.  --Old B-Runner

Blockade-Runners Took Advantage of West Florida's Coast-- Part 1

From the March 3, 2013, Tampa Bay Tribune "Civil War blockade runners took advantage of Florida's coastline" by Rodney Kite-Powell/

Florida's long and varied coastline provided numerous safe havens for blockade-runners during the war.  At first the Union just had the the Gulf Blockading Squadron to watch the whole of the Gulf of Mexico shore, but it was soon split into the East and West Gulf Blockading Squadrons, with the West getting the main ports ( Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans and Galveston) and most glory.  Of course, Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut got this plum job.

Tampa and Union occupied Key West were the main ports for the East Squadron also charged to watch around to the Atlantic Ocean's Cape Canaveral.  And, Tampa was a very big town and lacked rail connections to make it even more important for transferring materials.

Even so, the blockade of Tampa Bay began July 3, 1861, with the arrival of the USS Cuyler.  By November, there were several blockaders there under the command of Lt. Cmdr. William B. Eaton.  Egmont Key, at the mouth of Tampa Bay was used as a base and it also became a haven for runaway slaves and a refugee colony of Unionists.

But, There Was Some Activity.  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Accidental Gun Explosion at Fort Fisher

From the January 5, 1863, Fayetteville (NC) Observer.

"ACCIDENT AT FORT FISHER--  A letter from Fort Fisher informs us that a few days ago when Col. Lamb was opening fire on a blockader, the splendid gun  "Cumberland" burst at the first fire, wounding six."

Old B-Runner

Over 17,000 Black Sailors Served

From the February 19, 2013, Examiner by Bob O'Connor.

Between Oct. 1, 1863, and September 30, 1864, 23% of the Union Navy was black, compared to 10% for the Union Army.  The highest percentages were in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and the Mississippi River Squadron.

The Union Army was completely segregated.  Even the black regiments had white officers.

It is believed that over 17,000 black men and 11 black women served in the naval branch.  More than 2,800 were from Virginia.  About 35% of all blacks were from the area around the Chesapeake Bay.  Some 11,000 had been former slaves, roughly 3 in every 4.

The supply ship USS Vermont reportedly had a 100% black crew.

Most black sailors, however, were to be found in the lowest rates including "boys" and "landsmen."  About 8% were cooks or stewards.

Interesting Stats.  --Old B-R'er

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 9th to 11th,1863: Attack on Fort Pemberton


Confederate guerrilla activity along the Tennessee River.

USS Quaker City captured British blockade-runner Douro bound from Wilmington to Nassau with cargo of cotton,turpentine and tobacco.


USS Chillicothe destroyed a large bridge, a sawmill and boat on Tallahatchie River.  Earlier the Confederate ship Thirty-fifth Parallel had been destroyed too prevent its capture.


The Yazoo Pass' first attack on Fort Pemberton, Mississippi commenced.  Fort Pemberton was a cotton and earthwork mounting a heavy Whitworth rifle, four other cannons and several field pieces  The Chillicothe damaged by two shots.  The difficulty was bringing the guns of more than one ship at a time to bear on the fort because of the wreck of the CSS St. Philip (formerly the USS Star of the West).

Reports from Charleston that 30 steamers had run the blockade at that port.  That was the most shipping-ever, even before the war.

Old B-Runner

Friday, March 8, 2013

This Blog's 507th Post

I was intending to do this on the actual 500th post, but evidently overshot a bit.

This grew out of my Down Da Road Blog which featured history and music.  I got to making do many history entries, I split Saw the Elephant Civil War Blog and Cooter's History Thing blogs off of that.  Then, so much of my Civil War blog was devoted to Naval stuff, this blog began January 1, 2012 along with my World War II blog.

Then, last year around April, I started a War of 1812 blog.

I'm doing way too many blogs.

Somebody Help Me.  --Old B-Runner

On Saturday 31 We received the News of Our Glorious Victory-- Part 4

That would be January 31, 1863 when Confederate ironclads attacked the Union blockading fleet at Charleston Harbor while their monitors were away operating off Fort McAllister, Georgia.

"Not a single shot struck either of our ships, so their iron plating was hardly tested-- but the Ram apparatus answered finely and they have the utmost confidence in them.  The squadron returned the next day bringing their new iron clad frigate "Ironsides."

The fact is dear Cary, all this could have been done months ago but we have a fosil (fossil) in the shape of Capt. Ingraham who is a curb and bit to our officers-- he would not have gone when he did save for a taunting article in the Savanna paper.

Mr. Parker says they could take the Iron Sides if they have leave but much doubts that--  I was so stirred by the good news that I determined to go on Monday to town with the girls & see dear Phil after his victory--  I staid at your Aunt Adeles."

The USS Ironsides would be the Union ship that appeared.  Evidently Louise Pettigru didn't think much of Confederate captain Ingraham.

Old B-R'er

On Saturday 31 We Received the News of Our Glorious Victory-- Part 3: Drove the Union Blockaders Away

"The Chicora did her part & thinks she sunk one certain besides other damage.  They set several on fire & others surrendered but like Yankees ran off afterwards-- so that when day dawned not a ship of boat of any kind was in sight.  They went out crossing the Bar about 4 am.  The first gun was fired a little before 5.

A British man of war that lay off the harbor told one of out officers that one had 'done more damage than we knew' but-- as they always are--  has reserved in saying more.

One Last Entry to Come.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"On Saturday 31 We Received the News of Our Glorious Victory"-- Part 2

"The "Palmetto State" Phils Boat--was in the ran (ram) she was hailed by the first ship they approached with "you will be afoul of us chang your course" but she kept right on striking a few moments after a terrible blow, the Ram cutting more than a foot into her adversary & then Phil fired the first gun which went crashing through her bailer (boiler)-- the enemy immediately called out "we surrender" & sent a Lieut. on Board to ask for boats to "save the crew-

The P.S. had no boats as her mission was to destroy & not to save-- he represented their boat as sinking & many of the men scaled.  When the squadron heard the first gun they immediately gathered-- thinking some unfortunate was caught running the Blockade-- but steamed off precipitately when they saw their custamers.

Confederate Ironclads onthe Move.  --Old B-R'er

"On Saturday 31 We Received the News of Our Glorious Victory"-- Part 1: Confederate Ironclads Win the Day At Charleston

From the February 5, 2013, Civil War Day By Day, UNC Library.

From a letter dated 5 February 1863, from Louise Pettigru (ew) to Jane Caroline "Cary" North Pettigrew about the attack of the Confederate ironclads at Charleston.

"On Saturday 31 we received the news of our glorious victory.  I had heard the guns from before 5 a clock am till near 9-- when I found them so persistent I began to think the enemy were making a demonstration-- but dismissed the idea as its scattering character did not war-rant it--  "Uncle Phil" came by the first train to bring us the news.

It was received by me with tears of thankfulness--  I knew nothing of the design so it was a joyful surprise & they accomplished all they purposed & without losing a man or any injury to their ships.  It was a complete surprise to the enemy as they lay in their hitherto safe moorings."

A Confederate Victory That Day.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 6th to 7th,1863: So Many Blockade Captures, Officers Needed


Jacksonville, Florida, again occupied by Union troops.

CSS Florida, Lt. Maffitt, captured and fired Star of Peace.


Due ti increased capture of blockade-runners, there arose a problem with not having enough officers.  Rear Admiral S.P. Lee, commanding the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron wrote of a shortage of officers: "Owing to the increase of blockade runners off the coast of North Carolina, and frequent captures made of them, I would request that six officers capable of taking charge of prizes may be ordered to this squadron..  The vessels blockading off the Cape Fear are greatly in want of them, owing to the number they have heretofore sent away in prizes, which leaves our vessels very deficient in officers."

Something you don't even think about.

Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Confederate Ironclad Seen on Cape Fear River This Date

MARCH 5, 1863

Captain Sands, USS Dacotah, reported the appearance at New Inlet, on the Cape Fear River, of a Confederate ironclad.  "I would feel somewhat more at ease," he wrote Rear Admiral S.P. Lee, "if we had an ironclad at each of these main inlets to Cape Fear River, to fend off an attack upon wooden vessels by the Confederate ram, although, without such aid, we will do our best to prevent its success. 

But, without some assistance the blockade may be at any time broken by even this single yet formidable ram.  Sands later reported that the ram had had to return inside the Cape Fear River "because she could not stand to sea."

Was it the CSS North Carolina or the CSS Raleigh?  --Old B-R'er

What Civil War Ship Lies Off Salvo on North Carolina's Outer Banks?

The Dive Hatteras website claims that a Union ship called the Pocahontas lies just off shore of Sand Street in Salvo, North Carolina.  It is also referred to as the Richmond by some divers.  The site says the wooden paddle wheel steamer was sunk during the Burnside Expedition before the Battle of Roanoke Island in 1862.

All that now remains is the massive steam engine parts, the shaft and one of the hubs of the paddle wheel.  One end of the paddle wheel shaft is quite a bit above the water which makes it an easy wreck to find, 10-15 feet above the water about 75 yards out.  The other end of the exposed shaft is still attached to the paddle wheel assembly.

I looked up two US Naval ships by the names given.  The USS Pocahontas was sold in 1865 and the USS Richmond saw service up until 1919 and neither ship was listed as being with the Burnside Expedition.

Perhaps it was a troop transport?

What Ship Sank There?  --Old B-Runner

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ceremony for Monitor Sailors Set for March 8th

From the March 2, 2013, Guld

There will be a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, March 8th, honoring two sailors recovered from the turret of the USS Monitor.

Andy Bryan of Holden, Maine, will be on hand with his daughter.  DNA testing shows that there is a 50% likelihood that one of the Monitor's crewmen, William Bryan, is his great-great-great uncle.

Jane Rambo of Fresno, California, also will be on hand.  Her mother, Jane Nicklis Rowland found out about th ceremony just one week before she died in December at age 90.  Crewman Jacob Nicklis was her great uncle.

Most likely, these two will be the last Civil War Navy members to be buried at Arlington.

The ceremony is scheduled for the 151st anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads, where the USS Monitor battled the CSS Virginia on March 8, 1862.

One hundred people are expected to attend.

Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: March 3rd to 5th,1863


Ironclads USS Passaic, Nahant and Patapsco and other ships again engage Fort McAllister for six hours.  Du Pont is still wanting to put the monitors through the stress of battle before the attack on Charleston.

The Yazoo Pass expedition is  encountering huge difficulty on the Coldwater River which is extremely low.

Rear Admiral Porter writes from above Vicksburg that "There is a delightful concert here between the Army and Navy.  Grant and Sherman are aboard  almost everyday....We agree in everything...."


The Yazoo Pass expedition is nearing the junction of the Coldwater and Tallahatchie River and making better time, but not much.  Wasn't the Tallahatchie where Billy Joe McAllister threw something off the bridge?

Old B-Runner

USS Montauk-- Part 2: Fort McAllister, Charleston and Cape Fear River

The USS Montaul immediately joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadrom for operations off Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.

There was some difference of opinion of how well the monitors would be able to stand up against the strong Confederate guns at Charleston before the planned attack on that place, so several monitors, including the Montauk, had a trial against Fort McAllister, on the Ogeechee River in Georgia, protecting Savannah.  On January 27, 1863, they engaged.  The Montauk was hit 13-14 times but sustained no damage.  There was a second attack against the same position on February 1st and this time the Montauk sustained 48 hits.

On February 28th, the Montauk and other ships destroyed the blockade-runner Rattlesnake (former CSS Nashville) off Fort McAllister, but in backing away, had a torpedo go off under it.

It was repaired and on April 1st, joined in with the monitor fleet for a major attack on Charleston, called off because of heavy damage to the monitors.  On July 10th and 16th, the Montauk joined in operations against Fort Wagner, resulting in the capture of that place.

The ship remained in operations off Charleston until July 1864, when it was moved to the Stono River.  In February 1865, it went to the Cape Fear River and helped with the attack on Fort Anderson, guarding Wilmington, NC.

In April, several Lincoln assassination conspirators were held on the Montauk and an examination of John Wilkes Booth's body took place on board.

The ship was decommissioned in 1865 and remained in ordinary until the Spanish-American War when it was crewed by reservists and protected the port of Portland, Maine.

Decommissioned again in 1899, it was sold for scrapping in 1904.

Too Bad They Didn't keep This Ship and Turn It Into a Museum.  --Old B-R'er

USS Montauk-- Part 1: Ericsson and Worden

From Wikipedia.

This ship and others sank the blockade-runner Rattlesnake (formerly the CSS Nashville) in Georgia's Ogeechee River off Fort McAllister on Feb. 28, 1863.  I wrote about it yesterday so did a follow-up on the ship.

The monitor USS Montauk was commissioned December 14, 1862, and was one of the last monitors afloat until 1904, although out of commission most of the time and serving during the Spanish-American War. 

It  weighed 750 tons, was 200 feet long and was a single-turret monitor mounting an 11-inch and a 15-inch smoothbore cannons.  It saw action throughout the war and played a part with the Lincoln assassination conspirators.

It was built by "Mr. Monitor" himself, John Ericsson at the Continental Ironworks at Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York (the same place as the Monitor if I recall)  And its commander was none other than the Monitor's commander in its fight with the CSS Virginia, John Worden, who had recovered from injuries he received in that fight by the time of the Montauk's launching..

An Iron Beast.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, March 1, 2013

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago: February 28th to March 2nd,1863-- Destruction of CSS Nashville


The monitor USS Montauk, commander Worden, supported three other Union vessels in destroying the blockade-runner rattlesnake, formerly the raider CSS Nashville, lying under the guns of Fort McAllister in the Ogeechee River, Georgia.  The Rattlesnake had been waiting some 8 months to run out of the river.

The Union ships had noticed the ship moving in the river the day before and determined that it had run aground.  They moved in and within 20 minutes the ship was afire.  The Montauk, meanwhile struck a torpedo that went off and caused damage sufficient to have to run aground to repair.

The Navy portion of the Yazoo Pass expedition reached the Coldwater River ans spent the next two days waiting for the Army transports to catch up with them.


Rear Admiral Farragut wrote that he had received information that prices in Mobile were very high because of the blockade.  A barrel of flour was going for $100.  Farragut was desiring action and said he'd move against Galveston as soon as he he had sufficient troops.

CSS Alabama captured and burned the John A. Parks at sea.

Surgeon Ninian Pinkney informed Porter that after difficulty he had secured the Commerce Hotel in Memphis for use as a hospital.  Sick and injured sailors were a major concern.

Old B-Runner