Thursday, October 31, 2013

150 Years Ago: October 31, 1863-- Classes Begin-- Part 2

In general, the curriculum was based on that of the United States Navy Academy. However, the training was extremely realistic as the midshipmen were often called upon for actual combat. By the time they left the Academy, they were seasoned veterans.

Commander John M. Brooke, CSN, wrote to Secretary Mallory about the midshipmen: "Though but from 14 to 18 years of age, they eagerly seek every opportunity presented for engaging in hazardous enterprises, and those who are sent upon them uniformly exhibit good discipline, conduct, and courage."

Mallory reported to President Davis: "The officers connected with the school are able and zealous, and the satisfactory progress already made by the several classes gives assurance that the Navy may look on this school for well-instructed and skilled officers." The Naval Academy continued to operate until the end of the war.

I'm supposing it didn't take the midshipmen four years to graduate under the circumstances. --Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: October 31, 1863: CSN Classes Begin-- Part 1


During October instruction began for 52 Confederate midshipmen on their "floating academy" located aboard the CSS Patrick Henry at Drewry's Bluff on the James River, near Richmond, Virginia. Lt. W.H. Parker, CSN, was superintendent.

The initial move for a Naval Academy began in December 1861 when the Confederate Congress passed a bill calling for "some form of education" for midshipmen. In the spring of 1862, more legislation called for the appointment of 106 acting midshipmen.

In May 1862, the Patrick Henry was designated as the Academy ship and alterations made to ready her for this new role.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

William Lewis Maury, CSN-- Part 1: Was He Related to the Confederacy's Matthew Fontaine Mayry?

From Wikipedia.

Monday I wrote about the cruiser CSS Georgia's arrival in France to conclude its voyage to destroy Union commerce. It was commanded by Lt. William Lewis Maury. The last name got me to wondering. Could he be the son or related to the Confederacy's Matthew Fontaine Maury?

William Lewis Maury was born in 1813 and died Nov. 27, 1878. He was an American explorer and naval officer in both the United States (a 20-year career) and Confederate navies.

He assisted in the Charles Wilkes Expedition to explore the Pacific Ocean and Matthew C. Perry's 1856 naval expedition to Japan. Maury Island in Puget Sound in Washington state and the ice-filled Maury Bay east of Cape Lewis in Antarctica are named after him.

Well, Was He Related? Next Post. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

150 Years Ago: October 29-30, 1863: Ships Operating on the Tennessee River


Rear Admiral Porter orders the officers of his Mississippi Squadron "to give all the aid and assistance in their power" to Major General William T. Sherman in his operations along the Tennessee River.

Ships detached for duty there were the USS Lexington, Hastings, Key West, Cricket, Robb and Romeo. Plus the USS Paw Paw, Tawah, Tyler and two other vessels would soon be there as well.


The USS Vanderbilt captured the bark Saxon, suspected of having rendezvoused and taken cargo from the CSS Tiscaloosa at Angra Pequena, Africa.

The USS Annie seized blockade running British schooner Meteor off Bayport, Florida.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 28, 2013

150 Years Ago: October 28, 1863: CSS Georgia's Cruising Days Over

OCTOBER 28, 1863:

The CSS Georgia, under Lt. W.L. Maury, anchored at Cherbourg, France, concluding a 7-month cruise against Union commerce. During the cruise, the Georgia destroyed a number of prizes and bonded the remainder for a total of $200,000.

A short time later, Flag Officer Samuel Barron, CSN, advised Secretary of Navy Mallory that the ship had been laid up "...almost broken down; she has lost her speed, not now going under a full head of steam over 6 knots, and is good for nothing as a cruiser under sail."

And, until I started this blog, I had never heard of this ship before.

Great Career, Though. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 26, 2013

150 Years Ago: October 27, 1863: Expedition to Capture Brazos Santiago Departs

OCTOBER 27, 1863

Col. L. Smith, CSA, commanding Marine Department of Texas (surprising it wouldn't have been a naval officer in command) reported on status of gunboats in his area. CSS Clifton, Sachem (captured Union warships) and Jacob. A. Bell at Sabine Pass. CSS Bayou City, Diana and Harriet Lane (another captured Union warship) at Galveston Bay. CSS Mary Hill at Velasco and CSS John F. Carr at Saluria. The Bayou City and Harriet Lane were without guns and the rest mounted a total of 15 guns. Not too impressive.

****  Union expedition to capture Brazos Santiago and the mouth of the Rio Grande River departed New Orleans. Ships USS Monongahela, Owasco and Virginia accompanied the group. This was the beginning of another Union attempt to wrest Texas from the Confederacy and also to preclude the possibility of movement into Texas by French troops in Mexico.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 24, 2013

USS Nansemond-- Part 3

On May 6, 1864, the Nansemond on USS Britannia were attacked by the ironclad CSS Raleigh while a blockade-runner escaped. The next morning, the Nansemond, Howquah and Kansas engaged the Raleigh. While withdrawing over the Cape Fear River Bar, the ironclad ran aground, suffering major damage and was destroyed by its commander, Flag Officer William F. Lynch.

On June 20th, the Nansemond and Calypso embarked troops for an expedition to New River, NC, to cut the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad but were forced to withdraw.

The Nansemond was involved with both attacks on Fort Fisher and then supported Union troops on their final drive on Wilmington.

It was decommissioned at Washington Navy Yard and transferred to the U.S. Treasury Department on 22 August 1865 and served in the Revenue Cutter Service as the W.H. Crawford along the Atlantic Coast from Baltimore to key West. She was sold at Baltimore 24 April 1897.

Quite a Career. --Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: October 24th to 26th, 1863-- Fort Sumter Under Attack Again


USS Hastings and Key West arrived in Eastport, Mississippi, to support Army operations along the Tennessee River. General Sherman was happy to have the help, despite problems with low water level. Operations continued until mid-December as efforts to solidify Union control along the river continued.

**  USS Calypso captured British schooner Herald off Frying Pan Shoals (NC) with a cargo of salt and soda (not soda pop).


Union ironclads began an intensive two week bombardment of Fort Sumter. General Beauregard wrote of the "terrible bombardment" and said that the fort had been hammered by 1000 shot in just 12 hours.

A week later, Commander Stevens of the monitor USS Patapsco, said the bombardment was "hardly describable, throwing bricks and mortar, gun carriages and timber in every direction and high into the air." But, Rear Admiral Dahlgren noted: "There is an immense endurance in such a mass of masonry, and ruins may serve as shelter to many men."

In other words, you can destroy it only so much before it gets stronger. The embattled defenders held on, though.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

USS Nansemond-- Part 2

Just ten days after destroying the Douro, this time for good, the Nansemond forced the blockade-runner Venus ashore after hitting it with four shots on October 21, 1863, . It was found that she couldn't be floated and the ship was burned.

Of course, the problem with destroying a blockade-runner is that you don't get the prize money. OK, the ship did its duty, but that extra money is real nice. And, that's two runners in ten days that brought no prize money. I imagine their was a lot of grumbling among the crew.

On November 4, 1863, the USS Howquah, on Wilmington station, sighted the blockade-runner Margaret and Jessie and pursued it through the night. It was joined by the Nansemond and Army transport Fulton and the notorious blockade-runner was captured at sea just east of Mrytle Beach, SC. The Margaret and Jessie had run the blockade 15 times.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

USS Nansemond-- Part 1: A Fast Ship

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday, I wrote about this Union ship chasing the blockade-runner Venus ashore and later burning it. So, I looked it up to find out more about the ship.

The Nansemond was a sidewheel steamer built in 1862 in Williamsburg, New York as the James F. Freeborn, but purchased by the U.S. Navy on 18 August 1863, and commissioned in Baltimore 19 August under Lt. Roswell H. Lamson.

It was a fast ship, able to go 15 knots, 146 feet long with a 63-man crew and mounting one 30-pdr. Parrot rifle and two 24-pdr. guns.

It joined the North Atlantic Blockading Fleet 24 August 1863 and chased the Douro ashore near New Inlet 11 October and destroyed the blockade-runner with a cargo of cotton, turpentine, tobacco and rosin. The Douro, as I previously mentioned earlier this month, had been captured earlier by the USS Quaker City and had been condemned and sold and found itself back in the blockade running business.

Two Times Not the Charm. --Old B-Runner

Some Confusion With Today's Ship Island Incident

In the earlier post, I wrote about the Union steamer Mist being captured by Confederate guerrillas at Ship Island, Mississippi. I know their is a bearier island of the Mississippi coast by that name with Fort Massachusetts on it. But, considering the small size of the island, a Union fort and naval base there, I kind of doubt that there were any Confederate guerrilla operations on it.

Now, what would have made more sense was a Ship Island somewhere along the Mississippi River, or perhaps another state of Mississippi river being attacked by guerrillas. But, I was unable to come up with another Ship Island during my search.

Perhaps this was a mistake in the CWNC. --Old B-R'er

The Mississippi Still Not Completely Safe: Union Steamer Mist Captured

OCTOBER 22ND, 1863

The Union steamer Mist was boarded and burned at Ship Island, Mississippi, by Confederate guerrillas when she attempted to take on a cargo of cotton without the protection of a Union gunboat.

**  A week later, Rear Admiral Porter wrote to Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman, "Steamers should not be allowed to land anywhere but at a military port, or a place guarded by a gunboat...." So, even with the Mississippi River under Union control, it still wan't completely safe.


The USS Norfolk Packet captured schooner Ocean Bird off St. Augustine Inlet, Florida.

There's Confeds In Those Woods. --Old B-Runner

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blockader Nansemond Runs Runner Venus Ashore This Date

OCTOBER 21ST, 1863

The USS Nansemond, Lt. R.H. Lamson, chased blockade running steamer Venus ashore near the Cape Fear River, NC. Four shots from the blockader caused the steamer to take on water. Lamson attempted to get the Venus off in the morning but found "it impossible to move her, [and] I ordered her to be set on fire."

A notebook found aboard recorded that 75 ships had been engaged in blockade running thus far in 1863, of which 32 had been captured or destroyed.

Got Another One. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 19, 2013

150 Years Ago Today: October 20, 1863-- They're Watching


 Commander Bulloch advised Mallory from Liverpool that the ironclads known as 294 and 295, being built in England, had been seized by the British government. He felt that the reason for the seizure was the arrival of a large number of Confederate naval officers in Britain over the previous months.

The CSS Florida had come off the Irish coast six weeks earlier and gone to Brest, France, where it discharged its crew, many of whom were sent to Liverpool. "These circumstances were eagerly seized upon by the United States representatives here, and they have so worked upon Lord Russell as to make him believe that the presence of these officers and men has direct reference to the destination of the rams."

In other words, we've got to be sneakier.

The Old Cloak and Dagger Game, Indeed. --Old B-Runner

Recovering the Hunley in 1863

OCTOBER 18, 1863:

The sunken submarine H.L. Hunley was found in nine fathoms of water by a diver in Charleston Harbor. 

Efforts were begun at once to recover the it, deemed vital to the defenses of Charleston.

--Old B-R'er

"Neither Known Nor Appreciated By the Public": Naval Operations Off Charleston

OCTOBER 18, 1863:

Rear Admiral Dahlgren, writing Secretary Welles that the role of the Navy in the capture of Morris Island was "neither known nor appreciated by the public at large." He noted that in the two-month bombardment of the city that the ironclads of his squadron had fired more than 8,000 shot and shells and had received nearly 900 hits.

"By the presence and action of the vessels the right flank of our army and its supplies were entirely covered; provisions, arms, cannon, ammunition....were landed as freely as if the enemy was not in sight, while by the same means the enemy was restricted to the least space and action.

Indeed, it was only by night, and in the line from Sumter (whose guns covered the operations), that food, powder, or relief could be introduced, and that very sparingly. The works of the enemy were also flanked by our guns so that he was confined to his works and his fire quelled whenever it became too serious."

Quite the boasting from the admiral, but what if the Confederates had had a fleet to match his at Charleston? Plus, look at what happened every time his ironclads seriously engaged Confederate fortifications. 

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 18, 2013

150 Years Ago: October 17-18, 1863: Blockade Runners


Boat crews from the USS T.A. Ward destroyed schooner Rover at Murrell's Inlet, SC, loaded with cotton. Three days later, a landing party from the Ward went ashore to reconnoiter and look for water. They were surprised by Confederate cavalry and ten were captured. Sometimes you win, sometimes not.

**  The USS Seneca reported that the blockade-runner steamer Herald had run the blockade from Darien, Georgia. The ship's commander reported also that one gunboat in a sound could not guard all the estuaries and creeks flowing into it especially since Confederates were looking for other ways to get supplies in and out after Charleston was effectually sealed.

--Old B-R'er

After the Hunley Sank for the Second Time

The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sank on October 15, 1863, it was later raised and the bodies removed. It was the second time the submarine had sunk. It took little time to find a third crew to volunteer. and this time would be under the command of Lt. George Dixon of the Confederate Army (you'd have thought it would be a naval officer).

Under Dixon and Lt. William A. Alexander, the Hunley was reconditioned, but, as a safety precaution, General Beauregard ordered that the sub not dive again. The ship was also fitted with a spar torpedo.

Over the next four months, the Hunley ventured out into Charleston Harbor at night from her base on Sullivan's Island, but, until mid-February 1864, her attempts to sink a blockader came to no success.

Problems encountered were that blockaders frequently remained at station some 6-7 miles away; the condition of the tide, wind and sea and physical exhaustion of the crew.

But, All It Took Was One Shot At Them, And That Did Come. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Confederate Privateers on the West Coast?

OCTOBER 16, 1863

Mr. Jules David wrote from Victoria, Vancouver Island, " as president of a Southern asociation existing in this and the adjoining colony of British Columbia" to Confederate Secretary of State Benjamin wanting him to assist him and his organization in getting "a letter of marque to be used on the Pacific."

He said much damage could be done to the Union on the Pacific coast. He mentioned that his group had "a first-class steamer of 400 tons, strongly built, and of an average of 14 miles."

This, along with attacks by Confederate commerce raiders greatly worried Lincoln's government. But, nothing ever came of the plan as far as I know.

It Could Have Been a Great Plan. --Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: October 16th-17th, 1863: Attack on Tampa and the Blockade-Runners


It was learned that blockade-runners Scottish Chief and Kate Dale were loaded with cotton and nearly ready to sail from Hillsboro River in Florida (by Tampa), Rear Admiral Bailey sent Lt. Cmdr. A.A. Semmes commanding the USS Tahoma and the USS Adela to seize them. Alexander Alderman Semmes was the cousin of CSS Alabama commander Raphael Semmes.

According to Bailey, "It was planned between me and Captain Semmes that he should divert attention from the real object of the expeditionby shelling the fort and town [Tampa], and that under cover of the night men should be landed at a point in Old Tampa Bay, distant from the fort to proceed overland to the point of Hillsboro River where the blockade runners lay, and destroy them."

One hundred men from the two ships marched 14 miles overland and succeeded in the plan.

Alarm was given and a running battle took place back to the boats. Five were killed, ten wounded and five taken prisoner.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

H.L. Hunley and His Crew Drown Today, 150 Years Ago

OCTOBER 15TH, 1863.

The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, evidently never accepted into Confederate Navy service since I don't usually see CSS in front of it, under the command of inventor and part-owner H.L. Hunley, sank in Charleston Harbor while making practice dives under the Confederate receiving ship Indian Chief.

A report of "the unfortunate incident" stated: "The boat left the wharf at 9:25 a.m. and disappeared at 9:35. As soon as she sunk, air bubbles were seen to rise up to the surface of the water, and from this fact it is supposed that the hole in the top of the boat by which the men entered was not properly closed. It was impossible at the time to make any effort to rescue the unfortunate men, as the water was some 9 fathoms deep."

Thus, H.L. Hunley and his gallant seven-man crew perished. The submarine had claimed the lives of its second crew.

The submarine was raised for a second time and, for a second time, the crew was buried.

Practice Makes Perfect, But At What Cost? --Old B-R'er

Talking About That Recruiting Poster-- Part 2

Continued from Sepember 26th.

What was the Navy offering? So far, it was safer, food and shelter guaranteed, and less time to be served. Then, the recruiting poster went on to list what the sailor could earn. Ordinary Seamen pay was comparable to the Army at $14 a month, but an experienced seaman could earn $4 more and landsmen (no sea experience) $2 less. And, as a bonus, sailors gor an extra $1.50 a month for Grog!!! I imagine if you didn't partake, you could sock that money away.

And now for the best thing, there was PRIZE MONEY to be had. The poster mentioned $50,000,000 in prize money given out to warships capturing blockade-runners so far in the war.

Sign Me Up. --Old B-Runner

Monday, October 14, 2013

150 Years Ago: October 13-15, 1863: Union Operations


USS Queen City, with troops, departed Helena, Arkansas, for Friar's Point, Mississippi, where the soldiers landed, searched warehouses and took 200 bales of cotton and made several suspects prisoners.


USS Commodore and Corypheus destroyed a Confederate tannery at Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, burned the building and destroyed a large amount of hides.

Union control of the water enabled them to incessantly attack and raid wherever they wanted.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 12, 2013

150 Years Ago: October 12-13th, 1863-- Don't Forget About Those Forts


USS Kanawha and USS Eugenie attempted to destroy a steamer aground under the guns of Fort Morgan by Mobile Bay and were fired upon. The Kanawha was damaged during the engagement. Besides defending the Confederate ports from fleet attack, these forts were also to help blockade-runners.


USS Victoria seized a sloop west of Little River, NC, with cargo od salt and soap. (Inbound).

**  Guard boat from USS Braziliera, captured a schooner near St. Simons' Ga.. Along with Union warships, blockqade-runners had to watch out for small launches that were out and about looking for them.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Sinking of the USS Madgie This Date in 1863

OCTOBER 11, 1863:

The USS Madgie, in tow of the USS Fahkee, sank in rough seas off Frying Pan Shoals, NC. That is what the CWNC had to say. Never heard of the USS Madgie, so looked it up in Wikipedia.

It was a wooden screw steam gunboat launched in 1851, acquired by the Navy Oct. 15, 1861, and sent to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron where it was fitted out at Port Royal, SC.

It was 220 tons, 122 feet long and mounted two cannons (one 8-inch and one 20-pdr.) On 20 June 1862, it sank a vessel off Barrett's Island and captured the schooner Southern Belle. In July, it joined the blockade of St. Simon's and reconnoitered the Ogeechee River and engaged Fort McAllister.

Repaired in March 1863, it then served off St. Catherine's Sound. It sank off Frying Pan Shoals in North Carolina while under tow on this date, October 11, 1863.

Again, Not a Lot of Information on This Ship. --Old B-Runner

Some More on the Douro

I wasn't able to find out too much about the ship, but did find that she was captured by the USS Quaker City on March 9, 1863, on a run out of Wilmington, NC, carrying a cargo of cotton, turpentine and rosin, much like she had when destroyed seven months later.

Also, there was a ship named the Douro that was built in 1853 and operated by the Bibby Line in England then was sold for use as a blockade-runner in 1862.

A second ship named the Douro was built in 1864, but not the ship in question.

It would be interesting to find out what happened to the Douri during the seven months between its capture, sale and destruction. Obviously, it must have run into Wilmington before its destruction. I wonder who bought it?

--Stuff I'd Like to Know. --Old B-R'er

Blockade-Runner Duoro: Captured Once, Then Destroyed the Second Time


The USS Nansemond, Lt. Roswell Lawson, chased ashore and destroyed the steamer Douro near New Inlet, NC. It had a cargo of cotton, tobacco, turpentine and rosin. (Outbound) The Douro had been previously captured running the blockade on 9 March 1863 by the USS Quaker City, but after being condemned and sold by the prize court, its new owners made her a blockade-runner again.

Noting this, Commander Almy, senior officer off New Inlet, wrote, "She now lies a complete wreck...and past ever being bought and sold again." Rear Admiral S.P. Lee wrote Fox: "The Nansemond has done well off Wilmington. She discovered, followed & destroyed the Douro at night, the first instance of the kind, I believe." I'm not sure if here Lee is referring to the ship's second time as a blockade-runner or the fact that it was destroyed at night.

How Did This Happen? Have to Be Careful Who You Sell It To. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Confederate Privateer Jeff Davis-- Part 1

In the last post, I mentioned the William G. Anderson capturing a blockade-runner in the Gulf of Mexico named the Reindeer which used to be the Confederate privateer Jeff Davis.

It looks like that may have been wrong as I have now come across information that it sank while trying to enter St. Augistine, Florida, in mid-August 1861. I'll do some research.

--Old B-R'er

The USS William G. Anderson-- Part 2

Next, the Anderson went back to Farragut's West Coast Blockade Squadron. On June 14th, 1862, boat crews from the ship crossed the Mississippi Sound and went 15 miles up the Jordan River and seized the 60-ton Confederate schooner Montebello, then it went to the Galveston blockade and in August, captured the Lilly with 350 kegs of gunpowder.

After that, two other schooners were captured, including one, the Reindeer, which had once been the privateer Jeff Davis. Several more captures followed, so the crew was enjoying its prize money cut.

-- Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The USS William G. Anderson-- Part 1: Captured Privateer Beauregard

From Wikipedia.

Back to the story of the USS Beauregard. This is the ship that captured the then Confederate privateer Beauregard.

The USS William G. Anderson was a 149-foot bark built in 1859 at Boston, Mass. and acquired by the Navy 23 August 1861 and commissioned October 2, 1861. It mounted six 32-pounders and one 24-pdr. howitzer.

Joined the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and searched for Confederate privateers. On 7 November, it captured the Beauregard, seven days out of Charleston. It then cruised off Puerto Rico, Cuba, Bermuda and the Windward Islands. During that time, it sighted 210 vessels, boarded 66, but not many were privateers. It returned to Boston April 16, 1862.

Not Finished Yet. --Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: October 9th-10th, 1863: Charleston and the Tennessee River


 Secretary Welles commended Rear Admiral Dahlgren for the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron's operations against Charleston, SC. It was the first step toward taking the port which so many in the North wanted done as soon as possible because that is where the war began.

But, Welles cautioned "...the public impatience must not be permitted to hasten your own movements into immature and inconsiderate action...."

**  The CS Georgia (cruiser) captured and burned the ship Bold Hunter off French West Africa.


Secretary Welles wrote Rear Admiral Porter to help General Sherman in his operations along the Tennessee River. Porter reported that shallowness currently prevented him from doing so, but gunboats would go just as soon a sthe water rose.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 7, 2013

150 Years Ago: October 7, 1863: Red River and Louisiana


An expedition from the USS Osage captured and burned steamers Robert Fulton and Argus in the Red River. Union forces traveled overland with difficulty through undergrowth from the Mississippi to the Red River.

**  Boat crew from USS Cayuga boarded and destroyed blockade-runner Pushmataha which it had chased ashore off Calcasieu River, Louisiana. Carried gunpowder and one keg set afire, but Ordinary Seaman Thomas Morton threw it overboard.

--Old B-R'er

Blockade-Runners Captured by the USS Beauregard

From Wikipedia.

Prizes and Adjutications

Date, Name of Ship Captured, Prize Money to Beauregard:

6-20-62 LUCY
8-26-63 PHOEBE
10-6-63 LAST TRIAL (I wrote about this capture this past Saturday in 150 Years Ago. At this point, the chart starts listing prize money.

11-5-63 VOLANTE, $1,210.91
1-15-64 MINNIE $3,065.40
1-28-64 RACER $5,609.25
3-11,64 Hannah $216.59
3-11-64 LINDA $1,066.15

4-7-64 PUNKY $4,912.79
4-18-64 ORAMONETA $606.24
5-12-64 RESOLUTE $440.79.

All prizes except Spunky and Oramoneta adjudicated in Key West.

That brings total prize money divvied up to $17,128.12, a great sum of money back then. Like the recruiting poster I wrote about last month, join the Navy and have a shot at some prize money.

We're In the Money. --Old B-Runner

USS Beauregard-- Part 2: A Blockade Runner's Worst Friend

The privateer Beauregard was taken to Key West for adjudication and condemned for $2,147.47 with $1,854.92 for distribution among the Anderson's crew.

The U.S. Navy purchased the Beauregard for $1,810 on 24 Feb 1862 and replaced the 24-pdr rifle (which had been spiked by its Confederate crew when captured) with one 30-pdr. rifle and two 12-pdr. howitzers, commissioned 28 March 1862 and sent to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron.

On 2 April 1863, the USS Beauregard supported an attack on Tampa, Florida, and 28 July 1863 saw action at New Smyrna, Florida.

From July 1862 to May 12, 1864, the ship captured eleven blockade-runners, all but one as the only vessel entitled to share prize money. Those crew members made a good deal of extra money this way.

The USS Beauregard was sold at Key West June 28, 1865.

The Story of a Ship Serving Two Countries. Much More Successful as a Blockader. --Old B-R'er

USS Beauregard-- Part 1: A Short Confederate Privateer Career

From Wikipedia.

Saturday, I wrote about two strangely-named United States warships capturing blockade-runners 150 years ago this month. One was the USS Beauregard. Why would the Union Navy have a warship named after a Confederate general. Or was it?

The Bearegard was launched in 1850 as the schooner Priscilla C. Ferguson, but became a Confederate privateer mounting a 24-pdr. rifle and a crew of 40, commissioned into service in Charleston, SC 14 October 1861 and renamed for the hero of Fort Sumter and Manassas, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard.

It ran the blockade out of Charleston on November 5th. Just seven days later, on Nov. 12th, it was spotted by the USS William G. Anderson in the Bahama Channel near Cuba and captured after a two-hour chase. The Beauregard, as a privateer, never captured any ships.

Not Too Successful As a Privateer. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 5, 2013

150 Years Ago: October 6, 1863: Strangely-Named Ships Capture Blockade-Runners


The USS Beauregard (kind of a strange name for a Union ship) captured sloop Last Trial at Key West with cargo of salt. (Inbound)

USS Virginia (another strange name for a Union ship) seized British blockade-runner Jenny off the coast of Texas with a cargo of cotton (outbound).

Wasn't Beauregard a Confederate officer and Virginia a state in the Confederacy?

--Old B-R'er

David Took On Goliath 150 Years Ago Today-- Part 3

This account from the Civil War Naval Chronology.

Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory wrote, "The annals of naval warfare record few enterprises which exhibit more strikenly than this of Lieutenant Glassell the highest qualities of a sea officer." I have to wonder at this point why Glassell would have been honored this way when he jumped off his ship?

The near success of the David prompted Dahlgren to emphasize the need for developing defensive measures against ship-borne torpedoes. He said that the Union ships should be protected by outriggers and the Union should employ similar craft. He also wanted his own torpedoes to use against the Confederates especially since, "We can make them faster than they can."

--Old B-Runner

David Took On Goliath 150 Years Ago Today-- Part 2

Lt. Glassell and a crewman thought the David was doomed and jumped overboard, but Engineer Turner succeeded in relighting the David's fires and with the help of pilot Walker Cannon, who could not swim, took the David back to Charleston. Lt. Glassell and the crew member were later picked up by the blockading fleet.

Although the David did not succeed in sinking the New Ironsides, the ship had to leave Charleston for repairs.

Rear Admiral Dahlgren wrote, "It seems to me that nothing could have been more successful as a first effort, and it will place the torpedo among certain offensive means."

And the Hunley hadn't even sunk the Housatonic with a torpedo yet. And, of course, we know how effective torpedoes were in the two world wars.

--Old B-R'er

David Takes on Goliath 150 Years Ago Today-- Part 1


Today, the little CSS David, commanded by Lt. Glassell, CSN, exploded a torpedo against the side of the USS New Ironsides, under Captain Rowan, in Charleston Harbor, SC. Mounting a toprpedo with 60 pounds of powder on a ten-foot spar fixed to the bow, the fifty-foot David stood out from the pier early in the evening.

Being low in the water and hard to see, the David was close to the New Ironsides before it was spotted and hailed.

The federals opened with small arms fire, but the David came on, exploding the torpedo against the Union ship's starboard quarter and "shaking the vessel and throwing up an immense column of water.

As that water came down, it unfortunately for the David put out the boiler fire and nearly swamped her., causing the Confederate ship to swing alongside the New Ironsides.

Not Over Yet. --Old B-Runner

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tracking Down Charles Morfit, CSN, and His Letter-- Part 1


I wrote about this man last week in this blog. This person sure did a lot of research on a person not well-known when it comes to the Civil War Navy. It also gives a good account of problems facing the Confederate Postal Service.

They were preparing a close look at the movements of both the letter and Mr. Morfit.

In early Feb. 1862, a letter was posted at Macon, Georgia, for Charles M. Morfit, CS Navy, CSS Steamer Ivy, at New Orleans, Louisiana. However, when the letter arrived, Morfit was no longer there as the Ivy had been sent upriver and the letter was forwarded to Columbus, Kentucky.

However, Fort Donelson fell on February 16th and Columbus was evacuated Feb. 20th so the letter was sent downstream to the Confederate stronghold at New Madrid, Missouri.

Forget Where's Waldo. Where's Charles? --Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Matagorda Island, Texas

Located along the mid-Texas Gulf coast, not too far from Houston. The island is 38 miles long with an average width of a mile and a half. French explorer La Salle landed there in February 1665. The wreck of his ship, the LaBelle, was recently recovered from near the island.

Evidently, during the Civil War it was used as an assembling area, but I didn't come across any mention of a Union camp being there. Looking at a map of the island, I think the 69th Indiana might have been crossing at the eastern extremity of the island.

--Old B-R'er

The 69th Indiana Drownings

From Wikipedia.

During preparations for an invasion of the mainland from Matagorda Island the 69th Indiana assembled. To get to the mainland, they had to cross 300 yards of the bay.

A ferry was made of pontoon boats tied together as a raft which could carry three companies across at a time. On the third trip, carrying companies B, G and K, the raft was swamped by an incoming tide. Two officers and 21 enlisted men drowned and many otghers carried off by current before being rescued.

This occurred on March 13, 1864.

For more information of the 69th Indiana, see today's entry on my Saw the Elephant Civil War blog.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Matagorda, Texas During the Civil War

From the Texas State Historical Association.

Matagorda is located near the mouth of the Colorado River. During the Civil War, it was one of eight Texas ports used by blockade-runners to bring guns, munitions, clothing and other supplies into the Confederacy. Cotton was run out in the ships.

The town was bombarded on occasion and local citizens formed several militia groups, including the Matagorda Coast Guards.

The seaport declined after the war.

--Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: Oct. 2, 1863: USS Bermuda Captures a Blockade Runner


USS Bermuda captured blockade-running British schooner Florrie near Matagorda, Texas, with cargo including medicine, wine and saddles. (Inbound)

There was nothing listed for Oct. 1st or Oct. 3-4 in the Civil War Naval Chronology and just this item for Oct. 2nd.

Normally I wouldn't even have written about it, but needed something for the begiining of this month.

But, I had never heard of this Matagorda, Texas, so will do more research on it.

--Old B-Runner