Saturday, October 31, 2015

Gustavus Halls Scott, Commander of the USS Saranac

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday and earlier in the week, I mentioned that the USS Saranac was commanded by Captain Gustavus H. Scott in its search for the CSS Shenandoah.  Lt. James Waddell of the CSS Shenandoah incorrectly thought the mysterious ship that his ship encountered while returning to England to surrender was the USS Saranac commanded by Capt. Walke.  I have come across nothing saying that the Saranac went to the Atlantic Ocean while searching for the Shenandoah.

Gustavus Halls Scott (1812-1882).  Served in the Second Seminole War and the Civil War and eventually rose the rank of rear admiral and once, after the war, commanded the North Atlantic Squadron.

He was born in Virginia 13 June 1812.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 30, 2015

Enjoying This Blog More

Right now, even though I am more of a fan of the naval aspect of the war, I am enjoying this blog much more as I can still research on events.  My Saw the Elephant Blog Civil War Blog has essentially become one to document the current attack on the Confederacy from all points.

This is not research, not to mention something that increasingly angers me.

--Old B-R'er

The Union's Pacific Squadron

From the Civil War Forum.

Even though the U.S. West Coast was far from the major fighting, there was still the possibility of Confederate commerce raiders attacking or attack from Southern sympathizers from Canada.  A small fleet maintained guard along the Pacific coast.

The Pacific Squadron 1861-1865: Six sloops-of war:

USS Lancaster--  flagship
USS Saranac
USS Wyoming
USS Narragansett
USS Cyane

Also, at end of the war, the USS Suwanee.

The Saranac was commanded at one time by Gustavus H. Scott.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 29, 2015

USS Saranac-- Part 4: Looking for the Shenandoah

From the Official Records Navy.  report of Acting Rear Admiral Pearson, Commanding the Pacific Squadron, August 4, 1865, to Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles.

He had sent the USS Saranac, Captain G. H. Scott, which had been at Acapulco, Mexico, to protect American interests during an uprising against the French, had been ordered to go in pursuit of the CSS Shenandoah, then cruising in the Pacific.

Pearson then ordered the USS Suwanee to also join the search for the Confederate cruiser.

That made two ships dedicated to the search.  Waddell knew Union ships were looking for him and then there was always the possibility that he might be hanged as a pirate if caught.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

USS Saranac-- Part 3: Beware Ripple Rock

The ship was decommissioned and recommissioned several times before being recommissioned in 1857.  In the Civil War, it did duty by California and searched for the CSS Shenandoah at the end of the war.

After the war, it operated off the California coast.

It was wrecked at 8:40 a.m. on June 18, 1875, on the submerged Ripple Rock in the Seymour Narrows of the Discovery Passage.  This rock is just nine feet below the water at low tide (the Saranac drew 17 feet).  Since the Saranac's wreck, at least 20 large ships and 100 smaller ones have fallen victim to it from 1875 to 1958.

This is on the Campbell River.  The Saranac had been collecting natural curiosities for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition when it ran into the rock.  The bow of the ship was then run into Vancouver Island's shore and a hawser tied to a tree on it, but within an hour, the ship had sunk completely from sight.

Lt. Cmdr Sanders, the pilot and 13 men made their way on foot to Victoria.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

USS Saranac-- Part 2: First Commander Was Josiah Tattnall

The ship was 215 feet long,  had a 37.4-foot beam and 17 foot draft, crew of 14  (I think this number is too low) and mounted eleven 8-inch guns.  It was named for the Saranac River ib New York which empties into Lake Champlain.  It is also the name of a War of 1812 ship.

Other USS Saranacs:

USS Saranac.  Minelayer built 1899, acquired by U>S> Navy in 1917 and decommissioned 1919.

USCGC Saranac, #52.  Launched 1930 and leased to the Royal Navy in 1941.  Renamed HMS Banff.

AO-74 fleet oiler 1943-1946.The 1848 USS Saranac was a sidewheel styeam sloop of war.  Its first commander was Capt. Josiah Tattnall in 1850 who later served in the Confederate Navy.  he was a vetran of the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Civil War.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 26, 2015

USS Saranac-- Part 1: Pursuer of the CSS Shenandoah

From Wikipedia.

On Saturday, I wrote about the CSS Shenandoah barely avoiding a mysterious ship which its commander Waddell believed to be the USS Saranac.  I'd never heard of this ship before, so had to do some research.  The Shenandoah at the time was returning to England to surrender to the British instead of doing so to the United Sates where its crew might likely be considered to be pirates as they were destroying Union ships after the war was over even though they didn't know it was over for quite some time.  Surrendering to a U.S. vessel might mean execution as such.

The USS Saranac (1848) was a sloop of war laid down during the Mexican War but that war was over by the time the vessel underwent sea trials.  It was finally commissioned in 1850 and served in both the Atlantic and Pacific.  It was decommissioned and recommissioned many times and patrolled the U.S. West Coast during the Civil War.

It continued service on the West Coast after the war until it was wrecked on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in 1875.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 24, 2015

150 Years Ago: The CSS Shenandoah Spots a Mysterious Sail-- Part 2: Evading Yankee Ships

"The propeller had been lowered to impede her progress (the Shenandoah's), but the favoring night seemed to come on more slowly than I had ever before known it...  There was but one hope, and that was in a drag, two ends of a hawser made fast and the bite thrown overboard would retard in some degree her progress through the water...  When darkness closed between us we could not have been more than three miles distant.

"The Shenandoah's head was turned south and steam was ordered.  At nine o'clock while our sails were being furled the moon rose and the surface presented a little before by the Shenandoah being greatly diminished by that maneuver it would be difficult to find where she lay.

"The Cardiff coal makes a white vapor which could not be seen two hundred yards off, and now the engines were working and the steamer heading east, we had all the advantages to be expected.  It was the first time our ship had been under steam since crossing the line in the Pacific Ocean, indeed the fires were not lighted during a distance of over thirteen thousand miles.

"The Shenandoah was five hundred miles southeast of the Azores, and if there was an American cruiser in that locality on the 25th day of October, 1865, we were probably in sight of each other.  I have been told that the U.S. steamer Saranac, Captain Walke, was probably the vessel."

As he wrote elsewhere, Waddell again felt: "I believe the Divine will directed and protected that ship in all her adventures.

A Really Close Call.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, October 23, 2015

150 Years Ago: CSS Shenandoah Spots a Mysterious Sail-- Part 1

OCTOBER 25TH, 1865:  When the CSS Shenandoah had "nearly run out of the trades and her sails fanning along, a masthead lookout cried sail O!  The cry Sail O! brought many to their feet who were indulging repose, and their anxious glances evinced their state of mind, for if a Federal cruiser was to be found anywhere she would be in that region of ocean..."

The stranger was a steamer, apparently a warship.  If of the U.S. Navy, the Shenandoah had to avoid her, but the courses converged.

"The sun was thirty minutes high and the sky was cloudless.  We could make no change in course of the ship or quantity of sail she carried, for to arouse the suspicions of the sail might expose the Shenandoah to investigation.  Whatever she was she had seen our ship and might be waiting to speak to her.

"The Shenandoah was perceptibly shortening the distance between herself and the sail, and there was danger that she would approach too near during daylight for she could already be seen from our deck."

Wondering What Happened Next.  --Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: Richard Maury Arrives in Mexico

OCTOBER 24TH, 1865:  Commander Maury's oldest son, Richard, and the only member of the family who voiced any enthusiasm for his Mexican plan, arrived in Mexico City with his wife.

He, crippled like his father, would be understudy in directing immigration and would run for office when his father departed for England to see Mrs. Maury.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 22, 2015

CSS Georgia Still Yielding Surprises

From the Sept. 29, 2015, Savannah Morning News by Mary Carr Mayle.

Phase 2--  large artifact recovery has wrapped up and now archaeologists at the CSS Georgia wreck site begin the tedious 12-hour days sifting through globs of mud brought up from the bottom of the Savannah River.

Tedious though it may be, this new Phase 3 has yielded some interesting finds.  Chief among them was the finding of the 9,000 pound Dahlgren cannon on September 15.

Jim Jobling, project manager of the Texas A&M University Conservation Research Laboratory, had been telling others that there should be another Dahlgren gun in the river.  (They knew about one and had brought it up.)

He said there was a big discrepancy in two known manifests of items aboard the Georgia.  The original one listed two Dahlgrens, and a later one dated October 1864 listed just one.  That date was just a few months before the ship was scuttled.  Most people went with the second manifest.  (Of course, it is possible that the second Dahlgren had been removed between the two manifests.)

However, different types of shells were found at the site indicating the possibility of a second Dahlgren being there.

They have also found other items, including an anvil, leather shoes, wrenches and ceramic bottles.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 7: More Notables Serving There

HENRY JACKSON HUNT--  Civil war general, Chief of Artillery of the Army of the Potomac.

JOHN B. MAGRUDER--  Confederate general.

FRANKLIN PIERCE--  14th president of the United States.

WILLIAM S. ROSECRANS--  Union general

ISAAC INGALLS STEVENS--  Union general killed at the Battle of Chantilly

THOMAS W. SHERMAN--  Union general wounded so badly at battle of Port Hudson in 1963, he was not expected to survive.  His hometown newspaper in Newport, Rhode Island, printed an extensive obituary.  He survived though, but had his right leg amputated and served the rest of the war on administrative duty.  After the war commanded Fort Adams for awhile.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 6: Notables Who Served There

Notable persons who served at the fort:

Pierre G.T. Beauregard

Ambrose Burnside

George W. Cullom--  Civil War general and West Point superintendent.  Wrote the Biographical register of Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy.  I am using this for my current blog entries in my War of 1812 Blog Not So Forgotten.

Henry Algeron de Pont--  Medal of Honor winner at Battle of Cedar Creek, Oct. 1864.

Robley D. Evans--  navy rear admiral.  I have already written about him in these blogs.

John G. Foster--  Union general.  Commanded expedition at the 1862 Battle of Goldsborough Brideg.

William Gates.  Served in the War of 1812, Mexican War and Civil War.  (I mentioned him in my War of 1812 blog yesterday.  Long-serving officer, obviously.)

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 19, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 5: Site of Newport Folk Festival

In 1953, the Army transferred Fort Adams to the Navy and in 1965, the fort and surrounding land was given to the state of Rhode island.  President Dwight Eisenhower laved at the former commandants' house (now called the Eisenhower House) during his summer vacations while in office in 1958 and 1960.

Since 1981, the grounds have been the site and host to the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival.

Notable Persons Associated with Fort Adams:

Robert Anderson, commander of Fort Sumter

John G. Bernard--  Civil War general and Superintendent of West Point

Alexander Dallas Bache--  Army Engineer and Superintendent of West Point.  Erected coastal fortifications and led survey of the U.S. coast.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 4: A Spanish-American War Connection

Also, future Admiral Charles Sigsbee, who commanded the USS Maine when it blew up in Havana Harbor, sparking the Spanish-American War, was there.  Sigsbee was also at the Battle of Fort Fisher.

Another Spanish-American War hero, future Captain Charles Vernon Gridley who commanded the cruiser USS Olympia at the Battle of Manila Bay when Admiral Dewey gave the famous order, "You may fire when ready, Gridley," spent time at Fort Adams.

In 1862, Fort Adams was the headquarters and recruit depot for the 15th U.S. Infantry Regiment.

From August to October 1863, it was commanded by Brigadier General Robert Anderson, of Fort Sumter fame.

During World War II, it was part of the Harbor Defenses of Narrangansett Bay and at its peak had 3,000 troops.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 16, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 3: Famous People

Continued from September 16.

During the Mexican War, Fort Adams was commanded by Benjamin Kendrick, brother of President Franklin Pierce.  From 1843 to 1853, it was commanded by Col. Willaim Gala, a War of 1812 veteran.

The garrison was ordered to California and many lost their lives when their ship, the SS San Francisco was wrecked in the North Atlantic December 24, 1853.

During the Civil War, the U.S. Naval Academy was moved to Newport and first located at Fort Adams (along with the USS Constitution),. but later moved to the Atlantic House Hotel (which I have already written about).

Among the future naval officers at Fort Adams was Robley D. Evans.  He was wounded at Fort Fisher and commanded the battleship USS Iowa in the Spanish-American War. Later, he commanded the famous Great White Fleet on the first leg of its world voyage.

--Old B-R'er

Navy Uses Echoscope 3D Real-Time Imaging Sonar on CSS Georgia Salvage

From the August 27, 2015, Masdaq-1 Coda Octopus group, Inc.  "U.S. Navy uses the Echoscope 3D real-time imaging sonar during CSS Georgia salvage."

The Navy divers encountered great difficulty finding objects in the murky Savannah River waters where the CSS Georgia's wreck is located.

"The Echoscope 3D imaging system displays in real-time 3D underwater objects as they are scanned, whether they are static structures or moving objects.  The image supplied can be rotated in all three dimensions and measurements can be taken while viewing the data."

Not exactly sure what all this means, but anything is good if it helps.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Seeing-Eye Dogs" Helping Navy Divers Recover the CSS Georgia-- Part 2

Divers found about sixty rounds for the Dahlgren guns (posing no threat as they have to have a flame to set off).  The Brooke rounds (shaped like bullets) found considerably more dangerous as they are impact sensitive.

There was no loss of life at the Georgia's sinking so, no ghosts.

Historians know that shortly after the war, a businessman contracted with the U.S. government to salvage the wreck as part of an effort to clear the shipping channel.  records indicate that there was a dispute and portions of the wreck may have been dumped back into the river.

Gordon Watts, a longtime diver and owner of Tidewater Atlantic Research is assisting in the recovery effort.  He has had experience in with the USS Monitor and CSS Alabama.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"Seeing-Eye Dogs" Helping Navy Divers Recover CSS Georgia-- Part 1

From the August 21, 2015, CNN  "'Seeing eye dogs' help Navy divers recover Civil War vessel in murky river" by Phil Gast and Matthew Gannon.

The Savannah River's current and suction from propellers of giant container ships are causing problems for divers on the wreck of the Confederate ironclad CSS Georgia.Their dive suits are reminiscent of the ones in Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand leagues Under the Sea."

The CSS Georgia was somewhat salvaged and destroyed after the war.  Dredging operations in the late 1960s further shattered the ship.  The chain of the large red channel marker attached to the wreck has further caused damage.

The U.S. government has slated $15 million for the ship's complete removal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Navy's New Destroyers Sure Look Like Confederate Ironclads

Every time I see a picture of one of the Navy's new Zumwalt-class destroyers, I am amazed at how much they resemble a Confederate Navy ironclad.

Check them out.

--Old B-R'er

Three Civil War Cannons Pulled from River

From the October 1, 2015, Discovery News by Elizabeth Palermo, Livescience.

It took about 30 minutes to raise each one and the cannons are in surprisingly good shape, "ready to rock and roll," said Jonathan Leader, South Carolina's state archaeologist.

Receding e\waters during a drought several years ago left the 7-inch Brooke rifle exposed and a bit corroded as a result.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 12, 2015

And, Speaking of Commerce Raiders, 150 Years Ago, the CSS Shenandoah

OCTOBER 12-14TH, 1865:  The CSS Shenandoah fell in "with a great many sail but kept a polite distance from them, working her way along under sail through calms and light airs.  In latitude 10 degrees N we took the trades."

Waddell and his ship were returning to England to surrender.  The end of the Confederate Navy was drawing near.  Of course, the ship was avoiding contact and especially any Union ships that might be looking for it.

--Old B-R'er

Talk To be Given on the CSS Florida

From the October 10, 2015, Hudson Times "Thompson to Speak on Confederate Raider Florida on October 14"

John Thompson will speak at the Peninsular Public Library on October 14 at 7:30, in a free talk sponsored by the Cayahoga Valley Civil War Round Table.  This takes place in Ohio.

Confederate commerce raiders devastated northern maritime interests during the war.  Not only was there the loss of cargoes and ships but also those losses sent insurance rates skyrocketing so much so that much commerce was transferred over to foreign flags.

By far, the best known raider was the CSS Alabama, but the CSS Florida did her fair share of damage.  It was commanded by John Newland Maffitt.  This ship seized 22 Union ships and made two of them into raiders who between them seized another 22 Northern ships.

Thompson is an active member of the Kent Civil War Society for 12 years, newsletter editor of the Gen. A.C. Voris Camp, SUV and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

So, If You Live Out Ohio Way.  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 10, 2015

150 Years Ago: CSS Shenandoah Passes the Equator in the Atlantic

OCTOBER 11TH, 1865:  The CSS Shenandoah crossed the equator about midway between South America and Africa as she steered for England.  Capetown, South Africa, had requested the ship stop there, but Waddell had determined that he had to go directly to England to surrender his command.

--Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: Command of Atlantic Squadron Passes to Joseph Lanman

OCTOBER 10, 1865:  Command of the Atlantic Squadron passed from Rear Admiral Radford to Commodore Joseph Lanman.  Radford reported to Washington and assumed command of the Washington Navy Yard.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 9, 2015

CSS Georgia Still Yielding Surprises

From the Sept. 29, 2015, Business in Savannah by Mary Carr Mayle.

Phase 2 of the operation is over.  The article was mostly referring to the Sept. 15 raising of the unknown Dahlgren cannon which i have already written about.

Now it is on to Phase 3, the tedious 12-days of sifting through all the much from the bottom that was also recovered.

--Old B-R'er

Archaeologists Recover Three Cannons From the Pee Dee River-- Part 5: Going to the Florence V.A.

The underwater divers dredged the area around the cannons and put straps around each of the three cannons, located in between 8 and 10 feet of water.  Once out of the river, they were taken a short distance and placed on wooden blocks so mud and silt could be hosed off.

These three cannons constitute the CSS Pee Dee's entire armament.

Eventually they will be displayed at the VA service building which is next to the Florence National Cemetery and just a couple hundred yards from the Florence Stockade site, a Confederate POW camp active for several months before the end of the war.

A video accompanies the article.  the cannons look to be in remarkably good shape and are now 10-26 feet from the river bank.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fort Fisher Closed Because of Flooding

I just read that Fort Fisher State Historic Site in North Carolina was closed on Monday because of all the rain and flooding.

--Old B-R'er

CSS Pee Dee Cannons Underwater Again?

I'm not sure if the cannons recovered recently from the CSS Pee Dee were still on the site by the side of the Pee Dee River in South Carolina, but if they were, they might once again be underwater due to all the rain and flooding in South Carolina in the last week.

----Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Archaeologists Recover Three Cannons From the Pee Dee River-- Part 4: The Cannons

The three cannons on the CSS Pee Dee were each on a pivot and had a full 360 degree of fire.  The ship itself was built for speed and maneuverability to act as a commerce raider and not to duke it out with a Union ship.

The Brooke cannons were for long range and the Dahlgren for short range.  The Dahlgren fired a speical ball with a water resistant cap.  The Brooke's had cannister shot.  Those were also removed.  The guns had been loaded when they were thrown overboard.  These were removed while the cannons were still underwater.

--Old B-R'er

Archaeologists Recover Three Cannons from the Pee Dee River-- Part 3: Great Grandson in Attendance

By 1994 the CSS Pee Dee Research and Recovery Team had seven families supporting it.

The first two were located by diver Bob Butler.  The third cannon was located by property owners Glenn Duffon and Rufus Duffon., who took advantage of low water level one day to venture into the river with a metal detector.

A man named Catesby Jones from Selma, Alabama, was on hand for the cannon retrieval.  The Brooke cannons were cast in Selma and his great grandfather, Catesby ap R Jones, had been in command of the naval foundry there when the Brooke cannons were cast.  More famously, Catesby ap R Jones had commanded the ironclad CSS Virginia ion its famous battle with the USS Monitor in 1862

The Brooke rifle serial numbers were #46 and #53.  The captured Dahlgren gun was serial number #513.  The Dahlgren was forged in Pennsylvania and captured from the USS Smithfield after it was sunk by the CSS Albemarle.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Archaeologists Recover Three Cannons from the Pee Dee River-- Part 2

People began looking for the cannons back in the 1920s.  Other efforts made in the 1950s and 1980s.

In the 1990s, two were found, and the third one, the 6.4-inch Brooke rifle was found in 2012.  With the locations of all three known, a move to recover all three at once got underway.  The CSS Pee Dee Research and Recovery Team was organized to raise money and promote the effort.

Member Ted Gragg related: "In 1992 we were looking seriously for the site of the Pee Dee and whatever we could find, because really and truly it had been lost.

"My daughter was home from the university and I'd taken her and her boyfriend out on a hike and we'd decided to cut out way from the bridge looking for things.  We sat down to rest and uncovered the skiff from the warship.  Then we found the seven-inch ball and one thing led to another.  We contacted the state two months later and showed them the artifacts."

I'm wondering if Ted Gragg is related to the Rod Gragg who wrote the first book on Fort Fisher "Confederate Goliath; Fort Fisher."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 5, 2015

Archaeologists RecoverThree Cannons from the Pee Dee River-- Part 1

From the September 29, 2015, SC Now "Archaeologists recover 3 Civil War cannons from Great Pee Dee River."

More than 100 onlookers were present Tuesday morning when a track hoe was used to pull three cannons that had been on the CSS Pee Dee.

The CSS Pee Dee's active military career consisted of one cruise up the Great Pee Dee River to Cheraw, South Carolina, where it may or may not have fired on General Sherman's Union troops who were crossing the river there to invade North Carolina.  The ship returned to its base at Mars Bluff Navy Yard where everything of value was thrown overboard and burned and sank the ship.

The ship was scuttled just three months after it was launched.

Twenty years had passed since the discovery of the cannons and their recovery.

--Old B-R'er

The Three Recovered Cannons from the CSS Pee Dee

BROOKE RIFLE--  Cast at Selma, Alabama on April 29, 1863.  delivered to South Carolina on July 13, 1863.  Bore diameter--  6.4-inches, Bore length--  9.8 feet.  Weight 10,600 pounds.

BROOKE RIFLE--  Cast at Selma, Alabama on October 12, 1863.  Delivered to South Carolina on July 3, 1863 (probably 1864).  Bore diameter--  7-inches, Bore length--  11 feet, Weight--  15,000 pounds.

DAHLGREN CANNON--  Cast at Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania in mid-1862.  Bore diameter-- 9-inches, Bore length--  8.9-feet, Weight--  9,000 pounds.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Civil War Cannons Raised From the Pee Dee River-- Part 5: A "Jones"Connection

Unfortunately, the CSS Pee Dee had a very short-lived career.  On completion, it steamed upstream to fire on Sherman's troops crossing the river.  It may or may not have fired on enemy troops.  It then returned to Mars Bluff where it was burned and scuttled after the cannons and other items were thrown overboard.

The ship could also have been an ocean-going commerce raider.

To Catesby Jones, 90, of Selma, Alabama, and a World War II veteran, this was a very special day and he was in attendance when the cannons were brought to the surface.  His great-great grandfather was Catesby ap Jones, who was in command of the foundry and Navy yard in Selma, Alabama, when the two Brooke rifled cannons were made.

The cannons will now be taken to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston, S.C. where they will be preserved.  The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley is there also.  After completion, the cannons will go on display at the new U.S. department of veterans Affairs building in Florence.

--Old B-R'er

Civil War Cannons Raised From the Pee Dee River-- Part 4: Finest Ship Ever Built in the South

The Pee Dee, or Mars Bluff, Navy Yard was built in 1863 to allow ships for the Confederacy to be built far enough from the coast to prevent Union attacks.  The CSS Pee Dee was the first and only warship built there.

It was a Macon-Class cruiser 150 feet long with a 25-foot beam and three gun carriages: bow, stern and amidship.  Power was provided by sails and a boiler which kept twin giant propellers turning.  Its masts could be lowered to fit under railroad trestles and bridges.

Confederate Secretary of Navy Stephen Mallory once referred to the Pee Dee as the finest ship ever built in the South.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 2, 2015

Civil War Cannons Raised From Pee Dee River-- Part 3: 360 Degree Arc of Fire

As I mentioned earlier, the cannons of the CSS Pee Dee could provide insight into the "beginning of modern naval warfare."  The three cannons were each mounted on the ship so as to be able to provide for a 360 degree arc of fire as they were on swivels.  Before, and during the war, ships most often relied on guns mounted along the sides of the warships.

So, a ship listed as carrying 38 cannons, would only be able to bring 19 of them to bear on an enemy ship during a battle at a single point.

Modern warships mounted cannons in an armored turret which swiveled.  The Pee Dee, however, had them mounted in the open.

Also of interest is that one of the cannons was originally on a Union ship.

--Old B-Runner

Civil War Cannons Raised From the Pee Dee River-- Part 2: Bob Butler

Amateur diver Bob Butler has spent 20 years searching the Pee Dee River for the cannons he knew had been thrown off the CSS Pee Dee in 1865 before the ship was scuttled to prevent capture near the end of the Civil War.

He found one cannon in 1995 near the US near the Florence-Marion County line.  And, he discovered another one in 2006.  He became a moving force in Pee Dee Research and Recovery Team which discovered the third cannon.

Tuesday, he was on hand as all three were raised.

--Old B-R'er

Civil War Cannons Raised From the Pee Dee River-- Part 1: Going to the V.A. in Florence

From the September 29, 2015, The State (Columbia, S.C.) by Jeff Wilkinson.

There have been a lot of articles on my Google Alerts about these three cannons being raised.  I look at them and write down information that I have not already mentioned in previous posts.

The rare cannons will be preserved and then displayed at the Veterans Administration building in Florence, S.C..

They represent the entire armament of the CSS Pee Dee.

University of South Carolina crews have spent six years, since 2009, working on their recovery.

The cannons can provide insight into "the beginning of modern naval warfare."

The cannons were raised Tuesday, September 29th.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Three Cannons From the CSS Pee Dee to Be Retrieved-- Part 2

Researchers from the University of South Carolina's Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology have been off-and-on at the site of the former Confederate Mars Bluff Navy Yard since 2009.  The cannons were thrown off the Pee Dee at this site.  Mars Bluff Navy yard was one of about a dozen shipyards established inland, up rivers and far enough away from the Union ships along the coast for safety.

The cannons range from 9,000 to 15,000 pounds each and are between 9 and 12 feet long.  One is a smoothbore Dahlgren the Confederates captured from the USS Smithfield which was sunk in North Carolina by the CSS Albemarle.  The other two are both Brooke rifled cannons forged at Selma, Alabama.

The CSS Pee Dee was finished too late to see much action and its is not clear whether it ever fired a shot in anger.

This is bringing to an end a years-long archaeological effort, funded in part with a $200,000 grant from the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation in Florence.

--Old B-Runner

Three Cannons from CSS Pee Dee to Be Recovered From the Pee Dee River-- Part 1

From the September 29, 2015, WSB-Atlanta (Ga.)  "Archaeologists to pluck 3 Civil War cannons from river site" by Susanne Schafer.

Sailors on the CSS Pee Dee threw three cannons overboard in the river of the same name in the closing months of the war to prevent capture.  Then the ship was burned and scuttled.  These cannons will be sent to he conservation lab in North Charleston, S.C. where the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley is being restored.

Preserving the cannons is expected to be a two-year process.  After which the cannons will be displayed in the Florence, South Carolina, area.

An underwater dive team has dredged the area around them and placed straps which will pull them out of the river.  A front loader will then be utilized to lift them out.  The cannons are located in mud and water between 8 and 10 feet deep.

--Old B-R'er

Big News for the Confederate Navy These Last Several Months

First, even though it was not a commissioned naval vessel, the exterior of the submarine H.L. Hunley is now completely clear of all the encrustation that covered it for the almost 150 years it sat on the floor of Charleston Harbor.  next they will start work on the interior.

Work at the CSS Georgia continues after the cannons were brought up as well as most of the remaining parts of the ship in Savannah.

More recently, this week, all three cannons that were on the CSS Pee Dee have been pulled out of the river of the same name in South Carolina.

This Helps Make Up for All This Anti-Confederate Stuff Going On These Days.  --Old B-Runner