Saturday, December 31, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 31, 1861: Confederate Lightship Off Wilmington Destroyed

DECEMBER 31ST, 1861:  Two boats under Acting Masters A. Allen and H.L. Sturges, from the USS Mount Vernon, destroyed lightship off Wilmington, N.C., which had been fitted out as a gunboat by the Confederates.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 30, 2016

Approaching the Fifth Year of This Blog

2017 will mark the beginning of the sixth year of this blog.

So far this year, with this one, I have posted 519 times.  Since the first year in 2012, there have been 2789 posts.

It grew out of my Saw the Elephant: Civil War blog which grew out of my Cooter's History Thing blog.

I Really Do need to Find a Purpose.  --Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 30, 1861: Union Navy Pay on Western Waters

DECEMBER 30TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Foote wrote Assistant Secretary of Navy Fox of the pay scale he was using:  "In the case of Masters and Pilots, I have been obliged, in order to secure the services of efficient Men, to pay 1st Masters $150. per month, 2nd Masters $125.  3rd Masters $100. and 4th Masters $80. per month, while Pilots are paid $175. per month.

"These prices are much less than the incumbents received in ordinary times, while they have been provided with table furniture and stores, bedding &c, which I have not allowed them."

It Costs Money To Fight a War.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 29, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 29, 1861: CSS Sea Bird Captures a Schooner

DECEMBER 29TH, 1861:  CSS Sea Bird, Flag Officer Lynch, evaded Union gunfire and captured a large schooner near Hampton Roads carrying fresh water to Fort Monroe.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 28, 1861: Confederate Schooner captured

DECEMBER 28TH, 1861:  The USS New London, Lt. A Reed, captured Confederate schooner Gipsey with cargo of cotton in the Mississippi Sound.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 27, 1861: Du Pont Weighs In On the Trent Affair

DECEMBER 27TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Du Pont wrote regarding the "Trent Affair" as it had become known as:  "I hope now that our politicians will begin to learn, that something is necessary to be a 'great universal Yankee nation etc' than politics and party.

"We should have armies and navies and have those appurtenances which enable a nation to defend itself and not be compelled to submit to humiliation [releasing Nason and Slidell] ...Thirty ships like the Wabash would have spared us this without firing a gun, with an ironclad frigate or two."

No Doubt He Was Upset Upon the Confederate Commissioners' Release.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, December 26, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 26, 1861: Action At Savannah

DECEMBER 26TH, 1861:  Confederate fleet, including the CSS Savannah, Commodore Tattnall, Resolute, Sampson, Ida and Barton, attacked Union blockading ships at the mouth of the Savannah River.  Before returning to his anchorage under the guns of Fort Pulaski, Tattnall forced the blockaders to move seaward temporarily.

**  USS Rhode Island, Lt. Trenchard, captured Confederate schooner Venus southeast of Sabine Pass, off the Louisiana coast.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, December 25, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 25, 1861: Blockade Runner Captured Off Cape Fear

DECEMBER 25TH, 1861:   The USS Fernandina, Acting Lt. George W, Browne, captured schooner William H. Northrup off Cape Fear, North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, December 24, 2016

First Battle of Fort Fisher Underway 152 Years Ago Today

This date, the Union Army had showed up and began landing north of Fort Fisher.  The U.S. Navy had already bombarded the fort the day before and continued today with one of the heaviest shows of fire power during the war.

The powder boat USS Louisiana had been blown up.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, December 24, 1861: Help With the Confederate Ironclads

DECEMBER 24TH, 1861:  The USS Gem of the Sea, Lt. Irvin B. Baxter, captured and destroyed the British blockade runner Prince of Wales off Georgetown, South Carolina.

**  Confederate Secretary of Navy Mallory wrote Major General Leonidas Polk, commanding troops at Columbus, Kentucky, requesting furlough of troops to assist in construction of ironclad gunboats at Memphis.

Mallory commented:  "One of them at Columbus would have enabled you to complete the annihilation of the enemy."

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 23, 2016

Death of 48th New York's Captain James W. Dunn at Fort Fisher

I have been writing about the 48th New York's attack on Fort Wagner in 1861 and its horrendous casualties in that assault.

But, I also came across the name of one of their officers who was killed at the Battle of Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865.

He was Captain James W, Dunn, evidently, the only officer of that regiment killed at that battle.  He commanded Company E.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The New York Times Updates Blockade-Runner Movements Jan. 19, 1865

Even as the war was winding down and the Confederacy in its death throes, the business of blockade-running was busy as ever.

January 19, 1865, New York Times.  News from Nassau and Bermuda.

"The blockade-runner Princess Royal, which was on her way from Bermuda to Nassau, has been lost.  On the 2nd inst., the steamers Confederate States and Chicora are reported to have arrived from Charleston, and that the Agnes E. Fry and the Julia were entirely lost while trying to get from Charleston.

"On the 8th inst., the rebel steamer Col. Lamb arrived from Nassau, of 616 tons, and it is reported she is intended for a privateer; and in the 9th inst., arrived the steamer Lark, 267 tons, from Liverpool and Madeira, consigned to Charles J. Helen, the rebel agent in Havana; on the 12th inst., the Neva, which sailed on the 10th, returned in distress, but the general opinion was that she was chased by a United States gunboat."

A lot of action still going on despite the loss of Charleston and Wilmington by this date.  The Agnes E. Fry actually sank off the Cape Fear River, near Wilmington.

I am wondering if this ship called the Neva is the same one captured in San Francisco in 1861 which I have been writing about.  If so, she found her way back into Confederate service.  As of yet I haven't been able to find out is she was.

I Wonder.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 21, 1861: Medal of Honor Authorized

DECEMBER 21ST, 1861:  The U.S. Congress authorized the Medal of Honor, the Nation's highest award.

It being a new medal, three were some questionable awards of it during the Civil War, nothing like the work needing to be done to get it today.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 20th, 1861: "Stone Fleet" Sunk at Charleston

DECEMBER 20TH, 1861:  The "Stone Fleet" was sunk at Charleston by Captain C.H. Davis.

**  Steamer Gordon ran the blockade off Wilmington, North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 17, 1861: Observing Sunday on Union Navy Ships in Western Waters

DECEMBER 17TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Foote, Commanding U.S. Naval Forces, Western Waters, issued a General Order regarding observance of Sunday on board ships of his flotilla:  "It is the wish ... that on Sunday the public worship of Almighty God may be observed ... and that respective commanders will either themselves, or cause other persons to pronounce prayers publically on Sunday ...."

Foote added:  Discipline to be permanent must be based on moral grounds, and officers must in themselves, show a good example in morals, order, and patriotism to secure those qualities in the men."

Since 1775, Navy regulations have required that religious services be held on board ships of the Navy in peace or war.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 16, 2016

Article On Fort Fisher This Month

I came across a long, about eight pages,  article on Fort Fisher in the new Civil War Quarterly magazine for this month.

Lots of nice pictures and interesting account, but nothing new to anyone who knows anything about the battle which effectively closed the Confederacy's last contact with the outside world in 1865.

Always Great to Have an Article on the Fort.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 15, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 15, 1861: More Runners Captured

DECEMBER 15TH, 1861:  The USS Stars and Stripes, Lieutenant Reed Werden, captured blockade running schooner Charity of Cape Hatteras.

**  USS Jamestown, Commander Green, captured Confederate sloop Havelock near Cape Fear, North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 12, 1861: More Action on the Ashepoo River

DECEMBER 12TH, 1861:  The USS Alabama, Commander Edward Lanier, captured the British ship Admiral off Savannah, attempting to run the blockade.

**  The USS Isaac Smith, Lieutenant J.W.A. Nicholson, on a reconnaissance of the Ashepoo River, South Carolina, with a Marine detachment embarked and scattered Confederate troops by gunfire and landed Marines to destroy their quarters.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 11, 1861: Action in Florida and Louisiana

DECEMBER 11TH, 1861:  The USS Bienville, Commander Steedman, captured schooner Sarah and Caroline off St. John's River, Florida.

**  The USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured Confederate sloop Florida off the lighthouse at Timbalier, Louisiana.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 10, 1861: Action in South Carolina

DECEMBER 10TH, 1861:  The USS Isaac Smith, Lieutenant James W.A. Nicholson, on expedition up Ashepoo River, South Carolina, landed at Otter Island and took possession of an abandoned Confederate fort; Nicholson turned over command of the fort to the Army.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 12, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 9, 1861: More B-R's Captured and a Potomac Engagement

DECEMBER 9TH, 1861:  The USS New London, Lt.  A. Read, captured schooner Delight and sloops Express and Osceola off Cat Passage, Mississippi.

**  The USS Harriet Lane, Lieutenant Robert H. Wyman, and other vessels of the Potomac Flotilla engaged Confederate forces at Freestone Point, Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 9, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 8, 1861: CSS Sumter Strikes Again

DECEMBER 8TH, 1861:  The CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned the American bark Eben Dodge in the mid-Atlantic, equipped for a whaling  voyage to the Pacific.

**  The USS Rhode Island, Lieutenant Trenchard, seized British blockade runner Phantom with cargo off Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Day of Infamy 75 Years Ago: John A. Prosenjak, Schofield Barracks

Every year, I remember in all seven of my blogs.  Those battleships hit at Pearl Harbor owe a lot of their  technology from the Civil War, especially the gun turrets as developed on the USS Monitor.

From Youngstown, Ohio, Pearl Harbor Survivors Profiles.

JOHN A. PROSENJAK  Born 1913 in Youngstown.  Died 2004 at age 94.

Graduated from Ohio State University with degree in teaching and was a 2nd. lieutenant in ROTC.

Army captain in charge of Signal Corps company at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.  Discharged January 1946 and then in Army Reserve for 26 years.

Quote from his children:  "He told the story of Pearl Harbor to just about every high school, college and military class he taught.

Greatest Generation.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

So, That's Why I Couln't Find Out Anything About the Revenue Cutter Mary

The U.S. Coast Guard Revenue Cutter & Lighthouse Service in the Civil War site had this entry for 14 November 1861:

"The USRC William L. Marcy under Captain William S. Pease, USRM, seized the Confederate privateer Neva at San Francisco, California."

This would explain why I was unable to find out anything about a U.S. revenue cutter by the name of the Mary.  The newspapers made a mistake.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 6, 1861: Another Runner Captured

DECEMBER 6TH, 1861:  The USS Augusta, Commander Parrott, captured British blockade runner Cheshire off South Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 5, 2016

Confederate Privateer Neva Fitting Out in China-- Part 4

From Capt. LUCKIE of the ship Lotus, we learn that this man ALLEN worked his passage over on the Surprise, which left this port about four months ago.  He expresses no doubt of the rebel proclivities of LYNCH, who was formerly a midshipman in the United States Navy.

He ran the Antelope for some time in the China Seas, and was perfectly familiar with the coast.

The Neva is a fore-and-aft schooner of about one hundred tons, and can mount not more than four effective guns.

The Naval Storekeeper, after fitting out the Neva with her armament from the property of "Uncle Sam," threw up his charge and went on board of the Neva.  Some ten days prior to the departure of the Lotus, te Saginaw left Hong Kong in pursuit of the rebel craft.  the Captain of the Lotus is of the opinion that her capture is inevitable.

The loyal feeling amongst Americans at Hong Kong is enthusiastic with the exception of Dr. LOCKHART, no prominent man is even suspected of secessionism.

Definitely Some Intrigue Going On Here.  --Old B-Runner

Confederate Privateer Neva Fitting Out In China-- Part 3

Commenting on this statement, the Alta Californian of October 9, 1861, says:  We learn from other sources that LYNCH was formerly a sportsman in San Francisco, and left here about a year ago on the Nor'wester.  For several years he was in command of a steamer on this coast.

The Neva is a small schooner of 60 or 70 tons, formerly a pleasure yacht on the coast of China, and said to be a pretty fast sailer.  Some are of the opinion that she is intended only to rob China men along the coast, as she was too small to carry any large gun..  ALLEN is in command of the Neva.

Old B-Runner

The 48th New York Infantry at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher

I am writing about this regiment in my Saw the Elephant Civil War Blog in connection with its attack on Fort Wagner and death of its Lt.-Col., James M. Green.  A fort on Folly Island, S.C. was named for him.

This regiment was primarily used in coastal operations and was at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher January 13-15, 1865.

You can check out my Civil War blog to read more about it.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago, December 5, 1861: Union Takes Wassaw Sound, Georgia

DECEMBER 5TH, 1861:  Flag Officer Du Pont regarding expedition to Wassaw Sound, Georgia, and plans for the use of the "stone fleet", wrote:  "Ottawa, Pembina, and Seneca penetrated into Wassaw ... the 'stone fleet'  are all at Savannah, and I hardly know what to do with them --- for with Wassaw that city is more effectively closed than a bottle with wire over the cork ....

"I am sending to [Captain James I.] Lardner to know if he can plant them on the Charleston bar ...  One good thing they [the 'stone fleet's appearance at Savannah] did, I have not a doubt they were taken for men-of-war, and led  to giving up the Wassaw defenses...."

Scare Me Once.  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, December 3, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 4, 1861: USS Montgomery Attacked By Confederate Steamers

DECEMBER 4TH, 1861:  Confederate steamers Florida and Pamlico attacked the USS Montgomery, Commander Thompson D. Shaw, off Horn Island Pass, Mississippi Sound.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 3, 1861: The Sumter Destroys Another American Ship

DECEMBER 3RD, 1861:  The CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned at sea the American ship Vigilant, bound from New York to the West Indies.

**  The USS Santiago de Cuba, Commander Ridgely, captured the British blockade running schooner Victoria.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 2, 2016

Confederate Privateer Neva Fitting Out at Shanghai, China-- Part 2

WARD is a desperate character, and has a large sum of money, which he has made in the Imperial service.  He was connected with WALKER, and is a sailor by profession.  LYNCH is a Northerner.  We fancy the affair will end in grief.  The craft is too small and a suitable crew can hardly be had in time.

We hear that two of the Saginaw's officers resigned, upon learning the objective of her trip, but subsequently withdrew their resignations.

--Old B-Runner

A Confederate Privateer Fitting Out At Shanghai, China-- Part 1

From the November 3, 1861, New York Times.  Continued from November 14, 2016.

Even before the supposed Confederate privateer Neva sailed to San Francisco and was captured by the Revenue Cutter Mary on November 14, 1861, there was knowledge about it.

Taken directly from the newspaper:

The Hong Kong Press of the 10th of Aug. says:  The United States storekeeper at Shanghai was a politician named 'Judge' Cleary.  We believe he earned the title from having been a magistrate in California.  It seems from the last advices from Shaghai that this man, in connection with Col. WARD, (the celebrated fillibuster), Capt. ALLEN, (who brought the steamship Surprise from California,) and Capt. LYNCH, (for some years in command of the steamer Antelope, and lately of the Contest,) purchased the schooner Neva, equipped her from the United States naval stores, and intend to cruise off the coast as a privateer.

"The steamer Saginaw hurried up yesterday, on the intelligence being made known, and, we make small doubt, will capture her."

So, it would seem that the schooner Neva was purchased by a group of Confederate sympathizers named Ward, Allen and Lynch with the goal of turning her into a privateer to cruise the Chinese waters and prey on U.S. shipping.

Even worse, they were able to arm and equip the Neva with U.S. naval stores supplied them by another Confederate sympathizer named Cleary who was in charge of them in Shanghai.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 2, 1861: CSS Patrick Henry Engages Union Ships

DECEMBER 2ND, 1861:  The CSS Patrick Henry, Commander Tucker, attacked four Union steamers above Newport News; the Patrick Henry was damaged in the two hour action.

**  Lieutenant Robert D. Minor, CSN, reported a laboratory had been organized at New Orleans "for the supply of ordnance stores for the vessels fitting out at this station."

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago, December 2, 1861: Welles' First Annual Report

DECEMBER 2ND, 1861:  In his first annual report, Secretary of the Navy Welles reported to President Lincoln that:  "Since the institution of the blockade one hundred and fifty-three vessels have been captured ... most of which were attempting to violate the blockade ... When the vessels now building and purchased are ... ready for service, the condition of the navy will be ... a total of 264 vessels, 2,557 guns, and 218,016 tons.

"The aggregate number of seamen in the service ... is now not less than 22,000 ...  The amount appropriated at the last regular session of Congress for the naval service for the current year was $13,168,675.86.  To this was added at the special session in July last $30,446,875.91 -- making for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1862, an aggregate of $43,615,551.77.

"This sum will not be sufficient...."

Wonder Who Got the 77 Cents?  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 1, 2016

155 Years Ago, December 1, 1861: Capturing Runners

DECEMBER 1ST, 1861:  The USS New London, Lieutenant A. Read, captured sloop Advocate in the Mississippi Sound.

**  The USS Seminole, Commander Gillis, seized sloop Lida, from Havana, off St. Simon's Sound, Georgia, with cargo of coffee, lead and sugar.

--Old B-Runner