Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March 28, 1865: Operations on the Neuse and Chowan Rivers

Commander Macomb received Porter's orders via the swift steamer USS Bat on March 30, and on the following day, replied from Roanoke Island:  "A immediately had an interview with the general and arranged that Captain Rhind would attend to everything relating to the Navy in the Neuse [River].

"I am on my way to Plymouth to carry out your orders as regards sending vessels to Winton, on the Chowan [River], and holding the same.  The Shokokon and Commodore Hull are on their way up from New Berne.

"As soon as possible after my arrival at Plymouth I shall proceed up the Chowan, dragging ahead for torpedoes."

Control of the sea and rivers continued to be as invaluable to the North in operations at the end of the war as it had from the start.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, March 30, 2020

March 28,1865: Helping Gen. Sherman in North Carolina

Following the Presidential conference on board the steamer River Queen, Rear Admiral Porter ordered Commander Macomb, commanding the North Carolina Sounds. "to cooperate with General Sherman to the fullest extent" during operations soon to be opened in the area.

"They will want all your tugs, particularly, to tow vessels or canal boats up to Kinston, [North Carolina]....  It will be absolutely necessary to supply General Sherman by way of Kinston."

Porter  continued:  "There will be a movement made from Winton after awhile.  It is necessary for us to get possession of everything up the Chowan River, so that Sherman can obtain his forage up there....

"I trust to Captain Rhind to remove  the obstructions at New Berne and to tow up rapidly all the provisions, and general Sherman can supply his army for daily use by the railroad, and you can get up the stuff required for the march."

So, Macomb Gets His Marching Orders.  --Old B-Runner

Sunday, March 29, 2020

March 28, 1865: The End-of-War Meeting With Lincoln, Grant, Sherman and Porter

MARCH 28TH, 1865:  Rear Admiral Porter visited President Lincoln with Generals Grant and Sherman on board the steamer River Queen, the President's headquarters during his stay at City Point.  The four men informally discussed the war during the famous conference, and Lincoln stressed his desire to bring the war to a close as quickly as possible and with as little bloodshed as possible.

After the conference, Sherman returned to New Bern, N.C., on board the USS Bat, a swifter ship than the steamer on which he had arrived at City Point.

Porter had ordered Lieutenant Commander Barnes of the Bat:  "You will wait the pleasure of Major-General W.T. Sherman ...and when ready will convey him, with staff,  either to New Berne, Beaufort, or such place as he may indicate.  return here as soon as possible."

At the time, Sherman's troops were at Goldsboro and a little more than 125 miles in a direct line from Petersburg.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Admiral Porter Writes About the Exploding Parrot Rifles-- Part 1

From the December 30, 1864, New York Times  Admiral Porter's report on the First Battle of Fort Fisher.

"I regret, however, to report some severe casualties by the bursting of six 100-pounder Parrott cannon.  One burst on board the Ticonderoga, killing six  of the crew and wounding seven others;  another burst on board the Yankee, killing one officer and two men; another on the Juanita, killing two officers and wounding and killing ten others; another on the Mackinaw, killing one officer (John Griscom) and wounding five men; another on the Quaker City, wounding, I believe,  two or three; another on the Susquehanna, killing and wounding seven."

So, the ships and casualties:

Ticonderoga, 13
Yankee,   3
Juanita,   12
Mackinaw,  6
Quaker City,   2 or 3
Susquehanna,   7

--Old B-Runner

Friday, March 27, 2020

About Those Exploding 100-Pdr. Parrott Rifles at the First Battle of Fort Fisher-- Part 2: Killed & Wounded More Union Sailors Than the Confederates

The Navy looked on these large caliber Parrotts with much disdain.  They were prone to bursting.

In fact, when the Union Navy attacked Fort Fisher in North Carolina on December 24-15, 1864, several Parrott rifles burst, killing and wounding 45 sailors.

Confederate fire only killed 11 sailors in the engagement.

These tragic occurrences caused Captain James Alden of the USS Brooklyn to move his two 100-pdrs. to the side of the ship that was not facing the fort after that.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 26, 2020

About Those Exploding 100-Pdr. Rifled Parrots at First Fort Fisher-- Part 1

It was a 100-Pdr. Parrott Rifle cannon which blew up and killed John S. Griscom on December 24, 1864.

From the Ortner Graphics site "The Patriot and Parrott Cannon."

In the summer of 1861, Captain Robert Parrott developed a 100-pdr. cannon with a 6.4-inch diameter bore.  The overall length of the weapon was 155-inches and it had a weight of around 9,827 pounds.

In the winter of  1862, the West Point Foundry  turned out its first  200-pounder with a diameter of 8 inches.  They had an overall length of 162 inches and weighed 16,537 pounds.

The Navy also tried their hand with this weapon, but like the 30-pounder, it was shortened for naval use.  Length for arms made specifically for the Navy was 136 inches and fired a 152-pound shell.  Naval Parrotts can easily be identified by the anchor which can be found on the tube between the trunnions.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

March 24, 1865: USS Republic (USS Peony) Goes Up the Cape Fear River

MARCH 24TH, 1865:  The USS Republic, (actually the USS Peony, it was formerly the SS Republic) Acting Ensign John W. Bennett, was dispatched up the Cape Fear River from Wilmington to check reports that detachments of General Wheeler's cavalry were operating in the area.

About six miles up the river a cavalry squad was driven away with gunfire.  Bennett then landed a reconnoitering party.  It was learned that the mounted Confederates had broken into smaller squads and were plundering the country.

The reconnaissance party also made contact with a rear guard detachment of General Sherman's army en route to Fayetteville.

Actually, the USS Republic was the formed SS Republic, a civilian ship purchased by the Navy in 1864 and renamed the USS Peony.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

John S. Griscom, USN-- Part 3: Killed by Exploding 100-Pdr. Parrott Gun at First Battle of Fort Fisher

John Griscom was on the USS Mackinaw at the First Battle of Fort Fisher as an acting ensign, likely in command of the 100-pdr. Parrott cannon on the ship.

At the first battle, Rear Admiral David D. Porter reports that 20,271 projectiles were fired at Fort Fisher and Union naval casualties mounted to 20 killed and 63 wounded.  Also reported was that six 100-pdr. Parrot guns exploded killing and wounding men.

The explosion of the Parrott gun on the USS Mackinaw resulted in one officer being killed and five men wounded.  That one officer would have to be Mr. Griscom.

The Mackinaw was listed as having two 100-pdr. Parrott  rifles.

Also:  four 9-inch smoothbores, two 24-pdr. smoothbores, one heavy 12-pdr and one 12-pdr. rifle.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, March 23, 2020

John S. Griscom-- Part 2: Killed at First Battle of Fort Fisher

From Find A Grave


BIRTH:  Unknown

DEATH:  24 December 1864

BURIAL:  Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

PLOT:  Section Y, Lot 167

Civil War Union naval officer.  He was killed in the First Battle of Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  On USS Mackinaw.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, March 22, 2020

John S. Griscom, USN-- Part 1

While looking up information on Henry Walton Grinnell who made that overland expedition from Wilmington, N.C., to deliver letters to Sherman's army at Fayetteville on this site, the next person listed under him was this man.  And, since he had a Fort Fisher connection, a sad one, I decided to try to find out as much about him as I could.  I couldn't find much.

From U.S. Navy & Marine Officers 1775 - 1900.


MATE--  12 October 1862

ACTING ENSIGN--  22 February 1864

KILLED on the USS Mackinaw December 25, 1864.  Fort Fisher

--Old B-Runner

Friday, March 20, 2020

March 22, 1865: Lincoln Going to City Point for Military Conference

MARCH 22ND, 1865: Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox directed Commodore Montgomery, Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard, to have the USS Bat ready to convoy the steamer River Queen at noon the next day:  "The President will be in the River Queen, bound to City Point."

Lincoln was headed for a conference with his top commanders.

--Old B-Runner

March 22, 1865: Sherman Wins Battle of Bentonville and Goes to City Point for the Meeting

MARCH 22ND, 1865:  In a hard-fought battle March 19-22, General Sherman had just defeated a slashing attack by General Johnston at Bentonville, midway between his two river contacts with the sea  at Fayetteville and Goldsboro.

At Goldsboro, Sherman was joined by General Schofield's army, which had been brought to Wilmington on ships.  Confident of the security of his position, Sherman could leave his troops for a few days and take the steamer Russia to City Point and the meeting with Grant, Rear Admiral Porter and Lincoln.

--Old B-R'er

March 20, 1865: CSS Albemarle Raised

MARCH 20TH, 1865:  Commander Macomb, USS Shamrock, reported the successful raising of the Confederate ram Albemarle.

The formidable ironclad had been sunk the previous autumn in a daring attack led by Lieutenant William B. Cushing in an improvised torpedo boat.

To see what happened to the ship after this, go to my April 8, 2015, entry in this blog.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Walking the Sugar Loaf Line With Chris Fonvielle-- Part 2

This is your chance to discover the Civil War ruins which stretch across from Myrtle Grove Sound by the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape Fear River just to the south of today's Snow's Cut Bridge.  Dr. Fonveille will lead the group across that line pointing out what remains of this formidable line of defense.

It was built by Confederates near the end of 1864 in anticipation of a Union attack on Fort Fisher, about four miles to the south of the line.

On January 19, 1865, Union forces from the now-captured Fort Fisher, including Col. John W. Ames' regiments of the United States Colored Troops, attacked  the line and were unable to break it.  On February 11, 1865, an even bigger assault was made with black soldiers again playing a big role.

This became known as the Battle of Sugar Loaf and Confederae defenses again proved to difficult to breach.

Unable to break through, the federals transferred their efforts to proceed to Wilmington to the west side of the Cape Fear River where they attacked and capture Fort Anderson, directly across the river from Sugar Loaf,  on February 19.

With Union ships now able to attack the Sugar Loaf line from the rear, it to was abandoned.  Wilmington fell three days later, on February 22.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Walking the Sugar Loaf Line of Defense with Chris Fonveile-- Part 1

From the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society March 2020 Newsletter.

Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

This probably will be cancelled, if not already.

Saturday March 21  from 2 pm to 4 pm.

$10 donation requested.

Limited to 30 people.

This walk takes place most springs and is led by the #1 person in Wilmington, N.C., and Fort Fisher Civil War history, Chris Fonveille, author of many books and articles on the subject.

I was hoping to go on it this year, but not now.  Maybe next year.

As I expected, it was cancelled because of you-know-what.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

New Exhibit at Fort Fisher "From Slave to Soldier: The African American Experience at Fort Fisher"

From the Friends of Fort Fisher.

There will be a reception in honor o this new exhibit at the Fort Fisher Museum on Thursday, March 12, 2020, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for Friends of Fort Fisher members and their guests.

Blacks have been a part of the Fort Fisher story from its earliest beginnings, from the free and enslaved men who helped build the fort, worked in the camps and assisted the white Confederates in battle.  Large numbers of members of the United States Colored Troops regiments also took part in the capture of the fort and the ensuing operations against Wilmington.

They were also involved in the live-fire anti-aircraft training that took place at the fort during World War II.

Fort Fisher State Historic Site's  collection manager and exhibit coordinator , Becky Sawyer,  will share a presentation on the exhibit and be on hand for an exclusive Q&A  following her presentation.

Refreshments will be served.

Sure Would Like to be There.  --Old B-Runner

The WASP Presentation Was Cancelled

As I thought it would, the talk by John Mosely on the WW II WASPs at Fort Fisher scheduled for last night was cancelled.  Of course, the reason was the virus.

I imagine it will be rescheduled for a future date.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, March 16, 2020

"Women Air Service Pilots of WW II and Their Service at Fort Fisher" Tonight (Well, Maybe) at Federal Point Historic Preservation Society

From the March Newsletter.

The monthly meeting will be held Monday, March 16 at 7:30 pm at the History center located at 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to the Carolina Beach Town Hall, North Carolina (south of Wilmington on US-421).

John Mosely of the Fort Fisher State Historic Site will make the presentation on the women.

The Women Air Service Pilots (WASP) was a civilian women pilot's organization, whose members were United States federal civil service employees.  members of WASP became trained pilots who tested aircraft, ferried aircraft and trained other pilots.  Their purpose was to free male pilots for combat roles during the war. Despite various armed forces groups being involved with the creation of the program, the WASP and its members had no military standing.

John's talk will focus on the women who were stationed at Camp Davis, near Holly Ridge north of Wilmington, and their involvement in the training of anti-aircraft soldiers stationed at and training at Fort Fisher.

Of course, with the virus, it might nor be held.

--Old B-R'er

March 13, 1865: Kinston Occupied and CSS Neuse Destroyed

MARCH 13TH, 1865:  Confederate General Joseph Johnston had been recalled to duty and sent to North Carolina in a desperate attempt to oppose Sherman's troops.  The Confederate troops withdrawn from Kinston were part of his consolidation of divided armies and detachments, including the troops from Wilmington.

His hope was that he would be able to assemble a force with some chance of success.  This withdrawal from Kinston, however, left a vacuum which was promptly filled by the Federal forces.

They occupied Kinston on the 14th and the CSS Neuse was  destroyed to prevent capture.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 14, 2020

March 13, 1865: Operations in the Neuse River

MARCH 13TH, 1865:  Commander Rhind, Senior Naval Officer at New Bern, North Carolina, reported to Commander Macomb, commanding in the North Carolina Sounds, that the expedition up the Neuse River had returned the previous evening.  "A deserter from a North Carolina regiment came on board the [Army steamer] Ella May yesterday morning.  He states that the whole rebel force under Bragg (estimated by him at 40,000) have evacuated Kinston, moving toward Goldsboro, but Hoke's division returned when he left.

"The ironclad [Neuse] is afloat and ready for service; has two guns, draws nine feet.  No pontoon was found in the Neuse.

"If you can loan me a torpedo launch at once he may have an opportunity of destroying the ironclad (ala CSS Albemarle).  The bridge (railroad) at Kinston has been destroyed by the enemy."

Hey, That's Cushing's Job.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 12, 2020

March 12, 1865: Grinnell and Party Deliver Army Documents to Sherman

MARCH 12TH, 1865:  At the request of Brigadier General Schofield, Acting Master H. Walton Grinnell, leading a detachment of four sailors, succeeded in delivering important Army dispatches to General Sherman near Fayetteville.

Grinnell and his men began their trip on the 4th in a dugout from Wilmington.  About 12 miles up the Cape Fear River, after passing through the Confederate pickets undetected, the men left the boat and commenced a tedious and difficult march towards Fayetteville.

Near Whiteville, Grinnell impressed horses and led a daring dash through the Confederate lines.  Shortly thereafter, the group made contact with the rear scouts of Sherman's forces, successfully completing what Grinnell termed "this rather novel naval scout."

Naval support, no matter what form it took, was essential to general Sherman's movements.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

March 11, 1865: Naval Hookup With Sherrnan at Fayetteville

MARCH 11TH, 1865:  Lieutenant Commander George W. Young, senior officer present off Wilmington, led a naval force consisting of the USS Eolus and boat crews from the USS Maratanza, Lenapee and Nyack up the Cape Fear River to Fayetteville, where they rendezvoused with General Sherman's army.

The naval movement had been undertaken at the request of Major General Terry, who,Young reported, had said on the morning of the 11th "that he was about starting an expedition up the North West Branch [of the Cape Fear River] for the purpose of clearing the way to to Fayetteville, and wished to have one of the gunboats, as a support, to follow."

The expedition was halted for the night at Devil's Bend because of "the circuitous nature of the river", but resumed the next morning and arrived at Fayetteville on the evening of the 12th.

In addition to opening communications between Sherman and the Union forces on the coast, the naval units arrived in time to protect the general's flank while he crossed the river.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

March 10, 1865: Operating Out of New Bern

MARCH 10TH, 1865:  The Federals had long held New Bern, 80 air miles northeast of Wilmington (but some three times that by water), near where the Neuse River  abruptly narrows from a main arm of Pamlico Sound.

The city was a gateway for another supply route from the sea for General Sherman's route north to unite with General Grant.

This date, at the request of the Army, a small naval force got underway up the river to cut a pontoon bridge the Confederates were reported building below Kinston.

--Old B-Runner

March 10, 1865: "Very Narrow and Torturous With a Strong Current"

One of Lt.Cmdr. Young's gunboats had noted that upriver "the stream is very narrow and torturous, with a strong current.  Finding that I could not make the turns without using hawsers, and then fouling paddle boxes and smokestack in the branches of large trees, I concluded to return.

"The people, black and white, whom I questioned, state that the Chickamauga is sunk across the stream at Indian Wells, with a chain just below.  Her two guns are on a bluff on the western bank of the river."

Operating conditions on these low, shallow rivers, often backed by swamp and forest, had many similarities with those encountered 100 years later in South Vietnam by the U.S. Navy Advisory group.

--Old B-R'er

March 10, 1865: Difficulties in Getting to Fayetteville on the Cape Fear River-- Part 1

MARCH 10TH, 1865:  Lieutenant Commander Young reported to Porter progress in clearing the Cape Fear River for support of Sherman's troops who were now at Fayetteville.  Only small ships or  or steam launches could provide upriver service .

"The gate obstructions are all clear, so that three or four vessels can pass abreast.  The obstructions on the line of the two sunken steamers, where the buoy flags were planted, it will be necessary to take great pains to raise carefully.  We have succeeded in destroying some four torpedoes which were found lodged in the logs of the obstructions."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, March 9, 2020

That Darn Cat-- Part 3: A Salt and Oxidation Problem

A research team located the wreck of the USS Monitor in the 1970s and the site is now managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

The NOAA and the U.S. Navy cooperated in  to recover the Monitor's gun turret in 2002.  Two years later, the two cannons were removed from that turret.  But 140 years in the salt water had taken its toll  on the metal.

As Will Hoffman, the museum's director of conservation says the cannons are as soft as chalk in some places.  To preserve the guns, the museum stores them in a chemical solution that draws out salt and protects against sudden oxidation.

"The goal of this is to really get the artifact on display so it can tell the story of the Monitor, the leadup to the battle between ironclad ships, the aftermath," said Hoffman.   "Because just nearby is the turret of the Monitor, which the gun was found inside.  It's the first turret on a ship in human history."

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, March 8, 2020

March 7, 1865: Porter Lets Go On Banks and Butler

MARCH 7TH, 1865:  Rear Admiral Porter testified before Congress.  He had arrived in Washington, D,C. the day after the Inaugural, having left his flagship off North Carolina on the 3rd.

He scorched the congressional walls with some seagoing comments on Generals Banks and Butler.

He then left town for City Point to direct operations of the James River Squadron  in coordination with Grant's final assault on Lee's lines.

In Other Words, Congress Got An Earful.  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 7, 2020

About That Darn Cat-- Part 2: Why Did He Put the Cat in the Cannon?

Francis Butts, in his account of the sinking of the USS Monitor, came up with a really good human interest story and that had to do with a cat.

According to him, while bailing water out of the Monitor's famous turret, he plugged one of the two cannons in it with his boots and coat.  (Why he would do this with the ship in that condition, I wouldn't know.)  Then, he saw "a black cat... sitting on the breech of one of the guns howling.

"...I caught her, wrote the sailor, "and, placing her  in another gun, replaced the wad and tampion, but I could still hear that distressing howl."

He never explained why he decided to do that with the cat.  Was he trying to save it or maybe quiet the howling?

Archaeologists are keeping this story in mind as they drill out the insides of those cannons.

What if they find the bones of a cat in one of the cannons?

When I was talking about the sinking of the Monitor to my classes of 7th graders, the cat story drew more interest than any other aspect of the ship.

--Cat, Or, No Cat.  --Old B-R'er

About That Darn Cat-- Part 1: Why Researchers Are Checking Out the USS Monitor's Cannons

From the March 6, Smithsonian magazine "Why did restorers search a Civil War battleship's guns for the remains of a black cat?" by Theresa Machemer.

Naval warfare changed forever on March 9, 1862, when the USS Monitor fought the CSS Virginia in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  The role of ironclads and rotating turrets set the wave of the future of naval architecture in motion.

Sadly, several months after the battle, the Monitor met her end when she sank in a gale off Cape Hatteras, N.C..

Well, what about the cat?

Monitor sailor Francis Butts of Rhode Island survived the wreck and several years after the war, wrote and account of the ship's sinking. This is where the story of the Monitor cat begins.

Cat, What Cat?  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Mariner's Museum Commemorates the 158th Anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads

From the March 2, 2020, 13 News Now, Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The battle between the two ironclads changed naval architecture forever and altogether resulted in more U.S. Navy deaths in a single battle until Pearl Harbor.

This weekend, Saturday March 7, re-enactors of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas will be on hand

Plus, Tidewater Living History Association will bring to life through demonstrations and story telling.

Information will be given about the crews of both the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia.  That night, History Bites will be back for a 7th year.  Beginning at 6:30 pm, Hampton Roads' top restaurants will prepare their best efforts at making 19th century foods for the honor of receiving the Cast Iron Skillet  Award.

Cost of the food extravaganza is $30 for members and $40 for non-members, but you get unlimited tastes.

Better Hurry Up and See the Role the CSS Virginia Played Before Certain People Have It Removed.

Sign Me Up For The Tasting.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

March 4, 1865: Loss of Army Transport Thorn to a Torpedo in the Cape Fear River

MARCH 4TH, 1865:  The U.S. transport Thorn struck a torpedo below Fort Anderson in the Cape Fear River.  Brigadier General Gabriel J. Rains, Superintendent of the Confederate Torpedo Corps and a pioneer in the development of torpedoes, reported:  "The vessel sunk, as usual in such cases, in two minutes, but in this the crew escaped, but barely with their lives."

The loss of the 400 ton Army steamer within two weeks of the damage to the USS Osceola  and destruction of a launch from the USS Shawmut by torpedoes underscored the fact that although the Union controlled the waters below Wilmington it did not have complete freedom of movement.

The presence -- or even suspected presence -- of Confederate torpedoes forced the Navy to move more slowly than otherwise have been possible.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

March 3, 1865: Clearing the Cape Fear of Torpedoes-- Part 2

This date Lieutenant Commander Ralph Chandler, USS Lenapee, reported to Lieutenant Commander George W. Young, Senior Naval Officer at Wilmington:  "In obedience to your order of the 1st instant, I got underway with this vessel on the 2nd instant and proceeded up the North West Branch  to a a point where the Cape Fear River forms a junction with the Black River.

"The bends of the river I found too short to attempt to get the vessel higher without carrying away the wheelhouses and otherwise damaging the ship.  I remained  there until 1 o'clock p.m. to-day.

"During the night some negroes came down, and, on questioning them, they informed me that they had been told that General Sherman's forces were at a town called Robeson, 20 miles from Fayetteville."

--Old B-R'er

March 3, 1865: Clearing the Cape Fear River of Torpedoes and Obstructions-- Part 1

MARCH 3RD, 1865:  General Sherman's large army, marching parallel to the coast from Columbia, South Carolina, in order to keep sea support  near at hand, steadily approached Fayetteville, North Carolina.  The Navy continued  to clear the Cape Fear River of torpedoes and obstructions so as to provide him a base at Wilmington for sea supply comparable to Savannah.

As the river was cleared, light draft gunboats bumped up the river to be ready to open communications.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, March 2, 2020

March 2, 1865: The USS Bat to the Carry the President to Meet With Grant

MARCH 2ND, 1865:  Because of difficulties in communications, small, fast warships (often captured blockade runners) were in great demand for courier service.  This date, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote President Lincoln from Norfolk:  "General Grant would like to see you and I shall be in Washington to-morrow morning with this vessel, the Bat,  in which you can leave in the afternoon.

"She is a regular armed man-of-war, and the fastest vessel on the river.  I think it would be best for you to use her."

The Bat was a long, low sidewheeler which Commander Bulloch, CSN, had built in England to run the blockade.  She fell victim in October 1864 to the concentrated blockade off Wilmington, N.C. as she made her first run with supplies for the Confederate Government.

Bought by the Navy from the Boston Prize Court for $150,000, she was commissioned in mid-December 1864 and was in great demand because of her high speed.

--Old B-Runner

March 1, 1865: Confederates Changing Blockade Running-- Part 2

Mallory added:  "We are upon the eve of events fraught with the fate of the Confederacy, and without power to foresee the result....  The coming campaign will be in active operation within fifty days and we can not close our eyes to the dangers which threaten us from which only our united and willing hearts and arms and the providence of God can shield us.

"We look for no aid from any other source."

It was essentially already end-game for the Confederacy, yet they steeled for a battle to the end.

--Old B-R'er

March 1, 1865: Confederacy Changing Blockade Running to Accommodate Loss of Ports-- Part 1

MARCH 1ST, 1865:  Because of the loss of Charleston and Wilmington, the Confederacy's last two deep-water ports in the east (Galveston, Texas, was still open but too far away and with too many obstacles to overcome to be of much help), Secretary Mallory directed Commander Bulloch  (uncle of future U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt), the regular agent of the Confederate Navy in England, to dispose of the deep draft steamers Enterprise and Adventure and to substitute them for two light draft vessels for use in the small inlets along the east coast of Florida.

He wrote:  "We can not ship cotton at present, but with light draft vessels we could at once place cotton abroad,  Moreover, we need them to get in our supplies now at the islands, and the want of them is seriously felt,:

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, March 1, 2020

New Theory As to Why the Submarine Hunley Sank

From the February 23, 2020, WTOC 11 Low Country News by Bill Sharpe.

On the night of February 17, 1864, the Confederate submarine Hunley sank after it used a torpedo to sing the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor.  It was the first warship to be sunk by a submarine in world history.

But, the Hunley never returned to its base.  Its location was just found a short time ago by writer and undersea explorer Clive Cussler, who just recently died.

Rachel Lance, a U.S. Navy biomedical engineer who holds an engineering from Duke University has made a bold claim as to why the Hunley sank that night.

In her research, she has determined that  the blast from the torpedo  sent blast waves through the submarine's iron hull and caused instant death for the men inside.

The ship was raised off the Charleston Harbor floor in 2000 and now sits at the Hunley Museum in North Charleston, South Carolina.

This is not a new story, but interesting anyway.

--Old B-Runner