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In commemoration of the 155 years since the Civil War - or more appropriately in the vernacular of the day - The War of the Slaveholders' Rebellion - we are featuring a quote and picture of the day from the Naval Records


Period Picture
CAPT Oscar Bullus, USN
Tue Feb 25 1862

CAPT Craven, USS Tuscarora orders LT Creesy, USS Mo, to proceed to Tangiers and to take the two prisoners aboard and bring them back to CAPT Craven.

LT Creesy writes to CAPT Craven proposing to work with him in capturing the Sumter so long as it doesn't interfere with his own orders from the Navy department.

CAPT Craven writes to SECNAV indicating that after the escape of the Nashville he proceeded to Gibraltar where he found the Sumter at anchor. He was given the rules of neutrality and he left Gibraltar within 24 hours proceeding across the bay to anchor on the Spanish side. On the 19th he sent a boat with the surgeon and paymaster "to place an invalid on board of a homeward-bound vessel then underway; this service performed, the officers had my permission to land at Gibraltar and send the boat immediately back to the ship." On the 20th he received a letter of admonishment. "Fully satisfied that under the rules I had a right to proceed to Gibraltar at any time, with this ship, and remain there twenty-four hours, I can not perceive any impropriety in sending a boat to that place, nor did I for one moment suppose that such an act could be tortured into a breach of neutrality." The British have told him that he cannot send a boat into their waters. "I am mortified, sir, in being compelled to make these explanations against accusations of one who is regardless of truth or honorable sentiment. Your request that I will not send boats to Gibraltar deprives me of sending for mails or communicating with the U. S. consul, and I must in good faith enquire of you whether it is right that on the false accusation of a notorious corsair you should desire to prohibit me from intercourse with the town under your command." Craven writes back and demands to know under what rules the pirate Sumter is allowed to remain at her anchorage in violation of the Britain's own neutrality. W J Codrington, LGEN and Governor, writes back that Craven's boat did indeed pull close to Sumter as witness by British officers. "...it renders your terms of pirate and notorious corsair, applied to a Confederate vessel in this anchorage, incorrect and offensive to the authority thus granting and maintaining the rights of neutrality." In a separate letter he writes " The Confederate steamer Sumter remains here under proper authority, and I decline to discuss with you the rules to which you refer, your particular interpretation of them,, or to account to you for my proceedings under them." He takes affront at Craven's tone accusing him (Codrington) of not being truthful. " If you are not aware of it, it is right for me to show you the effect of language which I trust a regard for your own position will prevent you from repeating in your correspondence with me." Craven then sends a boat for water which the British see and order the boat back to the Tuscarora and Codrington tells Craven that his ships have orders to prevent any boat from entering British waters. If Craven needs to communicate with the US Consul he can do it by mail. He can send a boat to the HMS London for any communication with him. H J Sprague, US Consul, writes to Craven that since the Sumter was in port before the rules were published she is free to stay as long as she likes. Craven should tone down his letters because it may have serious consequences. He will visit.

CDR Rowan, Pamlico Sound Flotilla, orders LT Franklin, USS Franklin, that he is forwarding a letter from General Huger to "...Elizabeth City in one of your boats with a judicious officer under a flag of truce. You will direct the officer not to remain a moment after delivering the letter, nor allow the crew to hold any conversation with the people on shore." and "You will please order the commander of the Whitehead to report to me without delay, directing him not to land on the river or hold communication with the shore on his way hither."

SECNAV forwards a letter from Thomas Dudley, US Consul, Liverpool to FO Goldsborough, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, that the Oreto or Oretis is an iron screw steam gunboat being built probably for the Confederates. She is coaling and will depart by the end of the week, probably to a small port where she will receive her guns and ammunition. Ostensibly being built for the Italians who know nothing of it. She has 16 ports for guns.

BGEN Mansfield, Camp Butler, writes to SECNAV sending a drawing of the batteries at York. "At Gloucester Point there are 14 large Columbiads on the water battery. 2. At Yorktown there are three batteries, one of 4, one of 7, and one of 3 heavy Columbiads on the water battery. 3. At 2 miles below Yorktown and, concealed in the wood, are two batteries on the water, of Dahlgren guns each, and completely masked, only intended to be used when vessels are engaged with other batteries. 4. At a there are 2 rifle guns that can fire on both water and land. 5. At b b b b are 4 Columbiads. 6. At c c c c are 4 carronades. 7. At Ship Point (supposed to be York Point on the map) are 10 navy Columbiads in a water battery. At f are 23 bales of cotton piled, and at g about 20 bales cotton and tar in barrels (supposed to be ready for fire vessels to descend on our shipping). 9. A telegraph extends along the belted road to York [Yorktown], and thence to Williamsburg. 10. Two schooners with 2 pivot guns each at the mouth of the river (station).

CAPT Marston, SOPA Hampton Roads writes to SECNAV that the USS Clifton arrived leaking 18-24 inches per hour. She had a collision with the Forbes in the fog and the gale is not helping. He is sending her to Baltimore for repairs.

SECNAV forwards a letter from Samuel whiting, US Consul, Nassau, to FO Du Pont, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron that says the Gladiator is still in port off loading her cargo to small ships bound for Charleston. He says that five small ships arrived last week from Charleston "...fully laden with rice and cotton and flying the secession rag at her peak, to the mortification of loyal Americans here and to the intense gratification of the Conchs."

CDR LeRoy, USS Keystone State, orders Mohican, and Bienville, to join FO Du Pont off St. Andrews

CDR Godon, USS Mohican forwards a report from CDR Steedman, USS Bienville, to FO Du Pont reporting the capture of the British ship Arrow carrying suspicious cargo, and not being in the normal Nassau to New York transit area he placed a prize crew aboard her and sent her to New York for Adjudication.

FO Du Pont write BGEN Sherman that the wind is preventing his movement, and it is best to keep the transports inshore.

FO Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, orders CAPT Morris, USS Pensacola to go to South West Pass of the Mississippi, and report to Farragut. If not there is to get assistance from the squadron to help him cross the bar.

FO Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, orders LT REED, USS New London, to remain on blockade duty at the Mississippi making Ship Island his supply depot.

LCOL James B. McPherson, USA, Chief Engineer writes to MGEN Grant of his actions throughout Fort Donelson. The gunboats were supposed to silence the water batteries and move to Dover: "This movement, however, was destined not to be carried into effect on account of the failure of the gunboats to silence the water batteries and their being compelled to withdraw after a bombardment of a couple of hours, having experienced considerable damage.

MGEN Halleck relays to FO Foote, Western Waters, and BGEN Cullum that SECWAR and MGEN McClellan have forbidden the visitation by the families of capture senior officers. Once distributed, they may be able to visit the prisoners. Halleck will appeal to the President. FO Foote, then sends a letter and the families back to MGEN Polk, CSA.

MGEN McClellan writes to MGEN Halleck ordering a few of the lighter mortar boats to Nashville. He is sending Cpt Maynadier, Tenth Infantry, to act as FO Foote's ordnance officer for the mortars.

FO Foote telegrams MGEN Halleck that he considers it injudicious to mount an attack before the main attack. He has two boats on the ways being repaired, and new and "bad" men which need training.

LT Henry Wise telegrams FO Foote saying that the President appreciates Foote's efforts and understands the delay of the Benton and he meets with Lincoln's approbation. MGEN McClellan will order Cpt Maynadier to report to Foote. ASSIST SECNAV wants to know if Foote needs trained sailors. He has asked the Postmaster General to investigate why letters are being delayed.

SECNAV writes SECWAR that CDR John C. Carter says that 100 men at the "land regiment at Detroit could be enlisted in the Navy if the War Department would grant their discharge or transfer."

LT Bryant, US Cairo reports to FO Foote of his arrival at Nashville landing the BGEN Nelson's troops without opposition. The railroad and suspension bridge are destroyed.

USS Monitor is commissioned

Teachers and Educators - we have several Civil War presentations covering the US Navy throughout the Civil War which include our portable museum, Submarines, and key naval and land battles. Check out our Civil War section for more details. We also have several presentations on astronomy for all age groups


Proud to be an organizational partner of Connecticut Civil War Commemoration sponsored by Central Connecticut State University.

DatesUpcoming Civil War EventsTopic
1-3 APR 2016 Shiloh National Military Park
Pittsburg Landing, TN
Living History
13-15 MAY 2016 Ashbel Woodward Museum
North Franklin, CT
Living History
29 MAY 2016 Fort Trumbell, New London, CT Living History
3-5 JUN 2016 Lynn
Lynn, MA
Living History
18-19 JUN 2016 Sub Force Museum
Groton, CT
Living History
19-21 AUG 2016 Schulyer Flatts,
Colonie, NY
Living History
30 SEP-2 OCT 2016 Look Park
Florence, MA
Living History
Important News
School teachers - see the Civil War pages for how you can add excitement to your classroom on this topic.
Want to know what the Navy was doing 155 years ago? Let us give you a briefing, much as would be given to the President or Congress, outlining what the 6 major squadrons and 1 flotilla were accomplishing.


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