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In commemoration of the 150 years since the Civil War - or more appropriately in the vernacular of the day - War of the Rebellion (Northern) - or War of Yankee Aggression (Southern) we are featuring a quote and picture of the day from the Naval Records


Period Picture
USS Albatross
Sun Oct 02 1864

LCDR Samuel Magaw, USS Florida writes CAPT E P B Von Donop, HBMS Jason, "I have the honor to ask an explanation of this clause in your letter of October 1, 1864:
    The vessels of war of the United States which may visit the port of Halifax in a becoming manner.
    My Government would censure any of her ships of war that behaved in friendly ports or waters in an unbecoming manner.
    I am sorry we had so short an interview yesterday, and hope to be able to pay my respects to you soon, and must again apologize for not having been on deck to receive you, but the report made me was that an English officer was coming alongside with no pennant flying in his boat."
Von Donop replies "I am directed by the commander in chief to acquaint you that a vessel of war of the United States, supposed to be the Itasca, which subsequently went into Pictou for coal, and the commander of which is stated to have said that he had been at Halifax, anchored a mile within the port on the evening of the 17th ultimo and proceeded to sea during the night without communicating either with himself or the governor.
    This proceeding has been considered "unbecoming," and has been the occasion of a communication with the American Government at Washington, through the British minister.
    It was, further, the "proceeding" which was adverted to in my letter of yesterday as unbecoming, and which was the sole cause of my being ordered to proceed to sea for the purpose of communicating with any vessel of war of the United States that might be cruising off the coast.
    I am further directed to request that if you wish to communicate with the shore here you will come up to this anchorage in the vessel you command, when,if you remain underway, you can suit your own convenience as to leaving, even should there be a vessel of war of the so-styled Confederate States at anchor here, which in such case will not be permitted to leave the port till twenty-four hours after you have done so, and that you will make this request known to any of your brother officers in command cruising off the coast.
    Although no port regulation exists to this effect, the commander in chief is aware that it is the intention of the governor to issue one shortly, and it is presumed that, the distance being so great between the town and the entrance to the harbor, it is the mode of communication which will prove the most convenient to the vessels of war of the United States."

CDR W H Macomb, Sounds of North Carolina, writes SECNAV "On the 28th ultimo I was informed by Colonel D. W. Wardrop, commanding Sub-Division of Albemarle, that he intended sending two army steamers up the Alligator River that night to capture a party of rebels who were conscripting in the vicinity of that river, and he requested me to send a gunboat up the Scuppernong River to head the rebels off should they attempt to escape that way.
    I accordingly ordered Commander Harrell, of the Chicopee, to send the Valley City, the lightest draft gunboat at this time in Albemarle Sound, up the river, accompanied by the tug Martin, to tow her off in case she should get aground; and I also directed Commander Harrell to station a double-ender off the mouth of the river while the Valley City was thus employed.
    I must here explain that this vessel was lying near the Croatan light-house making some slight repairs on her engine, and that Commander Harrell, as senior officer in my absence, was in command temporarily of the vessels in the upper part of the sound.
    I enclose the report of Acting Master Brooks, of the Valley City. In crossing the bar at the mouth of the Scuppernong the Valley City grounded and was fired upon by the rebels from a battery of Whitworth fieldpieces and musketry, which she returned and drove the enemy off, but by the time she got afloat it was too late to proceed farther. The army boat which ascended the Alligator River was successful in capturing the rebel party."

RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, writes SECNAV "The Department asks me, "What is the greatest possible draft that can be taken over the bar at Charleston during the spring tides?"
    Captain Boutelle tells me that he has twice had 19 feet, in a period of five months. Once when the Ironsides crossed with Admiral Du Pont.
    The chief pilot says 21 feet.
    The latter I believe to be exaggerated, and the former only occurred twice.
    The average depth at spring tides may be set down at 18 feet, and it is an extraordinary circumstance when this is exceeded--certainly not to be counted on.
    The easterly winds which swell the tides also create a sea on the bar, and the concurrence of a spring tide with an easterly wind that leaves a smooth bar is evidently to be hoped for, rather than expected.
    The Ironsides drew not fully 16 feet when I crossed in July, 1863, and the chief pilot allowed two or three days of the spring tide to pass before he would venture. I think it was needlessly cautious; still, even with an ordinary swell on a bar in the open sea it is safe to have a foot to spare under the bottom of a vessel, especially if she has a screw."

CAPT Theodore P Greene, East Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes SECNAV "The schooner 0. H Lee, Acting Master Oliver Thacher, commanding, arrived here this morning from Boston and reported for duty in this squadron.
   I have ordered her to the blockade at St. Mark's, and she sails this afternoon."

RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes SECNAV "In my dispatch, No. 435, dated September 23, I had the honor to inform the Department that I had more than a supply of Landsmen for this squadron and that I had no place for any more.
   I The Kensington has just arrived with another draft of men, and I am at a loss what to do with them.
   I I desire to call the attention of the Department to the great risk incurred in thus overcrowding our vessels. We have yellow fever on both sides of us, at New Orleans and Key West, and it will require great care and strict watchfulness to guard the fleet from this dreadful scourge.
   I Though some inconvenience may be experienced in keeping a surplus of men on the receiving ships at the North, yet that is nothing to the risk and danger of overcrowding vessels in this climate and at this season. I may add in this connection that the condition in which these new recruits arrive here, dirty in person and nearly destitute of clothing, increases the risk.
   I The Kensington stopped off Key West, but Captain Greene refused to take any of the men, on the ground, which appears to me to be a just one, they would only fall victims to the yellow fever.
   I I trust, therefore, that the Department will issue orders to send no more ordinary seamen, landsmen, firemen, and coal heavers to this squadron. I am still, however, greatly in want of 100 seamen, for whom I could find place."

RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, telegrams SECNAV "Your telegram received. The Milwaukee and Kickapoo will be sent at once. They draw 6 feet."

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.



Proud to be an organizational partner of Connecticut Civil War Commemoration sponsored by Central Connecticut State University.
DatesUpcoming Civil War Events
17 APR 2014
7:30 PM
Hebron Historical Society
Hebron CT
CAPT Percival Drayton, USN
What Did the Navy Do?
31 MAY-1 JUN 2014 Custom House Maritime Museum
Newburyport, MA
Living History
12-13 JUL 2014 Double Day Campground
Cooperstown, NY
Living History
19-20 JUL 2014 Cummington, MA Living History
2 AUG 2014 Windham, NY Music
16-17 AUG 2014 Fort Ontario
Oswego, NY
Living History, Battle
13-14 SEP 2014 Saratoga Spring, NY Living History
27-28 SEP 2014 Look Park Reenactment
Florence, MA
Living History,Battles
Important News
LCDR Ezra Seals is putting his reenacting schedule together for the 2012-2013 season. 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 150 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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