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McLean Research Associates is dedicated to presenting little known facts about the US Navy in the Civil War, presentations on a myriad of astronomical topics,STEM workshops, and letterboxing.


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
LTJG Ellicot C V Blake, USN
Fri Aug 21 1863

RADM Charles H Bell, Pacific Squadron, writes SECNAV from Acapulco "I have the honor to inform you that on my arrival here I found the U. S. steamers Narragansett and Saginaw, which I had ordered to join me at this place.
    In a few days after the storeship Farrallones arrived. After obtaining supplies of coal and provisions, the Narragansett was sent on a cruise to the northward and westward, and the Saginaw down the coast of Panama. They sailed August 15. Copies of the instructions to each of their commanders are herewith enclosed. The mail steamer, expected with our mails, I fear has passed, in consequence of a gale of wind about the time she was due off this port. I shall probably leave here in a day or two for a cruise to the north, endeavoring to keep in the track of the Pacific mail steamers, and, should nothing unforeseen occur, will continue on to San Francisco, from which place I will communicate immediately with the Department."

LCDR Charles W Flusser, USS Miami, writes RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron "In obedience to your order directing me to cooperate with General Foster in a movement up the Chowan River, I left Plymouth on the 26th ultimo and went to Winton with the Commodore Perry, Valley City, and Whitehead.
    I lay there to protect the transports and infantry while the cavalry made an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the railroad bridge at Weldon.
    While the cavalry were absent I ran up to Murfreesboro, on the Meherrin, and burned the bridge at that place. This would prevent the enemy, were they so minded, from throwing troops from Franklin in the rear of our force.
    At Murfreesboro I found a rebel soldier and brought him off.
    I should have written you sooner, but expected every day to see you at Plymouth, and was afterwards sick with fever."
In post script he adds "I requested General Foster to detach a small party from the main cavalry force to destroy the boat and battery building at Edwards Ferry, but did not succeed in impressing him with the importance of the move, and it was not done."

CAPT S C Rowan, USS New Ironsides writes RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron "I enclose herewith the report of Mr. Bishop, carpenter of this ship, showing the damage sustained by the fire of Forts Wagner and Gregg during the action of the 17th instant.
    I also enclose the report of Lieutenant Robeson, ordnance officer, of the firing at Wagner, Gregg, and Sumter on the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th instant."

MAJ FF Warley, CSA Chief of Artillery, Batter Wagner, Morris Island writes CPT Molony, CSA, Assist Adjutant-General "I have the honor to make the following report of the guns in position at this post:
    No. 1, 32-pounder carronade, at western gorge, in good working order.
    No. 2, VIII-inch siege howitzer, on land face, in good working order.
    No. 3, 32-pounder, carronade, on land face, in good working order.
    No. 4, 32-pounder carronade, on land face, in good working order.
    No. 5, XIII~inch naval shell gun, on land face, carriage very much injured by fragment of shell, but can be worked in assault.
    No. 6, 32-pounder smoothbore, on land face, carriage much injured by fragment of shell, but can be worked in an assault.
    No. 7, 32-pounder smoothbore, on land face, in good working order.
    No. 8, VIII-inch naval shell gun, on land face, in good working order.
    No. 9, 42-pounder carronade, on land face, in good working order. No. 10, VIII-inch siege howitzer, on land face, in salient, good working order.
    No. 11, 32-pounder smoothbore, on sea face, to bear upon the beach, in good working order.
    No. 12, X-inch columbiad, on sea face, in good working order.
    No. 13, X-inch columbiad, on sea face, unserviceable, chassis disabled by bursting of a XV-inch shell.
    No. 14, VIII-inch seacoast howitzer, on curtain outside of rear gorge, bearing on the land, in good working order.
    In addition to the above there is a X-inch seacoast mortar, on land curtain near western gorge, in working order; also two 12-pounder brass howitzers, on curtain outside the rear gorge, bearing on the beach. I would further state that the rifled 32-pounder on the sea face was dismounted on the morning of the 19th and the left trunnion broken off."

RADM Theodorus Bailey, East Gulf Blockading Squadron writes SECNAV "I am sorry to have to report that the steamer Hendrick Hudson has become so disabled, by reason of her propeller getting loose on the shaft, that I am compelled to send her north to be docked.
    The report of Fleet Engineer Zeller, which I enclose, will explain the total inadequacy of our means at Key West to effect the repairs and make her efficient for service.
    The repairs will require but a short time in dry dock, and I beg to request that the Hendrick Hudson, with Lieutenant-Commander McDougal as her commander, may be sent back to me as soon as the repairs and outfits are completed."

CMDR Henry H Bell, West Gulf Blockading Squadron writes CDR H A Wise, Bureau of Ordnance "Much discussion having arisen in this squadron about the relative merits of pivot and truck carriages, which have probably reached the Bureau, I would mention a circumstance bearing directly upon that point which occurred on board of the U. S. S. Brooklyn, under my command, off Galveston, January 18 of the present year.
    I had two IX-inch guns on Marsilly carriages in the stern ports, which do not allow for pointing directly aft, but admit of pointing quartering. She lay to an anchor in the trough of the sea, which was rough, but not heavy, and rolled dreadfully. One of the IX-inch guns referred to capsized at 11 p. m. and was secured after considerable delay, her sight masses and breeching shackles in the brackets cutting up the deck at every surge. Its fellow on the other side nearly followed the same rule, but was timely lashed in the port,, No gun on a truck carriage could have been worked fore and aft on that occasion.
    I will proceed with a few remarks touching the imperfections of the Brooklyn's fighting arrangements, which should be remedied, now that she has gone north, requiring extensive repairs, viz: Having no topgallant forecastle, she can not fire right ahead. Her cables and chase guns are mutually in the way when in shoal water.
    She has no ports opening directly aft, her propeller well making it necessary to point them quartering. A topgallant forecastle would remedy the first and an extended poop deck the latter defects, as well as increase her accommodations.
    The fore, main, and mizzen channels are cut nearly square with the ports and greatly obstruct the training of the guns forward and abaft the beam. The rivet heads of the bolts through the spirketings, inside and below the port sills, project a half or three-quarters inch from the wood; these broom and tear the breast pieces of the carriages in running the guns out against them; the breast pieces are all gone in consequence.
    There are six coal chutes on a side, all under the gun carriages; the gun trucks run over these and are badly injured, being cut and broken by the iron plates covering the said coal scuttles. As the deck wear away the edge of the iron covers referred to have a greater prominence and tear off lumps of lignum-vite. Some of the iron covers are roughened on their surfaces.
    When coaling, it becomes necessary to run forward and aft those six guns of a side from their ports to clear the coal scuttles. I can perceive no reason why the chutes should not be between the guns, except for the looks."

RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, writes SECNAV "When the fleet was at Vicksburg last winter and the sick were accumulating on our hands, without the means of providing for them, I applied to General Grant for permission to use some of the vacant rebel buildings at Memphis, that being the most central point, as well as the most healthy place on the Mississippi River, and furnishing other advantages not to be obtained at any other point on the river. The army had taken all the best buildings, which were full of sick and wounded, and could afford us no accommodations. and when I did get a sick person admitted, he was not so well cared for as I could wish.
    On my application to General Grant he promptly ordered a rebel building turned over to me, and the place now used was ordered by Captain Eddy, the quartermaster, to be turned over to Surgeon Pinkney. The owners of this building were reputed secessionists, and claimed the protection of the Confederate Government, and the person in charge had taken the oath of allegiance to the Confederate Government. It was seized by the army on the same grounds as all other buildings which they now occupy. The owner, or pretended owner, is a Mr. Andrews, who now lays claim to the building, without producing proof that it was his, or showing that he was a loyal man during the time that Memphis was in the hands of the rebels, a course required by the commanding general from all those holding property in Memphis.
    The building was prepared, and our sick and wounded moved into it before any claim was put forth, and the agents would have turned out the wounded seamen, who had fought so gallantly for the possession of the Mississippi, while others equally situated did not dare to make any claim on the houses occupied by the army.
    As General Grant gave the order for the transfer of this building, I respectfully request that it may be left to him to decide on the matter.
 & nbsp;  Every appropriate building on the river is taken possession of by the army, and there is not a single place where we could locate our sick. All the hospitals are full to overflowing, and there would be no possibility of accommodating our sick and wounded without scattering them all over the county and removing them at the risk of their lives, which, I am sure, you are not desirous of having done.
    If Mr. Andrews can prove his loyalty, which is required of every one in Memphis, and show his right to the building, we can pay him rent for it, which we would have to pay elsewhere.
    The army have twenty hospitals, while we have but this one for all our force. I do not believe, sir, that you will object to the expense of rent for men who have so well earned a title to be taken care of."

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



Join Rangers Kim and Geoff for some interesting presenations and outings for The Last Green Valley.

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30 JUL 2018 Ayer's Farm

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13 OCT 2018 Sprague Land Trust
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15 OCT 2018 Brown Park
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Maritime History of Norwich
27 OCT 2018 Brown Park
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Maritime History of Norwich




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