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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
A David class semi-submersible (Confederate)
Mon Jul 18 1864

Master William P Gibbs, USN writes SECNAV "I sailed from New York for New Orleans on the steamer Electric Spark the 9th instant, 3:30 p. m., to join the U. S. gunboat Pinola. On the 10th, at 1 p. m., saw a sail standing toward us. When about 8 miles distant she set the English blue ensign and gained upon us very fast. When about 1,000 yards distant hoisted the Confederate flag and fired a rifle shell across our stern. Our steamer not stopping, another was fired, passing over just forward the mainmast; another fired forward the pilot house. The steamer was then stopped, Florida distant about 400 yards. She steamed across our stern, hailed, and asked, "Where from and where bound?" saying, "I will send a boat on board." Two boats came alongside, full of men and well armed,in charge of Second Lieutenant Stone, of the Florida. The ship was then taken possession of and the captain ordered on board the Florida, with his papers, and the mails were sent to the Florida. The captain immediately returned, and myself; with two Army officers, were ordered on board the Florida to be paroled. I was on board the Florida two hours and a half. Her armament consists of four 8-inch rifle guns aft, four large rifle guns forward, but did not ascertain the caliber of them; one 120-pound pivot rifle midship; has one spare gun lashed on side of engine hatch, covered with tarpaulin. The Florida is a long, rakish vessel, long lower masts, bark-rigged, which can be easily altered to a three-masted schooner by sending down the yards. She is English built and steams and sails 14 knots 6 fathoms; consumes 10 tons coal per day; has crew, as near as I could ascertain, [of] 225 men, mostly foreigners, except officers.
    Was put on board of British schooner Lane with the passengers and sent to New York, at which city I arrived on the morning of the 12th. Immediately on my arrival I reported to Rear-Admiral Paulding, commanding New York Navy Yard. Enclosed you will find a copy of my parole, a duplicate of which I left with the commander of the Florida, with my signature affixed."
Enclosed is "William P. Gibbs, acting master in the Navy of the United States of America, is hereby paroled upon his word of honor not to serve against the Confederate States or do garrison duty or other military duty until duly exchanged.
    C. MANIGAULT MORRIS,
    Commanding C. S. S. Florida.
    JULY 10, 1864."

LCDR C C Carpenter, USS Marblehead, writes CMDR G S Blake, USN from Holmes Hole, " I arrived here early this morning from Nantucket South Shoal, where I have been since Friday last. I have seen very few sail. I spoke the light-ship Friday afternoon. They had seen nothing, or had no news, of the Florida. I think since the war there are few vessels passing near the light-ship, or we would have seen more, having been in sight of the light-ship many times. The last two days have been very thick and foggy, occasionally lighting up, but nothing in sight. I thought I would come in here and learn the news; shall return this afternoon. I have just come on shore and learned that there was a man on board one of the vessels here a few days since who was on board the Florida. He reported that that vessel made preparations to come through here and destroy the vessels in the sound, but something prevented it. I doubt if it is true myself, yet it could easily be done, as there are a large number of vessels going through here constantly and no protection. The people here seem to think some vessel ought to be here."

Master J W Magune, writes SECNAV from Rockport Me, "I have the honor to make the following report in regard to some rebel steamers seen off the isle of Grand Manan by a merchant captain last Monday. I think the information can be relied upon as correct.
    The captain informed me that he saw three rebel steamers steering alongshore to the west. They were all side-wheel, two stacks; hull lead color; stacks whitewashed; all burning English coal. He was not able to ascertain whether or not they were armed, but by appearance supposed that they were.
    I deemed it my duty to inform the Department as early as possible, fearing that if those steamers were armed they might commit some depredations upon the defenseless harbors along this coast."

Samuel Corry, Governor of Maine, writes SECNAV "Your telegram announcing that my suspicions were groundless in regard to those vessels sailing from St. John was duly received and afforded me much gratification.
    I have, however, respectfully to represent that the citizens of this State feel extremely sensitive, in view of the comparatively defenseless state of our coast and the utterly exposed condition of our coastwise commerce.
    Circumstances have transpired within the last three days exciting strong suspicions that an attempt was about to be made to seize one or more steamers sailing out of Kennebec River, but the awakened vigilance on the part of their managers has prevented thus far its execution.
    Having so much at stake on the ocean as well as on the coast, I respectfully ask that you will order one or more gunboats constantly to patrol the coast of Maine.
    In making this request I feel that I am but simply doing my duty. We are at war with a brave, energetic adversary, fruitful in resources, ready to strike at any exposed point, and which, with one or two piratical cruisers, besides destroying a great amount of tonnage, has driven a large share of our commerce under the protection of the flags of other nations.
    The exploits of the Florida within the present month should warn us that we are hardly safe outside our defenses."

Master William tell Street, USS Fuchsia, writes CDR Foxhall A Parker, Potomac Flotilla, "Receiving at 3 o'clock on the afternoon of the 10th instant, while lying off Point Lookout, a telegraphic order to proceed to Bush River bridge, Maryland, I would respectfully report the following:
    I arrived off the mouth of the river at 7 a. m. on the 11th. Not having a pilot acquainted with the channel, I grounded twice on trying to enter, but, soon getting afloat again, I came to anchor and sent a boat on shore for a pilot, but none could be found. Fortunately, a schooner was coming out of the river at the time. I ordered her back to show us the channel. Having a good tide, I succeeded in getting over the mud, and arrived at the bridge at 12 m. and moored the vessel 150 yards from the bridge. At this time the shore force, consisting of twenty-two men, under the command of a lieutenant, was coming off in a small boat, having been driven by the enemy. They reported the enemy on both sides of the river, and that the telegraph operator had just left his station. Shortly after cavalry were seen on the hill (right bank), when I opened fire upon them, causing them to fall back beyond our range. Had we been fifteen minutes later I have no doubt they would have had the bridge on fire. The soldiers were again landed and pickets thrown out, and during the afternoon were twice driven in, but the enemy would not advance from under cover of the woods or within range. Finding they could not approach the bridge, we were not annoyed by them after 7 p. m."

LT M S Stuyvesant, USS Minnesota, writes SECNAV from Point Lookout "The commanding general at this point deems reliable the following information which he has just obtained from four refugees: That 800 sailors and marines, under John T. Wood, left Richmond on the 7th or 8th of July, to man two armed blockade runners at Wilmington, N. C., for the purpose of attempting the release of prisoners confined here. Will telegraph to senior officer at Fortress Monroe."

SECNAV telegrams RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron "It is stated by refugees to the senior military officer at Point Lookout that Lieutenant Wood and 800 men have left Richmond for Wilmington to take two armed vessels and attempt the release of their prisoners at Point Lookout. The naval force at that point is sufficient to defeat any such attempt, but the mouth of the Chesapeake should be guarded night and day for the present by tugs, with the Fort Jackson within signal distance, and if you deem it advisable you can increase her battery."

RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes CAPT john Dr Camp, USS Wabash "As soon as the Wabash is ready for sea you will leave this harbor and cruise south as far as St. John's River.
    Lieutenant Blake has been ordered from the Mahaska to report for duty in the Wabash, and you will endeavor to intercept the tug sent for him.
    After reaching St. John's River you will cruise north as far as Murrells Inlet, keeping within from 5 to 12 miles of the coast.
    One of the objects of the cruise will be to train the new men you have received. You will therefore keep sail on the ship day and night, with sufficient steam to meet an emergency, and exercise the crew daily in making and taking in sail, and other details of naval routine. They must also be drilled at the guns every day, firing occasionally for practice.
    A number of men have been sent from the New Hampshire, who, it is understood, were captured rebels, but have taken the oath of allegiance. You can not be too careful in placing these men in any place of trust.
    When you have been underway thirty days, you will report to the senior officer off Charleston."

Master Thomas Chatfield, USS Two Sisters, writes RADM Theodorus Bailey, East Gulf Blockading Squadron "I have the honor to report that in obedience to your order, dated June 23, 1864, I proceeded with the Two Sisters to the mouth of the Suwanee River, for the purpose of securing a quantity of cotton left there by the tender Fox. I found the cotton sunk in the mud and water and badly broken up, and was employed two days in getting it above high water, cleaning off the mud, and spreading it out to dry.
    I then proceeded to Cedar Keys and obtained 90 yards of bagging from Lieutenant-Commander Fleming, of the U. S. S. Sagamore, with which I returned to the Suwanee, repacked the cotton, brought it to Cedar Keys, and delivered it to Lieutenant-Commander Fleming, to be forwarded to Key West.
    The lot consists of 15 round bales (or bags) marked Fox, and is all in a wet and damaged condition."

RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes CMDR James S Palmer, 1st Division, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, "Have the steamer that Mr. Shock and Mr. Stimson think worth the money they ask for her properly examined, and send me her draft of water and her name, etc.
    The Ida, Narcissus, and others, which do very well as tugs, did not cost half as much as any one of those steamers. They may not be as large, but are quite as useful. She may serve your purpose in the river, but I apprehend that all of them draw too much water for the shoal navigation on this coast, and they are good for nothing as vessels of war. Still, if you need a tug very much, I will purchase her.
    The Admiral will stop at New Orleans on her way back from Texas for sick and for men whose times have expired on or before June. Send in her the prisoner William Smith, of the Corypheus, lately tried by court-martial and sentenced to ten years imprisonment, etc."

MGEN Fred. Steele, USA writes Master J R Grace, SOPA Devall's Bluff "I know of no force of the enemy threatening Devall's Bluff at present. I think it is best for you to convoy the transports out of the river and return as soon as practicable. Please let me know when you will start. There are rumors of General Taylor's approaching Monticello with 15,000 men. About 1,500 of Shelbys men are on this side of White River in the neighborhood of Searcy. The rest of his forces are principally at Jacksonport and Augusta, a few miles back from the river."

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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15 OCT 2018 Brown Park
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Maritime History of Norwich
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Maritime History of Norwich




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