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last update Saturday, 08-Apr-2017 12:17:04 PDT

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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, 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
United States Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Fox, was a former naval officer
Fri Oct 17 1862

LCDR McCrea 2nd Division, Potomac Flotilla, writes CMDR Andrew A Harwood, Potomac Flotilla, that the Resolute is enroute with coal for the yard. He suggest moving 30 men from the Currituck to the Anacostia and sending the Currituck for repairs. He is going personally tonight to capture a boat from the Merrimack if it comes out. "Everything is quiet so far as regards the enemy. I would suggest the removal of the refugees from St. Georges Island and all boats destroyed, save those belonging to the pilots, and only one allowed to each. I have reason to believe they engage in illegal traffic. I shall do so upon your order immediately."

SECNAV telegrams RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron "The San Jacinto sailed the 15th from Boston. Let her be coaled at Hampton Roads ready for the pursuit of the 290. Further orders Sunday morning. The State of Georgia requires three months repairs."

CAPT Turner, USS New Ironsides, writes RADM Lee that "It would be exceedingly satisfactory to me if you would order a commission of officers to investigate and report upon the results of my firing this morning. I have left the guns on the slides, precisely as they have come in, and my apprehensions as to the means adopted by the Bureau to correct the excessive recoil of the gun, that they would prove insufficient, are realized. It would be impossible to carry this ship through an action of more than three or four rounds without tearing everything to pieces and disabling the guns."

CDR Charles Steedman orders Master Crane, USS Uncas to take a number of contrabands to Fernandina and drop them off and then to go to Port Royal.

CAPT Green, SOPA Charleston, writes a general order: "Hereafter any vessel of the blockading force off this port discovering a vessel during the night attempting to run the blockade will fire one or more rockets or guns as a signal that the attempt is being made, and immediately after burn a white light (either Coston No. 2 or signal light) if the vessel is outward bound, or red (Coston) No. 5 if the vessel is inward bound, the lights to be repeated after an interval of ten minutes should the chase be continued. Continuous and rapid firing of guns will be understood as a signal that assistance may be required by the vessel firing the guns, and the nearest vessel to her will proceed to her assistance, but will not be absent from her station for a longer time than is absolutely necessary. Coston answering, followed by Coston preparatory signal, will indicate that all of the vessels employed on the blockade are to repair to the locality where the signals are made."

Master Doyley, USS William G Anderson writes RADM David G. Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, that he has received a letter from Master Withington, the prize master of the Reindeer aka Jeff Davis that she was leaking badly in heavy seas. Withington made for New Orleans, South West Pass. He wants to ensure that Farragut understands that his XO inspected the prize carefully, as he does for all prizes and did not find any leaks. "No such defect was discovered by either of these officers, though the prize remained in company over twenty-four hours after her capture, and I have therefore no doubt that her inability to contend with rough weather arose from the lightness of the material and insufficiency of the fastenings used in her construction. The vessels hold being full, and her deck covered with cotton, these faults were not likely to become apparent, except in heavy weather or after she was discharged. I therefore trust you will consider her having failed to reach her destination to be a misfortune arising from no neglect on my part of due care for the safety of the prize crew and the property under their charge "

RADM Farragut writes to CMDR Bell, SOPA. Mobile Bay, "I received your note. I will send down to order Volunteer Lieutenant Woodworth up here for court of enquiry, and put some one in his place. Why do.you allow him, commodore, to leave for coal except by your permission? In disposing of my large mail I overlooked the signals. I send them now. Please have the books made to conform. I had the Aroostook out yesterday to join our squadron, and will send her to you soon, with orders for Commander Fairfax to repair in the Cayuga to New Orleans to have a court of enquiry in relation to the charges of Porter against him. I will order up the Calhoun and the Jackson to look into Grants Pass. I would send down for the Sachem, but there is no other vessel at Corpus Christi. I will send you the Maria Wood. Put her at one of the passes, as you think best."

RADM Farragut, writes MGEN Butler, USA, Department of the Gulf, "I have received your note and the requisition for ordnance, etc.
The light 32s I have taken from the Potomac and send you by the St. Mary's, and there are three howitzers in New Orleans.
I enjoy excellent health, and so does the squadron generally. I shall be ready to go ahead at Gaines the moment you can furnish the troops. Do you think you can send any down to Galveston or any other port on the coast of Texas? I had a gunboat out yesterday from the North, the Aroostook, but she brings no news.
Major Strong has sent two gentlemen over to see me in reference to the cattle captured by the gunboats, by which capture we lost a valuable officer and a sailor. I can see no use of our vessels up the river if we are to permit passes from both rebel and Federal authorities to stand good. The only way I see for these people to do is to make known their business beforehand.
The cattle are passed over the river, and no one knows where they are going, but as soon as they are caught ??? intended for the party that catches them. This may be a very honest transaction, but it is one that will cause great difficulty if permitted.
My orders are very stringent to allow no trade with the blockaded country. I am told that large droves of cattle are passing the river for the rebels and told to look after them; when I catch them I am told that it is all wrong, they are for us, or for New Orleans. I wish you had a prize court at New Orleans to decide these cases and the validity of these claims.
As the officers in the Mississippi made the capture I shall leave it to Captains Smith and Ransom to accept a ransom and release them or not but in future unless the convoy is made known and asked for they will be considered bona fide prize."

In a separate letter to Butler he writes "In reply to your letter desiring to learn all I know of the capture of the Tennessee, I have to state that perhaps no vessel is better known to the blockading force before New Orleans than the Tennessee. She has been blockaded and watched for many months, during which time she has frequently been down to the Passes loaded with cotton, and ready to run the blockade, and has been as frequently compelled to return>
When I captured New Orleans I found the Tennessee lying at the wharf with a French flag hoisted somewhere on the vessel, indicating that she belonged to a French subject, but her antecedents were too well known to me to regard any such evidence of ownership, as I knew if any such transfer had been made it had been done within a very short period of time and during the blockade, which, according to my understanding, is contrary to all law.
There is scarcely a vessel or piece of property belonging to the rebels that has not been so transferred since the capture of New Orleans. "

SECNAV writes RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, that the Army Quartermaster-General will finish the rams Choctaw and Fort Henry.

LCDR O C Badger, ASSIST Ordnance Inspector, writes RADM Porter, enclosing a clothing requisition for the Indianola. "When Cincinnati was threatened with an attack, I happened to be there on ordnance duty, and proceeded to fit out the boat for service shipping a small crew, and appointed temporarily three acting masters. Soon after the Navy Department directed the vessel to be turned over to any officer who might be designated by Admiral Davis.
In an interview with Admiral Davis he informed me that he would oppose my proceedings so far as to retain the crew in service and two of the acting masters.
Admiral Davis, however, has never sent anyone to take charge of the vessel, and I am still looked upon by those on board of her as the commanding officer. The crew require clothing, hammocks, etc. Their subsistence is provided by the commissary at Cincinnati.
I hope you will appoint some one to command the vessel and retire me from further responsibility in the matter."

LCDR Leroy Fitch, USS Gunboat Fairplay, writes a proclamation: "It is hereby ordered that all ferries on the Ohio River between Evansville, MD., and Paducah, Ky. (except at the towns of Henderson and Smithland, Ky.), are from this date suspended. Any violation of this order will result in the destruction of the boats so engaged.
All boats, skiffs, scows, or flats found on the Kentucky shore, not at towns garrisoned by United States forces, will be destroyed.
All goods, merchandise, or other articles of traffic sold or sent to the Kentucky shores within the above limits, not authorized by a surveyor of a port or passed under such official signature, shall be liable to confiscation, and the parties sending or selling such articles will render themselves liable to arrest for giving aid and comfort to the enemy."
In a separate proclamation he writes "Until further notice, masters of all freight or passenger steamers plying between Evansville, MD., and Cairo, Ill., are expressly forbidden to take on freight or passengers for, or under any circumstances (unless absolutely unavoidable), land at any town or landing on the Kentucky shore not garrisoned by United States forces.
Any violation of this order will result in the confiscation of the goods or articles and the detention of the vessel."

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



DatesUpcoming Civil War EventsTopic
12-14 MAY 2017 Ashbel Woodward Museum
North Franklin, CT
Living History
18-20 AUG 2017 Schulyer Flatts,
Colonie, NY
Living History

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

DatesPlaceTopic
14 APR 2017 TLGV HQ
Danielson CT
Pluto
21 APR 2017 Sprague Land Trust
Bolton Rd.
Franklin,CT
Jupiter and Deep Sky Observing
19 MAY 2017 TLGV HQ
Danielson CT
Light Pollution 101
11 JUN 2017 Camp Laurel
Clubhouse Rd
Lebanon,CT
Acorn Adventures Letterboxing
16 JUN 2017 Sprague Land Trust
Bolton Rd.
Franklin,CT
Deep Sky Observing
Important News
School teachers - see the Civil War and astronomy pages for how you can add excitement to your classroom on these topics.
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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