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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
An unidentified officer
Mon Apr 27 1863

CDR McDougal USS Wyoming, writes SECNAV from Lymoon Pass Near Hongkong " I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of duplicate and triplicate orders of the 26th January, through the house of A. Lowe & Co., to proceed to the Strait of Sunda.
    In my dispatch of the 8th instant, I reported the extent of injuries sustained in the harbor of Swatow. On the 22d the repairs were completed and the ship put afloat. Getting on board our coal and ammunition, I left Amoy on the evening of the 24th and arrived at this anchorage yesterday, to fill up with coal and provisions and proceed south, in obedience to your orders of the 26th January. To day I received the enclosed copies of letters from General Pruyn, our minister in Japan, marked A and B, also C, from our consul at Nagasaki, requesting the presence of this ship during the troubles pending between Japan and England.
    Your order of the 26th January to proceed to the Strait of Sunda and to be governed in my stay there by circumstances was based on the supposition that the Alabama would make her way to China, as nothing had been heard of her since the 7th December up to January 26, the date of your order.
    By the New York Herald of the 25th February it is stated that the brig Golden Rule was captured by the Alabama on the 26th January and the brig Chastelain on the 27th, off the island of San Domingo. I therefore conclude she has not sailed for the East.
    In consideration of the urgent appeal of General Prayn I feel it my duty for the present to proceed immediately to Japan to give such protection as in my power to our countrymen there during the pending difficulties, after which proceed south.
    I trust my course may meet your approbation."

RADM Charles H Bell, Pacific Squadron, writes SECNAV from Callao, Peru "I have the honor to inform the Department that if nothimg prevents I shall leave this place for Panama soon after the arrival of our mail by the steamer expected on the 3d May. On our way up I shall probably touch at Payta for a day or two only.
    Unless directed otherwise by the Department, I shall leave Panama, soon after the arrival of the mail on June 10, for Acapulco and the Mexican coast in the vicinity, and from thence proceed to San Francisco. I am anxious to get there, as soon as other duties will permit, to hasten the repairs of the Saranac and Cyane, and to afford protection to the city and its vicinity until other means are provided.
    Should the Department have any particular instructions for me I will receive them before leaving Panama if sent by the steamer which leaves New York for Aspinwall on June 1."

CDR G H Cooper, USS Connecticut, writes SECNAV "I respectfully report that we continue to act as convoy to the mail steamers.
    The ship is losing her copper fast on both sides. Below the water line it is broken and rolled up from stem to stern, which affects her speed and increases the consumption of coal. My object in presenting these facts is to prevent the sea worm, which is very destructive in this sea, especially in the bay of Aspinwall, from getting into the planking."

Governor John A Andrew ,Massachusetts, writes POTUS "I beg to request you to consider the importance of detailing immediately an ironclad vessel of war for the exclusive duty of protecting the harbors of the Massachusetts coast, and particularly the harbor of Boston.
    Within cannon shot of the statehouse in Boston a population [of] more than 500,000 in number resides and an amount of private property is situated assessed at a value of more than $500,000,000; and within the same distance are included the Federal custom-house and subtreasury, the navy yard at Charlestown, the Federal arsenal at Watertown, the State arsenal at Cambridge, two important gun foundries, one of them among the largest in the country; several iron-plate rolling mills, and shipyards in which, besides numerous wooden vessels of war, no less than six ironclad vessels are being built for the Navy Department. Nevertheless, the fortifications which guard this vast aggregate of social, commercial, political, and military interests are provided with less than one-fifth of the ordnance for which they are designed. In the principal work - Fort Warren, on Georges Island - there is not a single gun of more than 8 inches caliber, and even the few which are there mounted of that caliber are, together with their carriages, mostly of old and abandoned patterns.
    Not a single Federal vessel of war cruises in Massachusetts Bay for the protection of its coast and commerce, nor has the Federal commander at Fort Warren any authority to detain and examine suspicious vessels or any steamer or cutter with which to execute such authority if it should be conferred on him; and the same want of protection is true of the southern Massachusetts coast, where through the Vineyard Sound 90,000 vessels have been counted as passing Gay Head light in the course of twelve months.
    In event of foreign war the harbor of Boston can be well defended against the concerted attack of a foreign fleet, for its narrow channels can readily be obstructed so as to detain the vessels of the enemy under the fire of the forts, but at present, with those channels open to the commerce of the world, a daring commander of a single swift ironclad steamer, like the Alabama, can undertake, with fair prospect of success, to suddenly run past the forts and appear before the city.
    Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander, of the Corps of Engineers, states to me that he considers the present strength of the fortifications and their armament of New York Harbor to be relatively five times greater than those of Boston Harbor. With our forts, therefore, so inadequately armed, the only efficient protection Boston Harbor can have against the possible incursion of a single swift rebel steamer is by stationing here a Federal ironclad vessel which would be able to attack and sink such a rebel steamer when it should have entered the port. If I had not been interrupted last year by the Navy Department in preparations which I had made to build an ironclad war steamer, the State of Massachusetts would now have such a vessel in her own possession. The plans for it had been made, and parties stood ready to contract for its construction, when a protest against my proceeding with the work was received from the Navy Department, and I abandoned it in deference to that protest.
    I feel, therefore that I may urge the request for a Federal ironclad vessel to be stationed here immediately, with additional force, for that reason; and I most respectfully but firmly urge it upon your attention as a matter of right that such a vessel may be at once assigned to this duty. If it is a question of pecuniary consideration to the Federal Government, I am ready and hereby offer to buy such a vessel from the United States and to pay for it immediately in cash.
    The anxiety of this whole community for protection from sudden incursion by sea, the vast material interests at stake, and my own consciousness of the reasonable character of my request, unite to induce me to ask an early reply to this communication."

"CDR R T Renshaw, SOPA Washington, NC writes CDR H K Davenport, SOPA Sounds of North Carolina "I have respectfully to inform you that since my report was made of the late siege of this place, I have discovered that the enemy burst four of his guns at Rodman's Point, two Whitworth and two Parrott rifled, the two latter marked Tredegar Works, Richmond. Some of the pieces have been found in an old well at the above-named point."

Master E Boomer, USS Granite writes CDR Davenport, "I have the honor to report to you the proceedings of this vessel while in Pamlico River. In obedience to your order of the 1st instant, I got underway at 8: 30 a. m., from New Berne bound to Washington anchored off Bath Creek, Pamlico River; 2d instant, at 5: 30 a. m., got underway and proceeded up Pamlico River. When off Maul's Point the U. S. gunboat J. L. Lockwood took me in tow; ran up off Hill's Point. At 7:30 a. m., engaged the enemy's battery on that point at about 1,400 yards distant; at 8:50 a in., hauled off out of range. Expended thirteen 15 and five 10 second shell. I am happy to state that there were no casualties on board this vessel. 4th instant I was ordered to drop down the river below Maul's Point to protect the transport and ammunition vessels, which duty I performed until the 18th instant, when I received your order of the 17th, per steamer Whitehead. At 3 p.m., got underway and proceeded down the river arrived off Portsmouth, Ocracoke Inlet, on the 19th instant."

CAPT W M Walker, USS De Soto, writes SECNAV "I have to inform you that yesterday, in latitude 26° 21', longitude 83° 49', I took possession of the British schooner Clarita, with an assorted cargo, cleared from Havana for Matamoras, and have ordered her to Key West for adjudication.
    Herewith I enclose a copy of my letter to the judge of the U. S. district court at Key West setting forth the grounds for this proceeding.
    I have reason to suspect that the Clarita is one of the vessels belonging to the United States seized by the rebels at the commencement of the war."

Master John Sherrill, USS Roebuck, writes RADM Theodorus Bailey East Gulf Blockading Squadron "I have to report that yesterday morning Mrs. Parker came over, under a flag of truce, ostensibly to give information as to the doings and whereabouts of Robinson's guerrilla company, and that on leaving desired some one to show her the nearest way back to her boat, which was said to be left on the opposite side of the bay. I landed her abreast of the ship and ordered Augustus Y. Stephens and Charles T. Parker, landsmen (both refugees lately shipped), to go and return immediately. The distance was not over a mile. As they have not yet returned, I fear have deserted."

CMDR Henry W Morris, SOPA New Orleans, telegrams LCDR A P Cooke, "I wish you to proceed with the Estrella, Arizona, and Sachem up the Atchafalaya River and join the admiral at the entrance of the Red River. I wish you also to take on board the boats between 200 and 300 tons of hard coal for the admiral. Inform me by telegraph if you can accomplish this. If so, I will send over the coal."

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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