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last update Tuesday, 15-May-2018 08:33:08 PDT


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
In between decks on a gunboat
Sat Mar 19 1864

RADM J L Lardner, West India Squadron writes CDR Stephen D Trenchard, USS Rhode Island "You will proceed with the Rhode Island, under your command, to Boston, and upon your arrival report to the Navy Department and to the rear-admiral commanding the station."

SECNAV writes RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron " Your letter of the 9th instant is received, stating that immediately upon the receipt of the Department's letter of February 27, deciding that the limits of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron were just outside of the line occupied by the blockading vessels, with right of pursuit beyond that line, you had immediately recalled the fast steamers stationed off the extensive shoals off the Capes of Lookout and Fear also those in the tracks of the blockade runners between the principal inlets on the coast of North Carolina and their depots at Bermuda and Nassau.
    Your letter of February 27 having raised the question of limits seaward, there seemed to be no other decision possible than that they should [cruise] beyond the line occupied by the blockading vessels. At the time this decision was made the Department was aware, and was gratified to find, that you had followed the plan, long since adopted by Rear-Admiral Farragut and Acting Rear-Admiral Bailey with a much smaller force, of placing some of your vessels well to seaward; and this plan being in successful operation and your limits seaward being beyond the position occupied by these vessels, it is not understood why you should have acted so hastily in bringing your vessels inshore unless you are of opinion that the blockade can be more rigidly enforced there. The Department does not propose to suggest any particular positions for your vessels, having great confidence in your judgment and zeal for the public service.
    If the Shenandoah, by authority delegated to you by the Department, has been sent toward Bermuda and is acting under your orders, she is not an independent command. If there is reasonable ground for believing that blockade running can be more effectually suppressed by sending any of your steamers in the track of such vessels bound from Bermuda to Nassau, you are authorized to make such disposition of your command.
    The Department does not consider that you would be beyond the limits of your command, subject to the disability contemplated by the third clause of the third section of the act for the better government of the Navy, while you are temporarily, by authority of the Department, personally present in a vessel in the Potomac River."

CDR William Reynolds, Naval Depot, Port Royal, writes CMDR S C Rowan, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron "For the better security of the vessels in the creek I have had an upper boom placed above their anchorage, and propose to issue the enclosed order, if it meets with your approval.
    As the Rescue has just been disabled, and must be replaced, I will have the prize steamer Chatham anchored near the boom in the meanwhile."
Enclosed is "The boom in the creek is placed, but is not quite long enough to reach across. it will be lengthened in a day or two to extend all the way over, with a gate to permit small boats to pass through; will be open during the day, but closed at dusk.
    You will have the prize steamer Chatham anchored just within the boom, and put on board of her the Rescue's howitzer and a supply of ammunition, and you will keep a picket boat and crew from the vessels in the creek alongside the Chatham from dark until daylight. You will regulate the detail for the picket boat.
    They will keep a vigilant lookout for torpedo craft, or other signs of an enemy, and will give the alarm on the discovery of such.
    On the alarm being given, vessels in the creek will send their boats, armed, either to the upper or lower boom, as the case may be, and take such other measures of defense as may be practicable at the time."

T B Thorpe, Prize Commissioner, New Orleans, writes RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, "In the capture of prize vessels running the blockade from Nassau, Havana, and other ports to Alabama and Texas, in their assorted cargoes, which are sold at auction, the proceeds to be divided as prize moneys among, we find powder, percussion caps, muskets with bayonets, navy pistols, etc. All were intended for the Confederacy, which can not be sold here by order of the provost-marshal-general; the powder (500) kegs and other munitions of war are of superior quality and workmanship, and I respectfully suggest that they be appraised and turned over to the Navy here, and their value credited to the different vessels making the captures. But for some such arrangement, these things will be lost to the Navy, and their value under any circumstances deteriorated."

LGEN E Kirby Smith, CSA, Trans Mississippi Department writes MGEN R Taylor, CSA, "I have directed an officer of the Missouri, with thirty torpedoes and a crew of men selected for the purpose, to proceed down the river and obstruct it with torpedoes at some point below Grand Ecore. I will direct the officer to report to you should he find you below, otherwise to report to Captain McCloskey, who is at Grand Ecore, upon consultation with whom he will fix a point at which the torpedoes are to be placed. If practicable, I would suggest their being used below Cotile; otherwise the vicinity of the falls below Grand Ecore might be selected. As soon as the torpedoes are placed in position the boat and crew will return to Shreveport. Arrangements should be made by pickets and couriers, so that the party on the boat can be notified in time of the passage over the falls of the enemy's gunboats or the advance of a party of the enemy. I send down by the boat a signal corps, under Sergeant Landry, who will assist in notifying the officer in charge of the torpedo boat of the movements of the enemy. When they get through with this duty they are ordered to report to you."

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.

16 JUN 2018 Camp Laurel
Lebanon. CT
30 JUL 2018 Ayer's Farm

Mars Party
6 OCT 2018 Sprague Land Trust
Bolton Rd.
Deep Sky Observing
13 OCT 2018 Sprague Land Trust
Bolton Rd.
Deep Sky Observing
15 OCT 2018 Brown Park
Maritime History of Norwich
27 OCT 2018 Brown Park
Maritime History of Norwich

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