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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
The staff of RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, commander of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron
Tue Feb 24 1863

CDR Marin, USS St Louis, writes SECNAV "I had the honor of addressing a letter from Lisbon to the Department of date the 6th instant, informing [it] of my intention to visit these islands
On my arrival here on the 22d instant I met with the steamer Mohican, Captain Glisson, who informed me that he had been cruising hereabouts for some time, but had not heard of any rebel cruisers, nor of any interference with our commerce in these waters. He sailed yesterday on a cruise, to return again soon.
This harbor being the regular, and I believe the only, depot for coals in this group renders it important that a steamer should be kept here. A quantity of coal has been landed at Porto Praya, Island of St. Iago [Santiago], but that I am informed was from accident of shipwreck, and I believe that it is the intention of Captain Glisson to purchase that coal for immediate use, and thereby deprive others from obtaining it.
Captain Glisson being without money for his ship, and there being no facilities here for drawing properly, I have at his request supplied him with $2,500, for which the paymaster has proper receipts and vouchers."

LCDR Samuel Magaw, 1st Division, Potomac Flotilla, writes MGEN Joseph Hooker, "In compliance with your request of the 15th instant, I made an examination of the Rappahannock Creek with the Freeborn and Dragon, and found no pungies or scows. Other creeks were examined, but without success.
The enemy have a battery about a mile below Lowrys Point, which we engaged."

LCDR McCrea, 2nd Division Potomac Flotilla, writes CMDR Andrew A Harwood, Potomac Flotilla, "I send you sutlers vessel with milk drink on board, which, upon opening, proves to be a villainous eggnog. I consider her a lawful prize, according to instructions of 23d instant."

LCDR Magaw writes CMDR Harwood, "I have the honor to report that I have returned from a reconnoissance up the Rappahannock, and without finding the vessels referred to in the enclosed letters of General Hooker. I also enclose a copy of a note to him. I went about 6 miles above Tappahannock.
We, the Freeborn and Dragon, engaged a battery on Saturday (just below the old Fort Lowry, about 8 miles below Tappahannock) about an hour. One of the enemy's guns ceased firing after our tenth shot. The Freeborn was struck twice, but none of the crew injured. One of the shot has damaged some woodwork which we can not repair ourselves, and when I get through with some work here I will come to the yard for a day or two.
I must report that Acting Masters Mate F. H. Crandall behaved so well under fire (which was sharp) during our skirmish, that I wish him made an ensign. His application for an examination will follow this note.
The enemy are in considerable force as far down as Urbana.
General Lee was at Occupacia in person when we reached Tappahannock. The incidents of our expedition I will tell you when I come up."

Master H H Savage, USS Matthew Vassar, writes CAPT B F Sands, SOPA New Inlet, NC, "I respectfully report to you that last night at 11 p. m. another steamer attempted to run into this inlet. She was a large side-wheel steamer, painted black; no masts, and a stump bowsprit and a flagstaff forward, and one funnel. She approached the bar and discovered my guard boat, when she stopped and began to back, at the same time hailing boat ahoy. The officer in charge of the boat answered Friend, and pulled rapidly toward him to board him. The steamer in the meantime got turned around and answered the Hero, or Arrow, could not be sure which. My boat was then within 25 yards of her, as the officer on her deck gave the order to go ahead fast. My boats crew then fired a volley of 12 rifles and 12 boarding pistols fore and aft his decks and demanded him to stop which he did not; so I fired on her from the vessel from my broadside guns. The shot ricochetted close to her. She then stopped so my boat got close to her. She then went ahead again, my boats crew firing into her two more volleys, and was able to keep up by her for some time, and supposed her to be disabled, but the men being fagged out could not continue their chase, and my vessel lying in such a position and no wind that I could only get one shot at her. The regular signals were given for the steamer Victoria to give chase, which was promptly done, but did net succeed in finding her."

CDR A Ludlow Case, SOPA, Beaufort, NC, "I have to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 14th instant, in relation to the ordnance bark Paramount, and to inform you that she arrived to-day, and was ordered to proceed to Port Royal and report to Rear-Admiral Du Pont. She left immediately, without entering the harbor."

LCDR D L Braine, USS Monticello, writes S D Skellton, "It is my painful duty to announce the death of Acting Masters Mate Henry Baker, who was killed on the morning of February 23, 1863, at 7 a. m., during an engagement with Fort Caswell. He was struck in two places in the face, between the eyes, and in the right shoulder, the second piece entering the lungs. He lingered until 9:30 a. m., when he expired. Among his effects were found some letters, and a doubt exists as to his right name, whether it was Henry Baker, George Baker, or Thomas Furnald. Will you please inform me on this point. His last words were A. C. Barker; send my things to S. D. Skellton, Charlestown, Mass. I leave all that I have got to my father. His effects are ready to be transmitted to you as soon as I can become satisfied that you are the proper person to receive them. He was a brave, energetic, and efficient officer, and bid fair to advance in his profession. His death is deeply regretted by all, as he was a general favorite. I trust I may hear from you soon with satisfactory evidence. I also intrust you to impart this sad news to his relations, and my sympathy with them. His next (or nearest) of kin should administer for the money which Henry Baker has due him upon the books of this ship."

RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes CDR A Murray, SOPA Sounds of North Carolina, "On the 19th instant, when Major-General Foster was here on his return from Washington to New Berne, I spoke to him in reference to the destruction of the gunboats which the rebels are building on the rivers emptying into the sounds of North Carolina, with the intention of floating them down with the approaching spring floods, and I wrote to you on the same day on that subject.
General Foster, while stating that his best troops had been sent to Port Royal, seemed nevertheless disposed to cooperate in this movement with the 15,000 men he had left, and will, I am sure, do so if he thinks his means sufficient. To-night I have your letter of the 23d, which is, though not so acknowledged, probably a reply to mine of the 19th, above mentioned, sent by General Foster, and probably received by you from him on the 20th, on his arrival at New Berne, as you therei in speak of returning to Plymouth with reenforcements. Measures can be at once taken, in accordance with directions I have recently given Lieutenant-Commander Flusser and yourself, so to strengthen our positions, at Plymouth and Washington especially, as to provide against any surprise by the enemy; and when preparations have been made by Major General Foster for cooperation to effect the object I have indicated, when the approaching pressure on Charleston and Richmond shall be felt, which will oblige the enemy to withdraw his forces from North Carolina, and when the Roanoke and Tar rise, this plan of operation can be executed with effect."

RADM Samuel Du Pont, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes SECNAV "I have already informed the Department of the capture of the steamer Princess Royal. Among the parties taken was a Mr. John Chalender, who, it seems, is a practical machinist, and was sent out to instruct the rebels in the management of new machinery and in the manufacture of steel-pointed projectiles. He goes north to-morrow in the U. S. army transport Arago, together with other persons taken on the Princess Royal and Emma Tuttle, the rest of the crews of these vessels having been sent to Philadelphia. There has been no opportunity of sending these parties north by any of our supply vessels, and I am obliged therefore, though reluctantly, to send them in the Arago, though I am aware that they are not considered prisoners.
Mr. Chalender may be willing to give valuable information to the Department."
In a second letter he writes "In my dispatch No. 90 I called the attention of the Department to certain gross misstatements in the papers referring to the attack of the ironclads off Charleston, made, apparently, on the authority of some of the officers of the Princess Royal.
By the last mail I received the enclosed letter (No. I) from Acting Master Van Sice, which I send to the Department in justice to him, and at the same time I desire to call the attention of the honorable Secretary of the Navy to Third Assistant Engineer R. H. Thurston, who appears to be the person responsible for the misstatements. If this be so, I submit that he should at once be dismissed from the service."

RADM Lee writes MGEN John Dix, USA, 7th Corps, "I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of February 23, covering a letter from Captain Edgar, of the steamer Thomas A. Morgan, in regard to an alleged forcible intrusion into that vessel by Lieutenant Blake, of the Navy, and the seizure and confinement by him of the clerk of that steamer.
This matter will receive prompt attention, and the result will be communicated to you as soon as practicable."
In a second letter he writes " I have the honor to enclose (marked No. 1) Lieutenant-Commander J. H. Upshur's report, by which the Department will perceive that Lord Lyons dispatch to the commander of H. B. M. S. Petrel was delivered immediately after it was received by me."

LT Budd, USS Potomska, writes RADM Du Pont, "Shortly after daylight yesterday morning I captured the British schooner Belle, of Nassau (formerly the Alligator, of Charleston, S. C.). When first seen, she was anchored close inshore, about 5 miles south of this point, having run in during the night, the wind being N. N. W., and moderate.
She is from Nassau and pretends to be bound to Port Royal. The real object of the voyage is clearly shown in a paper found in the baggage of the master, being an agreement between him and the owner, and signed by both. That and all other documents found on board are in the custody of the prize master, Acting Master A. West.
The vessel being small and in rather poor condition, I have sent her direct to Port Royal without communicating with the senior officer at St. Simons."

RADM Du Pont writes SECNAV "I have the honor to report the arrival here on the 20th instant of the U. S. S. State of Georgia, having in tow the U. S. ironclad steamer Nahant.
Enclosed (marked No. 1) is Commander Downes report of the passage of the Nahant from Hampton Roads to this port.
The State of Georgia, in pursuance of the orders under which she arrived here, left this port yesterday to rejoin the blockading force off Wilmington, N. C."

CAPT Percival Drayton, USS Passaic, writes RADM Du Pont "I beg leave to report that at daylight yesterday morning a schooner was discovered from this vessel to be ashore at the entrance of Tybee Creek. I immediately signaled the Marblehead to chase, and Lieutenant Commanding Scott having approached as near as it was prudent, found her to be the pilot boat schooner Glide, of and from Savannah, bound to Nassau, [New Providence]. A statement of the cargo and crew I enclose herewith. No flag was hoisted, although an English one was found on board, and all papers were destroyed.
You will perceive from the report of Lieutenant-Commander Scott that a boat from the surveying schooner Caswell, which was lying just below us, very improperly, I think, went on board, and her commanding officer afterwards reported to me that he had captured the vessel, and on my remarking that he could not make a capture, at least under the existing circumstances, talked about referring the matter to Congress and also writing to you, as he evidently appeared to look upon the schooner as his property, almost.
As I gather from conversation with the persons on board, it had been the intention to run the Glide directly down Wilmington River and by us, trusting to escape notice in the dark, as they say that a small schooner succeeded in coming by our vessels safely and without causing alarm a little before my arrival here, and this I can well believe, satisfied as I am that for a really strict blockade and one which could not be passed, a great many more vessels will be required than you could possibly spare. The Passaic is entirely useless except to prevent forcible intervention, as her guns could not be turned on a vessel passing in time to be of any use, and from my trials in this river I am satisfied that 4 knots is the ordinary limit of speed in still water. I have also been informed that on the night of the 17th, which was very foggy, a small steamer, called the St. John, went to sea by the channel attempted by the Glide, as she is a vessel a little larger only than the Darlington, and consequently draws very little water. I am satisfied, after conversations with the pilot, that a vessel of the size of the Marblehead, anchored anywhere off the entrance of Tybee Creek, would do scarcely anything toward blocking it up, and if taken away from where she now is, would only open the better channel of Wilmington River, which would be found out very soon. The only effective method of stopping the Tybee Creek entrance is either to place obstructions [there] or station a vessel at the branch which goes up to Caustons Bluff on the St. Augustine.
The St. John will probably attempt to run in about the 8th or 10th of March, and I would suggest that some preparation be made to stop her. A vessel well up in Tybee Creek would undoubtedly be the surest mode of effecting this, and I think the only one.
On the 19th I went up to within sight of the batteries at Thunderbolt and could perceive no change. The pilot of the Glide informs me that a little beyond where I anchored the channel is obstructed by live oak; his schooner was lying a little below, and he thinks would have attempted to run by us in the Wilmington River that night had they not been startled at our coming up, which induced a change of plan, which eventuated in their capture. The pilot, Mr. Luce, is a Northern man, but not to be trusted, being to me evidently strong secession.
Accompanying this I send the report of Lieutenant-Commander Scott, as well as a list of the crew and cargo, and other things found on board, which I have entrusted to the captain of the Boston, army transport. The Glide I shall send to Port Royal, on her way to Philadelphia, if you think it proper."

LT G C Remey, USS Marblehead, writes LT Scott, "At daylight on the 23d instant discovered a schooner on the shoal at the north side of Cabbage island; reported the fact to you.
At this time there were two surveying schooners, the Caswell and Arago, lying at anchor at the entrance of Wilmington Channel.
About 6 a. m. got underway and stood down Wilmington Channel. While underway, and when we were about half the distance between the schooners and our anchorage, observed a boat shoving off from the Caswell; reported it to you. You said you should hail him and order him back, but being obliged to keep in the channel the boat passed ahead and to windward of us and so out of hailing distance. If we had been to leeward we could have hailed him easily. The Caswell's boat passed over the spit that separates the Wilmington and Tybee channels and in that way cut off the distance that we were obliged to run in this vessel. We anchored in Tybee Channel about three-quarters of a mile from the schooner in order to bring her within easy range of our guns and immediately sent an armed vessel to take possession of her. At this time the Caswell's boat had not reached the schooner; it probably reached the schooner five or ten minutes before our boat. Our boat succeeded in getting the schooner off, which proved to be the schooner Glide, of and from Savannah, laden with cotton.
She struck about 1:30 a. m. while attempting to run the blockade. No papers (ships) were found on board. After getting her off, took her in tow and brought her to this anchorage."

RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes SECNAV, "I have to report to the Department the death of Acting Master Willis F. Monroe, from wounds received in the affair at Galveston, Tex., on the 1st day of January. I have also to enclose the correspondence of Commodore H. H. Bell, relative to his burial, etc."

RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes SECNAV "I have the honor herewith to enclose a proclamation of the rebel general Magruder, declaring the coast of Texas open to trade, also a counter-proclamation from Commodore Bell. Copies of this latter have been furnished the foreign consuls at Galveston, and also to the U. S. consul-general at Havana."

LCDR Cooke, USS Estrella writes RADM Farragut "I herewith enclose Captain Wiggins report in reference to the loss of the steamer Kinsman. I have temporarily detailed some of her men to fill vacancies in the other vessels, as also her two masters mates, one to the Calhoun and the other to the Estrella.
I await your orders in reference to the disposition to be made of her crew, and would request to be permitted to make up deficiencies in the other vessels from her officers and men. Captain Wiggin will examine the wreck to-morrow and see whether it will be possible to recover anything."

LT Wiggin, USS Colonel Kinsman, writes RADM Farragut "I herewith submit to you my report about the loss of the U. S. S. Kinsman, under my command.
I received last night a detachment of the One hundred and fourteenth New York Volunteers on board, to accompany me on picket duty, and started for the fort at about 9:30 p. m. When within 100 yards of the fort, about 60 feet from shore, the engines being stopped, the steamer struck a snag, apparently floating, on her starboard bow, about 15 feet from the stem. The snag then passed on and struck the starboard wheel very heavily. We went ahead as usual, and made fast to shore, when it was reported to me by the watch below that the vessel was filling. I went below immediately and examined the leak; found the water rushing in very rapidly, the floor being covered some 6 inches in depth. I then ordered the engineer to start the bilge pumps and get up the greatest amount of steam that could be carried with safety. I had the line cut, backed out, and steamed down the bay for the flat below the wharf, in order to save my men and battery, if the water should rise too fast. When opposite the wharf the water was reported to be rising very fast, and I hailed the steamers Diana, Estrella, and Calhoun, requesting boats and men to be sent to our assistance.
In the meantime I had organized my crew into pumping and bailing parties, and they were all steadily at work. Heading inshore, we ran aground with a full head of steam, thereby raising her bows about 2 feet out of water. The carpenter and his gang tried in vain to stop the leak. I ordered the powder kegs and magazine to be brought on deck in order to keep them dry. Then I let go my anchors and ran a line from her quarter to the shore, at the same time sending troops on shore. In a few minutes afterwards her stern began to settle, causing her to slide down the steep bank, where she finally sank, and at twenty minutes past midnight every vestige of her had disappeared.
The officers and crew were picked up by the boats of the Estrella, Calhoun, and Diana, neither officers nor men having the least chance to save any of their effects. I am sorry that I have to report the following of my men missing:
John Berry, ships cook; Patk. McGoun, fireman; John Kirby, fireman; Isaac Deer, coal heaver, colored; William Parker, coal heaver, colored.
I also enclose the surgeons report to me. Early this morning I went in a small boat to examine the bayou and recover what property I might, and succeeded in picking up 6 barrels of powder, with a few pieces of sailors clothing and bedding."

Assist J G Oltmanns, US Coast Survey writes LCDR A P Cooke, USS Estrella, "According to your request, I herewith give to you the details of the loss of the gunboat Kinsman last night, as far as they came under my personal observation:
Between 7 and 8 o'clock p. m. a detail of the One hundred and fourteenth New York Volunteers came on board the steamer to accompany us on picket during the night. The soldiers were stationed on the quarter and hurricane decks. At about 9:30 p. m. the steamer started up the river under, as far as I could learn, about 50 pounds of steam. When nearly up to our station, 1-1/2 miles from this place, just below the fort and about 20 yards from shore, while sitting in Captain Wiggins cabin, I felt a log or snag striking the steamer on her starboard side, forward of the wheelhouse and immediately afterwards I heard and felt the wheel striking very hard against this log. Going forward, I heard it reported that the vessel was fast filling. Captain Wiggin gave his orders very coolly and deliberately, no idea of danger entering our minds. Upon his request I went forward and found from 7 to 8 inches of water in the hold. The steam pumps had been started before this time, and all hands not engaged elsewhere were bailing the vessel with buckets. At this time, about fifteen minutes after the vessel struck, it was reported two or three times that we were gaining on the water. Captain Wiggin then turned the steamer, and we started back down the river, under the greatest possible pressure of steam, in order to reach the flat below the wharves here, run the steamer ashore, and thus save the lives of all our crew, and also the heavy guns on board. The magazine was ordered to be opened and the powder to be put on deck, if the water should rise to it. When we passed the wharves the water was reported to gain fast and the vessel sinking. Captain Wiggin hailed the Calhoun and the Estrella, requesting boats to be sent to our assistance. In the meantime he ran the Kinsman, with full steam, head on shore till her bows grounded in 3 feet of water and no bottom with a 15-foot pole under her stern. A line was ordered to be brought out from her starboard quarter to haul her broadside to the bank, but before this could be accomplished the steamer filled and slid backward from the bank and sunk in about 18 fathoms of water at twenty-five minutes past midnight. The steamer Calhoun, as soon as she could get up steam, came up and rendered, with the boats of the Estrella, Diana, and Calhoun, all the assistance possible in saving the crew and soldiers, who otherwise must have perished."

CMDR R B Hitchcock, SOPA Mobile, forwards a statement made by James Carr, CSN "James Carr, a deserter from rebel gunboat Selma, was received from the Clifton, and made the following statement:
He was born in Brooklyn, N. Y., where his father and mother still live, and is 19 years old. At the commencement of the war he had been for some time employed on steamboats in the Mississippi River, but was arrested by the New Orleans authorities on suspicion of being a spy, and confined in the Parish Prison for about a month, until released on the testimony of his former captain and of Lieutenant Bradford, who induced him to enlist on board the gunboat Ivy as the only means of getting out. He was transferred to the gunboat McRae, and was in the fight above Fort Jackson, where he was wounded in the left arm, and then sent to New Orleans, from whence he was sent on to Jackson, Miss., and there cared for by Lieutenant Bradford's mother until sufficiently recovered to rejoin Bradford at Mobile on board the Selma (gunboat). He has served there as wardroom steward ever since, until February 20, when, by reason of the great confidence reposed in him by Lieutenant Bradford, he was sent in a boat with two other men (Mich. Dillon and William Hatton) to Heron Bay, [Alabama], for oysters, the Selma lying at the time near Grants Pass. At dark they started for the Pocahontas, intending to drag the boat across the beach of Dauphin Island, but found it too rough outside, and pulled along the [Mississippi] Sound to the westward. On the morning of the 23d they fell in with the Clifton, near Horn Island, went on board, and gave themselves up.
Selma carried two IX-inch Dahlgren guns, one VIII-inch and one 6-inch rifled gun, all in pivot; has single engine, low pressure, directacting, with inclined cylinder; no bulwarks and no boarding nettings, and can go 9 knots. She has 65 people on board, all told; only 5 or 6 of them Southerners, 20 or 25 Northerners, who have been pressed, and all the rest English, French, etc. He is confident that more than half of them will mutiny and take the vessel from the officers on the first opportunity; 8 of them are already in irons for drawing a cutlass on an officer and for mutinous conduct. She is commanded by Lieutenant Commanding Murphey. She has also Lieutenant Bradford, Masters Walker and Moore, Passed Midshipman [William F.] Robinson, Midshipmen Vaughan and Myers, Paymaster Richardson, Doctor Hayes , Chief Engineer Lining, Assistant Engineers Killpatrick, Williams, and Hayes, and Pilot Sutton. There is but slack discipline on board, the men doing pretty much as they please, but getting flogged occasionally. They are on half rations, but what they get is good.
About February 5 the Selma took on board about 100 extra men from the ram and the two floating batteries at town and started down, intending to carry some one of our vessels by boarding, but ran afoul of an iron-pointed snag or pile near Dog River Bar and sunk in 8 feet water. She was pumped out, taken back, docked, and repaired in about a week. On or about the 13th she came down to Spanish River battery (on the eastern shore of the bay), which is built of timber and sand, and is protected by a double thickness of railroad iron for the purpose of testing it (all the batteries about the city and on the shores of the bay are of similar construction). She opened upon the battery from outside the obstructions at 300 yards distance, without effect, as the shot all fell off without penetrating. She then moved around, inside the obstructions, to within 200 yards, when eight of the IX-inch solid shot went entirely through the battery. In leaving, she broke the piston rod and went to town for repairs. On the 19th she came down to Grants Pass to relieve the Morgan, and the next day these three deserters left her. The gunboats relieve each other at Grants Pass month and month about, and while at town they entertain a great deal.
The gunboats Morgan and Gaines are of similar general construction with the Selma, but larger, and drawing about the same amount of water (6 feet). They are, however, high pressure and can go 10 knots. They carry, each, six VIII-inch guns in broadside and two 6-inch rifles in pivot. They have 120 people, all told, but the men are mostly Spanish, Irish, and Dutch, although seamen. Commander Hunter, of the Gaines, was ordered to send the English consul out some time ago in the Crescent, but he also came out in his own vessel, for which he was arrested, and is now being tried by court-martial. Admiral Buchanan said if he had been in our place at the time he would have sunk the Gaines and everybody in her. Commander McBlair has the Morgan.
The old, high-pressure, side-wheel steamboat Baltic has been fitted up as a ram, protected with iron forward and with cotton aft, but she is slow and unmanageable, never having made over 5 knots, and on the only occasion of her having come down the bay, having been twenty-four hours in going from town to Fort Morgan. She draws 8 feet and is commanded by Lieutenant Johnston.
Two other rams have been completed at Selma, and are now on their way down the river, but as they only travel by day, partly for fear of snags and partly lest they should be towed under, theyare not expected before the 1st of March. They have the machinery all on board, and the guns (two XI-inch for each) are all ready at Mobile. So soon as they can be prepared for service Admiral Buchanan intends to attack the blockading vessels on the bar with them and the gunboats, for the purpose of raising the blockade. He will attempt both ramming and boarding. It is generally understood in Mobile that this will occur about the 10th or 15th of March.
There are also two floating ironclad batteries or covered scows nearly completed at Mobile; one, the smaller, with perpendicular sides and mounting two guns, which is to be stationed at Grants Pass; and the other and larger one, with rounded sides, but mounting only one gun, to be stationed opposite Fort Morgan in the Main Ship Channel.
On or about the 14th, an infernal machine, consisting of a submarine boat, propelled by a screw which is turned by hand, capable of holding 5 persons, and having a torpedo which was to be attached to the bottom of a vessel and exploded by means of clockwork, left Fort Morgan at 8 p. m. in charge of the Frenchman. who invented it. The intention was to come up at Sand Island, get the bearing and distance of the nearest vessel, dive under again and operate upon her; but on emerging they found themselves so far outside of the island and in so strong a current (setting out) that they were forced to cut the torpedo adrift and make the best of their way back. The attempt will be renewed as early as possible, and three or four others are being constructed for the purpose.
There are from 5,000 to 6,000 troops in Mobile (exclusive of Forts Morgan and Gaines), and the city is surrounded with batteries extending halfway down each shore of the bay. The men live in intrenched camps. There is and has been no talk of attacking Pensacola or any other place; on the contrary, there is constant apprehension of an attack from Pensacola by way of Blakely, where a heavy picket of cavalry is posted. There is also one company of cavalry at and about the Lagoon, to guard the salt works (which are a private speculation); but, besides these two, there are no rebel troops in the direction of Pensacola.
There are from 120 to 125 guns mounted in Fort Morgan in two tiers, mostly pointing to seaward and across the channel and with but few commanding the [Navyll Cove; 5 or 6 pf these are XI-inch. Fort Gaines has but 27 guns mounted; 3 others 1 XI-inch, 1 IX-inch, and 1 6-inch rifle are mounted on Fort Grant, an earthwork near the pass, within 100 yards of the usual anchorage occupied by the gunboats guarding that locality. There are no guns remaining on Cedar Point. All these forts are under the command of Colonel Powell. General Buckner is in command at Mobile, and General Kirby Smith, together with four or five other general officers, are now in the city.
The work of obstructing the passage of mortar and other light-draft vessels on the flats between the two forts, Morgan and Gaines, is nearly completed; it consists of 4 rows of piles, the rows 5 feet apart, and the piles of each row 2 feet or less; they stand firm and do not wash away. The piles are not taken from Grants Pass, as supposed, but from a depot in that vicinity. No attempt has been made to clear away any of the passes leading into the sound, and it is still difficult to pass through them in a small boat. The piles are sloped toward the sound and their ends are pointed and tipped with iron.
The steamer Alice slipped out in a fog on the 14th or 15th, with 500 bales of cotton. There are no other steamers inside now, but some half dozen schooners are all ready to run. The Oreto was white-washed outside on the night of her coming out. An ironclad screw steamer, well armed and equipped, is expected daily from England, as also is the steamer Cuba, with a valuable cargo.
The rebel officers have tried in vain to make out the system of signals used by the blockading force. This deserter had their signal book secreted on his person before starting, but thought the risk too great and put it back again.
Three seagoing ironclad steamers are being built at Selma and are expected to be finished and ready for service by the 1st of April.
Some months ago it was proposed to attack Ship Island by going down through the sound, but no volunteers could be obtained for the purpose, and no thought of such a project has been entertained since."

CAPT A M Pennock, Fleet Captain, Mississippi Squadron telegrams LCDR Leroy Fitch, USS Lexington, "Paymaster Boggs informed me that two barges were ordered to be left for you. Buy what coal you need. Telegraph me a summary of your proceedings up Tennessee River. Send it in cipher if you deem it proper." In a second telegram he send "Detach Acting Ensign [James] Marshall from the Lexington and order him to Cairo to report to me without delay."

LCDR Fitch writes CAPT Pennock, "Your telegrams received. Will send detailed report of proceedings up the Tennessee by Acting Ensign Marshall. I caught a rise in the Tennessee and got 6 miles above Florence. Van Dorn crossed most of his forces above, the shoals out of our reach. Chased the Dunbar above Big [Great] Mussel Shoals. She can never get below again. Clifton was burned by our forces from Lexington. Brought down and turned over to provost-marshal at Paducah 55 guerrillas; also brought out some 40 families-refugees. Found guerrillas opposite Florence. Force gone from Corinth to catch them." In a second letter he writes "I left Paducah on the 18th instant and proceeded up the Tennessee with the gunboats Lexington, Fairplay, St. Clair, Brilliant, and Robb. Just above Fort Henry we met a rise, which enabled the boats to go on up the river without hindrance. It was reported that the rebels had batteries at Clifton, but when we arrived there early in the forenoon of the 20th, I found the town in flames and our forces from Lexington in possession. They had managed to find a small flat somewhere during the previous day, and during the night Captain Newell managed to cross a squad of some 60 men unobserved by the enemy. Just before day the town was surrounded, and the guerrillas completely surprised. Most of them were taken before they got out of bed. By request of Captain Adamson I lay by and assisted him back across the river. I also took his prisoners, numbering 54, on board the gunboats, as he had little means of getting them to Lexington. After getting on board the prisoners 40 of his men were taken on board the gunboats and landed on Eagle Nest Island, where it was reported the rebels had stores, but we did not find any. It took till after dusk to land his men on the mainland again, when the gunboats proceeded on up the river. As it was reported that batteries were planted at Tuscumbia Landing, and the weather being so stormy and bad as to prevent the boats from running at night, I stopped at Chickasaw about 3 in the afternoon of the 21st and lay up that night, the distance being too great for me to make Tuscumbia Landing before dark or find any suitable place to tie up between the two points. We found no batteries along the river, but saw some guerrilla cavalry on the hills between Chickasaw and Florence. We arrived at Florence before noon, and found some rebel cavalry pickets opposite, but they soon disappeared.
I sent the St. Clair, Brilliant, and Robb on up to the foot of Big [Great Mussel Shoals, about 6 miles above, with the hope of catching the Dunbar at the foot of them, but I am sorry to say the rebels succeeded in getting her above three or four days before we got up, they having had the rise that much ahead of us. While this boat and the Lexington lay at Florence, a squad of guerrillas made so bold as to come down on the hills opposite to watch our motions, but three shells from the Lexington soon dispersed them. At Florence I found one flat, which I had destroyed. As soon as the boats from above returned I started down the river, stopping at places along to pick up refugee families. I brought out a great number of families, with what few traps the guerrillas had left them, besides some 80 or 90 bales of cotton belonging to Union men and liable to fall into the enemy's hands. On my arrival at Paducah I turned the prisoners over to Colonel Dougherty, as I did not want to bother you with the disposal of them. Among the number are 2 captains and 1 adjutant, 4 conscripts, and 48 privates."

CAPT Pennock telegrams LCDR Fitch, "If Springfield can possibly be spared, I desire that you send her down here, as we need her services very much. Can't you do without the down-river pilots? We need them here."

RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, writes COL Charles Rivers Ellet, Ram Fleet, "Proceed up the river until you meet the Switzerland. Take her and supply yourself with enough rebel cotton to properly protect her machinery."

LCDR Watson Smith, 1st Division, Mississippi Squadron, writes LT John V Johnston, USS forest Rose "The admiral having restored Acting Master George W. Brown to the command of the Forest Rose, you are hereby detached from that vessel and will report to Lieutenant-Commander John G. Walker for duty on board the Baron De Kalb. Deliver to Acting Master Brown any instructions or orders that you may have received during his absence from the vessel."

RAM Porter writes SECNAV " I am very much embarrassed for want of authority to order courts-martial in this squadron. In fact, under the present arrangement an officer or man may commit any offense and not be tried for it, for he will have to be kept in confinement until the Department is heard from. The witnesses in the meantime may have gone up or down the river, and no chance of getting them together again without detaching a vessel for a length of time from public service.
I have now eleven cases that should receive the severest punishment the law could inflict.
First, Isaiah Reeder, pilot of the Queen of the West, who refused duty when she was fitted to run the batteries at Vicksburg, and endeavored to persuade the crew to leave the vessel, using the most seditious language. The evidence against him is absent; some of them captives.
James Montgomery, pilot of the Queen, who, without doubt, treacherously ran her on shore when she was lost and proclaimed himself a secessionist. He also ran the New Era No. 5 on shore under what he supposed to be a battery.
R. H. Smith, commanding a tug, attempted to run away with her and deliver her up at Vicksburg.
Two ensigns for sleeping on their watch when the vessel was on guard duty. One mate for desertion. One ensign for repeated disturbances on board ship; and three or four seamen for positive refusal to do any more duty under the flag.
I can only keep these persons in confinement until such time as the vessels to which they are attached come into port, and when ordered by the Department to try them, when so useful are the services of every vessel that I can not detain them until I hear from the Department.
Surrounded as we are by traitors, it requires the most summary justice to be dealt out without loss of time. Officers can desert or be treacherous and hope to escape by the laws delay.
If the President will consider this within the waters of an enemy and authorize me to act as on a foreign station, I will promise the Department that not another act of treachery, desertion, or insubordination shall occur in this squadron.
We are fighting for our national existence against a foe that knows no honor; a foe who surrounds us with spies and creatures who can destroy one of our vessels without fear of immediate punishment; and one who deals with those of ours who re-fuse to serve him without any mercy.
This matter deserves the serious attention of the Government, and I hope the Department will excuse me for so earnestly urging it."

CAPT Pennock telegrams Paymaster W B Boggs, "We have large quantity of coal to send to fleet. We want three more towboats. Can not procure any here. The admiral is urgent in his orders to have this coal sent immediately."

SECNAV writes CMDR J B Hull, SUPSHIPS St Louis, "Your weekly report of the 18th instant has been received.
As the vessels constructing under supervision are wanted at as early a date as possible, the Department would urge upon you the necessity of hurrying up the contractors in every possible way, so that the Government may soon have the services of these important vessels."

LT Byron Wilson, USS Mound City, writes RAD Porter, "I have the satisfaction of reporting that the soldiers detailed to this vessel from the Fifty-eighth Ohio Volunteers have conducted themselves like soldiers. They seem to take considerable interest in the drills. They have already acquired a considerable degree of proficiency in the working of the great guns. The only fault I have to find is in the want of uniform dress.
I never received the order with reference to making reports on these soldiers till day before yesterday."

RADM Porter and MGEN Grant issue a Treasury Regulations Agreement "For the purpose of more effectually preventing all commercial intercourse between insurrectionary and loyal States, and of securing consistent, uniform, and efficient action in conducting trade with any places or sections in insurrectionary States opened to trade pursuant to law, the following rules shall be observed throughout the States of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama:
First. No place or section in the said States shall be regarded as possessed and controlled by the forces of the United States until after the general commanding the department in which such place or section is situated, and the naval officer commanding the Mississippi Squadron concurring, shall so declare it in writing to the Secretary of the Treasury.
Second. No goods, wares, or merchandise (except sutlers supplies, and other supplies for the exclusive use of the army and navy) shall be permitted by any military, naval, or civil officer to go to any place or section in the States above named, until after such place or section shall be in manner aforesaid declared as possessed and controlled by the forces of the United States.
Third. No cotton or other productions of the States aforesaid shall be permitted by any military, naval, or civil officer to go from any place or section in the States above named until after such place or section shall be declared in manner aforesaid as possessed and controlled by the forces of the United States.
Fourth. After declaration as aforesaid, all commercial intercourse with any place or section so declared as possessed and controlled by the forces of the United States shall be conducted exclusively under the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury, and no military or naval officer shall permit or prohibit any trade with or transportation to or from any such place or section, except when requested to aid in preventing violations of the conditions of any clearance or permit granted under said regulations, and in cases of unlawful traffic, or unless absolutely necessary to the successful execution of military or naval plans or movements, in such place or section.
Fifth. No place or section in the States aforesaid south of Helena shall be regarded as possessed and controlled by the forces of the United States until after declaration made as aforesaid. Places and sections in said States north of Helena and within the military lines of the United States Army shall be so regarded, and trade therewith shall be conducted under regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury.
Sixth. All military and naval orders heretofore issued and conflicting herewith shall be revoked.
I hereby approve the within rules, and recommend their adoption so far as regards the Department of the Tennessee."

MGEN C L Stevenson, CSA, 2nd District, Department of MISS and Eastern LA, writes MGEN U S Grant, USA, "I am instructed by lieutenant-general commanding this department to transmit to you the enclosed copy of a notice purporting to have been issued by Admiral David D. Porter, U. S. Navy. I request that you will inform me whether this document is authentic; and if it be, whether the operations of any part of the forces under you are to be conducted in accordance with the principles announced by Admiral Porter or those of civilized warfare?
While the troops of this Confederacy whom I have the honor to command will actively repel the invasion of our territory by the forces of the United States, it is my desire that their operations shall be in according with the usages of war, of humanity, and of civilization. I shall deplore the necessity of any departure from them. Therefore I hope this notice of Admiral Porter is not authentic, or that it will be reconsidered, and that in no case will its threats be executed, because I am instructed to say, if they are, the fullest retaliation will be inflicted upon the Federal prisoners now in our hands, or whom we may capture, and no quarter will be given to any officer, soldier, or citizen of the United States taken in the act of burning houses, laying waste the plantations, or otherwise wantonly destroying the property of the citizens of this Confederacy; and that all such persons suspected or having been guilty of such acts will not, if taken, be treated as prisoners of war, but will be kept in close confinement.
Relying upon your disposition to cooperate with me in averting the necessity for a resort to such measures..."

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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