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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
RADM David Dixon Porter and MGEN George Meade
Wed Dec 14 1864

CAPT H S Stellwagon, USS Constellation, writes SECNAV from Havana, Cuba "I have the honor to report my arrival in a norther at this place upon the 12th instant. I shall sail to-morrow morning if the wind is favorable.
    There are lying here several suspicious steamers, being reputed to be blockade runners. They are painted the usual lead color and lightly sparred, as is the custom with those so engaged. One of these steamers flies a flag which, in the absence of official information, I suppose to be rebel. It is white, with a red union, in which is a blue cross connecting the corners diagonally. Upon my speaking of this on the Spanish admirals vessel, I was informed that it is merely worn as an ornament, a thing not the more strange from the fact of her clearing and being nominally under English colors. It is thought she may be intended for more than a mere blockade runner. She is a long, low, three-masted screw steamer, with a round stern; her smokestack forward of the main- mast. - Her name is the Coquette.
    The Harriet Lane is here also under the English flag, and called the Lavinia."

First Assistant Engineer Abraham W Harris, writes LCDR John G Walker, USS Saco "I am not able to maintain our 20 pounds of steam safely, in consequence of another boiler giving out, which now makes five boilers out of the fourteen that are entirely useless.
    I am not able to obtain over 20 revolutions with the main engines under the most favorable circumstances in smooth water, which is giving us from 1½ to 2 knots per hour. Should we have heavy weather and a head wind, we would not be able to steam ahead at all.
    I respectfully recommend that we put into the nearest harbor."

RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, writes LCDR Young, USS Sangamon "Just now I have word that communication is open with General Sherman at Ossabaw, and I shall go there by way of the Creek to Wassaw.
    Let the pilots be active in placing the buoys to go up the river and keep a vigilant eye on the movements of our troops and the enemy."

Master Charles G Loring, III, USS Sunflower, writes SECNAV "On the night of December 6, 1864, at 9:10 p. m., I seized the sloop Pickwick for attempting to violate the blockade. By the prize master I sent all the papers found on board, together with the captain and crew, to Key West. I captured her near the coast of Florida, in latitude 28°, longitude 83° 10', the nearest land bearing east, 12 miles distant. My reasons for regarding her as a prize are:
    1st. The position in which she was found when captured, taken with the captain's statement that he was bound from Havana to Matamoras, and had steered west ever since leaving port.
    2d. The fact that when first seen the vessel had all sail set, but about the time she must have seen us the sails were lowered and she came to anchor.
    3d. Although we saw the sloop lower her sails, yet when we hailed her, ten minutes after, all hands pretended to be asleep.
    4th. The character of the cargo and the class of vessel, one consisting of the articles most required in the rebel States and the other being peculiarly adapted to running the blockade at the place where she was captured.
    No other vessel was in sight at the time of the capture. Enclosed I send the prize list."

{COL} James E Montgomery, USA, Chief of Staff, District of West FL and South AL, writes Master N M Dyer, USS Rodolph "As soon as your transport is loaded, you will proceed forthwith to the channel east of Round Island, Mississippi Sound, leading into East Pascagoula, and there rendezvous about 5 miles from East Pascagoula wharf and await further orders from headquarters boat Laura."

LCOL A J Alexander, Chief of Staff, Military Division of the Mississippi, writes BGEN K W Johnson, 6th Division Cavalry Corps "I am instructed to inform you that Commodore Fitch will drop down in the morning and open on the rebel battery at Bell's Landing., This battery is opposite and near Davidson's house as was supposed, and the general commanding thinks, by moving with rapidity, you can capture it."

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




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