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last update Saturday, 08-Apr-2017 12:17:04 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, 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
Assistant Engineer William P Brooke, CSN
Wed Jun 25 1862

CDR Craven, USS Tuscarora, writes to SECNAV that upon completion of minor repairs he intends to go to London as requested by Honorable Mr. Moran. "I have the honor to suggest that any important communications from the Navy Department to me be folded as private letters, and without the official frank, as nearly all of the letters from the Department which came to me at Gibraltar came with seals broken and mutilated envelopes. I of course do not know if I have received all you have sent me, but it is evident that letters are opened in England."

FO Louis Goldsborough, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes to SECNAV that 6 men have volunteered for the duty of blowing up the Petersburg bridge. He has sent them up the river. The submarine propeller went up the James River as well yesterday.

FO Goldsborough telegrams MGEN McClellan "Enquire at the White House whether two additional gunboats have yet reached there."

BGEN Vliet telegrams FO Goldsborough "I am sorry that you should consider my telegram as mandatory, as it was certainly not so intended. The commanding general merely desired your cooperation in carrying out an important duty. The general is now in front, where a sharp fight is going on, or I should submit your telegram to him to be answered."

MGEN McClellan telegrams SECNAV "I would state that it was not my intention to give an order to Flag-Officer Goldsborough, but merely to request his cooperation in carrying out a measure, upon the success of which the safety of this army might depend. As the flag-officer appears so ready to take exceptions to my requests, I beg that he may receive positive orders not only to convoy these supply vessels up James River, but also to cooperate with this army so far as is in his power."

CDR Rogers, SOPA James River, telegrams MGEN McClellan, "Four thousand troops in vicinity of Petersburg, and pickets everywhere. Execution must be prompt or a division would come from Richmond. Positive official information showing bridge 250 feet long; private, from 50 to 80 (about 50) high. The banks above command our decks. Men, screened by trees, fire and disappear before we can reply. An intolerable annoyance. Horse artillery put nine shot through the Jacob Bell and got off before assistance could arrive. We can fight when needed, but we can not be in the narrow part of the river idle. Panther, {Presumably a gun battery} on right or west bank of river, has heavy guns. Both sides must be taken before we can work at removing obstructions."

CDR Drayton, SOPA, Stonor River orders LT Bankhead, USS Pembina, to take the place of the USS Ellen until the Ellen is repaired.

CDR Marchand, SOPA Charleston, writes to FO Samuel Du Pont, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron , a report of several interviews conducted with prisoners. According to them, the main channel is blocked by stakes allowing only one ship at a time. James Island has 11,000 troops and they think we have 13,000. The city is deserted by women and furniture and completely defenseless. A single gunboat could take the city provided they got past the guns. The tents the Seneca shelled the other day were workers tents for the fortress they are building.

LCOL A W Ellet, Ram Fleet writes to SECWAR that he has been successful in communicating with FO Farragut by sending four men through the swamps and pickets of the enemy. He has been asked to close the Yazoo and to inform FO Davis that Farragut is planning to attack Vicksburg in a day or two. In a letter to FO Davis, Western Waters, he quotes Farragut "If Commodore Davis's ironclad gunboats could be present, they would add greatly to the chance of success without much loss of life, which is always desirable in such cases. If you can communicate with him that the affair will come off in a day or two, you will greatly oblige me."

SECNAV writes to FO Davis that perhaps a ditch could be dug around the island across from Vicksburg where the Mississippi runs shallowly. He wants Davis to investigate the possibility, but to be cautious as well.

FO Farragut writes to CDR DeCamp, USS Wissahickon, that if successful in running past Vicksburg he is to take three other ships with him and go up the Yazoo doing as much damage to the rebels as possible taking with him the ram fleet and using them as possible.

FO Farragut publishes his general orders for the attack on Vicksburg at 4AM the next morning saying that if successful the Wissahickon, Sciota, Winona, and Pinola will continue on to the Yazoo.

CDR Winslow, USS Cincinnati, writes to FO Charles H Davis, Western Waters, saying that he arrived at St Charles on Saturday, but his pilot assured him the river was falling and he must leave or be stranded. COL Fitch destroyed all property that might be useful to the rebels and they left for the mouth of the White River. Two seamen were killed by small arms fire coming down. He has no further use for the ironclads and sends them up to Memphis.

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.

14 APR 2017 TLGV HQ
Danielson CT
21 APR 2017 Sprague Land Trust
Bolton Rd.
Jupiter and Deep Sky Observing
19 MAY 2017 TLGV HQ
Danielson CT
Light Pollution 101
11 JUN 2017 Camp Laurel
Clubhouse Rd
Acorn Adventures Letterboxing
16 JUN 2017 Sprague Land Trust
Bolton Rd.
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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