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last update Thursday, 04-Apr-2019 05:20:15 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
CAPT Raphael Semmes, CSN commander of the Alabama, a fast commerce destroyer, considered a privateer by the Union
Sun May 22 1864

CDR N Collins, USS Wachusett writes SECNAV from Bahia, Brazil "I have remained here several days beyond what was otherwise necessary in consequence of bad weather and to ascertain the character and destination of the English brigantine Adelaide, which had 200 tons of coal, a quantity of powder, and a rebel flag on board.
    Having information that the greater part of her cargo is already discharged, and that it is not intended for rebel cruisers, I will leave here this evening to carry out your instructions of the 27th of January last.
    Upon the recommendation of Surgeon William M. King I send this day to New York Edward Waters, seaman, and Jacob Outen, ordinary seaman, invalids."

LCDR T H Eastmanm, Fleet Captain, Potomac Flotilla, telegrams LT Edward Hooker, 1st Division, Potomac Flotilla,"Send along the Fuchsia and act according to former orders. Captain Parker is out on the river. Send me report of news every twenty-four hours."

LT Hooker telegrams ASSIST SECNAV "Transports Keyport (with tow) and L. Baker are here all right, convoyed by Fuchsia."

LT Robert Tarr, USS Queen, writes RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron from Hampton Roads "I have the honor to report the arrival of the above-named vessel, under my command, having left New York 20th instant, 4 p. m."

ENS John C Pegram, USN writes RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron "I would respectfully submit the following, as a means of destroying obstructions, consisting of piles or other heavy material, in Charleston Harbor.
    The powder (coarse-grained, glazed cannon powder) intended for the explosion is to be contained in cigar-shaped barrels, covered with pitch to exclude moisture, and lead (or other metal of sufficient specific gravity) to sink below the surface. Spars or masts are to be stepped in the barrels and connected with floats, the object of which is to keep the barrels at a fixed distance below the xvater line (say 4 or 6 feet). These floats or buoys to be firmly connected with the barrels or torpedoes by diagonal iron braces. The whole to be kept steady on a given course by a large rudder lashed amidships. A square sail is to be bent to the two masts to assist the tide in giving the torpedoes the momentum necessary to ignite the bursting charge by forcing home the piston F.
    The fuze is a hollow brass or composition barrel, screwed into the torpedo and lined inside with friction powder. This is ignited by the serrated end of the piston F coming in sharp contact with it, when the button T brings up against the obstruction.
    It occurs to me, sir, that with a fair wind and flood tide, if several of these contrivances were started into the harbor from different points, some would bring up against the obstructions, and the torpedo being in such close contact with them at the time of explosion, they would be shattered by the force of the gunpowder."
It is endorsed by Dalhgren "The above is submitted as the idea of a clever young officer, and might be made useful."

CAPT J B Marchand, USS Lackawanna, writes a general order "A boat will leave the ship before dark to keep between her and the east end of Sand Island, at a distance of 150 to 250 yards from the ship. Should a vessel be seen coming out, a white light will be held steadily up in the boat until the officer slowly counts ten.
    Should a supposed torpedo be seen, the light will be waved slowly from side to side, and the boat to pull for and ascertain its character If it should prove a torpedo, as many muskets to be fired from the boat as possible to notify the ship of danger. When an object is seen, whether vessel or torpedo, the officer of the boat will notify the ship through a speaking trumpet.
    Should the ship go in chase, the picket boat will go to the nearest vessel for shelter.
    The picket boat on approaching any vessel or boat will either be hailed or hail, then lay upon the oars, the answer to be Lackawanna's picket boat, but not to go alongside of any vessel until ordered.
    Should the picket boat be required to return to the ship, the pipe for side boys, or three white flashes from a lantern will be made."

MAJ C T Christensen, USA, Assistant Adjutant-General writes LCDR Prichett, USN "I am instructed by the major-general commanding to request that you will be pleased to send to him, to the care of the commanding officer at Vicksburg, Miss., as early as possible, any official communications or bearers of dispatches that may have arrived at your post from General Steele; and also any information that you may possess in regard to the movements of our forces and of those of the rebels in Arkansas. The commanding general will also be obliged for any information that you may possess respecting the troops at Pine Bluff and Arkansas Post, and if, so far as you know, the rebels have crossed the Arkansas River with the view of operating against General Steele's communications between that river and the White River."

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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