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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
Master J P Bullock, CSN
Wed Oct 19 1864

SECNAV writes Messrs Ludlam, Heieken, & Co "I have received your letter of the 13th instant. As definite information could be obtained regarding the Roanoke, vessels could at once be dispatched after her. At present the U. S. S. Shenandoah is cruising off the Florida coast and our supply steamers are passing to and from the Gulf. The Fort Morgan sailed on the l5th instant, and the Circassian will sail in a day or two. The last-named vessel will be instructed to bear in mind the Roanoke on her outward passage, and Acting Rear Admiral Stribling will be directed to call the attention of the vessels he may have cruising in the Bahamas to the missing steamer, so that they may make search within the limits of their cruising grounds."

Master William Clark, USS Onward, writes SECNAV "I have the honor to make you the following report: I received an order at Bahia from Commander Collins, of the Wachusett, to proceed along the southern coast of Brazil and to touch at all ports, and to refit ship at Santos. The day before yesterday (October 17) I heard the news of the capture of the Florida by the Wachusett in the harbor of Bahia. The news has created great excitement in Brazil. Santos is within sixteen hours communication with Rio de Janeiro and the U. S. minister knows that I am in this port. I am anxiously awaiting his orders by the mail of the 22d. The ship is in perfect order."

SECNAV writes LT H Churchill, USS Circassian, "On your passage to the Gulf bear in mind the missing steamer Roanoke, which left Havana on the 29th ultimo, and it is feared has been captured by desperadoes who took passage in her, and keep a good lookout for her. You are authorized to deviate from your usual track, if you think proper, with a view of looking into any suspicious locality, provided your voyage is not materially delayed thereby."

CDR Foxhall A Parker, Potomac Flotilla, telegrams SECNAV "I have just learned that one of the torpedo boats of Admiral Porter's fleet ran into the Great Wicomico River some days since and was captured by the rebels. The Commodore Read and Mercury went into the river and shelled the rebels, who were forced to destroy the boat, but succeeded in getting her 12-pounder howitzer, and in taking her officers and crew, twelve in number, prisoners. I will send by letter full particulars as soon as I can ascertain them."

LT Edward Hooker, 1st Division, Potomac Flotilla,writes CDR Parker, "I herewith enclose the report of Acting Ensign Nelson, commanding the Mercury, upon the capture of picket boat No. 2, and of subsequent operations on the [Great] Wicomico River.
    Having heard from shore of the capture, I proceeded to the [Great] Wicomico yesterday morning, and learned that on Monday night (subsequent to the closing of Acting Ensign Nelsons report) the enemy opened fire upon the Mercury, doing, however, no damage. The fire was promptly returned, and from refugees I learn resulted in killing one and wounding several. At 9.30 a. m. (18th), I went to quarters and proceeded some distance up the river, but could not bring the enemy out, although we occasionally saw a picket in the woods or undergrowth. I therefore shelled the woods on all sides for a while, and returning to the mouth of Cockles [Cockrell] Creek, anchored, and kept strict watch to see if any one appeared. At about 1 p. m. a large body of cavalry was seen coming down the road, but they took good care to keep out of range, and finally disappeared into the woods. Still later, a picket of two men was discovered in the edge of some woods near the ship. A shell from No. 2 pivot, which was directed with admirable precision, made them leave in haste. A small force showing themselves farther up, I sent the Mercury to shell the woods where they were. At sunset a new set of pickets showed themselves in the woods near us. I therefore fired a few more shells into these woods. At dark I left for the Rappahannock.
    The wreck of the picket boat is in sight up Rising Creek, one of the small creeks making off from the river.
    Seven refugees which I picked up I sent to the provost-marshal at Point Lookout by the Currituck, which vessel came down in the afternoon to learn the cause of the firing. They report that the guerrillas are ordered to join the Army at Richmond; they estimate the number at from 500 to 800 in this region. They had no other news of any importance."

CDR E G Parrott, USS Canonicus, writes CMDR William radford, Division of Ironclads, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, from Wilson's Wharf, James River "We have arrived at this place, and I regret to inform you that our main pillow block of the crank bearing is broken across the key hole of the holding-down bolt on the port side. I believe it can be repaired in three days, but it is not now considered safe to turn the engines. It will be necessary to have two tugs or other propellers alongside to take her back to Norfolk, as she would not steer with a tow ahead. I have sent for them to City Point, to be, asked for from the Navy or Army. As there may be some delay in getting them would it not be well to send us assistance from Norfolk or Hampton Roads? I hope our services may be considered of sufficient importance to make this worth while. I am very anxious to have the repairs made in time." He adds on the 20th "We are on our way down, towed by two army tugs, but moving slowly."

RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, writes Naster J K Crosby, USS Harvest Moon "You will proceed with the U. S. S. Harvest Moon under your command to Savannah River, Wassaw, Ossabaw, Sapelo, and Doboy, and communicate with the vessels there, in order to collect the sailors votes already distributed for that purpose. A number of ballots will be given you, in order to enable the men to vote.
    The commanders of vessels will give you every facility, and endorse on your order the time of your arrival and departure at each station.
    No detention must occur, as the time is short. It is supposed you can accomplish this purpose in two days or three at the furthest, but sooner if possible."

LT Charles M Fauntleroy, CSS Rappahannock, writes FO S Barron from Calais, "The captain of the port officially notified me to-day that on Monday next the water would be let out of this basin, and would so remain, for purposes of repairs to the dock, for several months. It will be necessary, therefore, to land both coal and provisions; accordingly, I am proceeding. As coal can be had here at all times on purchase, I recommend that we sell what we have, rather than suffer it to deteriorate by long exposure to the weather. The chamber of commerce have placed a store room at our disposition for our provisions, etc. I find much of my bread unfit for use, in consequence of leakage induced by the former grounding of the ship."

LT John Sherrill, USS Stars and Stripes writes RADM S K Stribling, East Gulf Blockading Squadron, from off St. Marks "I have the honor to report to you that having learned of the existence of a valuable and extensive Government fishery on Marsh's Island, on the north side of the Ocklockonee River, I dispatched an expedition last night, Consisting of the launch, first and second cutters of this vessel, with armed crews, the whole under the command of Acting Master George E. Hill, to destroy it, and do such other injury to the enemy as the circumstances and opportunity might permit.
    The expedition returned at 9 o'clock this morning, Mr. Hill having landed at daybreak with 30 men, fully accomplishing the object for which it was sent. All the permanent fixtures of the establishment, consisting of the fish and dwelling houses and the kettles of the salt works attached to the fishery, were entirely destroyed, a large and valuable seine and 2 fishing boats captured, together with 16 Confederate soldiers (2 of them sergeants) detailed tor the purpose of operating and guarding the works. I am happy to add that the whole was accomplished without any loss on our part.
    When I inform you that this was regarded as one of the most important and reliable fisheries on this coast, furnishing large supplies not only to the interior districts of this State, but also to the commissariat of the rebel Army, I think that you will join with me in regarding those by whom the expedition was so efficiently carried out as entitled to the favorable consideration of the proper authorities.
    To the enterprise and clear judgment of Mr. Hill the success of the expedition is chiefly due, and for this and his long and faithful services in the Navy I would most cordially recommend him for promotion.
    I would further beg to refer to Acting Ensign 0. S. Roberts, who displayed on this occasion that degree of zeal and intelligence that my knowledge of his antecedents led me to expect of him. His advancement to a higher grade would be but a just recognition of those qualities.
    The prisoners belong mostly to the Second and Fifth Florida Cavalry, and I shall send them to Key West by the first convenience for your disposition."

SECNAV writes RADM Stribling "It is feared that the steamer Roanoke, which sailed from Havana on the 29th ultimo for New York, has been captured by a party of rebels, who are reported to have taken passage in her. She is a side-wheel steamer of about 1,050 tons.
    Advise any vessels you may have cruising among the Bahamas of the fact of the Roanoke being missing and direct them to make a search for her within the limits of their cruising grounds."

RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes SECNAV "I beg to state to the Department that in consequence of the yellow fever in New Orleans nearly all work has been stopped upon our vessels in that port; but Pensacola is being daily better prepared for making us independent of the former.
    If the commanding officers of the navy yards could be instructed to send us down by the supply steamers machinists and boiler makers, ten or fifteen of each, engaged, as the last were, by Admiral Paulding, signing a written agreement to work as long as we require them or until the end of the war, we could do nearly all our work in Pensacola.
    I will state to the Department that we have thus far sent home but one vessel for repairs, viz, the Brooklyn, which was done simply because I feared the ship might be wanted sooner than she could be repaired here. I would, however, call the attention of the Department to the fact that nearly every vessel in the fleet will have to undergo most extensive repairs on their boilers within the next three or four months; in truth, not half of them are fit to keep the sea now, and if I had an increase of twenty or thirty machinists and boiler makers I could make all the repairs required at Pensacola.
    We have had bow docks built and placed under the Monongahela, Lackawanna, and Ossipee and repaired their stems. The Monongahela had part of her stem taken out to within 2 feet of her keel. The Lackawanna, striking the ram a fair blow, was cut by the iron overhang through the entire stem and nearly through her apron. The repairs upon her will be finished in a few days. We only lack force in mechanics to do all our work."

LCDR James A Greer, USN, telegrams MGEN George H thomas, USA "Your dispatch is received. It is impossible to furnish an ironclad; besides, there is not water enough for them. I have sent three light-drafts to operate against Eastport."

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.

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