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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
USS Tyler helped save Grant's Army at the 2nd battle of Shiloh, TN
Mon Apr 20 1863

CDR T H Stevens, USS Sonoma, writes RADM Charles Wilkes, West India Squadron "In obedience to your instructions of the 7th of this month, I have visited Alacran Reef, where I arrived on the afternoon of the 13th, and found nothing to excite suspicion. The anchorage is a good and safe one and very accessible. The channel through the reef is well defined, as are all the dangers. For a vessel drawing 18 feet there is no trouble in entering.
    On Perez Island there are some fishermen's huts, three of the inhabitants of which I met and from them learned that no vessels, Confederate or otherwise, resorted there; indeed, as the small cays furnish neither wood nor water, the anchorage has no value saving as a shelter.
    On Tuesday the 14th, while on my way to Mugeres Island from Alacran, the Sonoma captured a vessel loaded with cotton and resin, having on board 156 bales of the former and 16 barrels of the latter. The Clyde (the name of the vessel) was under English colors, and was bound from Laguna to Havana. Her papers were generally correct, but, as the cargo came out of a Confederate vessel to the Clyde, and as she had the officers and crew of the Confederate on board, with nothing to show a transfer of property, I took possession of the vessel and cargo and sent them into Key West for adjudication in charge of Acting Ensign Charles Norton. The officers and crew of the Confederate schooner are on board the Sonoma.
    I looked in at Mugeres Island, as directed, and through the American steamer Hero, which I boarded just outside the harbor the evening I was off there,learned there was nothing occurring or had occurred there recently.
    I stopped also at Grand Cayman, where I had an interview with our consul, who had nothing to communicate. His impressions were that when the Agrippina left Grand Cayman, just before our arrival at that place in December, she rendezvoused at Swan Island, where she coaled the Alabama; but this hardly corresponds with Captain Blakes statement as to the locality where the Alabama about that time coaled.
    I deem it my duty to bring to your attention the crippled condition of this vessel, the cylinder and boilers of which are in such a condition as to be entirely unreliable. The injury to both is rapidly increasing by use, and besides the increase of fuel, owing to these causes, which is double in quantity, there is so great a loss of power as to make it impossible to get any speed out of the vessel, and as a chaser she is good for nothing. We were, fortunately, favored with remarkable weather, which enabled us to reach this rendezvous on the day appointed. We were obliged to stop twice to plug tubes, the boilers leaking badly and almost extinguishing the fires - once on Campeche Bank, under Cape Catoche, and at Grand Cayman. I enclose Mr. Rhoades's report upon the subject."

CDR Collins, USS Octorara, writes SECNAV "I have the honor to report that we, this day, at 3 p. m., in latitude about 26° 07' N., longitude about 76° 19 W., seized the English schooner W. Y. Leitch, of and from Nassau, New Providence, with a cargo of 250 sacks salt (though her clearance gives her only 200), bound to St. John, New Brunswick.
    In her certificate of British registry she is described as 60 feet long, 18-5/10 feet wide, and 7-2/10 feet depth of hold; total tonnage, 35. She was formerly the Charleston pilot boat No. 2. She is owned by A. J. Adderly, merchant, of Nassau. I send her to Key West in charge of Acting Ensign J. H. Wiley for adjudication.
    The excessive rate of wages - $60 per month being paid for the mate and $40 for seamen - her cargo, pretended destination, articles found among the private effects of the crew, and the length of time between clearing and departure from Nassau, all give evidence of her intention to violate the blockade."

CMDR Andrew A Harwood, Potomac Flotilla, writes SECNAV "I enclose herewith the copy of a letter from Acting Master Nelson Provost to Lieutenant-Commander Magaw, giving some information relative to the operations of the vessels belonging to the flotilla, and of the enemy in and near the Rappahannock."

MGEN Daniel Butterfield, USA, Army of the Potomac, writes LCDR Samuel Magaw, 1st Division, Potomac Flotilla, "The major-general commanding desires to be informed of the number of boats in the Potomac Flotilla, what you have, and where the boats are. He has been advised by the President that they will act under his orders. He desires that none should go away without his knowledge. He desires the same information with regard to the fleet of Commodore McCrea. Please answer."

LCDR J H Gillis, SOPA Yorktown, writes RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron "On the morning of the 31st ultimo, while going up Mobjack Bay, I discovered a vessel lying in North River, about a mile from the mouth. On boarding her she proved to be the sloop E. C. Delavan. She had regular papers, but there is not on any of them any limit to the number of men allowed to be employed on board, and she had at the time she was taken five men on board. I questioned the captain of her as to his reasons for being in that locality, and his excuse was that he had lost his way, and supposed he was in York River, for which place he had cleared. I think his excuse a trifling one, as he is perfectly familiar, according to his own account, with every spot of ground in this locality. At first he said that he had never been here before, but I have since learned that he has been engaged in the oyster business in York River for a number of years. He had been in North River since the night previous, and it was then 11 oclock in the day, and there was a fair wind to run to York River with, and the weather was not so thick but what I could discover the vessel at the distance of at least 3 miles.
    I did use the vessel on the following morning for the purpose of taking grain from the plantation of Mr. Patterson Smith, but supposed that under the circumstances I was justified in doing so. The damage done to the vessel, and of which he complains, does not amount to anything, and will be repaired by the carpenters mate of this vessel. His complaint of being taken on expeditions I can not consider a serious one, for I could not well spare more than a couple of men to look out for the sloop, and if he had been disposed to take advantage of my absence at any time could have easily recaptured the vessel, and I have therefore kept him on board this vessel for safe-keeping. The grain was turned over to the quartermaster as soon after I returned from the expedition as I could get it ashore. Hoping that this explanation may prove satifsactory,..."

Master W G Saltonstall, USS Commodore Hull, writes CDR Renshaw "In accordance with your instructions and the wishes of Major-General Foster, I got underway in this vessel at 1:30 p. m. of March 30, 1863, and dropped down river for a distance of half or three-quarters of a mile to a position where I could command with my guns the high land in the rear of the town, which I was directed to shell in case of the expected attack taking place. At a few minutes before 8 p. m., the signal of attack being made from the fort, I commenced firing from both my 30-pounder Parrott rifles upon the rear hills and roads leading into town, and so continued to do for fifty-five minutes, when I received orders from you to reduce my fire to one shot every half hour, which I continued to throw for two or three hours, when all becoming quiet on the town side, I ceased firing in that direction, having discharged thirty- eight rounds. At 10 p. m. I heard musketry and howitzer firing on the opposite side of the river, up the road leading from Rodman's Point, where Captain Lyons company of North Carolina volunteers had been stationed with orders to hold it at all hazards. I assisted him with a few howitzer shrapnel from time to time.
    Tuesday, March 31, 1863. - At 2 a. m. saw a flatboat, similar to that in which Captain Lyon had gone down, approaching my vessel. Sent a boat to communicate, which, returning, reported that our forces had been driven from the point by the enemy and been obliged to embark. Captain Lyon, however, announced his intention of returning to the point at dawn to ascertain the position of affairs. It rained very hard all the morning, and just at dawn musketry and howitzer firing was heard at the extreme point, and I soon distinguished the flatboat just clear of the land, sustaining and returning a very heavy fire. I immediately shelled the point, when the enemy hastily retreated, and the boat crossed the river. I sent a boat to her relief in charge of a master mate, who returned about noon, having been unable to tow the flat up river against the strong wind and tide. He also reported that the boats had been fired upon from a battery established during the night at Hill's Point, some 5 miles below, on the right river bank, opposite the barricade. Captain Lyon had assured him that, had it not been for the assistance of our shells in the morning, his whole force would have been killed. The afternoon and night passed quietly, with the exception of an occasional shell thrown at Rodman's Point whenever I observed anyone there. Your order, received during the afternoon, to proceed down river and shell the battery at Hill's Point, I was nimble to obey, owing to the extreme lowness of the water on the bar just below me, there being only 6½ feet while this vessel was drawing 8. During the night of Tuesday and morning of Wednesday, April 1, I kept as sharp a lookout as possible on Rodman's Point and at early dawn sent a boat to ascertain the depth of water in the channel with a view to carrying out your orders of the previous day with regard to Hill's Point, and with orders to approach as near as practicable to Rodman's Point to ascertain if any change had been made there during the night.
    At 5:45 a. m., just as my boat had regained the vessel, we were suddenly and warmly attacked from a battery of apparently four guns erected on Rodman's Point, at a distance of about 900 yards, and immediately afterwards by two fieldpieces stationed in a cornfield on the right bank of the river, on my port quarter, at a distance of between 700 and 800 yards. At once went to quarters and as warmly returned the fire from my after pivot gun on the Rodman's Point battery, and my forward pivot and the two port howitzers on the battery in cornfield. The after starboard howitzer carriage was disabled by the first shot of the enemy's striking it at the fighting bolt and smashing it badly.
    Alter using the after port howitzer for awhile, the slide got broken by the excessive recoil of the piece. I therefore shifted the gun and slide of one to the carriage of the other. I also transported my starboard forward howitzer aft to the port side, but a casting which I had had made here broke at the first fire, rendering it useless. Assisted by the fire of the Louisiana and Eagle (army boat), we soon caused the battery in the cornfield to cease firing, and change position to their right, thus relieving me a while from their fire, which was, however, soon renewed again. The action continued very hot for upwards of an hour and a half on both sides, when I found they had obtained my range so accurately that every shot was coming on board from Rodman's Point, and from our position, raking us, while the cornfield battery caused us to be in a bad cross fire. I therefore reluctantly concluded to get underway and try to change my position and their range, though I feared from the extreme lowness of the river and my position between two shoals that it would do me but little good, as their guns at Rodman's Point seemed all rifled, with apparently one or two Whitworths among them, and a 20-pounder Parrott. Still fighting my after pivot, I got up anchor and steamed up the channel for 150 yards, when the vessel touched on the sand shoal, and being unable to back her off, and the water still falling fast, she remained a fixture there for the rest of the day, soon being in 7 feet water. The tide, owing to the strong N. W. wind, unfortunately for us, was unusually low on that day. I now lay with our stern toward the Rodmans Point battery, and the cornfield battery well on my port quarter, the latter soon changing so far aft that I could bring no guns to bear on it with muuh effect, except the after pivot, which was busily engaged with the other battery. This was served with great coolness, precision, and good effect, I believe, until 12.30 p. m., when my rifled ammunition was all expended, I having fired 159 shell and shrapnel since the commencement of the engagement. As I could do no more fighting, there being no more ammunition to be had for my large guns, and my howitzers being of no use, as I was unable to train them, I was most reluctantly compelled to cease firing and send the men below to be as much as possible out of danger, while I went up to report the state of affairs to you, and was directed if possible to obtain a pilot who could take me down river when the water rose (my own being perfectly useless from fright), proceed to New Berne, get more ammunition, and return as soon as possible. I tried in vain to find a pilot; no one would go, and had they been willing, said it was impossible to succeed, as the buoys on the barricade had been removed. I was, therefore, obliged to abandon this plan, and returned on board to find the concentrated fire from the two batteries hotter and more accurate than ever, and the cross fire cutting the vessel up very badly. It seemed as if they wished to complete our destruction that night, for they did not direct a shot at any other object. From 5 to half past 5 p. m. I counted twenty-five shot and shell thrown at the vessel, twelve of them taking effect; yet, strange to say, that during the day she was not vitally injured in any part; her machinery, boilers, steering apparatus, and guns, with the exception of one howitzer, remained untouched, and though the decks and cabins were strewn with splinters and fragments of every description and everything above decks was more or less affected, only three men were wounded, and only one of those seriously, but not dangerously, by the fragments of muskets, caused by a shot striking the rack and breaking eight of them. The most serious injury the vessel sustained was the shooting away of two of the king-posts, causing the large iron cross braces to come down on deck, thereby getting the shaft considerably out of line. The Whitworth solid shot pierced through the iron plates about the boat and pilot houses as if they had been of paper, and one shattered the fresh-water condenser. The light planking of the sponsons outside was very badly cut up, but no shot had penetrated into the hull and she did not leak; the smokestack was riddled and its braces almost all shot away. My lying stern on, I think, happened providentially, as the boat presented a much smaller mark for the enemy, and the sponson planking broke the force of the shot below the deck without damaging the hull itself. At dark, the firing, which during the afternoon had been almost all upon our side, ceased, I firing the last shot (which I had reserved) for the day, and about 8 p. m., the wind having moderated and the water in the river come up enough to float us, I moved up to my old anchorage, abreast of the lower part of the town. Upon examination, 1 found that the vessel had been struck over ninety separate times, but through Gods mercy we escaped destruction and death, or even very serious injury. My crew, after the first few minutes at the commencement of the action, behaved remarkably well for men unused to the business, as many of them were, and my officers, especially those on the after deck, who had most of the fighting to do, viz, Acting Ensign Da Camara and Acting Masters Mate Haradon, behaved with coolness and bravery, showing in their own conduct an admirable example to the men. By your directions, I sent Acting Ensign Da Camara down river in a small boat with six men and important dispatches for New Berne. He passed safely through the blockade, and did all in his power to forward them to New Berne with dispatch, for, finding no steamer going, he put out into the sound in a heavy gale and was only saved from swamping by the timely assistance of the Ceres, which brought him back to the lower fleet, when a steamer conveyed him to New Berne. He returned at once in the gunboat Hunchback, and subsequently brought through the blockade a schooner loaded with ammunition. He is deserving of promotion. On my arrival in town, I procured some cotton bales with which to protect my crew at the guns.
    Thursday, April 2, 1863. - All was quiet until the afternoon, when I fired a few shell unexpectedly found in town at an earthwork being thrown up by the enemy in the cornfield on the right bank of the river, near the battery of yesterday. Toward sundown they completed it, and fired a few light rifled shell to get our range, which they soon did with accuracy.
    Friday, April 3, 1863. - Finding last evening that the battery in the field was likely to do us some damage by its fire, to which I could make no reply, being entirely out of rifled ammunition, I deemed it prudent to haul the vessel ahead at daylight, to bring the little island in the river, abreast of us, between the vessel and battery. I had scarcely done so, when, at 6 a. m., an earthwork mounting one gun, a 12-pounder, opened upon us at a distance of 630 yards, directly abreast of the vessel, in the swamp on the right bank of the river, it having been placed there during the night. The first shot entered the wardroom and passed out of the vessel through my cabin, on the other side; the second, a shrapnel, entering at the water line and exploding in the fire room. I at once replied from my two port howitzers, assisted by the Eagle and Louisiana, and a lively fire ensued. This vessel was struck six times, the shell frequently going through, or exploding inside. I soon obtained the exact range, bursting the shrapnel at every discharge directly over the breastwork, making it dangerous to load their gun. The enemy inside remained under cover of the work, scarcely ever showing themselves after the first hour, until 10:30 a. m., when they suddenly left, and retreated up the road. A sharp lookout was kept during the day, and whenever any movement was observed, a shell was fired. By your orders, I kept up an occasional fire in that direction during the night. Between 9 and 10 p. m., four boats arrived from the lower fleet, bringing ammunition for us.
    Saturday, April 4, 1863. - At daylight, could see nothing of the gun in swamp battery; observed the U. S. S. Ceres coming up from below, and when abreast of Rodman's Point, I opened fire on the works there with my rifled gnus at a distance of about a mile, as did the Ceres and army boat Eagle. No response was made by the enemy to our fire, and she arrived safely, bringing us additional ammunition. About noon the Ceres passed down river again with two companies of the Forty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment Volunteers, intending to land them at Rodman's Point in case the enemy had vacated, which, from their silence in the morning, it was thought they might have done. As soon, however, as she got abreast of the point, the batteries suddenly opened, and in trying to return, she got aground. I instantly opened fire from my after pivot gun, and at once dispatched my two cutters and gig to assist in conveying the troops on shore, and rendering her all possible aid. Toward 4 p. m., the fire of the enemy ceased, as did mine. About sundown fire was opened at this vessel from the battery in cornfield, which had become a very substantial work. I replied only occasionally, ammunition being scarce; their fire was very accurate.
    Sunday, April 5, 1863. - The day passed quietly, without action on either side.
    Monday, April 6, 1863. - Generally quiet to-day. I did not fire, and was not fired at. Acting Master Josselyn, my executive officer, ran the blockade of the river after dark with a cutter and eight men.
    Tuesday, April 7, 1863. - During the day this vessel was continually fired at from all the rebel river batteries. We only replied to the one in the swamp, abreast of us, which was soon silenced. A 32-pounder gun has been placed in the cornfield battery, which threw solid shot at us, one of which came on board, striking and going through quarter. deck, and thence glancing up and going out through the hurricane deck; another struck the water, just under port counter, and, glancing, struck the vessel just at the water line, inflicting a bad wound, but not going through. The enemy fired ninety six shot, mostly at this vessel, as she was nearest them.
    Wednesday, April 8, 1863. - The river batteries again opened upon us, firing solid shot and shell. As during yesterday, I only replied to the swamp battery, which was soon silenced. The vessel was struck twice by solid 32-pounder shot, one striking the port paddle wheel, breaking the arms and floats, and badly cracking the flange; a 20-pounder Parrott shell struck the berth deck and exploded, doing no great damage.
    Thursday, April 9, 1863. - A comparatively quiet day, a few shot only being fired at us from the lower batteries, to which I made no reply, reserving my ammunition for closer action.
    Friday. April 10, 1863. - Acting Master Josselyn and Acting Ensign Da Camara arrived during the night from the lower fleet, the latter bringing through a small schooner loaded with navy ammunition. Mr. Josselyn started with a similar one, but subsequently returned to the lower gunboats, the wind dying out, and came up in the cutter, bringing some army officers and dispatches. This vessel, though frequently fired at, was not struck. Sent a boat in charge of an acting masters mate down river at night by your orders.
    Saturday, April 11, 1863. - No action on our part, and the gunboats undisturbed by the enemy's fire, it being all directed at our shore battery.
    Sunday, April 12, 1863.Acting Masters Mate Wilkinson returned safely from below, bringing dispatches for General Foster. By your advice I opened fire at 8 a. m. from my rifled guns upon the swamp battery abreast of us, which had been very much built up and strengthened during the night by sand bags and cotton bales, having two embrasures, but then mounting no guns. Our practice was excellent, a dozen well-directed shell injuring it very badly, throwing over and bursting the bales, setting the cotton on fire, and rendering the work a ruin. Continued firing occasionally during the rest of the day and night at it, as I thought they were at work there.
    Monday, April 13, 1863. - The usual large amount of firing in front of the town and from the river batteries at the vessels occurred, the latter generally averaging about 100 shots per day. At 11:30 a. m. we were struck by a 20-pounder Parrott shell on the starboard side of the after pilot house, carrying the woodwork entirely away and bursting on deck; set some of the broken wood on fire, which was soon extinguished. The projectiles would frequently ricochet over us, barely clearing the vessel. I fired occasionally at the swamp battery to keep all out of it. Transport steamer Escort and two schooners arrived from lower fleet safely with stores and ammunition, having passed through a very heavy fire.
    Tuesday, April 14, 1863. - Very much the same state of things as yesterday, we being subjected to the usual daily fire without returning it. I fired a few rifled shell at the swamp battery, where the enemy had erected a flag. It soon fell over, torn to pieces. All quiet during night.
    Wednesday, April 15, 1863. - Firing at us going on all day at intervals, continuing sometime after dark, but without serious effect and without eliciting reply.
    Thursday, April 16, 1863. - At 10:30 a. m., the enemy having apparently withdrawn the guns from all their batteries, I proceeded, in obedience to your orders, but with difficulty, owing to the low water and ignorance of my pilot, to within 1,000 yards of Rodman's Point and joined the Ceres and Eagle in shelling the works there. After an hour and a half, our fire not being returned from cannon, I went back with the other boats to town. In the afternoon, the lower fleet coming up, shelled the point, and late in the day it was occupied by our troops.
    Friday, April 17, 1863.At 1.30 p. m., by your orders, got underway and proceeded to off Hill's Point, of which our troops had taken possession during the day, with directions to remain there for their protection, until further orders.
    I will now close this necessarily very long report, covering a period of eighteen days. Accompanying it are reports of ammunition expended and received and of the injuries received by the vessel.
    I can not close without speaking in the highest terms of my crew. They have worked bravely and willingly throughout the long siege, and though exposed to constant danger and many discomforts from the dilapidated condition of their quarters, caused by the enemy's shot and the impossibility of having a fire in the galley, we being so often in action, they never murmured, but were always ready for duty, night or day. To my officers, viz, Acting Master Francis Josselyn, Acting Ensigns J. 0. Johnson and J. B. Da Camara, jr., and Acting Master's Mate A. F. Haradon, I am also much indebted. They showed through. out an earnest desire to do their duties and to defend the vessel and town to the last. It would give me pleasure to see the two ensigns promoted to acting masters, as they are fully competent. Mr. Haradon had resigned a few days previous to the actions. The vessel, though struck altogether 108 times, and needing repairs very much, can still be of service. Through God's mercy I have no deaths to record, and of the three men wounded in the action of April 1, two are again on duty and the third soon will be."

RADM Samuel Du Pont, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes SECNAV "I have the honor to report the capture of the schooner Nellie by the U. S. S. South Carolina, Commander J. J. Almy, on the 29th ultimo, off the coast of South Carolina, about 25 miles northeast of Port Royal.
    The vessel was brought here, and, after survey, condemned, her hull appraised, and an inventory taken of her cargo. The report is here- with enclosed (marked No. 1).
    Her cargo of cotton has been transshipped to the schooner Shark, of which Richard Beaston is master, and consigned to the U. S. prize commissioners at New York. Only one paper was found on board, but the captain and crew admitted that they had run out of Charleston a few nights previous. They were sent to Philadelphia in the U. S. S. Memphis.
    Enclosed (marked No. 2) is a list of the officers and crew of the U. S. S. South Carolina entitled to prize money."

RADM Du Pont writes CAPT J Rogers, USS Weehawken, "I have to request that you will give me all the facts and circumstances attending the use of the Ericsson raft, which with so much zeal and energy you attempted to render of service, not alone in the attack on Charleston, but afterwards, with its missiles, to make it available in blowing up the Keokuk. In other words, I would like to have embodied in official form the several reports you have made to me on this subject from time to time." Rogers replies "In compliance with your order of this day, I have the honor to submit the following report in regard to the raft said to have been invented by Mr. Ericsson for the purpose of carrying a torpedo to be used in blowing up obstructions:
    Upon trial in this harbor I found that the vessel with the simple raft steered as well, I thought, as usual; certainly not so much worse as to render its use objectionable. Whether she would handle as well with the resistance of the torpedo 12 feet under water added on to the raft I have not tried, and therefore can express no opinion.
    There was another trial of the simple raft attached to this vessel in North Edisto Harbor with the captains of the ironclads on board. They did not judge of it so favorably as to be willing to use it. I thought that it would not be wise to carry the torpedo into action, since in evolutions we might come into contact with some of our own vessels and thus blow them up.
    The event proves that the anticipation was not ill founded. Two ironclads actually came into collision with the Ironsides and she had to stop to avoid the Weehawken. Had those vessels which actually touched her been provided with formidable torpedoes to explode upon contact, the result might have been most disastrous. In plain words, that folly would rise into crime which should carry loaded torpedoes in a rapid tideway in a somewhat narrow channel, without known buoys, under fire, and with the attention divided, among a friendly fleet.
    The proposition is so evident that it would lose by argument. I declined, accordingly, to attach the loaded torpedo to the Weehawken during the attack upon Fort Sumter unless I should receive positive orders to do so. I stated, however, that I thought the raft might be useful with grapnels hanging from it to catch obstructions. This, accordingly, I carried into action, and this I brought out.
    The raft was cut so as to fit the bow of the vessel and secured by chains from ringbolts on the raft a and c to ringbolts on the bow of the Weekawken, and further secured by rope lashings to the same bolts and also from the ringbolts b and d, I presume as designed by the inventor.
    In crossing Charleston bar the chains from a and c parted; all the lashings broke. This happened twice in the short period in crossing from the outside of the bar to the anchorage inside.
    When inside, it was found that the sea converted the raft into a huge battering ram, which shook the vessel at every undulation.
    It is obvious that with the pitching which always accompanies a swell the two bodies would be brought into collision with a power proportionate to their weight. The raft, I think, displaces about 90 tons of water. Its motions did not at all correspond with [the] motions of the vessel. The raft rose while the vessel fell, and the reverse. It was a source of apprehension lest it should get upon the deck or under the overhang.
    The conclusion forced upon me was that no vessel can carry it attached to the bow except in smooth water.
    After it had started the 5-inch iron armor upon the bow I cut it adrift.
    Afterwards I offered to use the one still in tow of the Ericsson to blow up the Keokuk. It was brought in in weather when confessedly I could not carry it, and it was anchored. When the sea became smoother it was put upon the bow, with the torpedoes all ready to be raised and lowered into their place.
    There was still some sea with a cross current, and Chief Engineer E. D. Robie, who, in conjunction with Chief Engineer Stimers, was sent out from New York in special charge of the rafts and torpedoes, found that the water was too rough, with too much spray for him to attach the lock and fit the instrument for use. He said that the force of the waves which came over the bow of the raft would not permit the torpedo to be hoisted outside against their beating.
    I went on board the Ironsides to report the fact to you. On board the Ironsides he made the same report. In the meanwhile, Chief Engineer Stimers came on board the Weehawken, where I met him on my return. The sea had somewhat fallen, and he said that the torpedo could now be fitted for firing, but I found that during my absence the heavy ringbolts, a and b, had drawn out of the raft and left it liable to swing round and bring the torpedo, when ready to explode, against the Weehawken's side. A chain, I was told, had been prepared to come up and under the raft from beneath the point e and to be secured inside the anchor well. It was beneath the raft and I did not see it. I had no faith that the chain would stand a strain which had drawn out from solid wood two ragged bolts 24 inches long and nearly 5 inches in circumference. All sailors know from experience that chain is less reliable against surges than lashings.
    The raft in its battering tendencies had become unbearable. In the sea and cross currents it drew the bolts intended to keep it pointed toward the object it was desired to use it upon, and it was ready to turn its destructive power against those who were to employ it.
    It was decided not to make the first trial of it attached to the bow of a vessel under circumstances so adverse."

SECNAV telegrams ASSIST SECNAV "Du Pont's detailed reports were received this morning via Baltimore. In tone and sentiment they correspond with his first dispatch. Worden's and Rhind's are samples of the whole, including John Rodgers. No indications of movements or intended movements since dispatch of the --."

MGEN N P Banks signals RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, "We marched on Opelousas at 6 a. m. Can be in Alexandria the last week of the month. Can gunboats meet me there? Have burned three gunboats and many transports. Captured 2,000 prisoners with best officers of Army and Navy, and am still pursuing. When will Grant be down?" Farragut replies "Glad to learn your successes. Unless gunboats come from Vicksburg I have none that could pass Fort De Russy, at Gordon's Landing. I can hear nothing from Grant until the five boats below Vicksburg arrive. Port Hudson on half rations. Troops discontented. Enemy sent to Arkansas for troops for Taylor. Nothing to impede communication with me in the Atchafalaya."

MGEN R J Oglesby, USA telegrams MGEN Hurlbut, USA "I have no doubt Dodge was joined by Streight and Ellet yesterday. I send messenger to Hamburg to-morrow; to Ocono certain. I expect message from Dodge to-night or morning by Seventh Kansas. I have 2,000 troops. I can call in outpost, 1,000 more, for defense of Corinth. Will hold, of course. Gunboats can't reach Tuscumbia before to-morrow, if then." Hurlbut replies "Move up to Corinth as you indicate. Push Fuller forward. Communicate with Colonel Streight, and let him move up to Dodge at once. Order Ellets Marine Brigade as high as they dare go. Dodge will find rations on the boats. I fear that dispatches sent to Dodge have been captured and the plan become known. The gunboats should be able to reach Tuscumbia."

F Mohl writes CSA SECSTATE, " Before leaving England in January last the Hon. Mr. Mason intrusted to me a package of dispatches addressed to you, containing full copies of all such, from both himself and Mr. Slidell, as had to be destroyed or were otherwise lost before reaching you. I am sorry to say that the copies shared the fate of the originals, as I was compelled to throw them overboard or let them fall into the hands of our enemies. Thinking it of possible interest to you to have a full report of the capture of the steamer Peterhoff, on which I was a passenger, I enclose you a copy of the report made to Lloyds by their agent for Matamoras, Mr. S. J. Redgate, who was a fellow-passenger.
The mails were still with the vessel when, on the 16th of March, I left her at Key West. They also contain some dispatches to you from Mr. Slidell, which had been intrusted to a fellow-passenger, Mr. P. J. Edwards, who, by Mr. Masons advice, placed them in the mail. I understood at Key West that Mr. Seward had given positive orders not to break any post-office seals in the mails, but to send them to him at Washington for his inspection. As Lord Lyons was informed of their existence long before they reached Mr. Seward, I suppose the necessary steps were taken by him to keep them from being opened, and we may have hopes of their getting to their destination after some delay."

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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