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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
USS Tyler helped save Grant's Army at the 2nd battle of Shiloh, TN
Sun Mar 20 1864

Master G C Schulze, USS Jacob Bell writes LT Edward Hooker, 1st Division, Potomac Flotilla, from Rappahannock River"The U. S. S. Yankee arrived here this morning at 12:30 a. m. and delivered mails, dispatches, etc. Captain Arthur reported to me yesterday that his engineer had made a mistake in his coal account, and that he had about 10 tons less than he expected, so I send him up first. If he takes his coal in Monday he can be back here by Tuesday evening, March 22. The Tulip has got 9 tons of coal yet, and as her day to clean boilers is the 23d of March, it will just come right. I have got about 17 tons and the Currituck 24 tons of coal.
    There is quite an army expedition up the Piankatank. Thursday night five transports and two army gunboats, with 4,000 troops, under the command of General Graham, entered, but I had wind of it and stationed two boats there. That surprised them a little, and the commanding officers reported to Captain [E. P.] Hill and showed their papers. I have since you left kept a senior officer's journal (which I herewith enclose), so that you may see what has been going on since you left. I am getting along very well with the commanding officers; they are aware that I intend to have my orders obeyed to the letter. I also send the two pilots as requested. I shall carry out your routine and instructions in every respect, and on your return you will find the First Division in the same good order and discipline as you left it."

LCDR Charles A Babcock, SOPA Yorktown, writes RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron "General Wistar informs me that in a few days there will be from 75 to 100 soldiers transferred to the Navy at this place, and he states he is willing to assist me in every way possible to get these men to fill up the complement of the different vessels at this point. He says, if you will make arrangements with General Butler, he thinks this can be accomplished without going through the regular form of sending these men to the rendezvous to be transferred to the Navy.
    I would respectfully request, if this arrangement meets with your approbation, that I may be allowed to have these men to distribute among the vessels at this point which are short of complement of crew."

ENS F W Sanborn, USS Columbine, writes CDR George B Balch, SOPA St John's River, "I have the honor to report to you that I left Palatka with this vessel on the morning of the 14th, and at night anchored 10 miles to the southward of Great George Lake, having lightened her across the bar.
    At early daylight of the 15th, again weighing anchor, I ran to Enterprise by 3, we having wooded at Hawkinsville. On my arrival here, I saw the Sumter and Hattie approaching, when I anchored and awaited their approach. Just before reaching Enterprise the vessel caught on fire, but was soon extinguished. After communicating with the other vessels we all ran to the wharf and wooded up, after which we anchored in the mouth of the lake.
    Having received information of a sugar refinery being in operation, making sugar for the Confederate States, about 2 miles from Enterprise, I determined to destroy it, and for this purpose on the morning of the 16th I sent Mr. Davis with the launch and seven of the Forty-eighth New York ashore. He succeeded in destroying the greater portion of the works and, by impressing negroes, cattle, and wagons, in transporting the greater portion over about a mile and a half of country to the river, where I put it on board the Sumter. I would have more entirely destroyed it had I deemed it worth the loss of life, but as a force of 30 or 40 guerrillas was approaching, and as they outnumbered us, we retired.
    As the Hattie had gone down the river ahead, I took the Sumter in tow and ran down the river. I had not gone over 10 miles before I found the Hattie ashore unmanageable. I took her in tow and at night anchored about 10 miles from Volusia.
    On the morning of the 17th ran to Volusia, at which place we found a cotton gin and corn mill, together with a good engine and boiler, which last we destroyed, taking the rest on board the Hattie. We also found some cotton unginned, but while removing it on board the Hatttie some person or persons unknown set it and the storehouse on fire, both of which were soon destroyed.
    At about 3 p. m. we again started down the river. Just before reaching the bar at Great Lake George I let go the other vessels and attempted to cross the bar, but could not. The Hattie also grounded. I endeavored in vain to get off, working till late, discharging shell provisions, and fuel. The Hattie was unsuccessful in getting off the bank.
    On the morning of the 18th I requested Mr. Champion to send me some men, which he kindly did, and I used every available means in my power to get off, without success. I then sent my heavy deck tackles and my own crew to the Hattie, and they succeeded in getting her afloat. Coming alongside, they, the Sumter and Hattie, endeavored to pull this vessel off, but were unsuccessful. Both vessels having by this time become short of wood, I dispatched the Sumter to Volusia for some at 4 p. m. At 7:30 p. m. she returned, bringing two heavy timbers, which I sent for to assist in getting the ship afloat.
    On the morning of the 19th I got the Sumter on one side and the Hattie on the other and succeeded in getting afloat and over the bar. Came to anchor 7:30 p. m. over the bar, and by 10 p. m. we had again received on board my guns, ammunition, and stores.
    At 7 p. m. weighed anchor and crossed the lake, stopping at Mr. Rembert's place to wood up. I went on shore and arrested Mr. W. P. Rembert, jr., formerly a lieutenant in the C. S. Army.
    After wooding, ran to Welaka, where we again wooded up, the Hattie taking on board the boiler and worm of a turpentine distillery. From here I sent the Sumter with some men up the Ocklawaha to take on board some rosin, which was about 5 miles up the river, giving orders to use all possible haste and to follow us to Palatka. After getting the copper boilers and worm on board, we immediately started for Palatka, where we arrived at 8:15 p. m."

RADM Theodorus Bailey, East Gulf Blockading Squadron writes Master Edward C Healy, USN, "Your orders of March 7 are hereby revoked, and you will relieve Acting Master Burgess in command of the schooner Beauregard.
    Your attention is called to the 20th article of the Revised Regulations for the government of this squadron."

ENS Cyrus Sears, USS Honeysuckle, writes SECNAV " I beg to report to you the capture of the sloop Florida by this vessel under the following circumstances. No other vessel in sight at the time:
    March 20, 5 p. m., made a sail to the windward bearing E. S. E.; went in chase. At 6 p. m. came up with and boarded her; she proved to be the Confederate sloop Florida, from Havana, bound nowhere in particular, as the captain said. No papers found; general cargo consisting of powder, shot, nails, coffee, etc. The crew consisted of two men who, by their own confession, are old blockade runners. We took the vessel in tow as a prize. Acting Master's Mate Oliver S. Brock took charge with a prize crew with orders to proceed to Key West and deliver the vessel up to the U. S. prize commissioners."

LCDR E Y McCauley, USS Tioga, writes RADM Bailey, "This morning while lying off Elbow [Cay] light, in latitude 26° 33' N., longitude 76° 25' W., this vessel overhauled and captured the sloop Swallow, from the Combahee River, S. C., bound to Nassau, New Providence. We found on board of her 180 bales cotton, 80 barrels rosin, and 25 boxes tobacco. She had also on board an old set of Confederate colors. No papers were found. I have sent the prize to Boston in charge of Acting Ensign Bingham and four men. You will see that of the men sent, the time of three will be out within thirty days. Also find enclosed description of prisoners taken in prize."

RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes RADM C H Davis, Bureau of Navigation "You will have to do something to simplify the signals. It has now become a matter of the greatest anxiety to the officers in this fleet. There are nothing but mistakes with two sets of signals - the regular and the boat code. Can not the thing be simplified by keeping the signal book, numerical signals, and flags always the same, and when it becomes necessary to change the signals by loss of a signal book do so by adding and subtracting a number you may decide upon; for example, No. 43 reads Anchor. The officer making the signal adds 2 (or any number you please); the signal officer reads it 45, but sub- tracts 2 from it and looks in the signal book and finds (as intended).
    Of course, it would not be necessary with common signals, such as for lowering sails or a boat, etc. It is a matter of no consequence who knows the ordinary signals. The change, perhaps, would only be necessary in matters of importance. When it is necessary to be particular, indicate it by a signal which shall mean that the number 2 is now to be added and subtracted. It occurs to me that this would obviate all the difficulty we have at present, which I assure you no one can comprehend except those who have to use them.
    The signals have been changed so frequently that we scarcely learn the flags before they are altered.
    I really beg that you will give this subject your attention, for I look for some disaster daily.
    The Ossipee was fired at by the Mobile blockading vessels at night.
    There is a general complaint in the squadron."

RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, writes SECNAV "I enclose a sketch of an iron casemated battery showing the effects of four rifle shot from the guns of the Essex - the experiment having been tried to test the work. The distance fired from was 550 yards.
    This is one of the strongest works ever built of earth and iron, and was supposed capable of effectually resisting our ironclads.
    Ten 100-pounder rifles, ten XI-inch guns. twenty IX-inch. six 30-pounder rifles, and eight VIII-inch guns would have been brought to bear on this work at one time, to say nothing of 50 guns firing shrapnel - the result can be easily imagined.
    I send the sketch for the information of the Bureau of Ordnance. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,"

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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Letterboxing
30 JUL 2018 Ayer's Farm

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6 OCT 2018 Sprague Land Trust
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13 OCT 2018 Sprague Land Trust
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15 OCT 2018 Brown Park
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Maritime History of Norwich
27 OCT 2018 Brown Park
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Maritime History of Norwich




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