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last update Tuesday, 15-May-2018 08:33:08 PDT

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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
CMDR Gershom J Van Brunt
Sun Jul 19 1863

CMDR Andrew A Harwood, Potomac Flotilla,telegrams BGEN Meigs, USA, "I have information from the George Peabody, now on shore above Mathias Point, up to 8 o'clock last night. At that time she was not off, although three of our gunboats were to attempt it at high water. They will remain there for protection. As the vessel went on at high water and light, it is probable that she can not float without lightening, which we can not do. Two canal boats as lighters, or to be used as camels, with a steamer, might effect the object. The enemy who attacked her yesterday have been driven off by our boats and the barn occupied by them as a shelter for guns and horses has been burned."

RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes SECNAV "On the 18th a combined attack was made on Fort Wagner by the troops under General Gillmore and the vessels of my command.
    The 16th had been originally agreed on, but the shore batteries were not fully prepared before the 18th.
    At 11.30 a. m. I made signal to get underway from the anchorage near the bar, and led up with my flag in the Montauk, followed by the Ironsides, Catskill, Nantucket, Weehawken, and Patapsco. About 12:30 p. m. anchored the Montauk abreast of Fort Wagner and fired the first gun, which was immediately followed from the other vessels. With an ebbing tide the pilot did not deem it prudent to approach nearer than the inner edge of the channel, and the least distance at this time was about 1,200 yards. Meanwhile the gunboats Paul Jones, Commander A. C. Rhind; Ottawa, Lieutenant-Commander W. D. Whiting; Seneca, Lieutenant-Commander William Gibson; Chippewa, Lieutenant-Commander T. C. Harris, and Wissahickon, Lieutenant-Commander J. L. Davis, under charge of Commander Rhind, were using the pivot guns with effect at long range, and our batteries ashore were firing very deliberately and steadily. About 4 p. m.,the tide flowing, weighed anchor and closed in with the fort to about 300 yards, which silenced it so that for this day not a shot was fired afterwards at the vessels, nor was a man to be seen about it.
    It was nearly sunset when I received a note from General Gillmore saying that he had ordered an assault, and we could see the battalions advancing along the beach. There might have been a thousand yards between our nearest shore batteries and Fort Wagner, and before our troops had reached the works it became too dark to discern them. To this moment an incessant and accurate fire had been maintained by the vessels, but now it was impossible to distinguish whether it took effect on friend or foe, and of necessity was suspended. Very soon afterwards the rattle of musketry and the flashes of light artillery announced that our men were mounting to the attack; this continued without intermission till 9:30 p. m., gradually decreased, and then died away altogether. The ill tidings of a repulse were not long in coming; after the lapse of an anxious hour common report told me that the assault had been repulsed with severe loss.
    It now only remains to prosecute the work with patience and perseverance. At the same time I can not forbear repeating my opinion that the number of troops is inadequate; the officers and men are zealous and labor hard. The general plans are well conceived, but there is to my mind, a manifest lack of force.
    This morning I sent a boat ashore with Flag-Lieutenant S. W. Preston and Surgeon Duvall, under a flag of truce, to ascertain if our wounded had been cared for, and to offer to take charge of them; it was also impossible to renew our fire if any of them remained on the ground. Lieutenant Preston reported that some of the dead and wounded were still lying about the works where they had fallen, and that the offer was declined, the answer being that the dead would be buried and the wounded properly provided for.
    There being nothing more possible for the day, I caused the turret vessels to drop down out of range, so that the men might have some fresh air below, and the Ironsides also, inasmuch as she lay stern to the fort, without a gun bearing.
    The conduct of officers and men is entitled to every commendation. Captain Rowan, of the Ironsides; Commander Rodgers, of the Catskill; Commander Fairfax, of the Montauk; Commander Beaumont, of the Nantucket, and Lieutenant-Commander Badger, whom I assigned temporarily to the command of the Patapsco, did their duty well, and handled their vessels in the narrow channel and shoal water with great skill. The spirit of the men was excellent, neither the incessant labor of action by day or blockade by night, nor the privations of inhabiting turret vessels, checked their earnest determination, and they worked the cannon with great effect, as the silenced guns of the enemy makes manifest. The officers of my staff were, as usual, assiduous in the discharge of their duties.
    The vessels were well piloted by Acting-Master's Godfrey and Haffards. The 100-pounder Parrott of the Paul Jones gave way at the seventy-eighth fire to-day. I am not informed of the use to which it had been subjected. The 150-pounder Parrott in the Patapsco was also cracked at the muzzle.
    In conclusion, permit me to say that on this occasion the vessels did all that was intended or could be expected from them they silenced the fort and forced the garrison to keep under shelter.
    At the same time, the loss sustained by our troops bears witness to the persevering gallantry with which they endeavored to storm the work, and which deserved the success that will, I trust, reward a renewed effort."

BGEN G T Beauregard telegrams GEN Joseph E Johnston, CSA, "Praise be to God. The anniversary of Bull Run has been gloriously celebrated. After shelling Battery Wagner all day yesterday with the Ironsides, five monitors, four gun and mortar boats, and two land batteries, enemy attempted to storm Battery Wagner last night, but was gallantly repulsed with great slaughter. Our loss was comparatively slight."

RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, ""

CAPT Thornton A Jenkins, USS Richmond writes RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, "I send you a copy of a dispatch from Admiral Farragut to you, dated the 16th instant. I also enclose a request for coal for the Essex.
    I have written to the commanding officer of your forces at or near the mouth of Red River on the subject of coal.
    I congratulate you with all my heart upon your many brilliant successes since the opening [of] the present campaign, and among all of your many old and new friends there is no one who more sincerely rejoices in your victories than I.
    I consider the capture (by yourself, with a small force) of Grand Gulf one of if not the most brilliant affairs of the war, and that is saying a great deal when we all remember Arkansas Post, the Yazoo and its surroundings, and the many brilliant essays before Vicksburg.
    I trust the Government will not be tardy in bestowing upon you your well-earned and richly deserved reward."

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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6 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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