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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
Crew of the USS Lafayette
Fri Sep 16 1864

CDR Foxhall A Parker, Potomac Flotilla, writes SECNAV "On the night of the 16th instant one of the boats of the U. S. S. Currituck, while in search of blockade runners at the mouth of Yeocomico River, was fired into from shore.
    William King (captain of hold) was instantly killed and George H. McNeil (landsman) severely wounded.
    The fire was promptly returned from the boats and the Currituck, and Acting Ensign Nelson, who commanded the boat, reports that a shell exploded in the midst of the shore party."

CAPT Melancton Smith, Divisional Officer, James River, writes RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, "I transmit herewith a sketch of the position of the vessels at the barricades. They are connected by double booms, which support a 14- inch chain, running the entire distance. The obstructions are now completed."

RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, writes a general order "In order to prevent any misunderstanding as to my views in regard to the duties of the blockade at this place, the following are issued in explanation thereof:
    1st. When the flag is not present, the senior officer who may be present is responsible for the efficiency of the blockade, inside and outside.
    2d. The senior officer outside will cause to be rigidly followed such directions for enforcing the blockade as he may receive from the flag or senior officer inside, but in whatever he may not have received directions as to the stations of vessels or their duties he will supply the omission by his own judgment, reporting the disposition or measures taken to the flag as well as to the senior officer inside.
    3d. All vessels assigned to duty outside will be under the direction of the senior officer outside so long as they remain there, and they will not leave their station outside, unless by order of the flag or the senior officer outside or inside, unless some sudden emergency makes it indispensable.
    4th. In general, it is proper that orders from a commanding officer present should pass through the senior officer under whom the vessel is doing duty, but circumstances may render it most convenient for the flag or senior.officer inside to signal orders to a vessel directly, in which case that vessel in departing from her own station will show No. 843 (Orders, under, from flag) to her own senior officer, indicating that the movement is in obedience to a superior order; that vessel is not to be diverted from her course nor detained.
    5th. The picket duty performed by the monitors is peculiar, and resembling no other. The monitor which has the picket is to take position from 2,200 to 2,300 yards from Moultrie (terminations of Cumming's Point and Simkins, in line), at such part of the channel there as may be most advantageous. The tugboats and cutters which are assigned to picket duty for the night will report to the commander of the picket monitor and receive their directions from him. These are designed to advance the picket more toward the main passage by Sullivan's Island, and between Sumter and Moultrie, and to check or capture the rebel boats, or to give notice of an attempted escape of any vessel.
    6th. This advanced monitor is to be supported by another, which may be placed 500 yards to the southward of the former, or if the passage of blockade runners is anticipated, may be stationed in line with the picket monitor, and in case the picket monitor is attacked must render instant aid.
    7th. Two more monitors are to take post farther down the channel, and not so far off that they can not be got conveniently to the front, in case of an alarm there.
    8th. So long as the picket monitor is only performing picket duty the officer in command is to follow his own discretion, but in case of an attack or of any unusual move by the enemy, which is sufficient to bring the supporting monitor into play, then the senior officer of the two will command, and so with the other monitors when they arrive. it is presumed that the senior officer inside will, by this time, have reached the advance himself.
    From this it will be perceived that the picket monitor is responsible for the picket duty, but as soon as an unusual move or contact with the enemy takes place, or is likely to occur, which brings up the supporting monitors, then the senior officer is responsible.
    9th. It is unnecessary for me to say that the picket monitor and other monitors are to use their guns just when their commanders deem fit, and are not to fail to do so upon blockade runners, or boats, or vessels of the enemy, and also on his batteries, if instant action is needed, but they are not to leave stations in order to enter upon a regular engagement with the batteries on Sullivan's Island without orders, because the senior officer, being within full view by day and signal distance by night, can best judge of the necessity himself, it is also enjoined that the XV-inch is not to be used except in engaging the rebel ironclads or principal forts, as it is almost impossible to replace them here when worn out.
    10th. In carrying out these orders, especially as to position, it is expected that each commanding officer of monitors will be guided by the capacity of his vessel and the state of the wind, tide, and sea. With a strong S. E. wind and sea, and a flood tide, it will be obviously injudicious to place a monitor in an advanced position, which, by reason of reduced speed, might drag toward the batteries and could not steam clear of them. In fact, on the blockade duty thus assigned, the safety of the monitor is never to be hazarded until the direct order is given. When one of our vessels grounds under fire, however, the nearest monitor will proceed without delay to cover her by opening fire on the batteries. Modifications may be issued by the commanding officer present at the time, but if not, the commander of each monitor is expected to exercise a sound discretion in obeying this order.
    The instructions already given with respect to precautions against torpedo boats, etc., are not annulled by these orders.
    The scout boats are on independent duty, but will communicate all useful information.
    it is desirable to sustain a continued fire with the rifle 12-pounder howitzers on the works on Sullivan's Island whenever the duties of the monitors permit, so as to interfere as much as possible with rebel operations; the distance about 3,500 yards to 4,000 yards."

CAPT Theodore P Greene, East Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes SECNAV "By the enclosed report of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant W. S. Cheesman, commanding the U. S. S. Magnolia, you will be informed of the arrival of the Matagorda, or Alice, at this port as a prize.
    I have directed that she be supplied with coal, etc., and she will go north so soon as a suitable crew can be provided by transferring to her a number of men whose times have expired. As she was captured without flag or papers, I have placed the most of her crew in charge of the army authorities for confinement in Fort Jefferson, in obedience to the directions of the Department dated May 9 and 19, 1864. This seemed to be the proper course, more especially as I am informed that a new blockade runner is waiting at Havana for this crew, it being the intention of her owners to lay the Matagorda up for repairs on her arrival at that port. I await further directions as to the term of their detention, and enclose a list (30) of them, with the stated place of their nativity.
    It may be proper to state that the mate, John Lewis, who is sent north under the requirements of the new prize law, is an old offender and deserves imprisonment on his release by the prize court."

MGEN R H Milroy, USA telegrams MAJ B H Polk, USA from Tullahoma TN, "I received a dispatch from Colonel Krzyzanowski this morning stating that Captain Morton, U. S. Navy, informed him this morning that Roddey left Guntersville, [Ala.], yesterday, and was marching in direction of Lebanon."

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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