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last update Saturday, 08-Apr-2017 12:17:04 PDT


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
RADM Andrew Hull Foote commanded the Mississippi Flotilla, succefully capturing several forts, until he was disabled by a foot infection
Mon Feb 23 1863

M Romero, Mexican Consul, Washington DC writes SECSTATE "The Mexican consul at Havana has sent me a copy of an affidavit, made at the consulate under his charge, by sundry individuals of the crew of the steamer Noe-Daquy, captured by the Mexican authorities of Yucatan for being in the slave trade. If the facts be true which are narrated in that affidavit, of which I have the honor to enclose you a copy, the U. S. steamers Wachusett and Sonoma, which arrived at the island of Mujeres [Mugeres], the 28th of December last, under the orders of Commodore Wilkes, committed the offense of taking by force from the jurisdiction of the Mexican tribunals a prize which was subject to them and which they were passing upon in accordance with the laws.
I have no doubt that if such facts should turn out to be proven, the Government of the United States will be disposed to give to that of Mexico all the satisfaction that may be due to it for the violation of its right, as she has done to other nations whose maritime sovereignty has not been respected by vessels of the United States, although I have not yet received instructions from my Government upon this matter, and probably they will not communicate with me until the receipt in Mexico of the reports from the governor of Yucatan. I believe it to be my duty to communicate to you at once the affidavit mentioned for the information of the Government of the United States, reserving the application for what may be rightly due when I shall receive instructions from the Mexican Government.
I profit by this opportunity to renew to you, sir, the assurances of my most distinguished consideration."
The enclosed affidavit reads "CONSULATE OF MEXICO AT THE HAVANNAH..
I certify that on pages 243, 244, 245, and 246, of Book A, protocols of this consulate, are found recorded the following documents:.
On the 10th of February, 1863, there came to me at this consulate, and before me and the undersigned witnesses, with the aid of the interpreter of the Government, Don Ramon de Arrastia, the following individuals belonging to the crew of the steamer Noe-Daquy, delivering to me a letter dated at Key West, and signed by Chief Engineer Win. E. Hardy, of that vessel, stating at the same time and spontaneously that they made the affidavit that all the said Machinist Hardy said in the said document, which they placed in the hands of the consul subscribing, was the plain truth as to what had occurred at the island Mujeres [Mugeres] with the steamer Noe-Daquy: Samuel Croply, second engineer; Felipe Carvin, fireman; Francisco Harappy, fireman; Jose Maria Trias, fireman; Jose Colman, fireman; Pedro Juan, mariner; Luis Cosine, mariner; Ducomte Jean, mariner; Manuel Lisboa, mariner; Caire Jacques, mariner..
The letter to which the individuals mentioned attest was written in English at Key West, dated the 2d instant, and signed by the first engineer of the steamer Noe-Daquy, translated into Spanish by the said interpreter, and says literally as follows:.
KEY WEST, February 2, 1868..
SIR: I hope the following narrative will be read, because it interests you as well as your Government. I embarked at The Havannah on the 13th December last to join a steamer lying at the island Mujeres [Mugeres] to run the blockade at Mobile. On arriving at the island we found the steamer in the hands of the Mexican authorities. The employees allowed some of us to go on board to repair the engines, one of which was broken. On the 28th December the U. S. steamers Wachusett and Sonoma came into port, under command of Admiral Wilkes, and on the 29th he sent on board a lieutenant and 15 men, who took possession of the vessel. We still went on working, believing she was a Mexican prize, and that we would be remunerated for our labor. On the 9th January, 1863, the Sonoma went to Sisal. Upon her return she brought word that the Mexican authorities at Merida had considered the vessel (Noe-Daquy, alias Virginia) as a slaver. On the 18th January our captain, acting under the orders of Admiral Wilkes, told me to set the engine going, which I did, and while I was below obeying his orders he hoisted the banner of the Confederate States, and on seeingthis I got the engines ready (before the anchor was weighed), when immediately they were set in motion by the lieutenant of marines. In fine, the United States seamen got her out of port anyway, weighed anchor, appointed firemen, and the lieutenant acted as engineer. When she was at a short distance from land they took possession of her in the following ridiculous way:.
Officer of the Sonoma. What bark is that?.
Captain of the Noe-Daquy. The Confederate steamer Virginia..
Then the Wachusett fired a cannon shot and sent the crew on board as prize, and because we, the crew of the Noe-Daquy, did not choose to work under the Confederate banner, nor take part in the infamous plan for stealing the vessel, and for refusing to bring her to this port, we were taken on board the steamers Waehusett and Sonoma and treated as traitors, in which condition we now are, and we ask you to act at once in this matter, because the bark is valued at $100,000 and there are nineteen of the crew who will corroborate all aforesaid. I forgot to say the cargo of the schooner was taken on board the steamer by express order of Admiral Wilkes. I am, respectfully,.
I certify what precedes is a faithful translation of the original in English, which I have marked. In faith whereof I place at foot my signature and seal at The Havannah, the 10th February, 1863..
Interpreter for the Public and the Government..
Seal. thereto bearing interpretation for the public and the Government, signed, Samuel (Jroply for Felipe Carvin, Francisco ilarappy, Jos6 Colmen, Pedro Juan, Luis C osme, Manuel Lisboa, and Caire Jacques, which individuals do not know how to write, and he does it at their request. Samuel Croply, signed; Jos6 Maria Trias, signed; Alex. McIntosh, signed by Michael Hyland; Alex. McIntosh, signed as witness; A. C. Munos, signed as witness; A. Hartman..
Consul of Mexico..
HABANA, February 11, 1863..
A copy..
WASHINGToN, February 23, 1863"

CMDR Andrew A Harwood, Potomac Flotilla, writes SECNAV "On the 21st instant, on examining the cargo of the sutler schooner Mail, by Acting Master Van Boskirk, commanding the guard vessel at Alexandria, after she had been duly cleared and the cargo inspected by the custom-house, it was discovered that she had on board 428 dozen cans of an intoxicating drink resembling eggnog, entered on the manifest as milk, and the cans labeled milk drink.
By the terms annexed to the manifest, signed by the deputy collector at Georgetown the said vessel and all her cargo are to be forfeited to the United States if any other goods are found on board of her than those specified in the manifest on the examination of the custom-house officers or the military or naval authorities after clearing for Belle Plain, Va.
I have therefore directed the vessel turned over to the district court."

CMDR Harwood writes BGEN Montgomery Meigs, USA, Quartermaster-General, " The sutler schooner Mail, S. Raynor, master, regularly licensed, her car go inspected and cleared by the custom-house authorities at Georgetown, was found on examination by the officer commanding the guard vessel at Alexandria to have on board of her 428 dozen (ailS of strong drink resembling eggnog, marked on the manifest milk and on the caiis milk drink.
The consignees hail, by a singular coincidence, from the State celebrated for its liquor law, viz: E. H. Garnsey, Sixth Maine Volunteers; A. W. Colamer, First Maine Volunteers; W. D. Haley, Nineteenth Maine Volunteers, jointly.
I send you a specimen of the milk. The vessel has been seized and turned over to the district court."

CMDR Harwood writes Master A J Frank, USS Wyandank, "Be on the watch in passing licensed vessels with sutlers stores to ascertain that intoxicating drinks are not smuggled in cans entered as milk, oysters, or the like, on the manifest.
The sutler schooner Mail, regularly licensed and cleared for Belle Plain, had on board of her 428 dozen cans of strong drink resembling eggnog, marked on the manifest milk and on the cans Milk drink, prepared by Numsen, Carroll & Co., No. 18 Light Street, Baltimore. The fraud was detected by Acting Master Van Boskirk, commanding the guard vessel at Alexandria. By the terms annexed to the manifest, signed by the deputy collector at Georgetown, the said vessel and all her cargo are to be forfeited to the United States if any other goods are found on board of her than those specified in the manifest, on examination by the custorn-house officers or the military or the naval authorities after clearing for Belle Plain, Va.
You will seize and send to this yard all vessels you may detect in committing frauds of the kind.
You will observe that cans of the kind are not soldered in the usual way. The top and bottom are probably heated with some resinous substance and the edges bent over in order that the cover at either end can be easily removed to convert the can into a drinking cup."

CDR James F Armstrong, USS State of Georgia, writes RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, "I have the honor to report that in obedience to your orders I left Newport News on the 16th instant and proceeded to sea with the U. S. ironclad steamer Nahant, Commander Downes, in tow. We had on the passage rainy and disagreeable weather, and no observation for position until we made Cape Romain, on the evening of the 19th.
The Nahant seemed buoyant and made good weather, towing easily, an engine working to its full pressure to attain its greatest speed. We arrived here on the morning of the 20th, and reported to Admiral Du Pont. Have since discharged the ordnance stores brought down, taken in coal, and proceed this day to join the squadron off Wilmington.
There is a vacancy of one masters mate in place of Acting Masters Mate Edward S. Bissell, whose absence without leave was reported in December to the Department, and whose account has been closed by order."

RADM Lee writes SECNAV "I respectfully submit to the Department the case of the schooner Anna Sheppard (detained at Washington, N. C., for alleged violation of the laws of the blockade), as presented to me by the senior officer in the sounds of North Carolina in the following papers enclosed:
A. Copy of permit from Governor Stanly, dated August 25, 1862, to the owners of the Anna Sheppard at New York, to send her from Beaufort, N. C., to any port in the department of North Carolina, to trade with loyal citizens.
B. Copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy to the Secretary of War, dated January 6, regarding the detention of the schooner Anna Sheppard, and stating that if her cargo consists of military stores for the United States forces in North Carolina, a paper from the Secretary of War would be respected by the naval forces.
C. Copy of a permit from the Secretary of War, dated January 6, to the owners of the Anna Sheppard to discharge her cargo at any port held by the forces of the United States in North Carolina, the said cargo being supplies required by the United States troops.
D. Copy of a permit from Major General Foster, dated January 17, to bring the Anna Sheppard from Beaufort to New Berne, her cargo being necessary for the use of the military, etc., and endorsed by him January 19, with a permit to the Anna Sheppard to trade at Washington, N.C.
Boarding returns from that port inform me that the Anna Sheppard arrived there January 26, with a cargo of sutlers stores. She was detained for violation of the rules of the blockade. Commander Murray, on the 4th February, directed Commander Davenport to proceed to Washington, as per order E, to examine into her case.
F is Commander Davenports report, dated February 10, he ordering her to be retained in custody.
G and H are letters, dated February 5, respectively, from Acting Lieutenant Renshaw, commanding Louisiana, and from Lieutenant-Colonel Lyman, commanding post at Washington, to Commander Davenport, certifying that the cargo of the Anna Sheppard did not consist of military stores, but of goods shipped for speculation.
I. Copy of manifest of Anna Sheppard, exhibiting an assorted cargo of West India and dry goods, stationery, etc.
K and L are the license and enrollment of the Anna Sheppard.
It would appear that the detention of the Anna Sheppard is on account of the discrepancy between the certificates of the military authorities on the character of her cargo, and also under the proviso in enclosure B, from the Secretary of the Navy, on the same subject, which General Foster, in permit D, certifies to be necessary for the use of the military. Acting Lieutenant Renshaw states that the letter of the Secretary of the Navy was deceitfully kept from him by the captain of the Anna Sheppard.
This case is submitted to the Department for its consideration and decision, with the papers received from the sounds explaining it and the action taken by Commander Murray.
I enclose (M) extracts from a communication from Commander Murray, dated February 7, bearing on the subject of this letter and referring to the general matter of trade in the sounds."

CAPT B F Sands, SOPA Cape Fear, writes RADM Lee, " I have to report that on the 20th instant the Matthew Vassar drove off a steamer attempting to run into Little River. The Monticello, Lieutenant-Commander Braine, whom I had sent down to relieve the Victoria, hearing firing, stood along the coast to the westward to intercept anything that might be hugging the shore to escape, but the steamer, having doubtless hauled offshore, got off in the haze of the atmosphere. I enclose report of Acting Master Savage of the circumstances; also his report of 23d instant of having again driven off a steamer on the night of the 22d, when the Victoria went to her aid, but missed the steamer likewise..
I have also to report that at daylight this morning, seeing a two-masted single-pipe steamer near Fort Caswell, and from her looming so large in the morning atmosphere I supposed she was on this side of the fort. Hailing the Monticello, which had just come out from her inshore station, I directed him to go in and try his rifle gun on her, and followed in with this ship to endeavor to destroy the steamer. Getting as near as we could safely manage our vessels, we opened on her, our fire being returned from the fort. My shot all fell short of the steamer, which proved to be inside the entrance and farther up than I had supposed. Being inside of the range of the Whitworth rifles of the fort, the shots of which went over us, and firing seven shells, which did not reach, and the steamer getting off and under steam, I signalized the Monticello to cease firing, and both of us returned to our anchorage, the fort having fired some forty-eight shot from all her battery, mostly at the Dacotah, and mostly falling short. The steamer had apparently been heading out, leading me to suppose that she had grounded in attempting to get out. The Maratanza's picket boat was anchored during the night in 7 feet water off the Bug Lights, and reports that nothing could have gone in past her without being seen, and they saw nothing, tending to confirm our belief that the steamer had grounded in attempting to run out..
After anchoring at our day stations Lieutenant-Commander Braine telegraphed to me that a masters mate was mortally wounded. I enclose his report..
I also enclose report of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Hooker of having gone to the aid of the Matthew Vassar when she drove off a steamer of the night before..
I have ordered to the Monticello, at the request of Lieutenant-Commander Braine, Acting Masters Mate William Bryant, who came as passenger in the Victoria under orders for the Daylight, the Monticello having but two watch officers since the death of Acting Masters Mate Baker..
I have sent the schooner William Bacon to assist the Victoria and Matthew Vassar in keeping the blockade of the inlets between this and Shallotte.
In the recent demonstrations upon this part of the coast by the blockade runners I feel that I have not the force to make it a close blockade. The same may be said of the other side of the reef."

Master H H Savage, USS Matthew Vassar, writes CAPT Sands, "I most respectfully report to you that last night, at the hour of 9: 50 p. m., there was a large steamer attempted to run into this inlet, but seeing my guard boat on the bar she sheered off at full speed. My boats crew fired several rounds of musketry into her and gave chase. I opened fire on her from my broadside guns, but on account of it being almost calm I could not manage my vessel to get a satisfactory range on her, and the want of a pivot gun was the occasion of losing her. My guard boat was not over 100 yards from her, but having no howitzer could not take any effect on her. I made signals for the Victoria to assist, which were promptly answered, and [she] came to me, but too late to see her, the intruder having put out to sea. She was a large propeller steamer, schooner-rigged, painted lead color."

LT E Hooker, USS Victoria, writes CAPT Sands, "I have to report that at 9: 30 last evening I heard a gun from the Matthew Vassar and immediately got underway. Soon after a second gun was fired and a blue light burned. Steering in close to the beach so that nothing should pass inside of me, I proceeded under full steam to the Matthew Vassar, and, on speaking, learned that a large two-masted steamer, painted lead color, had passed between him and the beach and ran up the beach toward Shallotte. From my not seeing her, I presume she steered seaward after getting clear of the Matthew Vassar.
After learning the above I returned, carefully examining the beach as far eastward as near Lockwoods Folly, when I fired a gun and sent up two rockets to put the fleet on their guard, lest she should attempt to get into Wilmington, and then returned to my anchorage. This morning I learn that she passed so near the Matthew Vassar's guard boat that they fired upon her with muskets. Acting Master Savage also thinks that if he had had a howitzer he could have brought her to."

LCDR D L Braine, USS Monticello, writes RADM Lee "This morning, obedient to an order from Captain B. F. Sands, I stood in toward Fort Caswell to fire at a steamer, which, apparently, had endeavored to get out during the night and grounded on the Rip near the fort. When in 4 fathoms of water I opened fire on the steamer. The fort responded, and at the fifth or sixth shot Acting Masters Mate Henry Baker was mortally wounded, and this morning at 9:30 expired, of which it is my painful duty to inform you.
William J. Ferguson, second-class boy, was also slightly wounded in the back.
The U. S. S. Dacotah also joined in the attack, and at 7:40 a. m. she made signal, Cease firing, which we did and returned to our anchorage.
This afternoon I stood offshore to 10 fathoms of water and committed the body of Mr. Baker to the deep."

RADM Lee writes MGEN J G Foster, USA Department of North Carolina "When I had the pleasure of seeing you here on the 19th, on the eve of your return to New Berne,you were good enough to promise to supply the gunboats with some troops to serve as sharpshooters and to cooperate, when your force would admit of it, with our gunboats in an expedition for the purpose of destroying the gunboats which the enemy are building on the rivers of North Carolina I suppose your preparations can be made, and the best time for doing this will be when the approaching pressure on Charleston and probably Richmond will oblige the enemy to withdraw the greater part of his force from North Carolina. I would be glad to hear your views upon this subject by the first safe opportunity."

MGEN John Dix, USA, 7th Corps, writes RADM Lee, "I have the honor to enclose a letter from Captain Edgar, of the steamer Thomas A. Morgan, the mail boat between this post and Yorktown, setting forth a forcible intrusion into his vessel by Lieutenant Blake, commanding officer of the Mahaska, the guard vessel at Yorktown, and the arrest of Mr. John E. Wilson, his clerk, who was taken on board the said guard vessel and kept in irons from 4 o'clock in the afternoon to 10 o'clock the next day.
I have examined Mr. Wilson and a witness who saw a part of the transaction for which the former was arrested, and their testimony shows that the pilot, Mr. Green, had a quarrel with Mr. Wilson, of a private nature, resulting in blows; and from all the facts I think there is no doubt that Mr. Green was the aggressor.
But whatever the merits of the case may be, the act of Lieutenant Blake in stopping the mail steamer in the service of the Army, and taking one of her officers out of her by force, instead of bringing the case before me, was an outrage which I do not doubt you will call on him promptly to redress. The delay in bringing the case before you was caused by your absence and by accidentally mislaying Captain Edgar's letter."

Mr. Frederick Mimes Edge writes RADM Samuel Du Pont, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron "The publication of the manifesto signed by General Beauregard and Commodore Ingraham, declaring the blockade of Charleston raised and the entire disappearance of the United States blockading squadron from that vicinity, induces me to make the following statement: I left Morehead City, N. C., on the 31st ultimo, on board Major-General Fosters flagship, the S. R. Spaulding. Next day, shortly after noon, we were off Charleston. On referring to my diary, written on the evening of the 1st instant, I find the following entry:

Sunday, February 1.Nothing of importance occurred to-day. Passed Charleston between 1 and 2 p. m., distance from land about 15 miles. Large blockading fleet outside bar; sloop-of-war chases us, but gives up in disgust; her intention probably to discover who we were. About 3 p. m. passed the Ironsides standing in for Charleston in fighting trim. Saw Hunting Island light-ship at mouth of Port Royal Harbor at dusk, but did not reach it until 9 p. m. Stayed all night outside bar, close to light-ship. Sea and wind all day calm.

I may have overestimated the distance at which we passed Charleston, for, in common with others, I saw houses on the shore of an island to the north of the harbor, and that, too, with great distinctness. I stated at the time that these buildings were on the outskirts of the town of Moultrieville, but I subsequently felt I was mistaken, as we were too long reaching the latter place. Several of the officers of the Signal Corps asserted they could see Charleston itself, and the captain of the Spaulding made the same declaration. I, however, failed to do so, owing partly to shortsightedness and still more to the cats paws on the water.
The squadron blockading the harbor was almost sufficiently distinct for me to have told the name of each vessel, had I previously been acquainted with them; and so numerous were they that I feared an attack was about to be made immediately on the city and its defenses; the passing of the Ironsides later in the afternoon dispelled somewhat my apprehensions. I did not count the vessels in the squadron, but there was a cluster of them off, what I supposed to be, the bar, which certainly appeared to contain from ten to twelve ships at anchor. If these blockaders had been driven off, out of sight, the day previous, they certainly must have displayed a commendable alacrity in resuming their old station by noon of Sunday in other words, within twenty-four hours of the attack made by the Confederate rams.
Apologizing for the length of this communication, which would not [have] been made but for the fact that an Englishman's testimony on this question is scarcely likely to be regarded as exparte, in his own country at least."

LCDR J H Upshur, USS Flambeau, writes RADM Du Pont "In obedience to your order of 20th instant, I proceeded in this vessel to Charleston and reported my arrival to the senior officer off that port, at 6:30 p. m. of the same day. On the following morning, February 21, I got underway, and standing in toward Fort Sumter, with a flag of truce at the fore, anchored near the bar and fired a gun to attract attention. After waiting an hour, and seeing no response to my signal, I got underway and anchored again about a mile from the shore along Maffitts Channel. About thirty minutes after anchoring, a heavy rifle shot was fired at us from the battery at Breach Inlet, which passed over and very near our deck. This shot was succeeded by three others at intervals of some three or four minutes. I am glad to state that an officer, Captain [J. G.] King, from Fort Sumter, who met my flag of truce an hour later, disavowed any intentional insult, and gave a satisfactory explanation of the firing upon me.
In accordance with your directions I delivered to Captain King the dispatch from Lord Lyons to Commander Watson, of H. B. M. S. Petrel, and also the messages written to Lieutenant Conover, Master Sheldon, and Engineer Pemble, now at Columbia, S. C., offering to send them any moneys or clothing they might be in need of. The dispatch and messages were politely received by Captain King and Adjutant Nance, who accompanied him, with the promise that they would be duly delivered, and that when replies came from those gentlemen at Columbia a flag of truce displayed on Fort Sumter would indicate a wish to communicate, at which time one of our vessels could go in and receive them."

CDR George B Balch, SOPA Stono River, writes RADM Du Pont "I have the honor to report all quiet in this vicinity. On the 17th instant I went up the Stono River a short distance in the Commodore McDonough, but could discover no other batteries than those already known by Lieutenant-Commander Bacon. By my permission he fired a shell at a house in Legareville from his 100-pounder rifle gun, but it brought no reply from the batteries. I have made no reconnoissance up Folly River, being desirous, as I intimated in my last report, of keeping the enemy ignorant of our having any designs in that direction. Signal lights were made last night between Coles Island and Legareville, but I think it likely they were made by a party sent out to reconnoiter on Coles Island for the purpose of capturing our pickets on that island. I send a picket boat to-night, as usual. The coal schooner has not arrived. Coal is needed for the McDonough and Unadilla.
I have granted permission to the paymaster of the Unadilla to go to Port Royal and see you in reference to a short leave on account of illness in his family. Should you decline to grant his request, he is to return by the buoy schooner.
I am happy to report all well on this station."

LCDR R W Scott, USS Marblehead, writes CAPT Percival Drayton, SOPA Wilmington River, GA, "I have the honor to report that at 6 a. m.,in obedience to signal, I got underway and stood for a schooner which was hard and fast ashore on the north side of Cabbage Island flat in about 4 feet of water, and which proved to be the pilot boat Glide, of and from Savannah, loaded with cotton. She grounded at 1:30 this morning,while attempting to evade the blockade. I sent a boat on board, and after some time succeeded (with the assistance of sails) in hauling her off, took her in tow and brought her to this anchorage. No papers (ships) were found, they having been thrown overboard after striking.
I have had an inventory of cargo and ships property taken, a copy of which is herewith enclosed; also a number of private letters taken from the baggage of the crew, and the names of the crew.
As I was standing out of Wilmington Channel and near the surveying schooners anchored below, a boat left the Caswell, and by cutting across the shallow sand spit which divides the Wilmington and Tybee channels (dry at low water), succeeded in reaching the schooner a few minutes in advance of the boat from this ship; by what authority this act is committed I am not informed."

William H Dennis, US Coast Survey, USS Caswell, writes RADM Du Pont "This morning at daybreak a vessel was reported to me as being aground on the shoal off the end of Little Tybee Island, which appeared to be a blockade runner. I immediately started with an armed boat and seven men to board her. Found her to be the Pembroke, a Savannah pilot boat (now sailing under the name of the Glide). She was loaded with 72 bales of cotton, bound for Nassau. About fifteen minutes after my arrival a boat from the schooner Arago, Captain Edwards, arrived, and in about an hour one from the Marblehead. I gave up possession to the officer of the latter and returned to my own vessel, after reporting to Captain Drayton what I had done."

W S Edwards, Sub-Assistant, US Coast Survey, USS Arago writes Professor A D Bache, US Coast Survey, "This morning, just at daybreak, the watch reported a vessel ashore on western point of Little Tybee Island. I at once dispatched a boat under charge of my sailing master, Mr. Malcolm, to board her.
Mr. Dennis, in his boat from the Caswell, reached the vessel a few minutes prior to Mr. Malcolm; the vessel proved to be the schooner Pembroke, loaded with cotton, which had gotten ashore in attempting to run the blockade from Savannah. About forty minutes after our boats had taken possession, an officer from the gunboat Marblehead with a boats crew arrived on board the schooner. Mr. Malcolm with a boats crew remained on board and assisted in getting the prize afloat, when he delivered her up to Captain Scott, of the Marblehead, who received her from him."

CAPT A M Pennock, Fleet Captain, Mississippi Squadron, telegrams MGEN Stephan A Hurlbut, Memphis, TN, "Have heard nothing. Gunboats have gone up Tennessee River."

RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, writes SECNAV "Captain Pennock sent me an extract from a letter of the Department, mentioning that General Rosecrans complained that the naval vessels did not cooperate on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. This is very unjust to the Navy, and I feel it my duty to protect the officers under my command from such aspersions. General Rosecrans is very exacting, and at times imperious, forgetting what is due to the Navy Department, which is straining every nerve to carry out the wishes of the War Department.
Lieutenant-Commander Fitch has convoyed safely to Nashville over 100 steamers laden with army stores, and many barges. No vessels have been lost while under the charge of the Navy, and the four or five sanitary vessels that were lost some time since was owing to noncompliance with my orders on the part of the quartermaster, which order forbid any vessel from entering Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, except under charge of a gunboat. I explained this matter in a former letter to the Department.
The army at Nashville, some 50,000 men, do nothing to keep open the line of communication between that city and the mouth of the river.
Clarksville, Donelson, Dover, and Eddyville, on the Cumberland, if properly fortified would break up rebel raids below Nashville, but nothing of the kind has been done. The rebels are allowed to roam about and erect batteries on the river which the gunboats have to silence.
The report of Lieut. Commander LeRoy Fitch, forwarded to the Department by Captain Pennock, will show the Department how valuable are the services rendered to the army by our little fleet on the Cumberland River, for which the officer who would have been compelled to surrender Fort Donelson but for the Navy, did not think proper to make an adequate acknowledgment. So it is in all matters of this kind, which I don't notice in any way, though I mention it to the Department which feels the same interest that I do in the fame of our Navy.
I am well aware of many movements of the enemy which General Rosecrans does not know of, and endeavor to meet them.
When our vessels increase in number, we will line the rivers if necessary.
With an army of 29,000 men on this river doing nothing, I have to protect the whole line of river against the guerrillas, and am called on to send a gunboat to convoy 10,000 troops, with abundance of artillery.
I don't complain of this. I am ready at a moments notice to convoy them, and glad to keep them under the sheltering wing of the Navy. I only mention it to show how unjust these army generals are in their complaints.
No person ever exerted himself more than Captain Pennock has since I left Cairo; he is always on the alert to anticipate the requirements of army men. Notwithstanding discourteous orders received from subordinate officers, he has complied instantly with the requests as far as lay in his power, though he could not help feeling that due deference had not been paid to the Department over which you preside.
I never complain of these matters to the generals; my aim is to serve the public and not stop to raise points; still I think I can, with propriety, mention these things to the head of the Navy, that he may understand that we are exerting ourselves to the utmost. If I was to remain silent it would be assenting to the charge of not cooperating heartily."
It is endorsed "Approve of the general course pursued by both yourself and P. Appreciate your feelings and value the vigilance, energy, and efforts of the whole naval force, etc" In a second letter he writes "I have the honor to enclose herewith a communication from Commodore Hull, at St. Louis, in relation to Mr. Whitaker's apparatus, and beg that the Department will state what disposition is now to be made of it." It is endorsed by J.L. "Unless Admiral Porter can try this machine on some of the vessels he is purchasing, there are no others on which it can be used."

Master George Hentig, USS Curlew, writes RADM Porter "I have the honor to report that on the 17th day of this present month, while lying at anchor with this ship off the city of Memphis, one Simonds, a master, now in the service of the United States and at present in command of the mortar fleet lying off the city, did approach, and with a bribe of money, attempt to swerve me from my duty by soliciting me to assist him in the purchase and loading of cotton under the cover of the guns of this vessel, contrary to the general orders.
Captain Langthorne, in command of the U. S. S. Cricket, and Dr. McIlhenny, the surgeon of this ship, were both present during the interview."

Master Carpenter, Charles F Kendall, writes CDR Pennock, "We have got the first one of the last two boats that Captain Sanford purchased very far advanced toward a gunboat, and I think you will be much better pleased with them than with the stern-wheel boats. These boats have a gun deck forward of the boilers and engines, 50 feet long by 40 feet wide, with plenty of room to mount two 24-pounder guns on each side and two 30-pounder Parrott guns in the bow ports. Aft of the boilers and engine is a large deck, 35 feet long by 40 wide, with room for two Parrott guns, armory, dispensary, galley, and gangway stairs. In the hold there are two magazines, bread room, shell room, yeomans, boatswains, sailmakers, and carpenters rooms, and eight general store rooms and two coal bunkers (capacity 2,000 bushels). The casemates are much heavier than on the stern-wheel boats, oak stanchions 5 inches square, with 2-1/2 and 3 inch planks. They will draw 30 inches when finished and with coal on board. Captain Brown, the contractor, commenced on them with a large force the day after getting possession of them, and we are working nights and Sundays on them, and if we get the iron as fast as the woodwork, we shall soon have one of them ready. When Captain S. was here, he wished to have the casemates go around the bow, in an angular circle, but the difficulty in getting the iron cut, shaped, and bent renders it impossible to do them in that way, and the time it would take is a great objection. The forward casemate is built across the bow on an angle of 51 degrees, similar to the other boats, the upper deck forward of the cabin is built heavy and strong enough to carry 12-pounders on wheels and large enough to accommodate 50 or 100 men under a roof. Spar deck has hammock nettings 3 feet high all around the front, and 40 feet down each side. I am certain that these boats will give much better satisfaction and be a great deal more serviceable than the others."

CDR W W Hunter, CSN writes MGEN J B Magruder, Department of TX,NM,AZ "I respectfully acknowledge the receipt, of the 21st instant, of a transcript of a communication to you from the honorable War and Navy Departments in relation to an enquiry or investigation of Colonel X. B. Debrays conduct touching the transfer of the crew of the Confederate schooner Dodge." In a second letter he writes "In obedience to your order of the 25th ultimo, directing me to complete the boats commenced on Trinity River, I am proceeding with their construction. They will be built without any cost to the Government, Major Washington and one of his neighbors having offered to furnish the necessary materials and mechanics, with such aid as could be spared from my command. They will keep the boats here so long as they are likely to be needed in the public service and will then retain them as their private property. One is done. The great difficulty of obtaining lumber causes some delay in completing the other.
The Trinity River is now very high. This region is completely isolated by the flood. From this place to the prairie, distant 9 miles, there is but one practicable way, and that impassable at the present stage of the water."

LT N Barney, CSN, CSS Harriet Lane, writes CSA SECNAV, "On 4th instant I informed you of my arrival here, and on 13th reported the condition of the Harriet Lane. As communication is now very uncertain, I will recapitulate the contents of that letter.
The injuries received had been repaired so that she was in condition to go to sea. She was stripped of everything except engine in order to get her over Red Fish bar. General Magruder, deeming it necessary for her safety, and having given up the idea of sending her to sea, proposed keeping her in the upper bay for the defense of approaches to the interior. I enclosed a copy of his communication on that subject. The best information I could get placed the ship's consumption of coal at 23 or 24 tons per day. I found her capable of containing 135 or 140 tons, about six days supply. It would be unadvisable to carry any on deck, as her draft would be increased so much as to render crossing the bar at night hazardous. The greatest run for one hour which I found on her log was 11 knots under steam and all sail. Her usual rate under steam alone in ordinary weather was about 200 miles per day. I was of opinion that the vessel was not such as to make an efficient cruiser against the enemy's commerce, and await the orders of the Department.
I informed you that some feeling existed at the ship being taken from those who had captured her, and that I thought General M.s plans had been interfered with by my orders, and that, although the general had treated me with the greatest courtesy and extended every facility to enable me to carry out the views of the Department, I was satisfied that he would prefer that Major Leon Smith, whom he had recommended for an appointment in the Navy, should keep command of the ship, and I added that I believed he would be able, under the circumstances, to render more efficient services than I could. I desire more fully to explain my views on this subject. Major Smith already commands the cotton boats fitted out by General M., and the presence of two forces afloat, under different organizations, and commanders independent of each other, would be very apt to produce confusion and discord. We have a melancholy instance of this in the events on the Mississippi previous to the fall of New Orleans, and the Navy is just now suffer in under the most unjust aspersions arising from a want of understanding and cooperation between the naval and military forces, and the jealousy and ill feeling of the commanders of the Army and State gunboats toward the officers of the Navy. Fearing that such a state of things might, under like circumstances, be repeated here, I expressed my belief that should the Department act on General M.s recommendation the Harriet Lane would render more efficient service in harbor defense under Major S., who is a thorough seaman, of correct habits, great energy, and undoubted courage. Since writing that letter I have conversed with General M., who stated that it would not do to put all the boats under naval officers, and agreed with me in the most delicate manner that he thought more efficient service might be rendered by having all the force afloat under one head. From these statements the Department will appreciate the position in which I am placed.
Since I wrote the above report John [William?] Frick, acting chief engineer, has arrived. He puts the consumption of coal at 20 tons per day. From the late officers of the Harriet Lane, now in prison here, one of my engineers learned that her minimum consumption of coal was 15 tons per day; that she was very fast in smooth water, but could make but little way against a head sea. Her engineer stated that she got out of coal in running from Washington to Key West. With this additional light, I am still of the opinion that she will not make an efficient cruiser. The blockade at Galveston might be eluded, I think, and if the Department saw fit the attempt be made to run her into some other port of the Confederate States, or she might be taken abroad and fitted with a propeller.
I have sent by a member of General M.s staff, who goes to Richmond, a copy of Websters Dictionary for the purpose designated in your letter of instructions. This also goes by private hand, the mails being very unreliable.
The officers ordered here have all reported except Doctor Page."

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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