Sat Oct 01 1864|
CAPT E P B Von Donop, HBMS Jason, writes LCDR Samuel Magaw, USS Florida, from Halifax, Nova Scotia "I herewith beg to transmit for your information an extract from the minutes of the executive council of Nova Scotia relative to the position to be taken in the port of Halifax by ships of war of the United States of America, as also those calling themselves the Confederate States of America, and have also to acquaint you that while no practice inconsistent with the territorial jurisdiction of her Britannic Majesty will be permitted, the vessels of war of the United States which may visit the port of Halifax in a becoming manner will receive every attention to which they are entitled as those of a nation in amity with Great Britain, and which are consistent with their belligerent position."
RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, writes SECNAV " I have the honor to report to the Department the destruction of the blockade runner Night Hawk by the Niphon, on the night of the 29th ultimo. The enclosed report, dated 30th instant (1), from Acting Master Kemble gives full particulars. I have disposed of the few articles saved, as thereon noted. It also appears from this report that another vessel succeeded earlier in the night in escaping from New Inlet, although fired at by the Niphon and apparently struck several times.
I enclose also a report, dated 27th instant, from Acting Master Phelon (2), commanding the Daylight, of driving off a blockade runner which was attempting to enter New Inlet on the morning of that day.
In my No. 606, of 30th ultimo, I informed the Department that I had in consideration of Acting Master Kembles services in the destruction of the Lynx ordered his examination for promotion to acting volunteer lieutenant. I now respectfully recommend that this promotion be conferred without the formality of an examination. I also recommend for promotion Acting Ensign E. N. Semon, of the Niphon, who, as will be seen by his report, enclosed in Acting Master Kemble's, boarded the Night Hawk under a heavy fire from the fort and set her on fire, and who has also rendered valuable services, alluded to in my recent confidential reports to the Department.
The blockade is now as close as it can be made with the means at my command. The smaller vessels are stationed as near the bar and batteries as the state of the weather, light, and their draft will allow. These are pressed in by a line of larger vessels, and these again by the divisional officer, moving along the line. The inner line are not allowed to chase off; those of the second, which see the runner, are. All are kept underway all night."
RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, writes to his commanding officers "By an order of August 8 I directed the commanders of vessels to select and drill certain portions of their crews for landing.
They will now detail all of such as can properly leave the vessel for a limited period and organize them into sections of 20 men, half companies of 40 men, and companies of 80 men. Howitzer crews detailed and drilled, ready for landing.
These are to be commanded by the officers who have most aptitude for such duty, and by petty officers acting as sergeants and corporals.
The arms of all kinds are to be carefully looked after every day, and the boats kept in readiness, so that at the least notice the landing force may leave in a time not exceeding one hour."
CAPT Thornton A Jenkins, USS Richmond, writes RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, "I have the honor respectfully to submit this report in reply to your order of the 26th ultimo, directing that the information called for by the following extract from a communication from the Bureau of Ordnance be furnished to you, viz: The result of the firing on board their ships, and to state freely and fully whether they discovered anything in the service of the guns, magazine, shell rooms, or in the projectiles used which was in the slightest degree imperfect or requiring modifications.
In regard to the firing from this ship, in the actions with Fort Morgan and its outlying batteries, and with the late rebel ironclad steamer Tennessee on the morning and forenoon of August 5, 1864, I have to state that there were fired from nine IX-inch broadside, one IX-inch and one 100-pounder rifle guns on the topgallant forecastle, and two 30-pounder rifles on the poop deck of this vessel into Fort Morgan and its batteries the following projectiles, viz: One hundred and ten IX-inch shell and shrapnel, with navy and Bormann time fuzes; 16 100-pounder rifle concussion fuze shells; 9 100-pounder rifle solid shot; 44 30-pounder rifle concussion shells; 2 30-pounder rifle solid shot; 19 12-pounder rifle howitzer shells from the fore and main tops.
The most of these projectiles were fired at distances varying from 300 to 700 yards from the light-house battery, water battery, and the barbette batteries of the main work, embracing a period of from -twenty-five to forty minutes.
The heavy concentrated fire into this fort and batteries from the three leading ships (Brooklyn , Hartford, and Richmond) prevented the arrival at any correct opinion as to the effect of particular projectiles or guns. The general result, however, was the early abandonment by the enemy of his guns. The men stationed at the lighthouse and water batteries were plainly seen leaving their stations for cover. Soon after the three leading ships opened, and for a period of ten or fifteen minutes, while this ship was lying close under the lighthouse and water batteries, not a shot was fired at us as far as could be discovered.
The howitzers in the tops, from the elevated positions and proximity to the open batteries, did most effective service so long as there were any men in the enemy's batteries.
One IX-inch solid shot, with 13-pound charge, was fired at the rebel steamer Tennessee, distant about 400 yards. Thirty-two IX-inch solid shot, with heaviest charges, and 6 100-pounder rifle solid shot were also fired at distances varying from 200 yards to 50 yards without any other visible effect than that of knocking away the woodwork placed on the outer projection of the deck or overhang of that vessel, and in preventing the enemy from firing his guns with any degree of accuracy, this latter being verified by the fact that the Tennessee fired three shot almost simultaneously, when nearly abeam at not more than 75 yards distant from this ship, without striking her. Nearly all the shot fired at the Tennessee from this ship were seen to strike the overhang or casemate and glance off without inflicting any perceptible injury to the plating.
In the bombardment of Fort Morgan on the 22d August last, the firing, in obedience to orders, was confined to the three rifle guns on board. The firing was generally good and effective. Of the projectiles used for the 100-pounder rifle on that day twenty of them were fitted with Tice's fuzes, which performed well. The navy and Bormann fuzes, used in both actions, seldom failed, so far as was observed.
In reply to that part of the enquiry relating to the service of the guns, magazines, shell rooms, etc., I have to say that this ship having been in commission for the whole of the four years last past, and for more than a year of that time, previous to the attack on Mobile, under my command, with the able assistance of the executive officer, Lieutenant-Commander Edward Terry, all the necessary and practicable appliances for facilitating while in action and insuring a rapid and ample supply of powder and projectiles had been introduced and practiced on board long prior to the action of the 5th of August."
RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, telegrams ASSIST SECNAV "I leave to-night; could not possibly get off sooner without great confusion. Will only want one day in Washington. Horses left day before yesterday."