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last update Thursday, 04-Apr-2019 05:20:15 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
The USS Hartford's Afterguard
Sat Aug 20 1864

RADM Hiram Paulding, New York Navy Yard writes SECNAV "I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 19th instant, and respectfully reply the San Jacinto was at quarantine anchored in the lower bay when the dispatch was received to send her to sea. I had not communicated with the commanding officer, and therefore was not informed that her engine was out of repair, and that she had but 15 tons of coal on board. It was necessary that the health officer should have her removed to Staten Island, as she could not be coaled in the lower bay, where she was much exposed to a rough sea. Your order was dispatched as soon as possible after it was received, and every necessary means taken to prepare the ship for sea. But 100 tons of coal can be taken on board in one day, and it was reported that the machinery required three days' repairs.
    It will be apparent to the Department, therefore, that she was got ready as soon as possible, and that the officers of the yard can not be held responsible for the delay in the ship's getting to sea. I might have informed the Department of the probable time she would be detained, but having stated she would probably want coal, I presumed the Department would be prepared for delay on this account. It must be remembered also that the dispatch from the Department came late in the evening, and that Sunday intervened, the ship getting to sea on the fourth day from the time the work of preparation could commence.
    On the 13th, at 5 p. m., I received a telegram from Colonel Ludlow, then at Fire Island, giving the first information of the Tallahassee. I copied the telegram for each steamer I could send to sea. It contained all the information I had to convey, and with the telegram I sent a brief order to the commanding officer to proceed to sea in pursuit of the pirate, and be governed by his judgment according to the information he might obtain.
    I could not intelligently give any other order, and, having furnished the Department with the telegram, it did not occur to me that the Department would expect or desire anything more. At the same time that I was dispatching the vessels and communicating with the Department I was also conveying the information to Fortress Monroe and Boston.
    It was the intention of the captain of the Susquehanna to pursue his course to the eastward, and if no information that he obtained should change his purpose, to run for Bermuda, in the hope of intercepting the pirate there.
    I can assure the Department that there never has been unnecessary delay in dispatching vessels on an emergency like the present from this station.
    The Pontoosuc was at sea in three hours after the telegram came, the Eolus in six hours, and the Susquehanna in about twelve, some of her officers having been on shore when orders were sent to her, and which, I suppose, occasioned some delay.
    I trust that this explanation will be satisfactory, and assure the Department that no one feels more deeply than myself the disgrace and public injury that we suffer from the rebel cruisers, and that no one is more anxious to suppress them."

M M Jackson, US Consul, Halifax telegrams SECSTATE "Tallahassee left here 1 o'clock this morning, before arrival of any Federal war vessels. U. S. S Pontoosuc, now in port, will leave immediately in pursuit. Another of our war vessels reported below. Tallahassee supposed to have gone to North Bay."

CMDR C K Stribling, Philadelphia Navy Yard writes SECNAV "I have the honor to report the return of the Yantic from her trial trip and search for the pirate vessel Tallahassee. The Yantic went to the northward and eastward of Nantucket, but obtained no information to justify a longer search for the piratical vessel.
    The report of the trial of the machinery will be forwarded to the proper bureau on Monday. The Yantic will not, I expect, be able to leave for her destination in less than a week."

SECNAV telegrams RADM Paulding "Orders for Grand Gulf revoked if two days are required to get ready." In a second telegram he sends "Has San Jacinto sailed? If not, give her orders sent yesterday for Grand Gulf and hurry her off. Telegram from consul at Halifax says Tallahassee was to leave yesterday, and it was supposed for North Bay; only partially filled with coal." Paulding replies "I have to report the sailing of the San Jacinto yesterday. She crossed the bar about noon.
    The New Berne left for the North Atlantic Squadron this day at 12 m. with 270 recruits for Wilmington."

CAPT William rogers Taylor, USS Juniata, writes SECNAV "Your telegram of yesterday has just been received. We are coaling as rapidly as possible, and the Department will be informed at the earliest moment when the engines will be ready for service. The engineer has orders to perform no work not absolutely necessary which will have the effect of detaining the ship an hour.
    It is a matter of much regret to me that the Department should have been disappointed in the course that I pursued on the late cruise of this ship; but I beg it to consider that, although I spoke four vessels from Boston, neither of them had heard anything of the Tallahassee to the northward and eastward of Nantucket Shoals, and I had, from information received from Commander Ransom, some reason to suppose that she might be fallen in with in an opposite direction.
    As I consider it necessary, the work will be continued to-morrow (Sunday)."

RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes LT S Casey, USS Quaker City, "Proceed with the Quaker City, in company with the Keystone State, to cruise for blockade runners on the Bermuda line."

BGEN A Schimmelfennig, USA Northern District, Department of the South writes CAPT J F Green, SOPA Charleston, " I have the honor to herewith return the sextant you so kindly loaned me, with my best thanks. Allow me at the same time to convey to you the expression of my thanks and appreciation for the various facilities that you have always so readily furnished me. The submarine fuze obtained from you I have found to work admirably. The clockwork torpedoes have, in all my experiments, proved a failure. I attribute the main cause of this to the fact that the spring which brings down the hammer on the nipple does not exercise force enough to explode the cap. This was proved to be the case in a large number of experiments. Otherwise I think those torpedoes may be made to work, and that some of the mechanics here may so change the machinery as to effect this purpose. If possible, I should like to obtain from you 25 yards more of the submarine fuze and three torpedoes."

SECNAV writes CMDR S K Stribling, Philadelphia Navy Yard "Your letter of the 19th instant has been received.
    Unless the Department should otherwise direct, the Aster, as soon as ready, will proceed to the West Gulf Squadron, as previously ordered.
    The Moccasin will remain for the present as a guard boat off Fort Delaware."

MGEN CC Washburn, USA, District of West Tennessee, writes CDR Robert Townsend, USS Essex"I have this moment your note.... I also thank you most sincerely for calling my attention to an expression in my General Order No. 4, which, I regret to know now for the first time, has received an interpretation most offensive to the Navy. Certainly any such interpretation was the furthest from my thoughts. My intercourse with the Navy has always been of the most pleasant character, and in this war I have always found the officers with whom I have come in contact ready, willing, and anxious to cooperate to the fullest extent with the Army in whatever was deemed best for the, public service. I trust that I am incapable of doing so unjust or so rude an act toward a branch of the service with which there always should be the most perfect accord as the construction placed by some upon my order would imply. I am glad to know from your letter that you placed the correct construction upon it.
    I shall take great pleasure in correcting the wrong impression whenever opportunity offers in an order. In the meantime I beg that you will correct it so far as you can do so."

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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15 OCT 2018 Brown Park
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Maritime History of Norwich
27 OCT 2018 Brown Park
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