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In commemoration of the 150 years since the Civil War - or more appropriately in the vernacular of the day - War of the Rebellion (Northern) - or War of Yankee Aggression (Southern) we are featuring a quote and picture of the day from the Naval Records


Period Picture
CAPT Raphael Semmes, CSN commander of the Alabama, a fast commerce destroyer, considered a privateer by the Union
Tue Oct 25 1864

RADM G F Pearson, Pacific Squadron, writes SECNAV "I have the honor to report to the Department that I have this day relieved Acting Rear-Admiral Charles H. Bell of the command of the Pacific Squadron."

LT F S Wells, USS Aries, writes CAPT B F Sands, Divsion off Western Bar, Cape Fear River, "I beg leave to report that at 7:30 last evening, while on my night station No. 4, in 5 fathoms water, Bald Head light bearing E. by S., saw guns and rockets fired from vessels bearing E. S. E., indicating the presence of a blockade runner, standing to the westward. I steamed a short distance S. W., in a direction to head the runner off, and then stopped to await a more accurate development of his course and position. At 7:45 a flash of lightning revealed the stranger on my starboard quarter, bearing N., and steering about W. by N. with two blockaders in chase bearing E. by N. I immediately gave chase on a course nearly parallel with that of the stranger, intending to corner him between the other blockaders and the land, thereby rendering his destruction or capture almost a certainty; meantime kept up a fire upon him and threw rockets in his direction, to encourage the other vessels to follow, in case they had lost sight of him. I continued to chase in this manner till 10 p. m., when the stranger disappeared to the westward, having altered his bearings about 8 points in two and a quarter hours. We were then off Little River, well in with the land, and obliged to keep off more to the southward. I steamed S. W. till 10:25 and gave up the chase and turned toward Western Bar, where I arrived at 3:20 this morning. While chasing I gained rapidly away from my two consorts, and at 9:30 they were out of sight astern. The stranger appeared to be a very long, side-wheel steamer, with three funnels. So long as my wood lasted, I could steam 12 knots and the stranger gained little, if any, on me. After the wood was exhausted my speed dwindled down to 9 knots."

CDR T H Patterson, SOPA Charleston Bar, writes CAPT J F Green SOPA Charleston "In reply to your communication of the 24th instant, about 9 p. m. of the 22d instant the Wamsutta discovered a blockade runner going inward. She immediately slipped, fired at her, and made the signal indicating a vessel going outward, which, though very soon rectified by her picket boat, created some confusion and uncertainty as to the course of the stranger. After firing our broadside at the blockade runner she was not seen again by the Wamsutta, being obscured by the smoke from the guns of the latter until she had run out of sight.
    The Mingoe, the next vessel to the westward, saw but did not fire at the strange steamer, and Commander Creighton says in his report, "She passed in so quickly inshore that before I could slip or get my broadside to bear she was out of sight."
    The Laburnum, lying in 2½ fathoms, to the westward of the Mingoe, and heading at the time N. W., discovered right ahead the spray from the paddles of a steamer, without being able to distinguish the vessel; fired her port bow gun at, and then lost sight of her, slipped, stood inshore, and after standing in a short distance brought the strange steamer out from under the land and saw her for a moment bearing W. S. W.
    The Geranium, to the southward and westward of the Laburnum, seeing the signal made by the Wamsutta and hearing the guns, weighed her anchor, stood inshore, and immediately after the Laburnum fired discovered the blockade runner on her port bow; fired two shots at, and then lost sight of her.
    The Sonoma, with every preparation made, was at anchor to the southward and westward of Breach Inlet, with a picket boat inside of her, neither of which saw anything of the blockade runner.
    The Acacia slipped and stood inshore, but failed to discover anything, and fired several shots at random.
    The Azalea. the most western vessel, when the proper signal was made indicating a vessel going inward, slipped, and after standing in a short distance discovered what appeased to be the spray from the paddles of a steamer and opened fire, but did not chase, as the object fired at was too far past her to cut her off.
    About 10: 30 p. m. signal was made by the Wamsutta's picket boat, vessel going outward, but it was a false alarm, she having mistaken the Geranium, which was underway in the vicinity, for a vessel running the blockade."

RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes CDR M B Woolsey, USS Princess Royal "As soon as ready for sea, you will proceed off Galveston and report to Commander Le Roy, commanding the Third Division, for duty on the coast of Texas and Mexico. You will then run down to Tampico and cruise between that port and the Rio Grande for blockade runners.
    The consul, Mr. Chase, informs me that a number of small vessels are running the blockade to that port from Texas. You will please communicate with Mr. Chase, who will be able to give you every information. Make no captures within less than 6 miles of the land when off the coast of Mexico. You will cruise there until relieved or until obliged to go to Galveston for coal or supplies."

CAPT A M Pennock, Mississippi Squadron, writes SECNAV from Memphis, TN "Since my communication of the 4th instant (No. 11) I have visited Columbus, Ky., where I was informed that only 400 effective troops were stationed for its defense, and that an attack on the post was expected. The commanding officer of the garrison had stated to Lieutenant-Commander Mitchell that he would be obliged to abandon the post in the event of his gunboats being withdrawn. This being out of the question, I reinforced him with another gunboat and remained there until additional troops arrived, and all immediate danger of attack subsided.
    I arrived in Memphis on the 17th, where, as I anticipated, an attack was hourly expected. I had a strong force of gunboats at this place, and was enabled, by a cordial cooperation with the commanding general, to arrange satisfactorily for the defense of the city.
    Information no doubt reached the rebels that the army and navy were prepared to receive them. Learning that they had passed to the northward and halted, I felt satisfied that there were no fears of an attack at that time.
    I therefore availed myself of the opportunity to visit the monitor Osage, which vessel has been high and dry for some months near Helena, Ark.
    Mechanics had been sent down to work on her, under the directions of her commander, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant George W. Rogers. I found that owing to his able management the extensive repairs and alterations which were required upon her were all in a forward state of completion.
    As soon as the river rises sufficiently she will be floated off, and will then be in far better condition than she was when first built.
    She now lies in a very exposed condition. I have added to her crew, directed a gunboat to guard her, and requested General Buford, who commands at Helena, to have a force to assist in her defense, should it be necessary.
    The falling water admonished me not to pass over Helena Bar in this vessel. Wishing to keep within striking distance of the rebel forces now moving in the vicinities of the upper part of the river, to be in the position most favorable to hear of their movements, and to be ready to concentrate a force of gunboats at any threatened point of attack, I returned to this place."

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.



Proud to be an organizational partner of Connecticut Civil War Commemoration sponsored by Central Connecticut State University.
DatesUpcoming Civil War Events
17 APR 2014
7:30 PM
Hebron Historical Society
Hebron CT
CAPT Percival Drayton, USN
What Did the Navy Do?
31 MAY-1 JUN 2014 Custom House Maritime Museum
Newburyport, MA
Living History
12-13 JUL 2014 Double Day Campground
Cooperstown, NY
Living History
19-20 JUL 2014 Cummington, MA Living History
2 AUG 2014 Windham, NY Music
16-17 AUG 2014 Fort Ontario
Oswego, NY
Living History, Battle
13-14 SEP 2014 Saratoga Spring, NY Living History
27-28 SEP 2014 Look Park Reenactment
Florence, MA
Living History,Battles
Important News
LCDR Ezra Seals is putting his reenacting schedule together for the 2012-2013 season. School teachers - see the Civil War pages for how you can add excitement to your classroom on this topic.
Want to know what the Navy was doing 150 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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