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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
Unitesd States Naval Academy
Mon Dec 14 1863

CMDR G F Pearson, Portsmouth Navy Yard, telegrams SECNAV "The Dacotah left at 9:30 Sunday morning." He then writes SECNAV "I have the honor to report that the Daeotah left yesterday morning at 9:30 in pursuit of the Chesapeake, with orders to search the coasts in the vicinity of Cape Sable, and should she find the Chesapeake in an English port to demand her of the authorities as an American vessel captured by pirates or other evil-disposed persons. Should she be captured, Commander Clary was to convey her to the most convenient port, and in the event of her having gone South he was to return here. I furnished the Dacotah with some 20 men from the receiving ship here, including the firemen and coal heavers intended for the Agawam, in order to make up as well as I could for the deficiency of her crew, and as the services of her chief engineer could not be safely dispensed with, in the opinion of Commander Clary and myself, I retained his detachment and orders until his return here all of which I trust will meet the approbation of the Department. Immediately on the reception of a telegram from the deputy collector of Portland relative to the capture of the Chesapeake, I commenced restowing her; she of course was not cleaned, and therefore on her return here will need breaking out again and cleaning."

N Hunnison, Vice Consul, Halifax, NS telegram SECSTATE "John C. Braine, arrested by vice-consul of Liverpool, showed commission from Jeff Davis letter of marque, and instructions to take the steamer. Citizens interfered, and Braine is now on his way to Halifax. Some goods landed at Shelburne put on board steamer Chesapeake near Margarets Bay. Taking measures to have Braine arrested upon arrival."

SECNAV writes CMDR Andrew A Harwood, Potomac Flotilla, "Your letter of the 10th instant has been received.
    You will instruct the commanding officers of the Potomac Flotilla not to regard any passes or permits such as are reported to have been issued by Lieutenant Baker, of the revenue steamer Hercules, and to capture all refugees or other persons attempting to violate the blockade.
    A copy of Lieutenant Hooker's letter has been sent to the Secretary of the Treasury."

LT R H Lamson, USS Nansemond, writes RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron "I regret to be obliged to report the following disaster to this vessel in a gale off Cape Hatteras on the 12th and 13th instant:
    At 4 o'clock on the morning of the 12th we passed Cape Henry and had fair weather and a smooth sea till 4 o'clock that afternoon, when a strong breeze came up from the S. S. E. which, by 10 that night, had increased to a heavy gale with a very heavy sea.
    The ship made good weather, going slowly head to sea till 3:45 on the morning of the 13th, about 20 miles to the southward of the cape, when a heavy sea boarded us over the port guard, carrying away the forward part of the house on that side, the bulwarks, and the fire and engine-room bulkheads, and poured down into the fire room.
    The concussion was so great that the engine stopped and could not be started again for some minutes, during which time we wore round under the jib and scudded before it.
    Another sea boarded us on the starboard side, carrying away the bulkheads on that side.
    There was now between 4 and 5 feet of water in the hold, the water coming up to the tops of the ash pans in the fire room.
    A sea lifting her stern, the water ran forward; she settled very much by the head and refused to obey the helm. I then ordered the bow guns to be thrown overboard, which was done, and between 3 and 4 tons of shell were also thrown over, and the anchor on the port bow was cut away.
    This relieved her so much that she came up, and we succeeded in freeing her from the water.
    We scudded before it until the gale abated so that we could haul in for Cape Henry, off which we anchored at 11 o'clock last night, it being too foggy to see the lights, and came in this morning.
    My officers and men behaved entirely to my satisfaction during the time we were in such great danger.
    Eight or ten persons were injured, some severely, by the first sea that came on board.
    I regret exceedingly the unfortunate necessity for throwing our guns overboard, but I am confident that nothing else could have kept the vessel from foundering."

RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes a general order "The Navy Department disapproves of officers and men straying from their vessels, with or without permission, resulting in their capture. It is, therefore, expressly forbidden in this squadron, and commanding officers will use such stringent measures to correct this evil as will suppress it."

Master John Sherrill, USS Roebuck writes SECNAV " I have to report the capture of a small sloop boat containing two men, laden with 16 bags salt and 1 box notions, off this place yesterday.
    No papers were found on board, and the master said he was from Green Turtle Cay and bound for Dixie.
    The men, boat, and cargo will be sent to Key West for adjudication. I enclose herewith a list of the officers and crew of this ship at time of above capture."

SECNAV writes LCDR George Brown, USS Itasca "Proceed down the river to-morrow and make the best of your way to join the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. Do not run into the Potomac River at night."

POTUS writes "All military and naval commanders will please give to the Hon. Samuel L. Casey, of Kentucky, with any number of inferior stern-wheel steamboats, not exceeding three, taking in tow any number of barges, scows, flats, and the like, not having steam power, which they may be able to take without money and without cargoes outgoing, and only with crews to navigate the whole, and necessary provisions for himself and said crews, protection and safe conduct from Cairo to Red River, and up said river and its tributaries till he shall pass beyond our military lines; and also give him such protection and safe conduct on his return to our lines back to Cairo with any cargoes he may bring, and on his safe return from beyond our lines with said boats and tows, allow him to report once or twice, if he shall desire." RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, endorses it "All naval officers will respect this order, and carry out the wishes of the President as far as it is in their power to 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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