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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, 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

date ne current_date
Period Picture
USS Maratanza
Sun Dec 14 1862

RADM Charles Wilkes, West India Squadron writes SECNAV from Havana Cuba, " I arrived here yesterday morning, and during the day our consul-general received information that the Alabama had been at Fort Royal, Martinique, on the 20th [19th] November. I leave this p. m. in search of her. We have been coaling all night.
I can not express to you how much I feel the want of force here at this time; it would have made her capture almost certain. I have by every opportunity urged upon the Department the necessity of a larger number of vessels, at least to have sent the two, the Dacotah and Cimarron, out which were started as part of my squadron, or to have replaced them by others, but I have seen with some concern that no notice has been taken of my urgency, and the time has now come which proves that I was not mistaken in my views or representations to you, that the Alabama, or 290, would come to recruit in these seas and will probably remain in these waters for the next season, and we require all the activity to hunt her up and capture her. But you must be aware this can not be done without a sufficient force, and all acting in unison and concert.
I now possess all the information respecting her through the dispatch from the consul at Martinique to the Secretary of State, which I requested the consul-general to open, it being inferred in the consuls letter inclosing it that its contents were important. I see by it that the Agrippina met the Alabama off that port. Her first destination was the Bahamas, but understanding that we had sufficient force there to intercept her, and were keeping a careful watch on all the reefs and cays, it has been changed to Martinique, and from thence we have only surmises of the destination she may take, and these are of some account, for I have memorandums of Semmes (which he wrote while in the Sumter) officially giving his rendezvous for that vessel, and think he will now adopt them in his present emergency.
I now renew the request for more vessels of sufficient force to contend with her singly and others which may come, and with renewed urgency to join me as soon as possible. I shall leave orders with the consul-general, in view of their coming, what destination they are intended to operate, or where I may meet them, There is no doubt in my mind that after the 290 effects her coaling and repairs, her object will be the capture, if possible, of the California boats. We must take her before, if possible. We shall do our best. I leave with the Sonoma this evening in close pursuit of her."

LCDR Magaw, 2nd Division, Potomac Flotilla, writes Master William Tell Street, USS Yachsia, " I am happy to say that your duties have been attended to during your service in the flotilla to my entire satisfaction. During the first battle of Fredericksburg, while we were at Oaken Brow, and attacked by the enemy, attempting to drive us from our position, you had the outpost picket, and the manner in which you handled the Jacob Bell, then under your command, elicited the admiration of the whole flotilla. If this little note can be of any service to you, it will much gratify."

CDR Joseph E De Haven, USS Penobscot, writes RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, "I have to report that yesterday morning about 10 o'clock, this vessel being on the passage to this port for repairs, I boarded the schooner Golden Eagle, under English colors, of and from Nassau, New Providence, and consigned to Thomas Duncan, Beaufort, N.C.
The captain and crew I have on board this vessel; the schooner I placed in charge of Acting Ensign S. K. Luce, with orders to proceed to Beaufort, N. C. I have had an examination of the crew of the schooner, and send herewith the information elicited.
The papers of the Golden Eagle are endorsed by the American consul, and appear correct with the exception of the shipping articles, where there is a discrepancy in the amount of monthly wages purported to have been paid the men.
The movements of the schooner being suspicious, and her cargo (salt) contraband, I have thought best to hold her for further instructions from yourself.
Acting Masters Mates H. B. Nickerson and George K. Knowlton, Acting Ensigns Daniel W. Glenney, Samuel H. Mead, and Edward A. Small, ordered to the U. S. steamers Cambridge and Mount Vernon, reported to me this morning. Both of those vessels have gone North for repairs, hence I have thought best to direct their return to Hampton Roads and report themselves to you."
He encloses his examination of the officers and crew of the Golden Eagle "Arthur Baine, cook, says he is a native of Nassau; shipped on board schooner Golden Eagle to make the passage to Beaufort, N. C.; his wages were to be $25 per month, which was more than the current price for such vessels; have been on the coast twelve days; had several days fair wind if bound to Beaufort, which we did not avail ourselves of; were in 7 or 8 fathoms last evening; believes the vessel was intended to run the blockade.
John Davis, mate, born in Milford, England; shipped in Nassau for $40 per month to go to Beaufort, N. C., in schooner Golden Eagle have never seen land on this coast; has no idea that the captain intended to run the blockade; saw an American frigate day before yesterday, tacked and stood away from her; the usual wages on such a voyage are $25 per month; does not know why he was paid more; does not know why he is down on shipping articles for only 25 per month.
John McKenzie, captain, lives in Liverpool; shipped at Nassau to take schooner Golden Eagle into Beaufort, N. C.; has been on this coast two days; struck soundings yesterday for first time, has had light winds since leaving Nassau; the Golden Eagle is owned by Sawyer Menendez, of Nassau.
Zacharias Murray, shipped in Nassau for Beaufort, N. C.; wages to be $25 per month; $15 advanced by owners, the balance to be paid after getting to sea, which has not been done; was told when shipped that the vessel was bound to Beaufort, N. C.; have not anchored on this coast, the usual wages of seamen out of Nassau are $14 or $15; on vessels intending to run the blockade, $25 per month.
Michael Culman, seaman, shipped for $25 per month to go to Beaufort, N. C.; the captain promised me not to attempt to run the blockade;
I received no advance; the usual coasting wages are about $15.
John Fernando, seaman, lives in Nassau; shipped in Nassau to go to Beaufort for $25 per month; left Nassau three weeks ago to-day; night before last saw a frigate, but she did not speak us; thinks from the actions of the Golden Eagle that he intended to run the blockade; the usual price paid seamen to run the blockade is from $25 to $50; for trips to New York men only get from $12 to $16.
The Golden Eagle is owned by Mr. Menendez. He has lost several in attempting to run the blockade, two of which were the Racer and British Queen."

RADM Lee writes ASSIST SECNAV "I have written urgently to Commander Armstrong and Mr. Lenthall for the State of Georgia, and to Lieutenant-Commander Braine and Admiral Paulding for the Monticello, with Kroehl and his fixtures.
In consequence of the consular dispatches revealing the rebel plan to concentrate their vessels and force the blockade of Wilmington, I sent the Chocura to the blockade, but have now recalled her to tow, and shall dispatch the Colorado there as soon as she comes.
The vessels to tow ironclads must be able to take them into Beaufort if necessary. I need, therefore, the State of Georgia and Monticello. The Chocura is an additional provisiou. I counted on the Ossipee and Junjata without knowing their draft.
When Captain {Caise} brought me word that you would send several more manned ironclads, I thought you intended to make sure work of Wilmington by engaging its defenses with all the ironclads intended for Charleston. The vessels bringing them here could take them on, and the State of Georgia and Monticello would meantime be ready for towing down, the first the Passaic and the latter the Monitor. The Minnesota can tow one or two ironclads if the Chocura is along to take them into Beaufort if necessary.
If the upper James or Pamunkey is to be protected by ironclads, are there now enough ready for this and the operation on the coast? Please give me a list of vessels I am to have, stating when each will be here. Could I have gone up last evening, we could have talked at the Department to-day, with my illustrated chart before us, over views which have occurred to me since I left you, and I could have returned here to-morrow morning. The good weather, the weak state of the blockade, and the pressure on Richmond are the main causes for urgency now. The enemy has had ample time in eighteen months to prepare his defense, and is now publishing that he is to be attacked, which, when done, should be done in sufficient force to allow for casualties and insure success. I am arguing for all the force you can give more monitors if you can.
If the ironclads could safely go into New Inlet, thus allowing an inside and outside attack on the works there, Federal Point, the whole force could be used at once and together; but if the former is obliged to enter over the Western Bar, the attack is divided and weakened. Fort Caswell and its obstructions have to be got by or taken. Is the force you intend applicable and sufficient for that? Let me know just what is it to be. I am willing anyhow.
The Cambridge and Mount Vernon are just come. The former is probably in real want of repairs, the latter only out of order. A survey to-day, a report to you to-morrow.
Two English captains just called Ross, of the Cadmus, and Watson, of the Petrel just from off Charleston. Merlin (French) inside harbor there; Petrel returns there. Report negroes detected burying arms in coffins with mock funerals (stuff, I suppose mere pretense for men-of-war to be there and for ultimate intervention); told him there was less cause for apprehension of an insurrection now with the whites all armed than during ordinary holidays. Ross said the Merlin could take off their consul and family if needed, and that the 700 or 800 British subjects there could not embark and could go into the country.
This letter is too important in its statements to be expressed. Please be careful of it.
General Foster is in earnest and will do good."

RADM Lee writes CDR Murray, SOPA Sounds of North Carolina, "I send you the Commodore Hull. Relieve the Miami of some of her battery, if her commander desires it, and let her proceed with dispatch to the blockade off Wilmington.
I am hurrying the Whitehead and Ceres.
General Foster is in earnest and is doing well. I count on him with confidence. All is going well, except some unavoidable delays.
The Richmond Dispatch of the 11th instant says that Longstreet's corps was the principal sufferer at Fredericksburg the other day.
The navy agent at Philadelphia has some boiler iron to send you for rifle screening."

RADM LEE writes CAPT J Goldsborough, USS Colorado, "Get ready for sea. Fill with coal. Get your men from the Brandywine. Take in as much additional ordnance stores as you can carry and proceed with dispatch off Wilmington to protect the blockade of that port. We have advices that the rebels are preparing to concentrate their vessels with a view to force the blockade of Wilmington in order to get their much-needed supplies. Perhaps you had better remain off the New Inlet entrance for the present. Commander Scott can inform you as to the instructions heretofore given for guarding the inlets above and below Wilmington. It is of vital importance to prevent all violations of the blockade. A close watch of the entrances into Wilmington and of the inlets on the coast is of much consequence at this time, when the enemy is suffering for supplies."

CAPT Godon, SOPA Charleston, writes RADM Samuel Du Pont, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron "Some days since Acting Master Browne, commanding the Rest- less, desired permission to burn some salt works not far from his station, at Harbor Creek.
I could not furnish him with a howitzer, as my wheelhouse boats are in such a condition that both were under repair, but I sent him word that if the work could be done without much exposure, I saw no objections to his undertaking it. Boats were accordingly sent from the Restless, and the enclosed report, which I forward, gives the result.
Acting Ensigns Henry Eason and James J. Russell deserve credit for their conduct in the command of the expedition and the work performed by them."

LCDR F A Roe, USS Kathadin, writes CDR D Fairfax, SOPA Donaldsonville, "I have to report that while this vessel was passing Manchac Bend yesterday, in company with the Kineo, she received several volleys of rifle balls from troops in ambush behind the levee, as had also the Kineo. When at Baton Rouge I observed horsemen galloping down the road to Manchac for this purpose.
I am happy to report that no one was hurt, though the volleys passed fore and aft the vessel. The enemy were thoroughly shelled."

LCDR A W Weaver, USS Winona writes RADM David G. Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron "I have to report that while this vessel was at anchor near the Essex, off the upper end of Profit Island, just at early daylight, a rebel battery of fieldpieces opened fire on her. We at once returned their fire with grape, canister, and shrapnel, but they had taken up such a position during the night without being observed that they were enabled to rake the vessel repeatedly without our being able to return an effective fire. I attempted to heave up the anchor, only having a short scope of chain out, but the enemy's fire was so heavy and well directed that I was obliged to slip the chain. We steamed up toward the Essex, and in doing so the pilots ran the vessel aground, but fortunately we backed off and made fast to the starboard side of the Essex, when both vessels backed down the river. During the engagement this vessel was struck twenty-seven times in the hull, spars, and rigging, many of the shot cutting her up badly. The enemy not noticing the Essex, directed his whole fire at us.
I regret to say that Acting Masters Mate David Vincent was mortally wounded, and has since died. On my way down the river, when just below Profit Island, a battalion of infantry opened fire on us from the east bank, to which we replied with grape, canister, and shrapnel, but owing to the protection the levee afforded th em, with very little {effect}.
During the engagements we expended 62 rounds of grape, canister, and shrapnel.
In conclusion, I have to state that during the fight the officers and men exhibited that coolness, courage, and zeal which I have every reason to expect from them."

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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