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last update Tuesday, 15-May-2018 08:33:08 PDT


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
USS Hartford, RADM Farragut's Flagship
Fri Sep 18 1863

CAPT Jonathan A Winslow, USS Kearsarge, writes SECNAV from Brest, France "I have the honor to report the arrival of the Kearsarge at this port, after a passage of forty hours from Ferrol, Spain.
    Subsequent to my dispatch from Ferrol to the Department I received information that the Florida had put into Brest. This information determined my movements, and on reaching this port I found the Florida in dock undergoing repairs.
    The customary civilities having been extended, I waited upon the admiral in command, with a view of ascertaining the state of feeling existing, as also the character in which the Florida was held. My reception was cordial, and the admiral remarked that whatever his personal feelings were, they could not be considered; that instructions had been given to accord to the Florida the rights of a belligerent, and as such the repairs necessary to equip her for sea service had been directed, but that no furniture of armament or munitions of war would be permitted. I was further notified that the established rule, which must not be violated, was that no two vessels of belligerent parties could leave the port together; that one must precede the other twenty-four hours in advance before she could be followed.
    I enclose one or two slips cut from the Kord, a paper published in Paris on the 15th instant. The Department will see a reference to claims made on the Florida for forcibly putting prisoners of war on board two French merchant vessels, and the possible ultimate seizure of this vessel.
    Reference is also made to 75 men who left the Florida for Cardiff, as also the possible appearance of the Alabama at Cherbourg. The report that the men left the Florida for some other vessel received some strength from the fact that Captain Maffitt has been relieved in command and has left Brest. The name of the new commander I have not as yet learned
    I would beg leave to call the attention of the Department to the position of this port, which has evidently been selected by Captain Maffitt from the difficulty of blockade.
    The entrance to the port is lined on either side with reefs of rocks, which on the southern side extend 15 miles seaward and on the northern side a farther distance. On either side, both north and south, a channel runs close along the land; these with the main entrance making three passages of egress, all of which should be blockaded.
    From the information that has reached me, I judge that two weeks will elapse before the Florida can leave dock. I shall provision, and before she is ready to leave take my station outside to intercept her."
Enclosed translations read: "The 75 sailors who were disembarked by the Confederate privateer now at Brest have arrived in England and taken possession of the New Florida, which is rapidly fitting out.
    Two United States frigates (one of which, on dit, is at present at Lisbon, and the other, from latest information, has recently left Bermuda) are expected at Brest in pursuit of the Florida; but that ship, so soon as repaired, will be sold by her captain, who will then go to England to take charge of the New Florida, with his entire staff and all his ships company.- La France.
    They write from Cherbourg to the Courrier du Havre:


The Confede~ate privateer, the Alabama, will probably come to Cherbourg.

    A letter received within the last few days by a person of our city and addressed to Captain Semmes gives some foundation for this rumor.
    The Florida and the opposition made by the maritime prefect of Brest to the seizure of this vessel have greatly occupied the public mind. We have reason to believe that an order coming from Paris has caused the maritime prefect to act as he had done so as to protect the inviolability of the military port. - Pays.
    Pour la rubrique:
    La France of to-day says:


Some details, not wholly exact, have been given in reference to the judicial incident relating to the Confederate privateer at present at Brest. According to the laws and regulations in the matter, the Florida can not be seized in the arsenal; it is only when the ship shall have left the arsenal to go to the commercial harbor that the regular course of justice could be exercised.

    If it be a question of the information we have given, we can vouch for the exactness of it by an eyewitness. If the Florida can not be seized in the arsenal, which she entered on the 8th instant at 3 p. m., she might be seized the 4th of September in the roadstead; but the public officer could not procure assistance. The seizure was made by the maritime prefect in his character of harbor master. It does not appear that he has been held to account for it. Thus it was only a matter of seizure for the purpose of holding the vessel while awaiting judgment. It is difficult to understand why this measure, which in recognizing the Florida as a merchantman set aside all question of international law, should have been without effect.
    Editing Secretary"

Thomas H Dudley, US Consul, Liverpool, writes SECNAV "Captain Winslow telegraphed me last night from Brest, in France, desiring me to notify you of his arrival at that port in forty hours from Ferrol.
    It is announced this morning that Captain Maffitt has resigned on account of ill health and that Captain Barney is to take command of the Florida. Captain Bulloch is at Brest. My information is that it will require at least a month to repair the Florida."

Master Andrew J Frank, USS Adolph Hugel, writes CMDR Andrew A Harwood, Potomac Flotilla, "On the 17th instant, at quarter to 8 o'clock p. m., I captured the sloop Music, Captain Hewitt, and J. B. Padgett, belonging to the vessel. The sloop cleared from Georgetown, D. C., on the 10th instant, before I was ordered to the command of this guard vessel, and on her return up the river she brought her manifest on board to report. Finding that she had more men on board than her manifest certified, and these men being without passes, I therefore detained her. I have sent Prize Master King up with the vessel and all papers. The following men were on board at the time of capture, viz:
    T. B. Hewitt, captain of vessel; J. B. Padgett, seaman; William P. Drury, Charles W. Drury, Samuel Drury, William Brown, James Hazel, Charles Steward, passengers.
    These men stated that they had permission from a gunboat near Indian head to land on the Virginia shore to hunt on the big marsh for game, which they did."

CDR George B Balch, SOPA Stono Inlet writes RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron "General Gillmore telegraphed to General Gordon, commanding south end of Folly Island, that he had information that an attack was to be made on Folly Island and directed General Gordon to confer with me in relation to the proper disposition for resisting the attack, and also offering me what men I might require, as it was supposed that the attempt would be made to board the Pawnee. I declined assistance of this kind, but made such disposition of my force as seemed proper.
    The impression prevails in army circles that the attack will be made by way of Secessionville Creek, and by boats. I scarcely deem this possible, as our pickets are by Secessionville Creek, some 4 miles in advance, and if they do their duty it would preclude the possibility of success. I have furnished Coston lights for the advance posts up the Stono and Secessionville Creek, and by them I shall have timely warning of the approach of the enemy. My opinion is that if an attack be made it will be by way of Stono.
    I sent the C. P. Williams up the Folly River as far as the White House, and on signal from that vessel the Huron has orders to proceed at once to her assistance."

MAJ J C Denis, Provost Marshal, Post of Mobile, writes "Respectfully returned to Colonel George G. Garner, chief of staff, with the report that after a careful inspection of the records of this office no entry can be found relative to the men within named and after enquiry being made at Pascagoula nothing is known by the citizens of the place, except by report from the enemy, which would go to show that there was a meeting among those men in which some were killed and the others have not been heard of since. I enclose report of Captain R. Spinter on the subject."

LCDR Frank M Ramsay, USS Choctaw, writes RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, "I have to report that on the 16th instant the tug Ivy burst her cylinder heads and broke her piston rod.
    Acting Chief Engineer Baldwin of this vessel, having reported to me that it will be impossible to make the necessary repairs here, I have ordered Captain Grant, of the New National, to tow her to Cairo, and have ordered Acting Ensign Bass, commanding the Ivy, to report to you.
    If you have another tug to spare, I would like very much to have her while the Ivy is repairing, as she would be of great assistance in taking care of the gun flats and coal barges."

CPT R Spinter, CSA writes "I can find out from the citizens here nothing about the Federal officer and men found on Petit Bois Island in November last except what they say came from the enemy themselves, who reported that they thought the people of Pascagoula had killed these parties.
Young Mr. Farragut, a private in Captain Marshall's company, says that before he left New Orleans, his uncle, Admiral Farragut, said to him that they bombarded this place because they thought these men were killed by the citizens of Pascagoula, but afterwards found out that the men (Feds.) had mutinied and killed their officer and others, and the remainder, or mutineers, had never since been heard of."

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.

16 JUN 2018 Camp Laurel
Lebanon. CT
30 JUL 2018 Ayer's Farm

Mars Party
6 OCT 2018 Sprague Land Trust
Bolton Rd.
Deep Sky Observing
13 OCT 2018 Sprague Land Trust
Bolton Rd.
Deep Sky Observing
15 OCT 2018 Brown Park
Maritime History of Norwich
27 OCT 2018 Brown Park
Maritime History of Norwich

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