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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 160 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 Lehigh
Sat Apr 16 1864

CDR F K Murray, USS Wateree, writes SECNAV from Bahia, Brazil "I respectfully report my arrival here last night in twenty days from St. Thomas, West Indies; all well.
    I shall take in 240 tons of coal here and proceed on my voyage, touching next at Montevideo."

A W Crawford, US Consul, Antwerp, Belgium, writes CAPT Jonathan A Winslow, USS Kearsarge, "I take the liberty of informing you that I have just learned that an agent of the Rappahannock has engaged about twenty- five seamen at our port during this day, and I am informed that they leave here this evening for Calais.
    I believe it to be my duty to convey this information to you, and trust it may reach you safely and prove serviceable."

Master William tell Street, USS Fuchsia, writes CDR Foxhall A Parker, Potomac Flotilla," Believing that there is considerable crossing in the vicinity of Breton's Bay, St. Clement's Bay, and Wicomico River, Maryland, to Virginia, and being acquainted with the various points, I would respectfully ask permission to cruise in that locality for a few days."

RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes SECNAV "I have the honor to submit the following report in regard to the part taken by the navy in the recent combined army and navy expedition up the James and Nansemond rivers:
    On the 9th instant I wrote to General Butler suggesting that he send a sufficient force to clear the country in the vicinity of Smithfield and Chuckatuck of the guerrilla parties known to be there and to destroy the boats which it was supposed they had concealed (copy enclosed, No. 1). In reply to this I received, on the 10th, a letter from General Butler (copy No. 2), which was brought by General Graham, who proposed going up the creeks with his light-armed transports and landing some troops in the Nansemond. I saw General Butler the same evening, and urged him to send at once a suitable force to come in from the rear and envelop the rebels so as to effectually capture them at Ivor Station, and between the Blackwater, James, and Nansemond rivers, and to advise me when he was ready to begin this movement that I might send a naval force to watch Chuckatuck and Pagan creeks and prevent the escape of the rebels by water. This he promised to do. I suggested to him that the plan of attack brought by General Graham, of approach in front in stead of the rear, would drive back the rebels, whereas they ought to be captured. This recommendation I hoped would be adopted, but the plan sent by General Graham was substantially carried out, and the force sent to the rear was cavalry, and was kept too far off for effect.
    On the afternoon of the 12th I received from General Smith and Colonel [J. W.] Shaffer (chief of staff to General Butler) a memorandum, of which a copy is enclosed.
    On the morning of the 13th, I issued orders to the commanding officers of the gunboats I had assigned to take part in the expedition, the Commodore Morris, Commodore Perry, Commodore Barney, and Stepping Stones, of which copies are enclosed. Two launches, with howitzers, from this ship, in charge of Acting Master Wilder, and Acting Ensign J. Birtwistle, were ordered to accompany the Stepping Stones.
    The gunboats and launches accordingly started from this point, as directed, and up to sunrise on the morning of the 14th all was carried out according to the orders given. At this time, however, the intended cooperations between the Stepping Stones with the launches and the infantry force on Pagan Creek failed of being fully carried out, owing to the grounding of the transports and delay in landing the troops, and that part of the expedition designed to explore Pagan Creek did not begin to ascend it until 12.15 p. m. The launches going ahead of the troops were fired on from the shore by a concealed force, and Acting Master Wilder, of this ship, instantly killed, and H. [H.] Miller, landsman, severely wounded.
    Assistant Surgeon Longshaw's report of casualties is enclosed, and the report of Acting Master Campbell (12) gives full details of this part of the affair.
    The Commodore Morris, as will be seen by the report of her commanding officer, Lieutenant Fyffe, assisted the military force and carried out my orders.
    The Commodore Perry and Commodore Barney also did their part in cooperating with the troops in the Nansemond and Western Branch.
    The boats from these vessels explored Western Branch to the extent that the troops afforded cooperation.
    The expedition returned yesterday afternoon. It failed in accomplishing the main objects, viz, the complete capture of the rebels in that region and the destruction of the torpedo boat which attacked this ship on the morning of the 9th. This, it was ascertained, had gone from Pagan Creek to Richmond on the night of the 10th instant for repairs.
    The country is a very difficult one to operate in, and requires more time than was available for a complete overhauling.
    I give, in a separate report, information received in relation to this torpedo boat.
    The results accomplished were, 4 prisoners, 1 12-pounder howitzer, belonging to the Navy and probably captured by the rebels from the army boat Smith Briggs, and a few wagons taken and brought off; a valuable officer killed, and 1 man wounded on our side; the rebel loss unknown.
    The following enclosures accompany this report:
    No. 1. Admiral Lee to General Butler, April 9, 1864.
    No. 2. To Admiral Lee from General Butler, April 10, 1864.
    No. 3. Memorandum received from General Smith and Colonel Shaffer, April 12, 1864.
    No. 4. Orders to Acting Master D. A. Campbell, U. S. S. Stepping Stones, April 13, 1864.
    No. 5. Orders to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant A. P. Foster, U. S. S. Commodore Perry, April 13, 1864.
    No. 6. Orders to Acting Master James [M.] Williams, U. S. S. Commodore Barney, April 13, 1864.
    No. 7. Orders to Lieutenant J. P. Fyffe, U. S. S. Commodore Morris, April 13, 1864.
    No. 8. Report of Lieutenant-Commander J. H. Upshur, commanding U. S. S. Minnesota, three enclosures, April 16, 1864.
    No. 9. Report of Acting Master James M. Williams, U. S. S. Commodore Barney, April 14, 1864.
    No. 10. Report of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant A. P. Foster U. S. S. Commodore Perry, April 15, 1864.
    No. 11. Report of Lieutenant Joseph P. Fyffe, U. S. S. Commodore Morris, April 15, 1864.
    No. 12. Report of Acting Master D. A. Campbell, U. S. S. Stepping Stones, April 15."

CDR George B Balch, SOPA Jacksonville, FL, writes CMDR S C Rowan, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron "I have the honor to report that our troops evacuated Palatka on the 4th instant, and are now embarked on transports, and will go north immediately, reports say, to join the Army of the Potomac.
    I have withdrawn the Ottawa from Palatka, where you will be pleased to learn she has rendered very good service. She has, by my orders, taken position off Picolata, a place 45 miles above Jacksonville, where some two regiments are stationed. Picolata is on the east side of the St. John's, and from this point it was intended to scout that portion of the State between the St. John's and the coast; but this plan may be modified in consequence of the orders lately received to send the troops north. The Unadilla and Norwich are still up the river and assisted in convoying the troops. Lieutenant-Commander Lewis, of the Mahaska, rendered valuable assistance also."

RADM Theodorus Bailey, East Gulf Blockading Squadron writes LCDR J N Quackenbush, USS San Jacinto from Key West "The general commanding this district proposes sending reinforcements to Fort Myers in the steamer Hussar.
    You will be pleased to have the two tenders, Ariel and Two Sisters, ready to start at a moment's notice, in tow of the Hussar, to accompany and assist the expedition, and you will direct the commanding officers of the tenders to cooperate with the army force sent up under the directions of the officer commanding the detachment. When their services are no longer required for transportation or defense of the post, they will proceed to cruise under their previous orders."

RADM Bailey writes LT Charles H Rockwell, USS Gem of the Sea, "Your communications by the tender schooner Two Sisters have been received, and your course in sending her down is approved.
    You will be pleased at all times to render such assistance to the military force stationed at Fort Myers as they may require, and as may be consistent with your own duties.
    The general commanding this district is about sending up reinforcements, which, it is hoped, will place the garrison at that place in a position to resist successfully any attempt of the enemy to disturb them."

CAPT J B Marchand, 3rd Division, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes CMDR James S Palmer, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, from Galveston, TX "Herewith I send for your disposition five persons, passengers and crew of the prize schooner Juanita, captured by the Virginia on the 11th instant near San Luis Pass, named as follows: Juan Carbonell, passenger; Jose Chaquarntie, Eugene Euterbe, seamen; Pedro Rameros, mate; Jose Lopez."

LCDR Thomas O Selfridge, USS Osage, writes RADM David D Porter, Mississippi Squadron, " I have the honor to inform you that while on my way down the river, having stopped at Blair's plantation, some 50 miles above this point, to protect the transport Alice Vivian, I was attacked by two brigades of dismounted cavalry and three pieces artillery, the whole under the command of General Green, amounting to not less than 2,500 men.
    I waited till they got into easy shelling range, and opened upon them a heavy fire of shrapnel and canister. The rebels fought. with unusual pertinacity for over an hour, delivering the heaviest and most concentrated fire of musketry that I have ever witnessed.
    They finally broke in great confusion, leaving the ground covered with their dead and wounded, muskets, knapsacks, etc., for many yards from the bank.
    Having received orders to rejoin you without delay, I regretted that I could not give the battlefield the inspection I desired. From the statement of the wounded, and the appearance of the field, the loss of the enemy could not have been less than 200.
    General Green, who commanded, a colonel, and [a] major, are known to have been killed.
    The Lexington, Lieutenant Commanding Bache, came down shortly after the action commenced, and, from her favorable position below, was enabled to pour in a most destructive enfilading fire, which materially hastened the result.
    Company A, Ninety-fifth Illinois, was on board, and did good execution. Our total casualties amounted to 7 wounded.
    General Green will prove a great loss, he standing as one of the best rebel generals this side of the Mississippi."

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

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