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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
Crrew of the USS Saugus on the James river
Tue Sep 22 1863

RADM Charles H Bell, Pacific Squadron, writes CAPT Edward Middleton, USS St Mary's "On the arrival of the U. S. ship Cyane, Lieutenant-Commander Paul Shirley, who has been ordered to relieve you, you will transfer to him all instructions relative to the duties expected to be performed by the commander of the ship of war stationed at Panama. You will then proceed with the U. S. ship St. Mary's, under your command, to Talcahuano, Chile, from whence you will communicate by letter with the Hon. Thomas H. Nelson, our minister at Santiago de Chile, informing him of your arrival and intended visit to Valparaiso. After a short stay at Talcahuano you will proceed to Valparaiso, where you can remain some weeks. On your return north you will touch at Coquimbo, Cobija, Arica, Chincha Islands, and Pisco, and from thence to Callao. Here you will replenish your ship with such stores from the storeship as are indispensable. On your way back to Panama you will touch at Payta.
    You are not required to confine yourself strictly to the above places, but should you think it advisable you can communicate with any other of the intermediate ports along the coast.
    The object of your cruise is for the protection of American interests along the coasts of Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, and to check any attempt that may be made by our enemies, foreign or domestic, to fit out vessels to destroy our commerce on this ocean.
    In your intercourse with the authorities, as well as private citizens, of foreign powers in the places you visit, I need not urge upon you the necessity of cultivating the most friendly relations.
    You will communicate frequently with me, directing your letters to Panama, to which place you must return on or before May 1, 1864.
    Previous to sailing from Panama you will, if possible, supply yourself with sufficient funds to last until your return.
    Wishing you a pleasant cruise and safe return,"

RADM Bell writes to LCDR Paul Shirley, USS Cyane, "When you are in all respects ready for sea you will proceed with the U. S. ship Cyane, under your command, to Panama, and report to Captain Edward Middleton or the senior officer at that place. As soon as convenient after your arrival you will send to New York those men whose times have expired, retaining on board a sufficient number to keep your ship effective until reliefs are sent from the United States. The men you send home, you will have their accounts transferred to the receiving ship at New York and their passages paid. For such funds as you may require while at Panama you are authorized to draw on the Navy Department, payable in gold at five days sight. The commander of the St. Mary's will be directed to hand over to you all instructions which he has received relative to the duties which are or may be required while your ship is in Panama Bay. While at anchor in that port you must guard against sudden surprise, particularly from steamers at night, drilling your men so that they may be prepared at a moments notice to come on deck with arms ready, without the delay of dressing. On your way to Panama you will examine every vessel which has the slightest suspicion of being engaged against our flag. You will be pleased to communicate with me at least once in each month, directing your letters to San Francisco until further orders."

LT John G Baker, USRS Hercules, writes CO, USS Tulip, From the Great Wicomico River "On Sunday, the 20th instant, as we were steaming down the Great Wicomico River, having been up the river on business relative to a witness in a prize case, we grounded on a sand bar. On Monday evening after dark we got off. it being too dark to come down the river that night, in consequence of a difficult channel, I was compelled to wait till morning. Anticipating an attack from a party on shore, every precaution was made to repel it. Everything remained quiet till about 4:30 on Tuesday morning, when we then lying about 60 or 70 yards from the shore - a party on shore opened fire upon us, apparently with rifles, to which we immediately replied, having detached a portion of the crew for that purpose. After the first volley from the steamer the rebels retreated behind an embankment. We hove up anchor immediately in order to bring our rifled gun to bear, the enemy, in the meantime keeping up a rapid fire, the most of their balls going a foot or two above our heads.
    As soon as we brought our rifled gun to bear upon them and gave them a shot, they retreated to the woods. After waiting some time for another sight of them, I proceeded to ascertain the names of the lead- ers of the party, a list of whom I give below:
    Washington Corbin, captain; John Harding, Jr., Lucius Harding, James Kent, --- Carter, --- Hurdlen, --- Farren, --- Hurst.
    The rest were cavalrymen, and I am told were a portion of the party that captured the Satellite and Reliance. Having no authority to seek redress from the party who attacked us. I submit the above report to you.""

SECNAV writes RADM J L Lardner, West India Squadron "I transmit herewith orders for the Tioga to join the Eastern Gulf and the Octorara to join the Western Gulf Squadron. These vessels are withdrawn from your command on account of their light draft and want of speed, which render them inefficient for the service in which they are at present engaged. For the present your squadron will not be increased unless the rebel privateers should appear in the West Indies."

SECNAV writes CDR H S Newcomb, USS Tioga, "Proceed with the U. S. S. Tioga to Key West, Fla., and report to Acting Rear-Admiral Theo. Bailey, as the relief of the U. S. S. Port Royal, and for duty in the Eastern Gulf Blockading Squadron."

SECNAV writes LCDR W W Low, USS Octorara, "Proceed with the U. S. S. Octorara to New Orleans and report to Commodore H. H. Bell, or the senior commanding officer present, for duty in the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron."

CDR John J Almy, USS Connecticut, writes SECNAV " I have the pleasure to report to the Department the capture this morning of the English blockade runner (steamer) Juno, of about 246 tons register, John Davis Taylor, master, by this steamer, under my command, Cape Lookout bearing N., distant about 20 miles, and E. by N. ½ N. from New Inlet, distant about 75 miles. She was discovered at daylight, and the capture was effected after a very smart chase of two hours. Upon hoisting our colors I fired a blank cartridge, when he hoisted English colors [and] commenced throwing overboard cotton and boxes of articles, which he continued to do until I had fired seven- teen rifled canon shot over and near him, when he hauled down his flag and surrendered. No other vessel than the Connecticut was in sight at the time.
    I have put a prize crew on board, placed the prize in charge of Franklin Hopkins, Jr., acting master, and ordered her to Boston, transmitting all the papers bearing upon the case that were found on board to the U. S. district attorney there. The captain acknowledges a part of the papers thrown overboard or burned. She left Wilmington last night and was steering to the eastward under full speed when first seen. She is a side-wheel steamer, and very fast, built of iron, and said to be 10 years old. Her cargo when leaving Wilmington, it is stated, consisted of about 250 bales of upland cotton, a quantity of leaf and plug tobacco, with some cigars.
    In continuation, I will state that Captain Ridgely, the present senior officer, commanding the U. S. blockading squadron off New Inlet, suspected that some blockade runners might come out, directed me to run offshore as soon as the moon went down, which was soon after mid- night, and the result of it was this capture.
    Acting master's Mate Charles Hall and Acting Assistant Engineers David McArthur and John T. Smith accompany Mr. Hopkins in the prize."
In post script he adds "I shall, of course, send a duplicate of this communication, as soon as practicable, to my commanding officer, Admiral Lee, and shall, as soon as practicable, transmit to the Navy Department a complete list of the officers and crew entitled to prize money in the case according to law."

RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes SECNAV "After the action of the 1st of September, several fragments of shot were found on the decks of the Weehawken. One of these, seeming to be larger than usual, was measured, and was reported to me as part of a shot 15 inches in diameter.
    The determination of the whole from a part is always of doubtful result, and I can not venture to assert positively that the fragment was part of a XV-inch shot, but I give the information to the Department just as I have it.
    As regards the armament of the monitors, I am still inclined, as at first, to assign a preliminary armament only, and for that I should, as before, adhere to the XIII-inch as large enough. The XV-inch is a most powerful gun; it has been a most successful one, more so than any other I know, and I would by no means venture to say that it may not prove to be the preferable gun. But inasmuch as the character of the armor to be fired at is yet unsettled, so must be the gun, and, as a safe point of departure, it seems to be preferable to begin with a XIII-inch.
    I am deeply sensible of the great practical importance of the experiences which I witness, and they are forming my opinions on many important points. If I had the staff which I am accustomed to, in making up a record, I could present a series of facts unequaled in value; but I have not about me a soul who could contribute in the least to such a labor. So far from it indeed, I am without the ordinary facility for mere clerical operations, and the Department has been unable to authorize the payment of such salaries as would secure the services of the most ordinary ability.
    With a first rate clerk, draftsman, and photographer, I should have presented very valuable results.
    I am satisfied from present results that the new 130-pounder, driv- ing its shot with 30 or 40 pounds of powder, will be generally of great effect against ordinary armor."

SEC writes RADM Theodorus Bailey, East Gulf Blockading Squadron "The U. S. S. Tioga has been ordered to report to you as the relief of the U. S. S. Port Royal, which latter vessel you will direct, on being relieved, to proceed to New Orleans and report to Commodore H. H. Bell, or the senior commanding officer present, for duty in the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron."

CAPT W M Walker, USS De Soto, writes SECNAV "We ran into the South West Pass this morning for the purpose of receiving officers and men who had been placed in charge of prizes ordered to New Orleans.
    Before crossing the bar we received information that a few hours previously a steamer had been boarded by a band of rebels and carried out of the river.
    We immediately stood to sea, and as we had just run in from the eastward without seeing her, it was fair to presume that she had run off to the southward, and we shaped our course accordingly.
 & nbsp;  It was not long before we made a sail from the masthead, and after a run of about 35 miles we captured the Leviathan.
    The Leviathan is a new and very fast screw steamer, amply supplied with coal and provisions for a cruise, and has a picked crew.
    I feel great satisfaction in announcing this success, for when the Boston, a very much inferior vessel, was carried off some months ago by a similar enterprise we soon fell upon her track, and thus had the opportunity of witnessing the desolation she had spread in her path, blackening the seas in her wake with the charred memorials of many line ships.
    I shall send the Leviathan with her desperate band to New Orleans."

SECNAV writes LCDR W W Low, USS Octorara, "Proceed with the U. S. S. Octorara to New Orleans and report to Commodore H. H. Bell, or the senior commanding officer present, for duty in the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron."

MGEN U S Grant writes General Order No 57, "All actual residents within this department, well disposed to the Government of the United States, will hereafter be permitted to bring into military post or station on the Mississippi River, cotton or other Southern products of which they are the bona fide owners, and on the permits of the military commander of such posts or stations, or the local provost-marshals thereof, ship the same to Memphis, Tenn., or New Orleans, La., for sale on their own account.
    All cotton belonging to the States in rebellion, to the Confederate States, or to persons in arms against the United States, will be seized for the benefit of Government and disposed of under existing orders.
    No person or persons speculating in cotton will be permitted to remain in this department south of Helena, Ark., and all persons south of the latter place against whom there are, or may be, reasonable grounds of suspicion that they are so engaged, either directly or indirectly, will be regarded as unauthorized persons and sent beyond the limits of the department."

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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