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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
A British flagged blockade runner
Sat Apr 08 1865

James B Harvey, Legation of the United States in Lisbon, writes CMDR Thomas T Craven, USS Niagra, "In compliance with your request, I now communicate the official correspondence which passed between this legation and his Majesty's Government in regard to the act of violence perpetrated by the governor of Belem Castle upon the U. S. S. Niagara.
    The national salute which was fired by Belem Castle on the 6th instant in honor of the flag of the United States was arranged personally, but formed an integral part of the reparation."

CDR Paul Shirley, USS Suwanee, writes SECNAV from Bahia, Brazil " I respectfully report the arrival of the Suwanee at this port on the 31st March, being seventeen days from Guadeloupe. The distance being great, I ran the ship with a view to the most economical expenditure of coal, using only 15 tons a day. I would have made the passage a day sooner but for my being caught in a gale of wind outside the harbor. During the heavy weather the ship behaved well, and proved herself a good sea boat. Ship carries at times a strong weather helm.
    The bills of the ship have been very light.
    I am glad to say that I find a very good feeling existing here toward our Government. I have taken means to hear from ports north and south of this, but can get no definite intelligence of rebel cruisers. There is a vague rumor that the Shenandoah has been seen to the southward of this. I shall of course keep a good lookout as I go south. I shall go to sea at daylight on the 10th instant, and touch next, probably, at Montevideo."

CAPT Charles S Boggs, USS Connecticut, writes the Governor of Barbados, "The U. S. S. Connecticut, under my command, having anchored at this place, I find it necessary to remain a few days for the purpose of overhauling the piston and feed pump of the engine, and trust that no objections can be made." James Walker, replies "I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this day's date, in which you apprise me of your visit here and of your wish to remain a few days for the purpose of overhauling a portion of your machinery.
    If I am to understand from your letter that your machinery is not in a state to enable you to go to sea, it would be impossible for me to object to your request; but you know, of course, the instructions under which both you and I act, and it will be necessary for you, therefore, before I can give my sanction to your staying here Longer than twenty-four hours, to give a definite assurance of your inability to proceed to sea at the termination of that time, and as to the period within which it would be possible for you to execute the necessary repairs."
Boggs replies "I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date, in reply to mine of same date, informing you of my arrival at this port and wish to remain a few days for the purpose of overhauling my machinery. Your letter virtually refuses the permission requested, inasmuch as it requires me to give a definite assurance of my inability to proceed to sea at the termination of twenty-four hours.
    This I can not do, as an American ship of war can always go to sea in some manner.
    I shall do this although, with risk to my vessel and machinery.
    Regretting that the national hospitality of remaining at anchor for the purpose named in my letter of this morning is refused, I have the honor to inform you that I shall depart from this port to-morrow at 10 a. m."

LCDR Edward Hooker, 1st Division, Potomac Flotilla, writes Mr. Flippo "Your letter has been received. In reply I will say that I know you and your political status, as I believe I do every other man in Lancaster County. On entering the creek the other day I passed an especial order to every vessel in my fleet that they were not to fire on your house unless the enemy should make their appearance in that vicinity. The same order was also passed in regard to Mr. Carter, on Indian Creek (of which please inform him). You will distinctly understand, however, that when scoundrels commit depredations innocent people are liable to be made to suffer, and that when Fitzhugh and other rascals of his stamp get the opportunity to bring Federal vengeance upon innocent persons they are only too greatly rejoiced to do so, hoping thereby to alienate some neutral-minded persons from the old flag. If necessity requires that I should punish a community, I shall do so without regard to age or sex or any other consideration. In the meantime believe me that men of your stamp will not be molested unless the exigencies of war compel me to do so."

LCDR Thomas S Phelps, SOPA Cape Fear River, writes RADM David D Porter, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, "I have the honor to report all quiet in this section, there having been no appearance or information of rebel soldiers in this vicinity since my last report.
    I have kept a large gang of men and the Republic, when she could be spared from other duty and the weather permitted, employed in removing obstructions, and have been very successful in widening the channel.
    The rebels executed their work so well that it is slow business, but I hope in two weeks more to finish when I shall endeavor to recover the rebel torpedo boat.
    I have had the Armstrong gun at Fort Caswell moved to the wharf ready for shipment, but as yet have been unable to find a vessel to take it.
    The prevailing epidemic in Wilmington - typhoid fever - appears to be about the same, without any perceptible increase or decrease.
    On yesterday an official dispatch was received from General Sherman, conveying the glorious news of the occupation of Richmond by our troops, and in conjunction with the army I have directed the naval vessels here to set apart this day to celebrate the great event with appropriate ceremonies, which I trust will meet with your approval.
    Since my last report the Nyack, Eolus, and Fort Donelson have left these waters, in obedience to your orders, and the bark Release arrived."

M M Gray (CPT, CSA?) writes a letter "In obedience to your order, I respectfully submit the following report in relation to the torpedoes which I have discovered in the city of Charleston and its vicinity:
    In one house on the bank of the Ashley River, near Chisolm's Mills, I found 39 and all the conveniences for making more. Farther up the same river, in two houses, I found 13; in one house near the navy yard 4, and at Mount Pleasant, 12. These were all small casks (as large as a 10-gallon cask), with pieces of wood (cone-shaped) fastened to both ends and covered with pitch; each had a metallic bouching for a fuze in the bilge of the cask. One was much larger than the rest, with five fuze bouchings, and fitted with irons to secure it to the bow of some ram or torpedo boat. I also found on a wharf near the dry dock 30 more torpedoes, mostly iron ones, and fitted for rams and rafts."

RADM J K Thatcher, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, telegrams MGEN E R S Canby, USA, army of West Mississippi "Your dispatch of the 8th, 8 p. m., just received. I congratulate you on your success this p. m. A splendid shelling you gave them; could not be surpassed. I am now hard at work, and have been all last night and all day, and shall be all this night, clearing the ground for the monitors to advance, and 1 will try to put them within shelling distance to-morrow. Torpedoes very numerous; 100 pounds in many of them. I shall persevere. I have 100-pounder Parrott en route from Pensacola, all fitted. Can I have it put in navy battery on its arrival?"Canby replies "Your dispatch is received. Thanks for your kind expressions and for your cordial cooperation. I shall be happy to receive the additional 100-pounder and to place it in the naval battery, as you suggest. That battery behaved admirably to-day."

RADM Samuel P Lee, Mississippi Squadron, writes CDR A Bryson, 8th District, Mississippi Squadron, "Yours of 5th instant is received, requesting that the Hastings may be ordered here for repairs. As I desire her presence here for court-martial purposes, you will send her up at once. On her arrival, take out the necessary witnesses and paymasters stores and return her to duty."

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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