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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
LCDR Thomas O Selfridge, 1st military commander of the US Navy's first submarine, Alligator, CO of USS Cairo
Sat Jan 28 1865

RADM S H Stringham, Boston Navy Yard, writes SECNAV "Understanding from Captain Winslow that the President desired the shell from the sternpost of the Kearsarge, I have had the sternpost sawed off and the piece containing the shell has been boxed up and sent by the Supply to Norfolk, with a request to the commandant of the station that he would forward the box to you at the earliest opportunity."

John Bigelow, writes H S Sanford, Minister resident, from Paris, "I am advised by our consul at Nantes that a Danish vessel recently sold to Confederates arrived at [Le] Palais, Belle Ile, and discharged her Danish crew a few days since. Her name is Olinde. From the same source I learn that a ram built at Bordeaux on the model of the Italian ram Castelfiardo had arrived at the isle of Houat under the command of a Danish captain and with a Danish crew. The crew were discharged on board a vessel sent to her with coal from the yard of Dubigeon Fils, at St. Nazaire, in which they were taken to Quiberon and landed on the 25th instant.
    The vessel that carried the coal went out under the pretext of coaling the vessel of war San Francisco, belonging to the Peruvian Government. The owners of the coaling boat profess to have been deceived.
    I will thank you to communicate these facts to any of our naval force at Antwerp, if there be any, and also to inform me where a letter would reach any commander of a vessel of war on the Atlantic station. It may be wise for a vessel to go down to Houat and see what is going on, though my information is not sufficiently full as yet to justify me in making any recommendation to that effect.
    The consul at Bordeaux informed me that one of the vessels built at Bordeaux for the Confederates and afterwards sold, as was pretended, to the Danes was refused by the Danish Government, and is now on her way back to Bordeaux with a Danish crew. It may be that the vessel he refers to is one of those of which the consul at Nantes writes. I would advise that Commodore Craven, if he be at Flushing, should hold himself in readiness for a prompt demonstration if the occasion should present itself."

LCDR T H Eastman, USS Don, writes CDR Foxhall A Parker, Potomac Flotilla, "In obedience to your order of the 20th instant, I proceeded to Aikens Landing on the James River and landed Mr. Blair, reported to Commander W. A. Parker, senior naval officer present, and showed him my orders.
    It being rumored that the rebel rams were coming down the river, I rigged the torpedo to the bow of the Don and kept her ready to run into the first one that came in sight, believing I should be able to sink her or run her aground.
    On the afternoon of the 23d I was ordered by Commander W. A. Parker to communicate with Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter wherever he may be found,~~ and hand him a letter.
    I immediately got underway, and on the 24th instant reported to Commodore Lanman, senior naval officer at Hampton Roads, who sent the letter I carried to Admiral D. D. Porter at Wilmington [N. C.], by the U. S. S. Fort Jackson.
    Commodore Lanman then ordered me to Norfolk to report to Commodore William Radford, commanding U. S. S. Ironsides, and to tell him to proceed up James River with the Ironsides. I hastened to Norfolk and reported to Commodore Radford, who ordered me to remain near him and follow the Ironsides up James River, which order I obeyed, the Ironsides and Don arriving at Bermuda Hundred on the morning of the 26th.
    On the evening of the 26th, while waiting for permission to return to the Potomac, as General Grant had sent me word that Mr. Blair had returned, I received an order from Commodore Radford to be ready to take Vice-Admiral Farragut to Washington.
    Soon after Vice-Admiral Farragut came on board, and at early daylight I started down the James River, and on the evening of the 28th arrived at Annapolis, when the admiral left the ship without giving me further orders.
    I immediately reported to you by telegraph and informed you that I am in want of coal, and by the 4th of February will want provisions.
    I stopped at Point Lookout a few hours and learned that there was no coal at St. Inigoes, but General Barnes kindly gave me coal enough to bring the admiral to Annapolis.
    I also report that at Norfolk the port anchor hooked in some obstruction, and, after working for an hour and a half found it was a heavy anchor and cable which had been probably stretched across the river by the rebels. I slipped and buoyed my chain at the 15.fathom shackle and reported the fact to Commodore Godon, U. S. S. Susquehanna, as I had not time to remain and clear the obstruction."

CMDR William Radford, 5th Division, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes RADM David D Porter, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, from Bermuda Hundred "I have the honor to enclose Lieutenant-Commander Blakes report.
    As soon as I arrived at this place, on the 26th instant, I took a tug and proceeded to the front and found the Onondaga close to the obstructions. The Atlanta came up after my arrival and was anchored ahead of the Onondaga. The Saugus arrived next morning; has been anchored below the Onondaga.
    Three of the wooden vessels are anchored just out of range of the rebel battery to support the iron vessels in case of an attack. Before I arrived General Grant had ordered the breach made in the obstructions filled up with two schooners loaded with coal. We are prepared, and should they have [the] temerity to make another attack you will, I trust, hear a good account of its.
    Lieutenant-Commander Blake I found in command of the Onondaga, and have kept him in command, which I hope will meet with your approval.
    I have been constantly employed getting the vessels in their proper places.
    There are so many rumors that it requires constant vigilance to be prepared at all points."

Master S Herbert Bryant, XO, USS Clover, writes RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, "I have the honor to report the capture of the blockade-running schooner Coquette, of Charleston, on the 26th of January, 1865.
    The following are the circumstances connected with the capture: On the 25th of January, 1865, we entered the Combahee River, in company with the U. S. S. Dai Ching, and anchored about 5 p. m. 12 miles from the mouth of the river.
    At 7 a. m. on the 26th. the crew of the schooner, numbering 5 men, came alongside this vessel and reported the schooner deserted by the captain and mate. At 7:30 1 got underway and proceeded up the river in company with the Dai Ching. At 7:45 we ran alongside the schooner. Acting Masters Mate James Hagan, of this vessel, and Acting Master Howorth, with a boat from the Dai Ching, boarded and took possession of her. Found her to contain cotton. Left Acting Masters Mate S. H. Bryant in charge of thc prize, and on the 27th she arrived in Port Royal in tow of the Clover."

RADM Samuel P Lee, Mississippi Squadron,writes general order #37 "I. My General Order No. 23, of December 29, was issued to meet military necessities, as represented in Major-General Canby's General Order No. 80 and in his communication of December 13.
    II. Whenever any of the military restrictions enforced by my General Order No. 23 are officially withdrawn by General Canby, so much of it as sustained them will be considered null and void.
    III. Meanwhile, any permits given subsequent to December 13, 1864, by General Canby, for trading vessels to ascend Red River, will be approved in my name by the divisional officer, which will be all sufficient, and avoid the delay which would otherwise be caused by communicating with me to receive my approval in person."

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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