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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 Parks, a typical double-ender
Fri Jun 24 1864

A Dupouym VADM Prefet Naritime, Cherbourg, France, writes CAPT Jonathan A Winslow, USS Kearsarge "Charged with guarding in this port the execution of the laws of neutrality that the French Government has thought it a duty to impose upon itself between the ships of the belligerents, I have the honor to beg that you will be so kind as to inform me of the time when, your repairs having been finished, you will be ready to go to sea, in conformity with article 4 of the instructions of February 5, 1864, which were communicated to you on your arrival.
    Receive, captain, the assurance of my distinguished consideration,..."

CDR J P Sanford, USS Neptune, writes SECNAV from Brooklyn Navy Yard, "I have the honor to report my arrival in this port last evening at 8 p. m., six days from Cape Haitien, with the U. S. S. Neptune, under orders of Acting Rear-Admiral J. L. Lardner, commanding the special West India Squadron.
    The vessel is sent to the United States for recalking. I would respectfully suggest to the Department that the upper works and decks be surveyed, my experience teaching me to believe that they are not sufficiently strong and properly kneed to sustain the battery, especially in heavy weather.
    A few repairs and improvements are suggested for the engines."
It is endorsed By J Lenthall "Admiral Paulding has been directed to turn the Neptune over to Admiral Gregory."

E G Parrott, USS Canonicus writes RADM Samuel P Lee, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron "On the 21st instant, near noon, the rebels unmasked near Howlett's a battery of four guns, whose completion we had been for some time endeavoring to prevent or retard by occasional shots, and opened a fire upon us and the vessels in our vicinity, which was kept up until dark. They had a large smoothbore, a large rifle, and two smaller guns. As soon as they commenced unmasking, we opened on them with our two XV-inch guns, firing rapidly at first, but afterwards only occasionally, to economize ammunition.
    One of their guns was dismounted by a shell from the ironclads, and another shell was seen to traverse an embrasure, but the distance, 2,200 yards, was large for firing at single guns.
    We were struck twice. The effect of these shot is described in the accompanying report of Chief Engineer Macomb. The injury is slight. We fired forty shells with 35-pound charges. Everything stood well about the guns and gun carriages. The rebel ironclads came down the river, but not in sight, and opened upon us a random fire, over the trees, which hit nothing, and which, I believe, was not noticed.
    The batteries have since continued silent and their guns are again masked."

RADM Lee writes ASSIST SECNAV "You probably have, and will be good enough to use, the means to correct the injustice which the files of the Department will show has been done me by the editorial attack in the New York Herald of the 23d instant, and which, if not publicly corrected, will be prejudicial to the public interests.
    The bar in this reach, which is at the head of monitor navigation until it shall be dredged out, was obstructed according to the military plan of campaign.
    The obstructions furnished by the army are of a temporary character and can be readily removed when the progress of the army makes naval cooperation higher up the river necessary. At present, as heretofore, the navy is only needed to protect the communication of the army. You know that for more than a month I took the responsibility of resisting the sinking of these obstructions. It was finally done under an army order."

RADM Jonathan Dahlgren, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron writes LCDR E E Stone, USS Paul Jones "I have just examined a deserter from near Savannah, who saw the officers and crew of the Water Witch after her capture. According to his statement, an attack by boarding is meditated on the Paul Jones, and two small steamers are to be used.
    In order to enable you to guard against this effort I send you 30 marines and 15 men, with two howitzers, which, with your present force of men and guns, will enable you to defeat this intention.
    You will abstain from sending any men or boats from the Paul Jones at night, except in the picket boat or boats to guard the vessel against surprise. The Geranium is just outside of Ossabaw, and you can keep her with you, if you choose, to assist in repelling the rebels.
    If they make the attempt, I hope you will so punish them with grape and canister as to deter them from like undertakings.
    As other measures are pending at this time, it might be advisable to withdraw the Paul Jones outside, so as not to excite alarm, and for that reason I should prefer it."

John Lancaster, Hindley Hall Wigan, England writes J M Mason, CS Commissioner to England, "I am in due receipt of your esteemed favor of the 21st instant, and am gratified to find that the timely aid we rendered with the yacht Deerhound to the gallant captain and officers and crew of the Alabama has met with your approval. I shall always look back to that event with satisfaction, however much we may regret the result which necessitated interference."

CDR A Gibson, USS Potomac, writes CAPT Thornton A Jenkins, 2nd Division West Gulf Blockading Squadron "I received orders last night from the admiral to transfer a certain number of men to the vessels off Mobile which have not received their complement and to send them by the first vessel that should leave this place for Mobile, but the orders arrived at so late an hour the accounts could not be prepared in time for the men to go by the Cowslip, even if she could take them. I should be glad, therefore, to know when there will be an opportunity to send them. The men for the Itasca, Port Royal, and Seminole are now ready for the Cowslip (27 in number). The men for the other vessels off Mobile are 80."

MGEN Frederick Steele, USA writes LT Bache, USN, " A force sufficient to dispose of Shelby has been ordered out under General Carr. A scouting party has also been ordered down this side of White River, as you suggested. It is not practicable, probably, to send a force on the north side of the river, and it is therefore proposed to send a principal part of the command by steamer. I would suggest that at least one gunboat accompany the expedition, so that in case of necessity an express be sent back to Devall's Bluff in spite of the rebels who may post themselves on the bank to prevent it."

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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