Archive for May, 2013

May 9

May 9, 1865: The American Civil War Officially Ends

Thursday, May 9, 2013 1:00 AM

This August 1945 Proceedings article was published by P. H. Magruder, former Secretary of the Naval Academy as “The U.S. Naval Academy and Annapolis During the Civil War 1861-1865: An outline of the conspicuous part displayed by the locality during those tragic days”.

There may be relatively few of this generation who realize what a very in­teresting and important part Annap­olis and the Naval Academy played in the Civil War, particularly in its early stages. Annapolis, on account of its close proximity to Washington, naturally became an impor­tant strategic position for the defense of the Capital, especially as the geographic position of Annapolis on the Chesapeake, with a steam railroad direct to Washington, made it an important focal point in the early stages of that defense. The fact that Maryland was directly adjacent to the Mason and Dixon line caused her population to be very evenly divided in their sympathies between the Union and the Confederacy.

In April of 1861 the secessionist elements of Maryland were rapidly organizing in their strenuous efforts to have Maryland secede, and the situation appeared grave, as it was almost inevitable that the National Government would employ a large force to defeat such a move. Attempts had been made by Southern sympathizers to burn the bridges, over the rivers between Baltimore and the Susquehanna River, of the Philadel­phia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad, along which line dangerous rioting was in progress to prevent the passage of troops from the North for the defense of Washing­ton. To lessen this hazard, the Federal troops were diverted to water transport at Perry­ville, on the north bank of the Susquehanna, and brought down the Chesapeake to An­napolis and Baltimore in large numbers to disembark and continue by train for Wash­ington. This soon got the situation in better control. The Naval Academy and Annapolis became the pivotal point of operation for the disembarkation of troops, and vast numbers of transports filled the wharves and harbor, presenting a scene of great activity. This condition not only existed in the early stages of the war, but continued throughout. Large expeditions for the South were fitted out in Annapolis to join other units then organiz­ing. An unusual number of Army transports filled the inner harbor at the time General Burnside’s large expedition was forming. It has been estimated there were between 35,­000 and 40,000 troops in this vicinity at that time, and more than 70,000 troops were in Annapolis at different times during the pe­riod of the war. These troops were quartered within the Naval Academy reservation, which afterwards became an Army post, St. John’s College grounds, and later at Camp Parole and Camp Richmond adjoining, to­gether with other camps on towards South River.

Passing back to the problems confronting this locality, the Federal Government’s at­tention was kept closely fixed on this area, and considerable concern was felt about the events that were occurring here, as will be shown by the following letter of President Lincoln to General Scott, under date of April 25, 1861:

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May 3

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Friday, May 3, 2013 7:45 AM

The level of significance and strategic use of Airships has fluctuated since their introduction to service in the U.S. Navy in the early part of the 20th century. However, it’s mode of operation and deployment is similar to the days of old and they still play a vital role in today’s modern Navy.

USS Los Angeles

USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), moored to USS Patoka (AO-9), off Panama during Fleet Problem XII, circa February 1931.
Photo #: NH 73285


1931: The USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) was a rigid airship built in 1923–1924 in Friedrichshafen, Germany but was surrendered to the US Navy by the German Government as part of the war reparations from World War I. The ZR-3 went on to log a total of 4,398 hours of flight, covering a distance of 172,400 nautical miles (319,300 km) traveling to places in both the Pacific and the Atlantic. It served as an observatory and experimental platform, as well as a training ship for other airships. The USS Patoka (AO-9) was a fleet oiler named after the Patoka River and was made famous as a tender for airships.

KEY WEST, Florida (April 24, 2013) Military Sealift Command-chartered vessel HSV 2 Swift (HSV 2) with a tethered TIF-25K Aerostat. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker/Released)

KEY WEST, Florida (April 24, 2013) Military Sealift Command-chartered vessel HSV 2 Swift (HSV 2) with a tethered TIF-25K Aerostat. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker/Released)

2013: The Military Sealift Command’s high-speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) with a tethered TIF-25K aerostat gets underway from Key West, Florida on 24 April to conduct a series of at-sea capabilities tests to determine if the aerostat can support future operations in the U.S. 4th fleet area of responsibility. The TIF-25K, which can be deployed and operational within a few hours of arrival on site, supports not only communications and intelligence gathering but also surveillance and reconnaissance activities. The HSV 2 is a non-commissioned, hybrid catamaran originally leased by the Navy as a mine countermeasure and sea basing test platform. It is now primarily used for fleet support and humanitarian partnership missions and its home port is Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Norfolk, VA.

May 1

May 1, 1898: Admiral Dewey Defeats the Spanish at the Battle of Manila Bay

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 1:00 AM

This article, titled “Manila Bay in 1898″ and written by Captain Edward L. Beach, was published in the April 1920 issue of Proceedings.

Recently I have read journals and letters I wrote in 1898 while attached to the U. S. S. Baltimore in Manila Bay. The events of those stirring days come vividly to mind and are fresh in memory as if they had happened yesterday. What follows is a narrative of those events as they seemed at the time to a participant, so this article is not history. No attempt is made to give a connected account or description of Admiral Dewey’s campaign. A person in a battle, particularly if he plays a subordinate part, sees but a small part of the actual battle, and his mental vision generally is limited. All that is offered in this paper are the views and ideas of a subordinate officer whose own part was not large, and these views are given as they existed at the time, uninfluenced and unmodified by knowledge gained later. Here goes!

Late in April, 1898, the U. S. S. Baltimore, in company with other ships of Commodore Dewey’s squadron, left Mirs Bay, China, bound for Manila.

The captain of the Baltimore was Nehemiah Mayo Dyer, who was then 60 years old. Captain Dyer had entered the navy during the Civil War as a volunteer officer. Previous to this he had seen rough service in whaling ships. I think that by nature he had a vehement temper, and that this had been accentuated by his early training in merchant ships where the crews frequently were rough and disorderly and understood better the meaning of hard knocks than of soft words. Aboard the Baltimore Captain Dyer some­times seemed unnecessarily harsh. His standards of character and duty were high. And when, as happened at times, he believed officers and crew did not measure up to his standards, his re­proofs and reprimands were expressed in violent language. His uncompromising intolerance, his harsh temper, caused us to fear him at all times, and sometimes to carry with us a sense of injury. But in time we came to know he was magnificent in his efforts to keep his ship and his officers and crew high in efficiency and high in morale. Though not gentle in methods he was withal an officer and a gentleman of the highest, truest type; and in remembrance of his sterling character the Navy Department has recently named a new destroyer Dyer.

When we steamed away from Mirs Bay, that April day, we knew but little of the Philippine Islands, not even that Manila was spelled with but one “l.” Rumor, eagerly believed, told us that the narrow entrances leading from the outside to Manila Bay were filled with mines and defended by high-powered modern coast defense cannon, all of which added to the intense interest that was with us.

On the second day out “all hands” were called aft to the quar­terdeck. Here Captain Dyer made a speech to his ship’s company.

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