Archive for the 'Civil War' Category

Dec 13

Good Cheer Bag

Thursday, December 13, 2018 9:01 AM

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Good Cheer Bag (Smithsonian National Museum of American History)

Lt Commander Theodorus Bailey Myers Mason, best known as the founder of the Office of Naval Intelligence, no doubt led a fascinating life. He was born to a prominent 5th Avenue family in New York City, where his childhood was spent riding a small white pony daily. He decided by the age of 16 he would join the Navy, and impressed his father by saving up the money for a commission himself. He called upon the Secretary of the Navy at 16 to ask him personally to secure a commission. The plan worked, and he entered the Naval Academy in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 28

Unadilla-Class Gunboats

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 11:59 AM

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Lithograph of the USS Unadilla (1861) underway.

Did you know that today, on the 28th of November, 1863, the USS Chippewa convoyed the Army transports Monohansett and Mayflower up Skull Creek, South Carolina, on a reconnaissance mission? I don’t imagine the majority of folks do, unless they are American Civil War buffs, but I learned that particular fact perusing through today’s events in history, looking for a subject for my blog post. While the specifics of this mission (which was successful, by the by) aren’t the subject of my blog post today, looking into this event was the catalyst for what I will be covering: Unadilla-class gunboats…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 8

This Day in History: The Trent Affair

Thursday, November 8, 2018 12:01 AM

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Trent affair engraving

November 8 marks the anniversary of the Trent Affair of 1861. During the opening months of the Civil War, the U.S. Navy stopped the British mail steamer RMS Trent and seized two Confederate diplomats bound for England in the hope of negotiating diplomatic recognition for the secessionist states. The Trent Affair itself threatened to achieve exactly that and brought the United States and Great Britain close to war. Author James D. Hill wrote extensively of the Trent Affair and one of its main players—Captain Chalres Wilkes, U.S. Navy—in the July 1931 issue of Proceedings. It is excerpted here.

 
Aug 1

The 7 Best Beards in U.S. Naval History

Wednesday, August 1, 2018 12:01 AM

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Recently male sailors in the U.S. Navy are speaking out for equality within the ranks. The push was fueled when the Navy authorized women to wear more relaxed hairstyles such as ponytails. Men are not asking to grow their hair long, rather they are pushing for more relaxed grooming standards with regards to facial hair. The Navy has a long history of great beards, but was sadly ended in 1984. In honor of this valiant fight for hair equality I compiled a list of the seven best beards in U.S. Navy history.   7. Samuel Francis Du Pont Rear Admiral… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 28

Here’s How the French Created Military Aviation

Thursday, June 28, 2018 8:28 AM

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On June 26, 1794, the French army launched their military balloon, L’Entreprenant, for reconnaissance during the Battle of Fleurus — the first use of an aircraft for military purposes. The Committee of Public Safety approved the creation of the French Company of Aeronauts in 1794 and sponsored the development of the hydrogen that would be used to raise the craft. After much testing and experimentation with gases and structures, L’Entreprenant was born [1].   Following a brief debut during a bombardment on June 2, L’Entreprenant was used to report enemy movements during a conflict with Austrian forces [2]. At Fleurus, the balloon… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 27

Death on the River

Thursday, April 27, 2017 4:48 PM

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Sultana at Helena, Arkansas, on April 26, 1865, a day before her destruction. She was cowded with about 2,222 people, a number that included 100 paying passengers (men, women, and children), a crew of 85, and 22 guards.

Today marks the 152nd anniversary of the explosion and sinking of the steamboat Sultana on the Mississippi River that claimed the lives of more than 1,800 recently-freed Union POWs packed on her decks for the voyage home — more than the number killed when the RMS Titanic sank in 1912. An excerpt from Noah Andre Trudeau’s 2009 Naval History article about the disaster is reprinted below. The full article may be viewed here.

 
Feb 16

Charleston’s Confederate Ironclad Attack

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 12:01 AM

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The CSS PALMETTO STATE slams into the Union blockader MERCEDITA  off Charleston Harbor. (The Civil War at Charleston)

Most students of Civil War naval history are familiar with the unsuccessful 7 April 1863 attack by Union ironclads at Charleston, South Carolina. Less well known is the attempt by a pair of Confederate ironclads to lift the U.S. Navy blockade of the city in the early hours of 31 January 1863. The Richmond-class ironclad rams Palmetto State and Chicora badly damaged four wooden blockaders before the Rebel ships were chased back to Charleston Harbor. Lieutenant William H. Parker, executive officer of the CSS Palmetto State, left a vivid account of that attack in his memoir, Recollections of a Naval Officer. Parker… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 4

Thomas Mandigo: From Slave to Seaman

Thursday, February 4, 2016 12:01 AM

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The gravestone of Thomas Mandigo, Sandy Hill A. M. E. Cemetery, Chester County, PA. Author's photo.

Tucked in the woods in the rolling foothills of Pennsylvania’s Welsh Mountains sits the tiny and largely forgotten Sandy Hill African Methodist Episcopal cemetery. A visitor to the rural graveyard is likely to be greeted first by the sound of clopping horses pulling Amish buggies along the rural highway. Taking a closer look, one will see several American flags marking the graves of veterans buried there. From there, one may see the stone of a sailor propped against a tree. It reads, THOMAS MANDIGO AGED 70 YEARS OF U. S. WAR SHIP LADOWNA The story of how Mandigo came to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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