Archive for the 'Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial' Category

Jun 19

Today in Naval History

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 8:25 AM

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On this day in 1864 – During the Civil War, USS Kearsarge, commanded by Capt. J.A. Winslow, sinks CSS Alabama, commanded by Capt. R. Semmes, off Cherbourg, France, ending the career of the Souths most famous commerce raider, which included burning 55 vessels valued at $4.5 million. Read an excerpt from the USS Kearsarger‘s No. 1 gun’s sponger James Lee’s journal below.   Sunday, 19 June: This is a fine morning, cool and pleasant, holystoned decks, and put everything in apple pie order. At 8 am the word was passed to shift in clean blue mustering clothes. At 10 am… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 11

The Soda-Bottle Shaped Shell Guns

Monday, January 11, 2016 12:01 AM

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At 0400 on 17 June 1863, the powerful Confederate ironclad ATLANTA steamed from the Wilmington River into Georgia’s Wassaw Sound to attack ships of the Union South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Barring her way were two U.S. Navy PASSAIC-class monitors, the WEEHAWKEN and NAHANT, each armed with one XV-inch and one XI-inch Dahlgren shell gun and under the overall command of Captain John Rodgers Jr. The casemated ATLANTA, captained by Commander John Webb, mounted four Brooke rifled guns: two 6.4-inchers in broadsides and two 7-inchers in pivot mounts capable of firing to either side. She also had a bow-mounted percussion spar torpedo.

 
Oct 27

Battle Report: Ramming Speed

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 10:22 AM

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  During the Civil War, the idea of Army and Navy forces operating jointly under a single commander was virtually unheard of. But an operation’s lack of “jointness” did not always spell defeat. In fact, the result could be spectacular victory. Such was the case on 6 June 1862 when Union Army and Navy forces afloat operated independently of each other at the only pure naval battle on the Mississippi. What follows is the Battle of Memphis report of Colonel Charles Ellet Jr., commander of the Army’s Ram Fleet, to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.1   I left the shore… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 24

The Union Navy's Stubby Gun

Monday, August 24, 2015 9:00 AM

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By Spencer C. Tucker Adapted from “Armaments and Innovations,” Naval History, April 2014   The 13-inch Civil War sea mortar was a formidable weapon. But the use of this type of gun was not new; since the 17th century, high-trajectory mortar fire from special vessels known as bombs or bomb ketches had been used for shore bombardment. Heavy ordnance was more easily moved about on ships than on land, and the large sea mortars were mounted on strong beds turned on vertical pivots. Their explosive shells, fired at high angle, easily cleared the walls of forts to strike the targets… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 31

The "Expedition Hurricane" and Port Royal

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 9:31 AM

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1861 Hurricane Season   The East Coast is stilling the effects of Hurricane Irene’s grasp. The CAT 1 storm cut a swath up the East Coast, causing widespread damage from North Carolina to Vermont. We sincerely hope everyone was safe during this past weekend’s storm.  Looking through the records, it seems that a similar hurricane to Irene occurred 150 years ago. On the heels of the Port Royal Expedition, Hurricane Eight, better known as the “Expedition Hurricane,” severely impacted the timeline for the Union thrust into the vital Confederate stronghold.  According to the National Hurricane Center, the three day storm… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 24

Black History Month Highlight: Medal of Honor Recipient John Lawson

Thursday, February 24, 2011 3:13 PM

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Biography and images courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command. John Lawson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 16 June 1837. In 1864, he was a member of USS Hartford‘s crew. During the Battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864, while serving as a member of the ship’s berth deck ammunition party, he was seriously wounded but remained at his post and continued to supply Hartford‘s guns. For his heroism in this action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. John Lawson died on 3 May 1919 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is buried at Mount Peace Cemetery, Camden, New… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 17

Black History Month Spotlight: Civil War MOH Recipient Robert Blake

Thursday, February 17, 2011 9:01 AM

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Contraband Robert Blake (Photo#: NH 103762)   Robert Blake was born into slavery in Virginia. After escaping, he enlisted in the US Navy from Port Royal, Virginia and served on USS Marblehead during the Civil War. While off Legareville, Stono River, South Carolina, on 25 December 1863, Blake bravely served the rifle gun as Marblehead engaged Confederates on John’s Island. The enemy eventually abandoned its position leaving munitions behind. For his bravery in this action, Blake was awarded the Medal of Honor. USS Marblehead engages a Confederate Battery on John’s Island, Stono River, South Carolina, 25 December 1863 (Photo#: NH… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 8

Captain Charles Wilkes Reports on the Trent Affair, 8 November 1861

Monday, November 8, 2010 3:49 PM

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On November 8, 1861, USS San Jacinto Captain Charles Wilkes set out towards the Bahama Channel near Havana to intercept Confederate commissioners James M. Mason and John Slidell. The man who led the controversial U.S. Exploring Expedition two decades previous found himself leaving scientific endeavors for the new prospect of war. Mason and Slidell were heading to Europe to arbitrate agreements with nations for their support in the Confederate war effort, stopping for transport in Havana. During his search for the elusive CSS Sumter, Wilkes heard of the breakout of Mason and Slidell from Charleston and decided to take action…. Read the rest of this entry »