Archive for the 'Civil War' Category

Jul 10

5 Little Known Facts About Gettysburg

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 12:01 AM

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The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg is commonly known as the battle that changed the course of the Civil war. Most people know the general location of Gettysburg; they know who the combatants were; everyone knows the outcome of the battle. However, there are some things that most people do not know. Below are 5 things that may surprise you about the Battle of Gettysburg.   1. General Meade’s Command General Meade was the commander of the Union army during the Battle of Gettysburg. He was a brilliant officer and was respected by his troops. Few know that Meade was given command… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 4

Citizen Soldiers

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 12:01 AM

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Uncle Sam

It’s time to celebrate civilians and the contributions they made to the American war effort! 1. Clarissa “Clara” Harlowe Barton (Civil War) “I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.” Clara Barton risked her life during the Civil War to bring aid and supplies to wounded soldiers. Initially, she collected and distributed supplies for the Union Army, but then decided to take a more active role. She began in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1862 serving as an independent nurse. She earned the name:… 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 »

 
Jun 19

Today in Naval History

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 8:25 AM

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U.S. Kearsarge faces off against the Confederate raider Alabama in Cherbourg Harbor
(By Jean-Baptiste Durand-Brager)

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 »

 
Feb 22

‘A Broadside from Battleship Burns’

Monday, February 22, 2016 12:01 AM

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On occasion what we do at the U.S. Naval Institute, in this case, Naval History magazine, has caught the attention of the mainstream press. One such instance was in 1999, after we conducted an interview with award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns at his Florentine Films headquarters in Walpole, New Hampshire. Back in the Institute’s Beach Hall, Public Relations Director Kevin Clarke asked whether Burns had said anything controversial during the course of our conversation. Well, apparently he had, because we heard from Ann Gerhart, writer at the time for the Washington Post’s popular “Reliable Source” column. Her story went like… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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 »

 
Jan 11

The Soda-Bottle Shaped Shell Guns

Monday, January 11, 2016 12:01 AM

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While IX-inch Dahlgren shell guns mainly were used in broadside, XI-inchers, such as this one on board the Union sloop KEARSARGE, were generally pivot mounted. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

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.

 
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