Civil War Naval History
1 U.S. Consul Seth C. Hawley at Nassau wrote Assistant Secretary of State Frederick W. Seward, commenting on the continued attempts to run the blockade despite the danger of capture or destruction. Naming 28 ships that had run or attempted to run the blockade since 10 March, Hawley observed that 13 had not been successful. "This proportion of loss seems too large to allow the business to be profitable, but this view is deceptive. The number of successful and unsuccessful voyages must be compared to make a sound conclusion. . . . To arrive at the probable profit of the business, I made an estimate in the case of the Ella and Annie. She came into the business in April, has made two successful voyages and is now absent on the third venture.
"One voyage outward cargo, say $100,000
"One voyage expense, etc. $ 15,000
She returns with 1,300 bales of cotton, weighing an average of 400 pounds pet bale,
equal to 45 cents per pound, or $234,000
From which deduct the cost $115,000
Leaves profit $119,000
"Assume that she makes the average four voyages and is lost on the fifth with her cargo, the account would stand thus: Four voyages, profit at $119,000 each, is $476,000; deduct cost of steamer, $100,000, and cargo, $100,000, equal $200,000, leaves as profit on four voyages, $276,000. This estimate of profits is far less; it is not half as great as the figures made by those engaged in the business." Thus patriotism and the great profit realized from a successful run through the blockade combined to induce adventurous Southerners to risk the perils posed by the Union fleet.
In seeking to stop the activities of Confederate blockade runners, vigorous naval officers were not always confined to the water. On hearing that four men engaged in blockade running were ashore near Lawson's Bay on the Rappahannock River, Acting Master Street of U.S.S. Primrose took a landing party 4 miles inland and surrounded the house the men had been reported to be in. "On searching the house," Street wrote, " we found four men secreted under the bedding. .
We also obtained $10,635 in notes and bonds belonging to the prisoners.
The Confederate Navy Department assumed complete control of the Selma, Alabama, Iron Works. Under the command of Commander Catesby ap R. Jones, the iron works became a naval ordnance works where naval guns were cast. Between June 1863 and April 1864, nearly 200 guns were cast there, most of them 6.4-inch and 7-inch Brooke rifles.
2 C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, after a chase of 8 hours in the South Atlantic, captured and burned bark Amazonian, bound from New York to Montevideo with cargo including commercial mail.
U.S.S. Anacostia, Acting Master Provost, and U.S.S. Primrose, Acting Master Street, took sloop Flying Cloud at Tapp's Creek, Virginia.
3 Rear Admiral Porter, writing from his flagship, U.S.S. Black Hawk, informed General Grant that he had sent six 8-inch guns up the Yazoo River, "to be placed where required," and two 9-inch guns to Warrenton as well. The Admiral also wrote to Lieutenant Commander Greer, U.S.S. Benton, urging a continual fire from the gunboats into the Vicksburg positions. "The town," he noted, "will soon fall now, and we can affort to expend a little more ammunition.
U.S.S. Stars and Stripes, Acting Master Charles L. Willcomb, captured sloop Florida at St. Marks Bay, Florida, with cargo of cotton and tar.
3-4 Ram U.S.S. Switzerland, Lieutenant Colonel J. Ellet, reconnoitered the Atchafalaya River as far as Simmesport, Louisiana, upon hearing reports that Confederate General Kirby Smith might be advancing to engage the Union position above Port Hudson. Half a mile above Simmesport, heavy rifle fire was opened on the ram. "Strongly posted behind the levee and heavy earthworks, within 100 yards of the channel of the river," Ellet reported, "they poured a perfect storm of Minie balls upon us as we passed in front of the town. The fire of the artillery was also very severe. After a vigorous exchange in which Switzerland sustained seven hits, the ram withdrew. Next day, U.S.S. Lafayette and Pittsburg "proceeded to Simmesport and shelled the rebels away from their breastworks, fired their camp and the houses which had been occupied as their quarters. The gunboats then returned to their positions at the mouth of the Red River.
4 U.S.S. Commodore McDonough, Lieutenant Commander Bacon, with steamer Island City, transport Cossack, and Army gunboat Mayflower in company, transported and supported an Army action at Bluffton, South Carolina. The troops disembarked without incident under 'the protection of the gunboat, and proceeded to Bluffton where they met strong Confederate resistance. With naval gunfire support, the town was destroyed and the troops were enabled to reembark with the mission successfully completed.
4-5 Joint Army-Navy expedition including U.S.S. Commodore Morris, Lieutenant Commander Gillis; U.S.S. Commodore Jones, Lieutenant Commander John G. Mitchell; Army gunboat Smith Briggs, and transport Winnissimet with 400 troops embarked, ascended the Mattapony River for the purpose of destroying a foundry above Walkerton, Virginia, where Confederate ordnance was being manufactured. The troops were landed at Walkerton and marched to the Ayletts area where the machinery, a flour mill, and a large quantity of grain were destroyed. Reembarking the troops and captured livestock, the force fell down river as the gunboats "dropped shells into many deserted houses and completely scoured the banks, and sweeping all the points on the river.
Rear Admiral S. P. Lee reported that: "The vigilant dispositions of Lieutenant Commander Gillis kept the river below clear, and the rebels, attempting demonstrations at several points on the banks, were dispersed by the gunboats." Brigadier General Henry A. Wise, CSA, called the joint expedition a ''daring and destructive raid.'' Constant destruction along the coasts and up the rivers seriously hampered the already industrially deficient South.
5 C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured ship Talisman in the mid-Atlantic en route Shanghai. Semmes wrote in his log: "Received on board from this ship during the day some beef and pork and bread, etc., and a couple of brass 12-pounders, mounted on ship carriages. There were four of these pieces on board, and a quantity of powder and shot, two steam boilers, etc., for fitting up a steam gunboat. . . . at nightfall set fire to the ship, a beautiful craft of 1,100 tons."
U.S.S. Wissahickon, Lieutenant Commander Davis, attacked and sank a steamer (name unknown) attempting to run the blockade out of Charleston.
6 Rear Admiral Lee reported to Secretary Welles regarding the urgent need of additional vessels on the blockade: "The two entrances to Cape Fear River make the blockade of Wilmington very difficult. The vessels on one side cannot support those on the other, and each side, particularly the New Inlet side, requires a large blockading force. Two vessels like the New Ironsides are required to protect this blockade against the enemy's ironclads. . . . swift and suitably armed schooners are needed to capture the blockade runners. The fact that these last now go together adds to the difficulty of capturing them, and requires additional strength for this purpose. The blockade requires more and better vessels and must eventually fail without them.'' The North's industrial strength and free access to the world's markets, assured by control of the seas, made the necessary naval buildup possible. The exact opposite was true of the Confederacy. Secretary Mallory, writing Commander Bulloch in Liverpool on 8 June, lamented: "We need ironclads, ironclads, ironclads.
C.S.S. Clarence (prize of C.S.S. Florida), Lieutenant Read, launched a brief but highly successful cruise against Union commerce by capturing and burning bark Whistling Wind with cargo of coal in the Atlantic east of Cape Romain, South Carolina. Read reported: "She was insured by the U.S. Government for the sum of $14,000."
C.S.S. Florida, Lieutenant Maffitt, captured and burned ship Southern Cross, bound from Mexico to New York with cargo of wood.
U.S.S. Tahoma, Lieutenant Commander A. A. Semmes, seized schooner Statesman, aground at Gadsen's Point, Florida, with cargo of cotton.
Steamer Lady Walton surrendered to U.S.S. Tyler, Lieutenant Commander Prichett, at the mouth of White River, Arkansas.
7 U.S.S. Choctaw, Lieutenant Commander Ramsay, and U.S.S. Lexington, Lieutenant Commander Bache, defended Union troops at Milliken's Bend, Mississippi, from the assault by a superior number of Confederate soldiers. The Union troops withdrew to the river bank where the guns of the ships could be brought into action. "There," Rear Admiral Porter noted, "the gunboats opened on the rebels with shell, grape, and canister. . . . and compelled the Confederates to fall back. Confederate Major General John G. Walker wrote: . . . it must be remembered that the enemy behind a Mississippi levee, protected on the flanks by gunboats, is as securely posted as it is possible to be outside a regular fortification.''
C.S.S. Clarence, Lieutenant Read, seized schooner Alfred H. Partridge hound from New York to Matamoras with cargo of arms and clothing. "I took the captain's bond for the sum of $5,000 for the delivery of the cargo to loyal citizens of the Confederate states, Read wrote.
8 Crew from a Confederate launch commanded by Master James Duke, CSN, boarded and captured steam tug Boston at Pass a l'Outre, Mississippi River, and put to sea, then capturing and burning Union barks Lenox and Texana. Duke carried Boston safely into Mobile on 11 June. This bold action caused Rear Admiral Farragut considerable concern. Recalling a similar event on 12 April, he wrote the blockade commander off Mobile: "She is the second vessel that has been captured off the mouth of the Mississippi and carried through our blockading squadron into Mobile. I cannot understand how the blockade is run with such ease when you have so strong a numerical force."
C.S.S. Georgia, Lieutenant W.L. Maury, captured ship George Griswold with cargo of coal off Rio de Janeiro. Maury released the prize on bond.
9 Union mortar boats continued to bombard Vicksburg. From dawn until nearly noon, they poured 175 shells into the city as the Confederate position, cut off from supplies and relief, grew steadily more desperate. Heavy rains curtailed the mortar activity the next day, only some 75 shells being fired, but on the 11th the attack was stepped up once again and Ordnance Gunner Eugene Mack reported that 193 mortar shells fell on the river stronghold. Rear Admiral Porter wrote Secretary Welles: "The mortars keep constantly playing on the city and works, and the gunboats throw in their shell whenever they see any work going on at the batteries, or new bat-teries being put up. Not a soul is to be seen moving in the city, the soldiers lying in their trenches or pits, and the inhabitants being stowed in caves or holes dug out in the cliffs. If the city is not relieved by a much superior force from the outside, Vicksburg must fall without anything more being done to it. I only wonder it has held out so long. . ."
C.S.S. Clarence, Lieutenant Read, captured and burned brig Mary Alvina, bound from Boston to New Orleans with cargo of commissary stores. Read, upon interrogating prisoners, concluded that it would not be possible to carry out his intention to harass Union shipping in Hampton Roads. "No vessels," he wrote, were allowed to go into Hampton Roads unless they had supplies for the U.S. Government, and then they were closely watched. . . . I determined to cruise along the coast and try to intercept a transport for Fortress Monroe and with her endeavor to carry out the orders of Commander Maffitt [see 6 May 1863], and in the meantime do all Possible injury to the enemy's commerce."
10 Major General Banks, besieging Port Hudson, signaled Rear Admiral Farragut: "Please send to Springfield Landing 500 blank cartridges, 50 schrapnel, 500 shell, and 50 solid shot for the IX-inch navy guns. Please let me know when they will be there." The return signal read: "The ammunition that you asked for will be at Springfield Landing at 5 p.m.
Rear Admiral Du Pont ordered U.S.S. Weehawken, Captain J. Rodgers, and U.S.S. Nahant, Commander Downes, to Wassaw Sound, Georgia, where it was reported that the powerful ram C.S.S. Atlanta, Commander Webb, was preparing to attack the wooden blockader U.S.S. Cimarron. A week later Du Pont's wise foresight would save the day for the Union blockade there.
Confederate officer prisoners of war being transported to Fort Delaware on board steamer Maple Leaf overpowered the guard, took possession of the steamer, and landed below Cape Henry, Virginia.
11 Rear Admiral Farragut wrote Major General Banks regarding the continuous bombardment of Port Hudson: "You must remember that we have been bombarding this place five weeks, and we are now upon our last 500 shells, so that it will not be in my power to bombard more than three or four hours each night, at intervals of five minutes. . . . I was under the impression that our shelling only served two purposes to break their rest and silence their guns, when they opened in our sight; the last he has ceased to do, and they have now become indifferent to the former. After the people have been harassed to a certain extent they become indifferent to danger, I think, but we will do all in our power to aid you."
Steamer Havelock ran past U.S.S. Memphis, Stettin, and Ottawa at Charleston but was so severely battered by the blockaders' fire that she was found at daybreak aground on Folly Island and ablaze. Captain Turner, U.S.S. New Ironsides, reported that she was ''a total wreck."
U.S.S. Florida, Commander Bankhead, captured blockade running steamer Calypso attempting to dash into Wilmington with cargo including drugs, provisions, and plating for ironclads.
Boat crew from U.S.S. Coeur De Lion, Acting Master W. G. Morris, seized and burned schooners Odd Fellow and Sarah Margaret in Coan River, Virginia.
12 C.S.S. Clarence, Lieutenant Read, captured bark Tacony of Cape Hatteras and shortly thereafter took schooner M. A. Shindler from Port Royal to Philadelphia in ballast. Read determined to transfer his command to Tacony, she ''being a better sailor than the Clarence," and was in the process of transferring the howitzer when another schooner, Kate Stewart, from Key West to Philadelphia, was sighted. "Passing near the Clarence," Read reported, "a wooden gun was pointed at her and she was commanded to heave to, which she did immediately. . . . As we were now rather short of provisions and had over fifty prisoners, I determined to bond the schooner Kate Stewart and make a cartel of her." Read then destroyed both Clarence and M. A. Shindler and stood in chase of another brig, Arabella, which he soon overhauled. She had a neutral cargo, and Read "bonded her for $30,000, payable thirty days after peace." Thus the career of C.S.S. Clarence -was at an end. In a week's tin she had made six prizes, three of which had been destroyed, two bonded, and her successor, C.S.S. Tacony, sailed against Union shipping under the same daring skipper and his crew.
13 C.S.S. Georgia, Lieutenant W. L. Maury, captured bark Good Hope (22o15' S.–37o1' W.) bound from Boston to Cape of Good Hope; the prize was burned at sea on 14 June after provisions and stores were removed.
U.S.S. Juniata, Commander Clitz, captured blockade running schooner Fashion off the coast of Cuba with cargo of salt and soda.
U.S.S. Sunflower, Acting Master Van Sice, captured schooner Pushmataha off Tortugas.
13-15 Confederate guerrillas fired into U.S.S. Marmora, Acting Lieutenant Getty, near Eunice, Arkansas, and on the morning of the 14th, took transport Nebraska under fire. In retaliation, Getty sent a landing party ashore and destroyed the town, "including the railroad depot, with locomotive and car inside, also the large warehouse . . . The next day, 15 June, landing parties from Marmora and U.S.S. Prairie Bird, Acting Lieutenant Edward E. Brennand, destroyed the town of Gaines Landing in retaliation for a guerrilla attempt to burn the Union coal barge there and for firing on Marmora.
14 President Lincoln authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to "cooperate by the revenue cutters under your direction with the Navy in arresting rebel depredations on American commerce and transportation and in capturing rebels engaged therein." The directive was largely the result of Lieutenant Read's continued raid on Union commerce near Northern shores.
Rear Admiral Porter wired Secretary Welles: "The situation of affairs here has altered very little. We are still closing on the enemy. General Grant's position is a safe one, though he should have all the troops that can possibly be sent to him. We have mounted six heavy navy guns in the rear of Vicksburg and can give the army as many as they want. I think the town can't hold out longer than the 22d of June. The gunboats and mortars keep up a continual fire." The intrepid defenders of Vicksburg held out against the crushing water and land siege for 2 weeks beyond Admiral Porter's estimate.
C.S.S. Florida, Lieutenant Maffitt, captured ship Red Gauntlet in West Indian waters.
C.S.S. Georgia, Lieutenant W. L. Maury, captured at sea and bonded bark J.W. Seaver with cargo of machinery for Russia.
U.S.S. Lackawanna, Captain John B. Marchand, captured blockade running steamer Neptune, bound from Havana to Mobile.
15 C.S.S. Atlanta, Commander Webb, got underway in the early evening and passed over the lower obstructions in the Wilmington River, preparatory to an anticipated attack on the Union forces in Wassaw Sound, Georgia. Webb dropped anchor at 8 p.m. and spent the remainder of the night coaling. The next evening, "about dark," the daring Confederate later reported, "I proceeded down the river to a point of land which would place me in 5 or 6 miles of the monitors, at the same time concealing the ship from their view, ready to move on them at early dawn the next morning."
C.S.S. Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured and burned brig Umpire with cargo of sugar and molasses off the Virginia coast. Read's exploits created much concern and a large force was sent to search for him. Secretary Welles noted in his diary: ''None of our vessels have succeeded in capturing the Rebel pirate Tacony which has committed great ravages along the coast.
U.S.S. Juliet, Acting Lieutenant Shaw, seized steamer Fred Nolte on the White River, Arkansas.
U.S.S. Lackawanna, Captain Marchand, captured steamer Planter with cargo of cotton in the Gulf of Mexico.
16 Acting Master John C. Bunner, U.S.S. New Era, obtained a report that Confederate troops "medi-tated an attack on either Columbus, Hickman, Island 10, or New Madrid. . . " Bunner at once proceeded above Island No. 10, found and destroyed nine boats and flats. He reported: "I do not think the enemy can procure transportation enough to attack the island with any hope of success, but am careful that none at all shall remain at his service in this vicinity.''
U.S.S. Circassian, Acting Lieutenant William B. Eaton, captured blockade running sloop John Wesley off St. Marks, Florida, bound for Havana with cargo of cotton.
C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt, captured ship B. F. Hoxie in West Indian waters. After removing silver bars valued at $105,000, Maffitt burned the prize.
17 C.S.S. Atlanta, Commander Webb, with wooden steamers Isondiga and Resolute, engaged U.S.S. Weehawken, Captain J. Rodgers, and U.S.S. Nahant, Commander Downes, in Wassaw Sound. A percussion torpedo was fitted to the ram's bow, "which," Webb wrote, "I knew would do its work to my entire satisfaction, should I but be able to touch the Weehauken. . . Atlanta grounded coming into the channel, was gotten off, but repeatedly failed to obey her helm. Weehawken poured five shots from her heavy guns into the Confederate ram, and Nahant moved into attacking Position. With two of his gun crews out of action, with two of three Pilots severely injured, and with his ship helpless and hard aground, Webb was compelled to surrender. His two wooden escorts had returned upriver without engaging.
Captain Rodgers reported: "The Atlanta was found to have mounted two 6-inch and two 7-inch rifles, the 6-inch broadside, the 7-inch working on a Pivot either as broadside or bow and stern guns. There is a large supply of ammunition for these guns and other stores, said to be of great value by some of the officers of the vessel. There were on board at the time of capture, as per muster roll, 21 officers and 124 men, including 28 marines."
In a message of congratulations to Captain Rodgers, Secretary Welles wrote: ''Every contest in which the ironclads have been engaged against ironclads has been instructive, and affords food for reflection. The lessons to be drawn are momentous. . . . Your early connection with the Mississippi Flotilla and your participation in the projection and construction of the first ironclads on the Western waters, your heroic conduct in the attack on Drewry's Bluff, the high moral courage that led you to put to sea in the Weehawken upon the approach of a violent storm in order to test the seagoing qualities of these new craft at a time when a safe anchorage was close under your lee, the brave and daring manner in which you, with your associates, pressed the ironclads under the concentrated fire of the batteries in Charleston harbor and there tested and proved the endurance and resisting power of these vessels, and your crowning successful achievement in the capture of the Fingal, alias Atlanta, are all proofs of a skill and courage and devotion to the country and the cause of the Union, regardless of self, that can not he permitted to pass unrewarded. . . . For these heroic and serviceable acts I have presented your name to the Presi-dent, requesting him to recommend that Congress give you a vote of thanks in order that you may he advanced to the grade of commodore in the American Navy."
Boat expedition under Acting Master Sylvanus Nickerson from U.S.S. Itasca captured blockade runner Miriam at Brazos Santiago, Texas, with cargo of cotton.
18 Rear Admiral Farragut in U.S.S. Monongahela steamed down river from Port Hudson to Plaque-mine, Louisiana, where a raid by a company of Confederate cavalry had burned two Army trans-ports. It was feared that the Confederate intent was to capture Donaldsonville, Louisiana, cutting off the flow of supplies between New Orleans and General Banks before Port Hudson. U.S.S. Winona, Lieutenant Commander Aaron 'V. Weaver, shelled the Confederate cavalrymen from the town. The Admiral reported: "The moral effect of our force gathering about them so quickly was very good both against the enemy and in favor of the soldiers and ourselves" Farragut concentrated three or four gunboats at Donaldsonville, and General Banks wrote several days later: 'The result at Donaldsonville was very gratifying, and I feel greatly indebted to the officers of the Navy for the assistance they gave, and the distinguished part they played in this most creditable affair."
U.S.S General Sterling Price, Commander Woodworth, and U.S.S. Mound City, Lieutenant Wilson, returned to their positions below Vicksburg after a 3-day reconnaisance down the Mississippi River as far as Cole's Creek. During the expedition, some 60 to 70 barges, skiffs, and boats were destroyed which could have been used to transport Confederate troops. Meanwhile, U.S.S. Benton, Lieutenant Commander Greer, supplied Major General Francis J. Herron with two 32-pounders, complete with ammunition and equipment and a crew to man them. Of this battery, General Herron later wrote: 'The battery, under the command of Acting Master j. Frank Reed, of the Benton, did excellent service, and I can not speak too highly of the bravery and energy of this young officer. Indeed, during the whole of my operations, I received valuable assistance and a hearty cooperation from the Navy."
U.S.S. Tahoma, Lieutenant Commander A. A. Semmes, captured British blockade runner Harriet near Anclote Keys, Florida; Tahoma chased British blockade runner Mary Jane ashore and destroyed her at Clearwater.
U.S.S. James S. Chambers, Acting Master L. Nickerson, captured schooner Rebekah off Tampa Bay.
19 Secretary Mallory wrote to Commander Bulloch in Liverpool: "I have heretofore requested you to purchase upon the best terms you can make a very fast steamer suitable for blockade running between Nassau, Bermuda, Charleston, and Wilmington. A capacity for stowing from 600 to 1,000 hales of cotton upon not over 10 feet draft would be desirable. With such a vessel I can place exchange for our use in England every month."
A naval battery mounted to fire across the river at Cerro Gordo, Tennessee, manned by crew from U.S.S. Robb, Acting Ensign Hanford, was hotly engaged by Confederate troops. Hanford reported: "They [the Confederates] charged four abreast (dismounted) and came to within 20 yards of the cannon's mouth, while canister was being fired into them like rain."
Mortar schooner U.S.S. Para, Acting Master Edward G. Furber, captured blockade running schooner Emma off Mosquito Inlet, Florida.
20 A heavy combined Army-Navy bombardment of Vicksburg, lasting 6 hours, hammered Con-federate positions. Supporting the Army, Porter pressed mortars, gunboats, and scows into action from 4 a.m. until 10. The naval force met with no opposition, and the Admiral noted: "The only demonstration made by the rebels from the water front was a brisk fire of heavy guns from the upper batteries on two 12-pounder rifled howitzers that were planted n the Louisiana side by General Ellet's Marine Brigade, which has [sic] much annoyed the enemy for two or three days, and prevented them from getting water." After this extensive bombardment, reports reached Porter that the Southerners were readying boats with which to make a riverborne evacua-tion of the city. Emphasizing the need for continued vigilance, the Admiral informed his gunboat commanders: "If the rebels start down in their skiffs, the current will drift them to about abreast of the houses where the mortars are laid up, and they will land there. In that case the vessels must push up amidst them, run over them, fire grape and canister and destroy all they can, looking out that they are not boarded."
C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured bark Conrad from Buenos Aires for New York with cargo of wool. Semmes commissioned her as a cruiser under the name C.S.S. Tuscaloosa and wrote: "Never perhaps was a ship of war fitted out so promptly before. The Conrad was a commissioned ship, with armament, crew, and provisions on board, flying her pennant, and with sailing orders signed, sealed, and delivered, before sunset on the day of her capture.''
C.S.S. Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured ship Isaac Webb, bound from Liverpool to New York. The prize had some 759 passengers on board and, being unable "to dispose of the passengers, I bonded her for $40.000." The same day, Tacony captured and burned fishing schooner Micawber at sea off the New England coast.
U.S.S. Primrose, Acting Master Street, captured sloop Richard Vaux off Blakistone Island, Potomac River.
21 C.S.S. Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured and burned ship Byzantium, with cargo of coal, and bark Goods peed, in ballast, off the coast of New England.
U.S.S. Owasco, Lieutenant Commander Madigan, and U.S.S. Cayuga, Lieutenant Commander William H. Dana, took sloop Active attempting to run blockade out of Sabine Pass, Texas, with cargo of cotton.
U.S.S. Santiago De Cuba, Commander Robert H. Wyman, seized blockade running British steamer Victory off Palmetto Point, Eleuthera Island, after a long chase; Victory was from Wilmington and carried a cargo of cotton, tobacco, and turpentine.
U.S.S. Florida, Commander Bankhead, captured schooner Hattie off Frying Pan Shoals, North Carolina, with cargo of cotton and naval stores.
22 C.S.S. Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured fishing schooners Florence, Marengo, E. Ann, R. Choate, and Ripple off the New England coast. Read reported: "The Florence being an old vessel I bonded her and placed seventy-five prisoners on her. The other schooners were burned."
U.S.S. Shawsheen, Acting Master Henry A. Phelon, while on a reconnaissance in Bay River, North Carolina, captured schooner Henry Clay up Spring Creek. An armed boat went up Dim-bargon Creek and captured a small schooner carrying turpentine before Shawsheen returned to New Bern.
U.S.S. Itasca, Lieutenant Commander Robert F. R. Lewis, seized British blockade runner Sea Drift near Matagorda Island, Texas, with cargo including gunpowder, lead, and drugs.
23 C.S.S. Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured and burned fishing schooners Ada and Wanderer off the New England coast.
U.S. S. Pursuit, Lieutenant William P. Randall, took sloop Kate in Indian River, Florida.
U.S.S. Flambeau, Lieutenant Commander John H. Upshur, seized British schooner Bettie Cratzer, off Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina, bound from New York to Havana and suspected of being a blockade runner.
23-30 Under Commander Pierce Crosby, gunboats Commodore Barney, Commodore Morris, Western World, and Morse, with Army gunboats Smith Briggs and Jesup, escorted and covered an Army landing at White House on the Pamunkey River, Virginia. Arriving on the 26th, Crosby reported that he ''found all quiet on the river,'' but stationed the gunboats at White House and Jesup at West Point, with instructions for two of his ships to ''run [daily] from White House to West point to protect the army transports and examine the banks of the river to discover signs of the enemy should they be near A naval landing party at White House destroyed rails and a turn-table inside an earthwork on which the Confederates intended to place a railroad car mounting a heavy gun.
24 Rear Admiral Dahlgren was detached from duty at the Washington Navy Yard and as Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance and ordered to relieve Rear Admiral Du Pont at Port Royal in command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Originally, the Navy Department ordered Rear Admiral Foote to the Blockading Squadron, but the hero of the western waters suffered a relapse from his long illness occasioned by the wound sustained at Fort Donelson and was unable to accept the command.
Brigadier General A. W. Ellet, commanding the Marine Brigade, reported to Rear Admiral Porter on his observations of the continued naval bombardment of Vicksburg: "Your mortars are doing good work this morning. Every shell is thrown into the city, or bursts immediately over it."
C.S.S. Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured ship Shatemuc, from Liverpool to Boston with a large number of emigrants on board. Read bonded her for $150,000. Tacony later captured fishing schooner Archer. "As there were now a number of the enemy's gunboats in search of the Tacony," Read wrote, "and our howitzer ammunition being all expended, I concluded to destroy the Tacony, and with the schooner Archer to proceed along the coast with the view of burning the shipping in some exposed harbor, or of cutting out a steamer. Therefore, the next morning Read applied the torch to the Tacony and stood in for the New England coast with Archer.
U.S.S. Sumpter, Acting Lieutenant Peter Hays, collided with transport steamer General Meigs in heavy mist near Hampton Roads and sank.
25 Rear Admiral Du Pont, unaware that Dahlgren had been ordered to relieve him in command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, wrote in these terms of Rear Admiral Foote: "I infer he is very ill, and could hardly be fit to come for some time to this situation even if he recovers. I trust God he will, for I think he can ill be spared. I always thought he represented the best traits of the New England character with its best shade of Puritanism a sort of Northern Stonewall Jackson, without quite his intellect and judgment, but equal pluck and devotion."
C.S.S. Georgia, Lieutenant W. L. Maury, captured ship Constitution bound from Philadelphia to Shanghai with cargo of coal.
Boats from U.S.S. Crusader, Acting Master Roland F. Coffin, on a reconnaissance of Pepper Creek, near New Point Comfort, Virginia, to determine if an armed boat was being outfitted for " preying on the commerce of Chesapeake Bay'' was fired on by a Confederate party. In retaliation Master Coffin burned several houses in the area, one belonging to "a noted rebel and blockade runner named Kerwan."
Lieutenant Commander English, USS Sagamore. reported the capture of blockade running British schooner Frolic off Crystal River, Florida, with cargo of cotton and turpentine, bound for Havana.
U.S.S. Santiago De Cuba, Commander Wyman, took steamer Britannia off Palmetto Point, Eleuthera Island, with cargo of cotton.
26 Rear Admiral Andrew Hull Foote died in New York City of the wound received while brilliantly leading the naval forces on the Western rivers. The next day the Navy Department announced: 'A gallant and distinguished naval officer is lost to the country. The hero of Fort Henry and
Fort Donelson, the daring and inimitable spirit that created and led to successive victories the Mississippi Flotilla, the heroic Christian sailor, who in the China Seas and on the coast of Africa, as well as the great interior rivers of our country, sustained with unfaltering fidelity and devotion the honor of our flag and the causes of the Union-Rear-Admiral Andrew Hull Foote-is no more. . . . Appreciating his virtues and his services, a grateful country had rendered him while living its willing honors, and will mourn his death."
Ships, rifled cannon, mortar boats, and Army guns laid down a heavy bombardment barrage which was answered bravely by the Confederate gunners at Port Hudson. Captain Alden in U.S.S. Richmond reported to Rear Admiral Farragut: ''The Genessee's firing was as fine as usual. The Essex stood up manfully and did her work handsomely. She was the only vessel hit, and, strange to say, although the enemy's fire was for the most part of the engagement which lasted some four hours-concentrated upon her, was struck only three times, but one of those was near proving fatal to her. The shot passed through her starboard smokepipe, down through the deck, through the coal bunker, grazing the starboard boiler, down through the machinery and steam pipes, over the galley, and through the wheelhouse into the water. . . . They all seem to be very much pleased with the operation of the naval battery on shore. . . . It had done, as you know, splendid service under the command of our gallant executive officer, Lieutenant Commander [Edward] Terry, before you were called away, and is still, I am happy to say, earning new laurels."
Rear Admiral Porter wrote Secretary Welles of the operations at Vicksburg: ''I was in hopes ere this to have announced the fall of Vicksburg, but the rebels hold out persistently, and will no doubt do so while there is a thing left to eat. In the meantime, they are hoping for relief from General Johnston a vain hope, for even if he succeeded in getting the better of General Sherman . . . his forces would be so cut up that he could take no advantage of any victory that he might gain. General Sherman has only to fall back to our entrenchments at Vicksburg, and he could defy twice his own force. The rebels have been making every effort to bring relief to Vicksburg through Louisiana, but without avail. With the few men we have at Young's Point and the gunboats, we keep them in check. They have lined the river bank and are annoying the transports a little, but the gunboats are so vigilant and give them so little rest that they have done no damage worth mentioning. I have lined the river from Cairo to Vicks-burg with a good force. . . . I am having the Cincinnati's guns removed, and Colonel Woods, of the army, is erecting a battery on shore with them. I have now ten heavy naval guns landed from the gunboats, in the rear of Vicksburg, some of them manned by sailors. They have kept up a heavy fire for some days, doing great execution.
26-27 C.S.S. Archer, Lieutenant Read, made the Portland, Maine, light. Read picked up two fishermen, "who," he reported, "taking us for a pleasure party', willingly consented to pilot us into Portland." From the fishermen Read learned that revenue cutter Caleb Cushing and a pas-senger steamer, Chesapeake, a staunch, swift propeller,'' were at Portland and would remain there over night. Steamer For City was so in Portland and two gunboats were building there. At once Read made a daring plan: he would enter the harbor and at night quietly seize the cutter and steamer.
At sunset he boldly sailed in, anchoring in full view of the shipping." Read discussed the plan with his crew and admitted there were difficulties in the scheme. Engineer Eugene H. Brown was doubtful that he could get the engines of the steamer started without the assistance of another engineer, and Read pointed Out that as the nights were very short it was evident that if we failed to get the steamer underway, after waiting to get up steam, we could not get clear of the forts before we were discovered." Read decided to concentrate on capturing the revenue cutter. At 1:30 in the morning, 27 June, Read's crew boarded and took Caleb Cushing, without noise or resistance.' Luck and time were running Out on Read's courageous band, however, for, with a light breeze and the tide running in, the cutter was still under the fort's guns at daybreak. By midmorning, when Caleb Cushing was but 20 miles off the harbor, Read saw 'two large steamers and three tugs . . . coming out of Portland." He cleared for action and fired on the leading steamer, Forest City, as soon as she was in range. After firing five shells from the pivot gun, Read "was mortified to find that all the projectiles for that gun were expended." About to be caught in a crossfire from the steamers and in a defenseless position, Read ordered the cutter destroyed and the men into the lifeboats. ''At 11:30 I surrendered myself and crew to the steamer Forest City [First Lieutenant James H Merryman, USRS].'' Read had yet another moment of success at noon Caleb Cushing blew up.
So ended an exploit of gallant dash and daring by Read and his small crew. From the date of their first capture to the destruction of the revenue cutter off Portland, the doughty Confederate seamen had taken 22 prizes.
27 C.S.S. Florida, Lieutenant Maffitt, seized and bonded whaling schooner V. H. Hill en route to Bermuda.
Commander A. G. Clary, U.S.S. Tioga, reported the capture of blockade running British schooner Julia off the Bahamas with cargo of cotton.
28 Rear Admiral Dahlgren noted in his private journal: "The French Admiral called yesterday. Me said he thought there were torpedoes near Sumter, and that fifteen monitors might take it if they fired faster. He said we fired once in eleven or twelve minutes for each turret."
C.S.S. Georgia, Lieutenant W. L. Maury, captured ship City of Bath off Brazil.
Armed boats from U.S.S. Fort Henry, Lieutenant Commander McCauley, captured schooner Anna Maria in Steinhatchee River, Florida, with cargo of cotton.
28-30 As the advance of General Robert E. Lee's armies into Maryland (culminating in the Battle of Gettysburg) threatened Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis, the U.S. Navy Department ordered Rear Admiral S.P. Lee to send ships immediately for the defense of the Capital and other cities. This was a move reminiscent of the opening days of the war when naval protection was vital to the holding of the area surrounding the seat of government.
29 Lieutenant Commander Shirk reported the interception of a letter from Confederate General Martin L. Smith at Vicksburg to his wife. "He says," Shirk wrote, "everything looks like taking a trip North. All seem to think that Saturday or Sunday will tell the fall of Vicksburg. The Confederates were being realistic rather than pessimistic, for, though they had long and bravely resisted against tremendous odds with supply lines severed, the fall of the fortress on the Mississippi was at hand.
30 Captain Semmes of C.S.S. Alabama rote in his journal: "It is two years to-day since we ran the blockade of the Mississippi in the Sumter. . . . Two years of almost constant excitement and anxiety, the usual excitement of battling with the sea and the weather and avoiding dangerous shoals and coasts, added to the excitement of the chase, the capture, the escape from the enemy, and the battle. And then there has been the government of my officers and crew, not always a pleasant task, for I have had some senseless and unruly spirits to deal with; and last, though not least, the bother and vexation of being hurried out of port when I have gone into one by scrupulous and timid officials, to say nothing of offensive espionage. All these things have produced a con-stant tension of the nervous system, and the wear and tear of body in these two years would, no doubt, be quite obvious to my friends at home, could they see me on this 30th day of June, 1863."
Captain Josiah Tattnall wrote Commander William W. Hunter: 'The ironclad steamer Savannah being completed in all respects and ready for service with the exception of her officers in which she is deficient, I have the pleasure to transfer her to your command.''
U.S.S. Ossipee, Captain Gillis, captured schooner Helena off Mobile.