Civil War Naval History
1 Rear Admiral Dahlgren wrote in his diary off Charleston: "Of the seven monitors left, two are here out of order, and the Passaic no better. The Rebels have four; wonder if they will come out and try their luck."
U.S.S. Exchange, a 210-ton wooden paddle-wheeler under Acting Master James C. Gipson, engaged two Confederate batteries on the Mississippi River near Columbia, Arkansas, sustaining serious damage. Gipson, who was wounded during the heated encounter, described the action: "They waited until I had passed by the lower battery, when they opened a destructive crossfire. As I had just rounded a point of a sand bar, I could not back down, consequently there was no other alternative but run by the upper battery if possible. . . . I opened my port broadside guns, re-plying to theirs; but unfortunately the port engine was struck and disabled, causing her to work very slow, keeping us under fire about forty-five minutes. I had barely got out of range of their guns when the engine stopped entirely. . . . I immediately let go the anchor . . . expecting every moment they would move their battery above us and open again; but we succeeded in getting out, although pretty badly damaged."
2 Union gunboats convoying transports on the western rivers continued to be harassed by hostile field artillery along the banks. Lieutenant Commander Owen, U.S.S. Louisville, after sustaining severe damage in an exchange at Columbia, Arkansas, wrote to Rear Admiral Porter: "The strength of the enemy in the neighborhood is undoubtedly great, and nothing but a military expedition can clear the banks. We can convoy boats every day with the usual loss of men and injury to boats, as the river is now, but it is falling rapidly, and vessels are of necessity being driven close under the enemy's guns." Next day, at Memphis, Lieutenant Commander John G. Mitchell, U.S.S. Carondelet, also observed: "Not a steamer arrives here from Cairo but what has been fired upon by gangs numbering from 12 to 100 men." The warships were encountering difficulties similar to those Rear Admiral Farragut had faced on the Texas coast in the fall of 1862: the ships could dominate the waterways and coasts, but troops were needed to prevent the buildup of Confederate artillery and troublesome guerilla activity.
U.S.S. Wamsutta, Acting Master Charles W. Lee, chased blockade running British steamer Rose aground at Pawley's Island, South Carolina, with small cargo including liquor and destroyed her.
U.S.S. Victoria, Acting Master Alfred Everson, chased blockade running steamer Georgiana McCaw aground near Wilmington and destroyed her with large cargo of provisions.
Landing party from U.S.S. Cowslip, Acting Ensign Canfield, captured five sloops and one steam boiler, destroyed six large boats, four salt works, and three flat boats during a raid up Biloxi Bay, Mississippi.
3 A Confederate boat expedition of some 130 officers and men under the command of Lieutenant Thomas P. Pelot, CSN, surprised and captured U.S.S. Water Witch, Lieutenant Commander Austin Pendergrast, in an early morning raid off Ossabaw Island, Georgia. In pitch darkness at 2 o'clock In the morning, Pelot silently guided his party to the anchored blockaders' and was within 50 yards of her when discovered. Before the Union sailors could man their stations, the Confederates had boarded Water Witch and a wild hand-to-hand melee ensued. "The fight," Rear Admiral Dahlgren recorded in his diary after learning of the incident, "was hard, but brief." Though the Southerners overwhelmed the defenders, Pelot and five others were killed and 17 were wounded in taking the prize. Lieutenant Joseph Price, who assumed command of the expedition when Pelot fell, said of his comrade: "In his death the country has lost a brave and gallant officer, and society one of her highest ornaments." Water Witch, a 380-ton sidewheeler, was taken into the Vernon River and moored above the obstructions guarding Savannah. Secretary Mallory wrote: "The plan and gallant execution of the enterprise reflect great credit upon all who were associated with it, and upon the service which they adorn. The fall of Lieutenant Pelot and his gallant associates in the moment of victory, and the suffering of his companions wounded, sadden the feelings of patriotic pleasure with which this brilliant achievement is everywhere received."
The valor with which Southern sailors fought on against great and ever-increasing odds helped keep Confederate hopes alive throughout the last dark year of the war.
Commander Bulloch wrote Secretary Mallory, enumerating some of the difficulties he experienced as Confederate Naval Agent abroad: "At no time since the completion of the Alabama has there been anything like money enough in hand, or within my control to pay for the ships actually under contract, and if no political complications bad to delay the completion of these ships and they bad been ready for delivery at the dates specified in the contracts, I should not have been able to pay for them. . . . If these were ordinary times and the agent of your department could treat openly and in person with the European governments, we could doubtless obtain very good ships from several of the Continental navies, but acting through intermediaries who care for nothing beyond their commissions, we can not get anything but the cast-off vessels of other services, which either possess some radical defect of design rendering them unfit for cruisers, or are so delapidated as to be worthless."
In response to the increasing number of Confederate hit-and-run attacks upon river shipping on the western waters, Major General Canby wrote to Rear Admiral Porter offering the cooperation of land forces: ''I have ordered reserves of troops and of water transportation to be held in readi-ness at different points on the Mississippi, for the purpose of operating against any rebel force that may attempt to interrupt the navigation of the river. If you will direct naval commanders to give early notice of any movements of this kind to the commanders of the military districts, a sufficient military force can be sent at once to cooperate with the gunboats in destroying or driv-ing off the rebels."
U.S.S. Coeur de Lion, Acting Master William G. Morris, seized schooner Malinda in the Potomac River for violating the blockade.
4 The success of C.S.S. Tacony against shipping off the New England coast the previous year (see 2027 June 1863) prompted a committee in Gloucester, Massachusetts, to address a request to Secretary Welles: ''In behalf of the citizens and businessmen of this town interested in the fishing business, to ask your attention to the necessity of some protection for our fishing fleet the coming season. . . . it is necessary that a steamer, properly armed, should be detailed for the special service of cruising in the Gulf of St. Lawrence until the close of the fishing season.'' Welles ordered U.S.S. Ticonderoga, Captain Charles Steedman, on this duty.
U.S.S. Fort Jackson, Captain Sands, captured blockade running steamer Thistle at sea east of Charles-ton. Her cargo, except for a cotton press, was thrown overboard during the six hour chase.
5 U.S.S. Keystone State, Commander Crosby, seized blockade running British steamer Siren off Beaufort harbor, North Carolina, with cargo including hoop iron and liquor.
6 Lieutenant Commander Owen, U.S.S. Louisville, covered the embarkation of 8,000 Union troops under General A. J. Smith on transports near Sunnyside, Arkansas, on the Mississippi River. Under Owen's charge, the transports had landed the Federal force on 4 June, and the soldiers had engaged Confederate units near Bayou Macon, Louisiana, forcing the Southerners into the interior. Owen noted in his report to Rear Admiral Porter: "The object that brought the enemy here in the first place doubtless still remains, and I may expect him any time after the departure of General Smith. Unless Marmaduke's forces, with his artillery, are driven away or destroyed, they will very much annoy navigation between Cypress Bend and Sunnyside."
U.S.S. Metacomet, Lieutenant Commander Jouett, captured blockade running steamer Donegal off Mobile with large cargo of munitions.
7 Confederate transport steamer Etiwan grounded off Fort Johnson and was sunk by Union batteries on Morris Island, Charleston harbor.
Suspecting that Confederates were using cotton to erect breastworks on the banks of the Suwannee River, Florida, boat expedition commanded by Acting Ensign Louis R. Chester, composed of men from U.S.S. Clyde and Sagamore, proceeded upriver and captured over 100 bales of cotton in the vicinity of Clay Landing.
8 Lieutenant Commander Ramsay, U.S.S. Chillicothe, led an expedition up the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana, accompanied by U.S.S. Neosho, Acting Lieutenant Howard, and U.S.S. Port Hindman, Acting Lieutenant Pearce, to silence a Confederate battery above Simmesport. The Union gun-boats, after a short engagement, forced the Southerners to abandon their position and a landing party captured the guns.
9 Illustrative of the vast difference in capabilities of the two navies were the reactions North and South during the aftermath of the capture of U.S.S. Water Witch on 6 June. The Northern fleet was concerned that she might escape to sea and attack Union coastal positions. "We must try to block the Water Witch," Rear Admiral Dahlgren wrote, anticipating an offensive effort such as he would make in similar circumstances. The South, however, hoping to conserve this unex-pected gain in strength by the capture, had no intention of risking the gunboat in such an ad-venture. Rather, every effort was made to bring her to Savannah as additional defense for the city. Flag Officer William W. Hunter, CSN, this date ordered Lieutenant William W. Carnes, CSN, commanding Water Witch: "Keep powder enough to blow her up say 100 pounds in the event the enemy may be enabled to recapture her." The North, with free access to the sea and with an abundance of material and great facilities available, could remain on the offensive; the South, in desperate need of ships and supplies, was committed to the defensive.
Secretary Welles decided ''to retire the Marine officers who are past the legal age, and to bring in Zeilin as Commandant of the Corps." Retirement of over-age naval and marine officers was one of the difficult administrative problems of the war.
The stringent material limitations with which the Confederate Navy had to operate greatly re-stricted its capabilities and prevented its taking offensive action. Menaced by the advance of Major General Butler's troops along the James River below Drewey's Bluff and by the Union squadron at Trent's Reach, Flag Officer Mitchell, commanding the Confederate James River Squadron, sought to attack "without delay . . . the enemy in Trent's Reach." This date, the leading officers of his squadron advised against such an assault "under existing circumstances." They wrote Mitchell that the Union squadron was "a force equal to, if not superior to our own that it was better supported ashore, that the Southern ships were not maneuverable enough for efficient use in the narrow confines of the Reach, and that obstructions would additionally hamper their movements. Thus, they were opposed to risking the "whole force" of Southern naval strength in an attack and suggested instead the more defensive but potentially less costly alterna-tive of sending fire rafts and floating torpedoes downriver against the Union squadron.
U.S.S. Proteus, Commander Robert W. Shufeldt, captured blockade running British schooner R.S. Hood at sea north of Little Bahama Bank.
U.S.S. New Berne, Acting Lieutenant Thomas A. Harris, chased blockade running steamer Pevensey aground near Beaufort, North Carolina, with cargo including arms, lead, bacon, and clothing. She blew up shortly thereafter.
U.S.S. Rosalie, Acting Master Peter F. Coffin, captured steamer Emma at Marco Pass, Florida, with cargo of blacksmith's coal.
10 U.S.S Elk, Acting Lieutenant Nicholas Kirby, captured blockade running sloop Yankee Doodle at the middle entrance of the Pearl River, Mississippi Sound, with cargo of cotton.
U.S.S. Union, Acting Lieutenant Edward Conroy, took sloop Caroline attempting to run the block-ade at Jupiter Inlet, Florida.
11 C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, badly in need of repairs, arrived at Cherbourg, France. Lieu-tenant Arthur Sinclair, CSN, an officer on board the Confederate raider, later recorded his im-pressions upon entering this, her last port: "We have cruised from the day of commission, August 24, 1862, to June 11, 1864, and during this time have visited two-thirds of the globe, experiencing all vicissitudes of climate and hardships attending constant cruising. We have had from first to last two hundred and thirteen officers and men on our payroll, and have lost not one by disease, and but one by accidental death." The Confederate Commissioner in France, John Slidell, assured Semmes that he anticipated no difficulty in obtaining French permission for Alabama to use the docking facilities. William L. Dayton, U.S. Minister to France, immediately protested the use of the French port by a vessel with a character "so obnoxious and so notorious''. Intelli-gence of the material condition and strength of Alabama was relayed by the American Vice-Consul at Cherbourg to Captain Winslow of U.S.S. Kearsarge at Flushing.
12 U.S.S. Flag, Commander James C. Williamson, captured blockade running sloop Cyclops shortly after she ran out of Charleston with cargo of cotton.
U.S.S. Lavender, Acting Master John H. Gleason, struck a shoal off North Carolina in a severe squall. The 175-ton wooden steamer was destroyed and nine crewmen lost before the survivors were rescued on 15 June by Army steamer John Farron.
13 U.S.S. Kearsarge, Captain Winslow, sailed from Dover, England, to blockade C.S.S. Alabama at Cherbourg.
14 U.S.S. Kearsarge, Captain Winslow, arrived off Cherbourg, France. The ship log recorded: "Found the rebel privateer Alabama lying at anchor in the roads." Kearsarge took up the blockade in international waters off the harbor entrance. Captain Semmes stated: ". . . My intention is to fight the Kearsarge as soon as I can make the necessary arrangements. I hope they will not detain me more than until tomorrow evening, or after the morrow morning at furthest. I beg she will not depart before I am ready to go out." With the famous Confederate raider at bay, Kearsarge had no intention of departing-the stage was set for the famous duel. As a poet on board Alabama wrote:
"We're homeward, we're homeward bound,
And soon shall stand on English ground.
But ere that English land we see,
We first must fight the Kearsargee."
U.S.S. Courier, Acting Master Samuel C. Gray, ran aground and was wrecked on Abaco Island, Bahamas; the sailing ship's crew and stores were saved.
15 Confederate artillery opened fire in the early morning hours on wooden side-wheeler U.S.S. General Bragg, Acting Lieutenant Dominy, lying off Como Landing, Louisiana. The return fire from General Bragg forced the Southerners to move to Ratliff's Landing where they fired on small paddle-wheel steamer U.S.S. Naiad, Acting Master Henry T. Keene. U.S.S. Winnebago, a double-turreted river monitor, alerted by the sound of gunfire, soon hove into sight, and the com-bined firepower of the three ships temporarily silenced the field battery. Next day, General Bragg was again taken under fire by Confederate guns on the river bank and another spirited engagement ensued, during which a shot disabled the ship's engine.
Confederate transport J. R. Williams, carrying supplies up the Arkansas River, Oklahoma, from Fort Smith to Fort Gibson, 'was taken under fire by Union artillery. The steamer was run aground and abandoned by her crew, and Federal forces subsequently destroyed her.
Lieutenant Bache, commanding U.S.S. Lexington, and a boat crew from U.S.S. Tyler, captured three steamers off Beulah Landing, Mississippi. Reports had reached Bache that steamers Mattie, M. Walt, and Hill, were "in communication with rebel soldiers, openly receiving them on the boats, and trading with them
16 Captain Semmes, C.S.S. Alabama, wrote Flag Officer Barron in Paris: "The position of Alabama here has been somewhat changed since I wrote you. The enemy's steamer, the Kearsarge, having appeared off this port, and being but very little heavier, if any in her armament than myself, I have deemed it my duty to go out and engage her. I have therefore withdrawn for the present my application to go into dock, and am engaged in coaling ship." Semmes noted in his journal "The enemy's ship still standing off and on the harbor."
16 Commander Catesby ap R. Jones, commandant of the Confederate Naval Gun Foundry and Ord-nance Works at Selma, Alabama, 'wrote Major General Dabney H. Maury at Mobile that the submersible torpedo boat Saint Patrick, built by John P. Halligan, would be launched "in a few days." Me added: "It combines a number of ingenious contrivances, which, if experiments show that they will answer the purposes expected, will render the boat very formidable. It is to be propelled by steam (the engine is very compact), though under water by hand. There are also arrangements for raising and descending at will, for attaching the torpedo to the bottom of ves-sels, etc. Its first field of operation will be off Mobile Bay, and I hope you may soon have evidence of its success. Although the South hoped to take Saint Patrick against the blockading forces off Mobile as the submarine H. L. Hunley had operated earlier in the year off Charleston, delay followed delay in getting her to sea and it was not until January 1865 that she went into action.
A minor joint expedition under Acting Lieutenant George W. Graves, commander of U.S.S. Lockwood, departed New Bern, North Carolina. Graves with a detachment of sailors from U.S.S. Louisiana and a dozen soldiers, embarked on Army transport Ella May. Small sidewheeler U.S.S. Ceres was in company. Near the mouth of Pamlico River schooners Iowa, Mary Emma, and Jenny Lind were captured and two others destroyed. With U.S.S. Valley City joining the expedi-tion, Graves scoured the Pungo River area for five more days before returning to New Bern, where he arrived early on 23 June.
16-17 U.S.S. Commodore Perry, Acting Lieutenant A. P. Foster, shelled Fort Clifton, Virginia, at the request of Major General Butler. Bombardment by the ship's heavy guns was almost a daily part of continuing naval support of Army operations along the James River.
17 C.S.S. Florida, Lieutenant Morris, at 30o N, 62o40' W, captured and burned brig. W. C. Clarke bound from Machias, Maine, to Matanzas with cargo of lumber.
19 "The day being Sunday and the weather fine, a large concourse of people-many having come all the way from Paris collected on the heights above the town [Cherbourg], in the upper stories of such of the houses as commanded a view of the sea, and on the walls and fortifications of the harbor. Several French luggers employed as pilot-boats went out, and also an English steam-yacht, called the Deerhound. Everything being in readiness between nine and ten o'clock, we got underway, and proceeded to sea, through the western entrance of the harbor; the Couronne [French ironclad] following us. As we emerged from behind the mole, we discovered the Kearsarge at a distance of between six and seven miles from the land. She had been apprised or our intention of coming out that morning, and was awaiting us." Thus Captain Raphael Semmes drew the scene as the historic Kearsarge-Alabama battle unfolded.
Alabama mounted 8 guns to Kearsarge's 7. Yet, Captain Winslow of Kearsarge enjoyed a superiority in eight of broadside including two heavy XI-inch Dahlgren guns while Semmes had but one heavy gun, an VIlI-inch. Perhaps his greatest advantage was superior ammuni-tion, since Alabama's had deteriorated during her long cruise. Furthermore, Winslow had pro-tected the sides of his ship and the vulnerable machinery by hanging heavy chains over the sides from topside to below the waterline. Kearsarge's complement numbered 163; Alabama's, 149.
The antagonists closed to about one and a half miles, when Semmes opened the action with a starboard broadside. Within minutes the firing became fierce from both ships as they fought starboard to starboard on a circular course. Lieutenant Sinclair, CSN, wrote: "Semmes would have chosen to bring about yard-arm quarters, fouling, and boarding, relying upon the superior physique of his crew to overbalance the superiority of numbers; but this was frustrated." Shot and shell from the heavier guns of Kearsarge crashed into Alabama's hull, while the Union sloop of war, her sides protected by the chain armor, suffered only minor damage. One shell from Alabama lodged in the Kearsarge's sternpost but failed to explode. "If it had exploded," wrote John M. McKenzie, who was only 16 years old at the time of the battle, "the Kearsarge would have gone to the bottom instead of the Alabama. But our ammunition was old and had lost its strength.'' Southern casualties were heavy as both sides fought valiantly. "After the lapse of about one hour and ten minutes," Semmes reported, "our ship was ascertained to be in a sinking condition, the enemy's shells having exploded in our side, and between decks, opening large apertures through which the water rushed with great rapidity. For some few minutes I had hopes of being able to reach the French coast, for which purpose I gave the ship all steam, and set such of the fore and aft sails as were available. The ship filled so rapidly, however, that before we had made much progress, the fires were extinguished in the furnaces, and we were evi-dently on the point of sinking. I now hauled down my colors to prevent the further destruction of life, and dispatched a boat to inform the enemy of our condition."
Alabama settled stern first and her bow raised high in the air as the waters of the English Channel closed over her. Boats from Kearsarge and French boats rescued the survivors. The English yacht Deerhound, owned by Mr. John Lancaster, picked up Captain Semmes with 13 of his officers and 27 crew members and carried them to Southampton.
The spectacular career of the Confederacy's most famous raider was closed. Before her last battle Semmes reminded his men: "You have destroyed, and driven for protection under neutral flags, one-half of the enemy's commerce, which, at the beginning of the war, covered every sea.
Alabama had captured and burned at sea 55 Union merchantmen valued at over four and one-half million dollars, and had bonded 10 others to the value of 562 thousand dollars. Another prize, Conrad, was commissioned C.S.S. Tuscaloosa, and herself struck at Northern shipping. Flag Officer Barron lamented: "It is true that we have lost our ship; the ubiquitous gallant Alabama is no more, but we have lost no honor."
For Winslow and Kearsarge the victory was well deserved and rewarding. Throughout the North news of Alabama's end was greeted with jubilation and relief. Secretary Welles wrote the Captain: "I congratulate you for your good fortune in meeting the Alabama, which had so long avoided the fastest ships of the service . . . for the ability displayed in the contest you have the thanks of the Department. . . . The battle was so brief, the victory so decisive, and the comparative results so striking that the country will be reminded of the brilliant actions of our infant Navy, which have been repeated and illustrated in this engagement . . . Our countrymen have reason to be satisfied that in this, as in every naval action of this unhappy war, neither the ships, the guns, nor the crews have deteriorated, but that they maintain the ability and continue the renown which have ever adorned our naval annals." Winslow received a vote of thanks from Congress, and was promoted to Commodore with his commission dated 19 June 1864, his victory day.
20 Side-wheelers U.S.S. Morse, Lieutenant Commander Babcock, and U.S.S. Cactus, Acting Master Newell Graham, dislodged Confederate batteries which had opened fire on Army supply wagon trains near White Mouse, Virginia. Rear Admiral Lee reported: "Deserters afterwards reported that a force estimated at 10,000 of Wade Hampton's and Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry intended at-tacking our trains, but were deterred from the attempt by the fire of the gunboats." For three weeks Babcock had supported the Army at White Mouse. The Admiral noted: "I should not fail to call attention to the hearty, efficient, and successful service which Lieutenant Commander Babcock has rendered to the Army in opening and protecting its communications and in repelling the assaults of the enemy." Next day, U.S.S. Shokokon, Acting Master William B. Sheldon, similarly dispersed an attack on Union transport Eliza Hancox at Cumberland Point, Virginia.
Secretary Mallory wrote Flag Officer Barron in Paris: "I am surprised at the expression of your opinion that a battery for a certain vessel can not be purchased in England, because her laws permit the exportation of guns and ordnance stores daily, and no system of espionage, it would seem, could prevent their shipment for one port and their being landed at another, or placed at another on board the ship awaiting them. Could they not be shipped for any port in the United States, in the Mediterranean, China, Brazil, or Austria, and carried to a given rendezvous? They will involve the charter of a steamer, or other vessel, and be thereby expensive; but such expense is not to be compared for a moment with the risks of her attempting, unarmed, to reach the Confederacy, watched as she is." The procedure suggested by Mallory had been used successfully by the Confederacy before, notably in the case of C.S.S. Alabama.
20-24 Iron screw steamer U.S.S. Calypso, Acting Master Frederick D. Stuart, and wooden side wheeler U.S.S. Nansemond, Acting Ensign James H. Porter, transported and supported an Army expedition in the vicinity of New River, North Carolina. The object was to cut the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, but Confederates had learned of the attempt and, taking up defensive positions in strength, compelled the Union troops to withdraw under cover of the ships' guns.
21 Rear Admiral Farragut viewed the forthcoming operation at Mobile Bay both as an event of tacti-cal and strategic importance and as an encounter which would pit the new against the old in naval warfare. Reflecting on the relative strengths of his own and Admiral Buchanan's fleet at Mobile, he wrote: "This question has to be settled, iron versus wood; and there never was a better chance to settle the question of the sea-going qualities of iron-clad ships.''
A joint Confederate Army-Navy long-range bombardment opened on the Union squadron in the James River at Trent's and Varina Reaches. The Confederate ships, commanded by Flag Officer Mitchell in the ironclad flagship Virginia II, included: ironclad ram C.S.S. Fredericksburg, Com-mander Rootes; 166-ton gunboats Hampton, Lieutenant John S. Maury, Nansemond, Lieutenant Charles W. Hayes, and Drewry, Lieutenant William H. Hall; small steamer Roanoke, Lieutenant Mortimer M. Beton, and 85-ton tug Beaufort, Lieutenant Joseph Gardner. Ironclad ram C.S.S. Richmond, Lieutenant W. H. Parker, initially intended to join in the bombardment, suffered a casualty getting underway and had to be towed upriver to a position near the obstructions below Richmond. An engine failure in Virginia II could not be repaired until afternoon, when it was too late to move farther downstream to engage at more effective range. The Union gunboats and monitors concentrated their fire on the Army shore batteries during the exchange; neither fleet suffered serious damage.
22 U.S.S. Lexington, Acting Ensign Henry Booby, withstood a surprise Confederate strike on White River Station, Arkansas, and forced the attacking Confederate troops to withdraw.
23 U.S.S. Tecumseh, Commander Tunis A. M. Craven, was ordered to proceed to sea "as soon as practicable" by Rear Admiral Lee. The monitor, departing the James River where she had been on duty since April, was to deploy under secret orders that were not to be opened until "you discharge your pilot." Unknowingly, Tecumseh was beginning her last operation.
23-24 Lieutenant Cushing, with Acting Ensign J. E. Jones, Acting Master's Mate Howorth and fifteen men, all from U.S.S. Monticello, reconnoitered up Cape Fear River to within 3 miles of Wilmington, North Carolina. They rowed past the batteries guarding the western bar on the night of the 23rd, and despite three narrow escapes pulled safely ashore below Wilmington as day dawned on the 24th. The expedition had begun as an attempt to gain information about C.S.S. Raleigh, which Cushing was unaware had been wrecked after the engagement on 6 May. He learned that the ram had been "indeed, destroyed, and nothing now remains of her above water.
Cushing also gained much other valuable information. C.S.S. Yadkin, 300-ton flagship of Flag Officer Lynch, "mounted only two guns, did not seem to have many men." Ironclad sloop C.S.S. North Carolina was at anchor off Wilmington; she "would not stand long against a monitor." His report continued: "Nine steamers passed in all, three of them being fine, large blockade runners. The scouting detachment captured a fishing party and a mail courier, gaining valuable intelligence on river obstructions and fortifications. That night, the expedition returned to the blockading fleet, after being detected and hotly pursued in the harbor. Only Cushing's ingenuity enabled the Union sailors to throw the Confederates off the track and cross the bar to safety. As late as the 28th, Confederates were still searching the harbor area for the daring raiders.
Cushing, who received a letter of commendation for his action from Secretary Welles, called special attention to his officers, Jones and Howorth ("whom I select because of their uniform enterprise and bravery"), and singled out David Warren, coxwain, William Wright, yeoman, and John Sullivan, seaman, who were awarded the Medal of Honor for their part in the expedi-tion. Rear Admiral Porter later wrote: 'There was not a more daring adventure than this in the whole course of the war. There were ninety-nine chances in a hundred that Cushing and his party would be killed or captured, but throughout all his daring scheme there seemed to be a method, and, though criticised as rash and ill-judged, Cushing returned unscathed from his frequent expeditions, with much important information. In this instance it was a great source of satisfaction to the blockading vessels to learn that the 'Raleigh' was destroyed, and that the other iron-clad ram was not considered fit to cross the bar."
24 U.S.S. Queen City, Acting Master Michael Hickey, lying at anchor off Clarendon, Arkansas, on the White River, was attacked and destroyed in the early morning hours by two regiments of Con-federate cavalry supported by artillery. The 210-ton wooden paddle-wheeler, taken by surprise, was disabled immediately, and Hickey surrendered her. Lieutenant Bache, U.S.S. Tyler, attempted to retake the ship, but when within a few miles of the location "heard two successive reports, which proved subsequently to have been the unfortunate Queen City blowing up. [Confederate General] Shelby, hearing us coming, had destroyed her." Bache proceeded with wooden steamers Tyler, U.S.S. Fawn, Acting Master John R. Grace, and U.S.S. Naumkeag, Acting Master John Rogers, to Clarendon, where he engaged the Confederate battery hotly for forty-five minutes. Naumkeag succeeded in recapturing one howitzer and several crewmen from Queen City as the Con-federates fell back from the riverbank.
26 U.S.S. Norfolk Packet, Acting Ensign George W. Wood, captured sloop Sarah Mary off Mosquito Inlet, Florida, with cargo of cotton.
27 U.S.S. Proteus, Commander Robert W. Shufeldt, seized British blockade running steamer Jupiter northwest of Man-of-War Cay, Bahamas. Her cargo had been thrown overboard.
U.S.S. Nipsic, Lieutenant Commander Alexander F. Crosman, captured sloop Julia off Sapelo Sound, Georgia, with cargo of salt.
29-30 Converted ferryboat U.S.S. Hunchback, Lieutenant Joseph P. Fyffe, supported by single turretted monitor U.S.S. Saugus, Commander Colhoun, bombarded Confederate batteries at Deep Bottom on the James River and caused their eventual removal. Rear Admiral Lee reported: "The importance of holding our position at Deep Bottom is obvious. Without doing so our communications are cut there, and our wooden vessels can not remain above that point, and the monitors would be alone and exposed to the enemy's light torpedo craft from above and out of Four Mile Creek. The enemy could then plant torpedoes there to prevent the monitors passing by for supplies."
30 Immediately upon returning to command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Rear Admiral Farragut moved to obtain monitors for the inevitable engagement with C.S.S. Tennessee in Mobile Bay. Earlier in June Secretary Welles had written to Rear Admiral Porter of the matter: ''It is of the greatest importance that some of the new ironclads building on the Mississippi should be sent without fail to Rear Admiral Farragut. Are not some of them ready? If not, can you not hurry them forward?" Porter responded that light-draft monitors U.S.S Winnebago and Chickasaw were completed, and this date issued orders for the two vessels, which were to play an important part in the Battle of Mobile Bay, to report to Farragut at New Orleans.
Acting Ensign Edward H. Watkeys, commanding a launch from U.S.S. Roebuck, captured sloop Last Resort off Indian River Inlet, Florida, with cargo of cotton.
U.S.S. Glasgow, Acting Master N. Mayo Dyer, forced blockade running steamer Ivanhoe to run aground near Fort Morgan at Mobile Bay. Because the steamer was protected by the fort's guns, Rear Admiral Farragut attempted at first to destroy her by long-range fire from U.S.S. Metacomet and Monongahela. When this proved unsuccessful, Farragut authorized his Flag Lieutenant, J. Crittenden Watson, to lead a boat expedition to burn Ivanhoe. Under the cover of darkness and the ready guns on board U.S.S. Metacomet and Kennebec, Watson led four boats directly to the grounded steamer and fired her in two places shortly after midnight 6 July. Farragut wrote: "The admiral commanding has much pleasure in announcing to the fleet, what was anxiously looked for last night by hundreds, the destruction of the blockade runner ashore under the rebel batteries by an expedition of boats. . . . the entire conduct of the expedition was marked by a promptness and energy which shows what may be expected of such officers and men on similar occasions.