Civil War Naval History
1 Prior to departing for the North on board U.S.S. Hartford, Rear Admiral Farragut wrote Rear Admiral Porter from New Orleans: "I congratulate you upon your arrival at this city and rejoice that we have been able to meet here to make the transfer of the charge of the Mississippi River from New Orleans to the headwaters, and at the same time to receive the announcement from you that the entire Mississippi to St. Louis is free from the annoyances of the rebels, and that I can carry with me the glad tidings that it is open to commerce. . . . I hope that it will not be closed or interrupted again, but that peace and tranquillity will soon follow these glorious events."
Confederate steamer Chesterfield, landing troops and ammunition at Cumming's Point, Morris Island, Charleston harbor, was taken under fire by a Union gunboat. She was forced to seek safety at Fort Sumter before she completed the landing of her stores. Brigadier General Ripley noted that the Union was "for the first time, attempting to interrupt our communication with Morris Island." Urging that some measures he taken to protect the Confederate transports, Ripley observed that if such actions continued, "our transportation, which is already of the weakest kind, will soon be cut up, and when that is gone our first requisite for carrying out the defense of Charleston is taken from us." General Beauregard asked Flag Officer Tucker on 2 August to provide "at least one of the ironclad rams. . . to drive away such vessels as disturbed and interrupted our means of transportation last night."
U.S.S. Yankee, Acting Ensign Turner, captured sloop Clara Ann near Coan River, Virginia, with cargo including whiskey.
2 The day after assuming command of the entire Mississippi River, Rear Admiral Porter wrote Secretary Welles: "The wharves of New Orleans have a most desolate appearance, and the city looks less thriving than it did when I was last here, a year since. It is to be hoped that facilities will be afforded for the transportation of produce from above. Almost everything is wanted, and provisions are very high. . . . I think we have arrived at a stage . . . when trade and commerce should be encouraged. With trade, prosperity will again commence to enter this once flourishing city, and a better state of feeling be brought about."
4 Four boat crews under Lieutenants Alexander F. Warley and John Payne from C.S.S. Chicora and Palmetto State and a Confederate Army detachment captured a Union picket station and an un-finished battery at Vincent's Creek, Morris Island. The sharp engagement took place at night, after Confederates discovered that the Union men, under Acting Master John Haynes, USN, had been observing Southern movements at Cumming's Point and signaling General Gillmore's batteries so that effective artillery fire could be thrown on transports moving to the relief of Fort Wagner.
5 U.S.S. Commodore Barney, Acting Lieutenant Samuel Hose, was severely damaged when a 1,000-pound electric torpedo was exploded near her above Dutch Gap, Virginia. The explosion, reported Captain Guert Gansevoort, senior officer present, produced "a lively concussion" and washed the decks 'with the agitated water." "Some 20 men," he added, "Were either swept or jumped overboard, two of whom are missing and may have been drowned." Had the anxious Confederate torpedoman waited another moment to close the electrical circuit, Commodore Barney surely would have been destroyed. The incident took place during a joint Army-Navy recon-naissance of the James River which had begun the previous day. "This explosion...," wrote Lieutenant Hunter Davidson, CSN, in charge of the Submarine Battery Service, "effectively arrested their progress up the river. . . " On 6 August U.S.S. Sangamon, Cohasset, and Com-modore Barney were taken under fire by Confederate shore artillery' and Commodore Barney was again disabled, this time by a shot through the boilers. Returning downstream, the expedition was subjected to a heavy shorefire, Commodore Barney receiving more than 30 hits.
C.S.S. Juno, Lieutenant Philip Porcher, captured a launch, commanded by Acting Master Edward Haines, from U.S.S. Wabash in Charleston harbor. The launch was a part of the night patrol on guard duty; Haines, hearing the report that a Confederate steamer was coming out into the harbor, went to investigate. "Soon after getting underway," he reported, 'I made out a steamer standing down the channel close to Morris Island." He opened on her with the launch's howitzer. Juno, reconnoitering the harbor with a 65-pound torpedo attached to her bow in the event that she should meet a Union ship, was otherwise unarmed, for she had been trimmed down to become a blockade runner, and her only means of defense was to run the launch down. Engineer James H. Tomb, CSN, reported: "We immediately headed for her, striking her about amidships; but not having much headway on the Juno, the launch swung around to port, just forward of the wheel. . ." Haines' men then tried to carry Juno by boarding despite heavy musket fire but were overwhelmed by superior numbers.
Rear Admiral Porter praised the work of the Coast Survey men assigned to him in a letter to A. D. Bache, Superintendent of the Coast Survey. The charts prepared by the Survey were of great value to the Navy in its efforts on the western water, for they "have added a good deal to the geographical knowledge already procured." Because of the charts, Porter added, "gunboats have steamed through where the keel of a canoe never passed, and have succeeded in reaching points in the enemy's country where the imagination of man never dreamed that he would be molested by an enemy in such a shape. You will see by the charts that what was once considered a mere ditch, capable of passing a canoe, is really a navigable stream for steamers. . . I have found them [officers of the Coast Survey always prompt and ready to execute my orders, never for a moment taking into consideration the dangers and difficulties surrounding them."
A detachment of Marines arrived at Charleston harbor to augment Union forces. Rear Admiral Dahlgren quickly cut the number of Marines on board the ships of his squadron to a minimum and sent the resulting total of some 500 Marines, under Major Jacob Zeilin, ashore on Morris Island. Dahlgren ordered that the Marines be ready "to move on instant notice; rapidity of movement is one of the greatest elements of military power.
C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured bark Sea Bride off Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope, with cargo of provisions. The capture took place within view of cheering crowds ashore. A local newspaperman wrote: "They did cheer, and cheer with a will, too. It was not, perhaps, taking the view of either side, Federal or Confederate, but in admiration of the skill, pluck and daring of the Alabama, her Captain, and her crew, who afford a general theme of admiration for the world all over." Semmes subsequently sold the bark to an English merchant.
6 U.S.S. Fort Henry, Lieutenant Commander McCauley, captured sloop Southern Star at St. Martin's Reef, Florida, with cargo of turpentine.
C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt, captured and released on bond Francis B. Cutting in the mid-North Atlantic.
U.S.S. Antona, Acting Master Lyman Wells, seized blockade running British schooner Betsey off Corpus Christi.
U.S.S. Paw Paw, Acting Master Augustus F. Thompson, struck a snag in the Mississippi River and sank within 15 minutes near Hardin's Point, Arkansas.
7 With Charleston under heavy attack by combined Union forces, General Beauregard asked that the "transportation of Whitney's submarine boat from Mobile here" be expedited. "It is," he added, "much needed." Beauregard was referring to the submarine constructed at Mobile on plans furnished by Horace L. Hunley, James R. McClintock, and Baxter Watson. She was the H. L. Hunley, a true submersible fashioned from a cylindrical iron steam boiler, which comprised her main center section, and tapered bow and stern sections. Designed for a crew of nine-one to steer her and eight to turn her hand-cranked propeller- H.L. Hunley, according to McClintock, was 40 feet in length, 3 1/2 feet in breadth at her widest point, and 4 feet in depth. Her speed was about 4 knots. In the next 6 months the little craft would become famous and her gallant crews would launch a new era in war at sea.
Secretary Mallory sent Lieutenant Maffitt his appointment as a commander in the Confederate States Navy, effective 29 April 1863. He congratulated the intrepid captain of C.S.S. Florida and the officers and men under your command upon the brilliant success of your cruise, and I take occasion to express the entire confidence of the Department that all that the skill, courage, and coolness of a seaman can accomplish with the means at your command will he achieved." The value of Maffitt's exploits in Florida, as well as those of Confederate captains in other commerce raiders, was far greater than even the large number of merchant ships that were captured and destroyed, for their operations required the Union to use many ships and men and expend huge sums of money in attempts to run them down that could otherwise have been diverted to the war effort in coastal waters and the rivers.
U.S.S. Mound City, Lieutenant Commander Wilson, fired on and dispersed Confederate cavalry making a raid on an encampment at Lake Providence, Louisiana.
8 U.S.S. Sagamore, Lieutenant Commander English, seized British sloop Clara Louisa off Indian River, Florida. Later the same day he captured British schooners Southern Rights and Shot and Confederate schooner Ann off Gilbert's Bar.
10 Rear Admiral Farragut arrived at New York. In a message of welcome Secretary Welles said: "I congratulate you on your safe return from labors, duties, and responsibilities unsurpassed and unequaled in magnitude, importance, and value to the country by those of any naval officers. I will not enumerate the many signal achievements you have accomplished from that most splendid one which threw open the gates of the Mississippi and restored the Crescent City again to the Union to the recent capture of Port Hudson, the last formidable obstruction to the free navigation of the river of the great central valley." Three days later, a group of leading New York citizens sent a letter of tribute to the Admiral: 'The whole country, but especially this commercial metropolis, owes you a large debt of gratitude for the skill and dauntless bravery with which, during a long life of public duty, you have illustrated and maintained the maritime rights of the nation, and also for the signal ability, judgment, and courtesy with which, in concert with other branches of the loyal national forces, you have sustained the authority of the government, and recovered and defended national territory."
U.S.S. Princess Royal, Commander Melancthon B. Woolsey, seized brig Atlantic off the mouth of the Rio Grande River with cargo of cotton. Sent to New Orleans for adjudication she was recaptured by her master and crew and taken to Havana.
U.S.S. Cayuga, Lieutenant Commander Dana, captured blockade running schooner J. T. Davis off the mouth of the Rio Grande River with cargo of cotton.
11 Rear Admiral Dahlgren, seeking to clear the way for his ironclads through the heavy Confederate obstructions in Charleston harbor, suggested that "a vessel constructed of corrugated iron" and fashioned like a boat, but closed perfectly on the top, so that it could he submerged very quickly" could be a means of delivering a large amount of powder directly upon the obstructions. Such a weapon, Dahlgren wrote Secretary Welles, "would dislocate any nice arrangements. Dahlgren later described to Welles the nature of the formidable harbor defenses at Charleston against which the Admiral pitted his ironclads. There was a "continuous line of works" extending from Fort Moultrie on the right to Fort Johnson on the left. Fort Ripley, supported by C.S.S. Chicora, Charleston, and Palmetto State, and Castle Pickney were to the right beyond Moultrie. A line of piles had been driven into the harbor in front of Fort Ripley. Rope ob-structions were stretched between Forts Sumter and Moultrie, and anchored torpedoes were placed in the harbor as well.
12 Rear Admiral Charles H. Bell, commanding the Pacific Squadron, ordered U.S.S. Narragansett, Commander Stanly, to cruise regularly between San Francisco and Acapulco, Mexico, for the protection of Pacific mail steamers. In addition, he warned Stanly to keep two-thirds of his officers on board the ship at all times, and to maintain a regular sea watch whenever in a port with Confederate sympathies to avoid being boarded and taken.
U.S.S. Princess Royal, Commander Woolsey, seized British schooner Flying Scud at Brazos, Texas. She was reported to have run the blockade and landed 65,000 pounds of powder, 7 tons of horse-shoes, and thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies.
13 -14 A naval force under Lieutenant Bache reconnoitered the White River above Clarendon, Arkansas, to gain information as to the whereabouts of [Confederate General Sterling] Price's Army, to destroy the telegraph at Des Arc and capture the operator, and catch the steamboats Kaskaskia and Thos. Sugg." The force, including U.S.S. Lexington, Lieutenant Bache; U.S.S. Cricket, Acting Lieutenant Langthorne; and U.S.S. Marmora, Acting Lieutenant R. Getty, with Army troops embarked, burned a large warehouse at Des Arc, destroyed the telegraph lines for a half a mile, and "obtained some information that we wanted . . . ." Next day, the gunboats proceeded upriver, Lexington and Marmora advancing to Augusta, and Cricket searching the Little Red River for the Confederate steamers. At Augusta, Bache learned that "the Southern army were [sic] concentrating at Brownsville, intending to make their line of defense on Bayou Meto. Price was there and Kirby Smith in Little Rock. Marmaduke had recrossed the White some days before, and was then crossing the Little Red."
Returning downstream, Bache left Marmora to guard the mouth of the Little Red River and ascended the tributary himself, meeting Cricket. Langthorne had captured steamers Kaskaskia and Thomas Sugg with cargoes of cotton, horses, and arms at Searcy and had also destroyed General Marmaduke's pontoon bridge across the river, thereby slowing his movements. Reporting on the successful expedition, Bache noted: "The capture of the two boats, the only means of trans-portation the rebels had on this river, is a great service to us." Though operations of this nature passed almost unnoticed by the public, it was precisely the Navy's ability to thrust incessantly into the vitals of the Confederacy that helped to keep the South on the defensive.
14 Timely intelligence reports played an important role in alerting the Union blockaders. This date, Rear Admiral Bailey advised Lieutenant Commander McCauley, U.S.S. Fort Henry: "I have information that the steamers Alabama and Nita sailed from Havana on the 12th, with a view of running the blockade, probably at Mobile, but possibly between Tampa Bay and St. Marks [Florida]; also that the steamers Montgomery (formerly Habanero), the Isabel, the Fannie, the War-rior, and the Little Lily were nearly ready for sail, with like intent. . . the Isabel, which sailed on the 7th, has undoubtedly gone either to Bayport, the Waccasassa, or the Suwanee River. You will therefore keep a sharp lookout for any of these vessels. . . ." Four of the seven ships were captured by the blockading forces within a month.
U.S.S. Bermuda, Acting Master J. W. Smith, seized British blockade runners Carmita, with cargo of cotton, and Artist, with cargo including liquor and medicine, off the Texas coast.
15 Submarine H. L. Hunley had arrived in Charleston on two covered railroad flat cars. Brigadier General Jordan advised Mr. B.A. Whitney that a reward of $100,000 dollars would he paid by John Fraser and Company for the destruction of U.S.S. New Ironsides. He added that "a similar sum for destruction of the wooden frigate Wabash, and the sum of fifty thousand dollars for every Monitor sunk" was also being offered. The next day, Jordan ordered that "every assistance be rendered in equipping the submarine with torpedoes. Jordan noted that General Beauregard regarded H. F. Hunley as the most formidable engine of war for the defense of Charleston now at his disposition & accordingly is anxious to have it ready for service. . . ."
16 U.S.S. Pawnee, Commander Balch, escaped undamaged when a floating Confederate torpedo exploded under her stern, destroying a launch, shortly after midnight at Stono Inlet, South Carolina. Four hours later, another torpedo exploded within 30 yards of the ship. In all, four devices exploded close by, and two others were picked up by mortar schooner C. P. Williams. In addition, a boat capable of holding 10 torpedoes was captured by Pawnee. Commander Balch informed Rear Admiral Dahlgren that the torpedoes were ingenious and exceedingly simple" and suggested that 'they may be one of the means" which the Confederates would use to destroy Northern ships stationed in the Stono River. The threat posed by the torpedoes floating down rivers caused grave concern among Northern naval commanders, and Dahlgren came to grips with it at once. Within 10 days, Lieutenant Commander Bacon, U.S.S. Commodore McDonough reported from Lighthouse Inlet that a net had been stretched across the Inlet "for the purpose of stopping torpedoes. . . ."
Rear Admiral Porter wrote Assistant Secretary Fox regarding an attack on Mobile: "I think the only way to he successful is a perfect combination of Army and Navy it is useless for either branch of service to attempt anything on a grand scale without the aid of the other." Though joint operations were planned for some time, it was Rear Admiral Farragut who, a year later, was to steam into Mobile Bay, achieve a great naval victory and close the last Gulf port open to the Confederacy.
U.S.S. Rhode Island, Commander Trenchard, seized blockade running British steamer Cronstadt north of Man of War Cay, Abaco, with cargo of turpentine, cotton, and tobacco.
U.S.S. De Soto, Captain W. M. Walker, captured steamer Alice Vivian in the Golf of Mexico with cargo of cotton.
U.S.S. Gertrude, Acting Master Cressy, captured steamer Warrior bound from Havana to Mobile with cargo of coffee, cigars, and dry goods.
17 Naval forces under Rear Admiral Dahlgren, including ironclads U.S.S. Weehawken, Catskill, Nahant, Montauk, Passaic, Patapsco, New Ironsides, and gunboats Canandaigua, Mahaska, Cimarron, Ottawa, Wissahickon, Dai Ching, Seneca, and Lodona, renewed the joint attack on Confederate works in Charleston harbor in conjunction with troops of Brigadier General Gillmore. The naval battery ashore on Mossie Island under Commander F. A. Parker contributed some 300 rounds to the bombardment, "the greater portion of which," Parker reported, struck the face of Sumter or its parapet." U.S.S. Passaic and Patapsco also concentrated on Fort Sumter, though the Navy's chief fire mission, as it would be for the next 5 days of the engagement, was to heavily engage Confederate batteries and sharpshooters at Fort Wagner in support of Gillmore's advance.
In the face of the Union threat, Flag Officer Tucker, flying his flag in C.S.S. Chicora, ordered Lieutenant Dozier to have the torpedo steamers under his command ready for action without the least delay" in the event that the ironclads passed Fort Sumter. During the day's fierce exchange of fire, Dahlgren's Chief of Staff, Captain G. W. Rodgers, U.S.S. Catskill, was killed by a shot from Fort Wagner. "It is but natural that I should feel deeply the loss thus sustained, for the close and confidential relation which the duties of fleet captain necessarily occasion im-pressed me deeply with the worth of Captain Rodgers. Brave, intelligent, and highly capable, [he was] devoted to his duty and to the flag under which he passed his life. The country, added the Admiral in his report to Secretary Welles, "can not afford to lose such men."
U.S.S. De Soto, Captain W.M. Walker, captured steamer Nita, from Havana, in Apalachicola Bay, Florida, with cargo of provisions and medicines. Walker observed: "The fact that steamers are employed at great cost with all the attendant risk, in transporting provisions from Havana to Mobile is the most conclusive evidence I have yet had of the scarcity of supplies in the Gulf States."
U.S.S. Satellite, Acting Master Robinson, seized schooner Three Brothers in Great Wicomico River, Maryland.
U.S.S. Crocus, Acting Ensign J. LeGrand Winton, ran aground at night and was wrecked at Bodie's Island, North Carolina.
18 U.S.S. Niphon, Acting Master Breck, chased steamer Hebe north of Fort Fisher, Wilmington. She was carrying a cargo of drugs, clothing, coffee, and provisions when she was run aground and abandoned. Because of a strong gale, Breck determined to destroy her rather than attempt to get her off. Three boat crews sent to the steamer for that purpose were captured by the Confederates when the boats were either stove in or swamped by the heavy seas. U.S.S. Shokokon, Lieutenant Cushing, assisted in the destruction of Hebe by commencing a heavy fire, that soon riddled her." Rear Admiral Lee reported in summation: "She was as thoroughly burned as the water in her would allow."
C.S.S. Oconee, Lieutenant Oscar F. Johnston, foundered in heavy seas near St. Catherine's Sound, Georgia, after running the blockade out of Savannah the night before. She was carrying a cargo of cotton "on navy account," Secretary Mallory reported. All hands were saved, but 2 days later a boat containing 4 officers and 11 men was captured by U.S.S. Madgie, Acting Master Woodbury H. Polleys. Polleys noted that "it was probably her [Oconee's] intention to obtain plate iron on her return trip, in order to ironclad the new rams now building at Savannah"
19 Boat expedition from U.S.S. Norwich and Hale, under Acting Master Charles F. Mitchell, destroyed a Confederate signal station near Jacksonville. "The capture of this signal station," Acting Master Frank B. Meriam, commander of Norwich, reported, "will either break up this end of the line or it will detain here to protect it the troops, five small companies (about 200 men) of infantry, two full companies of cavalry, and one company of artillery, that I learn are about being forwarded to Richmond." Throughout the war the Navy's ability to strike repeatedly at a variety of places pinned down Confederate manpower that was vitally needed on the main fronts.
U.S.S. Restless, Acting Master William R. Browne, captured schooner Ernti with cargo of cotton southwest of the Florida Keys.
21 Confederate torpedo boat Torch, Pilot James Carlin, formerly a blockade runner, made a gallant night attempt to sink U.S.S. New Ironsides, Captain Stephen C. Rowan, in the channel near Morris Island. The small steamer, which was constructed from the hulk of an unfinished gunboat at Charleston, sailed low in the water, was painted gray and burned anthracite coal to avoid detec-tion. She took on much water and her engines were of dubious quality when she made her run on the heavy Union blockader. When but 40 yards away from New Ironsides, Carlin ordered the engines cut and pointed her at his prey. The boat failed to respond properly to her helm, and as New Ironsides swung about her anchor slowly with the tide, the torpedo failed to make contact with the ship's hull. While alongside the Union ship, Carlin could not start the engines for some minutes, but the daring Confederate kept up a cool conversation with the officer of the deck on New Ironsides, who finally became alarmed but was unable to depress any of the guns sufficiently to fire into the little craft. At this moment, the torpedo boat's engines started, and Carlin quickly made his way back to Charleston, two shots from New Ironsides, falling 20 feet to either side of his torpedo boat. General Beauregard, seeking to lift the blockade and the continuing bombardment of his forces at Forts Wagner and Sumter, wrote Carlin: "I feel convinced that another trial under more favorable circumstances will surely meet with success, notwith-standing the known defects of the vessel."
C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt, captured and burned ship Anglo Saxon with cargo of coal near Brest, France.
21–22 Following 4 day's of intensive bombardment of Forts Wagner, Sumter, and Gregg from afloat and ashore, naval forces under Rear Admiral Dahlgren moved to press a close attack on heavily damaged Fort Sumter late at night. U.S.S. Passaic, Lieutenant Commander Edward Simpson, in advance of the other ironclads, grounded near the fort shortly after midnight. "It took so much time to get her off," the Admiral wired Brigadier General Gillmore, "that when I was informed of the fact that I would have had but little time to make the attack before daylight [the assault] was unavoidably postponed . . . ." Dahlgren wrote Secretary Welles of the diffi-culties attendant upon an all-out naval offensive because of the multitude of duties his ships had to perform. He noted that one ironclad had to be stationed at Savannah and that another was repairing at Port Royal. The remaining five had to work closely in support of Army operations ashore, for the trenches can not be advanced nor even the guns kept in play, unless the ironclads keep down Wagner, and yet in doing so the power of the ironclads is abated proportionally." This same date, Brigadier General Johnson Hagood, CSA, commanding Fort Wagner, testified to the effectiveness of the Union Navy's gunfire support: The fire from the fleet, enfilading the land face and proving destructive, compelled us to cease firing. As soon as the vessels withdrew the sharpshooters resumed their work."
22 Boat crew from U.S.S. Shokokon, Lieutenant Cushing, destroyed schooner Alexander Cooper in New Topsail Inlet, North Carolina. "This was," Rear Admiral Lee wrote, a handsome affair, showing skill and gallantry." Ten days before, Cushing had sighted the blockade runner while he was on a reconnaissance of the Inlet. "This schooner," be said, "I determined to destroy, and as it was so well guarded I concluded to use strategy." The evening of the 22nd, he sent two boats' crews ashore under command of Acting Ensign Joseph S. Cony. The men landed, shouldered a dingy, and carried it across a neck of land to the inlet. Thus the assault took place from behind the Confederate works with marked success. In addition to burning Alexander Cooper, Cony destroyed extensive salt works in the vicinity and took three prisoners back to Shokokon.
U.S.S. Cayuga, Lieutenant Commander Dana, captured schooner Wave with cargo of cotton south-east of Corpus Christi.
23 Confederate boat expedition under Lieutenant Wood, CSN, captured U.S.S. Reliance, Acting Ensign Henry Walter, and U.S.S Satellite, Acting Master Robinson, off Windmill Point, on the Rappa-hannock River. Wood had departed Richmond 11 days before with some 80 Confederates and 4 boats placed on wheels. These were launched on the 16th, 2 miles from the mouth of the Piankatank River and rowed into the bay. Concealing themselves by day and venturing forth by night, the Confederates sought for a week to find Union ships in an exposed position. Shortly after 1 o'clock in the morning, 23 August, Reliance and Satellite were found at anchor "so close to each other," Wood reported, "that it was necessary to board both at the same time." The two ships were quickly captured and taken up the Rappahannock to Urbanna. A "daring and brilliantly executed" plan, the capture of the two steamers shocked the North. Only a limited supply of coal on board the prizes and poor weather prevented Wood from following up his initial advantage more extensively. (See 25 August.)
As operations against the Charleston defenses continued, ironclads under Rear Admiral Dahlgren, including U.S.S. Weehawken, Montauk, Nahant, Passaic, and Patapsco, opened on Fort Sumter shortly: after 3 a.m. Confederate batteries at Fort Moultrie replied, and three of the monitors turned their attention to that quarter as fog set in, obscuring the view of both sides. "Finding Sumter pretty well used up," Dahlgren wrote, "I concluded to haul off [at daybreak], for the men had been at work two days and two nights and were exhausted." Much of the firing had been within a range of 1,000 yards. Later that morning U.S.S. New Ironsides, Captain Rowan, steamed abreast of and engaged Fort Wagner for an hour. In the exchange New Ironsides lost a dinghy which was cut away by a shot from a Confederate X-inch gun.
24 General Dabney H. Maury, CSA, reported: "The submarine boat sent to Charleston found that there was not enough water under the Ironsides for her to pass below her keel; therefore they have decided to affix a spike to the bow of the boat, to drive the spike into the Ironsides, then to back out, and by a string to explode the torpedo which was to be attached to the spike." N. F. Hunley had originally been provided with a floating copper cylinder torpedo with flaring triggers which she could tow some 200 feet astern. The submarine would dive beneath the target ship, surface on the other side, and continue on course until the torpedo struck the ship and exploded. When the method proved unworkable, a spare torpedo containing 90 pounds of powder was affixed to the bow. A volunteer crew commanded by Lieutenant Payne, CSN, of C.S.S. Chicora took charge of H. L. Hunley in the next few days.
25 The recently captured U.S.S. Satellite, now commanded by Lieutenant Wood, CSN, seized schooners Golden Rod, with cargo of coal, Coquette, and Two Brothers with cargoes of anchor and chain, at the mouth of the Rappahannock River; the schooners were taken up river by their captors. "The Golden Rod," Wood wrote, "drawing too much water to go up, was stripped and burned. The other two were towed up to Port Royal . . . ." There they, too, were stripped of useful parts and destroyed together with ex-U.S.S. Reliance and Satellite which Wood had taken by boarding just two days earlier.
Reviewing the effect of the joint operations at Charleston, Secretary Welles noted in his diary: "The rebel accounts of things at Charleston speak of Sumter in ruins, its walls fallen in, and a threatened assault on the city. I do not expect immediate possession of the place, for it will defended with desperation, pride, courage, nullification chivalry, which is something Quixotic, with the Lady Dulcineas to stimulate the Secession heroes but matters are encouraging. Thus far, the Navy has been the cooperating force, aiding and protecting the army on Morris Island."
U.S.S. William G. Anderson, Acting Lieutenant F. S. Hill, captured schooner Mack Canfield off the mouth of the Rio Grande River with cargo of cotton.
26 Secretary Welles ordered U.S.S. Fort Jackson, Captain Alden, to cruise the track taken by blockade runners steaming between Bermuda and Wilmington. Information had reached Welles that two large Whitworth guns, weighing 22 tons each, had been carried to Bermuda by the blockade runner Gibraltar, formerly C.S.S. Sumter, and he was hoping to intercept the guns at sea before the ship carrying them could even make an attempt to run the blockade.
Welles requested that Rear Admiral Dahlgren submit weekly reports and sketches of damage inflicted on the ironclads by Confederate guns at Charleston harbor. "These reports and sketches," he wrote, "are important to the Bureau and others concerned, to enable them to under-stand correctly and provide promptly for repairing the damages; and frequently measures for improving the ironclads are suggested by them."
Boat crew from U.S.S. Beauregard, Acting Master Francis Burgess, seized schooner Phoebe off Jupiter Inlet, Florida.
27 U.S.S. Sunflower, Acting Master Van Sice, captured schooner General Worth in the straits of Florida.
U.S.S. William G. Anderson, Acting Lieutenant F. S. Hill, captured schooner America off the coast of Texas with cargo of cotton.
U.S.S. Preble, Acting Master William F. Shankland, was destroyed by accidental fire at Pensacola.
28 C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, and C.S.S. Tuscaloosa, Lieutenant Low, joined briefly in the Bay of Angra Pequena on the African coast. Semmes ordered Tuscaloosa to proceed on a cruise to the coast of Brazil.
Lieutenant George W. Gift, CSN, wrote that he had just visited C.S.S. Tennessee and Nashville which were building above Mobile. Of Nashville, he reported: "She is of immense proportions and will be able to whip any Yankee craft afloat-when she is finished . . . ." In an earlier letter he had written of her: "She is tremendous! Her officers' quarters are completed. The ward-room, in which I am most interested, is six staterooms and a pantry long, and about as broad between the rooms as the whole Chattahoochee. Her engines are tremendous, and it requires all her width, fifty feet, to place her boilers. She is to have side wheels. The Tennessee is insignificant alongside her. She will mount fourteen guns.
29 Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, Lieutenant Payne, sank in Charleston harbor for the first time. After making several practice dives in the harbor, the submarine was moored by lines fastened to steamer Etiwan at the dock at Fort Johnson. When the steamer moved away from the dock unexpectedly, H. L. Hunley was drawn onto her side. She filled with water and rapidly sank, carrying with her five gallant seamen. Payne and two others escaped. H. L. Hunley was subsequently raised and refitted, as, undaunted by the "unfortunate accident," another crew volunteered to man her.
Secretary Mallory wrote Commander North in Glasgow, Scotland, urging the rapid completion of the ships being built for the Confederacy. "The terrible ordeal through which our country is passing and the knowledge that our ships in England, would, if present here, afford us incal-culable relief, intensifies my deep regret at their non-completion. . . . Mallory wrote Com-mander Bulloch this day on the same subject. Remarking on his "regret and disappointment" that the ships building in England were unfinished, the Secretary added: "Their presence at this time upon our coast would he of incalculable value, relieving, as they would be able to do, the blockade of Charleston and Wilmington. . . . From the beginning of the war, the Confederacy had sought full recognition from the European powers. After Vicksburg and Gettysburg, the South found assistance from Europe increasingly difficult to obtain.
Commodore H.H. Bell ordered Lieutenant Commander Cooke to "proceed in the Estrella up the river to Donaldsonville or as far as Morganza, and report your presence to Commander Robert Townsend, of the U.S. ironclad Essex, for assisting in patrolling the river as far as Morganza against the operations of guerrillas." The need for gunboats to patrol the Mississippi to guard transports and merchantmen against surprise raids never ended.
30 A detachment of the Marine Brigade, assigned to Rear Admiral Porter's Mississippi Squadron, captured three Confederate paymasters at Bolivar, Mississippi. The paymasters, escorted by 35 troops who were also taken prisoner, were carrying $2,200,000 in Confederate currency to pay their soldiers at Little Rock. "This," Porter commented, "will not improve the dissatisfaction now existing in Price's army, and the next news we hear will be that General Steele has posses-sion of Little Rock."
Captain Samuel Barron, CSN, was ordered to England, "by the first suitable conveyance from Wilmington or Charleston." Secretary Mallory hoped that the ships being constructed there under the direction of Commander Bulloch would be completed by the time that Barron arrived, and that he could proceed to sea at once. Such was not to be, however, and 18 months later Barron resigned his Navy commission while he was still overseas.
C.S.S. Georgia, Lieutenant W. L. Maury, captured and bonded ship John Watts with cargo of teakwood in the mid-South Atlantic.
Confederate transport steamer Sumter was sunk by batteries on Sullivan's Island, Charleston har-bor, when Southern artillerists on the island mistook her for a Union monitor in the fog and heavy weather.
31 U.S.S. Gem of the Sea, Acting Lieutenant Baxter, captured sloop Richard in peace Creek, Florida, with cargo of cotton.