Civil War Naval History
1 U.S.S. Yankee, Lieutenant Eastman, and U.S.S. Anacostia, Lieutenant Oscar C. Badger, exchanged fire with Confederate batteries at Cockpit Point, Potomac River; Yankee was damaged slightly. Attacks by ships of the Potomac Flotilla were instrumental in forcing the withdrawal of strong Confederate emplacements along the river. Batteries at Cockpit and Shipping Point were abandoned by 9 March 1862.
Flag Officer Foote reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles that he was sending U.S.S. Lexington, Lieutenant Shirk, to join U.S.S. Conestoga, Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, which had been rendering valuable service in her river cruising ground, protecting "Union people" on the borders of the Ohio River and its tributaries; indeed, the control of the rivers advanced Union frontiers deep into territory sympathetic to the South. Foote added: "I am using all possible dispatch in getting all the gunboats ready for service. There is great demand for them in different places in the western rivers.''
Confederate Commissioners Mason and Slidell left Boston for England, via Provincetown, Massachusetts, where they boarded H.M.S. Rinaldo.
2 Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough ordered U.S.S. Louisiana, Lockwood, I. N. Seymour, Shawsheen, and Whitehall (forced to return to Newport News because of engine trouble) to Hatteras Inlet, "using a sound discretion in time of departing." Goldsborough wrote Secretary of the Navy Welles the next day: "When they arrive there, twelve of this squadron will have been assembled in that quarter. With the rest we are driving on as fast as possible." Since early December extensive preparations for the joint attack on Roanoke Island- the key to Albemarle Sound-had been underway in a move not only to seal off the North Carolina coast, but also to back up General McClellan's Peninsular Campaign by threatening Confederate communications.
Flag Officer Foote wrote Secretary of the Navy Welles: "I hope to be able to send 60 men on board of each gunboat within the week. We are waiting for the 1,000 men to fill up our complement . . . The carpenters and engineers are behindhand in their work." Eads' completion of the gunboats had been much delayed beyond his contract time. This placed a great strain upon the wooden gunboats, whose daily service in the rivers was demonstrated by General Grant's typical communication with Foote: "Will you please direct a gunboat to drop down the river . . . to protect a steamer I am sending down to bring up produce for some loyal citizens of Kentucky?"
Steamer Ella Warley evaded U.S.S. Mohican, Commander Godon, in a heavy fog and ran the blockade into Charleston.
5 Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough, replying to a telegram from Brigadier General Ambrose E. Burnside, the Army commander for the Roanoke Island expedition, wrote that "the sooner you start your first brigade [for Hatteras Inlet] the better, and so, too, with all vessels you have which are to be towed or which require choice weather in order to arrive safely." President Lincoln was reported as "anxious to hear of the departure of the expedition."
6 One of Flag Officer Foote's primary problems was the manning of the new ironclad gunboats, which were becoming available behind contract date at St. Louis and Mound City. The Navy Department sent a draft of 500 seamen; the rest had to be recruited or detailed from the Army. That the Army was reluctant to give up its best men for service afloat was demonstrated by Grant's letter to Major General Halleck, in which he wrote that he had a number of offenders in the guardhouse and suggested, "In view of the difficulties of getting men for the gunboat service, that these men be transferred to that service. . ."
7 Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, U.S.S. Conestoga, on an expedition up the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers gained valuable intelligence about Confederate activity at Forts Henry and Donelson. ''The rebels," he reported to Flag Officer Foote, "are industriously perfecting their means of defense both at Dover and Fort Henry. At Fort Donelson (near Dover) they have placed obstructions in the river, 12 miles below their battery, on the left bank and in the bend where the battery comes in sight . . . The fire of gunboats here [at Fort Donelson] would be at a bad angle . . . The forts are placed, especially on the Cumberland, where no great range can be had, and they can only be attacked in one narrow and fixed line . . . It is too late now to move against the works on either river, except with a well- appointed and powerful naval force." As early as mid-December 1861, Phelps had reconnoitered the Cumberland and warned of the immense difficulties involved in a naval assault on Fort Donelson, the strategically located Confederate stronghold. "None of the works can be seen," he observed, "till approached to within easy range." The difficult assault on Fort Donelson five weeks later gave truth to Phelps' careful observation. Meanwhile, Flag Officer Foote reconnoitered down the Mississippi with U.S.S.Tyler, Lexington, and Essex, the latter one of the first two ironclads ready. Pursuing a Confederate gunboat, Foote proceeded within range of the batteries at Columbus and found "one of the submarine batteries." But learning that the river was generally clear of these, he was able to report that "my object was fully attained."
General McClellan's orders to Brigadier General Burnside illustrated the Army's reliance on strength afloat: ". . . you will," he wrote, "after uniting with Flag- Officer Goldsborough at Fort Monroe, proceed under his convoy to Hatteras Inlet . . . [the] first point of attack will be Roanoke Island and its dependencies. It is presumed that the Navy can reduce the batteries ... and cover the landing of your troops . . . ' McClellan also detailed the Army's follow-up operations in conjunction with the gunboats at Fort Macon, New Bern, and Beaufort.
8 General Robert E. Lee, confounded by the strength and mobility of the Union Navy, observed. "Wherever his fleet can be brought no opposition to his landing can be made except within range of our fixed batteries. We have nothing to oppose to its heavy guns, which sweep over the low banks of this country with irresistible force. The farther he can be withdrawn from his floating batteries the weaker he will become, and lines of defense, covering objects of attack, have been selected with this view.''
9 Orders from the Navy Department appointed Flag Officer Farragut to command Western Gulf Blockading Squadron, flagship U.S.S. Hartford, then at Philadelphia. The bounds of the command extended from West Florida to the Rio Grande, but a far larger purpose than even the important function of blockade lay behind Farragut's appointment. Late in 1861 the administration had made a decision that would have fateful results on the war. The full list of senior officers in the Navy was reviewed for a commander for an enterprise of first importance---the capture of New Orleans, the South's "richest and most populous city," and the beginning of the drive of sea-based power up the Father of Waters to meet General Grant, who would soon move south behind the spearhead of the armored gunboats. On 21 December 1861, in Washington, Farragut had written his wife; ''Keep your lips closed, and burn my letters; for perfect silence is to be observed- the first injunction of the Secretary. I am to have a flag in the Gulf and the rest depends upon myself. Keep calm and silent. I shall sail in three weeks.'' Meanwhile, the tight blockade was causing grave concern in New Orleans. The Commercial Bulletin reported: ''The situation of this port makes it a matter of vast moment to the whole Confederate State that it should be opened to the commerce of the world within the least possible period ... We believe the blockading vessels of the enemy might have been driven away and kept away months ago, if the requisite energy had been put forth . . . The blockade has remained and the great port of New Orleans has been hermetically sealed. . ."
10 Concern continued to grow in the Union fleet as to what preparations should be taken to meet the unfinished ex-Merrimack. As early as 12 October 1861, Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough had written Secretary of the Navy Welles: " . . . I am now quite satisfied that. . . she will, in all probability, prove to be exceedingly formidable . . . Nothing, I think, but very close work can possibly be of service in accomplishing the destruction of the Merrimack, and even of that a great deal may be necessary." Goldsborough ordered tugs Dragon and Zouave to remain constantly in company with U.S.S. Congress and Cumberland, "so as to tow them into an advantageous position in case of an attack from the Merrimack or any other quarter.'' However, at this date two months before the historic engagements in Hampton Roads-Union naval commanders were seeking a defense against the powerful Confederate ironclad. Commander William Smith, captain of the ill-fated Congress, had said earlier, ''I have not yet devised any plan to defend us against the Merrimack, unless," he added, "it be with hard knocks."
Flag Officer Foote's gunboats convoyed General Grant's troops as diversionary moves were begun a short distance down the Mississippi and later up the Tennessee to prevent a Confederate build-up of strength at Fort Henry.
Brigadier General John C. Pemberton, CSA, reported on the effectiveness of the Union gunboats at Port Royal Ferry and on the Coosaw River (see last entry, 31 December-1 January 1861): Although the enemy did not land in force at Page's Point or Cunningham's Bluff, it was entirely practicable for him to have done so under cover of his gunboats. . . .At no time during his occupation of the river bank did he leave their [the gunboats'] protection, and, finally, when withdrawing to the island, did so under a fire from his vessels almost as heavy as that under which he had landed . . . by far the larger proportion of the [Confederate] casualties being from the shells of the fleet.''
11 U.S.S. Essex, Commander W. D. Porter, and U.S.S. St. Louis, Lieutenant Leonard Paulding, engaged Confederate gunboats in a running fight in the Mississippi River, near Lucas Bend, Missouri. The Confederates withdrew under the protecting batteries at Columbus.
Responding to inquiries from the Navy Department on the mortar boats, Flag Officer Foote wrote: ''I am aware that an officer of great resources can overcome almost insuperable difficulties.'' Foote had the enormous problem of being thrown into a region without naval bases or the usual resources of the seacoast. In his own words, the western rivers area was '' this wilderness of naval wants"
Having sent similar orders the previous day to U.S.S. Henry Brinker, Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough ordered U.S.S. Delaware, Philadelphia, Hunchback, Morse, Southfield, Commodore Barney, Commodore Perry, and schooner Howard to Hatteras Inlet as the build up of forces in the area for the assault on Roanoke island continued.
12 Union amphibious expedition to Roanoke Island, North Carolina, departed Fort Monroe under Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough and General Burnside. Seizure of Hatteras Inlet by the Navy the previous August allowed Federal control of Pamlico Sound, but heavily fortified Roanoke Island dominated the narrow connection between Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, the latter of which Confederates used for active blockade running. Capture of strategic Roanoke Island, which one Confederate general termed ''that post which I regard as the very key of the rear defenses of Norfolk and the navy yard," would give the Union control of Albemarle Sound and the waters penetrating deeply into North Carolina, over which passed important railroad bridges south of Norfolk.
U.S.S. Pensacola, Captain Henry W. Morris, successfully ran down the Potomac past the Confederate batteries at Cockpit and Shipping Points. Pensacola reached Hampton Roads on 13 January, demonstrating that the restriction of travel on the river, imposed by the Confederate batteries, was being steadily lessened.
13 Lieutenant Worden ordered to command U.S.S. Monitor. Three days later Worden wrote Secretary of the Navy Welles from New York: ". . . I have this day reported for duty for the command of the U.S. Steamer building by Captain Ericsson." Within two months, Monitor, Worden, and Ericsson were to have their names written indelibly in the annals of naval warfare.
Flag Officer Foote ordered three gunboats up the Cumberland and two up the Tennessee River on demonstrations.
15 Flag Officer Foote advised Lieutenant Paulding of U.S.S. St. Louis, "I must enjoin you to save your ammunition. No gun must be fired without your order . . . You will be particular in noting the range of the first shot, its height and distance. I was surprised yesterday, at Columbus, to see three or four of your shells bursting at such an elevation . . . I am aware of your difficulties in a new and undisciplined crew and officers, hut make these criticisms rather as indicative of correcting things in the future. Save your ammunition and let the first gun show you how to aim for the second." Foote was constantly beset with the problem of having too much to do with too little material, even to the point of being unable to train adequately his crews in gunnery. That he met these difficulties successfully, however, was demonstrated in the' Union's steady sweep down the western rivers.
Major General Mansfield Lovell, CSA, at the request of Confederate Secretary of War Benjamin, with the assistance of Lieutenant Thomas B. Huger, CSN, took over 14 steamers at New Orleans to be armed and used to bolster defenses in the area. The plan which came from the War Department was to outfit the steamships with iron rams to attack the Union river gunboats. Secretary of War Benjamin wrote: Each Captain will ship his own crew, fit up his own vessel, and get ready within the shortest possible delay. It is not proposed to rely on cannons, which these men are not skilled in using, nor on firearms. The men will be armed with cutlasses. On each boat, however, there will be one heavy gun, to be used in case the stern of any of the [Union] gunboats should be exposed to lire, for they are entirely unprotected behind, and if attempting to escape by flight would be very vulnerable by shot from a pursuing vessel."
16 Gunfire and boat Crews, including Marine, from U.S.S. Hatteras, Commander Emmons, destroyed a Confederate battery, seven small vessels loaded with cotton and turpentine ready to run the blockade, a railroad depot and wharf, and the telegraph office at Cedar Keys, Florida. A small detachment of Confederate troops was taken prisoner. Such unceasing attack from the sea on any point of her long coastline and inland waterways cost the South sorely in losses, economic disruption, and dispersion of strength in defense.
Flag Officer Foote reported: The seven gunboats built by contract were put in commission today." The Eads gunboats augmented Foote's wooden force and would turn the tide in the Union's effort to split the Confederacy.
U.S.S. Albatross, Commander Prentiss, destroyed British blockade runner York near Bogue Inlet, North Carolina, where York had been run aground.
17 U.S.S. Conestoga, Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, and U.S.S. Lexington, Lieutenant Shirk, reconnoitered the Tennessee River below Fort Henry, attempting to determine the location of a reported "masked battery" at the foot of Panther Creek Island. Having become convinced that the battery had been removed, Phelps fired "a few shells" at the fort, hot the range was too great for his guns to reach. ". . . our batteries," reported General Albert S. Johnston, CSA, "though ready, did not reply.'' As early as October 1861, the Navy had initiated a careful examination of the Confederate works in the area in preparation for the projected Army-Navy assault on Fort Henry. Lieutenant Phelps reported the results of a 5 October reconnaissance: ''J examined the fort [Henry] carefully at a distance of from 2 to 21/2 miles . . . The fortification is quite an extensive work and armed with heavy guns, mounted en barbette, and garrisoned by a considerable force. It is situated about 11/2 miles above the head of Panther Creek Island . . . There is no channel upon one side of the island, and a narrow and somewhat crooked one upon the other, which continues so till within a mile of the fort, where the water becomes of a good depth from bank to bank, some 600 yards." Detailed knowledge and careful preparations in large measure provided for the ultimate success of the February offensive operations against both Forts Henry and Donelson with the objective of driving the Confederates out of Kentucky where they held a line across the southern part of the state.
General Robert E. Lee's orders to Brigadier General James H. Trapier, commanding in Florida, illustrated the growing impact of the Union blockade: "Arrangements have been made for running into Mosquito Inlet, on the east coast of Florida, arms and ammunition, by mans of small fast steamers. The department considers it necessary that at least two moderate sized guns he placed at New Smyrna, to protect the landing in the event of our steamers being chased by the enemy's gunboats. . . . The cargoes of the steamers are so valuable and vitally important, that no precaution should be omitted."
U.S.S. Connecticut, Commander Woodhull, captured blockade running British schooner Emma off the Florida Keys.
18 U.S.S. Midnight, Lieutenant James Trathen, and U.S.S. Rachel Seaman, Acting Master Quincy A. Hooper, shelled Velasco, Texas. Lieutenant Trathen reported that "One object had been gained in this instance, making the enemy expend his ammunition." Colonel Joseph Bates, commanding at Velasco, wrote: ''While the enemy remain on their vessels, with their long-range guns, &c., they can annoy and harass us, but when they come on land we will whip them certain."
C.S.S. Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned bark Neapolitan, with cargo of fruit and sulphur, in the Straits of Gibraltar and captured and bonded bark Investigator with cargo of iron.
U.S.S. Kearsarge was ordered to Cadiz, Spain, in an effort to track her down.
19 U.S.S. Itasca, Lieutenant Charles H. B. Caldwell, captured schooner Lizzie Weston off Florida en route Jamaica with cargo of cotton.
20 Secretary of the Navy Welles ordered the Gulf Blockading Squadron divided into two squadrons upon the arrival of Farragut at Key West: Eastern Gulf Blockading Squadron, Flag Officer McKean, and Western Gulf Blockading Squadron, Flag Officer Farragut. Farragut's area of responsibility began on the Florida coast at the mouth of the Choctawhatchee River and extended over the Gulf to the west; McKean's jurisdiction covered the Florida Gulf and east coasts as far as Cape Canaveral and also included Cuba and the Bahamas.
Boarding party from U.S.S. R. R. Cuyler, Lieutenant F. Winslow, assisted by U.S.S. Huntsville and two cutters from U.S.S. Potomac, captured blockade running schooner. J.W. Wilder, grounded about 15 miles east of Mobile.
Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough, having arrived at Hatteras Inlet on 13 January, ordered Commander Rowan to he certain that all officers in the squadron had been instructed in the use of the Bormann fuze in the 9-inch schrapnel shells, which were to he used in the attack on Roanoke Island. Careful planning and training were essential elements of victory at Roanoke Island as elsewhere.
20-21 C.S.S. Sea Bird, Flag Officer Lynch, with C.S.S. Raleigh in company, reconnoitered Hatteras Inlet and "there saw a large fleet of steamers and transports. Lynch pointed out in a letter to Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory the importance of the area which Roanoke Island controlled: ''Here is the great thoroughfare from Albemarle Sound and its tributaries, and if the enemy obtain lodgments or succeed in passing here he will cut off a very rich country from Norfolk market."
21 Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, on the basis of his own reconnaissance missions and intelligence reports reaching him, re-emphasized the advisability of using mortar boats at Fort Donelson, noting that "the position of Fort Donelson is favorable for the greatest effect of bombshells, both in and about it. Effective mortar boats must prove the most destructive adversaries earth forts can have to contend with." However, Flag Officer Foote, urged into early action by the Army commanders, was unable to use mortar boats to "soften up" the Confederate works at Donelson.
U.S.S. Ethan Allen, Acting Lieutenant William B. Eaton, captured schooner Olive Branch bound from Cedar Keys, Florida, to Nassau with cargo of turpentine.
22 U.S.S. Lexington, Lieutenant Shirk, with Brigadier General Charles F. Smith on board, conducted one of the frequent gunboat reconnaissances up the Tennessee River, and fired a few long-range shots at Fort Henry. The rising waters were making operations feasible as the new armored gunboats were becoming available. Shirk reported: "The river is so full at present (and is still rising) that whenever there is water there is a channel."
Lieutenant Worden reported the steady progress toward completion of U.S.S. Monitor. Awaiting the 11-inch guns which would make up the ironclad's battery, Worden noted that "It will take four or five days to sight them after they arrive."
23 Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough wrote from Hatteras Inlet that the 17 naval vessels present (two others reported later) for the Roanoke Island expedition were over the bar inside Pamlico Sound. Bad weather and the shallow, tortuous channel, which Goldsborough termed "this perplexing gut,'' delayed entry of the naval vessels into the Sound, and presented extreme difficulties when attempting to get the heavily-laden troop transports over the bar.
Flag Officer Foote sent another insistent plea for men to Secretary of the Navy Welles, this time cutting his needs to the bone: "Can we have 600 men? Army officers object to their men shipping. Boats, except the Benton, are in commission waiting for men.'' Twelve days later, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wired Foote: 'The Secretary of War today gave directions to detail from several Massachusetts regiments those soldiers who have been seamen up to the number of 600. These will be sent to you without arms or officers in detachments of 100, commencing next Monday."
Schooner Samuel Rotan, tender to U.S.S. Colorado, Captain Bailey, captured steamer Calhoun in East Bay, Mississippi River, with cargo of powder, coffee, and chemicals.
24 USS. Mercedita, Commander Stellwagen, and other ships of the Gulf Blockading Squadron chased aground schooner Julia and an unidentified bark attempting to run the blockade at the mouth of the Mississippi River; both were laden with cotton and were burned to prevent capture. A Union lightboat off Cape Henry went aground and was captured by Confederates.
25 Flag Officer French Forrest, CSN, commanding the Navy Yard at Norfolk, wrote Major General Huger: ''I have just learned that one of the enemy's vessels has been driven ashore with several hundred gallons of oil on board . . . We are without oil for the Merrimack, and the importance of supplying this deficiency is too obvious for me to urge anything more in its support. As was true throughout the economy of the blockaded Confederacy, lack of critical supplies delayed the construction of the ironclad ram.
Secretary of the Navy Welles wrote Flag Officer Du Pont, commanding the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron: "The importance of a rigorous blockade at every point under your command can not be too strongly impressed or felt. By cutting off all communication we not only distress and cripple the States in insurrection, but by an effective blockade we destroy any excuse or pretext on the part of foreign governments to aid and relieve those who are waging war upon the Government."
U.S.S. Arthur, Acting Lieutenant John W. Kittredge, captured schooner J. J. McNeil off Pass Cavallo, Texas.
26 The second "stone fleet" sunk in Charleston harbor at Maffitt's Channel. The first "stone fleet" had been sunk in the Main Channel on 20 December 1861.
26-29 Union squadron commanded by Captain Davis, comprising U.S.S. Ottawa, Seneca, and other vessels, with 2400 troops under Brigadier General Horatio G. Wright conducted a strategic reconnaissance of Wassaw Sound, Georgia. Telegraph lines between Fort Pulaski and Savannah were severed. Five Confederate gunboats under Commodore Tattnall were engaged while attempting to carry stores to Fort Pulaski. Though the exchange of fire was sharp, three of Tattnall's steamers made good their passage to the fort, the other two being unable to get through. In his report of the reconnaissance operation, Captain Davis noted: ''As a demonstration the appearance of the naval and military forces in Wilmington and Wassaw Sound has had complete success. Savannah was thrown into a state of great alarm, and all the energies of the place have been exerted to the utmost to increase its military defenses for which purpose troops have been withdrawn from other places.'' On the Confederate side, General Robert E. Lee commented: ''If the enemy succeeds in removing the obstacles [in Wall's Cut and Wilmington Narrows] there is nothing to prevent their reaching the Savannah River, and we have nothing afloat that can contend against them."
28 Flag Officer Foote wrote Major General Halleck: ''General Grant and myself are of the opinion that Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, can be carried with four gunboats and troops and be permanently occupied.'' Halleck replied the next day that he was waiting only for a report on the condition of the road from Smithland to the fort, and would then give the order for the attack. Seeking to push forward, Foote hurried an answer the same day, noting: ''Lieutenant Phelps has been with me [at Cairo] for a day or two, and in consultation with General Grant we have come to the conclusion that, as the Tennessee will soon fall, the movement up that river is desirable early next week (Monday), or, in fact, as soon as possible.'' Flag Officer Foote and General Grant worked closely and cooperated fully with each other throughout the planning and preparations for the attack. Though inclement weather was to prevent Grant and his troops from taking part in the action at Fort Henry, the understandings and mutual respect formed here were to serve the Union cause brilliantly in other joint operations on the western waters as well as in General Grant's later campaigns in the east.
"On the 28th..."Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles, "all the vessels composing the naval branch of our combined expedition, intended by my arrangements to participate in the reduction of Roanoke Island and operate elsewhere in its vicinity, were over the bulkhead at Hatteras Inlet and in readiness for service, but . . . it was not until the 5th [of February].... that those composing the army branch of it were similarly situated.'' Goldsborough, however, used the time lapse to good advantage: "During our detention at the inlet,'' he wrote, ''we resorted to every means in our power to get accurate information of the enemy's position and preparation
Captain John Marston wrote Secretary of the Navy Welles that ''as long as the Merrimack is held as a rod over us, I would by no means recommend that she [U.S.S. Congress ] should leave this place.'' Marston wrote in reply to a letter from the Secretary four days earlier in which he had suggested that Congress should go to Boston. Varying rumors as to the readiness of Virginia ex-Merrimack) kept Union blockading forces in Hampton Roads in a constant state of vigilance.
Boat crews under Acting Master William L. Martine from U.S.S. De Soto boarded and captured blockade runner Major Barbour at Isle Derniere, Louisiana, with cargo including gunpowder, niter, sulphur, percussion caps, and lead.
29 U.S. Storeship Supply, Commander George M. Colvocoresses, captured schooner Stephen Hart south of Sarasota, Florida, with cargo of arms and munitions.
30 U.S.S. Monitor, the Union's first sea-going ironclad vessel, launched at Greenpoint, New York. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wired John Ericsson, referring to Monitor's launching: ''I congratulate you and trust she will be a success. Hurry her for sea, as the Merrimack is nearly ready at Norfolk, and we wish to send her here.''
Major General Halleck ordered the combined operation up the Tennessee, warned General Grant that the road were quagmires, and directed that the movement of troops, munitions, and supplies be convoyed by gunboats.
U.S.S. Conestoga, Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, and U.S.S. Lexington, Lieutenant Shirk, reconnoitered the Tennessee River, making final preparations for the attack on Fort Henry. Phelps, who performed yeoman service on the western waters, reported: ''In the right channel, and near the foot of the island, are numerous buoys, evidently marking the location of some kind of explosive machine or obstruction; these I think we can rake out with our boats.''
U.S.S. Kingfisher, Acting Lieutenant Joseph P. Couthouy, captured blockade runner Teresita, bound from Havana to Matamoras.
Confederate Commissioners Mason and Slidell arrived at Southampton, England.
31 Lieutenant Henry A. Wise wrote Flag Officer Foote regarding a conversation with President Lincoln on the western operations. The Commander in Chief was interested in the mortars because he wanted Foote to have enough gunpower "to rain the rebels out." Wise stated: "He is an evidently practical man, understands precisely what he wants, and is not turned aside by anyone when he has his work before him. He knows and appreciates your past and present arduous services, and is firmly resolved to afford you every aid in the work in hand. The additional smooth howitzers you asked for were ordered two days ago." Meanwhile, Foote telegraphed the Bureau of Ordnance, requesting powder and primers. He added: "I am apprehensive that the Army will not permit the men, as the colonels and captains do not readily give their assent. I am shipping men by 'runners at Chicago and elsewhere.' I can move with four armed [armored] and three other gunboats at any moment, and am only waiting for men (with the exception of the Benton) to be ready with all the gunboats." The Army could not he blamed, as Foote well understood, for reluctance to weaken its units. They, too, had been given jobs to do and had to present trained, effective units in the hour of need.
A British memorandum reaching the Confederacy, regarding the effectiveness of the Union blockade and sinking of the stone fleet in Charleston harbor, presented the views of various European nations: "About 10 days ago the English foreign office submitted the two following questions to the maritime powers of Europe: First. Is the sinking of the stone fleet. . an outrage on civilization? Second. Is the blockade effective . . . Is it now binding? France . . . pronounces the destruction of the harbor . . . 'vindictive vandalism' . . . the blockade to be 'ineffective and illegal' . . . Prussia winds up by declaring the sinking of the stone fleet to be a crime and outrage on civilization . . . Sardinia agrees with France, but . . . in even stronger terms .
Austria declares 'blockade altogether illegal' . . . Spain declares blockade . . . 'altogether ineffective . . . On the other hand, Secretary of the Navy Welles strongly maintained that the effectiveness of the blockade did ''destroy any pretext on the part of foreign governments to aid the Confederacy."