< Civil War Naval History July 1863

Civil War Naval History


July 1863

1 Major General Rosecrans asked Captain Pennock in Cairo for gunboat assistance in operations on the Tennessee River. The Confederates repeatedly attempted to establish bases along this waterway, but the Union Navy had several gunboats stationed on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers to frustrate such moves. These unheralded but nonetheless eventful actions by the forces afloat, as Admiral Mahan later wrote, showed ' the unending and essential work performed by the navy in keeping the communications open, aiding isolated garrisons, and checking the growth of the guerilla war."

Commander Caldwell, upon being detached from command of U.S.S. Essex and the mortar flotilla at Port Hudson, reported to Rear Admiral Farragut: From the 23 of May to the 26 of June there followed a constant succession of bombardments and artillery fights between the Essex and mortar vessels on one side and the rebel batteries on the other. We have fired from this vessel 738 shells and from the mortar vessels an aggregate of 2,800 XIII-inch shells." The continued bombardment of the strong Southern works was instrumental in forcing its surrender after the fall of Vicksburg.

James M. Tindel wrote Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin from Mobile, proposing the capture of Pacific Mail Steamers, Union ships carrying on an active trade along the west coast. The expedition, Tindel wrote, would proceed first to Matamoras. There the expedition would be divided, one portion to proceed overland to San Francisco to make an attempt to capture one of the steamers plying between that port and the Isthmus, the other to sail as a neutral from some port near Aspinwall [Panama], to make a similar attempt on the steamer sailing from that port. The Confederates recognized that the success of such a mission would cause con-siderable excitement and greatly disrupt shipping in the area, but the Union moved to strengthen its Pacific Squadron in the last 6 months of the year and Confederate plans bore no fruit.

J.B. Jones, a clerk in the Confederate War Department, noted in his diary that President Davis had "decided that the obstructions below the city [Richmond] shall not be opened for the steam iron-clad Richmond to go out until another iron-clad be in readiness to accompany her."

2 General Grant, before Vicksburg, wrote Rear Admiral Porter that "the firing from the mortar boats this morning has been exceedingly well directed on my front. One shell fell into the large fort, and several along the line of the rifle pits. Please have them continue firing in the same direction and elevation." U.S.S. General Sterling Price, Benton, and Mound City had shelled the heavy battery, which had earned the sobriquet ''Whistling Dick'' because of is power and effectiveness.

C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured ship Anna F. Schmidt in the South Atlantic with cargo of clothes, medicines, clocks, sewing machines, and ''the latest invention for killing bed-bugs."

Semmes put the torch to the prize. "We then wheeled about and took the fork of the road again, for the Cape of Good Hope."

U.S.S. Samuel Rotan, Acting Lieutenant William W. Kennison, seized schooner Champion off the Piankatank River, Virginia.

U.S.S. Cayuga, Lieutenant Commander Dana, captured blockade running sloop Blue Bell in Mermentau River, Louisiana, with cargo of sugar and molasses.

U.S.S. Covington, Acting Lieutenant George P. Lord, captured steamer Eureka near Commerce, Mississippi, with cargo of whiskey.

U.S.S. Juniata, Commander Clitz, seized blockade running British schooner Don Jose at sea with cargo of salt, cotton, and rum.

3 Major General Grant and Lieutenant General Pemberton, CSA, the gallant and tireless commander of the Vicksburg defenses, arranged an armistice to negotiate the terms of capitulation of the citadel. Only with the cessation of hostilities did the activity of the fleet under Rear Admiral Porter come to a halt off Vicksburg.

Boats from U.S.S. Fort Henry, Lieutenant Commander McCauley, captured sloop Emma north of Sea Horse Key, Florida, with cargo of tar and Confederate mail.

4 Vicksburg, long under assault and siege by water and land, capitulated to General Grant. W. T. Sherman congratulated Rear Admiral Porter for the decisive role played by the Navy in effecting the surrender: 'No event in life could have given me more personal pride or pleasure than to have met you to-day on the wharf at Vicksburg a Fourth of July so eloquent in events as to need no words or stimulants to elevate its importance. . . . In so magnificent a result I stop not to count who did it; it is done, and the day of our nation's birth is consecrated and baptized anew in a victory won by the United Navy and Army of our country." Observing that he must con-tinue to push on to finish the operations in the west by seizing Port Hudson, Sherman added: It does seem to me that Port Hudson, without facilities for supplies or interior communication, must soon follow the fate of Vicksburg and to leave the river free, and to you the task of prevent-ing any more Vicksburgs or Port Hudsons on the banks of the great inland sea. Though farther apart, the Navy and Army will still act in concert, and I assure you I shall never reach the banks of the river or see a gunboat but I will think of Admiral Porter, Captain Breese, and the many elegant and accomplished gentlemen it has been my good fortune to meet on armed or unarmed decks of the Mississippi squadron."

Major General Herron spoke as warmly in a letter to Porter. ''While congratulating you on the success of the Army and Navy in reducing this Sebastopol of Rebeldom, I must, at the same time, thank you for the aid my division has had from yourself and your ships. The guns received from the Benton, under charge of Acting Master Reed, a gallant and efficient officer, have formed the most effective battery I had, and I am glad to say that the officer in charge has well sustained the reputation of your squadron. For the efforts you have made to cooperate with me in my position on the left, I am under many obligations."

Porter noted the statistical contributions of the Squadron in compelling the fall of Vicksburg. Writing Secretary Welles that 13 naval guns had been used ashore, many with officers and men from the fleet to work them, he added: "There has been a large expenditure of ammunition during the siege; the mortars have fired 7,000 mortar shells, and the gunboats 4,500; 4,500 have been fired from the naval guns on shore, and we have supplied over 6,000 to the different army corps. General Grant wrote: "The navy, under Porter, was all it could be during the entire campaign. Without its assistance the campaign could not have been successfully made with twice the number of men engaged." Reflecting on the fall of Vicksburg, Porter wrote: "What bearing this will have on the rebellion remains yet to be seen, but the magnitude of the success must go far toward crushing out this revolution and establishing once more the commerce of the States -bordering on this river. History has seldom had an opportunity of recording so desperate a defense on one side, with so much courage, ability, perseverance, and endurance on the other. . . without a watchful care over the Mississippi, the operations of the army would have been much interfered with, and I can say honestly that officers never did their duty better than those who have patrolled the river from Cairo to Vicksburg. . . . The capture of Vicksburg leaves us a -large army and naval forces free to act all along the river. . . . The effect of this blow will be felt far up the tributaries of the Mississippi."

Indeed, the effect was felt throughout the North and South, for, as Porter had noted, Port Hudson could not long hold Out, and the war in the west was won. The great produce of the Midwest could flow freely down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and the South was severed.

Raphael Semmes later wrote: ''This [the surrender of Vicksburg] was a terrible blow to us. It not only lost us an army, but cut the Confederacy in two, by giving the enemy the command of the Mississippi River. . . . Vicksburg and Gettysburg mark an era in the war. ... We need no better evidence of the shock which had been given to public confidence in the South, by those two disasters, than the simple fact, that our currency depreciated almost immediately a thousand per cent!".

President Lincoln could write: "The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea. . . . Nor must Uncle Sam's web feet be forgotten. At all the watery margins they have been present. Not only on the deep sea, the broad bay, the rapid river, but also up the narrow, muddy bayou, and wherever the ground was a little damp, they have been and made their tracks."

U.S.S. Tyler, Lieutenant Commander Prichett, repulsed an attack on Helena, Arkansas, by a large body of Confederate troops. The Southerners had penetrated the outposts of the outnumbered Union Army, under Major General Benjamin M. Prentiss, when Tyler steamed into action and, in Porter's words, "saved the day Tyler's heavy fire halted the Confederate attack and compelled a withdrawal. The Southern losses were heavy; Lieutenant Commander S.L. Phelps, commanding the Second Division of the Mississippi Squadron, reported that "our forces have buried 380 of his killed, and many places have been found where he had himself buried his dead. His wounded number 1,100 and the prisoners are also 1,100 . ..."

Mahan, later analyzing the contributions of Tyler's action at Helena, wrote that . . . to her powerful battery and the judgment with which it was used must be mainly attributed the success of the day; for though the garrison fought with great gallantry and tenacity, they were outnumbered two to one.

Prentiss advised Porter of Prichett's "valuable assistance" during the battle: ''I assure you, sir, that he not only acquitted himself with honor and distinction during the engagement proper, but with a zeal and patience as rare as they are commendable, when informed of an attack on this place lost no time and spared no labor to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the topography of the surrounding country. And I attribute not a little of our success in the late battle to his full knowledge of the situation and his skill in adapting the means within his com-mand to the end to be obtained." The Union's force afloat, lead by capable and tireless com-manders, repeatedly shattered Confederate hopes for taking the offensive.

5 Rear Admiral S.P. Lee, commanding the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, wrote Assistant Secretary Fox regarding measures for a successful blockade: ''The blockade requires smart, active vessels to move about close inside, large vessels with heavy batteries, if ironclads cannot he got to protect the blockade and well armed swift steamers to cruise in pairs outside." Captain Raphael Semmes later paid tribute to the effectiveness of this cordon thrown up by the Union fleet around the lengthy Confederate coast: "We were being hardpressed too, for material, for the enemy was maintaining a rigid blockade of our ports.

6 Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren relieved Rear Admiral Du Pont as Commander, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, at Port Royal. Since April, when Du Pont's ironclads had proved unequal to the task of beating down Fort Sumter, Du Pont had wanted to explain to the country the reason for their failure, i.e., the weaknesses of the monitors in their cast-iron and wrought-iron parts. To have published this would have cleared the Admiral, hut it also would have lowered the Union Navy's most widely publicized weapon in public opinion. Du Pont and Secretary Welles fell out over this difference, and Du Pont's retirement from active duty resulted. Dahlgren did not fare any better in his later attempts to take Charleston than did his predecessor.

U.S.S. De Soto, Captain W.M. Walker, captured blockade runner Lady Maria off Clearwater, Florida, with cargo of cotton.

C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured and burned ship Express off the coast of Brazil. She was carrying a cargo of guano.

7 Confederate forces under General John H. Morgan captured steamers John T. McCombs and Alice Dean at Brandenburg, Kentucky. The famous "Morgan's Raiders" moved up the Ohio, causing great concern in the area. The Union Navy blunted the Southern thrust.

U.S.S. Monongahela, Commander Read, and U.S.S. New London, Lieutenant Commander George H. Perkins, engaged Confederate field batteries behind the levee about 12 miles below Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Read, characterized by Farragut as "one of the most gallant and enterprising officers in my squadron," was mortally wounded in the action.

C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt, captured ship Sunrise, hound from New York to Liverpool. Maffitt released her on $60,000 bond.

8 Lieutenant Commander Fitch, U.S.S. Moose, received word at Cincinnati that General Morgan, CSA, was assaulting Union positions and moving up the banks of the Ohio River. He had also captured steamers John T. McCombs and Alice Dean (see 7 July). Fitch immediately notified the ships under his command stationed along the river, and got underway himself with U.S.S. Victory in company Next day the ships converged on Brandenburg, Kentucky, only to find that Morgan's troops, 6,000 strong, had just beaten them to the river and crossed into Indiana. "Not knowing which direction Morgan had taken," Fitch reported, "I set the Fairfield and Silver Take to patrol from Leavenworth, [Indiana] up to Brandenburg during the night, and the Victory and Springfield to patrol from Louisville down [to Brandenburg]." By thus deploying his forces, Fitch was able to cover the river for some 40 miles. The morning of 10 July Fitch learned the Confederates were moving northward and, joined by U.S.S. Reindeer and Naumkeag, ascended the Ohio, "keeping as near Morgan's right flank as I possibly could." The chase, continuing until 19 July, was conducted by U.S.S. Moose, Reindeer, Victory, Springfield, Naumkeag, and steamer Alleghany Belle. U.S.S. Fairplay and Silver Lake remained to patrol between Louisville and Cannelton, Indiana.

Under command of Acting Ensigns Henry Eason and James J. Russell, two cutters from U.S.S. Restless and Rosalie captured schooner Ann and one sloop (unnamed) in Horse Creek, Florida, with cargoes of cotton.

C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt, captured and burned brig W.B. Nash and whaling schooner Rienzi off New York. The latter carried a cargo of oil.

9 Port Hudson, Louisiana, surrendered after a prolonged attack by Union naval and land forces, The journal of U.S.S. Richmond recorded: "This morning at daylight our troops took possession of the rebel stronghold. . . . At 10 a.m. the Hartford and Albatross came down from above the batteries and anchored ahead of us, General Banks raised the stars and stripes over the citadel and fired a salute of thirty-five guns." A week later Rear Admiral Farragut wrote from New Orleans: "We have done our part of the work assigned to us, and all has worked well. My last dash past Port Hudson was the best thing I ever did, except taking New Orleans. It assisted materially in the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson." The long drive to wrest control of the entire Mississippi River, beginning in the north at Fort Henry and in the south at New Orleans early in 1862, was over.

Farragut, off Donaldsonville, Louisiana, wrote Rear Admiral Porter: "The Department, I pre-sume, anticipated the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson by the time their dispatch would reach me, in which they tell me that 'I will now be able to turn over the Mississippi River to you and give my more particular attention to the blockade on the different points on the coast.' . . . There are here, as above, some 10,000 Texans, who have 15 or 20 pieces of light artillery, and have cut embrasures in the levee and annoy our vessels very much." Farragut requested Porter to send down one or two ironclads which ''would then be able to keep open the communications perfectly between Port Hudson and New Orleans."

Commander Bulloch wrote Secretary Mallory from Paris regarding the ironclads being built in Europe for the South, Noting that it had not been difficult to sign crews for commerce raiders C.S.S. Alabama and Florida because they held out to the men, "not only the captivating excitement of adventure but the positive expectation of prize money, he revealed that it was a much greater problem to man the ironclads. ''Their grim aspect and formidable equipment,'' he wrote, clearly show that they are solely intended for the real danger and shock of battle. ...".

Recognizing that Wilmington was the key port through which blockade runners were finding passage, Bulloch recommended that the warships be sent to that port "as speedily as possible . . . [to] entirely destroy the blockading vessels." Once this was accomplished, the ships could turn their attentions elsewhere for "a decisive blow in any direction, north or south." Bulloch suggested that they could steam up the coast, striking at Washington, Philadelphia, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The high hopes placed on these ironclads were to no avail, however, for they were seized by the British prior to their completion and never reached Confederate waters.

Boat crew from U.S.S, Tahoma, Lieutenant Commander A. A. Semmes, captured an unnamed flatboat with cargo of sugar and molasses near Manatee River, Florida,

10 Under Rear Admiral Dahlgren, ironclads U.S.S. Catskill, Commander G.W. Rodgers; Montauk, Commander Fairfax; Nahant, Commander Downes; and Weehawken, Commander Colhoun, bom-barded Confederate defenses on Morris Island, Charleston harbor, supporting and covering a landing by Army troops under Brigadier General Quincy A. Gillmore. Close in support of the landing was rendered by small boats, under Lieutenant Commander Francis M. Bunce, armed with howitzers, from the blockading ships in Light House Inlet, The early morning assault followed the plan outlined by General Gillmore a week earlier in a letter to Rear Admiral Du Pont: "I cannot safely move without assistance from the Navy. We must have that island or Sullivan's Island as preliminary to any combined military and naval attack on the interior defenses of Charleston harbor. . . . I consider a naval force abreast of Morris Island as indispensable to cover our advance upon the Island and restrain the enemy's gunboats and ironclads."

The ironclads were abreast of Fort Wagner by midmorning and bombarded the works until evening, but could not dislodge the determined and brave defenders.

The Confederates poured a withering fire into Dahlgren's ships. "The enemy," the Admiral reported, "seemed to have made a mark of the Catskill." She was hit some 60 times, many of which were very severe." Despite the battering she received, Rodgers had Catskill ready to renew the attack the following day. Dahlgren added: "The Nahant was hit six times, the Montauk twice, and the Weehawken escaped untouched." Colonel Robert F. Graham, CSA, reported that during the attack, as the Confederates were forced to withdraw within Fort Wagner, "the iron monitors followed us along the channel, pouring into us a fire of shell and grape," and that casualties were heavy. The prolonged, continuing bombardment of the Southern works at Charleston had begun.

Commodore Montgomery, commandant of the Boston Navy Yard, ordered U.S.S. Shenandoah, Captain Daniel B. Ridgely, and U.S.S. Ethan Allen, Acting Master Pennell, to search for C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt. Two days before, the commerce raider had destroyed two ships near New York, and now was reported to be "bound for the Provincetown mackerel fleet." The recent exploits of Lieutenant Read in C.S.S. Clarence, Tacony, and Archer had created great concern as to the safety of even New England waters.

The activity of Florida reinforced these fears, which had already been expressed to Lincoln in a resolution urging "the importance and necessity of placing along the coast a sufficient naval and military force to protect the commerce of the country from piratical depredations of the rebels. ..." On 7 July the President had requested Secretary Welles to "do the best in regard to it which you can. . ."

Assistant Secretary Fox wrote Rear Admiral Farragut, congratulating him upon the final opening of the Mississippi" through the Union victories at Vicksburg and Port Hudson. You smashed in the door [at New Orleans in an unsurpassed movement and the success above became a cer-tainty. . . . Your last move past Port Hudson has hastened the downfall of the Rebs."

U.S.S. New London, Lieutenant Commander G.H. Perkins, en route from Donaldsonville to New Orleans, was taken under fire and disabled by Confederate artillery at White Hall Point. Perkins went to Donaldsonville to obtain troops to prevent the ship's capture. While Farragut commended Perkins' handling of the ship, he informed him that 'the principle was wrong a commander should never leave his vessel under such circumstances."

Commander Bulloch informed Secretary Mallory that he was going to sell the bark Agrippina, which had been purchased initially to take stores and armament to C.S.S. Alabama at Terceira (see 28 July 1862). During the year she had made three voyages but had lost contact with Captain Semmes, the unresting commerce raider, and it would be too costly to maintain her as a tender.

11 General Grant, acting on reports that the Confederates were building their strength at Yazoo City, wrote Rear Admiral Porter:" Will it not be well to send up a fleet of gunboats and some troops and nip in the bud any attempt to concentrate a force there?" Porter agreed to escort troops up the river next day.

Charles Francis Adams, U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, protested the building of ironclads and the outfitting of blockade runners by citizens of Great Britain to Foreign Secretary Earl John Russell. Such acts, Adams noted, "procrastinate the struggle" and increase the "burden of war." The Ambassador's diplomatic protests served the Union cause well and helped to frustrate Confederate efforts to obtain additional support in Britain.

U.S.S. Yankee, Acting Ensign James W. Turner, captured schooner Cassandra at Jones Point on the Rappahannock River with cargo of whiskey and soda.

Rear Admiral Hiram Paulding, Commandant of the New York Navy Yard, stationed gunboats around Manhattan to assist in maintaining order during the Draft Riots.

12 General Beauregard, commanding the Confederate defenses at Charleston, wrote Captain Tucker, commander of the forces afloat at that city, regarding grave danger which the Union ironclads presented not only to the defenses of Fort Wagner but to the complete defense of Charleston. "It has therefore," he noted, "become an urgent necessity to destroy, if possible, part or all of these ironclads. . . ." He suggested an attack by a gunboat and a ''torpedo ram." Within the week, he was again pressing the need to make ''some effort . . . to sink either the Ironsides or one of the monitors. . . . The stake is manifestly a great one, worthy of no small risk. . . . One monitor destroyed now will have greater moral and material effect, I believe, than two sunk at a later stage in our defense." This was a forecast of the daring and colorful attempts to be made by the Charleston defenders in the David attack on New Ironsides and the heroic assault by H. E. Hunley, the first submarine successfully used in action.

U.S.S. Penobscot, Lieutenant Commander Joseph F. De Haven, chased blockade runner Kate ashore at Smith's Island, North Carolina. Some 3 weeks later (31 July), Kate was floated by the Con-federates and towed under the protecting batteries at New Inlet, but was abandoned on the approach of Union ships.

13 A combined expedition up the Yazoo River captured Yazoo City, Mississippi. U.S.S. Baron de Kalb, Kenwood, Signal, New National, and Black Hawk, under Lieutenant Commander J. G. Walker, convoyed some 5,000 troops under Major General Herron in the oration. Arriving below Yazoo City in midafternoon, Baron de Kalb, leading the force, struck a torpedo and sank within 15 minutes. "Many of the crew were bruised by the concussion, which was severe, but no lives were lost," Rear Admiral Porter reported. As the troops landed, the Confederates evacuated the city.

Commander I. N. Brown, commander of the heavy artillery and ships at Yazoo City, ordered ship-ping in the area destroyed to prevent its falling into Union hands. Subsequently, a correspondent for the Atlanta Appeal wrote: ''Though the Yankees gained nothing, our loss is very heavy in boats and material of a character much needed. Commander Brown scuttled and burned the Magenta, Mary Keene, Magnolia, Pargoud, John Walsh, R. J. Lockland, Scotland, Golden Age, Arcadia, Ferd Kennett, F.J. Gay, Peytona, Prince of Wales, Natchez and Parallel in the Yazoo River, and Dewdrop, Emma Bett, Sharp and Meares in the Sunflower. We have only left, of all the splendid fleet which sought refuge in the Yazoo River, the Hope, Hartford City, Ben McCulloch and Cotton Plant, which are up the Tallahatchie and Yalobusha. . . . This closes the history of another strongly defended river.'' In addition, the Union force captured steamer St. Mary. The spectacular Union victories in the West did not eliminate the need for continued attention by the forces afloat on the rivers. "While a rebel flag floats anywhere," Porter observed, "gunboats must follow it up."

U.S.S. Forest Rose, Acting Lieutenant G. W. Brown, with U.S.S. Petrel in company, captured steamer Elmira on the Tensas River, Louisiana. Meanwhile, another phase of the expedition under Lieutenant Commander Selfridge, U.S.S. Rattler and Manitou, captured steamer Louisville in the Little Red River. She was described as "one of the finest of the Mississippi packets.'' Selfridge reported to Porter: ''The result of the expedition is the capture of the steamers Louisville and Elmira, 2 small steamers burned, 15,000 rounds smoothbore ammunition, 1,000 rounds Enfield [rifle shells], ditto. . . . He also destroyed a large sawmill "with some 30,000 feet of lumber
and a quantity of rum, sugar and salt.

U.S.S. Katahdin, Lieutenant Commander P.C. Johnson, seized British blockade runner Excelsior off San Luis Pass, Texas. "With the exception of 2 bales of cotton," Johnson reported, "she had no cargo."

A landing party from U.S.S. Jacob Bell, Acting Master Gerhard C. Schulze, went ashore near Union Wharf on the Rappahannock River, and seized contraband goods consisting of blockade running flatboats and cargo of alcohol, whisky, salt, and soda. Lacking transport for the cap-tured goods, Schulze destroyed them.

14 Naval forces under Rear Admiral S. P. Lee, including U.S.S. Sangamon, Lehigh, Mahaska, Morse, Commodore Barney, Commodore Jones, Shokokon, and Seymour, captured Fort Powhatan on the James River, Virginia. Acting on orders from Secretary Welles to threaten Richmond and assist mili-tary movements in the vicinity, Lee reported: "We destroyed two magazines . . . and twenty platforms for gun carriages today." The last Confederate defense below Chaffin's and Drewry's Bluff had fallen.

J. B. Jones, clerk in the Confederate War Department, recorded in his diary that General Beaure-gard had written from Charleston ''for a certain person here skilled in the management of torp-edoes- but Secretary Mallory says the enemy's gun-boats are in the James River and he cannot be sent away. I hope," he added, "both cities [Charleston and Richmond] may not fall!". A lack of technicians in adequate numbers was one of many hindrances to the Confederate efforts.

U.S.S. R. R. Cuyler, Lieutenant Commander Jouett, captured steamer Kate Dale off Tortugas with cargo of cotton.

U.S.S. Jasmine, Acting Master Alfred L. B. Zerega, captured sloop Relampago near the Florida Keys bound from Havana with cargo including copper boiler tubing.

15 Rear Admiral Farragut wrote Rear Admiral Porter: ''I feel that the time has now arrived con-templated by the honorable Secretary of the Navy, when I should turn over the Mississippi to you down to New Orleans, and then pay my attention to the blockade of the Gulf. ... Far-ragut noted that he would take a brief leave, offered by Secretary Welles, "prior to the work he expects of me in the fall. I suppose some work to be done by the vessels yet to be sent to me, Galveston and Mobile perhaps, and that will finish my work. . . ." On 1 August Porter wrote Welles that he had "assumed the charge of the Mississippi. . . ."

Boat crews from U.S.S. Stars and Stripe and Somerset, under Lieutenant Commander Crosman, landed at Marsh's Island, Florida, and destroyed some 60 bushels of salt and 50 salt boilers.

U.S.S. Yankee, Acting Ensign Turner, captured schooner Nanjemoy in the Coan River, Virginia.

U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba, Commander Wyman, captured steamer Lizzie east of the Florida coast.

Batteries at Grimball's Landing on the Stone River, South Carolina, opened a heavy fire on U.S.S. Pawnee, Commander Balch, and U.S.S. Marblehead, Lieutenant Commander Scott while Confederate troops assaulted a Union position on James Island under command of Brigadier General Alfred H. Terry. Though Pawnee, struck some 40 times by the accurate shorefire, and Marblehead were compelled to drop downriver, they nonetheless provided important support for the Union troops and were instrumental in forcing the Confederates to break off the attack. Brigadier General Terry reported that the ships "opened a most effective fire upon my left. The enemy, unable to endure the concentric fire to which they were exposed, fell back and retreated. . . I desire to express my obligations to Captain Balch, U.S. Navy, commanding the naval forces in the river, for the very great assistance he rendered to me. . ."

Porter wrote Farragut from Vicksburg: "The plan of the enemy is, to have flying batteries all along the river, and annoy us in that way. They have already planted one twenty-five miles below here, one at Rodney, and are going to put another at Ellis's Cliffs. We shall be kept busy chasing them up.'' Nonetheless, on this date the merchant steamer Imperial arrived at New Orleans. She had left St. Louis on 8 July and her arrival at the Mississippi's port city without incident illustrated that the great river truly ''again goes unvexed to the sea.''

Commander Bulloch awarded a contract to Lucien Arman, a naval constructor at Bordeaux, France, for the construction of ''two steam rams, hulls of wood and iron, 300 horsepower, two propellers, with two armored turrets. . . . The general plans had been drawn up by Com-mander M. F. Maury and approved by Secretary Mallory. The Confederate agent also specified that the ships would have to have a speed of "not less than 12 knots" in a calm sea. Only one of the rams, later commissioned C.S.S. Stonewall, ever reached Confederate hands. She arrived in Havana late in the war and was eventually surrendered to the Union. Without the material and industrial capacity to fill their naval needs at home, the South turned with increasing frequency to Europe in hopes of building a Navy capable of breaking the North's stranglehold.

Expedition from U.S.S. Port Royal, Lieutenant Commander G. U. Morris, captured cotton ready to be run through the blockade at Apalachicola, Florida,

C.S.S. Georgia, Lieutenant W. L. Maury, captured ship Prince of Wales, of Bath, Maine, in the mid-South Atlantic (24o14' S., 28o1' W.); Maury released her on bond.

17 Rear Admiral Dahlgren, preparing to renew the attack on Fort Wagner, wrote Secretary Welles about the critical shortage of men in his squadron. Men were being required to bombard by day and blockade by night. The Admiral asked for 500 Marines: " ... there will be occasion for them.'' On 28 July Welles informed Dahlgren that U.S.S. Aries had departed Boston with 200 men and upon her return from Charleston would bring 200 more sailors from New York to him. He added, ''A battalion of marines, about 400 in number, will leave New York on the steamer Arago on Friday next."

U.S. ram Monarch, with troops embarked, participated in the reoccupation of Hickman, Kentucky, which had been taken by Confederate cavalry 2 days earlier. Brigadier General Alexander Asboth had high praise for the ram and her mobility: ''It would be in the best interests of the service to place the ram Monarch on the Mississippi between Island No. 10 and Columbus, where she could operate with my land forces appearing at any point threatened or attacked on this part of the river, so much exposed to rebel raids. Without the cooperation of a ram or gunboat it will be difficult for my very limited force to act with efficiency and the desired degree of success. . . ."

The combined attack on Fort Wagner, Charleston harbor, was renewed. Rear Admiral Dahlgren's force consisted of U.S.S. Montauk, New Ironsides, Catskill, Nantucket, Weehauken, and Patapsco. The gunboats U.S.S. Paul Jones, Ottawa, Seneca, Chipewa, and Wissahickon provided long-range support with effect. The heavy fire from the ironclads commenced shortly after noon, the range closing as the tide permitted to 300 yards. The naval bombardment at this distance silenced the fort "so that for this day not a shot was fired afterwards at the vessels. . . ." At sunset Gillmore ordered his troops to attack the fort. "To this moment," Dahlgren reported, an incessant and accurate fire had been maintained by the vessels, but now it was impossible [in the dim light to distinguish whether it took effect on friend or foe, and of necessity was suspended.'' Deprived of naval gunfire support, the Union assault ashore was repulsed with heavy losses.

A delegation from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, bearing a letter from the Governor, was received by Secretary Welles. The group was seeking additional defenses for the city. ''Letters from numerous places on the New England coast are received to the same effect,'' Welles wrote in his diary. "Each of them wants a monitor, or cruiser or both. The Secretary pointed out that the shore defenses came under the war Department rather than the Navy, and that the local municipality should bear some of the responsibility for its own defense. The successful raid along the New England coast by Lieutenant Read in C.S.S. Tacony the preceding month and per-sistent rumors of other Confederate cruisers in the area since his capture had alarmed the northern seaboard.

U.S.S. De Soto, Captain M.W. Walker; U.S.S. Ossipee, Captain Gillis; and U.S.S. Kennebec, Lieu-tenant Commander Russell, seized steamers James Battle and William Bagley in the Gulf of Mexico. The cargo of the former was cotton and rosin, and she was described by Rear Admiral Bailey as "the finest packet on the Alabama River and was altered to suit her for a blockade runner, at a large expense." William Bagley, too, carried a cargo of cotton from Mobile.

Boat crews from U.S.S. Vincennes, Lieutenant Commander Henry A Adams Jr. and U.S.S. Clifton, Acting Lieutenant Frederick Crocker, captured barge H. McGuin, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

U.S.S. Jacob Bell, Acting Master Schulze, with U.S.S. Resolute and Racer in company, drove off Confederate troops firing on ship George Peabody, aground at Mathias Point, Virginia.

19 After seeking to intercept the troops of General Morgan for some 10 days and 500 miles, the gun-boat squadron under Lieutenant Commander Fitch engaged the Confederate raiders as they attempted to effect a crossing of the Ohio River at Buffington Island - U.S.S. Moose and steamer Alleghany Belle repeatedly frustrated the Southerners' attempts to cross, Pressed from the rear by Union troops and subjected to heavy fire from the gunboats, Morgan's soldiers made a scat-tered retreat into the hills, leaving their artillery on the beach. This audacious Southern thrust into the North was broken up. Some 3,000 Confederates were taken prisoner. Major General Ambrose E. Burnside heralded the "efficient services" of Fitch in achieving the "brilliant success of the engagement. "Too much praise,'' he wrote Rear Admiral Porter, cannot be awarded the naval department at this place for the promptness and energy manifested in this movement. And Brigadier General Jacob D. Cox noted: "The activity and energy with which the squadron was used to prevent the enemy recrossing the Ohio, and to assist in his capture, was worthy of the highest praise."

Feeling that "Morris Island must be held at all cost," Brigadier General Thomas Jordan, General Beauregard's chief of staff, asked for reinforcements from Fort Sumter. Brigadier General Ros-well S. Ripley replied that he had reinforcements but doubted that they could be transported to Morris Island. ''The Sumter is here with [Colonel] Graham's regiment, but it is broad daylight, and she can not land within 2,000 yards or the Ironsides and monitors."

Major General W. T. Sherman wrote Rear Admiral Porter of the Army's capture of Jackson, Mississippi. No longer could the Confederates utilize it as a base kit organizing attacks on Mississippi River steamer traffic." The operation was not as complete a success as either Sherman or Porter had hoped. "Having numerous bridges across the Pearl River,'' the General wrote, ". . . and a railroad in full operation to the rear, he [General Joseph F. Johnston, CSA succeeded in carrying off most of his material and men. Had the Pearl River been a Mississippi, with a patrol of gunboats, I might have accomplished your wish in bagging the whole. . . ." Sherman added in an aside that during a supper held for the general officers at the governor's mansion in Jackson, " 'Army and Navy Forever' was sung with a full and hearty chorus."

U.S.S. Canandaigua, Captain Green, sighted sidewheel steamer Raccoon attempting to run the blockade into Charleston and headed her off. The blockade runner, going aground near Moultrie House, was destroyed next day by her crew to prevent capture.

20 U.S.S. Shawsheen, Acting Master Phelon, captured schooners Sally, Helen Jane, Elizabeth, Dolphin, and James Brice near Cedar Island, Neuse River, North Carolina.

21 Rear Admiral Dahlgren wrote Secretary Welles of the continuing operations against Fort Wagner: "I have already silenced Fort Wagner and driven its garrison to shelter [on the 18th], and can repeat the same, but this is the full extent to which artillery can go; the rest can only be accom-plished by troops. General Gillmore tells me he can furnish but a single column for attack, and it is, of course, impossible for me to supply the deficiency, when the crews of the vessels are al-ready much reduced in number and working beyond their strength to fulfill the various duties of blockade, cannonading, and boat patrols by night. Time is all important," he added, "for the enemy will not fail to use it in guarding weak points. He is already putting up fresh works."

Boats from U.S.S. Owasco, Lieutenant Commander Madigan, and U.S.S. Cayuga, Lieutenant Com-mander Dana, captured and destroyed schooner Revenge at Sabine Pass.

22 In a move to bolster Union Army strength ashore, Rear Admiral Dahlgren ordered Commander F. A. Parker to take charge of a four-gun naval battery to be placed on Morris Island ''for the work against Fort Sumter.'' General Gillmore, expressing appreciation to Dahlgren for the battery, noted that he would cooperate fully with Commander Parker: "His guns and men will, of course, remain under his immediate control.''

According to figures compiled by the New York Chamber of Commerce on the effectiveness of Confederate raiders, ''150 vessels, including two steamers, representing a tonnage of upward of 60,000 tons and a value of over $12,000,000 have been captured by the rebel privateers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and the vessels seized and armed by them. . . . The result is, that either American ships lie idle at our own and foreign ports, unable to procure freights, and thus practically excluded from the carrying trade, or are transferred to foreign flags.''

23 Brigadier General Ripley proposed the use of a fire ship against U.S.S. New Ironsides and other Union ships at Charleston. The fire ship, he suggested, would be loaded with explosives. ''Should this explode close to the Ironsides, or other vessel, the effect must be to destroy her; and if two or three are in juxtaposition, the two or three may be got rid of.'' He pointed out that some 20 Union ships were generally stationed in a narrow waterway. Though Ripley thought the chances of success were ''fair,'' General Beauregard asked the advice of the Confederate naval leaders, Commodore Ingraham and Captain Tucker, and, when Ingraham reported his estimate of the odds for success at "five in one hundred" and Tucker's at "thirty in one hundred," he determined not to carry out the plan. Late in 1864 the Union acted on a similar proposal by General Butler at Wilmington. Over 200 tons of powder were exploded on a ship to cover an Army assault on Fort Fisher. The experiment was unsuccessful.

24 Rear Admiral Dahlgren's ironclads and gunboats, including U.S.S. New Ironsides, Weehauken, Patapsco, Montauk, Catskill, Nantucket, Paul Jones, Ottawa, Seneca, and Dai Ching, bombarded Fort Wagner in support of Army operations ashore. Dahlgren reported the effort a success, noting that the ship's fire "silenced the guns of Wagner and drove its garrison to shelter. This enabled our army to progress with the works which they had advanced during the night and to arm them." The Admiral added in his diary that "General Gillmore telegraphed that his operation had suc-ceeded, and thanked me for the very efficient fire of the vessels.'' The next day, learning from Gillmore that a Confederate offensive was planned for the 26th, Dahlgren quickly brought his forces afloat into action once again. Issuing detailed instructions to prevent an attack, Dahlgren added: "The enemy must not obtain the advantage he seeks, nor attempt it with impunity."

Because of the French occupation of Mexico City some 6 weeks before and the apparently hostile attitude of Emperor Napoleon III toward the United States. General Banks at New Orleans was ordered to prepare an expedition to Texas. For some time Secretary Welles had advocated a similar move in order to halt the extensive blockade running via Matamoras and the legally neutral Rio Grande River. ''The use of the Rio Grande to evade the blockade," he recorded in his diary, "and the establishment of regular lines of steamers to Matamoras did not disturb some of our people, but certain movements and recent givings-out of the French have alarmed Seward, who says Louis Napoleon is making an effort to get Texas; he therefore urges the immediate occupation of Galveston and also some other point.'' The expedition could take two routes: striking by amphibious assault along the Texas coast, or via the Red River into the interior. In either case, a joint Army-Navy assault would be necessary. The expedition, after a beginning marked by delays and frustrations, got underway early in 1864.

Dahlgren again wrote Welles about "how much I am pushed in order (first; to conduct opera-tions on Morris Island, (second) to maintain the blockade, (third) to cover the points which have been exposed by the withdrawal of troops concentrated here. ..." In addition, Dahlgren's duties required his forces to be active at Wassaw Sound where a Confederate ram was being built and at Port Royal where the Southerners had long hoped to recapture the vital Union supply station, as well as along the entire southeastern Atlantic coast. Squadron commanders were always faced with demands greater than they had ships and men to meet.

Rear Admiral Porter directed that all ships in his Mississippi Squadron be provided with an ap-paratus to destroy torpedoes while on expeditions up narrow rivers. Since a torpedo exploding with 100 pounds of powder would not injure a ship 10 feet away, Porter proposed "that each vessel be provided with a rake projecting 20 or 30 feet beyond the bow. ..." The rake will be provided with iron teeth (spikes will do) to catch the torpedo or break the wires.'' The serious threat of the Confederate torpedoes, even in waters dominated by the Union, could never be ignored by naval commanders and dictated persistent caution.

Secretary Mallory wrote President Davis asking that men he transferred from the Army to man ships at Mobile, Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington. "The vessels at these points," he wrote, ''have not the men to fight their own guns and men to spare for any enterprises against the enemy." The Navy had no conscription and suffered from a critical want of seamen.

U.S.S. Iroquois, Captain Case, captured blockade runner Merrimac off the coast of North Carolina with cargo of cotton, turpentine, and tobacco.

U.S.S. Arago, Commander Henry A. Gadsden, captured steamer Emma off Wilmington with cargo of cotton, rosin, and turpentine.

27 C.S.S. Florida, Commander Maffitt, sailed from Bermuda after having coaled and refitted. Three weeks later, Maffitt put into harbor at Brest, France, for extensive repairs, which would consume 6 months and take from the seas one of the most successful of the Confederate commerce raiders. During this period, Maffitt, in poor health, asked to be relieved of his command.

General Beauregard asked Captain Tucker, commanding Confederate naval forces at Charleston, to ''place your two ships, the ironclads, in a position immediately contiguous to Cumming's Point. . . ." Beauregard noted that the addition of the ironclads would "materially strengthen our means of defense" and the Confederate hold on Morris Island. Tucker subsequently replied: "Flag Officer Ingraham, commanding station, Charleston, has informed me officially that he has but 80 tons of coal to meet all demands, including the ironclads, and has admonished me of the necessity of economy in consumption." However, a fresh supply of coal arrived in August in time to enable the ironclads to help evacuate Fort Wagner. Critical shortages of coal hampered Southern efforts afloat and even that which was obtained was "soft" rather than "hard" coal. It burned with a heavy smoke and was much less efficient than anthracite coal.

U.S.S. Clifton, Lieutenant Crocker, with U.S.S. Estrella, Hollyhock, and Sachem in company on a reconnaissance of the Atchafalaya River to the mouth of Bayou Teche, Louisiana, engaged Confederate batteries.

28 Under the command of Lieutenant Commander English, U.S.S. Beauregard and Oleander and boats from U.S.S. Sagamore and Para attacked New Smyrna, Florida. After shelling the town, the Union force "captured one sloop loaded with cotton, one schooner not laden; caused them to destroy several vessels, some of which were loaded with cotton and about ready to sail. They burned large quantities of it on shore. . . . Landed a strong force, destroyed all the buildings that had been occupied by troops." The Union Navy's capability to strike swiftly and effectively at any point on the South's sea perimeter kept the Confederacy off balance.

Commander John C. Carter, commanding U.S.S. Michigan on a cruise visiting principal cities on Lake Erie to recruit men for the Navy, reported that his call at Detroit was particularly opportune. ''I found the people suffering under serious apprehensions of a riot in consequence of excitement in reference to the draft. . . . The presence of the ship perhaps did something toward overawing the refractory, and certainly did much to allay the apprehensions of the excited, doubting people. All fears in reference to the riot had subsided before I left.'' During August, Michigan was called on for similar service at buffalo, New York.

29 Rear Admiral Farragut recalled Commodore H. H. Bell from blockade duty on the Texas coast to assume command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron during his absence. Bell hoisted his broad pennant on board U.S.S. Pensacola.

U.S.S. Rosalie, Acting Master Peter F. Coffin, seized blockade running British schooner Georgie in the Caloosahtchee River, near Fort Myers, Florida. The schooner had been abandoned and carried no cargo.

U.S.S. Niphon, Acting Master Joseph B. Breck, seized British blockade runner Banshee at New Inlet, North Carolina.

U.S.S. Shawsheen, Acting Master Phelon, captured schooner Telegraph in Rose Bay, North Carolina. She had been abandoned after a chase of some 16 miles.

30 Rear Admiral Dahlgren advised Secretary Welles that "the position of affairs" at Morris Island had not "materially changed" in the last 5 days. He reported that the Army's advanced batteries, 600 yards from Fort Wagner, were in operation and that "Every day two or three of the ironclads join in and sweep the ground between Wagner and Cumming s Point, or else fire directly into Wagner. . . . It is to be remembered,'' he added, that Wagner is the key to Sumter, wherefore the enemy will spare no effort for the defense, and will protect any result to the last.'' Dahlgren also observed that one of the "many little things" which would be of assistance to him would be the electric light which Professor Way exhibited here, and which Professor Henry (Smithsonian Institution) knows of; it would either illuminate at night, if needed, or would serve to signal. . . ." As a man of science as well as an operational commander, the Admiral was quick to seek the advantages offered by new developments. The calcium light was brought down and enor-mously assisted in the capture of Fort Wagner by slowing down and halting Confederate repairs to the fort which previously were made under cover of night.

31 C.S.S. Tuscaloosa, Lieutenant John Low, captured ship Santee, bound from Akyab to Falmouth with cargo of rice. Santee was released on bond.