Civil War Naval History
1 As requested by Secretary Mallory, the Confederate Congress enacted legislation "To create a Provisional Navy of the Confederate States." The object of the act, as explained by Captain Semmes, was . . . without interfering with the rank of the officers in the Regular Navy, to cull out from the navy list, younger and more active men, and put them in the Provisional Navy, with increased rank. The Regular Navy became, thus, a kind of retired list, and the Secretary of the Navy was enabled to accomplish his object of bringing forward younger officers for active service, without wounding the feelings of the older officers, by promoting their juniors over their heads, on the same list.'' At this time the Confederate Congress also provided that: ''. . . all persons serving in the land forces of the Confederate States who shall desire to be transferred to the naval service, and whose transfer as seamen or ordinary seamen shall be applied for by the Secretary of the Navy, shall be transferred from the land to the naval service. . . . The Con-federate Navy suffered from an acute shortage of seamen. Mallory complained that the law was not complied with, and that hundreds of men had applied for naval duty but were not transferred.
Boat expedition from U.S.S. Western World, Acting Master S. B. Gregory, and U.S.S. Crusader, Acting Master Andrews, destroyed two Confederate schooners aground at Milford Haven, Virginia.
U.S.S. Kanawha, Lieutenant Commander Mayo, captured schooner Dart, bound from Havana to Mobile.
2 Captain John Rodgers wrote Secretary Welles relative to the April attack on Charleston: "The punishment which the monitors are able to stand is wonderful but it cannot be denied that their gun gear is more liable to accident than was foreseen. Battles are won by two qualities, ability to endure, and ability to injure. The first we possess in an unrivalled degree the latter one more sparingly. No vessels have ever been under such a fire as that of Charleston before, since the guns are new inventions only perfected since the Crimean War. When a man is in a tight place, he is to do the best he can-that best is often not a pleasant choice. Still if it is the best he can do, it is a great want of wisdom not to do the best he can. Experiment before the most formidable modern artillery has demonstrated that the monitors are more liable to lose their power of shooting than was foreseen but it does not appear that these deficiencies are irremediable even in the present monitors. . . . the vessels were fast getting hors de combat. No one can say what would have been the result of a renewal of the fight but if after a renewal we had been driven out, and left a single monitor to fall into the enemy's hands then the whole character of the war would have changed the wooden blockade would have been at an end as far at least as Charleston is concerned, as far indeed as she could get along the coast. Seeing the damage we received and not knowing the in jury we were doing, the Admiral did not choose to risk the chances of a combat a' l'outrance which if it went against us would entail such momentous consequences. It was not fair game. In losing a couple of monitors to them we should receive far more injury than the taking of Charleston would advance our cause.
Two boat crews from U.S.S. Roebuck, Acting Master John Sherrill, seized blockade running British schooner Emma Amelia off St. Joseph's Bay, Florida, with cargo including flour and wine.
U.S.S. Perry, Acting Master William D. Urann, captured blockade running schooner Alma, bound from Bermuda to Beaufort, South Carolina, with cargo of salt and liquor.
U.S.S. Sacramento, Captain Charles S. Boggs, seized blockade running British schooner Wanderer off Murrell's Inlet, North Carolina, with cargo of salt and herring.
2-9 Union gunboats under Lieutenant Commander Selfridge, protecting steamers from guerrilla activity in the Greenville, Mississippi, vicinity, responded quickly when such action required it. On 2 May steamer Era was fired upon 3 miles above Greenville. U.S.S. Cricket, Acting Lieutenant Amos R. Langthorne, engaged the Confederate battery and then convoyed steamer Champion downstream the following day. In Cricket's absence, steamer Minnesota was destroyed by Southern guerrilla troops. U.S.S. Conestoga drove the force away and remained in the area until the evening of the 7th, when, after coaling U.S.S. Cricket and Rattler, she returned to the mouth of the White River. Next day, Selfridge ordered U.S.S. General Bragg to 'destroy the property in the vicinity of the recent firing upon the gunboat Cricket and transport Minnesota." On the 9th this order was carried out and ''houses etc. . . . affording a protection to the enemy'' were destroyed, after which the Union ships returned to their normal stations.
3 Having paved the way for a final assault on Grand Gulf with the attack of 29 April, Rear Admiral Porter once again moved his gunboats against the strong Confederate batteries. The Southerners, however, finding their position totally untenable, Grant having taken his army into the country back of Grand Gulf, had evacuated. The great land-sea pincer could now close on Vicksburg. As Porter remarked to Secretary Welles: '' . . it is with great pleasure that I report that the Navy holds the door to Vicksburg." In a general order the Admiral praised those under his command: ''I take this occasion to thank the officers and men engaged in the attack on the forts at Grand Gulf for the unflinching gallantry displayed in that affair. Never has there been so long and steady a fight against forts so well placed and ably commanded: "I take this occasion to thank the officers and men engaged in the attack on the forts at Grand Gulf for the unflinching gallantry displayed in that affair. Never has there been so long and steady a fight against forts so well placed and ably commanded. . . . We have met losses which we can not but deplore; still, we should not regret the death of those who died so nobly at their guns. Officers and men, let us always be ready to make the sacrifice when duty requires it."
Porter departed Grand Gulf with his gunboat squadron and rendezvoused that evening with the Farragut fleet at the mouth of the Red River. After obtaining supplies, he proceeded up the River the next day with U.S.S. Benton, Lafayette, Pittsburg, Sterling Price, ram Switzerland, and tug Ivy. U.S.S. Estrella and Arina joined en route. The evening of 5 May, the ships arrived at Fort De Russy, Louisiana, ''a powerful casemated work'' which the Confederates had recently evacu-ated in the face of the naval threat. Porter pushed past a heavy obstruction in the river and proceeded to Alexandria, Louisiana, which he took possession of formally on the morning of the 7th, ''without encountering any resistance.'' Subsequently turning the town over to Army troops, and unable to continue upriver because of the low water, Porter's force returned to Fort De Russy and partially destroyed it. Porter also sent U.S.S. Sterling Price, Pittsburg, Arina, and ram Switzerland up the Black River on a reconnaissance. At Harrisonburg these ships encountered heavy batteries, which they engaged with little effect because of the position of the guns ''on high hills.'' Leaving the larger portion of his force at the Red River, Porter returned to Grand Gulf on the 13th.
Confederate troops under Captain Edward F. Hobby, CSA, captured a launch and drove off two other boats from U.S.S. William G. Anderson, Acting Lieutenant Hill, at St. Joseph's Island, Texas. The Union boats were salvaging cotton from a sloop which had been run ashore on 30 April.
3 C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured and burned bark Union Jack and ship Sea Lark off Brazil.
4 A part of Rear Admiral Porter's squadron having arrived off the Red River the previous evening, Rear Admiral Farragut sent a dispatch to Secretary Welles: "Feeling now that my instructions of October 2, 1862, have been carried out by my maintenance of the blockade of Red River until the arrival of Admiral Porter . . . I shall return to New Orleans as soon as practicable, leaving the Hartford and Albatross at the mouth of Red River to await the result of the combined attack upon Alexandria, but with order to Commodore Palmer to avail himself of the first good oppor-tunity to run down past Port Hudson." As the Admiral left Hartford, the crew manned the rigging and filled the air with cheers in tribute to him.
U.S.S. Albatross, Lieutenant Commander John E. Hart, on a reconnaissance up the Red River, engaged armed iron steamers Grand Duke and Mary T and Confederate cavalry near Fort De Russy. The Union gunboat sustained considerable damage and was compelled to withdraw.
U.S.S. Chocura, Lieutenant Commander Truxtun, with U.S.S. Maratanza in company, seized sloop Express off Charleston with cargo of salt.
U.S.S. Kennebec, Lieutenant Commander John H. Russell, captured schooner Juniper, bound from Havana to Mobile.
5 Major General John A. Dix wrote Rear Admiral 5 p, Lee, requesting naval assistance and sup-port during an expedition on the York River: "I need two gunboats to cover the landing of the troops. Lee assigned U.S.S. Commodore Morris, Morse, and Mystic to this duty and directed Lieu-tenant Commander Gillis to ". . . give the army all the assistance in your power." Two days later the Union vessels convoyed the Army transports as far as West Point and supported the landing. Guarding the troops until the soldiers' line of entrenchments was secure, Gillis de-tailed Morse and Mystic to remain on station to ''repel any attack that may be made, as their guns command the peninsula completely."
U.S.S. Tahoma, Lieutenant Commander A. A. Semmes, captured schooner Crazy Jane in the Gulf of Mexico northwest of Charlotte Harbor, Florida, with cargo of cotton and turpentine.
6 Commander North, CSN, wrote Secretary Mallory from Scotland regarding ships being built in England: ''For the first time I begin to fear that our vessels stand in much danger of being seized by this Government. I have written to our minister in France to know if this ship can be put under the French flag; this will involve some expense, but shall not consider a few thousand pounds . . . if we can only succeed in getting out . . . aiding to raise the blockade and making captures of some of their vessels, which may prove valuable additions to our little navy.
Rear Admiral Dahlgren noted in his private journal: "Captain Drayton came in about supper-time from New York, where he had brought the Passaic from Port Royal. He says it would be madness to go into Charleston again, and all the Captains who were in the action so agree fully. He thinks Dupont intended to renew the attack, but when the Captains of the iron-dads assembled in his ship, and made their reports, he gave it up.
C.S.S. Florida, Lieutenant Maffitt, captured brig Clarence off the coast of Brazil. Clarence was converted into a Confederate Cruiser under Lieutenant Charles Read who wrote: ''I propose to take the brig which we have just captured, and with a crew of twenty men to proceed to Hampton Roads and cut out a gunboat or steamer of the enemy.'' Maffitt concurred with the daring plan and ordered Clarence to raid Union shipping at either Hampton Roads or Baltimore.
U.S.S. R. R. Cuyler, Lieutenant Commander James E. Jouett, captured steamer Eugenie bound from Havana to Mobile.
U.S.S. Dragon, Acting Master G. F. Hill, seized schooner Samuel First attempting to run the block-ade above Potomac Creek, Virginia.
7 The Charleston Mercury reported: ''The guns of this famous ironclad [U.S.S. Keokuk] now lie on the South Commercial wharf. They consist of two long XI-inch columbiads, and will be mounted for our defense, valuable acquisitions, no less than handsome trophies of the battle of Charleston Harbor. . . . The turret had to be unbolted, or unscrewed, and taken off before the guns could be slung for removal. This was an unpleasant job of some difficulty, the labor being performed under water, when the sea was smooth, and in the night time only. Those engaged in the under-taking, going in the small boat of the fort, were sometimes protected from the enemy by the presence of our gunboats; at other times not. One gun was raised last week, being removed by the old lightboat. General Ripley himself, night before last, went down to superintend the removal of the second gun. Enterprise, even with scant means, can accomplish much.''
8 Secretary Welles received Rear Admiral Porter's dispatch regarding the fall of Grand Golf and informed President Lincoln. ''The news,'' wrote Welles, ''was highly gratifying to the President, who had not heard of it until I met him at the Cabinet-meeting.
Union Mortar Flotilla under Commander Charles H. B. Caldwell, supported by U.S.S. Richmond Captain Alden, opened the bombardment of the Confederate works at Port Hudson, Louisiana.
U.S.S. Canandaigua, Captain Joseph F. Green, seized blockade running steamer Cherokee off Charles-ton with cargo of cotton.
U.S.S. Flag, Commander James H. Strong, captured schooner Amelia attempting to run the block-ade out of Charleston late at night with cargo of cotton. While under tow, Amelia developed a serious leak in a storm on the 15th and had to be abandoned.
U.S.S. Primrose, Master William T. Street, captured schooner Sarah Lavinia at Corrotoman Creek, Virginia.
9 Captain Case, commanding U.S.S. Iroquois, reported that the Confederates were mounting guns on the northern faces of Fort Fisher at Wilmington. ''They appear, he wrote Rear Admiral S. P. Lee, ''to be large caliber.'' This defensive strengthening of the Southern position was in keeping with the view voiced by Lieutenant John Taylor Wood, CSN, in a 14 February 1863, letter to President Davis concerning the defenses of Wilmington: ''The batteries covering the water approaches, as far as I am able to judge, are well placed and admirably constructed. But the great want, the absolute necessity of the place if it is to be held against naval attack, is heavy guns, larger caliber.'' So well did the Confederates do their job that Fort Fisher successfully dominated Cape Fear until the massive amphibious operation in January 1865.
U.S.S. Aroostook, Lieutenant Commander Franklin, seized schooner Sea Lion bound from Mobile to Havana with cargo of cotton.
10 U.S.S. Mound City, Lieutenant Commander Bryon Wilson, reconnoitering near Warrenton, Mis-sissippi took a recently constructed battery under fire and "in a short time it was all in a blaze.' Rear Admiral Porter observed: "Thus ended a fort in the space of an hour which had taken the rebels five months to build, working mostly day and night.'' This form of constant hammering by the gunboats at every point along the western waters sapped Confederate strength and resources. Boat crews from U.S.S. Owasco, Lieutenant Commander John Madigan, Jr., and U.S.S. Katahdin, Lieutenant Commander Philip C. Johnson, burned blockade runner Hanover off Galveston.
12 Writing of the significance of Farragut's operations in the Mississippi below Vicksburg, Commodore H. H. Bell said I an, one of those who attaches more importance to the admiral's brilliant move up the river than to anything that has been done by navy or army since capture of New Orleans. It was the finishing stroke to that great blow, and I am glad the admiral did it single handed, unassisted from other quarters. The want of provisions soon became sensibly felt from Vicksburg to Richmond. . . . It was better than any battle, for it is of wider influence and more generally felt than any battle. Man cannot hold together without food. . . . It was gallantly done, and I think the admiral has fairly wedded his name to the Mississippi through all ages to come.''
Having begun an expedition up the Tennessee River on 5 May to destroy "every kind of boat that could serve the rebels to cross the river,'' gunboats under Lieutenant Commander S. L. Phelps supported an Army assault on Confederate troops at Linden, Tennessee. ''Along the river,'' Phelps reported, ''I heard of detachments of rebel cavalry at various Points At Linden . . . there was a rebel force of this kind posted. I arranged with Colonel [William] K. M.; Breckenridge to cross his small force and cover different Points with the gunboats, places to which he could retreat if need be, while he should attempt to surprise Linden.'' Taking the Union cavalry on board the gunboats Phelps transported them across the river ''with little noise,'' thereby enabling the surprise attack to be completely successful. In many effective ways mobile naval support of Army movements extended the effective use of seapower deep into the arteries of the Confederacy.
U.S.S. Conemaugh, Commander Reed Werden, and U.S.S. Monticello, Lieutenant Commander Braine, stood in close to shore at Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina, and bombarded five schooners aground there. Werden reported: ''It affords me pleasure to state that so accurate was our firing that in less than an hour we had fired about 100 bales of cotton on the beach near the schooners, set one schooner on fire, and more or less injured all the others in spars and hull.''
13 The persistent Army-Navy siege and assault on Vicksburg compelled Confederate strategists to withdraw much needed troops from the eastern front in an effort to bring relief to their beleaguered forces in the west. General Beauregard and others warned repeatedly of the possible disasters such loss of strength in the Charleston area and elsewhere might bring. This date, Confederate Secretary of War James A. Seddon wrote to those objecting to the transfer of troops from Charles-ton to Vicksburg: I beg you to reflect on the vital importance of the Mississippi to our cause, to South Carolina, and to Charleston itself. Scarce any point in the Confederacy can be deemed more essential, for the 'cause of each is the cause of all,' and the sundering of the Confederacy [along the line of the Mississippi] would be felt as almost a mortal blow to the most remote parts.''
General Banks wrote Rear Admiral Farragot that the withdrawal of U.S.S. Hartford and other ships down river from above Port Hudson "would lose to us all that has been gained in the cam-paigns for the passage of the fleet to this day, as it would reopen to Port Hudson the now closed avenue of supplies." Farragut responded on 15 May and directed that Commodore James S. Palmer remain above "so long as he can contribute to the fall of Port Hudson."
Float expedition from U.S.S. Kingfisher, Acting Master John C. Dutch, departed St. Helena Sound for Edisto, South Carolina, where previous reconnaissance missions had revealed a large quantity of corn was stored. The expedition returned five days later with 800 bushels. "My object," Dutch reported, ''in doing this was, first, to prevent its falling into rebel hands, and, second, to supply the people in this vicinity."
U.S.S. Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant W. C. Rogers, captured schooner A. J. Hodge at sea off the east Florida coast.
U.S.S. Daffodil, Acting Master E. M. Baldwin, seized blockade running British schooner Wonder off Port Royal.
C.S.S. Florida, Lieutenant Maffitt, captured ship Crown Point off the coast of Brazil. After remov-ing stores, Maffitt burned the prize.
U.S.S. De Soto, Captain Walker, seized schooner Sea Bird from Havana, off Pensacola Bay.
14 Boat crew from U.S.S. Currituck, Acting Master Linnekin, captured schooner Ladies' Delight near Urbanna, Virginia.
15 Writing Benjamin F. Isherwood, Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering, regarding the U.S. naval floating machine shop at Port Royal, Rear Admiral Du Pont said: "This establishment is a most essential and important accession to the efficiency of this squadron, turning out an amount of work highly creditable to all concerned with it and particularly to Chief Engineer McCleery whose attention is ceaseless to the wants of the steamers now by long service so frequently requiring repairs. In this connection I would call the attention of the Bureau to the necessity of sending out a small store vessel in which the materials required for work at the machine shop, now constantly increasing since the arrival of the ironclads, could be stored, and that some person be carefully selected to take charge thereof. The machine shop, as the Bureau is aware is in two old hulks, one of which is taken up entirely as a workshop and for quarters; and the other is in too decayed a condition to be suitable for the purpose of stowage."
U.S. S. Canandaigua, Captain J. F. Green, captured blockade running sloop Secesh off Charleston with cargo of cotton.
U.S.S. Kanawha, Lieutenant Commander Mayo, seized blockade running British brig Comet 20 miles east of Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay.
Some 35 Confederates seized mail steamers Arrow and Emily at Currituck bridge and forced the crews to pilot them to Franklin, Virginia.
16 Commander Bulloch wrote Secretary Mallory from London: ". . . I had understood, and Mr. Slidell was under the impression, that French builders, being anxious to establish business con-nections with the South and to compete with England for the custom of the Confederate States after the war, would be willing to deal with us largely upon credit . . . I found that French builders, like the English, wanted money, and were not willing to lay down the ships unless I could give security in the shape of cotton certificates. . . Chronic currency shortage constantly blocked Confederate ambitions abroad.
U.S.S. Two Sisters, Acting Master's Mate John Boyle, captured schooner Oliver S. Breese off the Anclote Keys, Florida, hound from Havana to Bayport, Florida.
Store ship U.S.S. Courier, Acting Master Walter K. Cressy, captured blockade running sloops Angelina and Emeline off the South Carolina coast, bound from Charleston to Nassau with cargoes of cotton.
U.S.S. Powhatan, Captain Steedman, captured sloop C. Routereau off Charleston with small cargo of cotton and turpentine.
17 Confederate blockade runner Cuba was burned by her crew in the Gulf of Mexico to prevent capture by U.S.S. De Soto, Captain W. M. Walker. Rear Admiral Bailey reported: "Her cargo cost 5400,000 in specie at Havana, and was worth at Mobile a million and a quarter.
U.S.S. Courier, Acting Master Cressy, captured schooner Maria Bishop at sea off Cape Romain, South Carolina, with cargo of cotton.
Flag Officer Silas H. Stringham, in U.S.S. Minnesota, reported the capture of schooner Almira Ann near the Chickahominy River, Virginia, with cargo of timber.
U.S.S. Kanawha, Lieutenant Commander Mayo, captured schooner Hunter bound from Mobile to Havana with cargo of cotton.
18 Gunboats under Rear Admiral Porter joined with troops under Generals Grant and W. T. Sherman in assaulting Confederate works to the rear of Vicksburg. Porter had departed for the operation on the Yazoo River on the 15th. He reported to Secretary Welles: ''Leaving two of the ironclads at Red River, one at Grand Gulf, one at Carthage, three at Warrenton, and two in the Yazoo, left me a small force to cooperate with; still, I disposed of them to the best advantage." Observing that Grant's troops had cut off Confederates at Snyder's Bluff, Porter ordered U.S.S. Baron Dc Kalb, Choctaw, Linden, Romeo, Petrel, and Forest Rose up the Yazoo to assist the Army. Upon the Union occupation of Snyder's Bluff, Porter quickly sent up provisions for the troops, and U.S.S. De KaIb, Lieutenant Commander J. G. Walker, pushed on to Haynes' Bluff which the Southerners were evacuating. Porter noted that "guns, forts, tents, and equipage of all kinds fell into our hands." Quickly taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the fall of the heavy works, the Admiral moved the gunboats into position and began to shell the hill batteries at Vicksburg. On. the 19th six mortars began to fire "night and day as rapidly as they could."
U.S.S. Linden, Acting Lieutenant T. E. Smith, escorted five Army transports down the Mississippi. The lead transport, Crescent City, was fired into by a Confederate masked battery at Island No. 82, wounding some soldiers. Linden immediately opened fire, and drove the artillerists from their battery. Under the ships' guns, troops were landed and the buildings in the area were destroyed in retaliation
U.S.S. Kanawha, Lieutenant Commander Mayo, took schooner Ripple bound from Mobile to Havana with cargo of cotton.
U.S.S. Shepherd Knapp, Acting Lieutenant Henry Eytinge, ran aground on a reef at Cape Haitien, West Indies, could not get off, and was stripped of all usable stores, provisions, and instruments before being abandoned.
Boat crew under Acting Master's Mate N. Mayo Dyer from U.S.S.R. R. Cuyler boarded, captured, and burned schooner Isabel near Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay.
U.S.S. Octorara, Commander Collins, captured British blockade runner Eagle near the Bahamas. Collins reported that the chase had failed "to heave to till we had disabled her machinery.
18-21 Confederate troops planted torpedoes in Skull Creek, South Carolina, "with a view of destroy-ing the enemy's vessels, which are constantly passing through this thoroughfare.''
19 As Union Army troops advanced on Vicksburg, Generals Grant and Sherman sought continuous naval support for their movements. Grant wrote Rear Admiral Porter: ''If you can run down and throw shell in just back of the city it will aid us and demoralize an already badly beaten enemy.' Sherman requested similar assistance: "My right [flank] is on the Mississippi. We have possession of the bluff down a mile or more below the mouth of the Bayou. Can't you send immediately a couple of gunboats down? They can easily see and distinguish our men, and can silence a water battery that is the extremity of their flank on the river and enfilade the left flank of their works.'' U.S.S. Benton, Lieutenant Commander James A.- Greer, was ordered into action at once by Porter: "The moment you see the forts on the hills opening on our troops advancing toward the town, move up and open at long range with shell on such forts as may be firing. The object is to disconcert the enemy, and by firing shell at your longest range, you can do so. Do not come in range of the guns above the city, as there arc no forts there that can trouble our army. Fire on the forts on the hill, and try and drop your shell in them.''
Lieutenant Commander Reigart B. Lowry wrote Secretary Welles urging that naval officers and seamen not employed at sea be used to man forts and seacoast defenses: ''The most successful defenses made against us - - - at various points of the Mississippi and the seacoast have been made by ex-naval officers and seamen; in the last defense of Port Hudson the guns were worked by seamen and naval men, so at Vicksburg, at Galveston, and Charleston. The defenses of Sebastopol were entirely defended by Russian seamen for many months, while from the fort guarding that port they beat back the combined fleets of England and France."
U.S.S. Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant W. C. Rogers, seized blockade running Spanish steamer Union in the Gulf of Mexico west of St. Petersburg.
Mortar schooner U.S.S. Sophronia, Acting Ensign William R. Rude, seized schooner Mignonette at Piney Point, Virginia, attempting to smuggle whiskey.
U.S.S. De Soto, Captain W. M. Walker, captured schooner Mississippian in the Gulf of Mexico, bound from Mobile to Havana with cargo of cotton and turpentine.
20 Rear Admiral Farragut reported to Secretary Welles: ''We are again about to attack Port Hudson. General Banks supported by the Hartford, Albatross and some of the small gunboats, will attack from above, landing probably at Bayou Sara, while General Augur will march up from Baton Rouge and will attack the place from below. . . . my vessels are pretty well used up, but they must work as long as they can."
Writing of the reports he had made to the Navy Department after the Charleston attack, Rear Admiral Du Pont noted: ''I did not call a failure, a reconnaissance. 1 told them, to renew the attack would be to convert failure into disaster. I told them moreover that Charleston could not be taken by a purely naval attack-nor can it be in the ordinary professional acceptation of the term not that there is not power enough in the country to do it- but there is nothing to justify its application or to reward its success commensurate with the sacrifice etc. When Admiral Sir Charles Napier informed the Admiralty that to attack Cronstadt would be the destruction of the British fleet-or when the combined fleets withdrew from the attack of the forts at Sebastopol, it was not intended to convey, there was not wealth and life enough in Britain and France to accomplish it. Blood and treasure may do almost anything in war. Suvorov bridged marshes with human bodies, by forcing his advance guard into them, until the remainder of his army found a foot-hold on their fallen comrades."
Boat crew under Acting Master's Mate Charles W. Fisher of U.S.S. Louisiana captured schooner R. T. Renshaw in the Tar River, above Washington, North Carolina.
21 General Grant wrote Rear Admiral Porter, informing him of an anticipated Army attack on Vicks-burg and requesting the assistance of the gunboats: ''I expect to assault the city at 10 a.m. tomorrow. I would request, and earnestly request it, that you send up the gunboats below the city and shell the rebel entrenchments until that hour and for thirty minutes after. 1f the mortars could all be sent down to near this point on the Louisiana shore, and throw shells during the night, it would materially aid me. I would like at least to have the enemy kept annoyed during the night." Porter responded and "kept six mortars playing rapidly on the works and town all night; sent the Benton, Mound City, and Carondelet up to shell the water batteries, and other places where troops might be resting during the night." Early the morning of 22 May, Mound City, Lieutenant Commander Wilson, engaged the hill batteries. An hour later she was joined by U.S.S. Benton, Tuscumbia, and Carondelet. The combined fire temporarily silenced the Confederate work. Leaving Tuscumbia to prevent further action by the hill batteries, Porter proceeded with the other three gunboats against the water batteries. These guns opened on the Union ships "furiously," but Porter forced his way to within a quarter of a mile of them. By this time the gunboats had been engaged for an hour longer than Grant had requested, and, with no Army assault apparently forthcoming, the Admiral directed his ships to drop back Out of range. The gunboats were hit ''a number of times'' but suffered little severe damage; they were, however, nearly out of ammuni-tion when the attack was broken off. The Admiral later learned that the troops ashore had attacked Vicksburg, an unsuccessful assault that had been obscured from the squadron's view by the smoke and noise of its own guns and the Confederate batteries. Praising Grant's effort, Porter remarked: ''The army had terrible work before them, and are fighting as well as soldiers ever fought before, but the works are stronger than any of us dreamed of." Brigadier General John McArthur in turn praised the work of the gunboats. He wrote Porter: "I received your communication regarding the silencing of the two batteries below Vicksburg, and in reply would say that I witnessed with intense satisfaction the firing on that day, being the finest I have yet seen.
Under Lieutenant Commander J. G. Walker, U.S.S. Baron De Kalb, Choctaw, Forest Rose, Linden, and Petrel pushed up the Yazoo River from Haynes' Bluff to Yazoo City, Mississippi. As the gun-boats approached the city, Commander Isaac N. Brown, CSN, who had commanded the heroic ram C.S.S. Arkansas the preceding summer, was forced to destroy three ''powerful steamers, rams and a "fine navy yard, with machine shops of all kinds, sawmills, blacksmith shops, etc. . . to prevent their capture. Porter noted that ''what he had begun our forces finished," as the city was evacuated by the Southerners. The Confederate steamers destroyed were Mobile, Republic, and ''a monster, 310 feet long and 70 feet beam.'' Had the latter been completed, ''she would have given us much trouble.'' Porter's prediction to Secretary Welles at the end of the expedition, though overly optimistic in terms of the time that would be required, was nonetheless a clear summary of the effect of the gunboats' sweep up the Yazoo: ''It is a mere question of a few hours, and then, with the exception of Port Hudson (which will follow Vicksburg), the Missis-sippi will be open its entire length.''
Rear Admiral Farragut wrote Captain John R. Goldsborough, commanding the blockading force off Mobile: "I am much gratified to find that you are adding to the successes of the day by the number of captures recently made. . . . I know' that your service is one of great anxiety, and irksome, with but little compensation save the pleasure of knowing that you are doing your duty toward your country. I know your officers would be glad to be with me in the river, and gladly would I bring them here to my assistance were it not indispensable to have them on the blockade. I feel as if I was about to make the last blow at them [the Confederates] I shall for some time to come. The fall of Port Hudson will place Admiral Porter in command of the river, and I shall join my fleet outside, and trust I shall call on my officers outside for their exertions in the reduc-tions of the last two places Mobile and Galveston."
U.S.S. Union, Acting Lieutenant Edward Conroy, seized blockade running British schooner Linnet in the Gulf of Mexico, west of Charlotte Harbor, Florida.
U.S.S. Currituck, Acting Master Linnekin, U.S.S. Anacostia, Acting Master Nelson Provost, and U.S.S. Satellite, Acting Master John F. D. Robinson, captured schooner Emily at the mouth of the Rappahannock River.
22 Small boats from U.S.S. Fort Henry, Lieutenant Commander McCauley, captured sloop Isabella in Waccassassa Bay, Florida.
Union Army steamer Allison destroyed schooner Sea Bird after seizing her cargo of coal near New Bern, North Carolina.
24 Confederates fired on the commissary and quartermaster boat of the Marine Brigade under Briga-dier General A. 'V. Ellet above Austin, Mississippi, on the evening of 23 May. Before dawn, this date, Ellet's forces went ashore, engaged Confederate cavalry some 8 miles outside of Austin, and, after a 2-hour engagement, compelled the Southerners to withdraw. Finding evidence of smuggling and in reprisal for the firing of the previous evening, Ellet ordered the town burned. ''As the fire progressed,'' Ellet reported, ''the discharge of firearms was rapid and frequent in the burning buildings, showing that fire is more penetrating in its search [for hidden weapons] than my men had been, two heavy explosions of powder also occurred during the conflagration.
A boat expedition under Acting Master Edgar Van Slyck from U.S.S. Port Royal, Lieutenant Commander Morris, captured sloop Fashion above Apalachicola, Florida, with cargo of cotton. Van Slyck also burned the facility at Devil's Elbow where the sloop had been previously repaired and destroyed a barge near Fashion.
24-30 Lieutenant Commander J. G. Walker ascended the Yazoo River with U.S.S. Baron De KaIb, Forest Rose, Linden, Signal, and Petrel to capture transports and to break up Confederate movements. Fifteen miles below Fort Pemberton, Walker found and burned four steamers which were sunk on a bar blocking the river. Fire was exchanged with Confederate sharp shooters as the Union gunboats returned downriver. A landing party destroyed a large sawmill, and at Yazoo City "brought away a large quantity of bar, round, and flat iron from the navy yard." Walker next penetrated the Sunflower River for about 150 miles, destroying shipping and grain before return-ing to the mouth of the Yazoo River. Admiral Porter reported to Secretary Welles: ''Steamers to the amount of $700,00n were destroyed by the late expedition 9 in all.''
25 C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured and burned ship Gildersleeve and bonded Justina off Bahia, Brazil.
26 General Banks wrote Rear Admiral Farragut of the status of the assault on Port Hudson, adding: ''Please let the mortars destroy the enemy's rest at night." The Admiral answered: ''I shall con-tinue to harass the enemy occasionally day and night. He was pretty well exercised last night both by the Hartford and the mortars. . . . We have several mortar boats up half a mile nearer, and the ships will be ready to open the moment you give us notice. . . . We will aid you all we can.
Commander Davenport reported the assistance rendered the Army in the occupation of Wilkinson's Point, North. Carolina. U.S.S. Ceres, Shawsheen, and Brinker reconnoitered the area along the Neuse River, capturing and destroying a number of small schooners and boats. The gunboats then covered the landing of the troops and remained on station until the Army was solidly entrenched in its position.
27 U.S.S. Cincinnati, Lieutenant Bache, ". . . in accordance with Generals Grant's and Sherman's urgent request," moved to enfilade some rifle pits which had barred the Army's progress before Vicksburg. Though Porter took great precautions for the ship's safety by packing her with logs and hay, a shot entered Cincinnati's magazine, "and she commenced filling rapidly." Bache reported: ''Before and after this time the enemy fired with great accuracy, hitting us almost every time. We were especially annoyed by plunging shots from the hills, an 8-inch rifle and a 10-inch smoothbore doing us much damage. The shot went entirely through our protection-hay, wood, and iron." Cincinnati, suffering 25 killed or wounded and 15 probable drownings, went down with her colors nailed to the mast. General Sherman wrote: "The style in which the Cincinnati engaged the battery elicited universal praise.'' And Secretary Welles expressed the Department's appreciation of your brave conduct."
Confederate defenders turned back a major assault on Port Hudson, inflicting severe losses on the Union Army. General Banks' troops fell back into siege position and appealed to Rear Admiral Farragut to continue the mortar and ship bombardment night and day, and requested naval offi-cers and Marines to man a heavy naval battery ashore. A week later, Farragut reported the situation to Welles: "General Banks still has Port Hudson closely invested and is now putting up a battery of four IX-inch guns and four 24 pounders. The first will be superintended by Lieutenant [Commander] Terry, of the Richmond, and worked by four of her gun crews and to be used as a breaching battery. We continue to shell the enemy every night from three to five hours, and at times during the day when they open fire on our troops. . . . I have the Hartford and two or three gunboats above Port Hudson; the Richmond, Genesee, Essex, and this vessel [Monongahela], together with the mortar boats below, ready to aid the army in any way in our power.
C.S.S. Chattahoochee, Lieutenant John J. Guthrie, was accidentally sunk with what one Southern newspaper termed ''terrible loss of life" by an explosion in her boilers. Occurring while the gunboat was at anchor in the Chattahoochee River, Georgia, the accident cost the lives of some 18 men and injured others. She was later raised but never put to sea and was ultimately destroyed at war's end by the Confederates.
From Grand Gulf Lieutenant Commander Elias K. Owen, U.S.S. Louisville, reported to Rear Admiral Porter that, in accord with his order of the 23d, the destruction of the abandoned Rock Hill Point Battery had begun. He also informed the Admiral that at "the earnest request of Colonel [William] Hall, late commanding this post, I went up Big Black some three miles and destroyed a raft the enemy had placed across the river, chained at both ends.
U.S.S. Coeur de Lion, Acting Master William G. Morris, burned schooners Charity, Gazelle, and Flight in the Yeoeomico River, Virginia.
U.S.S. Brooklyn, Commodore H. H. Bell, captured sloop Blazer with cargo of cotton at Pass Cavallo, Texas.
28 Rear Admiral Porter instructed his gunboat squadron that "it will be the duty of the commander of every vessel to fire on people working on the enemy's batteries, to have officers on shore examining the heights, and not to have it said that the enemy put up batteries in sight of them and they did nothing to prevent it." The heavy firepower of the Union vessels- massed, mobile artillery-seriously hindered Confederate defenses and was a decisive factor in battle.
U.S.S. Brooklyn, Commodore H. H. Bell, captured sloop Kate at Point Isabel, Texas, with cargo of cotton.
29 Major General Grant sent two communiqués to Rear Admiral Porter, requesting naval assistance for Army operations near Vicksburg. In the first he informed the Admiral that a force under Major General Frank P. Blair, Jr., was attempting "to clear out the enemy between the [Big Black and Yazoo rivers, and, if possible, destroy the Mississippi Central Railroad Bridge" over the former. Grant pointed out that there was ''great danger'' of the Confederates cutting this expedition off in the rear and asked that Porter send "one or two gunboats to navigate the Yazoo as high up as Yazoo City,'' so that Blair would be assured an escape route if necessary.
In the second letter, Grant asked Porter: ''Will you have the goodness to order the Marine Brigade to Haynes' Bluff, with directions to disembark and remain in occupation until I can relieve them by other troops?. I have also to request that you put at the disposal of Major S. C. Lyford, chief of ordnance, two siege guns, ammunition, and implements complete, to be placed to the rear of Vicksburg. After they are in battery, and ready for use, I should be pleased to have them manned by crews from your fleet." Porter immediately replied that the brigade would leave early the next morning but that he had only one suitable large gun for use ashore and that one he was fitting on a mortar boat for close support ''to throw shell into the [rifle] pits in front of Sherman." There were, however, six 8-inch guns on board U.S.S. Manitou, he told Grant, and he would have them landed as soon as that ship returned from Yazoo City.
Also on this date, Lieutenant Commander Greer, U.S.S. Benton, reported firing on Confederates building rifle pits on the crest and side of a hill near the battery that commanded the canal. He drove them away after firing for an hour. This action was renewed during the next 2 days for brief intervals and Greer, on 31 May, reported to Porter: ''They return to their work as soon as the boats drop down."
C.S.S. Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured and burned Jabez Snow in the South Atlantic, bound from Cardiff to Montevideo, Uruguay, with cargo of coal.
U.S.S. Cimarron, Commander Andrew J. Drake, took blockade runner evening Star off Wassaw Sound, Georgia, with cargo of cotton.
30 U.S.S. Forest Rose, Acting Lieutenant G. W. Brown, and U.S.S. Linden, Acting Lieutenant T. E. Smith, reconnoitered Quiver River, Mississippi. A boat expedition from the two ships captured and burned Dew Drop and Emma Bett.
U.S.S. Rhode Island, Commander Stephen D. Trenchard, gave chase to blockade runner Margaret and Jessie off Eleuthera Island. Taking a shot in the boiler, the fleeing steamer was run ashore to keep from sinking with a large cargo of cotton.
Boat expedition under Lieutenant Commander Chester Hatfield captured schooner Star and sloop Victoria at Brazos Santiago, Texas; the latter was burned as she grounded in the attempt to bring her out into the Gulf.
Blockade runner A. D. Vance sailed from Great Britain to Wilmington; this was the first of 11 successful runs through the blockade for the vessel.
31 U.S.S. Carondelet, Lieutenant Murphy, patrolling the Mississippi River below Vicksburg, pro-ceeded to Perkins Landing, Louisiana, where Army troops were found cut off from the Union headquarters. Murphy "shelled the woods and thus prevented the enemy from advancing and throwing an enfilading fire on the troops ashore," while awaiting the arrival of a transport which could rescue the soldiers. As Forest Queen arrived and the Union troops began to board her, a large force of Confederates pressed an attack. Carondelet's guns laid down a heavy fire, saving the troops and forcing the Southerners eventually to break off the assault. Carondelet remained at Perkins' Landing after Forest Queen departed, saved those stores and material which it was possible to take on board, and destroyed the rest to prevent its capture by Confederates.
Rear Admiral Porter, accompanied by some of the fleet officers, went ashore, mounted horses and rude to Major General 'V. T. Sherman's headquarters before Vicksburg. Sherman reported that the Admiral, referring to the loss of U.S.S. Cincinnati on 27 May, was "willing to lose all the boats if he could do any good." Porter also volunteered to place a battery ashore. To that end, Lieutenant Commander Selfridge visited Sherman on the first of June and reported that he was prepared to land two 8-inch howitzers and to man and work them if the Army would haul the guns in to position and build a parapet for them. On 5 June Selfridge told Porter that one gun was in position and "I shall have the other gun mounted tonight. . . Frequent joint efforts of this nature hastened the end of Vicksburg.
U.S.S. Pawnee, Commander Balch, and U.S.S. E.B. Hale, Acting Lieutenant Edgar Brodhead, supported an Army reconnaissance to James Island, South Carolina, and covered the troop landing. Balch reported: ''The landing was successfully accomplished and the reconnaissance made, or forces meeting with no opposition, and they were embarked at 9 a.m. and returned to their camps without a casualty of any kind." Colonel Charles H. Simonton, CSA, commanding at James Island, warned: ''This expedition of the enemy removes all [their] fear of our supposed batteries on the Stono, and no doubt we will have visits from them often."
U.S.S. Sunflower, Acting Master Edward Van Sice, seized schooner Echo off the Marquesas Keys with cargo of cotton.