Guidebook to
“The Navy in the Civil War”
Map

NOTE:
“Map approximate” means the location of an event plotted on the map is as nearly accurate as possible. Also, in the interest of saving space on the map, initial zeros in dates, (e.g. “07”), appear as “7” and year dates, (e.g., “62”), all have the initial “6” removed, so that, for example, “02.12.64” (February 12, 1864) will be “2.12.4.”

Word Document for Printing


1861 1862 1863 1864 1865
January January January January
February February February February
March March March March
April April April April April
May May May May
June June June June June
July July July July
August August August August
September September September September
October October October October
November November November November
December December December December

 

April 1861

4.17.1

SUPPORT

USS Powhatan (Lt D. D. Porter) covers the landing of 600 soldiers to garrison Ft Pickens in Pensacola harbor. This quick action denied the Confederates the use of the best harbor in the Gulf of Mexico for the entire war.

4.20.1

OTHER

Federal forces abandon Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, VA, burning the facility to deny its use to the Confederates. USS Pennsylvania, Germantown, Raritan, Columbia, and Dolphin are burned to the waterline and USS Delaware, Columbus, Plymouth, and Merrimack burned and sunk. USS Cumberland, Pawnee, and tug Yankee escape. The Yard provided the Confederates with a drydock and a large number of guns—which soon appeared in the batteries and fortifications along the coast and rivers.

4.20.1a

OTHER

USS Constitution  (Lt George Rodgers) is towed from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD into Chesapeake Bay to prevent her capture by the rebels. Four days later, carrying midshipmen from the Academy, she heads for Newport, RI. This will be the home of the Academy throughout the war. She arrives on May 9.

4.21.1

OTHER

Steamers Baltimore, Mount Vernon  Philadelphia. and Powhatan are seized off Washington, D.C. and armed for the defence of the capital. Confederate Navy officers erect batteries across the river at Aquia Creek--terminal point of railroad connection with Richmond.

May 1861

5.10.1

OTHER

USS Niagara (Capt. William W. McKean) blockades Charleston, SC.

5.18.1

OTHER

Confederate President Jefferson Davis commissions schooner Savannah (Capt. Thomas H. Baker) as the first privateer ("a private armed vessel in the service of the Confederate States on the high seas against the United States of America, their ships, vessels, goods, and effects, and those of their citizens during the pendency of the war now existing”)

5.19.1

BOMBARD

Rebel batteries at Sewall’s Point, VA are engaged by USS Monticello (Capt. Henry Eagle) and USS Thomas Freeborn  (Cdr Ward).

5.24.1

EXPED

Cdr Rowan (USS Pawnee)  leads an amphibious expedition from the Washington Navy Yard and occupies Alexandria, VA under cover of USS Thomas Freeborn, Anacostia, and Resolute . Navy Lt R. B. Lowry, in charge of the landing party, raised the U.S. flag over the Customs House. This is the first landing of Federal troops in Virginia.

5.26.1

OTHER

USS Brooklyn (Cdr Charles H. Poor) blockades New Orleans and mouth of Mississippi River.

5.26.1a

OTHER

USS Powhatan (Lt D. D. Porter) blockades Mobile, AL.

5.27.1

OTHER

USS Union (Cdr John R. Goldsborough) blockades Savannah, GA.

5.29.1

(29-1)

BOMBARD

The Confederate batteries at Aquia Creek engage the ships of the new Potomac Flotilla: USS Thomas Freeborn (Cdr Ward), USS Anacostia (Lt Napoleon Collins), and USS Resolute (Act’g Master William Budd); They are joined on the evening of May 31 by USS Pawnee (Cdr Rowan).

June 1861

6.8.1

OTHER

USS Mississippi (Flag Officer Mervine) blockades Key West, FL

July 1861

7.7.1

OTHER

USS Resolute (Act’g Master William Budd) picks up two floating torpedoes (mines) in the Potomac River. This is the earliest known use of torpedoes by the Confederates—which will account for 53 Union vessels by the end of the war. (Map approximate)

7.21.1

SHIP2SHIP

First ship-to-ship combat of the war takes place in Oregon Inlet, NC as USS Albatross (Cdr Prentiss) engages CSS Beaufort (Lt R. C. Duvall). Albatross’s heavier guns force Beaufort to withdraw.

7.21.1a

OTHER

U.S. Marines commanded by Major Reynolds take part in the First Battle of Bull Run: The Confederates also had a naval battery at Manassas.

7.24.1

OTHER

The Navy supplies 400 sailors and thirty Marines, with naval cannon and howitzers, to garrison Ft Ellsworth, west of Alexandria, one of the ring of forts guarding Washington City. The seamen remain on station until November, when the need for sailors on the Western Waters becomes acute, and they are replaced by Army troops and transferred to Cairo.

August 1861

8.3.1

OTHER

John LaMountain makes the first ascent in a balloon from Union  ship Fanny at Hampton Roads to observe Confederate batteries on Sewell’s Point, VA.

8.18.1

SINKING

Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis (Capt. Coxetter) founders on the bar trying to enter St. Augustine, FL, ending a most successful cruise.

8.28.1

EXPED

Cdr Dahlgren, Commandant of Washington Navy Yard, sends 400 seamen to Alexandria, VA to help defend Ft Ellsworth.

8.29.1

JOINT

Hatteras Inlet was secured as Forts Hatteras and Clark surrendered unconditionally to Flag Officer Silas Stringham’s warships and Gen’l Ben Butler’s troops. This combined amphibious operation—the first of the war—was conducted at the behest of the Navy to close Pamlico Sound to blockade runners and commerce raiders, and involved USS Minnesota, Monticello, Pawnee, Susquehanna, Cumberland, Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane, US tug Fanny, and two transports carrying the 900 troops. Thus the first Union victory of the war was a naval one—much needed after the battlefield reverses of the previous four months.

September 1861

9.6.1

JOINT

Gunboats USS Tyler  (Cdr J. Rodgers) and USS Lexington. (Cdr Stembel) spearhead Gen’l Grants seizure of strategic Paducah and Smithland, KY, at the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. This operation prevented Confederate movement into the state and saved Kentucky for the Union.

9.10.1

SUPPORT

USS Conestoga  (Lt S. L. Phelps) and USS Lexington (Cdr Stembel) cover the advance of Federal troops at Lucas Bend, MO, silencing a Confederate battery and damaging the rebel gunboat CSS Yankee.

9.14.1

EXPED

Sailors and Marines from USS Colorado row into Pensacola harbor under cover of darkness, board and burn Confederate privateering schooner Judah, and spike guns at Pensacola Navy Yard.

9.16.1

(16-17)

EXPED

Fortifications and guns in a fortification on Beacon Island are destroyed by a landing party from USS Pawnee (Cdr Rowan), closing Ocracoke Inlet, NC.

9.17.1

EXPED

Landing party from USS Massachusetts occupies Ship Island, MS after its evacuation by Confederate forces. Ship Island becomes the staging area for Union troops operating below New Orleans.

October 1861

10.1.1

CAPTURE

Confederate naval forces under flag Officer William F. Lynch, CSN, capture steamer Fanny in Pamlico Sound with Union  troops on board. This was the first Southern naval victory in the sounds, and garnered two large rifled guns as well as a large quantity of army stores. (Map approximate)

10.9.1

SHIP2SHIP

First documented attempt to sink an enemy ship with a submarine in the Civil War. The target was the USS Minnesota in Hampton Roads. The submarine became fouled in grappling hanging from the jib boom (which its occupants thought was the anchor cable). The vessel escaped. A 12 October newspaper report based upon testimony from a Confederate deserter claims the submarine employed an India rubber suction plate to attach to its target and plant a timed bomb.

10.12.1

SHIP2SHIP

Confederate metal-sheathed ram CSS Manassas (Commodore Hollins) in company with armed steamer Ivy and James L. Day, attacks USS Richmond, Vincennes, Water Witch, Nightingale, and Preble near Head of Passes, Mississippi River. In this offensive and spirited action by the small Confederate force, Manassas rammed Richmond, forced her and Vincennes aground under heavy fire before withdrawing.

10.14.1

OTHER

Lt A. Murray of USS Louisiana accepts the oath of allegiance to the United States from the citizens of Chincoteague Island, VA, who present a petition claiming their "abhorrence of the secession heresy."

Fall 1861

Fall 61

SINKING

William Cheney’s submarine—either the model reported on by Mrs. Baker or a larger version—is sunk in the James River while attempting to attack Union vessels. Navy pickets patrolling the river spotted the camouflaged float and sliced the rubber hose to the craft.

November 1861

11.4.1

OTHER

Fearing further attacks by Confederate “infernal machines,” Capt. William Smith of the USS Congress in Hampton Roads, devises the first anti-submarine nets of chains suspended from spars lashed in a frame around his vessel. (Map approximate)

11.7.1

JOINT

After leaving Ft Monroe on 29 October, Flag Officer Du Pont’s 77-ship expedition (the largest US fleet ever assembled to this date) captures Port Royal Sound, SC. Navy gunners poured an accurate and withering fire into defending Fts Walker and Beauregard, forcing the defenders to withdraw. A small Confederate naval squadron under Commodore Tatnall could not resist the mighty fleet, but ferried rebel troops to the mainland. Marines and sailors landed to occupy the forts until 16,000 soldiers under Brigadier Gen’l Thomas Sherman land. Port Royal was halfway between Charleston and Savannah, and became a valuable supply point for Federal vessels.

11.7.1

SUPPORT

USS Tyler (Cdr Walke) and USS Lexington (Cdr Stembel) hold back Confederate troops and allow the evacuation of Union forces under Gen’l U.S. Grant following the Battle of Belmont, MO. The gunboats engaged rebel batteries and supported the Federal army during the engagement, and covered their retreat when rebel reinforcements arrived.

11.8.1

OTHER

A serious international incident is sparked when Capt. Wilkes (USS San Jacinto) stops British mail steamer Trent and removes Confederate Commissioners Mason and Slidell.

11.9.1

EXPED

Flag Officer Du Pont's gunboats take possession of Beaufort, SC, cutting communications along the Broad River between Charleston and Savannah.

11.12.1

OTHER

Blockade runner Fingal--the first ship to run the blockade solely on Confederate government account --enters Savannah laden with military supplies. Fingal brought in the supplies that allow the Confederacy to fight the Second Battle of Shiloh in April 1862.

11.24.1

EXPED

Landing party sent from USS Flag (Cdr J. Rodgers) USS Augusta, Pocahontas, Seneca, and Savan­nah take possession of Tybee Island in Savannah Harbor.

December 1861

11.10.1

EXPED

Lt James W. A. Nicholson (USS Isaac Smith) lands and occupies abandoned Confederate Ft Drayton on Otter Island in the Ashpeoo River, SC. Nicholson later turned the fort over to the Army.

11.12.1

EXPED

USS Isaac Smith, Lt J. W. A. Nicholson, on a reconnaissance in the Ashepoo River, SC, disperses Confederate troops with gunfire and lands Marines to destroy their quarters. (Map approximate)

11.17.1

OTHER

In an attempt to bottle up Savannah and Charleston, Federal forces collect a fleet of old whaling ships, load them with stone, and sink them in the channels to the harbors. Seven such vessels of the “stone fleet” are sunk off Savannah on this date and two batches off Charleston on 20 and 26 January. The effort is not effective.

11.31.1

EXPED

Biloxi, MS surrendered to a landing party of seamen and Marines covered by USS Water Witch, New London, and Henry Lewis

11.31.1a

(31-2)

JOINT

Gunboats USS Ottawa, Pembina, and Seneca and four armed boats carrying howitzers support Union troops in an amphibious assault on rebel positions at Port Royal Ferry and the Coosaw River. Navy guns covered the advance inland and sailors with boat howitzers were landed for close support. This attack disrupted Confederate plans to isolate Federal troops on Port Royal Island. (Map approximate)

January 1862

1.11.2

SHIP2 SHIP

Confederate gunboats engage in a running fight near Lucas Bend, MO with USS Essex (Cdr W. D. Porter) and USS St. Louis (Lt Leonard Paulding) before withdrawing under cover of the rebel batteries at Columbus.

1.16.2

EXPED

A raid by USS Hatteras (Cdr Emmons) on Cedar Keys, FL destroys a Confederate battery, seven small vessels loaded with cotton and turpentine ready to run the blockade, a railroad depot and wharf, and the telegraph office, as well as capturing a small detachment of Confederate troops.

1.16.2a

OTHER

The seven gunboats built by Eads—Cairo, Carondelet, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburg, and St. Louis—are commissioned. (Plotted on the map at St Louis, actually built in several cities.)

February 1862

2.6.2

EXPED

Flag Officer Foote leads the partially ironclad gunboats USS Essex, Carondelet, Cincinnati, St. Louis and wooden gunboats USS Tyler, Conestoga, and Lexington in an attack on Ft Henry on the Tennessee River. Planned as a joint expedition, Grant’s army is delayed by two days of heavy rains and the gunboats make the assault alone. Confederate Gen’l Tilghman surrendered to Foote after losing all but four of his guns to the Navy guns.

2.10.2

SHIP2SHIP

In the wake of the capture of Roanoke Island, a squadron under Cdr Rowan pursued Flag Officer Lynch’s retiring Confederate naval force up the Pasquotank River, engaging the gunboats and batteries at Elizabeth City, NC. CSS Ellis was captured and CSS Seabird sunk; CSS Black Warrior, Fanny, and Forrest were set on fire to avoid capture; the fort and batteries at Cobb's Point were destroyed.

2.14.2

JOINT

BOMB

Flag Officer Foote leads his flotilla of gunboats (USS St. Louis, Carondelet, Louisville, Pittsburg, Tyler, and Conestoga) in a joint Navy-Army attack against Ft Donelson on the Cumberland River. After a renewed attack the following day, rebel defenders surrendered to Gen’l Grant on the 16th. In the South, loss of the fort fell heavily upon Navy Secretary Mallory, who was blamed in the press because “we are so wretch­edly helpless on the water.” The capture of Forts Henry and Donelson made Confederate positions in Kentucky untenable and neither that state nor Nashville could be held by the Confederates, who fell back to Island No. 10.

2.19.2

EXPED

Federal forces under Flag Officer Foote occupy Ft Defiance and take possession of Clarksville, TN as Confederates withdraw from the town. Foote urged an immediate move on Nashville while water in the river was high.

2.19.2a

SUPPORT

USS Delaware (Cdr Rowan) and USS Commodore Perry (Lt Flusser) engage Confederate troops at Winton, NC on the Chowan River. On the 20th Rowan's force covers the landing of Federal troops who de­stroy military stores and Confederate troop quarters.

2.25.2

JOINT

Nashville, TN is occupied by Federal troops convoyed up the Cumberland River by USS Cairo (Lt Nathaniel Bryant). A Nashville paper, referring to Confederate reverse at Forts Henry and Donelson, told its readers,We had nothing to fear from a land attack, but the gunboats are the devil."

March 1862

3.1.2

JOINT

Col. Alfred Mouton’s 18th Louisiana and the 2nd Mississippi Cavalry engage timberclad gunboats USS Tyler  (Lt Gwin) and Lexington (Lt Shirk) in the First Battle of Pittsburg Landing. Sent to fortify the bluffs overlooking the landing—and potentially able from there to cut the river—Mouton’s men had but a single day to dig into the frozen ground. Suspicious of activity on the hilltop, the Navy officers land a force of fifty sailors and fifty Illinois infantry. Under fire from almost a thousand Louisianans, this force manages to destroy what appeared to a blockhouse atop the hill and beats a retreat under covering fire from the ships. More importantly, this small action alerted both sides to the importance of Pittsburg Landing and drew forces from both sides to the site over the next month. Tyler and Lexington patrolled the river almost daily to ensure Mouton could not resume his fortifications.

3.3.2

JOINT

Flag Officer Du Pont reports the successful occupation of Fernandina, and St Marys, FL, as well as Cumberland Island and Sound. The landings were unopposed as the Confederates had decided to withdraw the heavy guns from Ft Clinch—the first fortification retaken by the Union. Steam launches armed with boat howitzers exchange musket and cannon fire with the last train out of Fernandina.

3.8.2

SHIP2SHIP

Ironclad CSS Virginia (Capt Franklin Buchanan) attacks Federal blockading fleet in Hampton Roads, VA. She rams USS Cumberland, which sank rapidly, and set USS Congress ablaze with hot shot and incendiary shells. USS Minnesota ran herself aground in the shallows to prevent the approach of the deep-draft rebel warship. Buchanan is wounded in the attack. After dark, USS Monitor (Lt Worden) arrived.

3.9.2

SHIP2SHIP

First engagement between iron warships as USS Monitor (Lt Worden) defends the wooden Union blockading squadron in Hampton Roads, VA against CSS Virginia (now under Lt Catesby ap Jones). The four-hour battle is indecisive and both ships withdraw—the blockade intact and the James River still closed. Said Capt. Dahlgren: “Now comes the reign of iron and cased sloops are to take the place of wooden ships.”

3.9.2a

EXPED

USS Mohican, Pocahontas, and Potomska, under Cdr Godon, take possession of St. Simon's and Jekyl Islands and land at Brunswick, GA--all abandoned in the Confederate withdrawal from the sea­coast.

3.11.2

EXPED

Landing party from USS Wabash (Cdr C. R. P. Rodgers) occupies St. Augustine, FL--evacuated by Confederate troops in the face of the naval threat.

3.12.2

EXPED

Unopposed landing party from USS Ottawa (Lt Thomas H. Stevens) occupies Jacksonville, FL.

3.12.2a

OTHER

Baxter Watson and William McClintock launch Pioneer I in New Orleans.

3.14.2

JOINT

Having sailed from Hatteras Inlet on 12 March, a joint Navy-Army force under Cdr Rowan and Gen’l Burnside attacks rebel batteries on the Neuse River and occupies New Bern, NC. Troops, Marines, and a naval battery under Lt Roderick S. McCook were landed on 13 March and, under cover of Navy guns, advanced to take Fts Dixie, Ellis, Thompson, and Lane on 14 March.

3.16.2

BOMBRD

While Grant’s army converges on Pittsburg Landing, TN, Flag Officer Foote’s main force of gunboats begins the bombardment of Island No. 10—the next major Confederate bastion on the Mississippi River.

3.16.2a

SUPPORT

Gunboats of Flag Officer Foote’s squadron convoy a fleet of forty Army transports to Savannah, TN, and continue on to patrol Pittsburg Landing. Lieutenants Gwin and Shirk of USS Tyler and Lexington had maintained a careful watch over the landing since their encounter with the 18th Louisiana on 1 March, preventing the creation of any fortifications.

3.17.2a

OTHER

Confederate raider CSS Nashville (Lt Pegram) runs through the gunfire of USS Cambridge (Cdr W. A. Parker) and USS Gemsbok (Lt Cavendy) off Beaufort, NC and breaks through the blockade. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Fox wrote Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough: "It is a terrible blow to our naval prestige . . . It is a Bull Run of the Navy.''

3.22.2

OTHER

Sailing as British steamer Oreto, CSS Florida (Act’g Master John Low) departs Liverpool, Eng­land, for Nassau to rendezvous with Bahama (which carries her four 7-inch rifled guns). Florida is the first ship built in England for the Confederacy.

3.31.2

OTHER

Pioneer’s inventors are granted the first letter of marque for a submarine by the rebel government.

April 1862

4.1.2

JOINT

On the night of 1-2 April, a combined Navy-Army expedition under Master John V. Johnston (USS St. Louis) lands and spikes guns of Fort No. 1 on the Tennessee shore above Island No. 10, Mississippi River.

4.3.2

EXPED

Apalachicola, FL is captured without resistance by armed boats from USS Mercedita (Cdr Stellwagen) and USS Sagamore (Lt Andrew J. Drake).

4.4.2a

SHIP2
SHIP

USS J. P. Jackson, New London, and Hatteras along with troops aboard steamer Lewis engage Confederate gunboats CSS Carondelet (Lt Washington Gwathmey), CSS Pamlico and CSS Oregon in a successful landing at Pass Christian, MS that resulted in the destruction of a rebel camp there.

4.6.2

SUPPORT

USS Tyler (Lt Gwin) and USS Lexington  (Lt Shirk) save Gen’l Grant’s army from annihilation at the Second Battle of Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh). After surprising the Union forces in the morning, Confederates under Albert Sidney Johnson had steadily forced the Yankees back towards the landing, hoping to gain the river bank and cut them off from their transports and supplies. The Navy timberclads arrived at 12m, but were unable to open direct fire until 6pm. At that time, as the Federal left flank withdrew towards the river, gunners aboard the warships could sight along Dill Branch at the advancing rebel infantry. The ensuing barrage stopped the Confederate advance and allowed Grant to dig in for the night. Until dawn, the Navy officers kept up a steady and random barrage of the Southern lines that denied the exhausted rebels much-needed sleep. In the morning the graybacks faced, not a similarly worn out enemy, but a fresh army brought over the Tennessee during the night. Grant was able to easily complete the Southern defeat. Both he and Confederate Gen’l Beauregard ended their official reports in almost identical language by crediting the gunboats for the outcome of the battle. When news of the disaster reached New Orleans, the Daily Delta wrote what may pass for the epitaph of the entire Southern war effort: “[The battle at Shiloh] has taught us that we have nothing to fear from a land invasion of the enemy if he is unsupported by his naval armaments. It has taught us that the right arm of his power in this war is in his gunboats on our seacoast; and that our only assurance of saving the Mississippi from his grasp is to paralyze that arm upon its waters.”

4.7.2

EXPED

Naval forces under Flag Officer Foote accept the surrender of Island No. 10, described as “the key to the Mississippi.” This opened the river to Union traffic south to Fort Pillow.

4.7.2a

CAPTURE

Following the surrender of Island No. 10, USS Mound City (Cdr Augustus H. Kiley) captures CSS Red Rover. Taken to Cairo, Red Rover is converted to the Navy’s first hospital ship. Sisters of the Holy Cross volunteered as her first nurses.

4.11.2

CAPTURE

Under the protection of CSS Virginia (Flag Officer Tattnall), CSS Jamestown (Lt Barney) and CSS Raleigh (Lt Cdr Joseph W. Alexander) capture three Union transports in the James River.

4.11.2a

SUPPORT

Following an intense two-day bombardment, Ft Pulaski, GA surrenders to Federal forces. One battery in the Union lines was manned by sailors from USS Wabash under Cdr C. R. P. Rodgers. 

4.13.2

JOINT

Joint Navy-Army expedition to Chickasaw, AL involving USS Tyler, (Lt Gwin) and USS Lexington (Lt Shirk) destroys the Memphis & Charleston Railroad bridge over Bear Creek—the object of the 1 March attempt by the same vessels.

4.14.2

BOMBRD

Flag Officer Foote's mortar boats open bombardment of Ft Pillow, TN.

4.18.2

BOMBRD

Cdr David D. Porter’s mortar boats open a six day bombardment of Ft Jackson at Head of Passes on the Mississippi River. Hidden by intervening woods, the mortars lobbed shells weighing up to 285 pounds into the fort.

4.19.2

SINKING

The defenders of Ft Jackson did not take Porter’s bombardment lying down. On this date, Confederate guns sank mortar schooner USS Maria J. Canton (Act’g Master Charles E. Jack).

4.24.2

SHIP2
SHIP

Steaming through a breach in the obstructions opened by USS Pinola and Itasca, Flag Officer Farragut’s fleet fights its way past Forts Jackson and Phillips at Head of Passes on the Mississippi River. Farragut loses USS Varuna, which was rammed by two Confederate ships and sunk. The rebels lose CSS Warrior, Stonewall Jackson, General Lovell, and Breckinridge, tender Phoenix, steamers Star and Belle Algerine, and Louisiana gunboat General Quitman as well as the armored ram CSS Manassas; CSS Landis and W. Burton surrender and Resolute and Governor Moore are destroyed to prevent capture. The forts hold out until 28 April, at which time the last three Confederate ships (CSS Louisiana, Defiance, and McRae) are destroyed and the forts surrender.

4.25.2

EXPED

Captain Theophilus Bailey, leading Farragut’s gunboats the Mississippi River in USS Cayuga (Commodore George H. Perkins), discovers Confederate infantry of the Chalmette Regiment on the nearby right bank as the sun comes up. Perkins orders them “to come on board and deliver up their arms, or we would blow them all to pieces. It seemed rather odd for a regiment on shore to be surrendering to a ship!”

4.25.2a

EXPED

Steaming up the Mississippi after passing the forts at Head of Passes in the night, Flag Officer Farragut’s ships train their guns on New Orleans and demand its surrender. Having been advised by the military that the city is indefensible, the Common Council “declare[s] that no resistance will be made to the forces of the United States." With New Orleans went the Leeds Iron Foundry—one of only two modern foundries in Dixie (the other being Tredegar in Richmond).

4.25.2a

SINKING

Lacking a propeller shaft still under construction at the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, CSS Mississippi--described by Confederate naval officers as “the strongest . . . most formidable war vessel that had ever been built”--is destroyed at New Orleans to prevent her capture. Submarine Pioneer is also scuttled, and its inventors, Watson and McClintock, flee the city in company with Horace Hunley.

4.25.2b

SUPPORT

Gloucester and Yorktown, VA are shelled by USS Maratanza (Cdr George H. Scott) in support of Gen’l McClellan's Peninsular Campaign.

4.26.2

JOINT

USS Daylight, State of Georgia, Chippewa, and Gemsbok bombard Ft Macon, NC, which surrenders to the combined Navy-Army force under Cdr Lockwood and Brigadier Gen’l John Parke.

4.27.2

EXPED

Ft Livingston, Bastian Bay, LA surrenders to a landing party from USS Kittatinny.

4.29.2

EXPED

Expedition under Lt Alexander C. Rhind in USS E. B. Hale lands and destroys a Confederate battery at Grimball's, Dawhoo River, SC.

May 1862

5.2.2

OTHER

Brutus Villeroi’s submarine is launched in Philadelphia. The vessel is 40’ long, 6’ high, and 4’6” wide.

5.5.2
(5-10)

OTHER

For five days, President Lincoln acts as Commander-in-Chief in the field, personally directing operations from USS Miami in an attempt to get the stalled Peninsular Campaign moving. At his orders, gunboats USS Monitor, Dacotah, Naugatuck, Seminole, and Susquehanna shelled Confederate batteries at Sewell's Point, VA on 8 May to test the Southern defenses. Rumors of the evacuation of Norfolk were confirmed when a tug deserted the city and brought word to the Federals, but the works at Sewall’s Point, while reduced, remained considerable. On 9 May, after discussion with pilots and studying charts, Lincoln himself selected an unfortified landing site at Willoughby’s Point, where Army units landed the following morning. The President ordered USS Monitor to reconnoiter the battery at Sewall’s point and, after discovering they had been abandoned, instructed Gen’l Wool to move on Norfolk. On the afternoon of 10 May.

5.7.2

SUPPORT

USS Wachusett (Cdr W. Smith), USS Chocura, and Sebago escort Army transports up the York River, support the landing at West Point, VA and counter a Confederate attack with accurate gunfire.

5.8.2a

EXPED

Landing party from USS Iroquois (Cdr James S. Palmer) takes possession of Baton Rouge, LA.

5.10.2

JOINT

Navy and Army elements reoccupy Pensacola, FL in the wake of its abandonment by Confederate forces the day before. The retreating rebels destroyed the Navy Yard, Forts Barrancas and McRee, CSS Fulton, and an ironclad under construction on the Escambia River. Confederate commander Col. Thomas M. Jones, stripped of his heavy guns and ammunition for use against Farragut on the Mississippi, felt he could no longer adequately defend Pensacola.

5.10.2a

SHIP2
SHIP

Capt. James E. Montgomery leads the Confederate River Defense Fleet (CSS General Bragg, General Sumter, General Sterling Price, General Earl Van Dorn, General M. Jeff Thompson, General Lovell, General Beauregard, and Little Rebel) in an attack on Union gunboats and mortar boats at Plum Point Bend, TN just above Ft Pillow. USS Cincinnati and Mound City were rammed and sank in the shallows, but the deep draft of the rebel ships prevented them from closing with the Yankee ships, which were soon raised and repaired.

5.10.2b

OTHER

Ironclad steamer USS New Ironsides is launched at Philadelphia.

5.11.2

SINKING

Flag Officer Tattnall orders CSS Virginia destroyed by her crew off Craney Island to avoid capture. The fall of Norfolk denied Virginia her base and the ironclad drew too much water to escape up the James. Destruction of Virginia opened the river to the Union fleet up to Drewry’s Bluff and removed a major threat to McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign.

5.12.2

OTHER

Following the destruction of CSS Virginia the day before, its officers and crew are ordered to establish a battery below Drewry’s Bluff to prevent the passage of Union gunboats. Lt Catesby ap R. Jones, CSN, would command the battery.

5.13.2

CAPTURE

Robert Smalls and an all-Negro crew run Confederate steamer Planter out of Charleston harbor while its captain was ashore, and deliver it to the Federal blockading squadron. The press hailed Smalls as a national hero for bringing this prize out of Charleston.

5.13.2a

EXPED

USS Iroquois (Cdr Palmer) and USS Oneida (Cdr S. P. Lee) occupy Natchez, MS, as the Union fleet moves toward Vicksburg.

5.13.2b

CAPTURE

Boat crew from USS Calhoun (Lt DeHaven) captures gunboat CSS Cory in Bayou Bonfouca, LA.

5.13.2c

OTHER

William Cheney takes delivery of a submarine at the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, VA. The craft has a “false bow”—perhaps an airlock for a diver—several view ports, and may have used an electrically detonated torpedo.

5.15.2

BOMBARD

Cdr John Rodgers leads the James River Flotilla (USS Monitor, Galena, Aroostook, Port Royal, and Naugatuck) in an attack on Confederate defenses at Drewry’s Bluff on the James River, but is stopped by obstructions planted in the river. The defending batteries are manned in part by Confederate sailors and marines. Corporal John B. Mackie of Galena is awarded the first Medal of Honor authorized a member of the Marine Corps for his part in the action. The Navy had penetrated to within eight miles of Richmond.

5.20.2

EXPED

Union gunboats under Cdr Marchand (USS Unadilla, Pembina, and Ottawa) steam up the Stono River and destroy Confederate fortifications across from Legareville, SC, thus securing the river for future operations against Charleston.

June 1862

6.2.2

(2-3)

SUPPORT

Union forces land on James Island, SC under cover of gunfire from USS Unadilla (Lt Collins), USS Pembrine, E.B. Hale, Ellen, and Henry Andrew. (Due south and adjacent to Charleston; no separate dot on map)

6.4.2

BOMBARD

After prolonged bombardment by Navy gunboats and mortars, the Confederate evacuate Ft Pillow, TN, during the night of 4-5 June. The following day, 5 June, Capt. Davis moves his fleet downstream to within two miles of Memphis.

6.6.2

SHIP2SHIP

USS Benton, Louisville, Carondelet, St Louis, and Cairo under Capt. Davis and rams Queen of the West and Monarch under Col. Charles Ellet, Jr., destroy the Confederate River Defense Fleet (CSS Earl Van Dorn, General Beauregard, General M. Jeff Thompson, General Bragg, General Sumter, General Sterling Price, and Little Rebel) under Capt. Montgomery in the Battle of Memphis. Only Van Dorn escapes, and Memphis surrenders to the Union ships.

6.7.2

(7-10)

BOMBRD

Confederate batteries at Grand Gulf, MS are attacked by USS Wissahickon (Cdr John DeCamp) and USS Itasca (Lt Caldwell); three days later they are joined by USS Iroquois and Katahdin.

6.9.2

JOINT

Lt Charles Flusser leads USS Commodore Perry, Shawsheen, and Ceres in a joint expedition up the Roanoke to Hamilton, NC, where they capture the steamer Wilson.

6.15.2

EXPED

USS Tahoma (Lt John C. Howell) and USS Somerset (Lt English) raid a Confederate fort near the lighthouse at the mouth of St Marks River, FL. The rebel artillery company withdraws and the sailors destroyed the fort and barracks.

6.17.2

JOINT

To open communications on the White River, Cdr Kilty in USS Mound City leads USS St Louis, Lexington, and Conestoga against Confederate batteries at St. Charles, AR. Under cover of the gunboats, which engage the rebel guns at close range, Union troops land and take the earthworks..

6.21.2

JOINT

USS Crusader and Planter ascend the Wadmelaw River to Simmons Bluff, SC in a joint operation led by Navy Lt Rhind, who lands with the troops and destroys a Confederate camp.

6.24.2

OTHER

The first time in history that opposing naval forces had functioning submarines operating in the same theater of war: Cheney’s submarine and Alligator, which is towed up the James River on this date.

6.26.2
(26-28)

EXPED

The majority of the Union’s James River flotilla under Cdr John Rodgers (USS Galena, Maratanza, Aroostook, Monitor, Port Royal, Satellite, Jacob Bell, Island Belle, Southfield, Mahaska, Delaware, and Stepping Stones) attempts to make an attack on the railroad bridge over Swift Creek, a tributary of Appomattox Creek, and a feint attack on Petersburg. Shoal water stops the expedition and results in the loss of Island Belle, which the Yankees burned to prevent her capture after grounding.

6.28.2

(28-29)

SUPPORT

USS Marblehead (Lt S. Nicholson) and USS Chocura (Lt Thomas H. Patterson) cover the withdrawal of Federal troops from White House, VA on the Pamunkey River. Other Navy gunboats escort transports on the James and Chickahominy Rivers in support of the Army.

July 1862

7.1.2

SUPPORT

Gunboats of Cdr John Rodgers’ James River Flotilla provide critical supporting fire that drives back Robert E. Lee’s Confederates advancing against Union positions atop Malvern Hill, VA. Said Lee after the battle, “The great obstacle to operations here is the presence of the enemy’s gunboats . . .” Equally strong opinions prevail on the Union side; said one captain, “Without the gunboats, McClellan’s Army would have been annihilated.”

7.1.2a

OTHER

The Western Flotilla of Flag Officer Davis meets the deepwater fleet of Flag Officer Farragut above Vicksburg. Farragut wrote: Said Farragut, “We have made the circuit (since we met at Port Royal) around half the United States and met on the Mississippi.” Although of great psychological value to the North, the river would not be truly under Federal control as long as the defenses of Vicksburg remained in rebel hands.

7.4.2

CAPTURE

USS Maratanza (Lt Stevens) engages and captures CSS Teaser (Lt Davidson) at Haxall's Landing on the James River. A shot from Maratanza exploded Teaser’s boiler and forced abandonment of the ship. Teaser had been used as a minelayer and carried a balloon with which the Confederates had planned an aerial reconnaissance of McClellan’s lines. The capture of Teaser made up for the recent loss of Island Belle during the failed Union attempt to destroy the railroad bridge over Swift Creek.

7.9.2

JOINT

USS Commodore Pen (Lt Flusser), USS Shawsheen (Act’g Master Woodward), and USS Ceres (Act’g Master John MacDiarmid) land a field piece and force of soldiers and sailors at Hamilton, NC on the Roanoke River and capture steamer Wilson.

7.15.2

SHIP2
SHIP

CSS Arkansas (Lt Isaac N. Brown) sorties from the Yazoo River, surprising and setting to flight USS Carondelet (Cdr Walke) USS Tyler (Lt Gwin), and ram Queen of the West. Arkansas partially disabled Carondelet and Tyler and, entering the Mississippi, ran through fire of the Union fleet to safety under the batteries at Vicksburg. Farragut's fleet chased the rebel ironclad, but lost her in the gathering darkness.

7.17.2

(17-18)

EXPED

First Lt George W. Collier leads USS Potomac, New London and Grey Cloud up the Pascagoula River, MS, capturing three ships and destroying telegraph lines between Pascagoula and Mobile.

7.21.2

SINKING

Naval transport USS Sallie Woods is destroyed by Confederate artillery at Argyle Landing on the Mississippi.

7.22.2

SHIP2
SHIP

USS Essex (Cdr W. D. Porter) and ram Queen of the West (Lt Col. Ellet) attack CSS Arkansas (Cdr I. N. Brown) at anchor with a disabled engine at Vicksburg. Despite a crew reduced by injury and illness by the action of 15 July, Brown fought off the two Yankee ships. Both tried to ram Arkansas, but failed, and retreated through a barrage of projectiles from Confederate batteries on the bluffs. To show she was still in the fight, Brown defiantly steamed Arkansas up and down the river in front of the city on the following day.

August 1862

8.6.2

SHIP2SHIP

Against the orders of the wounded Cdr Brown, Lt Henry Stevens advances CSS Arkansas in support of Gen’l Van Dorn’s attack on Union-held Baton Rouge. Recognizing the need for critical repairs, Brown had instructed Stevens not to move the ship away from Vicksburg until his return. Van Dorn ordered the ironclad’s participation to ensure the success of his assault. Arkansas became unmanageable when her engines failed, and fell prey to USS Essex (Cdr W. D. Porter). Knowing his ship to be helpless, Lt Stevens ordered her scuttled to prevent her capture. (Map approximate)

8.6.2

SUPPORT

USS Sumter, Cayuga, Kineo, and Katahdin help repel Confederate attack on Baton Rouge.

8.10.2

REPRISAL

Rebel partisans under Phillippe Landry continue to use Donaldsonville, LA as a spot from which to ambush Union vessels on the Mississippi. On this date, Rear Adm Farragut reported to Secretary Welles  that he had partially destroyed the town in reprisal for the firing. Farragut had ''sent a message to the inhabitants that if they did not discontinue this practice, I would destroy their town.” After warning the citizens to evacuate their women and children, the Adm burned down hotels, wharf facilities, and private buildings belonging to Landry.

8.15.2

SUPPORT

USS Galena (Cdr J. Rodgers), USS Port Royal, and USS Satellite cover the withdrawal of the left wing of Gen’l McClellan's army from Harrison's Landing on the James River.

8.16.2

JOINT

A combined force of Navy gunboats (USS Mound City, Benton, and Gen’l) under Lt Cdr S. L. Phelps, Army rams under Col. Ellet, and troops led by Col. Charles R. Woods raids Confederate positions from Helena, AR up the Yazoo River, landing at various points and dispersing rebel encampments, capturing a steamer above Vicksburg, and destroying a battery twenty miles up the Yazoo.

8.16.2a

(16-18)

EXPED

USS Sachem, Reindeer, Belle Italia, and yacht Corypheus bombard Corpus Christi, TX. Under cover of the ships’ guns, a landing party from Belle Italia tries to capture a rebel battery on the 18th, but is repulsed.

8.17.2

EXPED

Landing party from USS Ellis (Master Benjamin H. Porter) and Army boats destroy Confederate salt works, battery, and barracks near Swansboro, NC.

8.29.2

SUPPORT

USS Pittsburg (Lt Thompson) escorts steamers White Cloud and Iatan with Army troops embarked to Eunice, AR. The gunboat shelled Confederate forces above Carson's Landing and covered the troops as they landed ashore.

September 1862

9.3.2

BOMBARD

A landing party from USS Essex (Commodore W. D. Porter) is fired on at Natchez, MS (evacuated by Federal forces on 25 July) The mayor surrendered the town after an hour’s bombardment by Essex.

9.6.2

SUPPORT

USS Louisiana (Act’g Lt Richard T. Renshaw) helps repel a Confederate attack on Washington, NC.

9.8.2

EXPED

Landing party from USS Kingfisher destroys a 200 bushel per day salt works at St. Joseph's Bay, FL.

9.11.2a

EXPED

Landing party from USS Sagamore destroys saltworks at St. Andrew’s Bay, FL.

9.25.2

BOMBARD

USS Kensington (Act’g Master Crocker), USS Rachel Seaman (Act’g Master Hooper), and mortar schooner Henry James (Act’g Master Lewis Pennington) bombarded Confederate batteries at Sabine Pass, TX, forcing the surrender of Sabine City the following day. Landing parties burned the railroad bridge to Taylor’s Bayou, but the area could not be occupied for lack of troops.

October 1862

10.1.2
(1-7)

CAPTURE

While patrolling the lower Mississippi River north to Baton Rouge, a squadron of Union gunboats under Commander George Marcellus Ransom (USS Kineo) and including USS Katahdin (Lt Cdr Francis Roe), Sciota (Lt Cdr Reigart Lowry), and Itasca (Charles Caldwell), comes upon a large drove of 1500 cattle on the eastern bank of the river several miles above Donaldsonville. A check of the drovers’ papers convinces Ransom that the herd is headed for Camp Moore, a, large rebel training facility in northern LA. Rather than destroy such a valuable source of food, Ransom sends Katahdin to New Orleans to secure army transports to bring the cattle within Union lines. By 4 October, all but 200 “very wild” Texas longhorns are loaded. Ransom decides to drive the reduced herd along the river and bring in all 1500 head. Katahdin and her landing parties begin driving the herd as the other gunboats and transports steamed south. A savage ambush at Pt Houma—involving up to 1500 rebels with masked batteries—results in several deaths and much damage aboard the ships, but is beaten off with great loss among the Confederates. Fearing for the slower-moving Katahdin’s safety, Ransom sends Itasca back to accompany her through the guerilla-infested area; when he himself has safely brought the transports within Army lines, he returns in Kineo as well. Amazingly, no attack was ever made upon the herding vessels, and the remaining herd arrived in New Orleans on 7 October.

10.3.2

EXPED

In response to an Army request for support in a planned attack on Confederate forces gathering at Franklin, VA, USS Commodore Perry, Hunchback, and Whitehead under Lt Cdr Flusser engage rebel troops on the Blackwater River for six hours. Obstructions planted in the river kept the squadron from reaching Franklin and Flusser ordered the gunboats to return downstream when Confederates began felling trees to block the channel behind them.

10.3.2a

JOINT

A joint expedition under Cdr Steedman occupies Jacksonville, FL.

10.3.2b

EXPED

Cdr William B. Renshaw leads USS Westfield, Harriet Lane, Owasco, Clifton, and mortar schooner Henry James in the bombardment and capture of the defenses of the harbor and city of Galveston, which surrendered on 9 October.

10.4.2

EXPED

A landing party from USS Somerset (Lt Cdr English) and USS Tahoma (Cdr John C. Howell), destroy Confederate salt works at Depot Key, FL.  (Due south of and same dot as Cedar Key, FL)

10.4.2a

EXPED

USS Thomas Freeborn (Lt Cdr Magaw) raids Dumfries, VA, destroying the telegraph office and wires.

10.15.2

EXPED

Boat crews from USS Rachel Seaman, and USS Kensington destroy Confederate railroad bridge by fire at Taylor's Bayou, TX, preventing the transportation of heavy artillery to Sabine Pass, and burned schooners Stonewall and Lone Star and barracks.

10.21.2

REPRISAL

Lt Cdr Meade (USS Louisville) escorts steamer Meteor, from which Army troops land at and burn Bledsoe’s Landing and Hamblin's Landing, AR in reprisal for attacks by Confederate guerrillas on mail steamer Gladiator on 19 October.

10.22.2

JOINT

A naval battery consisting of three 12 pounder boat howitzers from USS Wabash provide artillery support for Union infantry troops at the battle of Pocotaligo, SC.

10.24.2

EXPED

USS Baron De KaIb (Capt. Winslow) deploys a landing party at Hopefield, AR to engage a small Confederate scouting party. When the rebels fled, the sailors “impressed” horses and engaged in a nine-mile running fight that ended with the capture of the Confederates. (Uses Mound City dot)

10.29.2

EXPED

Landing party from USS Ellis (Lt Cushing) destroys large Confederate salt works at New Topsail Inlet, NC.

10.29.2a

EXPED

USS Dan shelled Confederate troops near Sabine Pass, TX. On 30 October a landing party burns a mill and several buildings.

10.31.2

EXPED

Confederate gun positions on Wormley’s Creek and at West Point, VA are attacked by a landing party from USS Mahaska (Cdr Foxhall A. Parker). The sailors returned on 11 November to complete the destruction.

10.31.2a

(31-7)

JOINT

Cdr Davenport leads USS Hetzel, Commodore Perry, Hunchback, Valley City, and Army gunboat Videttee on an expedition up the Roanoke River. The ships fired on Confederate troops at Plymouth, NC, forcing them to withdraw and steamed upriver to a point several miles above Hamilton, which was occupied by Union troops. When the Federal Army proved unable to reach Tarboro, they reembarked and the force returned to Williamston.

November 1862

11.2.2

OTHER

Col Ellet’s ram fleet is officially transferred to the Navy at the request of Rear Adm David D. Porter and by order of the President. Porter had insisted that he would not permit “any naval organization on the river besides the Mississippi Squadron.”

11.3.2

SHIP2SHIP

CSS Cotton (Lt Edward W. Fuller) and shore batteries engage USS Calhoun, Kinsman, Estrella, and Diana in Berwick Bay, LA, causing considerable damage to the Union squadron until exhaustion of cartridges forced Cotton to retire. (Map approximate)

11.7.2

JOINT

USS Potomska (Act’g Lt W. Budd) escorts Army transport Darlington up the Sapelo River, GA on a raid that destroys salt works at Fairhope and engages rebel troops at Spaulding’s.

11.9.2

JOINT

Second Assistant Engineer J. L. Lay of USS Louisiana leads a joint Navy-Army landing party that captures Greenville, NC.

11.22.2

(22-24)

JOINT

Joint Navy-Army expedition to vicinity of Mathews Court House, VA, under Lt Farquhar and Act’g Master's Mate Nathan W. Black of USS Mahaska destroys numerous salt works together with hundreds of bushels of salt, as well as a number of boats.

11.23.2

EXPED

SINKING

Landing party from USS Ellis (Lt Cushing) captures arms, mail, and two schooners at Jacksonville, NC. On 24 November, while under attack from Confederate artillery, Ellis grounds and is fired by her crew to prevent capture.

11.24.2

EXPED

USS Monticello (Lt Cdr Braine) destroys two Confederate salt works near Little River Inlet, NC.

December 1862

12.10.2

SUPPORT

USS Southfield (Lt Charles F. W. Behm) is disabled in action while providing close fire support to troops under attack by Confederate forces at Plymouth, NC.

12.12.2

SINKING

Confederate torpedoes claims their first victim of the war when one explodes under USS Cairo (Lt Cdr Thomas O. Selfridge) on an expedition up the Yazoo River--to destroy torpedoes.

12.27.2

SUPPORT

Porter's gunboats engage Ft Drumgould on the Yazoo as USS Benton (Lt Cdr Gwin) continues Cairo’s work of removing torpedoes in the river. Benton was much cut up in the heavy exchange of fire, and Gwin fatally wounded. Porter was able to report that the river was now clear of mines to within a half mile of the battery.

12.28.2

(28-30)

SUPPORT

Rear Adm D. D. Porter's gunboats provide fire support for Gen’l Sherman's attempt to capture Confederate-held Chickasaw Bluffs. Heavy rains and the arrival of Confederate reinforcements force the Federals to withdraw.

12.31.2

SINKING

USS Monitor (Cdr Bankhead) founders in a storm off Cape Hatteras en route from Hampton Roads to Beaufort, NC and is lost.

January 1863

1.1.3

SHIP2SHIP

Confederate Major Leon Smith, CSA, launches a fierce surprise attack on the Union troops and ships defending Galveston, TX. The improvised cotton-clad gunboats CSS Bayou City and Neptune, with Army sharpshooting boarding parties, and tenders John F. Carr and Lucy Gwin take USS Harriet Lane by boarding and force the Yankees to destroy USS Westfield after she ran aground. The remainder of the blockading force stood out to sea.

1.9.3

EXPED

Boat crews from USS Ethan Allen (Act’g Master Isaac A. Pennell) destroyed a very large salt manufactory south of St. Joseph's, FL.

1.9.3a

(9-11)

JOINT

USS Baron de Kalb, Louisville, Cincinnati, Lexington, Rattler, and Black Hawk, under Rear Adm Porter in tug Ivy, covers the landing of troops under Major Gen’l W. T. Sherman in the assault on Ft Hindman at Arkansas Post, forcing the rebels from their trenches and allowing the soldiers to occupy the woods below the fort. Until the Army was ready to make its attack on 10 January, Porter’s gunboats closed to within 60 yards of the fort and blasted away at its walls. Renewed bombardment on 11 January succeeded in dismounting or disabling all of the fort’s guns, and the bastion was taken by the Army troops. Among the 6500 rebel prisoners were 36 Confederate naval officers and sailors. Porter recorded one prisoner as saying, “You can't expect men to stand up against the fire of those gunboats.” After the loss of Ft Hindman, Confederates evacuated other positions on the White and St. Charles Rivers.

1.10.3

BOMBRD

Lacking shallow-draft gunboats and pilots—and therefore unable to cross the bar and navigate the crooked, narrow channel, Commodore Henry H. Bell is forced to limit the reestablishment of the blockade of Galveston to a bombardment.

1.13.3

REPRISAL

Joint Navy-Army expedition from Memphis on board USS General Bragg (Lt Joshua Bishop) destroys buildings at Mound City, AR, in reprisal for Confederate attacks on river steamers.

1.12.3

EXPED

USS Currituck (Act’g Master Linnekin) destroys the salt works at Dividing Creek, VA which had been "extensively engaged" in supplying Richmond with salt

1.14.3

JOINT

USS Kinsman, Estrella, Calhoun, and Diana, under Lt Cdr Thomas Buchanan, engage Confederate defenses in Bayou Teche, below Franklin, LA, in a combined Navy-Army expedition. Naval gunfire forces the rebels to withdraw and allows removal of the formidable obstructions sunk in the river. Gunboat CSS Cotton (Lt Edward W. Fuller) attacks the Union ships, but is forced to withdraw and is later burned to prevent capture. Kinsman’s rudder is unshipped by a torpedo and Lt Cdr Buchanan is killed by shore fire.

1.16.3

EXPED

Lt Cdr J. G. Walker aboard USS Baron de Kalb lands a party at Devall's Bluff, AR, on the White River and takes possession of all government property, including guns and ammunition. Walker withdrew his men when Federal troops arrived.

1.17.3

EXPED

USS Baron de Kalb (Lt Cdr Walker) with USS Forest Rose and Romeo arrive off Des Arc, AR, where they find a quantity of artillery ammunition and occupied the post office. Walker withdrew his men when Army troops arrived an hour later.

1.21.3

SHIP2
SHIP

Major Oscar M. Watkins, CSA, leads CSS Josiah Bell and Uncle Ben, in an attack on blockaders off Sabine Pass, capturing USS Morning Light (Act’g Master John Dillingham) and Velocity (Act’g Master Nathan W. Hammond). They burn Morning Light two days later because she cannot be got over the bar.

1.27.3

BOMBARD

To test the endurance of ironclad USS Montauk, Cdr John L. Worden takes her up the Ogeechee River with USS Seneca, Wissahickon, Dawn, and mortar schooner C. P. Williams and engages Confederate batteries at Ft McAllister, GA, in preparation for an attack on Charleston. Montauk was struck fourteen times with no damage.

1.30.3

CAPTURE

USS Isaac Smith (Act’g Lt Francis S. Conover) is caught in a heavy cross fire while conducting an expedition up the Stono River above Legareville, SC, forced aground, and captured.

1.30.3a

EXPED

Lt Cdr Charles W. Flusser lands men from USS Commodore Perry to accompany soldiers on an expedition to Hertford, NC which destroys two bridges over the Perquimans River, interdicting the flow of supplies from the Chowan River region to Richmond.

1.31.3

SHIP2
SHIP

Under cover of the morning fog, Flag Officer Duncan N. Ingraham leads rams CSS Chicora (Cdr John R. Tucker) and CSS Palmetto State (Lt John Rutledge) in an attack on the Union blockading squadron off Charleston harbor. Before withdrawing back into the harbor, the rams inflict significant damage on the Yankee ships: USS Mercedita (Capt Stellwagen) stuck her colors after being rammed by Palmetto State; USS Keystone State (Cdr William E. LeRoy), attacked by Chicora, lost all motive power after shellfire destroyed her stacks and had to be towed away by USS Memphis (Capt Pendelton G. Watmough); USS Quaker City took a hit that tore up her engine room; and USS Augusta narrowly missed disaster when a shell passed within feet of her boiler. The Confederate Navy rams retired relatively unscathed.

February 1863

2.2.3

SHIP2
SHIP

Ram USS Queen of the West (Col. C. R. Ellet) attacks Confederate steamer City of Vicksburg, at anchor under cover of the batteries at Vicksburg. Although successful in setting the rebel ship aflame (the fire was quickly put out), Queen broke off the action when she herself caught fire. After extinguishing the blaze, Queen headed won the Mississippi under orders to destroy all Confederate vessels encountered.

2.3.3

JOINT

Act’g Master G. W. Brown (USS Forest Rose) opens the combined Navy-Army operation against Ft Pemberton in Greenwood, MS by lighting the fuse to a 50 pound can of black powder placed under the levee at Yazoo Pass. This created a channel 70-75 yards wide that allows the gunboats and Army transports to steam “overland” to enter Moon Lake and, according to the plan, from there proceed down the Coldwater and Tallahatchie rivers to the Yazoo, capture Ft Pemberton and Yazoo City, and then assault Vicksburg on its weaker flanks. In reality, it will be February 25 before the gunboats can actually enter Yazoo Pass due to the need to clear obstructions in the channel.

2.3.3

SUPPORT

While on convoy duty in the Cumberland River with USS Lexington, Fairplay, St. Clair, Brilliant, Robb, and Silver Lake, Lt Cdr Fitch receives word from Col. Abner C. Harding, commanding at Ft Donelson, reporting an assault by Confederate forces and requesting assistance. Fitch pushed his ships ahead and arrived that evening to find the Federal forces “out of ammunition and entirely surrounded by the rebels in overwhelming numbers.” The gunboats opened fire on the rebels, who were so taken by surprise that they did not pause to return fire, but immediately withdrew.

2.7.3

SINKING

Pioneer II is lost in Mobile Bay during trials.

2.12.3

REPRISAL

Having run below Vicksburg under orders to disrupt Confederate trade in the Red River area, USS Queen of the West (Col. C. R. Ellet) steams up Red and Atchafalaya rivers. The ship is fired upon near Simmesport, LA. On the following day, Ellet destroys all of the buildings on three plantations next to the town in retaliation.

2.14.3

CAPTURE

While patrolling the Red River in search of reported Confederate vessels at Gordon’s Landing, USS Queen of the West (Col. C. R. Ellet) runs aground as she attempts to back down the river away from the heavy fire of a rebel battery. When her chief engineer reported that the steam pipe had been shot away, Ellet orders the ship abandoned. The formidable Queen becomes a rebel warship.

2.23.3

SINKING

USS Kinsman (Act’g Lt Wiggen) strikes a snag while transporting troops in Berwick Bay and sinks.

2.24.3

SHIP2SHIP

A Confederate squadron under Major Joseph L. Brent, CSA, comprised of CSS William H. Webb and Queen of the West, and CSS Beatty attacks and captures USS Indianola (Lt Cdr G. Brown) below Warrenton, MS. After repeated rammings, Brown managed to delay surrendering long enough to allow Indianola to fill with enough water to ensure her sinking, and ran her into the west bank of the river. Nonetheless, the possibility of the Confederates raising the sunken ship and using her against the Federals was very real.

2.25.3

EXPED

After opening the levee at Yazoo Pass on 3 February, the lightdraft gunboat expedition to Greenwood, MS finally entered the pass. It had taken three weeks for the soldiers to clear obstructions in the channel, and these continued to bedevil the ships throughout the mission. Lt Cdr W. Smith reported to Adm Porter that, although damage so far was not serious, “every vagrant log” had a “chance to foul our wheels.” Because many did, delays were frequent.

2.28.3

SINKING

USS Montauk (Cdr Worden) with USS Wissahickon, Seneca, and Dawn, shells and destroys blockade runner Rattlesnake (formerly raider CSS Nashville). The ship had lain under the guns of McAllister in the Ogeechee River for eight months, poised to escape to sea. Realizing Rattlesnake was grounded, Worden drew in range of her (as well as of the fort), and set her aflame with gunfire. Leaving the runner in flames, Montauk dropped back down the river; Rattlesnake’s magazine exploded at 9:30 “with terrific violence,” destroying what Worden called “a troublesome pest.”

March 1863

3.5.3

EXPED

USS Lockwood steams out of returned to New Bern, NC to destroy a bridge over the Pungo River. Weapons, stores, and a small schooner are also captured.

3.10.3

EXPED

Confederates burn steamer Thirty-fifth Parallel in the Tallahatchie River as USS Chillicothe (Lt Cdr James P. Forten) approaches on a mission to destroy a large bridge above Ft Pemberton, MS.

3.11.3

BOMBARD

The Yazoo Pass expedition’s first attack on Ft Pemberton, near Greenwood, MS, on the Tallahatchie River, commences, but is forced to withdraw when it becomes apparent that only a single ship’s guns can be brought to bear on the fort at one time due to obstructions sunk in the river. Lt Cdr W. Smith orders a 30-pound Parrot rifled gun sent ashore from USS Rattler “to annoy the rebel’s best gun at about 600 yards.”

3.13.3a

(13-14)

SUPPORT

Gunfire from USS Hunchback, Hetzel, Ceres, and Shawsheen under Cdr Henry K. Davenport repels a night surprise attack by Confederate troops against Ft Anderson on the Neuse River, NC. Covering naval fire also allows the landing of the 85th New York to relieve the fort’s defenders.

3.14.3

BOMBARD

Rear Adm Farragut attempts to pass the batteries at Port Hudson with a squadron of seven gunboats. To counter the strong current at the bend in the river below the fort—and to provide support should one vessel be damaged—the ships are lashed together in pairs side-by-side, with the heavier ships (USS Hartford, Richmond, and Monongahela) on the fort side and lighter vessels outboard (Albatross, Genesee, and Kineo); USS Mississippi brings up the rear. In the course of the action, all three pairs of ships must be cut apart and only two of the gunboats—Hartford (with Farragut aboard) and Albatross—make it past the rebel guns. The others return downstream and anchor, save for USS Mississippi, which grounds and is destroyed. Port Hudson is one of the war’s fiercest naval engagements.

3.14.3

EXPED

The Steel’s Bayou, MS expedition--aimed at gaining entrance to the Yazoo River via Deer Creek to take Vicksburg from the rear—begins. USS Louisville, Cincinnati, Carondelet, Pittsburg, Mound City, four mortars and four tugs make their way through dense forest on Black Bayou, gaining Deer Creek on 15 March. Support troops promised by Gen’l Sherman met the ships at Rolling Fork on 21 March, but without provisions or artillery, and in numbers too few to ensure the success of the foray. Rear Adm Porter therefore decided to abandon the expedition. When more troops did show up, Porter realized his men were entirely too exhausted to retrace their steps after almost a week of clearing trees and sleeping at their guns. The squadron arrived back at their starting point on 24 March, having destroyed all the bridges leading to Vicksburg and confiscating large quantities of livestock, corn, and cotton.

3.15.3

CAPTURE

Armed boats from USS Cyane (Lt Cdr Paul Shirley) seize schooner J.P. Chapman, preparing to get underway from San Francisco, CA. Chapman was suspected of being outfitted as a Confederate commerce raider, and was found to have, in addition to her crew of four, seventeen more men and a cargo of guns, ammunition, and other military stores hidden below decks. The prisoners were confined on Alcatraz.

3.25.3

SINKING

Col. Charles R. Ellet attempts to pass the batteries at Vicksburg in the pre-dawn darkness with rams USS Switzerland and Lancaster, hoping to link up downstream with Adm Farragut with USS Hartford and Albatross. The Confederates hear the chuffing of their stacks and fire flares to illuminate the river, then bring both boats under a concentrated fire. Despite taking a shot that stopped her engines, Switzerland floated past the batteries to safety; Lancaster succumbed to a plunging shot that tore a gaping hole in her hull, sending her almost immediately to the bottom.

3.28.3

CAPTURE

Confederate infantry and artillery attack USS Diana (Act’g Master Thomas L. Peterson) in the Atchafalaya River, LA. After a three-hour battle in which the gunboat’s engines were disabled, Diana drifted ashore and was forced to surrender. (Map approximate)

3.31.3
(31-16)

SUPPORT

In a two-week siege of Federal positions at Washington, NC, gunboats under Cdr Davenport provided close fire support and much-needed supplies to the garrison. Navy gunfire kept the rebels at bay and Navy small boats ferried food and ammunition to the soldiers. Confederate Gen’l A.P. Hill blamed the US Navy for his failure: “We were compelled to give up the siege of Washington, as the Yankee supply boats ran the blockade. Two more days would have starved the garrison out.”

3.31.3a

(31-1)

JOINT

A joint expedition heads under Lt Cdr Gillis (USS Commodore Morris) up the Ware River in VA to confiscate a large cache of grain stored at Patterson Smith’s plantation. The landing party of sailors and soldiers is attacked on 1 April by a force of Confederate cavalry, but force them to retreat with a charge of their own. The Federals destroyed 22,000 bushels of grain.

April 1863  

4.2.3

SINKING

Alligator is lost at sea in a storm of Cape Hatteras, NC. Adm Du Pont’s ironclad attack against Charleston will go on as planned--and get hung up on the obstructions that it was hoped the submarine would remove.

4.3.3

REPRISAL

Lt Cdr Fitch, with USS Lexington, Brilliant, Robb, Silver Lake, and Springfield, destroys Palmyra, TN, in retaliation for Confederate guerrillas firing on a Union convoy on 2 April.

4.7.3

BOMBARD

Rear Adm Du Pont sends nine ironclads into Charleston harbor in hopes of passing the forts and taking the town under fire. The Confederates, however, had obstructed the channel and planted range markers in addition to torpedoes, chains, and nets. USS Weehawken, equipped with a raft for clearing mines, delayed the attack for an hour when the grapnels attached to the raft fouled. Shortly after 3pm, the ironclads opened fire on Ft Sumter. Weehawken struck a torpedo, which “lifted the vessel a little,” but seemed otherwise to do no real damage; Capt John Rodgers, seeing “formidable” obstructions ahead, swung round and led the column back to sea. The incoming tide made many of the ships unmanageable, and left them easy targets for the rebel gunners. In the forty-minute engagement, Weehawken was hit 53 times; Passaic was struck 35 times and her turret disabled; Patapsco—which lost headway and refused to obey her helm when she tried to turn—took 47 hits; Catskill recorded 20 hits and began taking on water; Nantucket was badly battered by 51 shots which jammed her turret; Nahant took 36 hits which disabled her turret and tore up her steering machinery. USS Keokuk, following Nahant, was forced to steam past her to avoid a collision; this maneuver brought her to within 600 yards of Ft Sumter—where she remained for half an hour. The concentrated fire from the fort riddled her with 90 hits, eighteen of which pierced at or below the waterline. With the approach of darkness, Du Pont broke off the action and pulled back the battered ironclads. Keokuk—which had survived only because of calm seas—took on water the following day and rapidly sank.

4.7.3

SINKING

USS Barataria (Act’g Ensign James F. Perkins) strikes a snag in Lake Maurepas, LA, and is destroyed by her crew to prevent capture.

4.10.3

EXPED

An expedition led by Lt Cdr Selfridge (USS Conestoga) cuts a channel across Beulah Bend, near Napoleon, MS, and destroys guerrilla stations that had harassed Union shipping on the river.

4.12.3

(12-14)

SUPPORT

In two days of heavy fighting near Suffolk, VA, Navy gunboats USS Mount Washington, Stepping Stones, and Commodore Barney prevented Confederate forces from crossing the Nansemond River to surround Union troops.

4.14.3

SHIP2
SHIP

While supporting Union Army troops ashore, USS Estrella (Lt Cdr Augustus P. Cooke), USS Arizona (Act’g Lt Upton); and USS Calhoun (Act’g Master Meltiah Jordan), engage and destroy ram CSS Queen of the West (Lt E. W. Fuller) in Grand Lake, LA. The Confederates destroy CSS Diana and Hart on 18 April to prevent their capture.

4.20.3

JOINT

A joint Navy-Army attack captures a strong Confederate position at Hill's Point on the Nansemond River, VA, taking five howitzers and 160 prisoners. Despite skirmishing that continues for two weeks, this action signalled the end of the rebel offensive against Suffolk, VA.

4.20.3a

BOMBARD

USS Estrella (Lt Cdr Cooke) with USS Clifton, Arina, and Calhoun capture Ft Burton, Butte a la Rose, LA, after a short but sharp engagement.

4.21.3

EXPED

Lt Cushing leads a landing party of ninety sailors with one boat howitzer in an expedition to rescue sailors taken prisoner from USS Stepping Stones. Approaching Chuckatuck Village, VA, the party is attacked by forty Confederate cavalry. After discharging the howitzer, Cushing leads his own charge and disperses the rebels. He remains in Chuckatuck for the balance of the day, learning that the prisoners had earlier been moved further inland. Aware that 400 cavalry are stationed nearby, Cushing returns to his boats. One hour later, Confederate Gen’l George Pickett arrives in town—unescorted, on an unapproved furlough to spend time with his mistress. Had Cushing stayed in Chuckatuck, the final charge at Gettysburg in July might have been known by a different name.

4.29.3

JOINT

Formidable rebel batteries at Grand Gulf, MS are again engaged by Rear Adm Porter’s gunboats. The 5-1/2 hour battle results in the warships silencing the lower batteries, but not the upper ones. However, this allows transports to take Gen’l Grant’s troops below the city. Grant lands and moves his force into the country behind Grand Gulf, which forces a Confederate withdrawal on 3 May.

4.29.3a

(29-1)

JOINT

USS Tyler, Choctaw, Baron de Kalb, Signal, Romeo, Linden, Petrel, Black Hawk, and three mortar boats under Lt Cdr Breese participate in a joint Navy-Army expedition feigning attack on Confederate batteries at Haynes’ Bluff on the Yazoo River intended to draw rebel troops away from Grand Gulf. Although only a “demonstration,” Choctaw was struck 53 times by rebel shellfire.

May 1863

5.7.3

EXPED

Following the capture of Grand Gulf on 3 May, Porter rendezvous with Farragut’s squadron off the mouth of the Red River, resupplies, and steams up the Red to Alexandria, LA with USS Benton, Lafayette, Pittsburg, Sterling Price, ram Switzerland, and tug Ivy (USS Estrella and Arina joining on the way). They pass a deserted Ft De Russy en route and occupy Alexandria on 7 May. Unable to proceed further upstream due to low water, Porter turns the town over to the Army and returns to De Russy to partially destroy it.

5.8.3

BOMBARD

Cdr Charles H. B. Caldwell’s mortar flotilla and USS Richmond (Capt. Alden) open bombardment of the Confederate defenses at Port Hudson, LA.

5.10.3

SUPPORT

Gunboats under Lt Cdr S. L. Phelps support an Army assault on Confederate troops at Linden, TN.

5.18.3

BOMBARD

USS Linden (Act’g Lt T. E. Smith) engages a battery of rebel guns that had ambushed Linden’s convoy of Army transports at Island No. 82 in the Mississippi. Fire from the gunboat drove the Confederates away and troops landed from the transports burned buildings in the area in retaliation.

5.21.3

(21-30)

EXPED

Gunboats USS Baron de Kalb, Choctaw, Forest Rose, Linden, and Petrel under Lt Cdr J. G. Walker push up the Yazoo River from Haynes’ Bluff to Yazoo City, MS. Their approach forces the destruction of the Confederate Navy Yard in that city, including steamers Mobile, Republic, and ''a monster, 310 feet long and 70 feet beam” under construction. The gunboats continued up the river, but turned back in the face of Confederate sharpshooters fifteen miles below Greenwood, MS. The squadron steamed up the Sunflower River for 150 miles before returning to the Mississippi.

5.24.3

REPRISAL

Brigadier Gen’l A. Ellet orders his men to burn Austin, MS in reprisal for an attack by Confederates upon the commissary and quartermaster boat of the Marine Brigade of the previous day. Landing before dawn, Ellet’s men fought a two battle with rebel cavalry outside of town. Forcing them to withdraw, Ellet found evidence of smuggling in Austin and put it to the torch. The charge was true, as hidden weapons discharged and powder exploded in the flames.

5.27.3

SINKING

While attacking Confederate entrenchments blocking the Army’s approach to Vicksburg, USS Cincinnati (Lt Bache) comes under fire from rebel batteries on the overlooking hills. The plunging shot penetrated to her magazine, and she went down rapidly. Suffering 25 killed and wounded and 15 probable drownings, Cincinnati sank with her flag nailed to the mast.

5.27.3a

SINKING

CSS Chattahoochee (Lt John J. Guthrie) is destroyed at anchor at Chattahoochee, FL with “terrible loss of life” by an explosion of her boilers. (Map approximate)

5.31.63

SUPPORT

USS Carondelet (Lt Murphy) rescues Union troops isolated at Perkins Landing, MS, throwing a curtain of gunfire around the troops until transport arrived. While boarding, Confederate troops surged forward, but Carondelet’s guns forced them to break off their attack.

June 1863

6.4.3

SUPPORT

USS Commodore McDonough (Lt Cdr Bacon) convoys Army troops in a raid on Bluffton, SC. Naval gunfire allows the soldiers to overcome strong Confederate resistance and destroy the town.

6.4.3a

(4-5)

JOINT

Joint Navy-Amy expedition including USS Commodore Morris (Lt Cdr Gillis), Commodore Jones (Lt Cdr John G. Mitchell), Army gunboat Smith Briggs, and transport Winnissimet up the Mattapony River to Walkerton, VA destroys a foundry where Confederate ordnance was being manufactured.

6.6.3

CAPTURE

The brief but very successful career of CSS Clarence—a prize taken by CSS Florida (Capt Maffit)—demonstrates how much damage a single rebel raider could do. On this date, Lt Read in Clarence took the bark Whistling Wind carrying coal east of Cape Romain, SC. On 7 June Read captured schooner Alfred H. Partridge bound for Matamoras, securing her captain’s bond of $5,000 to deliver his cargo of arms and clothing to any port in the Confederacy. Two days later Clarence takes brig Mary Alvina loaded with commissary stores. On 12 June Lt Read seizes brig Tacony and schooner M.A. Shindler off Cape Hatteras; he also took schooner Kate Stewart, to which off-loaded his prisoners and bonded. Seeing that Tacony was a better sailor than Clarence, Read transferred his command to her and burned Clarence and Shindler. He than took brig Arabella, but, as she carried a neutral cargo, bonded her for $30,000 payable thirty days after the end of the war. On 15 June, CSS Tacony captured and burned brig Umpire and her cargo of sugar and molasses off the Virginia coast. By now, Read’s exploits were creating great concern in the North, and a large force of warships were sent in search of him. On 20 June, Tacony stopped Isaac Webb, bound from NY City to Liverpool carrying 759 passengers; with no room aboard his ship for so many people, Read bonded the ship for $40,000. He then pounced on and burned fishing schooner Micawber at sea off the New England coast. The following day the Confederate raider burned Byzantium and her cargo of coal as well as bark Goodspeed (in ballast), again off New England. In the same area, he took fishing schooners Florence, Marengo, E. Ann, R. Choate, and Ripple on 22 June, burning all but Florence, on which he loaded 75 prisoners, bonded, and released. More fishing schooners, Ada and Wanderer, followed these to the bottom on 23 June. The next day Read stopped Shatemuc, bound from Liverpool to Boston carrying a large number of immigrants; he bonder her for $150,000. Later he took fishing schooner Archer and, because he knew the Yankees would have a description of Tacony by now, transferred his men to her. Read burned Tacony on the morning of 25 June. On 26 June, CSS Archer picked up two fishermen who, believing the rebels to be simply a “pleasure party,” agreed to take them into the harbor of Portland, ME, where, they said, were anchored the revenue cutter Caleb Cushing, passenger steamer Chesapeake, and steamer Forest City, as well as two gunboats under construction. Read took Archer into the harbor at sunset and calmly anchored her for the evening. At 1:30am on 27 June, he led his men aboard Caleb Cushing and captured her without noise or resistance. By midmorning, Read had his new prize twenty miles out to sea, but was pursued by two large steamers and three tugs from Portland. Read fired on Forest City, but was “mortified” to find after only five shots that there was no more ammunition for the gun! With the steamers gaining, Read ordered his men into the lifeboats and, at 11:30, surrendered. His career as a raider was not quite over, however, as Caleb Cushing blew up a half hour later. Lt read and his men had taken 22 prizes in three weeks.

6.7.3

SUPPORT

USS Choctaw (Lt Cdr Ramsay) and USS Lexington (Lt Cdr Bache) defend Union troops at Milliken's Bend, MS from the attack by a superior number of Confederates.

6.14.3

(14-15)

REPRISAL

In retaliation for attacks by Confederate guerillas on several Union transports and gunboats, Act’g Lt Getty (USS Marmora) destroys Eunice, AR. The following day, landing parties from Marmora and Prairie Bird (Act’g Lt Edward E. Brennand) mete out the same punishment to Gaines Landing.

6.17.3

SHIP2SHIP

USS Weehawken (Capt. J. Rodgers) and USS Nahant (Cdr Downes) capture CSS Atlanta (Cdr Webb) in Wassaw Sound. Atlanta, accompanied by wooden steamers Isondiga and Resolute, was attempting an attack on Weehawken with a bow-mounted percussion torpedo, but ran repeatedly aground and refused to obey her helm. With two of his gun crews out of action, two of three pilots severely injured, and his ship hard aground, Webb surrendered.

6.18.3

SUPPORT

Fearing that Confederate cavalry attacks upon two Army transports off Plaquemines, LA portended an assault upon Union-occupied Donaldsonville, Rear Adm Farragut in USS Monongahela steams down river from Port Hudson. Gunfire from USS Winona (Lt Cdr Aaron V. Weaver) drives the rebels out of town, keeping the supply line from New Orleans open to the Federal forces around Port Hudson.

6.28.3

(28-30)

OTHER

Gen’l Robert E. Lee’s advance into Maryland and Pennsylvania to Gettysburg threatens the Navy’s supply of anthracite coal, all of which moves down the Susquehanna Canal. Without this steady flow from the Pennsylvania coal fields, the fleet would be unable to move within a few days. As Lee moved north, the Navy Dept ordered ships moved to the defense of Washington and other major cities.

July 1863  

7.1.3

SHIP2SHIP

Col. E. H. Angamar claims to make an attack upon the Union blockaders off Mobile on this date with his rocket-propelled submarine. There is no record of this from the Union side. Rocket propulsion is being experimented with on the Union side as well. The previous December, inventor Pascal Plant demonstrates a true self-propelled torpedo to interested naval officers along the banks of the Potomac River, but guidance problems prevent its acceptance. (Map approximate for Angamar)

7.4.3

JOINT

Vicksburg, the “Sebastopol of Rebeldom,” surrenders to Federal forces. Adm Porter recorded that thirteen naval guns had been used ashore (most manned by sailors) and that the Navy had lobbed 9,000 shells into the city and supplied the Army with 6000 additional rounds. 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.”

7.4.3a

SUPPORT

USS Tyler (Lt Cdr Prichett) repulses a Confederate attack on Helena, AR,. The Southerners had penetrated the outposts of the outnumbered Union Army when Tyler steamed into action. Her heavy fire halted the Confederate attack and forced a withdrawal. The Southern losses were heavy: 380 killed, 100 wounded, and 1100 prisoners.

7.9.3

JOINT

After prolonged attack by Union naval and land forces Port Hudson, Louisiana, surrenders. The long drive to regain control of the Mississippi River, beginning in the early in 1862 at Ft Henry in the north and south at New Orleans, was over.

7.10.3

SUPPORT

Ironclads USS Catskill (Cdr G.W. Rodgers); Montauk (Cdr Fairfax); Nahant (Cdr Downes), and Weehawken (Cdr Colhoun) bombard Confederate defenses on Morris Island, Charleston harbor, in support of an Army. Close in support of the landing was provided by small boats armed with howitzers under Lt Cdr Francis M. Bunce.

7.11.3

SUPPORT

Rear Adm Hiram Paulding, Commandant of the New York Navy Yard, stations gunboats around Manhattan to assist in maintaining order during the Draft Riots. Contrary to the movie “Gangs of New York,” the ships do not fire on the city.

7.13.3

JOINT

A combined expedition up the Yazoo River captures Yazoo City, MS. USS Baron de Kalb struck a torpedo and sank.

7.13.3a

EXPED

A landing party from USS Jacob Bell (Act’g Master Gerhard C. Schulze) destroys contraband goods consisting of blockade running flatboats and cargo of alcohol, whisky, salt, and soda. near Union Wharf on the Rappahannock River. (Map approximate)

7.14.3

EXPED

USS Sangamon, Lehigh, Mahaska, Morse, Commodore Barney, Commodore Jones, Shokokon, and Seymour, capture Ft Powhatan on the James River, VA. This is the last Confederate defense below Chaffin's and Drewry's Bluff.

7.15.3

EXPED

Boat crews from USS Stars and Stripes and Somerset land at Marsh's Island, FL, and destroy 60 bushels of salt and 50 salt boilers.

7.15.3a

SUPPORT

Although compelled to drop down the Stono River out of range of rebel batteries at Grimball’s Landing, USS Pawnee (Cdr Balch) and USS Marblehead (Lt Cdr Scott) nonetheless repel a Confederate attack on Union troops on James Island.

7.16.3

SHIP2SHIP

Cdr David McDougal in USS Wyoming engages three Japanese warships and batteries on the bluffs over the Straits of Shimonseki, Japan, sinking one vessel, grounding and burning a second, and sending the third fleeing. McDougal was on station watching for CSS Alabama when word reached him from the American ambassador that the Japanese warlord at Shimonseki had fired on an American merchant steamer. Had the ensuing battle not taken place during the Civil War, McDougal’s handling of his ship and guns against such odds would have earned him a place in the history books.

7.19.3

JOINT

Following a ten-day chase of 500 miles along the Ohio River, gunboats USS Moose, Reindeer, Victory, Springfield, Naumkeag, and steamer Alleghany Belle under Lt Cdr Leroy Fitch caught up with Gen’l John H. Morgan’s 6000 Confederate raiders at Buffington Island, OH. As Union troops pressed in from the rear, the rebels sought repeatedly to cross the river, but were forced back by naval gunfire each time. Morgan’s men scattered into the hills, leaving their artillery on the beach and 3000 of their fellows prisoners of the Yankees.

7.22.3

SUPPORT

In a move to bolster Union Army strength ashore, Rear Adm Dahlgren orders Cdr F. A. Parker to land and command a four-gun naval battery to be placed on Morris Island “'for the work against Ft Sumter.” Their deployment is intended to bolster Army strength ashore.

7.24.3

BOMBARD

In ongoing operations in Charleston harbor, Rear Adm Dahlgren's warships bombard Ft Wagner to allow the Army to consolidate positions they had advanced into during the night.

7.28.3

EXPED

Lt Cdr English leads USS Beauregard and Oleander and boats from USS Sagamore and Para in an attack on New Smyrna, FL. The naval force shells the town, captures or destroys several schooners, burns a large quantity of cotton ashore, and destroys all of the buildings used by the Confederates.

August 1863

8.4.3

JOINT

A naval observation and signal station under Act’g Master John Haynes, USN, on Vincent’s Creek, Morris Island, is captured after a sharp battle by four Confederate boat crews under Lts Alexander F. Warley and John Payne from CSS Chicora and Palmetto State and a Confederate Army detachment

8.7.3

SUPPORT

USS Mound City (Lt Cdr Wilson) disperses Confederate cavalry making a raid on a Union encampment at Lake Providence, LA.

8.13.3

(13-14)

EXPED

A naval force under Lt Bache comprised of USS Lexington, Cricket (Act’g Lt Langthorne), and Marmora (Act’g Lt R. Getty) reconnoiters the White River above Clarendon, AR, in search of Confederate forces under Gen’l Sterling Price. Penetrating as far upstream Augusta on the White and Searcy on the Little Red rivers, the gunboats destroyed the telegraph and lines at Des Arc, captured two rebel steamers, and destroyed an enemy pontoon bridge.

8.17.3

SINKING

USS Crocus (Act’g Ensign J. LeGrand Winton) runs aground and is wrecked at Bodie's Island, NC.

8.18.3

SINKING

CSS Oconee (Lt Oscar F. Johnston), founders in heavy seas near St. Catherine's Sound, GA, after running the blockade out of Savannah the night before. Oconee is a government blockade runner and had been loaded with cotton; all hands were saved.

8.21.3

SHIP2SHIP

Pilot James Carlin in Confederate torpedo boat Torch makes a daring attempt to sink USS New Ironsides near Morris Island. An engine failure and loss of helm control at the last moment made Carlin miss the warship. Spotted by the officer of the deck aboard New Ironsides—and actually conversing with him in an attempt to bluff his way through—Carlin managed to start his engines again and quickly returned to Charleston as shots from the Union vessel bracketed the torpedo boat.

8.22.3

EXPED

Two boat crews from USS Shokokon (Lt Cushing) under Act’g Ensign Joseph S. Cony land near New Topsail Inlet, NC. The sailors shoulder a small dingy, carry it across a neck of land into the inlet, and attack and burn blockade runner Alexander Cooper—behind the Confederate defenses. Cony destroys extensive saltworks in the area and returned with three prisoners.

8.23.3

(12-23)

CAPTURE

Lt Wood, CSN, departed Richmond on 12 August with 80 Confederates and four boats mounted on wheels. On the night of 16 August, his men launched the small boats into the Piankatank River two mile above its mouth and rowed downstream. For over a week, the rebels hid by day and searched by night for vulnerable Union ships. Just after one in the morning on this date, Wood and his men discovered USS Satellite (Act’g Master Robinson) and USS Reliance (Act’g Ensign Henry Walter) anchored so closely in an exposed position that they decide to take them both—and do. The Federal vessels are taken up the Rappahannock to Urbana.

8.30.3

EXPED

A detachment of the Marine Brigade assigned to Rear Adm Porter’s Mississippi Squadron, captures three Confederate paymasters at Bolivar, MS, as well as their 35-man escort. The paymasters were carrying $2,200,000 in Confederate currency to pay Gen’l Price’s soldiers at Little Rock.

September 1863

9.6.3

EXPED

Landing party from USS Argosy (Act’g Ensign John C. Morong) seizes Confederate ordnance supplies and 1,200 pounds of tobacco at Bruinsburg, MS.

9.8.3

JOINT

A joint Navy-Army attack on Sabine Pass fails when Confederates disable and capture the gunboats Sachem and Clifton (Act’g Lt Crocker). The remaining gunboats, USS Arizona and Granite City, returned with two Army transports to New Orleans.

9.8.3a

EXPED

Cdr Stevens leads an assault on Ft Sumter with thirty boats and 400 sailors and marines late in the evening. Being fully aware of the coming attack after recovering code books from USS Keokuk, the Confederates held their fire until the boats were nearly ashore, then opened on the exposed Yankees with everything from hand grenades to the guns of CSS Chicora. The Federal naval attack was repulsed, and 100 men were taken prisoner.

9.13.3

CAPTURE

Twenty crewmen from USS Rattler (Act’g Master Walter E. H. Fentress) are captured by Confederate cavalry while attending church services at Rodney, MS.

9.19.3

(19-23)

EXPED CSN

Over the space of five days, Act’g Masters John Y. Beall, CSN, and Edward McGuire, CSN, lead a series of small boat raids on Chesapeake Bay that result in the capture of schooner Alliance (loaded with sutlers’ stores) on 19 September, schooner J.J. Houseman on the 21st, and schooners Samuel Pearsall and Alexandria on the 22nd. Beall and McGuire cast three of the ships adrift at Wachapreague Inlet, intending to run the blockade in Alliance. When she grounded at Milford Haven, the rebels burned her and escaped to Richmond. Beall and his men continued raiding on the eastern shore of Maryland, destroying several lighthouses, until finally captured on 15 November. (Map approximate)

9.22.3

EXPED

Having left Mobile several days earlier, Act’g Master David Nichols leads nineteen Confederate seamen leave their small cutter, Teaser, in the marshes of South West Pass on the Mississippi River, and walk overland to board and capture Army tug Leviathan. Finding her fully loaded with coal and provisions, Nichols and his men make for the open ocean. Learning of the capture, Commodore Bell orders Navy ships in pursuit, and the daring Southern sailors are themselves captured several hours later by USS De Soto.

9.22.3a

EXPED

Expedition under Act’g Master George W. Ewer from USS Seneca destroys the Hudson Place Salt Works near Darien, GA.

9.29.3

SUPPORT

USS Lafayette (Lt Cdr J.P. Foster) and USS Kenwood (Act’g Master John Swaney) arrive at Morganza, LA, on Bayou Fordoche to protect 1500 Union troops from imminent attack by four brigades of Confederates--who decline to attack.

October 1863

10.5.3

SHIP2SHIP

Lt Glassell in torpedo boat CSS David makes a night attack on USS New Ironsides. The 60-pound spar torpedo did not sink the warship, but, as revealed by subsequent inspection, forced her withdrawal from the blockade for repairs. Water thrown up by the explosion nearly swamped the David and put out her fires; believing the boat lost, Glassell and Seaman James Sullivan leapt overboard and were captured. Her engineer managed to rekindle the boiler fire and bring the boat back into Charleston.

10.7.3

EXPED

Act’g Lt Couthouy (USS Osage) orders Act’g Chief Engineer Thomas Doughty to take a landing party overland from the Mississippi to the Red River, where they capture and burn steamers Robert Fulton and Argus and take nine prisoners. (Map approximate)

10.11.3

SINKING

USS Madgie (Act’g Master Polleys) sinks in rough seas off Frying Pan Shoals, NC.

10.14.3

SUPPORT

USS Queen City (Act’g Lt G. W. Brown) makes a joint raid on Friar's Point, MS, where a search of the warehouses turns up 200 bales of contraband cotton, which are seized.

10.15.3

EXPED

USS Commodore (Act’g Master John R. Hamilton) and USS Corypheus (Act’g Master Francis H. Grove) destroy a Confederate tannery at Bay St. Louis, MS—including a stockpile of hides valued at $20,000.

10.16.3

(16-17)

EXPED

In a daring overland expedition, 100 sailors from USS Tahoma (Lt Cdr A. A. Semmes) and USS Adela (Act’g Lt Louis N. Stodder) march fourteen miles from Old Tampa Bay to the Hillsboro River and destroy blockade runners Scottish Chief and Kate Dale, loaded with cotton and preparing to run the blockade. Tahoma and Adela shelled the fort at Tampa as a diversion, but crewmen from the blockade runners alerted the garrison. In the running fight that ensued, five sailors were killed, ten wounded, and five taken prisoner before they regained their ships.

November 1863

11.3.3

(3-4)

JOINT

Naval forces under Cdr Strong (USS Monongahela, Owasco, and Virginia) convoyed and supported troops Army landings that captured Brazos Santiago, TX.

11.9.3

CAPTURE

USS James Adger (Cdr Patterson) captures blockade runner Robert E. Lee off Cape Lookout Shoals, NC. Lee had been one of the most famous and successful runners, breaking through the blockade more than twenty-one times.

11.14.3

CAPTURE

Master James Duke, CSN, in an unarmed boat, captures schooner Mary Campbell and Norman off Pensacola, FL. USS Bermuda (Act’g Lt J.W. Smith) later recaptures Mary Campbell at the mouth of the Perdido River, but Duke and his men escape in the Norman, which they beach and burn.

11.16.3

(16-17)

JOINT

USS Monongahela (Cdr Strong) escorts Army transports and covers landings on Mustang Island, Aransas Pass, TX. Monongahela’s also landed two boat howitzers with crews, which accompany the soldiers on a twenty-mile march to shell Confederate works into surrender.

11.22.3

SUPPORT

USS Jacob Bell (Act’g Master Schulze) supports a troop landing at St. George's Island, MD, where some 30 Confederates were captured.

11.29.3

JOINT

USS Monongahela lands a crewed howitzer to support an Army attack on Pass Cavallo, TX.

December 1863

12.2.3

EXPED

Boat expedition from USS Restless, (Act’g Master William R. Browne) destroys saltworks at Lake Ocala, FL, capable of producing 130 bushels a day, and takes seventeen prisoners.

12.6.3

SINKING

After taking on an extra load of heavy ammunition, USS Weehawken (Cdr Duncan) sinks inside the bar of Charleston harbor when water floods down an open hatch.

12.7.3

CAPTURE

Capt. John Parker, former commander of the Confederate privateer Retribution, orders John Braine and seventeen Confederate sympathizers from St John, New Brunswick to NY City, where the party arms themselves and boards steamer Chesapeake. En route to Portland, ME, the rebels seize Chesapeake off Cape Cod, and head for Nova Scotia, intending to recoal and then steam for Wilmington. The Navy responded quickly, and ships from Philadelphia northward were sent in pursuit. On 17 December USS Ella and Annie (Act’g Lt J. Frederick Nickels) recaptured Chesapeake in Sambro Harbor, Nova Scotia. Taken to Halifax, she was restored to her owners by the Vice Admiralty Court. Most of the Confederate raiders escaped. (Map approximate)

12.8.3

BOMBARD

USS Neosho (Act’g Ensign Edwin P. Brooks) and USS Signal (Act’g Ensign William P. Lee) silence a rebel battery shelling the disabled steamer Henry Von Phul near Morganza, LA.

12.17.3

EXPED

Landing parties from USS Moose (Lt Cdr Fitch) destroy Confederate distilleries at Seven Mile Island and Palmyra, TN.

12.19.3

EXPED

Raids upon the extensive Southern salt works in St Andrew’s Bay, FL continue as USS Restless, Bloomer, and Caroline under Act’g Master W. R. Browne destroy 290 works, 33 wagons, 12 flatboats, 2 sloops, 6 ox carts, 4000 bushels of salt, 268 buildings, 529 iron kettles (150 gallons apiece), and 103 iron boilers. Browne believed the fleeing Confederates had destroyed as much to prevent it falling into Union hands.

12.25.3

BOMBARD

USS Marblehead (Lt Cdr Meade), USS Pawnee (Cdr Balch), and mortar schooner C.P. Williams (Act’g Master Simeon N. Freeman) force the withdrawal of a Confederate battery that had opened fire on the Marblehead near Legareville, SC, in the Stono River. Pawnee was struck twenty times before the rebels broke off the battle. Lt Cdr Meade landed and seized two VIII-inch sea coast howitzers.

12.25.3

JOINT

USS Daylight  (Act’g Lt Francis S. Wells) and USS Howquah (Act’g Lt MacDiarmid) transport troops from Beaufort, NC, to Bear Inlet, where soldiers and sailors land and destroy four extensive saltworks along the coast.

12.30.3

EXPED

Act’g Ensign Norman McLeod (USS Pursuit) destroys two salt works in St. Joseph's Bay, FL.

12.31.3

(31-1)

SUPPORT

USS Sciota (Lt Cdr Perkins) and USS Granite City (Act’g Master Lamson) transport, land, and support Union troops on an expedition to the Gulf shore of the Matagorda Peninsula, protecting them from attacks by Confederate cavalry and the Confederate gunboat CSS John F. Carr through a gale that threatened to drive the ships ashore (which it did the Carr, which caught fire and was destroyed).

January 1864  

1.14.4

SINKING

Federal blockaders destroy USS Iron Age after attempts to pull her off the beach at Lockwood's Folly Inlet fail.

1.21.4

SUPPORT

USS Sciota (Lt Cdr George H. Perkins) and USS Granite City (Act’g Master Charles W. Lamson) accompany an Army reconnaissance from Smith’s Landing, TX down the Matagorda Peninsula.

1.31.4

JOINT

Lt Cdr Charles W. Flusser leads an expedition of 40 sailors and 350 soldiers inland from the Roanoke River, NC, and occupies the town of Windsor for several hours.

February 1864

2.2.4

CAPTURE

In boats shipped by rail from Richmond to Kinston, NC, Cdr John Taylor Wood, CSN, leads a force of sailors and Marines in an early morning attack on USS Underwriter (Act’g Master Jacob Westervelt), anchored in the Neuse River near New Bern, NC. The Confederate raiders were so close to the gunboat by the time they were spotted that Underwriter could not lower them enough to fire upon on the rebels, who take the boat in hand-to-hand combat. Unable to move Underwriter because she did not have steam up, Wood destroyed her.

2.2.4a

(2-22)

SUPPORT

At the request of Major Gen’l Quincy Gillmore for naval support, Rear Adm John Dahlgren sends USS Ottawa, Norwich, Dai Ching, Mahaska and Water Witch up the St. John's River. Under cover of their guns, the troops land at Jacksonville and capture artillery and seize quantities of cotton in a two week expedition. When a strong Confederate counterattack forced the soldiers to fall back on Jacksonville on 20 February, the gunboats were there to defend them; boat howitzers crewed by sailors were also landed.

2.15.4

SUPPORT

USS Forest Rose (Act’g Lt John V. Johnson) opens a heavy bombardment upon Confederate troops attacking Union soldiers at Waterproof, LA, forcing them to withdraw.

2.16.4

BOMBARD

The campaign against Confederate defenses on Mobile Bay begins with the bombardment of Ft Powell by USS Octorara (Lt Cdr William W. Low, USS J. P. Jackson (Act’g Lt Miner B. Crowell), and six mortar schooners.

2.17.4

SINKING

Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley (Lt George E. Dixon, CSA) sinks USS Housatonic (Capt. Charles W. Pickering) off Charleston with a spar torpedo—the first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship. Dixon and his daring crew perished with their submarine in the attack.

2.17.4a

(17-19)

EXPED

Act’g Ensign J. G. Koehler (USS Tahoma) leads a boat expedition ashore near St. Marks, FL and destroys a large Confederate salt works and a supply of salt.

2.26.4

(26-27)

EXPED

Boat expedition under the command of Act’g Master E. C. Weeks (USS Tahoma) destroys a large saltwork on Goose Creek, near St. Marks, FL.

2.29.4

EXPED

Lt William B. Cushing leads two boats from USS Monticello in a nighttime raid on Smithville, NC, in an attempt to capture Gen’l Louis Hebert of the Confederate Army. Cushing manages to locate the general’s quarters in the middle of town—and only fifty yards from the barracks—but is disappointed to find the general absent at Wilmington. He returned to his ship with Capt Kelly, CSA, instead.

March 1864

3.1.4

(1-2)

SUPPORT

At the request of Brigadier Gen’l Henry W. Wessells, Lt Cdr Flusser in double-ender USS Southfield with tinclad USS Whitehead provides covering fire that allows Army steamer Bombshell to escape a rebel battery that had cut her off in the Chowan River above Petty Shore, NC.

3.5.4

EXPED

Cdr John Taylor Wood, CSN, with fifteen men in open barges, leads an early morning raid on the Union-held telegraph station at Cherry Point, VA after crossing Chesapeake Bay in the night. Unaware that the station had been taken, Union Army steamers AEolus and Titan, put into shore and are also captured. Wood destroys the telegraph station, disables and bonds AEolus, and steams up the Piankatank River in Titan.

3.5.4a

SUPPORT

Heavy gunfire from USS Petrel (Act’g Master Thomas McElroy) and Marmora (Act’g Master Thomas Gibson) drives off a Confederate attack on Yazoo City, MS. The Navy’s contribution included a landed boat howitzer, whose crew of sailors fought hand-to-hand to save their gun.

3.6.4

SHIP2SHIP

USS Memphis (Act’g Master Robert O. Patterson) is saved by a faulty torpedo when First Assistant Engineer Tomb, CSN, attacks her in a “David” torpedo boat in the North Edisto River near Charleston. Tomb made two passes at the warship, striking Memphis both times with the 95 pound spar torpedo, but it failed to detonate on both attempts. Damaged by collision with Memphis in his second attempt and under heavy fire, Tomb came about and returned to Charleston.

3.6.4a

SINKING

USS Peterhoff (Act’g Lt Thomas Pickering) sinks off New Inlet, NC after being accidentally rammed by USS Mount Vernon.

3.12.4

JOINT

Rear Adm Porter’s gunboats move up the Red River to open a two-month campaign to gain a foothold in Texas. On this day, the gunboats remove obstructions below Ft DeRussy and cover Army landings along the Atchafalaya River at Simmesport, LA.

3.14.4

JOINT

Fort DeRussy on the Red River, LA falls to combined Union forces.

3.16.4

EXPED

USS Osage (Lt Cdr Selfridge) arrives off Alexandria, LA and occupies the town prior to the arrival of Major Gen’l Banks' Army, which is delayed by heavy rains.

3.25.4

SUPPORT

USS Peosta (Act’g Lt Thomas E. Smith) and USS Paw Paw (Act’g Lt A. Frank O'Neil) halt a heavy Confederate assault on Northern positions at Paducah, KY. After forcing the rebels to withdraw, the gunboats also drove Southern sharpshooters from nearby buildings, where they had been sniping at Union troops.

3.28.4

SINKING

USS Kingfisher (Act’g Master John C. Dutch) ran aground and was wrecked in St. Helena Sound, SC.

3.29.4

(29-30)

EXPED

A boat expedition led by Act’g Master James M. Williams (USS Commodore Barney) with a detachment of sailors from USS Minnesota, ascends Chuckatuck Creek late at night, quietly surrounds a Confederate headquarters at Cherry Grove, VA, and captures twenty prisoners.

April 1864

4.9.4

SHIP2SHIP

Confederate torpedo boat Squib (Lt Hunter Davidson) makes a successful attack against USS Minnesota (Lt Cdr John H. Upshur) off Newport News, VA. The “tremendous explosion” of her spar torpedo and the roll of Minnesota when it detonated made the Yankee sailors think she was going down; in reality, little damage resulted.

4.12.4

BOMBARD

As Rear Adm Porter's gunboats retraced their course down the Red River from Springfield Landing, LA, Confederate guns take them under heavy fire from the high bluffs overlooking the river. At Blair’s Landing, dismounted cavalry supported by artillery, attacks the Union fleet for over an hour until Navy gunfire drives them off. This engagement marks the first appearance of a unique device: the periscope. Officers protected behind the iron walls of the gunboats found it almost impossible to target their ship’s guns on the towering bluffs when sighting through the narrow view slits. Chief Engineer Thomas Doughty of USS Osage solved this problem by designing the first periscope.

4.12.4a

SUPPORT

Gunboat USS New Era (Act’g Master James Marshall) attempts to stop Confederate Major Gen’l Nathan B. Forrest’s assault on Ft Pillow, TN. Although initially successful, by afternoon the rebels mounted an overwhelming attack and carried the fort. When the fort’s guns were turned on the small gunboat, Marshall was forced to withdraw.

4.14.4

SUPPORT

A Confederate assault on the Union garrison at Paducah is repelled by gunboats USS Peosta (Lt Cdr James W. Shirk), Key West (Act’g Lt Edward M. King), Fairplay (Act’g Master George J. Groves), and Victory (Act’g Master Frederick Read). 

4.15.4

SINKING

USS Eastport (Lt Cdr Phelps) strikes a Confederate torpedo in the Red River some miles below Grand Ecore. Phelps immediately ran Eastport into shoal water where she grounded. For six days Phelps, assisted by other gunboats in the river, attempted to bail and pump out the water. At last, 21 April, he was able to get underway with carpenters working day and night to close the leak. In the next five days Eastport moved 60 miles downstream while grounding eight times. Finally, on 26 April, with the ironclad again grounded, Rear Adm Porter ordered Phelps to transfer his men to USS Ft Hindman and destroy Eastport.

4.17.4

SUPPORT

Confederate troops launch a sustained land attack on Plymouth, NC, which is driven back with the help of Union gunboats Southfield and Miami under Lt Cdr Flusser.

4.19.4

SHIP2
SHIP

CSS Albemarle (Cdr Cooke) attacks Union warships off Plymouth, NC, sinking USS Southfield by ramming her and sending Miami, Ceres, and Whitehead steaming downstream under heavy fire. The Union guns had been ineffective against the heavy iron plating on the sloping sides of the ram.

4.19.4a

SHIP2SHIP

Closing to 150 yards before being spotted, Engineer Tomb, CSN, makes another attack on the Yankee blockaders off Charleston in his “David.” This time he attempts to sink USS Wabash, and manages to get within 40 yards under a hail of musket fire before heavy swells force him to turn away.

4.22.4

CAPTURE

USS Petrel (Act’g Master McElroy) is fired upon by Confederate sharpshooters and artillery and disabled in the Yazoo River while escorting transport Freestone to attack Yazoo City. Petrel is captured and burned by the rebels after they remove her armament and stores. (Map approximate)

4.21.4a

EXPED

Act’g Lt Joseph B. Breck leads boat crews from USS Howquah, Ft Jackson, and Niphon to destroy Confederate salt works on Masonboro Sound, NC. Landing after dark, the sailors approached undetected and succeeded in demolishing the works and taking 160 prisoners.

4.21.4b

EXPED

Boat crews from USS Ethan Allan (Act’g Master Isaac A. Pennell) destroy an extensive saltwork and thirty buildings at Cane Patch, near Murrell's Inlet, SC.

4.21.4c

EXPED

Boat expedition commanded by Act’g Master John K. Crosby from USS Cimarron destroyed a rice mill and 5,000 bushels of rice stored at Winyah Bay, SC.

4.21.4d

EXPED

Boat expedition under Act’g Ensign Christopher Carven,(USS Sagamore) took over 100 bales of cotton and destroyed 300 additional bales near Clay Landing, on the Suwannee River, FL.

4.26.4

(26-27)

BOMBARD

Rear Adm Porter’s gunboats are attacked by Confederate infantry while preparing to blow up the grounded USS Eastport. Withdrawing downstream on the afternoon of 26 April, Porter—in tinclad USS Cricket (Act’g Master Henry Gorringe) with Ft Hindman (Act’g Lt John Pearce), Juliet (Act’g Master J. S. Watson), and pump steamers, Champion No. 3 and No. 5—is ambushed at a bend in the river below Deloges Bluff, LA by Confederate infantry with a battery of nineteen cannon. Struck 38 times, Cricket drifts past the bend, and Ft Hindman and Juliet win through on the following day. Both pump boats are lost, however—one burned and the other captured. Champion No. 3 had the sad distinction of receiving the single most destructive cannon shot of the entire war when a 12-pdr round pierced her boiler. The steamer was loaded with 150 fleeing slaves in addition to her crew, and the escaping superheated team killed 100 of them immediately, with 87 more people succumbing soon thereafter.

4.29.4

BOMBARD

An expedition up the Rappahannock River including boats from USS Yankee (Act’g Lt Edward Hooker) and USS Fuchsia, USS Freeborn and Tulip engage Confederate cavalry and destroy a camp under construction at Carter's Creek, VA.

May 1864

5.2.4

(2-9)

OTHER

Rear Adm porter’s light-draft gunboats pass through the gap in a dam over rapids in the Red River at Alexandria, LA. Falling water in the river trapped the navy squadron, but Army Colonel Bailey put regiments from Maine and New York to work to build a wing dam that allowed water to rise above it and afford a gap where the ships could pass over the rocks. Following eight days of heavy labor, the Navy tinclads make their escape on this date. Pressure from the building water above the dam swept part of it away, but Bailey renewed his efforts, built a second dam, and, with help from thousands of soldiers pulling on tow ropes, all of Porter’s ships succeed in reaching deeper water by 13 May.

5.4.4

(4-7)

JOINT

USS Sunflower (Act’g Master Edward Van Sice), Honduras (Act’g Master John H. Platt), and J. L. Davis (Act’g Master William Fales) participate in a combined operation to take Tampa, FL. The Union gunboats transported soldiers and provided a naval landing party which joined in the assault.

5.5.4

SHIP2SHIP

 

A Confederate sortie out of Plymouth in support of a rebel army attack on New Bern, NC is blunted at the Battle of Albemarle Sound. Although the gunfire of the Union squadron--comprised of USS Sassacus (Lt Cdr Roe), Mattabesett (Capt. M. Smith), Wyalusing (Lt Cdr Walter W. Queen)—was ineffective against the armor of CSS Albemarle (Cdr John W. Cooke), Sassacus managed to cause significant damage by ramming the ironclad. The Yankees captured the steamer Bombshell (Lt Albert G. Hudgins) and Albemarle returned to Plymouth, where she remained for several months of repairs. Confederate forces made the planned attack on New Bern, but achieved nothing without naval support.

5.5.4a

SINKING

SINKING

Confederate forces on the Red River continue their incessant attacks on Union ships below Alexandria, taking advantage of the main body of Adm Porter’s squadron being stuck above the rapids. A large body of rebel infantry with two pieces of artillery open fire on USS Covington (Act’g Lt George P. Lord), USS Signal (Act’g Lt Edward Morgan), and transport Warner near Dunn's Bayou, LA. Warner, losing control and running aground, was captured. Covington, after exhausting her ammunition, was burned; and Signal, crippled and left on her own, surrendered. The rebels sunk her to block the channel.

5.6.4

SINKING

While dragging for torpedoes in the James River with USS Mackinaw and Commodore Morris, USS Commodore Jones (Act’g Lt Thomas Wade) is blown up by a 2000-pound electric torpedo. The ship was lifted entirely out of the water and 40 sailors killed in the explosion. (Map approximate)

5.6.4a

(6-7)

SHIP2
SHIP

SINKING

CSS Raleigh (Flag Officer Lynch) steams out of New Inlet, NC early in the evening and engages USS Britannia and Nansemond, forcing them to withdraw long enough for a blockade runner to escape. Early on the morning of 7 May, Raleigh appeared again, trading shots with USS Howquah and Nansemond. When USS Mount Vernon and Kansas also opened on the ram, Lynch broke off the action. Raleigh grounded while attempting to cross the bar at the Cape Fear River and was severely damaged; Lynch ordered her destroyed.

5.6.4b

CAPTURE

After spending a week picking up refugees along the Calcasieu River, LA, USS Granite City (Act’g Master C.W. Lamson) and USS Wave (Act’g Lt Benjamin A. Loring) are attacked by 350 rebel sharpshooters with artillery, who overwhelm the Army pickets assigned to the expedition and open fire on the boats. Granite City surrendered an hour later and Wave soon thereafter. (Map approximate)

5.6.4c

JOINT

USS Dawn (Act’g Lt John W. Simmons) lands soldiers to capture a signal station at Wilson's Wharf, VA. When the soldiers are halted, a boat crew from Dawn spearheads the successful assault.

5.7.4

SINKING

USS Shawsheen (Act’g Ensign Charles Ringot) is disabled, captured and destroyed by Confederates in the James River.  (Map approximate)

5.12.4

EXPED

While on a boat expedition with Army troops looking for suspected Confederate forces around Apalachicola, FL, Act’g Lt William Budd (USS Somerset) discovers a raiding party of Confederate sailors about to embark on their own boat expedition to capture USS Adela. Having already landed the soldiers, Budd and his sailors drive the rebel sailors into town and capture their boats and supplies.

5.13.4a

JOINT

USS Ceres (Act’g Master Henry H. Foster), with Army steamer Rockland and 100 embarked soldiers, raids along the Alligator River, NC, capturing a Confederate schooner and disabling a corn mill supplying the Southern armies. (Map approximate)

5.19.4

BOMBARD

USS General Price (Act’g Lt Richardson), forces the withdrawal of a Confederate battery on the banks of the Mississippi River at Tunica Bend, LA, that was trying to destroy the transport Superior. Richardson landed and burned buildings used as a headquarters by the rebels.

5.21.4

SUPPORT

USS Atlanta (Act’g Lt Thomas J. Woodward) and USS Dawn (Act’g Lt John W. Simmons) disperse Confederate cavalry attacking Ft Powhatan on the James Rivet, VA. Dawn remained nearby through the night to prevent another attack.

5.23.4

CAPTURE

USS Columbine (Act’g Ensign Sanborn), with soldiers aboard, is captured after a heated engagement with rebel batteries and riflemen at Horse Landing, near Palatka, FL. The ship had lost steering control and grounded on a mud bank, where she was an easy target for Confederate fire. The Southerners destroyed her shortly afterward to avoid recapture.

5.24.4

SUPPORT

Accurate gunfire from wooden steamer USS Dawn (Act’g Lt Simmons) forces Confederate troops to break off an attack on the Union Army position at Wilson's Wharf on the James River.

5.25.4a

JOINT

A joint Navy-Army expedition advances up the Ashepoo and South Edisto Rivers, SC to cut the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. Union naval forces under Lt Cdr Edward F. Stone (USS Commodore McDonough, E.B. Hale, Dai Ching, and Vixen) push up the South Edisto and lands Marines and howitzers that open fire on Willtown, SC. Unable to make contact with Army units that had moved up the Ashepoo River, the landing party withdraws on the following morning.

June 1864

6.2.4

EXPED

Landing party from USS Cowslip (Act’g Ensign Canfield) captures or destroys a number of sloops and boats as well as four saltworks on a raid up Biloxi Bay, MS.

6.3.4

CAPTURE

Lt Thomas P. Pelot, CSN, leads a boat expedition of 130 officers and men that surprises and captures USS Water Witch (Lt Cdr Austin Pendergrast) in an early morning raid off Ossabaw Island, GA. Water Witch was taken into the Vernon River and moored above the obstructions guarding Savannah.

6.8.4

BOMBARD

Lt Cdr Ramsay (USS Chillicothe) with USS Neosho (Act’g Lt Howard) and USS Port Hindman (Act’g Lt Pearce) engages a rebel battery above Simmesport, LA on the Atchafalaya River. A landing party captured the guns after the Confederates were forced to withdraw.

6.12.4

SINKING

USS Lavender (Act’g Master John H. Gleason) strikes a shoal off NC in a squall and sinks. (Approx.)

6.19.4

SHIP2SHIP

USS Kearsarge (Capt Winslow) sinks Confederate raider CSS Alabama (Capt Raphael Semmes) off Cherbourg, France. Semms and thirteen of his officers and 27 men are picked up in English yacht Deerhound and make good their escape to England.

6.20.4

SUPPORT

Union gunboats bombard and break up Confederate batteries and troop concentrations at White House and Cumberland, VA, preventing them from harassing Union transports along the river.

6.20.4a

(20-24)

SUPPORT

USS Calypso (Act’g Master Frederick D. Stuart) and USS Nansemond (Act’g Ensign James H. Porter) land Union troops near New River, NC on an expedition to cut the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad. The rebels learned of the attempt, however, and the forced the withdrawal of the Federals under cover of the Navy’s guns. (Map approximate)

6.21.4

JOINT

A joint Confederate Navy-Army long-range bombardment opens on the Union squadron in the James River at Trent's and Varina Reaches. Engine problems aboard Virginia II delayed the deployment of the James River Squadron and kept it from closing to effective range. Little damage was done to either fleet, as the Federal vessels concentrated on the rebel shore batteries. The rebel fleet included Virginia II (Flag Officer Mitchell), Fredericksburg (Cdr Rootes), Hampton (Lt John S. Maury), Nansemond (Lt Charles W. Hayes), and Drewry (Lt William H. Hall), Roanoke (Lt Mortimer M. Beton), and tug Beaufort (Lt Joseph Gardner). CSS Richmond (Lt W. H. Parker) was kept out of action due to mechanical failure.

6.23.4

(23-24)

EXPED

Lt Cushing leads seventeen men from USS Monticello on a reconnaissance up the Cape Fear River to within three miles of Wilmington, NC, rowing past the batteries defending the river on the night of 23 June and hiding along the shore after dawn. Cushing was able to verify that CSS Raleigh had, indeed, been wrecked as the result of the engagement on 6 May.

6.24.4

SINKING

USS Queen City (Act’g Master Michael Hickey) is attacked and taken by Confederate cavalry while lying at anchor off Clarendon, AR. The rebels destroyed her.

July 1864

7.7.4

(7-12)

JOINT

USS Ariel (Act’g Master Russell), Sea Bird (Act’g Ensign Ezra L. Robbins), Stonewall (Act’g Master Henry B. Carter), and Rosalie (Act’g Master Coffin), take part in joint operations against Brookville and Bayport, FL.

7.11.4

EXPED

Landing party from USS James L. Davis (Act’g Master Griswold) destroys Confederate salt works near Tampa, FL. (Map approximate)

7.12.4

JOINT

USS Whitehead (Act’g Ensign George W. Barrett) and USS Ceres (Act’g Master Foster) with transport steamer Ella May conduct a joint expedition up the Scuppernong River to Columbia, NC, which destroys a bridge and a quantity of grain.

7.22.4

EXPED

Lt Charles S. Cotton and Act’g Ensign John L. Hall lead a landing party from USS Oneida on a night raid to capture a Confederate cavalry patrol near Ft Morgan, Mobile Bay. After taking the Confederate prisoner, the sailors marched four miles inland and destroyed the patrol’s camp as well.

7.25.4

SINKING

USS Undine (Act’g Master John L. Bryant) strikes a snag and sinks in the Tennessee River near Clifton, TN. Bryant removes the guns from his ship and places them ashore to help defend the city from threatened attack. With the help of pump steamer Little Champion, Bryant is able to raise Undine on 31 July and return her to service.

7.30.4

EXPED

Landing party from USS Potomska (Act’g Lt Robert P. Swann) destroys two large Confederate salt works near the Back River, GA.

August 1864

8.1.4

(1-4)

EXPED

Landing party of 115 officers and men under Cdr George M. Colvocoresses raids a meeting of civilians forming a coastal guard at McIntosh Court House, GA. Colvocoresses marched his men overland after coming ashore during the night of 2 August, destroyed a bridge to prevent being cut off by Confederate cavalry, and captured some 26 prisoners and 22 horses before making his way safely back to USS Saratoga.

8.5.4

SHIP2SHIP

Rear Adm Farragut leads a squadron of eighteen ships (including four monitors) into heavily defended Mobile Bay. Forced to pass close by Ft Morgan, Farragut formed the monitors (USS Tecumseh, Manhattan, Winnebago, and Chickasaw) in line between the fort and his wooden vessels. These were lashed two-by-two, with the lighter ships to port. Adm Franklin Buchanan led a squadron of Confederate ships against Farragut: the heavy ram Tennessee and smaller ships Gaines, Selma, and Morgan. Dashing straight for Tennessee, USS Tecumseh (Cdr T.A.M. Craven) strikes a torpedo and sinks with 90 of its 114 officers and men. Included among these is Cdr Craven, who gallantly pauses at the foot of the ladder leading to the main deck to allow his pilot to precede him. Seeing this, Farragut—lashed in the rigging to better observe the action—encourages his men to “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” His flagship, Hartford, surged into the rows of mines—none of which detonated. For the next few hours, the smaller Confederate ships are knocked out of the battle one by one: Selma (Lt Peter U. Murphey) surrendered, Morgan (Cdr George W. Harrison) retreated under Ft Morgan’s guns, and Gaines (Lt John W. Bennett) sunk. Adm Buchanan fought his ship until 10a.m., when it became apparent that he could not prevail against the combined shelling and repeated ramming by the Union vessels, and surrendered. Farragut’s attention then turned to the forts that defended the bay. Ft Powell was evacuated after a shelling from USS Chickasaw (Lt Cdr George H. Perkins) and Gaines and Morgan would follow suit soon thereafter. This action closed the last major Gulf port available to the Confederacy.

The Confederates might have had a submarine active during the Battle of Mobile Bay, the CSS Capt Pierce. When the few survivors from Tecumseh were picked up, included among them was a trio of Confederate sailors, who claimed to have been aboard the Pierce and targeting one of the surviving ironclads. They believed they had missed--but maybe not. Beneath the wreck of the Tecumseh is supposedly an unidentified mass of metal that might be the Pierce. The sailors said that the shock of the explosion of their torpedo destroyed their submarine, evidently by exploding the boiler. This is borne out by the fact that one of the men had scalded his legs. If true, this would be the second instance of a Confederate submarine sinking an enemy surface ship in combat. It also means the rebels built a steam-powered submarine. (Source: Submarine Warfare in the Civil War, M. Ragan)

8.6.4

OTHER

CSS Tallahassee (Cdr Wood) runs out of Wilmington harbor, eluding the blockaders, and embarks on one of the most destructive commerce raiding cruises of the war. In only two weeks, Wood will capture or destroy thirty ships along the New England coast.

8.8.4

BOMBARD

Col. Charles D. Anderson, CSA, surrenders Ft Gaines in Mobile Bay, explaining to Adm Farragut his “inability to maintain my present position longer than you may see fit to open upon me with your fleet.”

8.8.4a

SINKING

USS Violet (Act’g Ensign Thomas Stothard) runs aground off the western bar at Cape Fear River, NC, and is destroyed.

8.8.4a

EXPED CSN

John Maxwell and R. K. Dillard, members of the Confederate Torpedo Corps, plant a clockwork torpedo containing twelve pounds of powder on a Union transport at City Point, VA. The resulting explosion rocks the entire area and causes a chain reaction that spread the barges to the buildings onshore. Gen’l Grant reported “Every part of the yard used as my headquarters is filled with splinters and fragments of shell.” Maxwell and Dillard had simply walked through the Union supply base and convinced the guard that they had been instructed to deliver a box aboard—which they had!

8.10.4

(10-11)

BOMBARD

USS Romeo (Act’g Master Thomas Baldwin) and USS Prairie Bird (Act’g Master Thomas Burns) engage a secretly-erected Confederate battery near Gaines Landing, AR on the Mississippi. Transport Empress was subjected to a withering fire that killed her captain and disabled the ship, at which point Romeo opened fire and towed Empress to safety. On 11 August, the battery opened fire on Prairie Bird, which was quickly joined by Romeo; together the ships forced the rebels to withdraw their guns—but not until all three vessels involved had take severe damage: Empress alone was struck 63 times.

8.16.4

EXPED

A daring raid in small boats by Cdr Colvocoresses (USS Saratoga) into McIntosh County, GA captures 100 prisoners, destroys a saltwork, and burns the strategic bridge across the South Newport River on the main road to Savannah.

8.17.4

SUPPORT

Ironclads CSS Virginia II (Lt Johnston) and CSS Richmond (Lt J. S. Maury) bombard Federal position on Signal Hill along the James River at the request of Gen’l Robert E. Lee. The naval gunfire drives the Yankees off and allows Lee’s men to occupy the hill.

8.22.4

(22-24)

EXPED

A raid on the Satilla and White rivers in GA by boats from USS Potomska (Act’g Lt Swann) captures prisoners and destroys over 2,000 barrels of rosin and turpentine. (Map approximate)

8.23.4

BOMBARD

Having endured two weeks of naval bombardment, Ft Morgan—the last Confederate bastion in Mobile Bay—surrenders.

8.25.4

OTHER

Confederate raider CSS Tallahassee (Cdr Wood) runs the