Each year is divided into two halves (January through June and July through December)
|1861 January - June||1861 July - December|
|1862 January - June||1862 July - December|
|1863 January - June||1863 July - December|
|1864 January - June||1864 July - December|
|1865 January - April|
(718kb Zipped Word document)
War Naval Chronology 1861-1865
Published 1966 by Naval History Division
in blue are information concerning submarine warfare derived from Mark Ragan's
July - August - September - October - November - December
1 USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Stringham.
captured schooner Sally Mears at Hampton Roads.
Confederate privateer Petrel evaded blockaders and put to sea from Charleston.
2 USS South Carolina, Commander James Alden, initiated blockade of Galveston.
3 CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned American ship Golden Rocket near Isle of Pines, off the coast of Cuba.
4 USS South Carolina. Commander Alden, captured blockade running schooners Shark, Venus, Ann Ryan, McCanfield, Louisa. and Dart off Galveston.
5 USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured blockade running schooners Falcon and Coralia off Galveston.
USS Dana, Acting Master's Mate Robert B. Ely, captured sloop Teaser in Nanjemoy Creek, Maryland.
6 USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured blockade running schooner George G. Baker, off Galveston.
Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured American brig John Welsh and schooner Enchantress east of Cape Hatteras.
CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, arrived at Cienfuegos, Cuba, with seven U.S. vessels taken as prizes Cuba, Machias, Ben Dunning, Albert Adams, Naiad, West Wind, Lewis Kilham. Semmes appointed a Cuban agent for custody of the prizes, expressing to the Governor there that he had entered that port "with the expectation that Spain will extend to cruisers of the Confederate States the same friendly reception that in similar circumstances she would extend to the cruisers of the enemy.
7 USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured schooner Sam Houston off Galveston.
Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured American schooner S. J. Waring about 150 miles off Sandy Hook, New Jersey.
USS Pocahontas, Commander Benjamin M. Dove, fired on and damaged CSS George Page in Aquia Creek, Virginia.
Two floating torpedoes (mines) in the Potomac River were picked up by U. S. S. Resolute, Acting Master W. Budd the earliest known use of torpedoes by the Confederates. During the course of the war a variety of ingenious torpedoes destroyed or damaged some 40 Union ships, forecasting the vast growth to come in this aspect of underwater naval warfare.
Du Pont’s report on de
Villeroi’s submarine is favorable, and the vessel is recommended to the Navy.
9 USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, seized and destroyed schooner Tom Hicks with cargo of lumber off Galveston.
Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured American brig Mary E. Thompson of Bangor en route Antigua, and schooner Mary Goodell of New York en route Buenos Aires.
10 USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Stringham, captured Confederate brig Amy Warwick in Hampton Roads.
12 USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured Confederate schooner General T. J. Chambers off Galveston with cargo of lumber.
13 USS Massachusetts, Commander M. Smith, seized schooner Hiland near Ship Island, Mississippi.
14 USS Daylight, Commander Samuel Lockwood, initiated blockade of Wilmington, North Carolina.
15 Captain Du Pont wrote: "The Department are [sic] worried about the privateers increasing so. Lieutenant Semmes has sent . . . [vessels] into Cuba, but the Captain General ordered them to be immediately restored to their commanders." Du Pont also noted that the privateer Jefferson Davis, "which has ventured so far north," was also causing concern. Confederate privateers struck out boldly against Northern commerce and generated distress among shipping interests. However, as the naval blockade tightened and ports and coastal havens were seized by amphibious assault and other naval actions, operations of Confederate raiders became increasingly difficult and restricted.
16 Blockade Strategy Board reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles on the necessity of halting Confederate commerce: ". . . it is an important object in the present war that this trade, home and foreign, should be interrupted . . . The most obvious method of accomplishing this object is by putting down material obstructions; and the most convenient form of obstruction, for transportation and use, is that of old vessels laden with ballast . . . sunk in the appropriate places." This was the first suggestion for the "stone fleet". Elimination of water-borne trade by the Union Navy blockade (more effective than the "stone fleet" obstructions at harbor entrances), meant the economic ruination of the Confederacy.
USS St Lawrence, Captain Hugh Y. Purviance, captured British blockade runner Herald, bound from Beaufort, North Carolina, to Liverpool.
William Tilghman, a Negro, overwhelmed Confederate prize crew on board schooner S.J. Waring and took possession of the vessel, carrying her into New York on 22 July.
18 Confederate schooner Favorite was captured by USS Yankee, Commander T. T. Craven, on Yeocomico River; Favorite was sunk later at Piney Point on the Potomac River.
Commander Ridgely, U.S. Receiving Ship Allegheny, reported his ship had received a battery of guns from the Washington Navy Yard and was standing by in the harbor for the protection of Annapolis.
Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory reported: "The frigate Merrimack [later CSS Virginia] has been raised and docked at an expense of $6,000, and the necessary repairs to hull and machinery to place her in her former condition is estimated by experts at $450,000. The vessel would then be in the river, and by the blockade of the enemy's fleets and batteries rendered comparatively useless. It has therefore been determined to shield her completely with 3 inch iron [4-inch armor was used], placed at such angles as to render her ball-proof, to complete her at the earliest moment, to arm her with the heaviest ordnance, and to send her at once against the enemy's fleet. It is believed that thus prepared she will be able to contend successfully against the heaviest of the enemy's ships and to drive them from Hampton Roads and the ports of Virginia. The cost of this work is estimated by the constructor and engineer in charge at $172,523, and as time is of the first consequence in this enterprise I have not hesitated to commence the work and to ask Congress for the necessary appropriation."
19 Captain General of Cuba released all vessels brought into Cuban ports as prizes by CSS Sumter.
20 USS Mount Vernon, Commander Oliver S. Glisson, seized sloop Wild Pigeon on the Rappahannock River.
USS Albatross, Commander George A. Prentiss, recaptured Enchantress off Hatteras Inlet.
21 USS Albatross, Commander Prentiss, engaged CSS Beaufort, Lieutenant R. C. Duvall, in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. Albatross, heavier gunned, forced Beaufort to withdraw.
Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured American bark Alvarado in Atlantic (25o 04' N, 50o 00' W).
U.S. Marines commanded by Major Reynolds took part in the First Battle of Bull Run: 9 Marines killed, 19 wounded, 16 missing in action. Commander Dahlgren wrote of the loss of two naval howitzers in the battle. The Confederates also had a naval battery at Manassas.
24 Congress approved bill authorizing the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
Act "to provide for the temporary increase of the Navy" passed by Congress; gave President authority to take vessels into the Navy and appoint officers for them, to any extent deemed necessary; this confirmed action that had been taken by President Lincoln since April.
25 John LaMountain began balloon reconnaissance ascensions at Fort Monroe, Virginia.
CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured schooner Abby Bradford in the Caribbean Sea and, denied the right to enter Venezuela with Confederate prizes, dispatched her to a Southern port.
Confederate privateer Mariner, Captain W. B. Berry, captured American schooner Nathaniel Chase off Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina.
Confederate privateer Gordon captured American brig William McGlivery off Cape Hatteras with cargo of molasses.
Confederate privateer Dixie captured American schooner Mary Alice off the cast coast of Florida.
USS Resolute, Acting Master W. Budd, brought two schooners and one sloop as prizes into Washington, D.C.
27 CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured American bark Joseph Maxwell off Venezuela.
28 USS Union, Commander J. R. Goldsborough, destroyed former American brig B. T. Martin north of Cape Hatteras, where she had been run aground by Confederates. B. T Martin had been captured previously by Confederate privateer York.
Confederate privateer Gordon captured American schooner Protector off Cape Hatteras.
USS St Lawrence, Captain Purviance, sank Confederate privateer Petrel off Charleston.
29 USS Yankee, Commander T. T. Craven, and USS Reliance, Lieutenant Mygatt, engaged Confederate battery at Marlborough Point, Virginia.
Four U.S. steamers engaged Confederate battery at Aquia Creek, Virginia, for three hours.
31 Confederate privateer Dixie captured American bark Glenn and took her to Beaufort, North Carolina.
1 President Lincoln appointed Gustavus V. Fox
Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Fox, the energetic naval officer who had led
the unsuccessful Fort Sumter expedition in April, became Secretary Welles’
right hand man in the Department. His large acquaintance among naval officers
and forthright, “unofficial” style made him a useful troubleshooter. By the
informal correspondence which he elicited from the chief naval commanders, the
Navy Department was able to keep in intimate touch with problems in the several
3 John LaMountain made first ascent in a
balloon from Union ship Fanny at Hampton Roads to observe Confederate batteries
on Sewell’s Point, Virginia—a small beginning for the potent aircraft
carrier in the tri-dimensional Navy of the twentieth century.
Congress authorized Secretary of the navy
Welles to “appoint a board of three skillful naval officers to investigate the
plans and specifications that may be submitted for the construction or
completing of iron or steel-clad steamships or steam batteries . . . there is
hereby appointed . . . the sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars.”
Commodore Joseph Smith, Captain Hiram Paulding, Commander Charles H. Davis
appointed to the Ironclad Board on 8 August.
USS Wabash, Captain Mercer,
recaptured American schooner Mary Alice, which had been taken by
Confederate ship Dixie, and captured brig Sarah Starr, a blockade
runner, off Charleston.
USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, engaged Confederate batteries at
4 Cutter from USS
Thomas Freeborn, Lieutenant Eastman, captured schooner Pocahontas, loaded with wood, and sloop Mary Frey in Pohick Creek, Virginia.
5 USS Jamestown, Commander Charles Green,
burned Confederate prize bark Alvarado
near Fernandina, Florida.
Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis capture
large American brig Santa Clara off Puerto Rico.
7 War Department contracted with J.B. Eads of
St. Louis for construction of seven shallow-draft ironclad river gunboats. The
Eads gunboats—Cairo, Carondolet, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburg, and St. Louis—were
the core of the Union force on the western waters. Built with the aid of Naval
Constructor Samuel M. Pooks, USN, they were the key to Grant’s great series of
campaigns that, beginning in February 1862, ultimately split the South and had a
decisive influence on the war.
USS Massachusetts, Commander M.
Smith, captured blockade running sloop Charles
Henry near Ship Island, Mississippi.
8 USS Santee, Captain Eagle, captured schooner C.P. Knapp in the Gulf of Mexico.
9 Confederate privateer York captured schooner George
G. Baker. USS Union, Commander J.R.
Goldsborough, recaptured George G. Baker. York was set afire off Cape Hatteras by her crew to prevent capture
11 Blockade runner Louisa, pursued by USS Penguin, Commander John L. Livingston,
struck shoal near Cape Fear, North Carolina, and sank.
12 Gunboats USS
Tyler, Lexington, and Conestoga,
procured and fitted out by Commander J. Rodgers, arrived at Cairo, Illinois, to
protect the strategic position at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi
Rivers, and to scout the rivers for Confederate batteries and troop movements.
13Commander Bulloch, CSN, writing from London
to Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory, said: “After careful examination
of the shipping lists of England, and inspecting many vessels, I failed to find
a single wooden steamer fit for war purposes, except one paddle steamer, too
large and costly for our coast. Wood as a material for ships has almost entirely
gone out of use in the British merchant service, an their iron ships, though
fast, well built, and staunch enough for voyages of traffic, are too thin in the
plates and light in the deck frames and stanchions to carry guns of much weight.
I therefore made arrangements to contract with two eminent builders for a gun
vessel each . . .”
USS Powhatan, Lieutenant D.D.
Porter, recaptured schooner Abby Bradford off the mouth of the Mississippi
15 USS Tyler and Conestoga, Lieutenant S.L. Phelps, scouted the Mississippi for
Confederate fortifications and movements as far south as New Madrid, Missouri,
while USS Lexington,
Lieutenant Roger N. Stembel, operating with the Army, made a similar
reconnaissance of the river north
to Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
USS Resolute, Acting master W.
Budd, while on a reconnaissance mission, engaged Confederate troops at Mathias
16 President Lincoln declared the inhabitants
of the Confederate States to be in a state of insurrection and forbade all
commercial intercourse with them.
17 Lieutenant Reigart B. Lowry wrote Assistant
Secretary of the navy Fox regarding the progress for sinking a stone fleet to
block the inlets to the North Carolina sounds: “We have nineteen schooners
properly loaded with stone, and all our preparations are complete to divide them
in two divisions and place them in tow of this steamer [Adelaide] and of the Governor Peabody. I think all arrangements are complete, as far as being
prepared to ‘sink and obstruct’ . . . the obstructing party could place
their vessels in position, secure them as we propose, by binding chains, spars
on end in the sand to settle by action of the tide, anchors down, and finally
sink them in such a way as to block
the channel so effectually that there could be no navigation through them for
several months to come, at least till by the aid of our new gunboats the outside blockade could
18 Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis, Captain Coxetter, wrecked on the bar trying to
enter St. Augustine, Florida, ending a most successful cruise. Charleston
Mercury (26 August 1861) said: “The name of the privateer Jefferson Davis has become a word of terror to the Yankees. The
number of her prizes and the amount of merchandise which she captured have no
parallel since the days of the Saucy Jack
19-21 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox
ordered 200 Marines to report to Commander Dahlgren at the Washington Navy Yard
for duty on board ships of the Potomac Flotilla for the purpose of scouting the
Maryland countryside—especially Port Tobacco—for locations suspected of
being Confederate depots for provisions and arms to be used for invading
21 USS Vandalia, Commander Samuel Phelps Lee,
captured Confederate blockade runner Henry
Middleton off Charleston with a cargo
of spirits, turpentine, and rosin.
22 Commander J. Rodgers reported that six
hundred Confederate troops occupying Commerce, Missouri, withdrew at the
approach of the Union gunboats. This action prevented the erection of
Confederate batteries at a location which would have effectively impeded
USS Lexington, Commander Stembel,
seized steamer W.B. Terry at Paducah,
Kentucky, for trading with Confederates.
Orr was seized by Confederates at Paducah, Kentucky, and taken up the
Release and Yankee engaged Confederate batteries at the mouth of Potomac Creek,
24 President Davis appointed James M. Mason
Special Commissioner to the United Kingdom and John Slidell Special Commissioner
26 Squadron under Flag Officer Stringham, USS Minnesota,
Monticello, Pawnee, Revenue Cutter Harriet
Lane, US tug Fanny, and two transports carrying about 900 troops under Major
General Butler, departed Hampton Roads (later joined by USS Susquehanna and Cumberland) for Hatteras Inlet, NC, for
first combined amphibious operation of the war. Hatteras Inlet was the main
channel into Pamlico Sound and the most convenient entrance for blockade runners
bringing supplies to the Confederate Army in Virginia. The Navy early recognized
the strategic importance of the inlet and invited the Army to cooperate in its
capture. The operation was designed to check Confederate privateering and to
begin the relentless assault from the sea that would divert a large portion of
Confederate manpower from the main armies.
Captain A.H. Foote ordered to relieve
Commander J. Rodgers in command of the Army’s gunboat flotilla on the western
US tug Fanny,
Lieutenant Crosby, reported the capture of the blockade running sloop Mary Emma at the headwaters of the Manokin
USS Daylight, Commander Lockwood,
recaptured brig Monticello in
27 Flag Officer Stringham’s squadron
anchored off Hatteras Inlet and prepared to land the troops and take Forts
Hatteras and Clark under attack.
28 Flag Officer Stringham’s squadron
commenced bombardment of Forts Hatteras and Clark; Marines and troops were
landed from surf boats above the forts under over of naval gunfire. The ships’
heavy cannonade forced the Confederates to evacuate Fort Clark. Commodore Samuel
Baron, CSN, with two small vessels joined the defenders that evening.
Commander Dahlgren, Commandant of Washington
Navy Yard, sent 400 seamen on steamboat Philadelphia to Alexandria, to report to
Brigadier General William B. Franklin for the defense of Fort Ellsworth. This
timely naval reinforcement strengthened the fort’s defenses and consequently
that of the nation’s capital.
USS Yankee, Commander T.T.
Craven, captured schooner Remittance
near Piney Point, Virginia.
29 Hatteras Inlet was secured as Forts
Hatteras and Clark surrendered unconditionally to Flag Officer Stringham and
General Butler. The Union triumph sealed off commerce raiding and blockade
running from Pamlico Sound. Hatteras Inlet became a coal and supply depot for
the blockading ships. Of this most successful joint operation Admiral D.D.
Porter later wrote: “This was our first naval victory, indeed our first
victory of any kind, and should not be forgotten The Union cause was ten in a
depressed condition, owing to the reverses it had experienced. The moral effect
of this affair was very great, as it gave us a foothold on Southern soil and
possession of the Sounds of North Carolina if we chose to occupy them. It was a
death blow to blockade running in that vicinity, and ultimately proved one of
the most important events of the war.”
USS R.R. Cuyler, Captain Francis
B. Ellison, seized and burned Confederate ship Finland, which was prepared to receive cargo of cotton and run the
blockade off Apalachicola, Florida.
30 Confederate tug Harmony attacked USS Savannah, Captain Joseph B. Hull, at
Newport News, inflicting damage before withdrawing.
31 CSS Teaser shelled Newport News.
USS George Peabody, Lieutenant Lowry, captured brig Henry C. Brooks in Hatteras Inlet.
USS Jamestown, Commander Green,
captured British blockade running schooner Aigburth
off Florida coast.
William Cheney’s three-man submarine nearing completion at the Tredegar Iron Works in
1 President Lincoln received news late at night from Secretary of the Navy
Welles of Flag Officer Stringham's victory at Hatteras Inlet, in the initial
Army- Navy expedition of the war. Coming shortly after the defeat at Bull Run,
it electrified the North and greatly raised morale.
USS Dana, Acting Master's Mate Ely, captured blockade running schooner T.J. Evans off Clay Island, Maryland, with a cargo including blankets, surgical instruments, and ordnance supplies.
4 Captain Du Pont wrote: "The first fruits of the labors of [the Blockade Strategy Board] came out on the North Carolina coast [Hatteras lnlet] . . . we will secure the whole of those inland sounds and passages and hold all that coast by a flotilla the great morale effect and encouragement to the country are of incalculable service just now."
CSS Yankee (also known as CSS Jackson) and Confederate batteries at Hickman, Kentucky, fired on USSTyler, Commander J Rodgers, and Lexington. Commander Stembel, while the gunboats were reconnoitering Mississippi River south from Cairo.
USS Jamestown Commander Green, captured Confederate schooner Colonel Long. removed her cargo, and scuttled her off the coast of Georgia.
5 Captain A.H. Foote reported at St. Louis, Missouri, to relieve Commander J. Rodgers in command of naval operations on the western rivers.
6 Gunboats USS Tyler, Commander J. Rodgers, and USS Lexington. Commander Stembel, spearheaded operations by which General Grant, in his first move after taking command at Cairo, seized strategic Paducah and Smithland, Kentucky, at the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Captain Foote, newly designated naval commander in the west, participated in the operation. This initial use of strength afloat by Grant, aimed at countering a Confederate move into the State, helped preserve Kentucky for the Union, and foreshadowed the General's great reliance on naval mobility and support throughout the campaigns which divided the Confederacy and placed the entire Mississippi under Union control.
U.S. consul in London reported purchase by Confederates of steamers Bermuda, Adelaide, and Victoria.
9 USS Cambridge, Commander William A. Parker, captured schooner Louisa Agnes off Nova Scotia.
10 USS Conestoga, Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, and USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, covering a troop advance, silenced the guns of a Confederate battery and damaged gunboat CSS Yankee at Lucas Bend, Missouri.
USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, captured schooner Susan Jane in Hatteras Inlet. Other blockade runners, unaware that the Union Navy now controlled the inlet, were also taken as prizes.
USS Cambridge, Commander W. A. Parker, captured British blockade running schooner Revere off Beaufort, North Carolina, with cargo of salt and herring.
11 USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured Soledeid Cos with a cargo of coffee off Galveston.
13 USS Susquehanna, Captain John S. Chauncey, captured blockade running British schooner Argonaut, with cargo of fish, bound from Nova Scotia to Key West.
CSS Patrick Henry. Commander John R. Tucker, exchanged fire with USS Savannah, Captain Hull, and USS Louisiana, Lieutenant Alexander Murray, off Newport News; shot on both sides fell short.
14 In the early morning darkness sailors and Marines from USS Colorado, rowing in to Pensacola Harbor, boarded and burned Confederate privateering schooner Judah and spiked guns at Pensacola Navy Yard.
USS Albatross. Commander Prentiss, captured schooner Alabama near the mouth of the Potomac River.
16 Ironclad Board reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles: "For river and harbor service we consider ironclad vessels of light draught, or floating batteries thus shielded, as very important . . . Armored ships or batteries may be employed advantageously to pass fortifications on land for ulterior objects of attack, to run a blockade, or to reduce temporary batteries on the shores of rivers and the approaches to our harbors.'' The Board recommended construction of three ironclads (Monitor. Galena, and New Ironsides). These ships, and those that followed, revolutionized naval warfare.
USS Conestoga, Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, captured Confederate steamers V.R. Stephenson and Gazelle on Cumberland River, Kentucky.
16-17 Landing party from USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, destroyed guns and fortifications on Beacon Island, closing Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina. Admiral D. D. Porter later wrote: "The closing of these inlets [Hatteras and Ocracoke] to the Sounds of North Carolina sent the blockade runners elsewhere to find entrance to Southern markets, but as channel after channel was closed the smugglers' chance diminished. . ."
17 Confederates evacuated Ship Island, Mississippi; landing party from USS Massachusetts took possession. Ship Island eventually became the staging area for General Butler's troops in the amphibious operations below New Orleans.
18 USS Rescue, Master Edward L. Haines, captured Confederate schooner Hartford with cargo of wheat and tobacco on the Potomac River.
Flag Officer Du Pont was appointed Commander South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Du Pont wrote : "My appointment as a flag officer will be dated today . . . Things have taken an active turn, and this day is an epoch in naval history–seniority and rotation have seen their last day. Selection with as much regard to seniority as the good of the service will admit is now the order of the day.''
Secretary of the Navy Welles wrote Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough, appointed to command North Atlantic Blockading Squadron: "It is essentially necessary that the Navy should at this time put forth all its strength and demonstrate to the country and to foreign powers its usefulness and capability in protecting and supporting the Government and the Union. There must be no commercial intercourse with the ports that are in insurrection, and our Navy must, by its power, energy, and activity, enforce the views of the President and the Government on this subject. Privateers to depredate on our commerce and rob our countrymen pursuing their peaceful avocations must not be permitted..."
19 USS Gemsbok, Acting Master Edward Cavendy, captured blockade running schooner Harmony, en route Nova Scotia to Ocracoke, North Carolina.
21 Boat under Midshipman Edward A. Walker from USS Seminole, Commander Gillis, captured sloop Maryland on the Potomac River.
22 USS Gemsbok, Acting Master Cavendy, captured schooner Mary E. Pindar off Federal Point, North Carolina, attempting to run the blockade with cargo of lime.
Flag Officer McKean assumed command of the Gulf Blockading Squadron.
23 USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, proceeded to Owenshoro, Kentucky, "for the purpose of keeping the Ohio River open" and in order to protect Union interests in the area. Such expeditions deep into territory with Confederate sympathies were fundamental in containing Southern advances in the border states.
U.S S. Cambridge, Commander W.A. Parker, captured British schooner, Julia bound for Beaufort, North Carolina.
Flag Officer L.M. Goldsborough assumed command of North Atlantic Blockading Squadron including operations in the Chesapeake.
24 USS Dart, Acting Master William M. Wheeler, captured Confederate schooner Cecelia off Louisiana, thereafter fitted out as Union cruiser by USS Huntsville, Commander Cicero Price.
25 CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes. captured American ship Joseph Park off northeast coast of South America; three days later burned her at sea.
USS Jacob Bell, Lieutenant Edward P. McCrea, and USS Seminole, Lieutenant Charles S. Norton, engaged Confederate battery at Freestone Point, Virginia.
Secretary of the Navy Welles instructed Flag Officer Du Pont, commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron: "The Department finds it necessary to adopt a regulation with respect to the large and increasing number of persons of color, commonly known as 'contrabands.' now subsisted at the navy yards and on board ships-of-war. These can neither be expelled from the service, to which they have resorted, nor can they be maintained unemployed, and it is not proper that they should be compelled to render necessary and regular services without compensation. You are therefore authorized, when their services can be made useful, to enlist them for the naval service, under the same forms and regulations as apply to other enlistments. They will be allowed, however, no higher rating than 'boys,' at a compensation of ten dollars per month and one ration per day."
28 USS Susquehanna, Captain Chauncey, captured Confederate schooner San Juan, bound for Elizabeth City, North Carolina, with cargo of salt, sugar, and gin.
29 USS Susquehanna, Captain Chauncey, captured schooner Baltimore off Hatteras Inlet.
30 USS Dart, Acting Master Wheeler, captured schooner Zavalla off Vermillion Bay, Louisiana.
USS Niagara, Captain John Pope, captured pilot boat Frolic at South West Pass of the Mississippi River.
Cecelia, prize and render to USS Huntsville, Commander Price, captured blockade running schooner Ranchero west of Vermillion Bay.
1 Confederate naval forces, including CSS Curlew,
Raleigh, and Junaluska. under flag Officer William F. Lynch, CSN, captured
steamer Fanny in Pamlico Sound with
Union troops on board. Colonel Claiborne Snead, CSA, reported: "The victory
was important in more respects than one. It was our first naval success in North
Carolina and the first capture made by our arms of an armed war- vessel of the
enemy. and dispelled the gloom of recent disasters. The property captured [two
rifled guns and large amount of army stores] was considerable, much needed, and
highly esteemed. . ."
Secretary Welles, in a letter to Secretary Seward, opposed issuing letters of marque because it would be "a recognition of the assumption of the insurgents that they are a distinct and independent nationality."
3 Captain Eagle, commanding USS Santee, reported return of USS Sam Houston to Galveston with schooner Reindeer, captured off San Luis Pass, Texas. The schooner, deemed worthless, was sunk.
4 USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured Confederate schooners Ezilda and Joseph H. Toone off South West Pass of the Mississippi River with four to five thousand stand of arms.
5 Two boats from USS Louisiana, Lieutenant A. Murray, destroyed Confederate schooner being fitted out as a privateer at Chincoteague Inlet, Virginia.
USS Monticello, Lieutenant Daniel L. Braine, drove off Confederate troops and steamers attacking Union soldiers in the vicinity of Hatteras Inlet.
6 USS Flag, Commander Louis C. Sartori, captured Confederate blockade running schooner Alert near Charleston.
7 USS Tyler, Commander Walke, and USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, exchanged fire with Confederate batteries at Iron Bluffs, near Columbus, Kentucky.
USS Louisiana, Lieutenant A. Murray, captured schooner S.T. Garrison, with cargo of wood, near Wallops Island, Virginia.
9 Confederate steamer Ivy, Lieutenant Joseph Fry, attacked U.S. blockading vessels at Head of Passes, Mississippi River; no damage caused but long range of Ivy's guns concerned naval officers.
First documented attempt to sink
an enemy ship with a submarine in the Civil War. The target was the U.S.S. Minnesota
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 USS Daylight, Commander Lockwood, silenced Confederate battery attacking American ship John Clark anchored in Lynnhaven Bay, Virginia.
Confederate troops at Tampa Bay captured American sloop William Batty.
11 Lieutenant Abram D. Harrell of USS Union. with three boat crews cut out and burned Confederate schooner in Dumfries Creek on the Potomac River.
12 Confederate metal-sheathed ram Manassas, Commodore Hollins, CSN, in company with armed steamer Ivy and James L. Day, attacked 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. Acting Master Edward F. Devens of Vincennes observed: "From the appearance of the Richmond's side in the vicinity of the hole, I should say that the ram had claws or hooks attached to her . . . for the purpose of tearing out the plank from the ship's side, It is a most destructive invention . . . [Manassas] resembles in shape, a cigar cut lengthwise, and very low in the water. She must be covered with railroad iron as all the shells which struck her glanced off, some directly at right angles. You could hear the shot strike quite plainly. They did not appear to trouble her much as she ran up the river at a very fast rate."
Confederate ship Theodora ran the blockade at Charleston with Mason and Slidell, Commissioners to England and France respectively, on board.
Confederate privateer Sallie captured American brig Granada in the Atlantic (33o N, 71o W):
USS Dale, Commander Edward M. Yard, captured schooner Specie east of Jacksonville, bound for Havana with large cargo of rice.
Secretary of the Navy Welles wrote Flag Officer Du Pont: "In examining the various points upon the coast, it has been ascertained that Bull's Bay, St. Helena, Port Royal, and Fernandina, are each and all accessible and desirable points for the purposes indicated [Fleet coaling and supply stations], and the Government has decided to take possession of at least two of them." Coaling and supply depots seized by the Navy on the Southern coast allowed blockaders to remain on station for longer periods without returning to Northern navy yards.
Warning given that Confederates had lined James River with powerful submarine batteries (mines).
13 USS Keystone State, Commander Gustavus H. Scott, captured Confederate steamer Salvor near the Tortugas Islands with cargo of coffee, cigars, and munitions.
14 In the presence of Lieutenant A. Murray of USS Louisiana, citizens of Chincoteague Island, Virginia, took the oath of allegiance to the United States and presented a petition in which they stated their "abhorrence of the secession heresy."
15 USS Roanoke, Flag, Monticello, and Vandalia captured and burned blockade runner Thomas Watson on Stono Reef, off Charleston.
16 USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured schooner Edward Barnard with cargo of turpentine on board at South West Pass, Mississippi River.
17 Flag Officer Du Pont wrote: 'There is no question that Port Royal is the most important point to strike, and the most desirable to have first and hold . . . Port Royal alone admits the large ships– and gives us such a naval position on the sea coast as our Army is holding across the Potomac." Subsequently, the strategic importance of Port Royal to the Union Navy and the blockade substantiated this judgment.
Confederate privateer Sallie, Master Henry S. Lebby, captured American brig Betsey Ames opposite the Bahama Banks with cargo including machinery.
18 USS Gemsbok, Acting Master Cavendy, captured brig Ariel off Wilmington with cargo of salt.
19 USS Massachusetts, Commander M. Smith, engaged CSS Florida, Lieutenant Charles W. Hays, in Mississippi Sound. Though the battle was inconclusive, Captain Levin M. Powell of USS Potomac noted one result that could be bothersome to Union naval forces: "The caliber and long range of the rifled cannon [of Florida] . . . established the ability of these fast steam gunboats to keep out of the range of all broadside guns, and enables them to disregard the armament or magnitude of all ships thus armed, or indeed any number of them, when sheltered by shoal water."
21 Charles P. Leavitt, Second Virginia Regiment, wrote the Confederate Secretary of War: "I have invented an instrument of war which for a better name I have called a submarine gunboat. . . My plan is simple. A vessel is built of boiler iron of about fifty tons burden . . . but made of an oval form with the propeller behind. This is for the purpose of having as little draft of water as possible for the purpose of passing over sand-bars without being observed by the enemy. The engines are of the latest and best style so as to use as little steam as possible in proportion to the power received. The boilers are so constructed as to generate steam without a supply of air. The air for respiration is kept in a fit condition for breathing by the gradual addition of oxygen, while the carbonic acid is absorbed by a shower of lime water . . . I propose to tow out my gun-boat to sea and when within range of the enemy's guns it sinks below the water's surface so as to leave no trace on the surface of its approach, a self-acting apparatus keeping it at any depth required. When within a few rods of the enemy it leaps to surface and the two vessels come in contact before the enemy can fire a gun. Placed in the bow of the gun-boat is a small mortar containing a self-exploding shell. As it strikes the engines are reversed, the gun-boat sinks below the surface and goes noiselessly on its way toward another ship. After a few ships are sunk the enemy can scarcely have the temerity to remain in our waters . . . I have written you on this subject in order to obtain an opportunity to draft out my invention, which with the means at command in Richmond can be done in a week . . ." Although Leavitt's scheme was not adopted, it was an interesting indication of early thinking about submarines in the South. Ultimately the Confederacy built H. L. Hunley, first submarine to be used successfully in combat.
22 Captain T. T. Craven, commanding Potomac River Flotilla, reported the Potomac River was commanded by Confederate batteries at all important points below Alexandria.
23 Officers and men of privateer Savannah went on trial in New York charged with "piracy."
25 John Ericcson began construction of single-turret, two-gun ironclad USS Monitor at Greenpoint, New York.
Flag Officer Du Pont wrote Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox of the continuing importance of amphibious training: "Landing a brigade today to exercise Ferry boats and Surf boats-reaping immense advantages from the experiment by seeing the defects."
USS Rhode Island, Lieutenant Stephen D. Trenchard, captured schooner Aristides off Charlotte Harbor, Florida.
26 USS Conestoga, Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, transported Union troops to Eddyville, Kentucky, for attack on Confederate cavalry at Saratoga.
CSS Nashville, Lieutenant Pegram, ran the blockade out of Charleston.
27 USS Santee, Captain Eagle, captured brig Delta off Galveston.
CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned American schooner Trowbridge in the Atlantic after removing a five months' supply of provisions.
27-28 Boat expedition from USS Louisiana led by Lieutenant Alfred Hopkins surprised and burned three Confederate vessels at Chincoteague Inlet, Virginia.
29 Large Union expedition to Port Royal, South Carolina, sailed from Fort Monroe, under command of Flag Officer Du Pont in USS Wabash. Comprising 77 vessels, it was the largest U.S. Fleet ever assembled to that date. Army forces numbered about 16,000 men, commanded by Brigadier General Thomas W. Sherman. Port Royal Sound, about equidistant from Savannah and Charleston, was of recognized importance, and one of the first locations fortified by the Confederates against the entrance of Union ships.
30 Confederate privateer Sallie captured American brig B. K. Eaton.
Confederate forces sank stone-filled barges to
obstruct Cumberland River near Fort Donelson, Tennessee, against the advance
of Union gunboats.
William Cheney’s submarine—either the model reported on by Mrs. Baker or a larger version—is sunk in the
1 Violent storm struck the Port Royal Sound
Expedition off the Carolina coast, widely scattering naval vessels, transports,
and supply ships and jeopardizing the success of this major undertaking.
However, the damage to the Fleet was less than could have been expected. All
ships had been furnished with secret instructions to be opened at sea only in
case of separation from the Fleet.
2 USS Sabine, Captain Cadwalader Ringgold, rescued Major John G. Reynolds and a battalion of U.S. Marines under his command from U.S. transport Governor, unit of the Port Royal Sound Expedition, sinking off Georgetown, South Carolina.
British steamer Bermuda ran the blockade at Charleston with 2000 bales of cotton.
4 Coast Survey Ship Vixen entered Port Royal Sound to sound channel escorted by USS Ottawa and Seneca. Confederate naval squadron under Commodore Tattnall took Union ships under fire.
Fearing further attacks by
Confederate “infernal machines,” Captain William Smith of the U.S.S. Congress,
devises the first anti-submarine nets of chains suspended from spars lashed in a
frame around his vessel.
5 USS Ottawa, Pembina, Seneca, and Pawnee engaged and dispersed small Confederate squadron in Port Royal Sound, fired on Fort Beauregard and Fort Walker.
6 USS Rescue, Lieutenant William Gwin, captured and burned schooner Ada hard aground in Corrotoman Creek, Virginia.
Captain Purviance, commander of USS St Lawrence, reported capture of British schooner Fanny Lee, running the blockade at Darien, Georgia, with cargo of rice and tobacco.
7 Naval forces under Flag Officer Du Pont captured Port Royal Sound. While Du Pont's ships steamed in boldly, the naval gunners poured a withering fire into the defending Forts Walker and Beauregard with extreme accuracy. The Confederate defenders abandoned the Forts, and the small Confederate naval squadron under Commodore Tattnall could offer only harassing resistance but did rescue troops by ferrying them to the mainland from Hilton Head. Marines and sailors were landed to occupy the Forts until turned over to Army troops under General T. W. Sherman. Careful planning and skillful execution had given Du Pont a great victory and the Union Navy an important base of operations. The Confederates were compelled to withdraw coastal defenses inland out of reach of naval gunfire. Du Pont wrote: "It is not my temper to rejoice over fallen foes, but this must be a gloomy night in Charleston."
USS Tyler, Commander Walke, and USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, supported 3000 Union troops under General Grant at the Battle of Belmont, Missouri, and engaged Confederate batteries along the Mississippi River. The arrival of Confederate reinforcements compelled Grant to withdraw under pressure. Grape, canister, and shell from the gunboats scattered the Confederates, enabling Union troops to re-embark on their transports. Grant, with characteristic restraint, reported that the gunboats' service was "most efficient," having "protected our transports throughout."
8 USS San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes, stopped British mail steamer Trent in Old Bahama Channel and removed Confederate Commissioners Mason and Slidell. The action sparked a serious international incident.
Boat expedition under Lieutenant, James E. Jouett from USS Santee surprised and captured Confederate crew of schooner Royal Yacht, and burned the vessel at Galveston.
USS Rescue, Lieutenant Gwin, shelled Confederate battery at Urbana Creek, Virginia, and captured large schooner.
9 Gunboats of Flag Officer Du Pont's force took possession of Beaufort, South Carolina, and, by blocking the mouth of Broad River, cut off this communication link between Charleston and Savannah.
Major General Robert E. Lee wrote Confederate Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin regarding the effects of the Union Navy's victory at Port Royal: "The enemy having complete possession of the water and inland navigation, commands all the islands on the coast and threatens both Savannah and Charleston, and can come in his boats, within 4 miles of this place [Lee's headquarters, Coosawhatchie, South Carolina]. His sloops of war and large steamers can come up Broad River to Mackay's Point, the mouth of the Pocotaligo, and his gunboats can ascend some distance up the Coosawhatchie and Tulifinny. We have no guns that can resist their batteries, and have no resources but to prepare to meet them in the field."
11 Thaddeus Lowe made balloon observation of Confederate forces from Balloon-Boat G.W. Parke Custis anchored in Potomac River. G. W. Parke Custis was procured for $150, and readied for the service at the Washington Navy Yard. Lowe reported: "I left the navy-yard early Sunday morning, the 10th instant– . . . towed our by the steamer Coeur de Lion, having on board competent assistant aeronauts, together with my new gas generating apparatus, which, though used for the first time, worked admirably. We located at the mouth of Mattawoman Creek, about three miles from the opposite or Virginia shore. Yesterday [11 November] proceeded to make observations accompanied in my ascensions by General Sickles and others. We had a fine view of the enemy's camp-fires during the evening, and saw the rebels constructing new batteries at Freestone Point."
12 Fingal (later CSS Atlanta ), purchased in England, entered Savannah laden with military supplies– the first ship to run the blockade solely on Confederate government account.
USS W.G. Anderson, Acting Lieutenant William C. Rogers, captured Confederate privateer Beauregard near Abaco.
13 USS Water Witch, Lieutenant Aaron K. Hughes, captured blockade running British brigantine Cornucopia off Mobile.
14 U.S. cutter Mary, Captain Pease, seized Confederate privateer Neva at San Francisco, California.
15 Confederate Commissioners Mason and Slidell disembarked from USS San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes, at Fort Monroe.
USS Dale, Commander Yard, captured British schooner Mabel east of Jacksonville.
16 Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory advertised for plans and bids for building four seagoing ironclads capable of carrying four heavy guns each.
17 U.S.S Connecticut, Commander Maxwell Woodhull, captured British schooner Adeline, loaded with military stores and supplies off Cape Canaveral, Florida.
18 USS Monticello, Lieutenant Braine, engaged Confederate battery near New Inlet, North Carolina.
USS Conestoga, Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, on expedition up Cumberland River, dispersed Confederate forces and silenced battery at Canton, Kentucky.
19 CSS Nashville, Lieutenant Pegram, captured and burned American clipper ship Harvey Birch, bound from Le Havre to New York.
21 USS New London, Lieutenant Abner Read, with USS R. R. Cuyler and crew members of USS Massachusetts, captured Confederate schooner Olive with cargo of lumber in Mississippi Sound; same force took steamer Anna, with naval stores, the following day.
22 Two days of combined gunfire commenced from USS Niagara, Flag Officer McKean, USS Richmond, Captain Francis B. Ellison, and Fort Pickens against Confederate defenses at Fort McRee, the Pensacola Navy Yard, and the town of Warrington, terminating the following day with damage to Confederate positions and to USS Richmond.
U.S. Marine Corps authorized to enlist an additional 500 privates and proportionate number of non-commissioned officers.
23 CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, evaded USS Iroquois at Martinique and steamed on course for Europe.
Confederate gunboat Tuscarora accidentally destroyed by fire near Helena, Arkansas.
24 Landing party from USS Flag, Commander J. Rodgers, USS Augusta, Pocahontas, Seneca, and Savannah, took possession of the Tybee Island, Savannah Harbor. "This abandonment of Tybee Island," Du Pont reported, "is due to the terror inspired by the bombardment of Forts Walker and Beauregard, and is a direct fruit of the victory of the 7th [capture of Port Royal Sound]."
25 First armor plate for shipment to CSS Virginia (ex-USS Merrimack) accepted by Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory.
USS Penguin, Acting Lieutenant Thomas A. Budd, captured blockade running schooner Albion near North Edisto, South Carolina, with cargo of arms, munitions, and provisions.
CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured American brig Montmorenci off Leeward Islands.
26 CSS Savannah, Commodore Tattnall, and three steamers sortied against Union fleet in Cockspur Roads, Savannah; unsuccessful in effort to draw blockading vessels within range of Fort Pulaski's guns.
Flag Officer Du Pont observed the blockade's increasing pressure on the South's economy: "The flag is hoisted on the lighthouse and martello tower at Tybee . . . Shoes are $8 a pair in Charleston. Salt $7 a bushel, no coffee– women going into the interior– [Captain James L.] Lardner has closed the port so effectively that they can no longer get fish even."
CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned American schooner Arcade north of Leeward Islands.
27 USS Vincennes, Lieutenant Samuel Marcy, boarded and seized blockade running British bark Empress, aground at the mouth of the Mississippi River, with large cargo of coffee.
28 USS New London, Lieutenant A. Read, captured Confederate blockade runner Lewis, with cargo of sugar and molasses, and schooner A. J. View, with cargo of turpentine and tar, off Ship Island, Mississippi.
29 Lieutenant Worden, later commanding officer of USS Monitor, arrived in Washington after seven months as a prisoner in the South.
30 USS Wanderer, Lieutenant James H. Spotts, captured blockade running British schooner Telegraph near Indian Key, Florida.
USS Savannah, Commander John S. Missroon, with other ships in company, seized Confederate schooner E.J. Waterman, after the vessel grounded at Tybee Island with cargo of coffee on board.
Keel of the Crescent City Project boat is laid in
E. Biedermann posts a letter to
Gideon Welles describing a submarine built by a Wilhelm Bauer six years previous
and used in the Crimean War. His note includes detailed schematics of the
vessel, “Diable Marin” (“Sea
Devil”), which supposedly made 134 successful dives. Bauer was an experienced
submariner, having built his first vessel “Brandtaucher” (“Incendiary Diver”) in 1850 and using it to
force blockading Danish ships away from the German
31-2 January Naval squadron under Commander C. R. P. Rodgers, including gunboats Ottawa, Pembina, and Seneca and four armed boats carrying howitzers, joined General Stevens' troops in successful amphibious attack on Confederate positions at Port Royal Ferry and on Coosaw River. Gunboat fire covered the troop advance, and guns and naval gunners were landed as artillery support. Army signal officers acted as gunfire observers and coordinators on board the ships. The action disrupted Confederate plans to erect batteries and build troop strength in the area intending to close Coosaw River and isolate Federal troops on Port Royal Island. General Stevens wrote: "I would do great injustice to my own feelings did I fail to express my satisfaction and delight with the recent cooperation of the command of Captain Rodgers in our celebration of New Year's Day. Whether regard be had to his beautiful working of the gunboats in the narrow channel of Port Royal, the thorough concert of action established through the signal officers, or the masterly handling of the guns against the enemy, nothing remained to be desired. Such a cooperation . . . augurs everything, propitious for the welfare of our cause in this quarter of the country."
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