Civil War Naval History February 1862 - History

Civil War Naval History February 1862 - History

1 Flag Officer Foote telegraphed Washington from Cairo: "I leave early to-morrow with four armored gunboats on an expedition cooperating with the Army. Senior officer will telegraph you during my absence. Nothing new about the mortars. Twenty-nine men shipped from regiments yesterday and three to-day."

U.S.S. Portsmouth, Commander Swartwout, captured blockade running steamer Labuan at the mouth of the Rio Grande River with cargo of cotton.

U.S.S. Montgomery, Lieutenant Jouett, captured schooner Isabel in the Gulf of Mexico.

2 U.S.S. Hartford, Flag Officer Farragut, departed Hampton Roads for Ship Island, Mississippi, where Farragut took command of the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron preparatory to the assault on New Orleans.

In his battle plan and orders to gunboats, Flag Officer Foote emphasized the need for coolness and precision of fire: ''Let it be also distinctly impressed upon the mind of every man firing a gun that, while the first shot may be either of too much elevation or too little, there is no excuse for a second wild fire, as the first will indicate the inaccuracy of the aim of the gun, which must be elevated or depressed, or trained, as circumstances require. Let it be reiterated that random firing is not only a mere waste of ammunition, but, what is far worse, it encourages the enemy when he sees shot and shell falling harmlessly about and beyond him . The Commander in Chief has every confidence in the spirit and valor of officers and men under his command, and his only solicitude arises lest the firing should be too rapid for precision, and that coolness and order, so essential to complete success, should not be observed, and hence he has in this general order expressed his views, which must be observed by all under his command." He directed Lieutenant S. L. Phelps, upon the surrender of Fort Henry, to proceed with ''Conestoga, Tyler, and Lexington up the river to where the railroad bridge crosses, and, if the army shall not already have got possession, he will destroy so much of the track as will entirely prevent its use by the rebels. He will then proceed as far up the river as the stage of water will admit and capture the enemy's gunboats and other vessels which might prove available to the enemy."

3 Having left his headquarters at Cairo on 2 February en route Fort Henry, Flag Officer Foote ordered U.S.S. Essex and St. Louis to proceed from Paducah to Pine Bluff, 65 miles up the Tennessee, ''for the purpose of protecting the landing of the troops on their arrival at that point." The. Army commanders had recognized for some time that the mobility and fire power of the gunboats were viral in support of land forces operating along the rivers. Brigadier General C. F. Smith had well expressed this earlier: "The Conestoga, gunboat, admirably commanded by Lieutenant Phelps of the Navy, is my only security in this quarter. He is constantly moving his vessel up and down the Tennessee and Cumberland." The same day, Foote wrote Secretary of the Navy Welles that he would have had more ships to take against the fort but for want of men. "The volunteers from the Army to go in the gunboats exceed the number of men required, but the derangement of companies and regiments'' had permitted few to transfer afloat. Major General Halleck wired Foote from St. Louis: ''General Grant is authorized to furnish men for temporary gunboat duty by detail. Men will be sent from here as soon as collected. Arrange with General Grant for temporary crews, so that there may be no delay." The following day, Commander Kilty, left in charge of naval matters at Cairo by Foote, advised Halleck that permanent details were needed, not temporary ones. Grant advised Halleck: ''Will be off up the Tennessee at 6 o'clock. Command, 23 regiments in all." Grant's troops embarked in transports at Cairo and Paducah; Foote's gunboats took the lead. Behind this spearhead and battering ram, the dismemberment of the South began.

C.S.S. Nashville, Lieutenant Robert B. Pegram, departed Southampton, England. H.M.S. Shannon stood by to enforce the Admiralty ruling that U.S.S. Tuscarora could not leave the port for twenty-four hours after the sailing of Nashville.

4 Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, gallant defender of Fort Henry, informed General John B. Floyd: "Gunboats and transports in Tennessee River. Enemy landing in force 5 miles below Fort Henry." After initiating the debarkation of troops below Fort Henry, Flag Officer Foote, in U.S.S. Cincinnati with General Grant on board, took the four ironclad gunboats that he had been able to man up the Tennessee for reconnoitering, and exchanged shots with the Confederate gunners. Torpedoes, planted in the river but torn loose by the flooding waters, floated by. Foote had some fished out for inspection. He and Grant went aft to watch the disassembling of one. According to a reminiscence, suddenly there was a strange hiss. The deck was rapidly cleared. Grant beat Foote to the top of the ladder. When Foote asked the General about his hurry, Grant replied that ''the Army did not believe in letting the Navy get ahead of it.''

5 U.S.S. Keystone State, Commander William E. Le Roy, captured British blockade runner Mars with cargo of salt off Fernandina, Florida.

6 Naval forces under Flag Officer Foote, comprising the partially ironclad gunboats U.S.S. Essex, Carondelet, Cincinnati, St. Louis and wooden gunboats U.S.S. Tyler, Conestoga, and Lexington, captured strategic Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. Originally planned as a joint expedition under Flag Officer Foote and General Grant, heavy rains the two days before the attack delayed the troop movements, and the gunboats attacked alone. Accurate fire from the gunboats pounded the fort and forced Brigadier General Tilghman, CSA, with all but four of his defending guns useless, to strike his flag and surrender to Foote. U.S.S. Essex, Commander W. D. Porter, was disabled during the engagement. In continuing operations the three days following the capitulation of Fort Henry, U.S.S. Tyler, Conestoga, and Lexington, under Lieutenant S. Phelps, swept and one he deeply mourned.'' The evacuation of Norfolk three months later, caused in part by the loss of Roanoke Island, was a far greater loss. The abandonment of the great industrial navy yard and the destruction of C.S.S. Virginia were serious reverses that had far-reaching effect upon the Confederacy's ability to resist at sea.

8 A Confederate gunner captured at Fort Henry made the following statement attesting to the extreme effectiveness of U.S.S. Carondelet's gunfire during the attack: ' The center boat, or the boat with the red stripes around the top of her smokestacks, was the boat which caused the greatest execution. It was one of her guns which threw a ball against the muzzle of one of our guns, disabling it for the remainder of the contest. The Carondelet (as I subsequently found her name to be) at each shot committed more damage than any other boat. She was the object of our hatred, and many a gun from the fort was leveled at her alone. To her I give more credit than any other boat in capturing one of our strongest places." The success of Flag Officer Foote's armored gunboats spread panic and exaggerated their capabilities in Confederate as well as Union minds. General Johnston wrote in a letter to the Confederate War Department: ''The slight resistance at Fort Henry indicates that the best open earthworks are not reliable to meet successfully a vigorous attack of ironclad gunboats." He concluded that Fort Donelson would also fall. This would open the way to Nashville. ''The occurrence of the misfortune of losing the fort will cut off the communication of the force here under General Hardee from the south bank of the Cumberland. To avoid the disastrous consequences of such an event, I ordered General Hardee yesterday to make, as promptly as it could be done, preparations to fall back to Nashville and cross the river. The movements of the enemy on my right flank would have made a retrograde in that direction to confront the enemy indispensable in a short time. But the probability of having the ferriage of this army corps across the Cumberland intercepted by the gunboats of the enemy admits of no delay in making the movement. Generals Beauregard and Hardee are, equally with myself, impressed with the necessity of withdrawing our force from this line at once.''

Captain Buchanan ordered C.S.S. Patrick Henry, Commander Tucker, and C.S.S. Jamestown, Lieutenant Joseph N. Barney, to be kept in a constant state of readiness '' to cooperate with the Merrimack when that ship is ready for service.

U.S.S. Conestoga, Lieutenant S. Phelps, seized steamers Sallie Wood and Muscle at Chickasaw, Alabama. The Confederates destroyed three other vessels to prevent their capture, bringing the total losses resulting from the fall of Fort Henry to nine.

10 Following the capture of Roanoke Island, a naval flotilla, including embarked Marines, under Commander Rowan in U.S.S. Delaware, pursuing Flag Officer Lynch's retiring Confederate naval force up the Pasquotank River, engaged the gunboats and batteries at Elizabeth City, North Carolina. C.S.S. Ellis was captured and C.S.S. Seabird was sunk; C.S.S. Black Warrior, Fanny, and Forrest were set on fire to avoid capture; the fort and batteries at Cobb's Point were destroyed. Of Commander Rowan's success, Admiral Daniel Ammen later wrote: ''Nothing more brilliant in naval 'dash' occurred during the entire Civil War than appears in this attack.'' One example of "dash" was called to Flag Officer L. N. Goldsborough's attention by Commander Rowan. ''I would respectfully call your attention to one incident of the engagement which reflects much credit upon a quarter gunner of the Valley City and for which Congress has provided rewards in the shape of medals. A shot passed through her magazine and exploded in a locker beyond containing fireworks. The commander, Lieutenant Commander Chaplain, went there to aid in suppressing the fire, where he found John Davis, quarter gunner, seated with commendable coolness on an open barrel of powder as the only means to keep the fire out.'' For demonstrating such courage, ''while at the same time passing powder to provide the division on the upper deck while under fierce enemy fire,'' Davis was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by General Order 11,3 April 1863.

Flag Officer Foote, amidst repairing battle damages and working feverishly to get other gunboats ready, received repeated requests from Major General Halleck to ''send gunboats up the Cumberland. Two will answer if he can send no more. They must precede the transports. I am straining every nerve to send troops to take Dover and Clarksville. Troops are on their way. All we want is gunboats to precede the transports.''

Secretary of the Navy Welles forwarded to Commander D. Porter the names of 22 sailing vessels and 7 steamers which would comprise the Mortar Flotilla. This potent force, to which would be added U.S.S. Owasco," as soon as she can be got ready," conducted an intensive bombardment of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, preparatory to Flag Officer Farragut's drive past these heavy works to New Orleans.

General Robert E. Lee wrote Confederate Secretary of War Benjamin: 'From the reports of General Mercer as to the inability of the batteries of Saint Simon's and Jekyl Islands to withstand the attack of the enemy' s fleet, the isolated condition of those islands, and the impossibility of reenforcing him with guns or men, I have given him authority, should he retain that opinion upon a calm review of the whole subject, to act according to his discretion; and, if deemed advisable by him, to withdraw to the mainland and take there a defensible position for the protection of the country

Captain Buchanan reported that Merrimack had not yet received her crew, "not withstanding all my efforts to procure them from the Army.'' Shortage of trained seamen restricted the Confederacy's efforts to build naval strength.

11 Flag Officer Foote, foreseeing the realities of the situation into which he was being pulled by the tide of events, wrote Secretary of the Navy Welles: ''I leave [Cairo again to-night with the Louisville, Pittsburg, and St. Louis for the Cumberland River, to cooperate with the army in the attack on Fort Donelson.
I shall do all in my power to render the gunboats effective in the fight, although they are not properly manned. If we could wait ten days, and I had men,
I would go with eight mortar boats and six armored boats and conquer.'' Despite the serious difficulties they faced, Foote and his gunboat fleet made what General Grant was to term admiringly ''a gallant attack.''

13-15 U.S.S. Pembina, Lieutenant John P. Bankhead, discovered a battery of ''tin-can'' torpedoes (mines) while engaged in sounding Savannah River above the mouth of Wright's River. The mines, only visible at low tide, were connected by wires and moored individually to the bottom. The following day, Bankhead returned and effected the removal of one of the '' infernal machines'' for purposes of examination. On the 15th Bankhead ''deemed it more prudent to endeavor to sink the remaining ones than to attempt to remove them,'' and sank the mines by rifle fire. Torpedoes were planted in large numbers in the harbors and rivers of the Confederacy, constituting a major hazard which Union commanders had to consider and reckon with in planning operations.

14 Gunboats U.S.S. St. Louis, Carondelet, Louisville, Pittsburg, Tyler, and Conestoga under Flag Officer Foote joined with General Grant in attacking Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. Donelson, on high ground, could subject the gunboats to a plunging fire and was a more difficult objective than Fort Henry. Foote did not consider the gunboats properly prepared for the assault on Donelson so soon after the heavy action at Fort Henry; nevertheless, at the ''urgent request'' of both Grant and General Halleck to reduce the fortifications, Foote moved against the Confederate works. Bitter fire at close range opened on both sides. Louis, the flagship, was hit fifty-nine times and lost steering control, as did Louisville. Both disabled vessels drifted down stream; the gunboat attack was broken off. Flag Officer Foote sustained injuries which forced him to give up command three months later. Fort Donelson surrendered to Grant on 16 February. Major General Lewis Wallace, speaking of the renewed gunboat support on 15 February, summed up the substantial role of the gunboats in the victory: "I recollect yet the positive pleasure the sounds [naval gunfire] gave me . the obstinacy and courage of the Commodore Was the attack ''of assistance to us''? ''I don't think there is room to question it. It distracted the enemy S attention, and I fully believe it was the gunboats . that operated to prevent a general movement of the rebels up the river or across it, the night before the surrender.'' Coining quickly after the fall of Fort Henry, the capture of Fort Donelson by a combined operation had a heavy impact on both sides. News of the fall of Fort Donelson created great excitement in New Orleans where the press placed much blame on Secretary of the Navy Mallory because ''we are so wretchedly helpless on the water." With their positions in Kentucky now untenable, the Confederates had to withdraw, assuring that state to the Union. On the Mississippi, Confederate forces fell back on Island No. 10. Nashville could not be held, and the Union armies were poised to sweep down into the heart of the South.

Armed boat from U.S.S. Restless, Acting lieutenant Edward Conroy, captured and destroyed sloop Edisto and schooners Wandoo, Eliabeth, and Theodore Stony off Bull's Bay, South Carolina; all ships carried heavy cargoes of rice for Charleston.

Confederate ships sank obstructions in Cape Fear River near Fort Caswell, North Carolina, in an effort to block the channel.

U.S.S. Galena, experimental seagoing ironclad, launched at Mystic, Connecticut.

15 Four Confederate gunboats under Commodore Tattnall attacked Union batteries at Venus Point, on Savannah River, Georgia, but were forced back to Savannah. Tattnall was attempting to effect the passage of steamer Ida from Fort Pulaski to Savannah.

16 Gunboats of Flag Officer Foote's force destroyed the "Tennessee Iron Works" above Dover on the Cumberland River. General McClellan wired Flag Officer Foote from Washington.' "Sorry you are wounded. How seriously? Your conduct magnificent. With what force do you return? I send nearly 600 sailors for you to-morrow.

17 Ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (ex-U.S.S. Merrimack) commissioned, Captain Franklin Buchanan commanding.

Flag Officer Foote informed Secretary of the Navy Welles: ''I leave immediately with a view of proceeding to Clarksville with eight mortar boats and two ironclad boats, with the Conestoga, wooden boat, as the river is rapidly falling. The other ironclad boats are badly cut up and require extensive repairs. I have sent one of the boats already since my return and ordered a second to follow me, which, with eight mortars, hope to carry Clarksville."

18 U.S.S. Ethan Allen, Acting Lieutenant Eaton, entered Clearwater harbor, Florida, and captured schooner Spitfire and sloops Atlanta and Caroline.

19 Confederates evacuated Clarksville, Tennessee. Colonel W. H. Allen, CSA, reported to General Floyd: ''Gunboats are coming; they are just below point; can see steamer here. Will try and see how many troops they have before I leave. Lieutenant Brady set bridge on fire, but it is burning very slowly and will probably go out before it falls." Asking in a postscript that any orders for him be sent "promptly," Allen noted that "I will have to go in a hurry when I go." Union forces under Flag Officer Foote occupied Fort Defiance and took possession of the town. Foote urged an immediate move on Nashville and notified Army headquarters in Cairo: "The Cumberland is in a good stage of water and General Grant and I believe we can take Nashville."

Trial run of two-gun ironclad U.S.S. Monitor in New York harbor. Chief Engineer Alban C. Stimers, USN, reported on the various difficulties that were presented during the trial run of Monitor and concluded that her speed would be approximately 6 knots, "though Captain Ericsson feels confident of 8."

U.S.S. Delaware, Commander Rowan, and U.S.S. Commodore Perry, Lieutenant Flusser, on a reconnaissance of the Chowan River, engaged Confederate troops at Winton, North Carolina. The following day Rowan's force covered the landing of Union troops who entered the town, destroying military stores and Confederate troop quarters before re-embarking.

U.S.S. Brooklyn, Captain T. T. Craven, and U.S.S. South Carolina, Lieutenant Hopkins, captured steamer Magnolia in the Gulf of Mexico with large cargo of cotton.

General Robert E. Lee, harassed by the Confederate inability to cope with the guns of the Union fleet, wrote Brigadier General Trapier regarding the defenses of Florida: ''In looking at the whole defense of Florida, it becomes important to ascertain what points can probably be held and what points had better be relinquished. The force that the enemy can bring against any position where he can concentrate his floating batteries renders it prudent and proper to withdraw from the islands to the main-land and be prepared to contest his advance into the interior. Where an island offers the best point of defense, and is so connected with the main that its communications cannot be cut off, it may be retained. Otherwise it should be abandoned."

20 Flag Officer Farragut arrived at Ship Island to begin what Secretary of the Navy Welles termed the "most important operation of the war" the assault on New Orleans. In his instruction of 10 February to the Flag Officer, Welles observed: "If successful, you open the way to the sea for the great West, never again to be closed. The rebellion will be riven in the center, and the flag to which you have been so faithful will recover its supremacy in every State." For some weeks prior to Farragut's arrival, Union forces had been gathering at the Ship Island staging area. As early as 30 December, General Bragg, CSA, had written from Mobile: "The enemy's vessels, some twenty, are below, landing supplies and large bodies of troops on Ship Island." With an inadequate naval force, however, the Confederates were unable to contest the steady build-up of Northern strength.

Major General John E. Wool at Fort Monroe, on hearing a report that Newport News was to be attacked by Virginia, wrote Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: ''We want a larger naval force than we have at present. Meanwhile, the same day, Secretary of the Navy Welles was writing Lieutenant Worden: "Proceed with the U.S.S. Monitor, under your command, to Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Brigadier General George W. Cullum, General Halleck's Chief of Staff at Cairo, relayed an urgent message from General McClellan regarding the gunboats to Lieutenant S. Phelps: ''General McClellan gives most emphatic order to have gun and mortar boats here ready by Monday morning. Must move on Columbus with at least four serviceable gunboats and mortar boats. Only two gunboats at all serviceable here, and but one mortar boat, three being ashore.''

Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough wrote Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox: "At Washington, and also at Newberne [North Carolina] the obstructions in the river are very formidable, and admirably placed. They consist of a double row of piles thoroughly well driven by steam, and sunken vessels. The rows are at right angles to the shore and parallel with each other. One stretches all the way from the right bank nearly over to the left, and the other all the way from the left bank nearly over to the right, and there is a battery of considerable force on either bank between them; so that attacking vessels must first go bows on to one, and then after passing it, be raked aft by one and forward by the other at the same time.'' The Confederates sought to reduce the Union Navy's effectiveness by well-placed obstructions, making passage of shore batteries difficult and costly.

Armed boat expedition from U.S.S. New London, Lieutenant A. Read, captured 12 small sloops and schooners at Cat Island, Mississippi, suspected of being used as pilot vessels by blockade runners.

U.S.S. Portsmouth, Commander Swartwout, captured sloop Pioneer off Boca Chica, Texas, with cargo of tobacco.

21 Flag Officer Farragut formally relieved Flag Officer McKean as Commander, Western Gulf Blockading Squadron. As his other ships arrived, he assembled them at the Southeast Pass and sent those whose draft permitted over the bar to conduct the blockade ''in the river.'' Secretary of the Navy Welles had sent Farragut supplementary confidential instructions, spelling out what had been discussed in conference: ''When the Hartford is in all respects ready for sea, you will proceed to the Gulf of Mexico with all possible dispatch . There will be attached to your squadron a fleet of bomb-vessels and armed steamers, enough to manage them," under Commander D. Porter. Key West, preserved for the Union by the energy and foresight of naval commanders, would play the key role it has played throughout the United States' history as a naval base, rendezvous and training center for operations east, west, and south. He instructed Farragut to ''proceed up the Mississippi River and reduce the defenses which guard the approaches to New Orleans, when you will appear off that city and take possession of it under the guns of your squadron, and hoist the American flag therein, keeping possession until troops can be sent to you. There are other operations of minor importance which will commend themselves to your judgment and skill, but which must not be allowed to interfere with the great object in view the certain capture of the city of New Orleans.''

22 Union naval vessels entered Savannah River through Wall's Cut, isolating Fort Pulaski.

Flag Officer Farragut ordered Coast Survey team to sound the Mississippi passes and to mark out the safest channel.

23 Flag Officer Du Pont wrote Senator James W. Grimes from Iowa, a member of the Committee on Naval Affairs of his departure for continued operations on the South Atlantic Coast: "I am off tomorrow with a large division of my squadron to complete my work on the lower coast, and if God is with us, in some three weeks I hope to hold everything by and inside or outside blockade from Cape Canaveral to Georgetown, S.C." The Confederacy would withdraw inland as a result of Du Pont's efforts.

Flag Officer Foote, with Brigadier General Cullum, reconnoitered the Mississippi River down to Columbus, the anchor of the powerful Confederate defenses. He reported proceeding "with four ironclad boats, two mortar boats and three transports containing 1,000 men." Lieutenant Gwin, in U.S.S. Tyler, conducted a reconnaissance of the Tennessee River to Eastport, Mississippi. At Clifton, Tennessee, Gwin seized 1,100 sacks and barrels of flour and some 6,000 bushels of wheat.

24 Captain Buchanan, CSN, ordered to command James River, Virginia, naval defenses, and to fly his flag on board C.S.S. Virginia; the squadron consisted of C.S.S. Virginia, and the small gunboats C.S.S. Patrick Henry, Jamestown, Teaser, Raleigh, and Beaufort. In his orders to Buchanan Secretary of the Navy Mallory added: "The Virginia is a novelty in naval construction, untried, and her powers unknown; and hence the department will not give specific orders as to her attack upon the enemy. Her powers as a ram are regarded as very formidable, and it is hoped you will be able to test them. Like the bayonet charge of infantry, this mode of attack, while the most destructive, will commend itself to you in the present scarcity of ammunition. It is one also that may be rendered destructive at night against the enemy at anchor. Even without guns the ship would, it is believed, be formidable as a ram. Could you pass Old Point and make a dashing cruise in the Potomac as far as Washington, its effect upon the public mind would be important to our cause. The condition of our country, and the painful reverses we have just suffered, demand our utmost exertions; and convinced as I am that the opportunity and the means for striking a decisive blow for our navy are now, for the first time, presented, I congratulate you upon it, and know that your judgment and gallantry will meet all just expectations. Action, prompt and successful just now, would be of serious importance to our cause.

U.S.S. Harriet Lane, Lieutenant Jonathan M. Wainwright, captured schooner Joanna Ward off the coast of Florida. Wainwright was the grandfather of the General of the same name who was compelled to surrender Bataan in World War II.

25 U.S.S. Monitor commissioned in New York, Lieutenant John L. Worden commanding. Captain Dahlgren described Monitor as ''a mere speck, like a hat on the surface.''

U.S.S. Cairo, Lieutenant Nathaniel Bryant, arrived at Nashville, convoying seven steam transports with troops under Brigadier General William Nelson, one of two ex-naval officers assigned to duty with the Army. Troops were landed and occupied the Tennessee capital, an important base on the Cumberland River, without opposition. Meanwhile, the demand for the gunboats mounted steadily. From President Lincoln to widely seperated field commanders, everyone recognized their importance. General McClellan wired Major General Halleck: ''I learn from telegraph of Commodore Foote to the Navy Department that you have ordered that no gunboats go above Nashville. I think it may greatly facilitate Buell's operations to send a couple at least of the lighter ones to Nashville. Captain Maynadier, Tenth Infantry, will be ordered to Commodore Foote, at his request, as his ordnance officer for mortar boats." With the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson the Confederates retreated precipitously, abandoning strong positions, valuable ordnance, and supplies. Moreover, at Nashville and elsewhere on the river they lost badly needed manufacturing facilities. Flag Officer Foote quoted a Nashville paper as stating: ''We had nothing to fear from a land attack, but the gunboats are the devil."

U.S.S. Kingfisher, Acting Lieutenant Couthouy, captured blockade runner Lion in the Gulf of Mexico after a three day chase.

U.S.S. Mohican, Commander Godon, and U.S.S. Bienville, Commander Steedman, captured blockade running British schooner Arrow off Fernandina, Florida.

U.S.S. R. B. Forbes, Acting Lieutenant William Flye, grounded in a gale near Nag's Head, North Carolina, and was ordered destroyed by her commanding officer to prevent her falling to the Confederates. She had been ordered to the mortar flotilla below New Orleans.

26 C.S.S. Nashville, Lieutenant Pegram, captured and burned schooner Robert Gilfillan, bound from Philadelphia to Haiti with cargo of provisions.

U.S.S. Bienville, Commander Steedman, captured schooner Alert off St. John's, Florida. New Orleans "Committee of Safety" reported to President Davis regarding the "most deplorable condition" of the finances of the Navy Department there, stating that it was preventing the enlistment of men and that the "outstanding indebtedness can not be less than $600,000 or $800,000" owing to foundries and machine shops, draymen, and other suppliers, and that for months "a sign has been hanging over the paymaster's office of that department, 'No funds.'

The Committee stated that ''unless the proper remedy is at once applied, workmen can no longer be had."

27 Delayed one day by a lack of ammunition for her guns, U.S.S. Monitor, Lieutenant Worden, departed the New York Navy Yard for sea, but was compelled to turn back to the Yard because of steering failure. The same day at Norfolk, Flag Officer Forrest, CSN, commanding the Navy Yard, reported that want of gun powder, too, was delaying the readiness of Virginia to begin operations against the Union blockading ships.

28 C.S.S. Nashville, Lieutenant Pegram, ran the blockade into Beaufort, North Carolina.

H. L. Hunley (submarine)

H. L. Hunley, often referred to as Hunley or as CSS Hunley, was a submarine of the Confederate States of America that played a small part in the American Civil War. Hunley demonstrated the advantages and the dangers of undersea warfare. She was the first combat submarine to sink a warship (USS Housatonic), although Hunley was not completely submerged and, following her successful attack, was lost along with her crew before she could return to base. The Confederacy lost 21 crewmen in three sinkings of Hunley during her short career. She was named for her inventor, Horace Lawson Hunley, shortly after she was taken into government service under the control of the Confederate States Army at Charleston, South Carolina.

Hunley, nearly 40 ft (12 m) long, was built at Mobile, Alabama, and launched in July 1863. She was then shipped by rail on 12 August 1863, to Charleston. Hunley (then referred to as the "fish boat", the "fish torpedo boat", or the "porpoise") sank on 29 August 1863, during a test run, killing five members of her crew. She sank again on 15 October 1863, killing all eight of her second crew, including Horace Lawson Hunley himself, who was aboard at the time, even though he was not a member of the Confederate military. Both times Hunley was raised and returned to service.

On 17 February 1864, Hunley attacked and sank the 1,240-displacement ton United States Navy [2] screw sloop-of-war Housatonic, which had been on Union blockade-duty in Charleston's outer harbor. Hunley did not survive the attack and also sank, taking with her all eight members of her third crew, and was lost.

Finally located in 1995, Hunley was raised in 2000, and is on display in North Charleston, South Carolina, at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center on the Cooper River. Examination in 2012 of recovered Hunley artifacts suggests that the submarine was as close as 20 ft (6.1 m) to her target, Housatonic, when her deployed torpedo exploded, which caused the submarine's own loss. [3]

Soldier's Letter, Civil War, February 1862

Oxford Times February 26, 1862

Cape Hatteras, N. Carolina, February 4th, 1862

I have a few leisure moments, and have thought best to occupy them in writing a few lines for our friends, not because I have any particular news, or that we have had any great exploits to surprise them with, but because I thought a few lines would interest them that we are right in the land of old secesh, wallowing through the sands of Pamlico Sound the boys call it Dixey. It is surely sandy bottom and a hard road to travel also.

We have had rather a hard time for a few weeks. While on the vessel, we were not fed quite as well as we were accustomed to. Hard crackers and coffee was all we had. It was not all the time we could get water to make coffee. At one time our water was used up. A storm came up which lasted four days, the hardest storm that has been known here in a number of years. Not being able to get to the shore, were without water three days, except a little rain water we caught which run down the mast and off the deck, which was all dirt and tobacco spit. It didn't relish very well. We were glad to get it however, as it was. All these things brought on home sickness. Sea sickness set in which left us in rather an unpleasant condition. What a pitiful sight to stand on the forecastle and see the row of heads hung over the railing, to see them work with the ship. When the ship heaves, they heave too. Next comes a spray over the decks, which piles them all in a heap. Then go down into the midship. What a spectacle is before you. Half a dozen heads over one sub, as many over another, on their knees giving over their accounts. In their faces can be seen and read very distinctly the old poem, "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home," or in other words, "why did I ever roam, O shall I never see again those dear old folks at home."

Well, such is a soldier's career. It is a combination of events, adventures, hardships, privations, of sorrow (thoughts of home) of fun and frolic and lately of hard work, which when taken together is rather romantic.

We left Washington, Jan. 5th, went to Annapolis to join Burnside's Expedition, arrived there at 9 P.M., slept on the cars that night, The next morning we marched to the Navy Yard where we stood in the snow all day waiting for the transports to take us on board our vessel. It snowed the night before to the depth of two inches. We suffered not a little with the cold. The transports did not arrive that day as was expected, so at night we marched to a meeting house. Part of us took lodgings there, the remainder of the regiment slept in the college buildings. The next morning we were taken on board the transport, which took us on board the A--- Our quarters there were not very comfortable, we were stowed in like a lot of hogs, as tight as we could possibly be squeezed. We received our pay the day we went on board. I think our regiment did well. For the first payment they sent home over $30,000, which was more than any other regiment has done, I think.

We sailed with the fleet Jan. 9th, cast anchor 12 o'clock midnight in the bay, on account of the fog set sail at 6 A.M., arrived at Fortress Monroe, at 12 o'clock, noon. Cast anchor under the walls of the Fortress.

Weighed anchor Jan. 12th. Cast anchor off Cape Hatteras 2 P.M., Jan. 13th. Blew a hard gale all day and night. Our position is considered dangerous. The storm increased. The next day a steamer is wrecked in attempting to pass the inlet, also one or two schooners. The storm abates the next day. We pass the inlet into the sound (Pamlico), all safe. Our Captain and Lieut. Rooms think they will go on shore in a small boat, assisted by Mr. Wilbur and others. The swell of the sea is rather rough and as they shove out from the shore to come back to the vessel, a wave comes and capsized them all handsomely in the briny deep. The next wave sets them on shore again, all right. They succeed in getting their boat to a point where it is less rough and reach the ship with no serious injury. As they came along side we gave three hearty cheers for Capt. Gurnsey's Expedition. Don't know as they appreciated it much. They looked rather sheepish as they climbed over the bulwarks of the ship and hunted their holes immediately, and were not seen much on deck till the next morning, when they came out brighter than ever, after their salt water bath.

Nothing of note has occurred since we have been on the sound. Five contrabands made their escape from Plymouth, and came to us. They were fired at on their way by the Rebels. They are with us on the Island.

We were landed at Fort Hatteras Jan. 28th, marched 6 miles up the coast, pitched our tents at camp Windfield, and glad enough to get on terra firma once more.

The soil is sandy. It is covered with small timber, scrub oak and other kinds which I cannot mention. The inhabitants are mostly fishermen, once in a while, a farmer. They raise corn, sweet potatoes, figs, &c. We are living like kings. Now we gather oysters and clams on the beach, buy potatoes, fish and eggs. On the whole we are a happy crew. The Regiment is in good spirits and good health generally. We received our first mail yesterday, which was received as a hungry man receivers his rations. Gen. Williams is our commanding General, and puts us through eight hours each day. he tells us we shall soon meet the rebels.

The land here is very swampy, and the inhabitants tell us they have to shut up their cattle in hot weather to keep the mosquitoes from carrying them off. The weather is now pleasant, the birds sing to us, and it is not unpleasant to hear the robins in the morning, which to us seems like spring. I must close, as our [-?-] starts today.

Soldier's Letter, Civil War, February 1862

Chenango Telegraph, Norwich, NY, February 5, 1862

Letter from Gideon Evans

Friend W---: Things are very quiet here in camp. It has rained for two days, and the mud is about three inches deep. We have just returned from picketing, wet to the skin, cold and hungry, having been out for two days and nights, and we had a very exciting time. Probably Friend Frink has described it to you, but it won't spoil by telling again. It was Jan. 20th that we started for our picket lines some ten miles from camp. We were full of glee, and went along cracking jokes, not dreaming of the horrible scene that was about to be enacted, or that we Plymouth boys should be the principal actors. We arrived at headquarters about ten o'clock A.M., and were immediately stationed on our posts. Frink and I were on one post, and King and T. Crumb on the next post. There were no signs of "secesh" through the day, and when night came over us, dark and dreary, nothing could be heard, save the moaning of the winds and the gentle meandering of the silvery brook that winds its way to the Potomac. Frink seemed sterner than usual, not saying a word except in way of caution, but kept steadily pacing up and down his beat, stopping now and then to peer into the darkness, or laying his ear close to the ground. Then he would resume his walk shaking his head and saying that there would be trouble. I sat quietly in our "pen" laughing at his uneasiness. Things went on in this way until about one o'clock, when I was startled by Frink's stern voice, "Halt!". I sprang to my feet when I saw a body of horsemen close upon us. I immediatly fired, and I saw the blaze of Frink's gun at the same time. We heard one terrific yell, and a horse bounded by us without a rider. I jumped behind our "pen," supposing that Frink would follow but there I was mistaken, for he went on showing them his skill in the bayonet exercise, and by close examination we found that he gave them several ugly wounds. But finally he made a thrust, and his bayonet sticking through the saddle, he was unable to extricate it. Quick as lightning he was seized and bound. I drew my revolver and fired one of them fell and I took aim for another. But one stroke of a secesh saber sent my revolver whirling to the ground.

Of course I was seized and put with Frink, who lay foaming and swearing to have revenge. But they paid no attention to our threats, hurried us on to their horses and started off on a gallop for the rebel camp. Crumb and King, had started to our assistance and had fired their piece when we were first attacked. They fought the rebels for ten minutes, but they were finally overpowered and placed with us.

You can imagine our feelings at this point, each of riding in front of a rebel horseman with our arms tied behind us jolting along at a rough gait. We were going along at a rapid pace, when we neared a piece of woods. Lo! the woods seemed bound with a girdle of fire, and we were instantly surrounded. Frink yelled three cheers for the Union. We were all made to dismount and found to our joy that we were surrounded by Union soldiers. We were immediately set free and the rebels were bound as we had been.

The Confederates Attempt a Breakout

The following morning, Grant departed before dawn to meet with Foote. Prior to leaving, he instructed his commanders not to initiate a general engagement but failed to designate a second-in-command. In the fort, Floyd had rescheduled the breakout attempt for that morning. Attacking McClernand's men on the Union right, Floyd's plan called for Pillow's men to open a gap while Buckner's division protected their rear. Surging out of their lines, the Confederate troops succeeded in driving back McClernand's men and turning their right flank.

While not routed, McClernand's situation was desperate as his men were running low on ammunition. Finally reinforced by a brigade from Wallace's division, the Union right began to stabilize. However, confusion reigned as no one Union leader was in command on the field. By 12:30, the Confederate advance was stopped by a strong Union position astride Wynn's Ferry Road. Unable to break through, the Confederates withdrew back to a low ridge as they prepared to abandon the fort. Learning of the fighting, Grant raced back to Fort Donelson and arrived around 1 p.m.

The River War

A chieved through a deadly combination of resource superiority and combined arms strategy, the Union’s hard-won gains on the nation’s rivers were instrumental to overall victory in the war.

The opening positions in the western river war: a small flotilla at Cairo, Illinois facing an array of Southern fortresses.

The geography faced by the western campaigners was quite different from that of their counterparts in the east. Roads were poorer, railroads were fewer, and much of the countryside was untamed. To add to these hazards, the western theater dwarfed the east in terms of square mileage—the west comprised some 385,000 square miles of potential battleground compared to around 95,000 miles in the east.

The importance of rivers in this landscape can hardly be overstated. These swift-running highways afforded the controlling army huge strategic advantages. Soldiers could be swiftly transported to any land point that bordered a controlled waterway. Supply lines were no longer bound to the meager road network. An army that advanced overland with an enemy-controlled river on its flank was in perpetual, crippling danger of surprise attack from the rear.

The rivers were also vital arteries for the Confederate economy, although lines of trade and communication were easily severed by patrolling enemy gunboats. This issue became especially apparent as the Union navy took control of longer and longer swathes of the Mississippi River.

The Civil War began with both sides scrambling to put their navies on a war footing. Although the Federal navy outnumbered its Southern foe, neither side had enough combat-capable warships at the outset of the struggle. The key difference, as in so many other aspects of the war, was Northern development. Once in gear, Northern industry had the capacity to produce a steady flow of vessels, but the Southern shipyards were inferior and vulnerable to attack. To compensate, Confederate resource allocators focused instead on building a formidable series of fortifications along the western rivers.

In the summer of 1861, Commander John Rodgers was sent west to lead the Union river flotilla, which at that point contained most of its firepower in three converted paddle-wheel steamers. While awaiting the completion of new ironclad, “City Class” gunboats, Rodgers put his lean force to work. Choosing Cairo, Illinois, at the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, as a base of operations, he launched water-borne reconnaissance missions to the north and east, following the borders of Kentucky and Missouri. According to citizen accounts, this projection of power played a substantial role in keeping the two neutral states from throwing in their lot with the Confederacy.

John Rodgers went on to serve with distinction in the east, commanding the flotilla that included the USS Monitor. (Library of Congress)

A trio of Confederate forts kept Rodgers and his “Mississippi Squadron” from pushing further south that summer—the wooden gunboats were an impressive sight but could not be expected to go toe-to-toe with Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River, Fort Henry on the Tennessee, or Columbus on the Mississippi. The potential for offensive operations had to wait for the new year, when the City Classers would be ready. In the meantime, the Confederates continued to entrench and reinforce. At the end of August, Rodgers was redeployed to the east in favor of Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote, a stern old salt under instructions to bring coax obstinate infantry commander John Fremont into forward movement.

While liaising with the infantry, Foote formed a relationship with one of Fremont’s subordinates: General Ulysses S. Grant. On November 6, 1861, Foote committed several of his transport ferries as well as two of his three gunboats to supporting Grant’s 3,000-man attack on Belmont, Missouri, just across the river from the fortress at Columbus. Grant won acclaim from the press for the ensuing battle, though he was driven back by Confederate reinforcements, and the Mississippi Squadron won respect from Grant, who escaped capture or death when the transport Belle Memphis turned back and ran out a plank to evacuate him under fire.

This experience was surely a visceral demonstration of the capabilities of combined arms tactics—the military concept of harmonizing disparate weapons and equipment to multiply their effect on the battlefield. At the Battle of Belmont, the movement ability and heavy firepower of the riverboats was used to multiply the ground-taking capability of the infantry. In February of 1862, the Mississippi Squadron now reinforced by the completed City Classers, Foote and Grant were moved to attempt their previous operation on a larger scale.

The target they chose was Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. On February 6, Foote’s transports disembarked Grant and his 15,000 infantrymen five miles away from the fort. They set out overland while Foote’s gunboats—seven in all, four ironclads and the original three timberclads—set out towards the Confederate stronghold.

This time, combined operations broke down. Grant’s men foundered in deep mud and Foote was forced to attack alone. His seven ships moved down the river in two lines, exchanging a severe fire with the fort’s batteries. One ironclad, the USS Essex, took a shell to her boiler and was engulfed in scalding steam—32 were killed or wounded. Nevertheless, Foote pressed his attack home and, after seventy-five minutes of combat, secured the fort’s surrender.

The fall of Fort Henry opened up almost the whole of the Tennessee River to the Mississippi Squadron. Foote immediately sent his timberclads on a raid as far as Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where the shallows prevented further progress. In four days the timberclads captured three warships, seized tons of war material, and forced the destruction of six transport vessels. This sort of action clearly demonstrates the pattern of river warfare—when a bottleneck fort falls, there is little that can be done to protect the rest of the bottle.

Meanwhile, Foote devoted his energy to repairing his ironclads, all in various stages of disrepair following the bruising battle on the Tennessee River. The Essex would be out of action until the summer. Nevertheless, on February 11, only five days after the battle, Grant and Foote pivoted to attack Fort Donelson on the Cumberland.

Marching from Fort Henry, Grant’s infantry had surrounded Fort Donelson by February 14, but several small-scale attacks resulted in nothing but loss for the freezing Union soldiers. On the afternoon of the 14th, Foote moved downriver with seven gunboats, repeating the charging double-line tactic that had subdued Fort Henry. But Fort Donelson was a much stronger position, with its batteries on much higher ground. When the Union vessels closed to within four hundred yards the Confederates let loose, their shot ripping through the weak top armor of the ironclad front line. Each ironclad was hit at least twenty times and Foote himself was wounded, his flagship St. Louis having been holed almost sixty times. By the evening, three of the four ironclads were out of action and Foote ordered a withdrawal.

It was the infantry’s turn to come to the navy’s rescue. In hard fighting on February 15, Grant’s men repulsed a breakout attempt and counterattacked to seize a foothold in the earthworks surrounding the fort. Grant earned the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” the next morning. With the Cumberland open, Nashville, a critical manufacturing and supply hub, fell by the end of February. The outflanked garrison at Columbus quickly withdrew, removing the first obstacle to retaking the Mississippi River.

This opening campaign illustrates the factors through which Union forces eventually achieved dominance of the western rivers. Northern ship production far outstripped the South, a problem exacerbated by David G. Farragut’s capture of New Orleans in April of 1862. This forced the Confederates to rely too heavily on their chain of fortifications. However, the Union's naval strategy for taking a fort was virtually unstoppable: find the best position for each ship to dish out and receive fire, then pound away until the defending garrison reached the limits of its endurance. If the fort was too tough or the ships were too weak, simply wait until stronger guns and thicker armor was provided. Made possible by the fact that ships could move and fortresses could not, this strategy produced inevitable success.

One by one, each fortress-cork was popped by the pressure of combined land and riverine assault. The South’s lack of waterborne firepower precluded effective counterattacks. Once taken, there was no swath of any western river that the South managed to regain.

The fall of Vicksburg in the summer of 1863 brought the Mississippi entirely under Union control and split the Confederacy in half. Union forces used their increasing control of the waterways to concentrate more and more strength at decisive points while Southern armies could barely risk an advance with exposed waterways in their rear.

Ultimately, the South’s static defense on the rivers could not contend with the irresistible mobile offense executed with such skill by officers such as Foote, Grant, and Farragut. In a military and economic sense, the loss of the inland arteries all but dismembered the Confederacy.

February 10th, 1862

The day February 10, 1862, provides an important glimpse into the role that international relations would play in the Civil War. Both the North and the South were waiting for foreign intervention to come to their aide but for opposite reasons. The North wanted the foreign powers to help them sustain the blockade of the South and increase the pressure on the Confederate forces. The Confederates on the other hand wanted for foreign intervention to eliminate the blockade and allow them to begin pushing their forces north. Another major impact that February 10 had in the overall course of the war was through the influence that the battle of Roanoke Island and Elizabeth City had on the people and soldiers living there. The Union capture of Roanoke Island and Elizabeth City caused the Confederates to question their commanders and also brought up the idea of what the Union should do with runaway slaves. This ultimately paved the way for the creation of the Emancipation Proclamation and slaves becoming free.

Many of the newspaper headlines that were published in both the North and the South involving the day February 10 described the battle of Roanoke Island and the capture of Elizabeth City by the Union army. The battle of Roanoke Island occurred on February 8, 1862. The Union victory motivated General Burnside, the commander of the Union forces, to move on and capture Elizabeth City on February 10. One article, entitled “Terrible Defeat of the Rebels: Roanoke Island and over 2000 Prisoners Taken by Gen. Burnside’s Troops Rebel Fleet Captured—Elizabeth City in Our Possession—The Rebels Panic-Stricken Burnside Still Advancing!” published on February 13, 1862 in the Hartford Daily Courant, recounted the situation on North Carolina’s coast. The article first stated that General Burnside attacked Roanoke Island with a force of fifteen thousand men and captured the island, along with two thousand Confederate prisoners. The Confederates, with a force of two thousand five hundred men and no options for retreat were forced to surrender. Following the Union’s victory at Roanoke Island, General Burnside on February 10, continued onwards towards Elizabeth City in order to resupply his army. As a result, many citizens of Elizabeth City had evacuated prior to the Union forces arriving there and the Union army was successful in capturing nearly the entire Confederate fleet stationed there. This was important since it showed the efficiency of the Northern navy as well as the multitude of problems that the blockade was causing for the South, and their need to eliminate it. [1]

The events at Roanoke Island played a major role in effecting the morale of the Confederate army. The loss of the entire force on Roanoke Island was especially difficult and was a huge setback for the Confederate cause. Another article that was published on the topic of Roanoke Island, this time from a Confederate viewpoint, centered on the idea that the Confederate chain of command was to blame for the losses the Confederates were dealt. Through looking at articles from both the North and the South we are able to hear the accounts of what happened from both sides and use them to create a more unbiased picture of what was really happening at the time. One of the articles was entitled “The War Cloud” and was published in Atlanta, Georgia on February 11, 1862 by The Daily Intelligencer. At first, the author attempted to rekindle the patriotism for the Confederate cause and stated that the events that had transpired must be solved and that the South must retaliate against the North for what it did. He or she called for the South to stop waiting and to take action against the North. The author then proceeded to go into detail about all of the events that had taken place during the past week, which had resulted in the Confederate losses. The first event that was described in the article was that of the Federal army capturing Fort Henry, which was located on the eastern bank of the Tennessee River. The fort had sixteen light guns and was built in order to ensure the control of the river. The article then mentions that the Confederate army should have destroyed the fort and that the guns and supplies should have been moved to another location where they may have been of more use for the Confederates. This critique is important since it shows the difference in opinions that was beginning to form between the citizens and the leadership of the Confederates. Ultimately, by the Confederates not being able to decide on what actions they should take, it greatly impacted the strength and morale of their forces, leading the Union to have a clear advantage over them in the war.

The unorganized nature of the Confederate army and the difficulty that the Confederates had in amassing their forces was a major hindrance to the South in the war. Through The Daily Intelligencer ‘s description of the advance by the Federal army to Florence and the article’s questioning of why there was no preparation by the Confederate army against such a movement, we can see the undermining effect that poor organization had on the Confederate army’s defensive front. The article then goes into detail about the capture of Roanoke Island, which was situated between Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds on the North Carolina coast and was defended by only three thousand Confederate troops. The article states that there should not have been any surprise in the island being captured and that the guns on the island should have been moved prior to the attack-taking place. It largely blames the Confederate authorities for not preparing enough against the Federal Army’s attacks. Furthermore, the article states that the Confederates should not be discouraged by the actions that took place and that instead of waiting for foreign support and taking the defensive approach, they should begin to take the war to the North. Through this, we see that there is a major split in the opinions of the Confederates. While some believed that it would be best for the South to wait for foreign intervention, others thought that instead of wasting time, they should push forward and attack the North. This large difference shows that at the time, the Confederates were incapable of organizing their army efficiently, which ultimately had a negative effect on their movement towards secession.

Furthermore, the separation in Confederate ideals was beginning to have a major influence on the people at the time. The article shows that the people from the South were anticipating foreign intervention to act in their favor and eliminate the Federal blockade of the South. As a result, the Confederate forces were not fortifying the islands off of the coast as best as they could have. This allowed for fairly easy victories by the Union army at the time, which caused for a decline in Confederate morale. Another important piece of information that the article reveals is that some of the citizens in the South were beginning to question the leadership of the Confederate authorities and blaming them for the defeats that had occurred. The article also shows conflicting views on whether or not they should continue waiting for foreign intervention or if they should send their forces into battle in the hopes of bringing the war to the North.[2] While the articles show the rift that was beginning to form in the Confederate lines as to what courses of action should be taken, the Union army seems to have been fairly organized, collected, and confident in their approach.

Another impact that was brought on by the battles of Roanoke Island and Elizabeth City was that many citizens of those areas were evacuating and leaving their slaves behind. United States Naval Officer Henry K. Davenport said of the situation “This place, is deserted by the white population, all having fled except the Negroes.”[3] When the Federal Army passed the plantations, they would then usually “free” the slaves by claiming that they were “contraband”. The term “contraband” essentially meant that they were being used by the Confederates to further the Confederate cause and go against the Union and as such the Union army could then confiscate them as spoils of war. In many instances, slaves and sometimes even Confederate deserters would run towards the Federal lines in the hopes of gaining freedom or joining the Union cause. An issue that arose with the runaway slaves joining the Federal army was that they needed to find ways to support themselves and their families. General Burnside proposed that the Federal government hire the contraband slaves as personal servants. At first the contraband slaves worked in noncombat roles such as collecting wood but eventually in 1863, the government decided to allow the contraband slaves to become soldiers and fight for the Union army.

The events that occurred on Roanoke Island and Elizabeth City on February 10, 1862 played a major role in determining the future course of action that the United States would take in dealing with the former slaves. The actions of the government in allowing former slaves to ultimately join the army and fight enabled the first steps to be made towards the creation of the Emancipation Proclamation and the elimination of slave culture in the United States. Furthermore, the battles showed that due to the unpreparedness of the Confederates at the time, many people were forced to evacuate and as a result they left their slaves on their own. This enabled to Federal government to remove the slaves from the plantations that they were forced to work on.[4]

At the same time that the battles of Roanoke Island and Elizabeth City were taking place in North Carolina, an article was published in The Hartford Daily Courant on February 11, 1862. The article, entitled “Arrival of the America: TWO DAYS LATER FROM EUROPE French Interference in American Affairs! THE SUMTER AT GENOA!” stated that a letter was intercepted, declaring that the French government is asking for Britain’s help in getting rid of the Federal blockade since it is hindering their trade with America and ultimately depriving them of economic opportunity. The Times newspaper in response to the letter is asking for the British not to interfere and to instead wait. On the other hand, another newspaper The London Globe, articulated the argument that the maritime powers cannot continue to respect the blockade unless it is effective. This is significant since it showed that the foreign powers were having differences in opinions as well and that they were fairly undecided on what they should do regarding the Union blockade.

Additionally, America’s faltering relationship with France at the time ended up having a major influence over which side France wanted to support. Another article, published in The New York Times, provides more detail about the intercepted letter from France to Britain and comes up with a logical deduction about what course of action would be taken. The article first explains that it was the French Emperor who wanted to remove the Southern Blockade that the Union had set in place and was demanding for Britain to help. It then states that the Emperor would give an address in front of the Legislative body in which he would justify his motives for getting rid of the blockade. The article then begins to describe the change in the French alliance with America and questions why the French should interfere in American affairs. This can be seen through the author’s statement, “Why the Imperial Government should at this moment take part in our affairs in a form so well calculated to alienate all the good feeling with which our people have been accustomed to regard the countrymen of Lafayette, is a question of the instant moment.” The author then explains the former friendship of America with Napoleon III and observes that the United States has done nothing to strengthen the friendship with the French Emperor. Several examples that the author mentions are that during the Crimean War, America sided with Russia instead of with France and Britain. Secondly, America proceeded to place a tariff on the most important goods from France and Britain in order to handle their own economic problems and when complaints arose from Europe about how the laboring classes were suffering as a result of it, America raised the tariff instead of stopping the war.

While the French wanted to eliminate the American blockade, the British were opposed to the idea. The author states that both The London Times and the Globe held opinions against any interference in the American Civil War. The article also shows that the Queen’s reluctance to start a war with America spread to the common people of Britain who began dislike the idea of a war with America. If France had attempted to intervene in American affairs, then it would have brought America and Britain into closer relations, which would have affected Emperor Napoleon’s chances of retaining his title as Emperor. Napoleon would naturally not want this to happen and so the action of intervention was left up to Britain. [5]

The prospect of foreign intervention favoring the Confederate army, as shown by the article, was very slim. With this, if the Confederate army wanted to find a way to be victorious in the war they would need to alter their plan of waiting for foreign intervention and find other ways to either get around the blockade or to attack the Union armies. While the Confederate army was not able to get the support of foreign powers, they were still able to gain a more organized approach in dealing with the war since there would not be such a large difference in opinions over what course of action should be taken this would ultimately allow for the Confederates to establish more of a straightforward plan in dealing with the North and help them in trying to win.

Although there was not any major significant event that happened on February 10, 1862, the day ultimately played a large role in influencing the remainder of the Civil War. Without the events that happened on February 10, the discussion of the issue of whether or not former slaves that abandoned by their masters should be free or not would not have appeared when it did. Furthermore, if the letter from France to Britain had not been intercepted, the view held by the Confederates that they should wait for foreign intervention may not have changed. This would have had a major effect on the Civil War and may have altered the course of history forever.

2 thoughts on &ldquoCivil War Battles of Tennessee&rdquo

Looking for information on the 22nd Virginia cavalry. Trying to find out all the battles they fought after May 1863 up until November of 1863. Thanks for any and all help

It’s more than you asked for, but hope this helps

22nd Cavalry CSA “Bowen’s Regiment Virginia Mounted Riflemen”
May Formed by adding eight companies to Baldwin’s Partisan Rangers. Baldwin’s two companies became Company A and Company E of the new regiment. Colonel Henry S. Bowen, Lieutenant Colonel John T. Radford and Major Henry F. Kendrick were assigned as field officers.
Many of the new recruits had served in the 37th Virginia Infantry Regiment. The regiment was assigned to the Department of Western Virginia.
September 1 Jonesboro, Tennessee
September 12 Jonesboro, Tennessee
September 21 Jonesboro, Tennessee
October 24 Nicholas County
December 9 Logan County
December 15 Scott County
December 17 Russell County
April Assigned to Jenkins’ Cavalry Brigade, Department of Western Virginia.
April 24 Breathitt County, Kentucky
May Assigned to McCausland’s Brigade of Lomax’s Cavalry Division, Army of the Valley.
May 7 Abb’s Valley
May 9 Cloyd’s Mountain
May 10 New River Bridge
May 13 Jackson’s Ferry & Covington
May 15 Abb’s Valley
May 31 Pike County
June 1 White Sulpher Springs, WV
June 2 Covington VA
June 4 Panther Gap
June 6 Goshen
June 7 Buffalo Gap
June 8 Staunton Road
June 10 Arbor Hill, Newport, Middlebrook and Brownsburg
June 11 Lexington
June 13 Buchanan
June 15 Fancy Farm
June 16 Otter River
June 17 Forrest Depot
June 18 Lynchburg
June 20 Liberty
June 21 Salem
July 3 Leetown
July 4 North Mountain Depot
July 7 Hagerstown, MD
July 8-9 Battle of Monocacy
Major Kendrick was wounded in the hip and captured.
July 10 Urbana, MD
July 11 Rockville, MD
July 12 Attack on Fort Stevens, Washington D.C.
July 14 Edwards Ferry VA
July 15 Snicker’s Gap, VA

July 16 Loudoun County
July 18 Ashby’s Gap, VA

July 19 Berry’s Farm
July 20 Stehenson’s Depot, VA
July 23 Second Battle of Kernstown
July 29 Mercersburg, PA
July 30 Burning of Chambersburg
August 2 Cumberland, MD
August 4 New Creek, WV
August 5 Shenansoah Valley
August 7 Battle of Moorfield
Federal cavalry caught McCausland’s brigade in camp by surprise after Union ‘Jesse Scouts’ dressed in Confederate grey captured the picket. The camp was overrun at dawn, capturing around five hundred men from the brigade. The catured men were imprisoned at Cam Chase, Ohio, for the rest of the war.
August 9 New Creek Station VA
August 10 Charles Town, WV
August 11 Newtown, VA
August Assigned to Bradley Johnston’s Brigade of Lomax’s Cavalry Division

August 15 Charles Town, WV
August 17 New Creek, WV
August 21 Summit Point, WV
August 25 Kearneyville, WV
August 28 Opequan Creek, VA
September 1 Brandy Station, VA
September 2 Bunker Hill, VA
September 3 Berryville, VA
September 4 Maritinsburg, WV
September 10 Big Spring WV
September 12 Darkesville, WV
September 19 Third Battle of Winchester
The regiment acted as rear guard while Early’s army retreated after the battle to Fisher’s Hill.
September 21 Front Royal Pike
September 22-24 Battle of Fisher’s Hill

September 24 Harrisonburg and Timberville, VA
September 25 Gaines Crossroads, VA
October 1 Port Republic, VA
October Returned to McCausland’s Brigade.
October 8-9 Battle of Tom’s Brook
October 19 Battle of Cedar Creek

October 23 Bentonville, VA
October 26 Milford, VA
October 29 Beverly, WV
November 12 Nineveh (Cedarville), VA
Lieutenant Colonel Radford was killed.
November 22 Front Royal, VA
December 17 Berry’s Ford, VA
December 20 Madison Court House, VA
December 23 Jack’s Shop, VA
December 24 Gordonsville, VA
January 29 Moorfield WV
February 6 Balltown, WV
February Major Kendrick was exchanged.
March Ordered with the rest of Rosser’s Division to leave the Valley and join the Army of Northern Virginia at Petersburg.
March-April Siege of Petersburg
March 29 Quaker Road, VA
March 31 Dinwiddie Court House, VA
April 1 Battle of Five Forks

Civil War, February 1862: 1st battle of the 27th Massachusetts a 'glorious victory'

A scene depicting the Civil War Battle of Roanoke Island in February 1862.

We at The Republican are launching a four-year project to tell the story of how our community coped with 48 months of war, from April of 1861 to April of 1865.

On the first Sunday of each month we will run a report of what was happening here 150 years ago during that month.

by Wayne Phaneuf, Executive Editor

February of 1862 in Springfield was a combination of the mundane and the spectacular. The Republican chronicled both, from winter weather and numerous reports of sleighing parties, to the first battle of the local regiment of Civil War troops where the local boys fought and died on a legendary island far from home.

On the first of the month The Republican writers complained of "a dearth of war news" and had to rely on reports from Confederate papers to keep track of the local men of the 27th Massachusetts who in late January had survived a terrible storm off the coast of North Carolina.

A vicious winter had stranded local rail traffic in deep drifts and in one instance frigid temperatures actually cracked the wheels of a locomotive. Among the "City Items" in the February 1st paper was a report of a massive amount of snow sliding off the roof the train depot and burying Railroad Row, the street that ran along its south side. Later that week a little girl would have to be dug our of a snowslide off the courthouse roof.

The Republican also took up important social issues, launching a series on emancipation written by Sen. Charles Sumner, and editorializing on the side of Catholics who were protesting a Protestant-backed bill in the Legislature to force them to read the King James version of The Bible in school. The article stated:

"These narrow-minded Protestants do not see their course justifies Catholics in the same abuse of power whenever and wherever they find themselves in the majority."

There was also an essay entitled "Opportunities" that mentioned the passing the month before of Col. Samuel Colt in Hartford, whose business practices had many times been called into question by The Republican. In 1861 he had sold weapons to both Union and Confederate forces. The essay was an assault on unscrupulous businessmen who were making money off the war.

In the first week of the month The Republican took special note of "Myron P. Walker, of Belchertown, the little drummer boy of Company C, 10th Regiment," who had arrived in town for a 20-day furlough. His regiment was the first to be formed at Hampden Park in Springfield and was now part of the Army of the Potomac.

View full size Myron P. Walker, a drummer from Belchertown

On the day Walker came to down it was also noted that D.H. Brigham & Co. was moving into new quarters in the recently opened Union Block on Main Street and, although they had over 1,000 hands making military uniforms, they were ready to get back into the clothing business that had been devastated by a fire in December and move to a permanent location.

The newspaper also provided several items on the newly released census of 1860, pointing out that in the breakdown of employment in the city it was noted there were 190 armorers in the enumeration while the number in that month of 1862 was 1,500 with more being hired weekly. The figures for registrations ofbirths in 1861 was published showing 519 birth of which 248 had foreign parents.

On February 8 the following was the lead paragraph in that day's paper:

"We have news from Gen. Ambrose Burnside's expedition. Most of the fleet was then over the bar (at Hateras inlet) and about six thousand troops were landed, though no attack has been made. The report that Roanoke Island is to be the scene of the first operation has been confirmed."

The readers of The Republican could not have known that while they were reading this dispatch the battle was raging and the men of the 27th Massachusetts, their friends and loved ones, were fighting and dying in one of what would become a string of "Glorious Union Victories" over the next few weeks both in North Carolina and the west.

It wouldn't be until February 12th that The Republican published an "EXTRA" edition announcing the victory on Roanoke Island, the same site of the "lost colony" of English settlers who disappeared without a trace in the late 1500's.

The North Carolina victory was preceded by the fall of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and later Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River.

On Valentine's Day another "EXTRA" published at 3 p.m. contained the official accounts of the Roanoke Island battle. Here is the report from the 27th's regimental history:

"Reaching the scene, we were ordered to follow the Twenty-Third Mass. to the right of the field, but were obliged to halt under the converging fire of the enemy's guns upon entering the field, until the former regiment could move out of the way. While here, Lieut. Col. Lyman's hat was knocked off by an exploding shell First Sergt. Pliny Wood received a painful wound in the elbow and side, while Private Levi Clark, standing by Col. Lee, was mortally wounded in the abdomen.

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Civil War Naval History February 1862 - History

CSS Virginia was built at Boston Navy Yard as the frigate Merrimack , and commissioned 20 February 1856, Capt. G. J. Pendergrast, USN, in command.

Departing Boston she cruised in West Indies and European waters in 1856-57. Following brief repairs she sailed in October 1857 as flagship of the Pacific Squadron, cruising the Pacific coasts of South and Central America until November 1859. Returning east, she decommissioned at Norfolk 16 February 1860. On 20 April 1861, in the confusion following the outbreak of the Civil War, retiring Union forces burned Merrimack to the water line and sank her to preclude capture by the Virginia militia.

The Confederates, in desperate need of ships to challenge the Union Navy's superiority at sea, raised Merrimack and rebuilt the hulk as an ironclad ram, according to a design prepared by naval constructor Lt. J. M. Brooke, CSN. Commissioned as CSS Virginia on 17 February 1862, the ironclad was one of a series of efforts--including blockade runners and submersibles--intended to whittle away at the effectiveness of the Union Navy's blockade of the Confederacy.

Despite an all-out effort to complete her, Virginia still had workmen on board when she sailed out into Hampton Roads on 8 March 1862. Supported by CSS Raleigh and Beaufort , and accompanied by Patrick [Henry], Jamestown , and Teaser , the Confederate warships challenged the Union forces there. Flag Officer F. Buchanan, CSN, commanding Virginia , singled out as first victim the sailing sloop Cumberland , anchored west of Newport News, in part to test Virginia 's armor against a 70-pounder rifle. In taking position Virginia passed Congress and exchanged broadsides, suffering no injury while causing considerable damage to the Union frigate. She crossed Cumberland 's bows, raking her with a lethal fire, and finished off the wooden warship with a thrust of her iron ram to conserve scarce gunpowder. Cumberland sank with colors flying, taking 121 men (one third of her crew), and part of Virginia 's ram down with her. (See CSS Virginia destroys USS Cumberland and USS Congress .)

Virginia then turned her attention to Congress , which grounded while attempting to close. Opening fire from a distance, and assisted by the lighter ships of the James River Squadron, Virginia forced Congress to haul down her colors. As CSS Beaufort and Raleigh approached Congress to receive the surrender of her crew, Federal troops ashore, not understanding the situation, opened a withering fire and wounded Buchanan, who retaliated by ordering hot shot and incendiary shell fired into Congress . The latter, ablaze and unable to bring a single gun to bear, hauled down her flag for the last time. She burned far into the night and exploded about midnight.

Virginia did not emerge unscathed. Her riddled stack limited her speed--and she was already slow to begin with--two of her large guns were out of order, several armor plates were loose, and her ram had been lost in Cumberland . Nevertheless, the ironclad went on to attack Minnesota ( Report of the Steam Frigate USS Minnesota ), but because of depth of water could not close the range to do that steam frigate serious damage. Virginia then turned back and anchored that night at Sewell's Point for repairs. Flag Officer Buchanan was taken ashore to the hospital and Lt. C. ap R. Jones, CSN, who had conned the ironclad after Buchanan had been wounded, assumed command.

On the following morning Virginia returned to battle. During the previous night, however, the Union ironclad Monitor had arrived in Hampton Roads after a hazardous trip from New York. The two warships fought a long, inconclusive battle on 9 March--the first ever fought between powered ironclads--and Virginia was forced to retire from the area.

On 25 March, Flag Officer J. Tattnall, CSN, took command of Virginia and, with the ironclad as his flagship, sought to deny the James River to Union forces. Although the ironclad helped checkmate Union forces for the next several weeks, the Confederates eventually failed to prevent Federal landings at Yorktown or Union operations on the Peninsula. Forced to evacuate Norfolk, the Confederates tried to take Virginia up the James River but her draft was too deep. The crew ran her ashore near Craney Island, fired and destroyed her on 11 May 1862.

[Before Virginia II was built, CSS Richmond was constantly referred to by Union Officers in their dis patches as Virginia II, Virginia No. 2 or Merrimack No. 2 and sometimes Young Merrimack, New Merrimack or Young Virginia. The preceding Virginia (ex-Merri mack) henceforth became Virginia I .]

CSS Virginia (Ironclad Ram)

Recommended Reading : Ironclad Down: USS Merrimack-CSS Virginia from Design to Destruction (Hardcover). Description: The result of more than fifteen years of research, Ironclad Down is a treasure trove of detailed information about one of history s most famous vessels. Describing the fascinating people--Stephen Russell Mallory, John Mercer Brooke, John Luke Porter, et al.--who conceived, designed and built one of the world's first ironclads as well as describing the ship itself, Carl Park offers both the most thoroughly detailed, in-depth analysis to date of the actual architecture of the Virginia and a fascinating, colorful chapter of Civil War history.

Recommended Reading : Confederate Ironclad vs Union Ironclad: Hampton Roads 1862 (Duel). Description: The Ironclad was a revolutionary weapon of war. Although iron was used for protection in the Far East during the 16th century, it was the 19th century and the American Civil War that heralded the first modern armored self-propelled warships. With the parallel pressures of civil war and the industrial revolution, technology advanced at a breakneck speed. It was the South who first utilized ironclads as they attempted to protect their ports from the Northern blockade. Impressed with their superior resistance to fire and their ability to ram vulnerable wooden ships, the North began to develop its own rival fleet of ironclads. Eventually these two products of this first modern arms race dueled at the battle of Hampton Roads in a clash that would change the face of naval warfare. Continued below…

Fully illustrated with cutting-edge digital artwork, rare photographs and first-person perspective gun sight views, this book allows the reader to discover the revolutionary and radically different designs of the two rival Ironclads - the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor - through an analysis of each ship's weaponry, ammunition and steerage. Compare the contrasting training of the crews and re-live the horrors of the battle at sea in a war which split a nation, communities and even families. About the Author: Ron Field is Head of History at the Cotswold School in Bourton-on-the-Water. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1982 and taught history at Piedmont High School in California from 1982 to 1983. He was associate editor of the Confederate Historical Society of Great Britain, from 1983 to 1992. He is an internationally acknowledged expert on US Civil War military history, and was elected a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians, based in Washington , DC , in 2005. The author lives in Cheltenham , UK .

Recommended Reading : The Battle of Hampton Roads: New Perspectives on the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (Mariner's Museum). Description: On March 8 and 9, 1862, a sea battle off the Virginia coast changed naval warfare forever. It began when the Confederate States Navy’s CSS Virginia led a task force to break the Union blockade of Hampton Roads. The Virginia sank the USS Cumberland and forced the frigate Congress to surrender. Damaged by shore batteries, the Virginia retreated, returning the next day to find her way blocked by the newly arrived USS Monitor. The clash of ironclads was underway. Continued below…

After fighting for nine hours, both ships withdrew, neither seriously damaged, with both sides claiming victory. Although the battle may have been a draw and the Monitor sank in a storm later that year, this first encounter between powered, ironclad warships spelled the end of wooden warships—and the dawn of a new navy. This book takes a new look at this historic battle. The ten original essays, written by leading historians, explore every aspect of the battle—from the building of the warships and life aboard these “iron coffins” to tactics, strategy, and the debates about who really won the battle of Hampton Roads. Co-published with The Mariners’ Museum, home to the USS Monitor Center, this authoritative guide to the military, political, technological, and cultural dimensions of this historic battle also features a portfolio of classic lithographs, drawings, and paintings. Harold Holzer is one of the country’s leading experts on the Civil War.

Recommended Reading : A History of Ironclads: The Power of Iron over Wood. Description: This landmark book documents the dramatic history of Civil War ironclads and reveals how ironclad warships revolutionized naval warfare. Author John V. Quarstein explores in depth the impact of ironclads during the Civil War and their colossal effect on naval history. The Battle of Hampton Roads was one of history's greatest naval engagements. Over the course of two days in March 1862, this Civil War conflict decided the fate of all the world's navies. It was the first battle between ironclad warships, and the 25,000 sailors, soldiers and civilians who witnessed the battle vividly understood what history would soon confirm: wars waged on the seas would never be the same. Continued below…

About the Author: John V. Quarstein is an award-winning author and historian. He is director of the Virginia War Museum in Newport News and chief historical advisor for The Mariners' Museum's new USS Monitor Center (opened March 2007). Quarstein has authored eleven books and dozens of articles on American, military and Civil War history, and has appeared in documentaries for PBS, BBC, The History Channel and Discovery Channel.

Recommended Reading : Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Armorclads. Description: William N. Still's book is rightfully referred to as the standard of Confederate Naval history. Accurate and objective accounts of the major and even minor engagements with Union forces are combined with extensive background information. This edition has an enlarged section of historical drawings and sketches. Mr. Still explains the political background that gave rise to the Confederate Ironclad program and his research is impeccable. An exhaustive literature listing rounds out this excellent book. While strictly scientific, the inclusion of historical eyewitness accounts and the always fluent style make this book a joy to read. This book is a great starting point.

Recommended Reading : Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship. From Publishers Weekly: Thriller writer Baldwin (The Eleventh Plague et al.) joins forces with the prolific Powers (coauthor of Flags of Our Fathers et al.) to come up with a fast-reading Civil War true adventure saga centered a on young CSA navy lieutenant. The 24-year-old Conway Whittle, an ancestor of Baldwin 's, was assigned as first lieutenant and executive officer on the Confederate raider Shenandoah late in the war. The ship sailed from London disguised as a merchant vessel and underwent a memorable cruise round the globe, attacking and destroying Yankee merchant ships and whalers. Continued below.

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