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)

Civil War Naval Chronology 1861-1865
Published 1966 by Naval History Division , Office of the Chief of Naval Operations , Navy Department , Washington D.C.

Entries in blue are information concerning submarine warfare derived from Mark Ragan's book.


July - August - September - October - November - December

July 1862

1 The Western Flotilla of Flag Officer Davis joined the fleet of Flag Officer Farragut above Vicks-burg. Farragut wrote: "The ironclads are curious looking things to us salt-water gentlemen; but no doubt they are better calculated for this river than our ships. . . . They look like great turtles. Davis came on board . . . . We have made the circuit (since we met at Port Royal) around half the United States and met on the Mississippi ." The meeting of the fresh-water and salt-water squadrons had considerable psychological value throughout the North, but it did not imply control over the river so long as the Gibraltar-like fortress of Vicksburg remained unsubdued. In a military sense this temporary joining of the squadrons pointed up the necessity for the arduous, year-long amphibious campaign which was necessary to capture Vicksburg .

President Lincoln recommended to the Congress that Flag Officer Foote be given a vote of thanks for his efforts on the western waters. The President knew well the import of the defeats dealt the Confederacy by the gunboats on the upper Mississippi . He recognized that Foote's forces had cleared the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers , and had succeeded in splitting the Confederacy as far as Vicksburg on the Father of Waters.

USS De Soto, Captain W. M. Walker, captured British schooner William attempting to run the blockade at Sabine Pass , Texas .

1-2 Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough's fleet covered the withdrawal of General McClellan's army after a furious battle with Confederate forces under General Robert E. Lee at Malvern Hill. Dependent on the Navy for his movement to Harrison's Landing, chosen by McClellan at Commodore J. Rodgers recommendation because it was so situated that gunboats could protect both flanks of his army, the General acknowledged the decisive role played by the Navy in enabling his troops to withdraw with a minimum loss: "Commodore Rodgers placed his gunboats so as to protect our flanks and to command the approaches from Richmond . . . During the whole battle Commodore Rodgers added greatly to the discomfiture of the enemy by throwing shell among his reserve and advancing columns.'' The Washington National Intelligencer of 7 July described the gunboats' part in the action at Malvern Hill: "About five o'clock in the after-noon the gunboats Galena , Aroostook, and Jacob Bell opened from Turkey Island Bend, in the James River , with shot and shell from their immense guns. The previous roar of field artillery seemed as faint as the rattle of musketry in comparison with these monsters of ordnance that literally shook the water and strained the air. . . . They fired about three times a minute, frequently a broadside at a time, and the immense hull of the Galena careened as she delivered her complement of iron and flame. The fire went on . . . making music to the ears of our tired men. . . . Confederate] ranks seemed slow to close up when the naval thunder had torn them apart. . . During the engagement at White Oak Swamp, too, the Intelligencer reported, the gunboats "are entitled to the most unbounded credit. They came into action just at the right time, and did first rate service.'' The Navy continued to safeguard the supply line until the Army of the Potomac was evacuated to northern Virginia in August, bringing to a close the unsuccessful Peninsular Campaign.

2 USS Western World, Acting Master Samuel B. Gregory, captured blockade running British schooner Volante in Winyah Bay , South Carolina , with cargo of salt and fish.

3 USS Quaker City, Commander Frailey, captured blockade running British brig Lilla off Hole-in-the-Wall, Virginia .

USS Hatteras, Commander Emmons, captured schooner Sarah bound for Sabine Pass , Texas , with cargo of sugar and molasses.

4 USS Maratanza, Lieutenant Stevens, engaged CSS Teaser, Lieutenant Davidson, at Haxall's on the James River . Teaser was abandoned and captured after a shell from Maratanza exploded her boiler. In addition to placing mines in the river, Davidson had gone down the river with a balloon on board for the purpose of making an aerial reconnaissance of General McClellan's positions at City Point and Harrison 's Landing. By this time both Union and Confederate forces were utilizing the balloon for gathering intelligence; Teaser had been the Southern counterpart of USS G. W. Parke Custis, from whose deck aerial observations had been made the preceding year. The balloon, as well as a quantity of insulated wire and mine equipment, were found on board Teaser. Six shells with ''peculiar fuzes'' were also taken and sent to Captain Dahlgren at the Washington Navy Yard for examination.

Commander J. Rodgers reported to Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough on the stationing of the gunboats supporting the Army's position at Harrison 's Landing: "It is now too late, I hope, for the enemy to attack the army here with any chance of success. The troops are in good spirits and everyone seems confident." Major General McClellan advised President Lincoln that "Captain Rodgers is doing all in his power in the kindest and most efficient manner." General Robert E. Lee came to the same conclusion in a letter to Confederate President Davis: ''The enemy is strongly posted in the neck formed by Herring creek and James River . . . The enemy's batteries occupy the ridge along which the Charles City road runs, north to the creek, and his gunboats lying below the mouth of the creek sweep the ground in front of his batteries Above his encamp-ments which lie on the river, his gunboats also extend; where the ground is more favorable to be searched by their cannon. As far as I can now see there is no way to attack him to advantage; nor do I wish to expose the men to the destructive missiles of his gunboats . . . I fear he is too secure under cover of his boats to be driven from his position.

USS Rhode Island, Commander Trenchard, captured blockade running British schooner R. O. Bryan off the coast of Texas .

The tug Fred Kopp leaves the James River and returns Alligator to Philadelphia Navy Yard. On this same day, C.S.S. Teaser  is captured by U.S.S. Maratanza on the James River ; the Confederate ship carries detailed schematics of the new ironclad, Virginia  II, which is nearing completion. Alligator is hastily recalled, but the civilian crew declines the mission.

5 Act to reorganize the U.S. Navy Department increased the number of Bureaus to eight: Yards and Docks, Equipment and Recruiting, Navigation, Ordnance, Construction and Repair, Steam Engineering, Provisions and Clothing, Medicine and Surgery. This act, and other far-reaching measures were guided through Congress by Senator Grimes of Iowa , who had an outstanding appreciation of sea power.

USS Hatteras, Commander Emmons, captured sloop Elizabeth off the Louisiana coast.

6 Commodore Wilkes ordered to command James River Flotilla as a division of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough. Secretary of the Navy Welles' instructions to Wilkes stated: "You will immediately place yourself in communication with Major General McClellan, Commanding the Army of the Potomac, near Harrison's Landing . . . It will be your special duty to keep open the navigation of James River and afford protection to all vessels trans-porting troops or supplies, and generally to cooperate with the army in all military movements.

7 Commander J. Rodgers reported to Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough on the convoying of Army transports on James River: There is to be a convoy of gunboats each day from Harrison 's Bar to near the mouth of the Chickahominy, going and returning each day. As there was no better reason for the time than the arrival and departure of the mail from Old Point, it was agreed that at 9 a.m. all the transportation down should sail, convoyed by gunboats-I had selected four for it. And at 3 p.m. all the army transportation to this point should come up, convoyed by the same force." Convoy and cover of supply ships by the gunboats were indispensable to General McClellan's army.

USS Tahoma, Lieutenant John C. Howell, captured schooner Uncle Mose off Yucatan Bank, Mexico , with cargo of cotton.

USS Quaker City, Commander Frailey, in company with USS Huntsville, captured blockade running British steamer Adela off the Bahama Islands .

Boats from USS Flag, Commander James H. Strong, and USS Restless, Acting Lieutenant Conroy, captured British blockade runner Emilie in Bull's Bay, South Carolina.

President Lincoln and military party departed Washington on board USS Arid to visit General McClellan with the Army of the Potomac at Harrison's Landing, Virginia.

9 General Robert E. Lee wrote President Davis, advising him of the Confederate troops' inability to move against the Union forces on the James River because of the presence of the Navy gunboats: "After a thorough reconnaissance of the position taken up by the enemy on James River , I found him strongly posted and effectually flanked by his Gunboats. . . . I caused field batteries to play on his forces, and on his transports, from points on the river below. But they were too light to accomplish much, and were always attacked with superior force by the Gunboats. .

USS Commodore Pen, Lieutenant FlUSSer, USS Shawsheen, Acting Master Woodward, and USS Ceres, Acting Master John MacDiarmid, embarked on an expedition up Roanoke River and landed a field piece and force of soldiers and sailors at Hamilton , North Carolina , where steamer Wilson was captured.

USS Arthur, Acting Lieutenant Kittredge, captured schooner Reindeer with cargo of cotton near Aransas Pass , Texas .

10 Flag Officer Du Pont, learning of the action at Malvern Hill, wrote: "The Mississippi , [Army] transport passed us this morning. We boarded her and got papers to the 5th. The captain of the transport told the boarding officer that McClellan's army would have been annihilated but for the gunboats." Continual Confederate concern about the gunboats was noted by a British Army observer, Colonel Garnet J. Wolseley, who wrote that he "noted with some interest the superstitious dread of gunboats which possessed the Southern soldiers. These vessels of war, even when they have been comparatively harmless had several times been the means of saving northern armies.

USS Arthur, Acting Lieutenant Kittredge, captured sloop Belle Italia at Aransas Pass , and schooner Monte Christo was burned by Confederates at Lamar , Texas , to prevent her falling into Union hands.

11 President Lincoln, demonstrating his appreciation of the role sea power had played thus far in the Civil War, recommended to the Congress that votes of thanks be given to Captains Lardner, Davis, and Stringham, and to Commanders Dahlgren, D.D. Porter, and Rowan.

Congress passed an act for the relief of relatives of the officers and men who died on board USS Cumberland and Congress when CSS Virginia destroyed those vessels and threatened to break the blockade of Norfolk four months before.

12 USS Mercedita, Commander Stellwagen, captured blockade running schooners Victoria and Ida off Hole-in-the-Wall, Abaco, Bahamas, the former laden with cotton, the latter with general cargo, including cloth, shoes, needles and salt.

13 Commodore Wilkes reported operations of the James River Flotilla to Secretary of the Navy Welles: "The Army transports are daily convoyed up and down by the gunboats, besides having others stationed off the principal salient points where the rebels have come down to fire at our vessels passing. They almost daily make some attempts to annoy these unarmed boats, but seldom venture to do anything. I believe it is in my power to keep the river open effectually. . .
I found . . . a necessity of active and prompt measures to bring the flotilla into operation, as the duties on the river require, and the effective protection of the two flanks of the army. . . I would ask the Assistant Secretary's attention to the subject of torpedoes, and also barbed rockets that will enter wood and be the means of firing any bridges or other works of wood. If we had some Congreve rockets, they would prove effective in driving the sharpshooters out of the woods."

14 Congress passed an act stating that: " . . . the spirit ration in the Navy of the United States shall forever cease, and . . . no distilled spiritous liquors shall be admitted on board vessels of war, except as medical stores . . . there shall be allowed and paid to each person in the Navy now entitled to the ration, five cents per day in commutation and lieu thereof, which shall be in addition to their present pay." Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox and officers generally held that it was in the Navy's best interest to abolish the spirit ration.

15 USS Carondelet, Commander Walke, USS Tyler, Lieutenant Gwin, and ram Queen of the West, carrying Army sharp shooters on reconnaissance of the Yazoo River, engaged Confederate ironclad ram Arkansas, Lieutenant Isaac N. Brown. In a severe fight as Union ships withdrew, Arkansas partially disabled Carondelet and Tyler. Entering the Mississippi , Arkansas ran through fire from the Union fleet to refuge under the Vicksburg batteries in a heavily damaged condition and with many casualties. Farragut's fleet pursued Arkansas , but, as the Flag Officer reported, "it was so dark by the time we reached the town that nothing could be seen except the flashes of the guns." In the heavy cannonade as Farragut's ships continued down river below Vicks-burg, USS Winona, Lieutenant Edward T. Nichols, and USS Sumter, Lieutenant Henry Erben, were substantially damaged. The daring sortie of Arkansas emphatically underscored the need to reduce Vicksburg . Major General Earl Van Dorn, CSA, said that Lieutenant Brown had ''immortalized his single vessel, himself, and the heroes under his command, by an achievement, the most brilliant ever recorded in naval annals.'' Secretary Mallory added: "Naval history records few deeds of greater heroism or higher professional ability than this achievement of the Arkansas ." Lieutenant Brown was promoted to Commander, and the Confederate Congress later expressed thanks to Brown and his men "for their signal exhibition of skill and gallantry. . . in the brilliant and successful engagement of the sloop of war Arkansas with the enemy's fleet."


Alligator, now at the Washington Navy Yard , is placed under the reluctant command of Lieutenant Thomas O. Selfridge, hero of the battle between the Virginia  and the Cumberland . Selfridge travels to the New York  Navy Yard to recruit volunteers from the receiving ship North Carolina . Expecting no response, he is surprised when so many men volunteer that he must choose from among them.

16 David Glasgow Farragut, in recognition of his victory at New Orleans, promoted to Rear Admiral, the first officer to hold that rank in the history of the U.S. Navy.

The measure passed by Congress which created the rank of Rear Admiral also revamped the existing rank structure to include Commodore and Lieutenant Commander and established the number of Rear Admirals at 9; Commodores, 18; Captains, 36; Commanders, 72; and the remainder through Ensign at 144 each. The act provided that ''The three senior rear admirals [Farragut, L. M. Goldsborough, and Du Pont] shall wear a square blue flag at the mainmast head; the next three at the foremast head, and all others at the mizzen.'' Rear Admirals were to rank with Major Generals in the Army.

Congress approved a bill transferring "the western gunboat fleet constructed by the War Department for operations on the western waters'' to the Navy Department. Actual enactment of the measure took place on 1 October 1862.

Commander Woodhull, USS Cimarron, reported from Harrison 's Landing: "I have placed my vessel, as directed, on the extreme right flank of the army; so also the other gunboats under my charge, as will give us full command of the open country beyond the line."

USS Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant William C. Rogers, seized blockade running British schooner Agnes off Abaco with cargo of cotton and rosin.

17 Congress passed an act which established that "every officer, seaman, or marine, disabled in the line of duty, shall be intitled to receive for life, or during his disability, a pension from the United States , according to the nature and degree of his disability, not exceeding in any case his monthly pay."

17-18 Twenty Marines from USS Potomac participated in an expedition up Pascagoula Rivet, Mississippi . Under First Lieutenant George W. Collier, the Marines, whose force was augmented by an equal number of sailors, acted with USS New London and Grey Cloud to capture or destroy a steamer and two schooners rumored to be loading with cotton, and to destroy telegraphic communications between Pascagoula and Mobile . The expedition succeeded in disrupting communications, but, pursuing the Confederate vessels upstream, it was engaged by cavalry and infantry troops and forced to turn back to care for the wounded.

18 Secretary of the Navy Welles notified Flag Officers commanding squadrons of a bill authorizing the President to appoint annually three midshipmen to the Naval Academy from the enlisted boys of the Navy. "They must be of good moral character, able to read and write well, writing from dictation and spelling with correctness, and to perform with accuracy the various operations of the primary rules of arithmetic, viz, numeration, and the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers." Each Flag Officer was requested to nominate one candidate from his command "not over 18 years of age."

19 Naval court martial meeting in Richmond acquitted Flag Officer Tattnall with honor for ordering the destruction of CSS Virginia on 11 May after the evacuation of Norfolk . The court found that "the only alternative was to abandon and burn the ship then and there, which in the judgment of the court, was deliberately and wisely done.

21 U.S. steamers Clara Dolsen and Rob Roy and tug Restless under Commander Alexander M. Pennock, with troops embarked, arrived from Cairo to protect Evansville, InDiana, at the request of Governor Morton. Troops were landed and retook Henderson , Kentucky , from Confederate guerrillas, several boats were burned, and the Ohio was patrolled against attack from the Kentucky side of the river. Major General John Love wrote to Commander Pennock expressing the "gratitude with which the citizens of InDiana and of this locality will regard the prompt cooperation of yourself and your officers in this emergency, which threatened their security." The mobility which naval control of the river gave to Union forces neutralized repeated Confederate attempts to re-establish positions in the border states .

Confederate artillery at Argyle Landing, Mississippi River , destroyed naval transport USS Sallie Woods.

USS Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant W. C. Rogers, captured steamer Reliance in Bahama Channel.

22 USS Essex, Commander W. D. Porter, and ram Queen of the West, Lieutenant Colonel Ellet, attacked CSS Arkansas , Commander I. N. Brown, at anchor with a disabled engine at Vicksburg .

Although many of his officers and crew were ashore sick and wounded after the action of 15 July, Commander Brown fought his ship gallantly. After attempting to ram, the Essex became closely engaged in cannon fire with Arkansas . Breaking off the engagement, Essex steamed through a bail of shell Past the shore batteries and joined Rear Admiral Farragut's fleet which had remained below Vicksburg after passing the city on 15 July. Queen of the West rammed Arkansas but with little effect. She rejoined Flag Officer Davis' fleet in a shattered condition. The day after repelling the attack by Essex and Queen of the West, Commander Brown defiantly steamed Arkansas up and down the river under the Vicksburg batteries. A member of Arkansas 's crew, Dabney M. Scales, described the action in a vivid letter to his father: "At 4 o'clock on the morning of the 22nd, I was awakened by the call to quarters. Hurrying to our stations, with not even a full complement of men for 3 guns; our soldiers having left just the night before; we discovered the enemy coming right down upon us. . . . We did not have men enough to heave the anchor up and get underway, before the enemy got to us, even if we had had steam ready. So we had to lay in to the bank, and couldn't meet him on anything like equal terms. . . . The Essex came first, firing on us with her three bow guns. We replied with our two bow guns as long as they could be brought to bear, which was not a very long time, as our vessel being stationary, the enemy soon came too much on our broadside for these guns, and their crews Lad to be shifted to the broadside guns. In the meantime, the Essex ranged up alongside us, and at the distance of 20 feet poured in a broadside which crashed against our sides like nothing that I ever heard be-fore. . . . We were so close that our men were burnt by the powder of the enemy's guns. . . All this time the Ram [Queen of the West] was not idle, but came close down on the heels of his consort. . . . We welcomed him as warmly as we could with our scanty crew. Just before he got to us, we managed by the helm and with the aid of the starboard propeller, to turn our bow out-stream a little, which prevented him from getting a fair lick at us. As it was, he glanced round our side and ran aground just astern of us." Meanwhile, the Confederate Secretary of War in a general order praised Arkansas 's feats of the week before: "Lieutenant Brown, and the officers and crew of the Confederate steamer Arkansas , by their heroic attack upon the Federal fleet before Vicksburg equaled the highest recorded examples of courage and skill. They proved that the Navy, when it regains its proper element, will be one of the chief bulwarks of national defense and that it is entitled to a high place in the confidence and affection of the country.

President Davis telegraphed Governor John J. Pettus of Mississippi : "Captain Brown of the Arkansas , requires boatmen, and reports himself doomed to inactivity by the inability to get them. We have a large class of river boatmen and some ordinary seamen on our Gulf Coast who must now be unemployed. Can you help Captain Brown to get an adequate crew?"

23 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote Major General John G. Barnard: ''Part of the mortar fleet are ordered to James River and should be there by the 1st proximo. There is no army to cooperate at Vicksburg where we have been lying two months, and the keeping open James River up to McClellan's position is the first duty of the Navy, so we ordered twelve of the vessels there. If a fort is erected below you on the right bank of the James (and I see no obstacle) or if offensive or defensive operations are undertaken I think the mortar will not come amiss. . . . The iron boats are progressing . . . We have forty underweight, and are putting others in hand as fast as contracts for engines shall be made. The machinery for manufacturing marine engines is limited." The Union Navy's rapid transformation from wood to iron doomed the Confederacy's effort with ironclads and rams to break the noose of Federal seapower.

24 Rear Admiral Farragut's fleet departed its station below Vicksburg, as the falling water level of the river and sickness among his ships' crews necessitated withdrawal to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Farragut's return to the lower Mississippi made abundantly clear the strategic significance of Vicksburg for, although the Navy held the vast majority of the river, Confederate control of Vicksburg enabled the South to continue to get some supplies for her armies in the East from Texas , Arkansas , and Louisiana . To prevent as much of this as possible, Rear Admiral Davis and Major General Samuel R. Curtis provided for combined Army-Navy expeditions along the banks of the Mississippi from Helena , Arkansas , to Vicksburg . Though supplies continued to move across the river, this action prevented the Confederates from maintaining and reinforcing batteries at strategic points, an important factor in the following year's operations.

USS Quaker City, Commander Frailey, captured blockade runner Orion at Campeche Bank, south of Key West , Florida .

USS Octorara, Commander D. D. Porter , captured British blockade runner Tubal Cain east of Savannah .

25 Steamer Cuba ran the blockade into Mobile .

26 Confederates hoarded and burned schooner Louisa Reed in the James River .

27 USS Yankee, Lieutenant Commander William Gibson, and USS Satellite, Acting Master Amos Foster, captured schooner J. W. Sturges in Chippoak Creek, Virginia.

28 USS Hatteras, Commander Emmons, captured Confederate brig Josephine off Ship Shoal, Louisiana , en route to Havana with cargo of cotton.

Bark Agrippina, Captain Alexander McQueen, was ordered to rendezvous in the Azores with steamer Enrica (afterwards CSS Alabama ) which was to depart Liverpool pursuant to arrangements made by Commander Bulloch in London , for the purpose of transferring guns, ammunition, coal, and other cargo to Alabama . Under the command of Captain Raphael Semmes, the re-nowned Confederate cruiser Alabama ravaged the seas, dealing serious damage to Union commerce.

29 USS Mount Vernon , Commander Glisson, and USS Mystic, Lieutenant Commander Arnold, captured blockade running British brig Napier near Wilmington .

Writing of Union reverses in the East, which he ascribed to the deception of Northern commanders by false reports of the size of Confederate armies, Rear Admiral Farragut stated: "The officers say I don't believe anything. I certainly believe very little that comes in the shape of reports I mean to be whipped or to whip my enemy, and not be scared to death."

31 USS Magnolia, Acting Lieutenant W. Budd, captured British steamer Memphis off Cape Romain with large cargo of cotton and rosin. She had run the blockade out of Charleston on 26 July.

31-1 Confederate batteries at Coggins' Point took Union forces under fire on the James River between Harrison's Landing and Shirley , Virginia , sinking two Army transports. USS Cimarron, Commander Woodhull, immediately opened counter fire on the battery. Praising Gunner's Mate John Merrert who, although extremely ill and awaiting transfer to a hospital, bravely manned his station in the main magazine, Commander Woodhull wrote: "Merrett is an old man-of-warsman; his discipline, courage, and patriotism would not brook inaction when his ship was in actual battle. His conduct, I humbly think, was a great example to all lovers of the country and its cause . . . it is the act of a fine specimen of the old Navy tar." This mutual respect between the naval officer and the long service enlisted man enabled the Navy to maintain its tone through-out the Civil War despite expansion.

August 1862

1 USS Thomas Freeborn, Acting Master James L. Plunkett, captured schooner Mail in Coan River , Virginia , with cargo including salt.

USS Penobscot, Lieutenant Clitz, captured sloop Lizzie off New Inlet , North Carolina , with cargo including salt.

2 William H. Aspinwall, a Union merchant and long time booster of ironclads, wrote Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox suggesting an innovation in weaponry to which can be traced the modern torpedo: "I have been thinking for some time about the probability that a properly shaped cylindrical shot fired 6 or 8 feet under water will be the next improvement on iron clad vessels. At short range great effect could be attained below the iron plating. . . . I have the plan for firing a gun projecting 6 or 8 or 10 feet below the water line of a vessel, which I think would work well, if it is found that shot can be relied on to do the intended injury under water. "

CSS Florida , Lieutenant Maffitt, about to take to sea from Nassau , was released by the Admiralty Court after having been seized by H.M.S. Greyhound.

3 USS Santiago de Cuba , Commander Ridgely, seized blockade runner Columbia north of Abaco with cargo of arms.

4 USS Unadilla, Lieutenant Collins, captured British steamer Lodona attempting to run the blockade at Hell Gate , Georgia .

USS Huron, Lieutenant Downes, seized schooner Aquilla near Charleston with cargo of turpentine.

5 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox observed that: ''The Richmond Engineer [Enquirer] said that the first federal [army] officer meeting a navy officer at James River after McClellan's 'strategic move' [withdrawing from Malvern Hill to Harrison's Landing] threw his arms around his neck and said 'Oh my dear Sir, we ought to have a gunboat in every family!'

6 CSS Arkansas , Lieutenant Henry Stevens temporarily in command, having become unmanageable due to engine failure while advancing to support a Confederate attack on Baton Rouge , was engaged by USS Essex, Commander W. D. Porter. Lieutenant Stevens recognized his helpless condition, shotted his guns, and ordered Arkansas destroyed to prevent her capture. He reported: "It was beautiful to see her, when abandoned by Commander and crew, and dedicated to sacrifice, fighting the battle on her own hook." Without naval support and under fire from USS Sumter, Cayuga, Kineo, and Katahdin, the Confederate thrust was repelled. When the wounded and ill Commander Brown had departed Arkansas on a brief leave, he had realized that critical repairs were necessary and that his ship was not ready for combat. He ordered Stevens not to move her until his return. Nevertheless, General Van Dorn, to ensure the success of his expedition, ordered Arkansas into the fatal Baton Rouge action. Had Arkansas been fit for battle, the Confederates might have taken Baton Rouge and reopened the important Red River supply line then under Union blockade.

Selfridge and his crew take Alligator for their first voyage. The results of this and later trials are included in Selfridge’s unflattering report—which ends his association with the vessel. Selfridge is given command of U.S.S. Cairo of the Mississippi  River Squadron; his fourteen hand-picked crewmen accompany him. The biggest problem cited by the reluctant submariner was the oar propulsion system used to move Alligator. De Villeroi’s adoption of oars was odd, since the original submarine he sailed down the Delaware used a screw propeller.

7 President Lincoln, with Secretaries Seward and Stanton, visited Captain Dahlgren at the Washington Navy Yard for a two hour demonstration of the "Rafael" repeating cannon. Later Dahlgren took the party on board a steamer to cool off and rest.

CSS Florida departed Nassau and began her renowned career under Lieutenant Maffitt.

8 Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory wrote Commander Bulloch in London : "I am pleased to learn that the credit of my department stands well in England , and sensible of the great importance of maintaining it. I am endeavoring to place funds to your credit, which the scarcity and very high rate of exchange render difficult. We have just paid 200 and 210 per cent for 80,072.3.9, which amount is now in the hands of John Fraser & Co. of Charleston , with orders to place the same to your credit in England ." The tightening blockade constantly constricted the Southern economy.

10 Rear Admiral Farragut reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles that he had partially destroyed Donaldsonville, Louisiana, in reprisal for the firing by guerrilla forces on steamers ''passing up and down the river.'' Farragut wrote that he had ''sent a message to the inhabitants that if they did not discontinue this practice, I would destroy their town. The last time I passed up to Baton Rouge to the support of the army, I. . . heard them firing upon the vessels coming up, first upon the Sallie Robinson and next upon the Brooklyn . In the latter case they made a mistake, and it was so quickly returned that they ran away. The next night they fired again upon the St. Charles . I therefore ordered them to send their women and children out of the town, as I certainly intended to destroy it on my way down the river, and I fulfilled my promise to a certain extent. I burned down the hotels and wharf buildings, also the dwelling houses and other buildings of a Mr. Phillippe Landry, who is said to be a captain of guerrillas." Though Farragut had no taste for devastating private property, he felt justified in doing so if private citizens endangered the lives of his men.

USS Resolute, Acting Master James C. Tole, captured schooner S.S. Jones near the Virginia coast.

11 Rear Admiral Farragut, having received his promotion, "hoisted my flag at the main." His general order to the fleet on this date ascribed the promotion to ''the gallantry of the officers and men of the fleet . . . [and] your Admiral feels assured that you will never disappoint these high expectations. A new field is now opening before you. To your ordinary duties is added the contest with the elements. Let it he your pride to show the world that danger has no greater terror for you in one form than in another; that you are as ready to meet the enemy in the one shape as in the other, and that you, with your wooden vessels, have never been alarmed by fire rafts, torpedoes, chain booms, ironclad rams, ironclad gunboats, or forts. The same Great Power preserves you in the presence of all."

12 USS Arthur, Acting Lieutenant Kittredge, captured armed schooner Breaker at Aransas Pass , Texas . Confederate schooner Elma and sloop Hannah were burned at Corpus Christi to prevent their capture by Arthur.

13 Rear Admiral Du Pont wrote Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox on the subject of Confederate rams and ironclads at Savannah and Charleston : "The Savannah one, not at all the Fingal, is more of a floating battery, doubtless with 10 inch guns (8 of them) but she has a list, leaks, and has not power to go against stream. She may be used to cover vessels running the blockade by putting herself between them and the Forts if entering Savannah River . . . . The Charleston vessels are not yet ready and I hope are progressing slowly, one is simply an ironclad, size of Pembina---the other more of a ram." Because of the power which CSS Virginia had promised and demonstrated, the Confederacy made every effort to ready other ironclads to strike against the blockading forces. However, lack of critical material and industrial facilities prevented the South from mounting a truly serious threat. On the Savannah River, ironclad rams Georgia and Atlanta were launched, but both were too slow and drew too much water to he fully effective. Atlanta showed herself to Du Pont's squadron on 31 July, when she steamed down the river toward Fort Pulaski and returned to Savannah . Some six months later, Master H. Beverly Littlepage, CSN, wrote Lieutenant Catesby ap R. Jones of her: "We are still at anchor in the river between Fort Jackson and the first obstructions, only a few hundred yards from the Georgia . I understand it is the intention of the commodore [Tattnall] that the Atlanta shall he moored as near the stern of the Georgia as she can get so that by springing her either of her broadsides may be made to bear on the obstructions in the event of the anticipated attack. I think I can safely affirm that the Atlanta will never go outside of the obstructions again or, at least for some time. . . . There is no ventilation below at all, and I think it will be impossible for us to live on her in the summer. . . .I would venture to say that if a person were blindfolded and carried below and then turned loose he would imagine himself in a swamp, for the water is trickling in all the time and everything is so damp." CSS Georgia , for want of adequate engines, was used as a floating battery. The ironclads concerning Du Pont at Charleston were CSS Palmetto State , a ram, and gunboat CSS Chicora. Palmetto State 's keel had been laid in January under Flag Officer Duncan N. Ingraham. Two months later Chicora's keel was laid-in the rear of the Charleston post office-under the direction of James M. Eason, who built two additional ironclads at Charleston , CSS Charleston (whose keel was laid in December 1862) and CSS Columbia , which was not completed before the fall of Charleston . Lieutenant James H. Rochelle, who commanded Palmetto State late in the war, described the vessels: ''The ironclads were . . . slow vessels with imperfect engines, which required frequent repairing. . . . Their armor was four inches thick, and they were all of the type of the Virginia . . . . Each of the ironclads carried a torpedo fitted to the end of a spar some 15 or 20 feet long, projecting from the bow on a line with the keel, and so arranged that it could be carried either triced up clear of the water or submerged five or six feet below the surface.

Every night one or more of the ironclads anchored in the channel near Sumter for the purpose of resisting a night attack on Sumter or a dash into the harbor by the Federal vessels.'' Of Columbia Rochelle wrote: ''She had a thickness of six inches of iron on her casemate, and was otherwise superior to the other iron- clads. Unfortunately, the Columbia was bilged in consequence of the ignorance, carelessness or treachery of her pilot, and rendered no service whatever." For all their defects, the Charleston vessels, particularly Palmetto State and Chicora, did in a measure, as naval constructor John L. Porter forecast in a 20 June 1862 letter to Eason, ''afford great protection to the harbor of Charleston when completed."

USS Kensington, Acting Master Crocker, seized schooner Troy off Sabine Pass , Texas , with cargo of cotton.

14 USS Pocahontas, Lieutenant George B. Balch, and steam tug Treaty, Acting Lieutenant Baxter, on an expedition up the Black River from Georgetown, South Carolina, exchanged fire with Confederate troops at close range along both banks of the river for a distance of 20 miles in an unsuccessful attempt to capture steamer Nina.

The Confederate Patent Office grants its second submarine patent to James Patton of Petersburg , Virginia , for a steam-powered “submarine battery;” it is unknown whether the boat was ever built.

15 Commodore Wilkes, commanding James River Flotilla, ordered USS Galena, Commander J. Rodgers, USS Port Royal, and USS Satellite to cover the withdrawal of the left wing of General McClellan's army from Harrison's Landing over the Chickahominy. Rodgers was directed to "communicate with General Pleasonton and inform him that you are to cover his cavalry force until such time as the services of the gunboats may no longer be useful to him.''

Confederate steamer A. B. (or A. Bee), aground at the entrance of the Nueces River near Corpus Christi, was burned to avoid capture by USS Arthur, Acting Lieutenant Kittredge.

16 Naval forces under Lieutenant Commander S. L. Phelps, including USS Mound City, Benton, and General Bragg, and rams Monarch, Samson, Lioness, and Switzerland, under Colonel Ellet, convoyed and covered Army troops under Colonel Charles R. Woods in a joint expedition up the Mississippi from Helena as far as the Yazoo River. The force was landed at various points en route, capturing steamer Fairplay above Vicksburg , with large cargo of arms, and dispersing Confederate troop encampments. The joint expedition also destroyed a newly erected Confederate battery about 20 miles up the Yazoo River .

Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory wrote of the desperate need of iron for the South's ships: "The want of iron is severely felt throughout the Confederacy, and the means of increasing its production demand, in my judgment, the prompt consideration of Congress. The Government has outstanding contracts amounting to millions of dollars, but the iron is not forthcoming to meet the increasing public wants. Scrap iron of all classes is being industriously collected by agents of the Government, and we are now rolling railroad iron into plates for covering ships . . . "Chronic lack of iron drastically restricted Confederate ship construction, and eventually weighed heavily in the final decision. As Commander Maury had written: ''Our necessities cry out for a Navy in war; and when peace comes, it will profit us but little to be affluent and free, if we are continually liable to be pillaged by all . . . the breadth of our plantations and the value of our staples will be of small advantage if the others may have the mastery in our own waters.'' Weak-ness in naval power made the Confederate supply problems insurmountable.

16-18 Union naval force, comprising USS Sachem, Reindeer, Belle Italia, and yacht Corypheus, under command of Acting Lieutenant Kittredge, bombarded Corpus Christi . On 18 August a landing party of sailors from Belle Italia, supported by ships' gunfire, attempted to seize a Confederate battery but was driven back by a cavalry force. Lieutenant Kittredge was captured while ashore on 14 September. Confederate General H. P. Bee characterized Kittredge as ''an honorable enemy and a "bold and energetic leader." Lacking troop strength to occupy and hold Corpus Christi , Sabine City or Galveston , Rear Admiral Farragut's ships nonetheless effectively controlled the Texas coast and pinned down Confederate forces which were vitally needed elsewhere.

17 Joint landing party from USS Ellis, Master Benjamin H. Porter, and Army boats destroyed Confederate salt works, battery, and barracks near Swansboro , North Carolina . This constant attack from the sea destroyed the South's resources and drained her strength.

18 Secretary of the Navy Welles wrote Commodore Wilkes: ''Our naval operations in James River have, from the time you were placed in command of the flotilla, depended almost entirely on army movements; and notwithstanding the army has left your vicinity, your future action and the orders you may receive will, for a time at least, and in a great degree, be controlled by develop-ments elsewhere."

Secretary of the Navy Welles, regarding the right of search, instructed squadron and cruiser commanders: ''Some recent occurrences in the capture of vessels, and matters pertaining to the blockade, render it necessary that there should be a recapitulation of the instructions hereto-fore . . . given . . . It is essential, in the remarkable contest now waging, that we should exercise great forbearance, with great firmness, and manifest to the world that it is the intention of our Government, while asserting and maintaining our own rights, to respect and scrupulously regard the right of others . . . You are specially informed that the fact that a suspicious vessel has been indicated to you . . . does not in any way authorize you to depart from the practice of the rules of visitation, search, and capture prescribed by the law of nations."

19 Captain John A. Winslow of USS St. Louis reported the burning by Confederates of Union steamer Swallow, aground below Memphis .

21 Rear Admiral Farragut commented on the intervention of foreign powers in the Civil War: "I don't believe it, and, if it does come, you will find the United States not so easy a nut to crack as they imagine. We have no dread of 'rams' or 'he-goats,' and, if our Editors had less, the country would be better off. Now they scare everybody to death."

USS Bienville, Commander Mullany, captured British blockade runner Eliza, bound from Nassau to Shallotte Inlet , North Carolina .

22 Secretary of the Navy Welles ordered Rear Admiral L. M. Goldsborough, commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, to "assist the army, as far as you may be able, in embarking the troops at Fortress Monroe and Newport News, as desired by Major General Halleck." The withdrawal northward of the Army of the Potomac by water transport brought to a close the Peninsular Campaign.

Rear Admiral Farragut instructed Lieutenant Commander Philip C. Johnson, commanding USS Tennessee, that "you will stop at Pilot Town [ Louisiana ] and bring Lieutenant McClain Tilton and the Marine guard, together with all the stores you can [to the Pensacola Navy Yard]." Earlier in the year the Marines had garrisoned the town.

USS Keystone State, Commander Le Roy, captured British schooner Fanny with cargo of salt, near St. Simon's Sound, Georgia .

23 USS Adirondack , Captain Guert Gansevoort, ran on a reef outside Man of War Cay, Little Bahamas, and was abandoned after efforts to save her failed.

USS Bienville, Commander Mullany, seized British blockade runner Louisa off Cape Romain , South Carolina .

USS James S. Chambers, Acting Master D. Frank Mosman, seized schooner Corelia off the coast of Cuba .

23-24 Boat crew from USS Essex, Captain W. D. Porter, was fired upon by Confederate guerrillas at Bayou Sara, Louisiana . Essex shelled the town.

24 Raphael Semmes took command of CSS Alabama at sea off the island of Terceira , Azores . Of Alabama , Semmes said, "She was indeed a beautiful thing to look upon." As Semmes finished reading his orders promoting him to Captain and appointing him to command Alabama, the Con-federate ensign replaced the English colors at the mast head, a gun was fired, and 'The air was rent by a deafening cheer from officers and men. The band, at the same time, playing Dixie ." Thus, the celebrated raider was christened to begin her storied two year career.

USS Isaac N. Seymour, Acting Master Francis S. Wells, ran aground and sank in Neuse River , North Carolina .

USS Henry Andrew, Lieutenant Arthur S. Gardner, wrecked after grounding during a heavy gale 15 miles south of Cape Henry , Virginia .

USS Stars and Stripes, Lieutenant McCook, captured British ship Mary Elizabeth, attempting to run the blockade into Wilmington with cargo of salt and fruit.

U.S. yacht Corypheus, tender to USS Arthur, Acting Lieutenant Kittredge, captured schooner Water Witch off Aransas Bay , Texas .

25 Typical log entry (this of USS Benton) describing the relentless naval operations on the western waters: "At 7 [a.m.] sent a boat ashore, which destroyed seven skiffs and one bateaux. At 11:40 came to at Bolivar Landing [ Mississippi ]. At 11:45 General Woods landing troops; opened fire upon the enemy. We opened fire with our bow and starboard guns in protecting the landing of the troops . . . fired a number of shots in direction of the rebel force.''

26 Captain Franklin Buchanan promoted to Admiral in the Confederate Navy "for gallant and meritorious conduct in attacking the enemy's fleet in Hampton Roads and destroying the frigate Congress, sloop of war Cumberland . . . whilst in command of the squadron in the waters of Virginia on the 8th of March, 1862."

Confederate steamer Yorktown, running the blockade from Mobile to Havana , sprung a leak and foundered at sea off Ship Island with cargo of cotton.

27 USS South Carolina , Commander John J. Almy, destroyed abandoned schooner Patriot, aground near Mosquito Inlet , Florida .

USS Santiago de Cuba, Commander Ridgely, captured blockade runner Lavinia north of Abaco with cargo of turpentine.

29 USS Pittsburg , Lieutenant Thompson, escorted steamers White Cloud and Iatan with Army troops embarked to Eunice , Arkansas . The gunboat shelled and dispersed Confederate forces from a camp above Carson 's Landing on the Mississippi shore. Landing the troops under cover of Pittsburg 's guns for reconnaissance missions en route, Lieutenant Thompson at Eunice seized a large wharf boat, fitted out as a floating hotel. This type of persistent patrolling of the Mississippi and tributaries by the Union Navy in support of Army operations was instrumental in preventing the Confederates from establishing firm positions.

The James River Flotilla having carried out its mission in support of General McClellan's army, the Navy Department ordered Commodore Wilkes to turn the ships over to Rear Admiral L. M. Goldsborough and to proceed to Washington to assume command of the Potomac Flotilla.

30 USS Passaic launched at Greenpoint , New York . A newspaper reporter observed: "A fleet of monsters has been created, volcanoes in a nutshell, breathing under water, fighting under shelter, steered with mirrors, driven by vapor, running anywhere, retreating from nothing. These floating carriages bear immense ordnance, perfected by new processes, and easily worked by new and simple devices.

USS R. R. Cuyler, Acting Master Simeon N. Freeman, captured schooner Anne Sophia at sea east of Jacksonville .

31 U.S. transport W. B. Terry, Master Leonard G. Klinck, carrying cargo of coal for Union gunboats, ran aground at Duck River Shoals, Tennessee River , and was captured by Confederate troops.

USS William G. Anderson, Acting Master D'Oyley, seized schooner Lily off Louisiana with cargo of gun powder.  

Late Summer
William Cheney deserts the Confederacy. After the war he claims to have approached President Lincoln  with “secret information” regarding Southern efforts at undersea warfare, but received no response.

September 1862

1 CSS Florida , Lieutenant Maffitt, put into Havana after suffering a yellow fever epidemic on board which was fatal to several crew members.

Rear Admiral S.P. Lee relieved Rear Admiral L.M. Goldsborough as Commander, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

2 USS Restless, Acting Lieutenant Conroy, captured sloop John Thompson off South Carolina with cargo of turpentine.

3 USS Essex, Commodore W. D. Porter, in pursuit of CSS Webb, had a landing party fired on at Natchez , Mississippi , from which Union forces had withdrawn on 25 July. Essex bombarded the town for an hour, after which the mayor "unconditionally surrendered" the city to Porter.

4 First session of the Naval Investigating Committee of the Confederate Congress was held in Richmond to examine Secretary Mallory's administration of naval affairs and the causes of the Southern disaster at New Orleans . The final report of the committee was favorable to Mallory.

CSS Florida , Lieutenant Maffitt, ran the blockade into Mobile Bay . Many of the crew were suffering from yellow fever and Maffitt determined to make the bold dash into Mobile . Running past the broadside of USS Oneida, Commander Preble, Florida also evaded USS Winona and Rachel Seaman before coming to anchor under the guns of Fort Morgan in a much damaged condition. This Florida incident brought forth orders for stricter enforcement of the blockade.

USS William G. Anderson, Acting Master D'Oyley, captured schooner Theresa in the Gulf of Mexico with cargo including salt.

USS Shepherd Knapp, Acting Lieutenant Henry S. Eytinge, captured bark Fannie Laurie off South Edisto River , South Carolina .

5 Rear Admiral Du Pont wrote Secretary of the Navy Welles, again expressing concern about reports of Confederate ironclads building at Charleston: "The ironclads or rams built at Charleston have been described to me, by intelligent persons who have seen them, as well protected by their armor, but as not formidable for offensive operations against our vessels, in consequence of their deficiency in steam power, it having been intended to place in them engines taken from old steamers belonging to South Carolina. If it be true that English steam engines have been provided for them, as reported to me by the Department, it becomes my duty to urge upon it the necessity of sending some ironclad vessels of our own, to render our position off Charleston tenable. Vessels even imperfectly covered with armor emerging from the protection of forts, and always provided with a place of refuge, would be comparatively secure, while they might do great harm to wooden ships, especially of the light class which forms the chief material of this squadron. If by any possibility the blockading force off Charleston could be destroyed, or compelled to retire, it would produce a moral impression to our disadvantage even more disastrous than the actual loss itself. If it be possible to send the Ironsides to take up a position off that [ Charleston ] harbor, the efforts of the enemy would be completely frustrated."

CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, seized and burned ship Ocmulgee near the Azores , the first of many Union whalers and merchant vessels to fall prey to the feared commerce raider.

6 USS Louisiana , Acting Lieutenant Richard T. Renshaw, joined with Union troops in repelling the Confederate attack on Washington , North Carolina . Major General John G. Foster reported that Louisiana rendered most efficient aid, throwing her shells with great precision, and clearing the streets, through which her guns had range." U.S. Army gunboat Picket was destroyed by an accidental magazine explosion during engagement.

7 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned schooner Starlight near the Azores .

USS Essex, Commodore W.D. Porter, steamed down the Mississippi to New Orleans past Confederate batteries at Port Hudson, Louisiana. Essex was struck with heavy shot 14 times. Porter noted that the Port Hudson batteries would seriously interrupt the free navigation of the Lower Mississippi ."

8 Commodore Wilkes ordered to command a "Flying Squadron" -including USS Wachusett, Dacotah, Cimarron, Sonoma, Tioga, Octorara, and Santiago de Cuba. The squadron was originated specifically to seek out and capture commerce raiders CSS Alabama and Florida . Though the squadron seized several vessels engaged in blockade running, the two noted raiders eluded Wilkes' force.

A landing party from USS Kingfisher destroyed salt works at St. Joseph's Bay, Florida, that could produce some 200 bushels a day. Three days later, similar works at St. Andrew's Bay were destroyed by a landing party from USS Sagamore.

CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned whaling ship Ocean Rover near the Azores .

9 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned whaling ships Alert and Weather Gauge near the Azores .

11 USS Patroon, Acting Master William D. Urann, and USS Uncas, Acting Master Crane, engaged Confederate batteries at St. John's Bluff, Florida. Uncas suffered damage, but temporarily forced the abandonment of the batteries.

12 Rear Admiral Du Pont wrote Senator Grimes of Iowa expressing his "warm appreciation of your tremendous labors in behalf of the Navy during the last session. I believe this to be emphatically the opinion of the whole service.'' Grimes had strongly backed the bill creating the rank of Rear Admiral in the Navy. In reply the Senator stated: "I am in no wise deserving of the kind compliments you lavish upon me. . . . you know that up to my time [in Congress] it was supposed that all information in relation to your branch of the public service was confined to a select
'guild' about the Atlantic cities, no one from the interior having presumed to know anything about it. If I have been of any real service it has been in breaking down and eradicating that idea, in assisting to nationalize the Navy– in making the frontiersman as well as the longshoreman feel that he was interested in it and partook of its glory."

13 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, seized and burned whaling ship Altamaha near the Azores .

14 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, seized and burned whaling ship Benjamin Tucker near the Azores .

15 Lieutenant Commander Samuel Magaw, commander of USS Thomas Freeborn, reported the seizure and burning of schooner Arctic in Great Wicomico River , Maryland .

16 Confederate Congress passed a resolution expressing thanks to Commander Ebenezer Farrand, CSN, senior officer in command of the combined naval and military forces at Drewry's Bluff on 15 May, "for the great and signal victory achieved over the naval forces of the United States in the engagement . . . at Drewry's Bluff;" Farrand was praised for his "gallantry, courage, and endurance in that protracted fight. . . ." which Confederate statesmen knew could have been so disastrous to their cause.

CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned whaling ship Courser near the Azores .

17 Rear Admiral S.P. Lee, concerned by frequent reports as to the building by the Confederates of "Merrimack II," again wrote Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox asking that an ironclad be sent to Norfolk to support his forces there. "I feel the necessity," he wrote, "of having a fast steamer convenient as to size & draft, with bow & stern strengthened, and iron plated suitable for ramming, carrying effective guns in broadside, & fitted so as to work two heavy rifled guns at each end-bow & stern-capable of throwing such projectiles as will most readily penetrate iron plating." On 22 September Fox, sympathetic to Lee's needs, answered: "The Ironsides will probably be with you on Wednesday [24 September]. . . . With the Ironsides you will feel no anxiety. She is fast, and has a terrible battery, and is a match for the whole Southern navy. If the Merrimac[k] #2 comes down I trust they will follow her up and destroy her."

USS W. G. Anderson, Acting Master D'Oyley, seized schooner Reindeer in the Gulf of Mexico (27N, 93W) with cargo of cotton.

CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned whaling ship Virginia near the Azores .

18 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned whaling ship Elisha Dunbar near the Azores . ''The whaling season at the Azores being at an end," Semmes later wrote, ''. . . I resolved to change my cruising-ground, and stretch over to the Banks of New Foundland

19 Ram Queen of the West, Medical Cadet Charles R. Ellet, escorting two troop transports, had a sharp engagement with Confederate infantry and artillery above Bolivar, Mississippi.

20 Answering a letter in which Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox had written, "We must have Charleston Rear Admiral Du Pont replied: "Do not go it half cocked about Charleston– it is a bigger job than Port Royal . . . failure now at Charleston is ten times the failure elsewhere. . ." The same day, Du Pont wrote Senator Grimes in Iowa: "The thorn in my flesh is Charleston, they have been allowed seventeen months to prepare its defenses– and in no part of the wretched Confederacy has there been more industry, energy, and intelligent zeal, and science displayed- It is a cul de sac and resembles more a porcupine's hide turned outside in than anything else, with no outlet- you go into a bag no running the forts as at New Orleans. We have to do what never has been done, take regular forts by gunboats this must be done, but it is no ordinary work . . . One thing only oppresses us, that just in proportion to the extent of the honor and glory of the success, and the prestige gained at home and abroad so will be the deep mortification and moral injury if we fail at this wicked seat of the rebellion- hence we want quiet calm preparation of plans.'' Du Pont's estimate of the stubbornness of the Con-federate defenses at Charleston , as well as his appreciation of the probable effect on the North of a Union failure in his particular quarter proved correct. Throughout the fall of 1862 the ironclads were being built which Du Pont would command against the symbol of the Confederacy.

21 USS Albatross, Commander Henry French, captured schooner Two Sisters off the Rio Grande River .

22 Writing during a storm ("I suppose the true equinoctial gale''), Rear Admiral Farragut noted that "these are the times that try the commander of a squadron. I could not sleep last night, thinking of the blockaders. It is rough work lying off a port month in and month out . . . I have 6 vessels off Mobile, so that one can always come in for coal. They are all the time breaking down and coming in for repairs."

USS Wyandank, Acting Master John McGowan, Jr., captured schooner Southerner on Coan River , Virginia .

23 USS Alabama , Lieutenant Commander William T. Truxtun, captured blockade running British schooner Nelly off Ossabaw Sound , Georgia , with cargo including drugs and salt.

25 USS Kensington, Acting Master Crocker, USS Rachel Seaman, Acting Master Hooper, and mortar schooner Henry James, Acting Master Lewis Pennington, bombarded Confederate batteries at Sabine Pass , Texas . The action was broken off when the defending troops evacuated the fort, having spiked the guns. Though Sabine City surrendered to Acting Master Crocker the next day and a force under Acting Master Hooper severed communications between Sabine Pass and Taylor 's Bayou by burning the railroad bridge and seized the mails on 27 September, the expedition sent by Rear Admiral Farragut could not occupy the area because there were no troops available for that purpose. As Rear Admiral Farragut noted some three months later, "It takes too much force to hold the places for me to take any more, or my outside fleet will be too much reduced to keep up the blockade and keep the river open" - the two primary missions of the squadron.

Nevertheless, the attacks were a constant drain on the Confederates and imposed widespread dispersion of strength to protect against them anytime ships hove over the horizon.

USS Florida, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Scott, captured British schooner Agnes, attempting to run the blockade at St. Andrew's Sound, Georgia .

26 USS State of Georgia, Commander Armstrong, and USS Mystic, Lieutenant Commander Arnold, chased a blockade running schooner (name unknown) ashore at New Inlet , North Carolina , and destroyed her.

Rear Admiral Du Pont sought to extend his policy of "mobile support" logistics by requesting an afloat fuel storage in the form of a coal hulk capable of holding a thousand tons and fitted out with hoisting equipment. Coal schooners from the North unloaded into this hulk and men-of-war coaled from it as needed while on station. This practice antedated the modern use of fleet oilers in furthering the fleet's efficiency and effectiveness. Storeships, receiving ships, and machinery repair hulks were already being employed at this time at Port Royal .

27 USS Kittatinny, Acting Master Lamson, captured schooner Emma off the coast of Texas with cargo of cotton.

28 USS State of Georgia, Commander Armstrong, and USS Mystic, Lieutenant Commander Arnold, captured blockade running British steamer Sunbeam near New Inlet, North Carolina.

30 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote Commodore Blake, Superintendent of the Naval Academy at Newport , regarding training at the Academy: "The seamanship is of the utmost importance, in my opinion, notwithstanding steam, and ironclads. I share the old Jack Tar feeling that a sailor can do anything, and that a man is not good for much, who is not a thorough seaman. D. D. Porter was particularly struck at seeing your boys scrubbing copper: he was always afraid they were getting too scientific, too conceited, but his experience at Newport seems to have un-deceived him."

October 1862

1 The Western Gunboat Fleet, brought into being by Commander J. Rodgers and Flag Officer Foote, under jurisdiction of the War Department for operations on the western waters, was transferred to the Navy Department and renamed the Mississippi Squadron. David Dixon Porter was appointed Acting Rear Admiral and ordered to relieve Rear Admiral Davis, who had commanded naval forces on the western waters since 17 June. Noting that the naming of Porter, then a Commander, would be open to criticism, Secretary of the Navy Welles observed: ''His selection will be unsatisfactory to many, but his field of operations is peculiar, and a young and active officer is required for the duty to which he is assigned." However, Rear Admiral Foote, 55 years old when he took command, bold and indefatigable, had achieved miracles. No fleet commanders in the west achieved as much as he and Farragut, who was even five years older. Audacity and drive are born of the soul, and do not die ever in some great leaders.

2 Commodore Harwood reported the capture of sloop Thomas Reilly by USS Thomas Freeborn, Lieutenant Commander Magaw.

3 Responding to a request for assistance in an anticipated assault on gathering Confederate forces at Franklin , Virginia , a naval expedition under Lieutenant Commander Flusser, comprising USS Commodore Perry, Hunchback, and Whitehead, engaged Confederate troops on the Blackwater River for six hours. The river having been obstructed, the gunboats could not reach Franklin and returned down stream as Confederate troops were felling trees in the river behind the gunboats in an attempt to "blockade the river in our rear." Enclosing the reports of the gunboat captains, Commander Davenport, Senior Officer in the Sounds of North Carolina, wrote Rear Admiral S. P. Lee: "While I can not praise too highly the gallantry and heroism displayed by officers and men on the occasion, I think it extremely hazardous for our gunboats unprotected as the men are by bulwarks or any other defenses, to go on expeditions up these narrow and tortuous channels."

A joint expedition under Commander Steedman and Brigadier General John M. Brannon engaged and captured a Confederate battery at St. John's Bluff and occupied Jacksonville , Florida , which had been almost entirely evacuated by Southern troops. The Union forces had arrived at the mouth of the river on 1 October and, in operations through 12 October, the gunboats convoyed and supported the Army troops, forcing a general withdrawal by the Confederates. Calling Steedman's action ''most hearty and energetic,'' General Brannon reported: "The entire naval force under his command exhibited a zeal and perseverance in every instance, whether in aiding my forces to effect a landing, the ascent of St. John's River (230 miles), or the assistance to one of my transports unfortunately injured in crossing the bar, that is deserving of all praise.'' Captain Godon, temporarily commanding the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, noted at operation's end: ''We retain possession of St. John's River as far as Jacksonville .'' Amphibious assaults continued to force Confederate defenses away from the coastal areas.

CSS Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured ship Brilliant, bound from New York to Liverpool, near 400 N, 500 W. Semmes later commented that ". . . her destruction must have disappointed a good many holders of bills of exchange drawn against her cargo . . . for the ship alone and the freight-moneys which they lost by her destruction [came] to the amount of $93,000. The cargo was probably even more valuable than the ship."

Naval forces under Commander William B. Renshaw in USS Westfield, including USS Harriet Lane , Owasco, Clifton , and mortar schooner Henry James, bombarded and captured the defenses of the harbor and city of Galveston . Six days later, Galveston formally surrendered to Commander Renshaw. Rear Admiral Farragut reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles: I am happy to in-form you that Galveston , Corpus Christi , and Sabine City and the adjacent waters are now in our possession. . . . All we want, as I have told the Department in my last dispatches, is a few soldiers to hold the places, and we will soon have the whole coast.'' The failure to have a sizeable effective Marine Corps to send ashore in conjunction with fleet operations reduced considerably the effectiveness of the Navy and may have lengthened the war.

4 USS Somerset, Lieutenant Commander English, attacked Confederate salt works at Depot Key, Florida . The landing party from Somerset was augmented by a strong force from USS Tahoma, Commander John C. Howell, and the salt works were destroyed. Salt at this time was among the most critical ''strategic materials'' in the Confederacy. This action at Depot Key was one of innumerable such landing and raiding operations all along the far-flung Confederate coastline which, often lacking dramatic appeal, nonetheless exacted ceaseless activity and untiring effort, and were instrumental in bringing the Confederacy to defeat.

Raiding party from USS Thomas Freeborn, Lieutenant Commander Magaw, entered Dumfries , Virginia , and destroyed the telegraph office and wires of the line from Occoquan to Richmond via Fredericksburg .

6 USS Rachel Seaman, Acting Master Crocker, captured British schooner Dart attempting to run the blockade at Sabine Pass.

7 William Gladstone, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, remarked at a banquet in Newcastle, England, that "there is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an army; they are making it appears a navy; and they have made, what is more than either they have made a nation." Upon reading of Gladstone 's statement, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox observed: "It is a most interesting piece of history".

CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned bark Wave Crest and brig Dunkirk south-east of Nova Scotia .

Lieutenant Commander Edward P. Williams in Army transport Darlington, with sailors and troops embarked, captured steamer Governor Milton in St. John's River , Florida . In continuing Union operations in the river, Williams had seized the vessel- termed by Commander Steedman "one of their best boats' '- which had been used in transporting guns and munitions to St. John's Bluff.

8 Steamer Blanche, anchored off Havana , was set afire to prevent seizure by USS Montgomery, Commander C. Hunter.

CSS Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured and released on bond packet Tonawanda southeast of Nova Scotia .

11 USS Monticello , Lieutenant Commander Braine, captured blockade running British schooner Revere off Frying Pan Shoals, North Carolina .

CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned Manchester southeast of Nova Scotia bound from New York to Liverpool . "The Manchester ," Semmes wrote, "brought us a batch of late New York papers. . . . I learned from them where all the enemy's gun boats were, and what they were doing. . . . Perhaps this was the only war in which the newspapers ever explained, before-hand, all the movements of armies and fleets, to the enemy.

USS Maratanza, Commander Scott, was damaged by Confederate battery at Cape Fear River , North Carolina , and was forced to retire seaward.

12 Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury, on board blockade runner Herald, departed Charleston for England to attempt to purchase vessels for the Confederacy. Midshipman James M. Morgan, who accompanied Maury, recorded an interesting incident that demonstrated that the "Path-finder of the Seas" had lost none of his famed abilities. The captain of Herald, according to Morgan, was new to deep water sail, lost his way, and "told Commander Maury that something terrible must have happened, as he had sailed his ship directly over the spot where the Bermuda Islands ought to be." Maury advised him to slow down till evening when he could shoot the stars. At that time, having obtained a fix, Maury gave the captain a course and speed that would raise the light at Port Hamilton about 2 o'clock in the morning. Maury and his son turned in; the rest anxiously stayed up to watch: "four bells struck and no light was in sight. Five minutes more passed and still not a sign of it; then grumbling commenced and the passengers generally agreed with the man who expressed the opinion that there was too much D . . . d science on board . . . at 10 minutes past 2 the masthead lookout called 'Light Ho!' " Lacking funds and under close scrutiny by Union officials who immediately protested through diplomatic channels any attempts to outfit vessels for the Confederacy, Maury, like other Confederate agents, met with only limited success. Nonetheless, he did purchase and arrange for the outfitting of CSS Georgia the following spring. Maury was adamant in his opinion that the South had to pursue a policy that would bring about the existence of an effective Navy. Earlier he had written under the pseudonym of Ben Bow: "We cannot, either with cotton or with all the agricultural staples of the Confederacy put together, adopt any course which will make cotton and trade stand us as a nation in the stead of a navy.

USS Restless, Acting Lieutenant Conroy, captured blockade running schooner Elmira Cornelius off the South Carolina coast.

13 USS America , Acting Master Jonathan Baker, seized schooner David Crockett attempting to run the blockade out of Charleston with cargo of turpentine and rosin.

14 USS Memphis , Acting Lieutenant Watmough, captured blockade running British steamer Ouachita at sea off Cape Romain , South Carolina .

15 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned bark Lamplighter southeast of Nova Scotia .

Boat crew under command of Master's Mate Edwin Janvrin of USS Rachel Seaman, and boat crew under command of Second Assistant Engineer Timothy W. O'Connor of USS Kensington, destroyed Confederate railroad bridge by fire at Taylor's Bayou, Texas, preventing the transportation of heavy artillery to Sabine Pass, and burned schooners Stonewall and Lone Star and barracks. The constant drain on the South of these unceasing attacks along her sea perimeter and up the rivers is portrayed almost daily in similar accounts. Some were quite unusual even for versatile sailors. In a river expedition during the month Lieutenant Commander Ransom "captured 1,500 head of cattle en route for the enemy, and succeeded by great perseverance in getting them down to New Orleans ."

Boat crews from USS Fort Henry, Acting Lieutenant Edward Y. McCauley, reconnoitering Apalachicola River , Florida , captured sloop G.L. Brockenborough with cargo of cotton.

20 Steamer Minho ran aground after running the blockade out of Charleston . Rear Admiral Du Pont reported that". . . it appears that she will perhaps become a wreck, as there is much water in the hold, and part of the cargo [is] floating about in the vessel. So much of the cargo, it is stated ["by the Charleston papers''], as may be destroyed by water will be nearly a total loss."

21 USS Louisville, Lieutenant Commander Meade, escorted steamer Meteor, whose embarked Army troops were landed at Bledsoe's Landing and Hamblin's Landing, Arkansas. The towns were burned in reprisal for attacks by Confederate guerrillas on mail steamer Gladiator early in the morning, 19 October. "The people along the river bank," Meade reported to Rear Admiral D. D. Porter , "were duly informed that every outrage by the guerrillas upon packets would be similarly dealt with.''

22 A naval battery consisting of three 12 pounder boat howitzers from USS Wabash took part in and furnished artillery support for Union infantry troops at the battle of Pocotaligo , South Carolina . One of the gun crew, who was seriously injured, was ordinary seaman Oscar W. Farenholt, the first enlisted man in the Navy to reach flag rank. The battery from Wabash took part as artillery in amphibious operations all along the South Atlantic coast.

USS Penobscot, Commander Clitz, captured blockade running British brig Robert Bruce off Cape Fear , North Carolina .

Lieutenant William B. Cushing reported that USS Ellis captured and destroyed blockade runner Adelaide at New Topsail Inlet , North Carolina , with cargo of turpentine, cotton, and tobacco.

23 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned American bark Lafayette south of Halifax , Nova Scotia .

24 Sailors on horseback-a landing party from USS Baron De KaIb, Captain Winslow, debarked at Hopefield , Arkansas , to engage a small Confederate scouting party. Mounting horses which were procured, as Captain Winslow reported, "by impressement," the Baron De Kalb sailors engaged in a 9 mile running fight which ended with the capture of the Confederate party.

25 Rear Admiral Du Pont again wrote Secretary of the Navy Welles of the reported building of ironclads by the Confederacy in its attempt to break the blockade. Du Pont remarked: "The idea seemed to be to open the Savannah river, then come to Port Royal, and thence off Charleston , and raise the blockade. . . . I submit that the Ironsides and Passaic should be dispatched at an early day."

26 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned schooner Crenshaw south of Halifax , Nova Scotia .

27 Boat crews from USS Flag, Lieutenant Commander Charles C. Carpenter, captured British steamer Anglia at Bull's Bay, South Carolina .

Rear Admiral S. P. Lee wrote Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox regarding the difficulty of blockading the coast of North Carolina: "Our supremacy in the Sounds of N[orth] C[arolina] can . . . only be maintained by ironclads adapted to the navigation there. . . . The defense of the Sounds is a very important matter.

28 Party led by Lieutenant John Taylor Wood, CSN, boarded, captured, and fired ship Alleghanian at anchor in Chesapeake Bay off the mouth of the Rappahannock River with cargo of guano from Baltimore for London .

CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned bark Lauraetta south of Halifax , Nova Scotia .

USS Montgomery, Commander C. Hunter, captured blockade running steamer Caroline near Pensacola .

USS Sagamore, Lieutenant Commander George A. Bigelow, captured blockade running British schooner Trier off Indian River Inlet , Florida .

29 Landing party from USS Ellis, Lieutenant Cushing, destroyed large Confederate Salt works at New Topsail Inlet , North Carolina . Cushing reported that'' it could have furnished all Wilmington with salt.''

USS Dan exchanged fire with Confederate troops near Sabine Pass ; Dan shelled the town and on 30 October a party was landed under protection of the ship's guns to burn a mill and several buildings.

CSS Alabama, Captain Semmes, seized brigantine Baron de Castine south of Nova Scotia, "The vessel being old and of little value," Semmes reported, "I released her on a ransom bond and converted her into a cartel, sending some forty-five prisoners on board of her– the crews of the three last ships burned."

30 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote Edward G. Flynn regarding that man's expressed desire to attempt capture or destruction of commerce raider 290 (CSS Alabama): "The [Navy] Department has published that it will give $500,000 for the capture and delivery to it of that vessel, or $300,000 if she is destroyed; the latter however is to be contingent upon the approval of Congress." The concern over Alabama 's highly successful commerce raiding was attested to when Fox wrote Rear Admiral Farragut: The raid of '290' [ Alabama ] has forced us to send out a dozen vessels in pursuit."

USS Connecticut, Lieutenant Commander Milton Haxtun, captured blockade running British schooner Hermosa off the mouth of the Sabine River .

USS Daylight, Acting Master Warren, captured schooner Racer between Stump Inlet and New Topsail Inlet , North Carolina , with cargo of salt.

Rear Admiral Du Pont issued a general order which provided that, on capture of foreign vessels attempting to run the blockade, "the flag of the country to which they belong must be worn until their cases are adjudicated. The American flag will be carried at the fore to indicate that they are, for the time, under charge of United States officers."

31 During October the Confederate Congress formalized a Torpedo Bureau in Richmond under Brigadier General Gabriel J. Rains and a Naval Submarine Battery Service under Lieutenant Hunter Davidson. The purpose was to organize and improve methods of torpedo (mine) warfare, in which Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury had pioneered. The Confederacy, of necessity, developed a variety of underwater torpedoes, for it had a long coastline with many navigable rivers to protect and slight naval strength with which to oppose the formidable Union fleet, That the efforts, while failing to lift the ceaseless pressure of the Northern naval forces, were nonetheless a serious threat was attested to at war's end by Secretary of the Navy Welles, who observed that the torpedoes were "always formidable in harbors and internal waters, and. . . . have been more destructive to our naval vessels than all other means combined."

USS Reliance, Acting Master Andrew J. Frank, captured sloop Pointer at Alexandria , Virginia . Although cleared through the Alexandria Custom House as being without cargo, Pointer was found to be carrying groceries, dry goods, and whiskey.

USS Restless, Acting Lieutenant Conroy, captured sloop Susan McPherson off the coast of South Carolina .

Landing party from USS Mahaska, Commander Foxhall A. Parker, destroyed Confederate gun positions on Wormley's Creek and at West Point , Virginia . The attack was continued on 1 November.

31 October– 7 November
Naval expedition under Commander Davenport, comprising USS Hetzel, Commodore Perry, Hunchback, Valley City, and Army gunboat Vidette, opened fire on an encampment at Plymouth, North Carolina, forcing the Confederate troops there to withdraw. Davenport was subsequently ordered to meet General John G. Foster at Williamston on 3 November to support an Army assault on Hamilton , North Carolina . "It was agreed upon," Commander Davenport reported, that we would begin our advance on Hamilton that night. At 11 a.m. [4 November], having failed as yet in receiving any signal from the army, I made general signal 'to get underway' and proceeded up the river. The force also included USS Seymour, which had arrived that morning. Hamilton was evacuated by the Confederates and Union troops took possession of the town. Davenport 's gunboats "proceeded a few miles farther up the river to divert the attention of the enemy, while the army continued its march to Tarboro"; Seymour was sent down river the next day (5 November) to destroy the works at Rainbow Bluff. On 7 November the Union troops, failing to reach Tarboro, returned to Hamilton , and 300 sick and wounded soldiers were placed on board the gunboats to be transported to Williamston.

November 1862

First mention of Confederate Colonel E.H. Angamar’s experiments with a “rocket-powered torpedo;” Angamar was also working on a rocket-propelled ship.

1 USS Louisville , Lieutenant Commander Meade, captured steamer Evansville in the Mississippi River above Island No. 36.

USS Thomas Freeborn, Lieutenant Commander Magaw, captured three unnamed boats at Maryland Point, on the Potomac River; the boats were attempting to run goods across from Maryland to Virginia .

2 Rear Admiral D. D. Porter wrote Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox seeking authority over the Ellet rams: "I am extremely anxious to get possession of Ellet's Rams; they are the class of vessels I particularly want at this moment. The old 'Pook Turtles' are fit only for fighting- they cannot get along against the current without a tow. . . . Do settle the Ram business, and let me know by telegraph. The Commander will have to be instructed, or he will not give them up. I have notified him that I will not permit any naval organization on this River besides the Mississippi Squadron. . . . Fox agreed with Porter and pressed the matter with the President. On 7 November the Assistant Secretary convinced President Lincoln that the Ellet rams belonged under control of the Navy. In a White House conference with Secretary of the Navy Welles, Secretary of War Stanton, and General Halleck, Lincoln transferred all war vessels on the Mississippi to the Navy. The action provided for greater efficiency of operations on the western waters.

CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned whaling shipLevi Starbuck near Bermuda .

3 CSS Cotton, Lieutenant Edward W. Fuller, and shore batteries engaged USS Calhoun, Kinsman, Estrella, and Diana in Berwick Bay , Louisiana . In this close and spirited action against heavy odds, Captain Fuller caused considerable damage to the Union squadron until exhaustion of cartridges forced Cotton to retire. Captain Fuller reported that the legs of the men's pants were cut off for use as improvised cartridge bags to fire parting shots as he withdrew.

Commander Henry K. Thatcher wrote Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox about the Mediterranean cruise of historic USS Constellation and his request for additional ships on this station: "I feel a considerable degree of national pride in wishing our force here to be increased . . . for the prevailing opinion here, evidently is, that our country is not sufficiently strong to admit of withdrawing another vessel from the blockade. But the paramount object is that of the efficient protection of our commerce and citizens who are engaged in commercial pursuits and to be pre-pared, should any rebel cruisers venture into the Mediterranean ."

USS Penobscot, Commander Clitz, destroyed blockade running British ship Pathfinder after forcing her aground off Shallotte Inlet , North Carolina .

4 The blockade continued to clench the Confederacy in an ever-tightening grip. Rear Admiral S.P. Lee, commanding the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, advised Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox: "There is no doubt that a large trade was carried on with Wilmington through Shallotte Inlet 25 miles below, & New Topsail Inlet 15 miles above Wilmington. I have shut both doors."

USS Jacob Bell, Acting Ensign George E. McConnell, captured and burned schooner Robert Wilbur in Nomini Creek, off the Potomac River .

USS Hale, Captain Alfred T. Snell, captured pilot boat Wave and an unnamed schooner in Nassau Sound , Florida .

USS Daylight, Acting Master Warren, and USS Mount Vernon, Acting Lieutenant Trathen, forced blockade running British bark Sophia aground and destroyed her near Masonboro Inlet , North Carolina .

USS Coeur de Lion, Acting Master Charles H, Brown, with USS Teaser and schooner S.H. Poole, evacuated Union families and their property from Gwynn's Island, Virginia.

5 USS Louisiana , Acting Lieutenant R.T. Renshaw, captured schooner Alice L. Webb at Rose Bay, North Carolina.

6 USS Teaser, Ensign Sheridan, captured sloop Grapeshot in Chesapeake Bay .

7 USS Potomska, Acting Lieutenant W. Budd, escorted Army transport Darlington up Sapelo River , Georgia . Potomska being unable to proceed far up river because of her draft, Budd trans-ferred to the Army vessel, which was engaged by Confederates at Spaulding's. Darlington , undamaged, continued up the Sapelo to Fairhope, where a landing party destroyed salt works "and other things that might be of use to the enemy." Taken under attack once again upon returning past Spaulding's, Darlington put forces ashore and destroyed public property and captured arms. 'We were greatly aided here by the Potomska," reported Lieutenant Colonel Oliver T. Beard, "which, from a bend below, shelled the woods. Under the guns of the Potomska we landed . . . I am greatly indebted to Lieutenant Budd for the success of this day."

USS Kinsman, Acting Master George Wiggin, and steamer Seger burned steamers Osprey and J.P. Smith in Bayou Cheval, Louisiana .

8 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned ship T.B. Wales southeast of Bermuda .

USS Resolute, Acting Master Tole, captured sloop Capitola at Glymont , Maryland . Capitola was carrying cargo and passengers across to Virginia in violation of the blockade.

9 Greenville , North Carolina , surrendered to joint Army-Navy landing force under Second Assistant Engineer J. L. Lay of USS Louisiana.

10 Commander Maury, enroute to Liverpool, England, wrote his wife from Halifax, Nova Scotia, that he had arrived after a "boisterous passage of 5 days from Bermuda" in which he and his 12-year old son suffered from sea sickness. "The steamer in which we came was quite equal in dirt and all uncomfortableness to that between Calais and Dover . . . . This is a place of 25 or 30,000 inhabitants. They are strongly 'secesh' here. The Confederate flag has been flying from the top of the hotel all day, in honor, I am told 'of our arrival'." Hand organs ground out Dixie all day under the window; Maury, world famous as "Pathfinder of the Seas," having run the blockade, was proceeding to England on a mission for the Confederacy.

11 USS Kensington, Acting Master Crocker, captured schooner Corse off the Florida coast.

12 USS Kensington, Acting Master Crocker, captured British blockade runner Maria off the Florida coast.

14 Rear Admiral Farragut had sailed from the Mississippi River in August to base at Pensacola where his crews recuperated and repaired the ships preparatory to attacking Mobile. However, reports of growing Confederate fortifications on the river and other developments drew him back to the scene of his fame. On this date from on board USS Hartford at New Orleans he wrote Secretary of the Navy Welles: ''I am once more in the Mississippi River. I deemed that my presence here would be well, as the French admiral is here with two vessels at the city and a frigate at the bar; there is also an English corvette off the city, and we sailors understand each other better in many cases than landsmen. General Butler also informed me that he was operating very largely for his forces on the Opelousas , which was an additional reason for my entering the river. I enclose herewith Lieutenant-Commander Buchanan's report. He is commanding the naval forces cooperating with the army in Opelousas , and has already had two fights with the enemy's steamers and land forces. These little vessels require a sheet of boiler iron around them as a protection against musketry, when they would be able to run up the whole length of the river and catch all the boats in the branches. I called on General Butler for the purpose of ascertaining when he could give me a small force to attack Fort Gaines, and to notify him that when the Department wished it I would attack the forts and go through Mobile Bay without his assistance, but it would embarrass me very much not to have my communication open with the outside, and that with 1,000 men to menace Gaines in the rear I felt certain they would soon abandon both forts, once we got inside. He promised to assist in the operation as soon as General Weitzel returned from Opelousas , although he urges me to attack Port Hudson first, as he wishes to break up the rendezvous before we go outside. It will take at least 5,000 men to take Port Hudson. I am ready for anything, but desire troops to hold what we get. The general has really not half troops enough; he requires at least 20,000 more men to hold the places and do good service in this river and occupy Galveston , whither he proposes to send a regiment.

15 President Lincoln, with Secretaries Seward and Chase, drove to the Washington Navy Yard to view the trial of the Hyde rocket. Captain Dahlgren joined the group for the experiment. Though a defective rocket accidentally exploded, the President escaped injury.

16 USS T. A. Ward, Acting Master William L. Babcock, captured sloop G. W. Green and an unnamed seine boat at St. Jerome's Creek, Maryland, attempting to cross to the Virginia shore with contraband.

17 USS Kanawha, Lieutenant Commander Febiger, and USS Kennebec, Lieutenant Commander John H. RUSSell, chased a schooner ashore near Mobile where she was set afire and destroyed by her crew. Union ships prevented Confederate coast guard from boarding the vessel to extinguish the flames. Of the effectiveness of the blockade in the Gulf, Rear Admiral Farragut noted: "Blockading is hard service, and difficult to carry on with perfect success . . . I don't know how many [blockade runners escape, but we certainly make a good many prizes.

USS Cambridge, Commander W. A. Parker, forced blockade running British schooner F. W. Pindar aground at Masonboro Inlet , North Carolina , and sent boat crew to destroy the vessel. The boat swamped and the crew was captured after firing the schooner.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote Major General Butler at New Orleans: "I think [General] MeClernand will be down your way near the last of December and if you and Farragut can open the Mississippi as far as Red River and block that leaky place, we shall be able with our Mississippi squadron to keep that big river open to commerce and New Orleans will rise from its lethargy."

18 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, arrived at Martinique and was blockaded by USS San Jacinto Commander William Ronckendorff. In foul weather the evening of 19 November, Alabama evaded San Jacinto and escaped.

USS Monticello, Lieutenant Commander Braine, chased blockade running British schooners Ariel and Ann Maria ashore and destroyed them near Shallotte Inlet with cargoes of salt, flour, sugar, and lard.

19 USS Wissahickon, Lieutenant Commander John L. Davis, and USS Dawn, Acting Lieutenant John S. Barnes, engaged Fort McAllister on Ogeechee River , Georgia . Wissahickon was hit and temporarily disabled in the exchange of fire. Persistent and vigilant actions of this nature by the Union Navy pinned down Confederate manpower that could have been used in land actions else-where. Wissahickon and Dawn at this time had the mission of blockading CSS Nashville in Ossabaw Sound , Georgia , and preventing her from becoming another commerce raider like CSS Alabama .

20 USS Seneca, Lieutenant Commander Gibson, captured schooner Annie Dees running the blockade out of Charleston with cargo of turpentine and rosin.

USS Montgomery, Commander C. Hunter, captured sloop William E. Chester near Pensacola Bay .

Confederates at Matagorda Bay , Texas , captured boat crew from U.S. mortar schooner Henry Janes, Acting Master Pennington. The men were ashore to procure fresh beef for the mortar schooner.

22-24 Joint Army–Navy expedition to vicinity of Mathews Court House , Virginia , under Lieutenant Farquhar and Acting Master's Mate Nathan W. Black of USS Mahaska destroyed numerous salt works together with hundreds of bushels of salt, burned three schooners and numerous small boats, and captured 24 large canoes.

23 Landing party from USS Ellis, Lieutenant Cushing, captured arms, mail, and two schooners at Jacksonville North Carolina . While under attack from Confederate artillery, Ellis grounded on 24 November. After very effort to float the ship failed, Lieutenant Cushing ordered her set afire on 25 November to avoid capture. Cushing reported: "I fired the Ellis in five places and having seen that the battle flag was still flying, trained the gun on the enemy so that the vessel might fight herself after we had left her."

24 Boat from USS Reliance, Acting Master William P. Dockray, captured longboat New Moon, suspected of running the blockade on the Potomac River, off Alexandria .

USS Monticello, Lieutenant Commander Braine, destroyed two Confederate salt works near Little River Inlet, North Carolina.

USS Sagamore, Lieutenant Commander English, captured two British blockade runners, schooner Agnes and sloop Ellen, in Indian River , Florida .

25 USS Kittatinny, Acting Master Lamson, captured British blockade runner Matilda, bound from Havana to Matamoras.

26 USS Kittatinny, Acting Master Lamson, captured schooner Diana, bound from Campeche to Matamoras.

27 Rear Admiral Farragut wrote from his flagship at New Orleans : "I am still doing nothing, but waiting for the tide of events and doing all I can to hold what I have, & blockade Mobile . So soon as the river rises, we will have Porter down from above, who now commands the upper squadron, and then I shall probably go outside . . . We shall spoil unless we have a fight occasionally."

29 In late November Captain H. A. Adams was ordered to special duty at Philadelphia as coordinator of coal supply. All coal used in the U.S. Navy at that time was anthracite and came from the eastern district of Pennsylvania, being forwarded to Philadelphia either by rail or barge down the Schuylkill River. There it was loaded into coal schooners and sent to the various blockading squadrons. Before Captain Adams was ordered to this duty, squadron commanders had consider-able difficulty in keeping their ships supplied with coal and often had to borrow from the Army. To illustrate the amount of coal required by the squadrons, Rear Admiral Du Pont notified the Navy Department in mid-December that the consumption of coal in his South Atlantic Blockading Squadron alone was approximately 950 tons a week.

USS Mount Vernon, Acting Lieutenant Trathen, captured blockade runner Levi Rowe off New Inlet , North Carolina , with cargo of rice.

30 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and burned bark Parker Cook off the Leeward Islands .

December 1862

Inventor Pascal Plant demonstrates a true torpedo to interested naval officers along the banks of the Potomac River . “Torpedo” in the Civil War described what we would call “mines,” and it was not until the 1880s that the British would develop the “automobile torpedo.” On two occasions, Plant fired his rocket-powered missiles at a target vessel. On the first demonstration, the torpedo missed the target—but successfully sank the schooner Diana anchored some distance away. A second torpedo on the same day missed the target and buried itself in the far bank. Later, Plant launched another torpedo which ran underwater for a distance and then porpoised above the surface and flew for over 100 yards before exploding on the opposite shore. Although Plant was decades ahead of his time and his device suffered only from guidance problems, the inspecting Navy officers failed to see the potential of the “self-propelled torpedo” and declined further interest in the weapon.

1 In his second annual report, Secretary of the Navy Welles informed President Lincoln: "We have at this time afloat or progressing to rapid completion a naval force consisting of 427 vessels . . armed in the aggregate with 1,577 guns, and of the capacity of 240,028 tons . . . The number of persons employed on board our naval vessels, including receiving ships and recruits, is about 28,000; and there are not less than 12,000 mechanics and laborers employed at the different navy yards and naval stations."

Lieutenant Maffitt, commanding CSS Florida, wrote: "As the Alabama and Florida are the only two cruisers we have just now, it would be a perfect absurdity to tilt against their more than three hundred, for the Federals would gladly sacrifice fifty armed ships to extinguish the two Confederates.''

Rear Admiral Du Pont again remarked on the Charleston defenses and his growing forces with which to attack them in a letter to Senator Grimes: ''The rebel defenses of Charleston are still progressing– The English officers who have been in and the blockade runners whom we capture, smile at the idea of its being taken, and say it is stronger than Sebastabol but they said the same of New Orleans. . . lam very glad to learn that John Rodgers and Worden [commander of USS Monitor during the engagement with CSS Virginia] were with Drayton on his last trial of the Passaic, for the more we learn of the new tools we have to use the better two rams are completed at Charleston to add to the harbor defenses but for the strong force I have off here [Port Royal], I think they would have attempted to raid across the bar."

USS Sagamore, Lieutenant Commander English, captured blockade running British schooner By George off Indian River , Florida , with cargo including coffee and salt.

USS Tioga, Commander Clary, captured schooner Nonsuch at Bahama Banks.

2 Confederate steamer Queen of the Bay, Captain H. Willke, CSA, sounding Corpus Christi pass, was chased by boats under Acting Ensign Alfred H. Reynolds and Master's Mate George C. Dolliver from USS Sachem. Captain Willke ran Queen of the Bay aground on Padre Island , deployed his men, and took Union boats under fire. Reynolds, seriously wounded, was compelled to land on nearby Mustang Island and abandon his boats to the Confederates before retreating overland 30 miles to rejoin Sachem at Aransas Bay, Texas.

3 USS Cambridge , Commander W. A. Parker, captured schooner J. C. Roker off the coast of North Carolina with cargo of salt.

USS Daylight, Acting Master Warren, captured British blockade runner Brilliant attempting to run cargo of salt into Wilmington .

USS Cambridge, Commander W. A. Parker, captured schooner Emma Tuttle off Cape Fear .

4 USS Anacostia, Coeur de Lion, Currituck, and Jacob Bell, under Acting Master Shankland, engaged by Confederate batteries at Port Royal, Virginia. In the exchange of fire which lasted over an hour, Jacob Bell was damaged.

Rear Admiral Farragut stated: "My people are carrying on the war in various parts of the coast, & it takes all my energies to keep them supplied with provisions and coal. I have a great many irons in the fire and have to look sharp to keep some of them from burning . . . We have either taken or destroyed all the steamers that run from Havanna & Nassau to this coast, except the Cuba and Alice . . . I have all the coast except Mobile Bay, and am ready to take that the moment I can get troops.

5 Boats from USS Mahaska, Commander F. A. Parker, and USS General Putnam, under Lieutenant Elliot C. V. Blake of Mahaska, captured and destroyed "several fine boats," a schooner and two sloops in branches of Severn River, Maryland, and brought back schooners Seven Brothers and Galena. Although the captain of Galena claimed to be a Union man, Commander Parker reported his belief that the captain was endeavoring "to carry water on both shoulders."

CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured and released on bond schooner Union off Haiti .

Lieutenant Commander John G. Walker, USS Baron De KaIb, reported capture of steamer Lottie 30 miles above Memphis .

6 USS Diana, Acting Master Ezra Goodwin, captured steamers Southern Methodist and Naniope near Vicksburg laden with molasses and sugar.

7 CSS Alabama , Captain Semmes, captured California steamer Ariel off the coast of Cuba with 700 passengers on board, including 150 Marines and Commander Louis C. Sartori, USN.

8 President Lincoln sent a recommendation of thanks to the Congress on behalf of Commander Worden for his part as commanding officer of USS Monitor during her Hampton Roads engagement with CSS Virginia.

USS Daylight, Acting Master Warren, seized sloop Coquette off New Topsail Inlet , North Carolina , with cargo of whiskey, potatoes, apples, and onions.

9 Rear Admiral Bailey, on assuming command of the Eastern Gulf Blockading Squadron, stated: "The outward pressure of our Navy, in barring the enemy's ports, crippling the power, and exhausting the resources of the States in rebellion; in depriving them of a market for their peculiar productions, and of the facilities for importing many vital requisites for the use of their Army and peoples, is slowly, surely, and unostentatiously reducing the rebellion to such straits as must result in their unconditional submission, even though our gallant Army does not achieve another victory."

10 USS Currituck, Acting Master Thomas J. Linnekin, engaged Confederate battery on Brandywine Hill , Virginia .

USS Sagamore, Lieutenant Commander English, captured British schooner Alicia attempting to run the blockade out of Indian River , Florida , with cargo of cotton.

USS Southfield, Lieutenant Charles F. W. Behm, was disabled by a shot through the steam chest off Plymouth , North Carolina , while rendering close fire support to troops under attack by Confederate forces.

11 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote Rear Admiral D. D. Porter of the readying of ironclads for the fleet and observed: "We shall soon be ready to try the Iron Clads against the few southern Forts yet in the hands of the Rebels."

12 USS Cairo, Lieutenant Commander Thomas O. Selfridge, on an expedition up the Yazoo River to destroy torpedoes, was sunk by one of the infernal machines" and Selfridge reported: "The Cairo sunk in about twelve minutes after the explosion, going totally out of sight, except the top of her chimneys, in 6 fathoms of water." Cairo was the first of some 40 Union vessels to be torpedoed during the war. The torpedo which destroyed Cairo was a large demijohn fired with a friction primer by a trigger line from torpedo pits on the river bank. Rear Admiral D. D. Porter later observed: "It was an accident liable to occur to any gallant officer whose zeal carries him to the post of danger and who is loath to let others do what he thinks he ought to do himself." Despite the loss of Cairo, Porter wrote: "I gave Captain Walke orders to hold Yazoo River at all hazards . . . We may lose three or four vessels, but will succeed in carrying out the plan for the capture of Vicksburg."

12-16 Naval force under Commander Murray including USS Delaware, Shawsheen, Lockwood, and Seymour with armed transports in the Neuse River supported an Army expedition to destroy railroad bridges and track near Goldsboro, North Carolina; low water prevented the gunboats from advancing more than about 15 miles up the river.

15 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote Rear Admiral S. P. Lee, proposing an assault on Wilmington: "Though the popular clamor centers upon Charleston I consider Wilmington a more important point in a military and political point of view and I do not conceal from myself that it is more difficult of access on account of the shallowness of the bars, and more easily defended inside by obstructions, yet it must be attacked and we have more force than we shall possess again since the ironclads must, go South so soon as four are ready." Nonetheless, Wilmington , guarded by the guns of Fort Fisher , remained a bastion of Confederate strength and one of the few havens for blockade runners until nearly the end of the war.

16 General Banks arrived at New Orleans with additional troops to supersede General Butler and prepare for increased operations on the river.

18 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote: "I believe there is no work shop in the country capable of making steam machinery or iron plates and hulls that is not in full blast with Naval orders. Before another year we shall be prepared to defend ourselves with reasonable hopes of success against a foreign enemy, and in two years we can take the offensive with vessels that will be superior to any England is now building." Because of this extensive building program, by war's end the U.S. Navy was the most powerful force afloat in the world.

19 Rear Admiral Farragut advised Secretary of the Navy Welles that he had recommended "the occupation of Baton Rouge" to General Banks on his arrival. "He ordered his transports to proceed directly to that city.'' Commander James Alden in Richmond with 2 gunboats covered the landing. " Baton Rouge is only 12–15 miles from Port Hudson. I am ready to attack the latter place and support General Banks the moment he desires to move against it.'' The powerful combined operations that were destroying the Confederacy at its heart gathered strength for the crushing attacks of 1863.

20 Rear Admiral D. D. Porter in his flagship USS Black Hawk joined General William T. Sherman at Helena , Arkansas , and prepared for the joint assault on Vicksburg . The fleet under Admiral Porter's command for the Vicksburg campaign was the largest ever placed under one officer up to that time, equal in number to all the vessels composing the U.S. Navy at the outbreak of war.

22 USS Huntsville , Acting Lieutenant W. C. Rogers, seized schooner Courier off Tortugas with cargo including salt, coffee, sugar, and dry goods.

Captain Dahlgren, confidant of and advisor to the President, went to the White House at the request of President Lincoln to observe the testing of a new type of gunpowder.

24 USS New Era, Acting Master Frank W. Flanner, arrived off Columbus, Kentucky, to support the Army, which was threatened with imminent attack by a large Confederate force. New Era had been dispatched to Columbus at the urgent request of General J. M. Tuttle, and brought a much-needed Army howitzer, ammunition, and a Master's Mate to take charge of one of the batteries. Confederate occupation of Columbus would have seriously disrupted the flow of sup-plies to the fleet and Army poised below for the Vicksburg assault.

USS Charlotte, Acting Master Bruner, captured steamer Bloomer in Choctawhatchee River , Florida .

27 Rear Admiral D. D. Porter received a request from Brigadier General Willis A. Gorman for assistance in the forthcoming campaign in Arkansas . Though his fleet was fully employed," Porter nevertheless ordered USS Conestoga to begin the requested patrolling action ''between the White and Arkansas rivers as occasion may require. But,'' he added in his instructions to Lieutenant Commander Selfridge, " Arkansas is the main point to look after. We will occupy it soon with troops." Meanwhile, that day Porter's squadron was involved in a heated engage-ment with Confederate batteries on the Yazoo . USS Benton, Lieutenant Commander Gwin, continuing to carry on the removal of torpedoes after Cairo 's destruction a fortnight before, with USS Cincinnati, Baron de Kalb , Louisville , Lexington , Marmora, and ram Queen of the West in company, returned the fire of the battery's eight heavy guns at Drumgould's Bluff. As Porter "served, "The old war horse, Benton , has been much cut up, and the gallant, noble Gwin, I fear, mortally wounded.'' Nonetheless, Porter was able to report that the Yazoo was cleared of torpedoes to within one-half mile of the battery and to remark "we gave the enemy enough to occupy them to-day, and drew off a large portion of their force." Cooperating fully with the Army during the preparations for renewed engagements along the Mississippi , the Navy constantly harassed Confederate forces at Drumgould's Bluff, as well as those at Haynes' Bluff and elsewhere, as the squadron's mobile fire power kept Confederate troops off balance and dispersed.

USS Magnolia, Acting Master Charles Potter, captured British schooner Carmita northwest of Marquesas Keys, Florida , attempting to run the blockade.

USS Roebuck, Master John Sherrill, captured British schooner Kate attempting to run into St. Mark's River, Florida , with cargo of salt, coffee, copper, and liquor.

28 USS Anacostia, Acting Master Nelson Provost, seized schooner Exchange in the Rappahannock River .

28-30 Rear Admiral D. D. Porter 's gunboats supported General Sherman's attempt to capture Con-federate- held Chickasaw Bluffs, a vantage point upstream from Vicksburg . "Throughout these operations," Porter wrote, "the Navy did everything that could be done to ensure the success of General Sherman's movement." Though the Navy supplied shore bombardment from the squadron and created diversionary movements, the Union troops, hindered by heavy rains and faced by the timely arrival of Confederate reinforcements, were forced to withdraw.

29 USS Magnolia, Acting Master Potter, seized blockade running British sloop Flying Fish off Tortugas.

31 USS Monitor, Commander Bankhead, foundered and was lost off Cape Hatteras en route from Hampton Roads to Beaufort, North Carolina. During the short career of the first Union sea-going ironclad, she had fought CSS Virginia in the historic engagement that ushered in a new era in warfare, had supported General McClellan's Peninsular Campaign, and had effected for all time momentous changes in naval tactics and ship construction.

The Confederate embargo, the capture of New Orleans , and the Union Navy's blockade combined to curtail greatly the export of the South's major product, cotton. Meanwhile, the North's control of the seas, threatened only by a few Confederate commerce raiders granted the Union access to the world markets for the importation of war materials and exportation of produce such as wheat, which was a major factor in deterring European powers from recognizing the Confederacy.  

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