Naval Chronology 1860-1861

Naval Chronology 1860-1861 

November 1860

1 November 1860
USA. United States Navy planned to convert seven sailing ships into steamships of war at a cost of $3,064,000.
15 November 1860
Florida. Lieutenant Thomas A Craven, commanding US Naval Forces at Key West, notified Secretary of the Navy Isaac Toucey that he had moved to prevent the seizure of Forts Taylor and Jefferson by state authorities. Craven, in USS Mohawk, defended Fort Jefferson and Lieutenant Fabius Stanly, USS Wyandotte, held Fort Taylor. This action enabled the Union to retain control of the vital Key West posts, which commanded commerce in the Gulf of Mexico.

December 1860

26 December 1860
South Carolina. Following the secession of South Carolina Major Robert Anderson USA moved his garrison from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, which was on a more defensible island in Charleston Harbour. However, the move also created a need for sea-borne reinforcements of troops and supplies.
27 December 1860
South Carolina. US Revenue Cutter Aiken was surrendered to South Carolina authorities.

January 1861

5 January 1861
Alabama. Fort Morgan at the entrance to Mobile Bay was seized and garrisoned by Alabama militia.
Maryland. US Secretary of the Navy Toucey ordered Fort Washington on the Maryland side of the Potomac to be garrisoned. Forty Marines were sent from Washington Navy Yard under Captain Algernon S Taylor USMC to protect the vital link in the defence of the capital.
New York. US steamer Star of the West, Captain John McGowan USRM, departed New York with an Army detachment for the relief of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbour, South Carolina.
9 January 1861
Maryland. Thirty Marines from Washington Navy Yard under First Lieutenant Andrew J Hays USMC garrisoned Fort McHenry in Baltimore, until US Army troops could relieve them.
South Carolina. The US steamer Star of the West, Captain John McGowan, was fired on by Confederate troops from Morris Island and Fort Moultrie as she attempted to enter Charleston Harbour, and the attempted relief of Fort Sumter failed. Cadets from the Citadel Military Academy took part in this action. These were the first Confederate shots fired at a vessel flying the United States flag. The Star of the West returned to New York.
10 January 1861
Louisiana, Forts Jackson and St Philip beside the Mississippi River were seized by Louisiana State troops.
11 January 1861
Louisiana. The US Marine Hospital two miles below New Orleans was occupied by Louisiana State troops.
12 January 1861
Florida. Fort Barrancas and the Pensacola Navy Yard, commanded by Captain James Armstrong USN, were seized by Florida and Alabama militia. The Union troops escaped across the Bay to Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, a more secure position which remained in Union hands throughout the war.
14 January 1861
South Carolina. The South Carolina legislature declared any attempt by Federal authorities to reinforce Fort Sumter would be an act of war.
18 January 1861
Alabama. Confederates seized the US lighthouse tender Alert at Mobile.
20 January 1861
Mississippi. The Fort on Ship Island was seized by Confederates. Ship Island was a key base for operations in the Gulf of Mexico and at the mouth of the Mississippi River.
22 January 1861
New York. Guns and ammunition sold to and destined for Georgia were seized by New York authorities. The Marine Guard at Brooklyn Navy Yard was put under arms as a precaution against any attempts by Confed­erate sympathisers to disrupt the seizure. This ac­tion was protested by Georgia Governor Joseph E Brown and in retaliation Brown later seized Northern ships at Savannah on 8 and 21 February 1861.
23 January 1861
District of Columbia. Commander John Adolphus Dahlgren USN took precautions against a potential attack on the Washington Navy Yard by moving the cannon and the ammunition from the Yard magazine to the attic of the main building.
29 January 1861
Florida. The US Secretaries of the Navy and War ordered that the Marines and troops aboard USS Brooklyn, Captain Walker, en route to Pensacola, should not be landed to reinforce Fort Pickens unless it was attacked by the Confederates.
Louisiana. US Secretary of the Treasury John Adams Dix telegraphed Agent William H Jones at New Orleans ordering him not to surrender the US Revenue Cutter there and to defend the American flag with force if necessary. Despite his instruction, the cutter Robert McClelland was nevertheless surrendered by Captain John G Breshwood USRM to the Louisiana authorities.
30 January 1861
Alabama. The US Revenue schooner Lewis Cass, Captain John J Morrison USRM, was surrendered at Mobile to State authorities.
31 January 1861
Louisiana. The US Revenue schooner Washington, Captain Robert K Hudgins USRM, was seized by State authorities at New Orleans while undergoing repairs.

February 1861

9 February 1861
Florida. USS Brooklyn arrived off Pensacola. Troops were not landed at Fort Pickens in compliance with the order issued on 29th January, which reflected an interim agreement with Florida state authorities that the military situation would not be changed. Fort Barrancas, Fort McRae, and the Pensacola Navy Yard remained in Confederate hands while Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island was retained by the Union. The USS Brooklyn, USS Sabine, USS Macedonia and USS St Louis remained off the harbour and their reinforcements were not landed at Fort Pickens until 12th April 1861.
11 February 1861
USA. Commander John Adolphus Dahlgren USN urged the US Congress to approve the building of more gun sloops and an iron-cased or armoured ship.
14 February 1861
CSA. The Confederate Congress authorised the Committee on Naval Affairs to call together all available maritime and naval specialists across the Confederacy to advise on naval plans and strategy.
20 February 1861
CSA. The Confederate States’ Department of the Navy was established by an act of the Provisional Confederate Congress in Montgomery. This act also established the position of Secretary of the Navy, authorised to handle all affairs related to the navies of the Confederacy.
21 February 1861
CSA. Stephen Russell Mallory was appointed as Confederate Secretary of the Navy.
27 February 1861
USA. The US Congress authorised the construction of seven new steam sloops to augment existing naval strength.

March 1861

2 March 1861
Texas. The US Revenue schooner Henry Dodge, First Lieutenant William F Rogers USRM, was seized at Galveston by state authorities.
4 March 1861
USA. Forty-two vessels were reported to be in commission in the United States Navy. Twelve of these ships were assigned to duty with the Home Squadron, four of which were based on Northern ports. Beginning with the return of USS Powhatan to New York and USS Pocahontas to Hampton Roads on 12 March 1861 and USS Cumberland to Hampton Roads on 23 March 1861, the Department recalled all but three ships from foreign sta­tions in anticipation of the growing crisis.
7 March 1861
USA. Gideon Welles took office as US Secretary of the Navy.
17 March 1861
Louisiana. The Confederate Navy Department sent Commander Lawrence Rousseau, Commander Ebenezer Farrand, and Lieutenant Robert T Chapman to New Orleans to negotiate for the construction of gunboats to operate on the Mississippi River.
18 March 1861
Florida. Confederate Brigadier General Braxton Bragg issued an order forbidding the passage of supplies to Fort Pickens and the US squadron off Pensacola.
20 March 1861
Alabama. The US sloop Isabella, carrying supplies for the US squadron at Pensacola, was seized at Mobile.
21 March 1861
South Carolina. Gustavus Vasa Fox reconnoitered Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbour to determine the best means of relieving the Fort. Fox recommended relief by sea. He proposed putting troops aboard a seagoing steamer, along with two New York tugboats carrying neces­sary supplies and stores. They would be convoyed by the USS Pawnee and the revenue cutter Harriet Lane. If opposed, the armed ships would respond and continue their relief effort. Major Robert Anderson USA, commanding Fort Sumter, would also fire on any vessels within range.
31 March 1861
Virginia. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles ordered 250 men to be transferred from New York to the Navy Yard at Norfolk.

April 1861

3 April 1861
South Carolina. A Confederate battery at Morris Island, Charleston, fired on the American schooner Rhoda H Shannon.
4 April 1861
USA. President Lincoln gave final approval to Gustavus Vasa Fox’s plan to relieve Fort Sumter by sea.
5 April 1861
New York. USS Powhatan, USS Pawnee, USS Pocahontas, and US Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane were ordered by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles to provision Fort Sumter. The squadron commander was Captain Samuel Mercer aboard USS Powhatan.
6 April 1861
New York. In contradiction to the orders given the previous day, Lieutenant David Dixon Porter USN was ordered by President Abraham Lincoln to take command of USS Powhatan and to reinforce Fort Pickens instead of Fort Sumter. The ship immediately departed New York. 7 April 1861
District of Columbia. Lieutenant John Lorimer Worden USN departed Washington by rail with orders to Captain Henry A Adams, commanding USS Sabine and the senior officer present in the Pensacola area, to reinforce Fort Pickens.
8 April 1861
New York. US Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane, Captain John Faunce USRM, departed New York to join the relief expedition for Fort Sumter.
9 April 1861
New York. US Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Vasa Fox sailed from New York aboard the steamer Baltic to oversee the relief of Fort Sumter.
10 April 1861
Virginia. USS Pawnee, Commander Stephen C Rowan, departed Hampton Roads for the relief of Fort Sumter.
South Carolina. General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard commanding the Confederate forces at Charleston, was instructed to demand the evacuation of Fort Sumter and then, if refused, to reduce the fortification.
Virginia. Secretary of the Navy Welles alerted Captain Charles S McCauley USN, Commandant of the Norfolk Navy Yard, to put the USS Merrimack in condition to move to a Northern yard, if necessary.
11 April 1861
South Carolina. Confederate demands for the evacuation of Fort Sumter were refused.
Virginia. Commander James Alden USN was ordered to take command of USS Merrimack at Norfolk.
New York. The US steamship Coatzacoalcos arrived in New York, returning Union troops expelled from Texas.
12 April 1861
Florida. Fort Pickens was secretly reinforced by troops under Captain Israel Vogdes and Marines under First Lieutenant John C Cash, from the USS Sabine, Captain H A Adams, squadron commander, USS Brooklyn, Captain W S Walker, USS St Louis, Commander Charles H Poor, and USS Wyandotte, Lieutenant J R Madison Mullany.
South Carolina. Fort Sumter was fired on by Confederate batteries and the armed conflict began.
Virginia. Chief Engineer Benjamin Isherwood USN was sent to Norfolk to put the engines of the USS Merrimack in work­ing order.
South Carolina. The US steamship Baltic, carrying US Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Vasa Fox, USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, and the revenue cutter Harriet Lane, Captain Faunce USRM, arrived off Charleston with reinforcements and supplies for Fort Sumter. As the bombardment of the fort had already com­mence Fox was forced to cancel the mission.
13 April 1861
South Carolina. Fort Sumter was surrendered by Major Anderson.
Florida. USS Sabine, Captain Adams, asserted the blockade of Pensacola Harbour.
14 April 1861
South Carolina. The former garrison of Fort Sumter was evacuated by the naval expeditionary force which had failed to relieve the fort.
15 April 1861
New York. Seventeen vessels from Southern ports without US clearances were seized.
16 April 1861
Virginia. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles sent a new order to Flag Officer Garrett J Pendergrast, commanding USS Cumberland at Norfolk. The departure of USS Cumberland to Vera Cruz would be deferred and every effort would be made to prepare the vessels now in the Yard to be moved, placing the ordnance and ordnance stores on board to avoid it falling into enemy hands. Any attack was to be opposed by force.
17 April 1861
CSA. Confederate President Finis Jefferson Davis issued a proclamation inviting all interested in “service in private armed vessels on the high seas” to apply for Letters of Marque and Reprisal as privateers.
Florida. USS Powhatan, Lieutenant David Dixon Porter, arrived off Pensacola. Under the protecting of the warship’s guns, 600 troops were landed by the steamer Atlantic at Fort Pickens to complete its reinforcement. This move denied the best harbour on the Gulf of Mexico to the Confederacy.
Virginia. The Confederates placed obstacles in the sea channel at Norfolk to prevent the sailing of US naval vessels.
18 April 1861
Virginia. USS Merrimack was reported ready for sea at Norfolk by Chief Engineer Isherwood USN.
Virginia. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles directed Captain Hiram Paulding USN to take command of naval forces afloat at Norfolk. He was ordered to prevent any arms or munitions from falling into enemy hands, if necessary, by destroying them.
Virginia. The American schooner Buchanan (a lighthouse tender), Master Thomas Cullen, was seized and taken to Richmond.
19 April 1861
USA, US President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring the blockade of Confederate ports from South Carolina to Texas. Although the blockade of nearly three thousand miles of coast appeared impossible, within twelve months its effectiveness was proven sufficiently for the satisfaction of foreign powers.
Pennsylvania. Captain Samuel Francis Du Pont USN and others embarked Union troops at Philadelphia and at the head of the Chesapeake Bay to proceed to the relief of the capital at Washington, District of Columbia. The steamer Boston departed Philadelphia with the 7th New York regiment aboard, while the ferryboat Maryland em­barked the 8th Massachusetts regiment at Perryville and sailed for Annapolis, Maryland.
Texas. The US steamer Star of the West was seized by Confederates at lndianola.
20 April 1861
Maryland. USS Constitution, Lieutenant George Rodgers, moored in the Severn River off Annapolis, was towed into Chesapeake Bay by the steamer Maryland with the 7th Massachusetts aboard. This action prevented Confederate sympathisers from seizing the historic USS “Old Ironsides.”
Texas. The US coast survey the schooner Twilight, Andrew C Mitchell, was seized at Aransas.
Virginia. The Norfolk Navy Yard was partially destroyed to prevent its facilities from falling into Confederate hands and abandoned by Union forces. USS Pennsylvania, USS Germantown, USS Raritan, USS Columbia, and USS Dolphin were burned to the water’s edge. USS Delaware, USS Columbus, USS Plymouth, and USS Merrimack were burned and sunk. The old frigate USS United States was abandoned. USS Pawnee, Commodore Paulding, and the tug Yankee, towing USS Cumberland, escaped: USS Pawnee returned to Washington to augment the defence of the capital. This major Yard was of prime importance to the South. The Confederacy had limited industrial capacity, and possession of the Norfolk Yard provided guns and ordnance materiel, and, equally importantly supplied a dry-dock and an industrial plant to manufacture scarce items. A high proportion of the guns for the batteries and fortifications erected by the Confederates on the Atlantic coast and rivers during 1861 came from the Norfolk Yard.
Virginia. USS Anacostia, Lieutenant Thomas S Fillebrown, was ordered to patrol off Kettle Bottom Shoals, Virginia, to prevent the obstruction ‘of the channel at that point. The crew was augmented by 20 Marines from the Washington Navy Yard.
21 April 1861
At sea. USS Saratoga, Commander Alfred Taylor, captured the slave ship Nightingale with 961 slaves on board.
District of Columbia. Union Colonel Charles Ferguson Smith reported to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles that he had seized and placed under guard the steamers Baltimore, Mount Vernon, Philadelphia, and Powhatan near Washington Steamers that had previously plied between Aquia Creek, Virginia, and Washington were ordered to be outfitted at Washington Navy Yard for the defence of the Capital. Aquia
Pennsylvania. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles instructed Captain Samuel Francis Du Pont, Commandant of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, to procure five steamers from ten to twelve feet draught, fast and strong, and capable of carrying a nine-inch pivot gun for coastal service. Similar orders were sent to the Commandants of the Navy Yards in New York and Boston.
22 April 1861
District of Columbia. Captain Franklin Buchanan, Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard, submitted his resignation and was relieved by Commander John Adolphus Dahlgren.
Maryland. The steamer Boston arrived at Annapolis with 7th New York on board, found the steamer Maryland had run aground after towing USS Constitution into the Chesapeake Bay. The ship got Maryland off, and the troops disem­barked from both ships.
Maryland. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles ordered Commander William W Hunter to move the Receiving Ship Allegheny from Baltimore to Fort McHenry to avoid the risks of secessionist activity in the city.
23 April 1861
District of Columbia. USS Pawnee reached Washington where Commodore Hiram Paulding reported to the Navy Department on the loss of the Norfolk Navy Yard.
24 April 1861
Maryland, USS Constitution, Lieutenant G W Rodgers, departed with a crew of midshipmen aboard departed for New York and Newport, Rhode Island, under tow of USS R R Curler and with the revenue cutter Harriet Lane in company. The ship’s mission was to transfer the US Naval Academy to safer harbour.
Virginia. USS Cumberland, Flag Officer Garrett J Pendergrast, captured Confederate tug Young America and the schooner George M Smith with a cargo of arms and ammunition in Hampton Roads.
26 April 1861
CSA. Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory reported his intentions to adopt an innovative class of warship. The warships would combine high speed with a powerful floating battery and strong protection. Two steam vessels had already been purchased for fitting out as cruisers, the Sumter and the MacRae. Vessels of this character and capacity were unavailable in the Southern states and needed to be constructed or purchased abroad. Mallory proposed innovations in naval ordnance, emphasising rifled guns with their greater range and accuracy to equip this fleet of small but propeller-driven ships.
Maryland. USS Commerce, Lieutenant Peirce Crosby, captured the steamer Lancaster at Havre de Grace. He also pursued a steam tug but failed to catch up.
27 April 1861
USA. US President Abraham Lincoln extended the blockade to the ports of Virginia and North Carolina.
USA. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles issued orders for Union ships to seize Confederate privateers discovered on the high seas.
Illinois. The steamer Helmick, loaded with powder and munitions of war for the Confederacy, was seized at Cairo.
29 April 1861
Virginia. The USS United States was ordered to be commissioned as the first ship of the Virginia navy by State Major-General Rob­ert Edward Lee.

May 1861

1 May 1861
Maryland, USS Commerce, Lieutenant Crosby, seized the steam tug Lioness off the mouth of the Patapsco River.
3 May 1861
USA. President Lincoln called for the enlistment of 18,000 additional sea­men, for not less than one nor more than three years, for the naval service of the United States.
4 May 1861
Virginia. USS Cumberland, Flag Officer Garrett J Pendergrast, seized the schooner Mary and Virginia with a cargo of coal, and reported the capture of the schooner Theresa C, running the blockade off Fort Monroe with cot­ton on board.
Louisiana. The steamship Star of the West was commissioned as a Receiving Ship of the Confederate Navy at New Orleans.
5 May 1861
North Carolina. USS Valley City, Acting Master John A J Brooks, captured the schooner J O’Neil near Pamlico River, North Carolina, after the schooner was run aground by her crew.
6 May 1861
CSA. The Confederate Congress passed act recognising a state of war with the United States and authorised the issuing of Letters of Marque to private vessels. President Davis issued instructions to private armed vessels, in which he defined operational limits, the rights of neutral powers, actions toward Union vessels and crews, bringing in a prize, and exempting all property aboard neutral ships from seizure unless determined as contraband.
7 May 1861
Alabama. Union blockading force captured Confederate steamers Dick Keyes and Lewis near Mobile.
Virginia. USS Yankee, Lieutenant Thomas O Selfridge, fired on by Confederate batteries at Gloucester Point.
9 May 1861
CSA. Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory, ordered Commander James D Bulloch CSN to England to purchase ships, guns, and ammunition.
Rhode Island. USS Constitution Lieutenant G W Rodgers, and US steamer Baltic Lieutenant C R P Rodgers, arrived at Newport with officers and midshipmen from the US Naval Academy. The Naval Academy remained there for the duration of the war.
10 May 1861
South Carolina. The blockade of Charleston was initiated by USS Niagara, Captain William W McKean.
CSA. Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory proposed new warships to the Committee on Naval Affairs of Con­gress: “I regard the possession of an iron-armoured ship as a mat­ter of the first necessity. Such a vessel at this time could traverse the entire coast of the United States, prevent all blockades, and encounter, with a fair prospect of success, their entire Navy. If to cope with them upon the sea we follow their example and build wooden ships, we shall have to construct several at one time; for one or two ships would fall easy prey to their comparatively numerous steam frigates. But inequality of numbers may be compensated by invulnerability; and thus not only does economy but naval success dictate the wisdom and expediency of fighting with iron against wood, without regard to cost. Naval engagements between wooden frigates, as they are now built and armed, will prove to be the forlorn hopes of the sea, simply contests in which the question, not of victory, but of who shall go to the bottom first, is to be solved.”
CSA. A secret Act of Confederate Congress, signed by President Jefferson Finis Davis, authorised the Navy Department to send an agent abroad to purchase six additional steam propellers, rifled cannon, small arms, and other ordnance stores and munitions.
11 May 1861
District of Columbia. USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, was ordered to proceed from the Washington Navy Yard to Alexandria, Virginia, to protect vessels from attack by Confederate forces.
12 May 1861
South Carolina. USS Niagara, Captain McKean, captured blockade-runner General Parkhill, en route Liverpool to Charleston.
14 May 1861
Virginia. USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Silas H Stringham, captured the schooners Mary Willis, Delaware Farmer, and Emily Ann at Hampton Roads laden with tobacco for Baltimore. The Argo, bound for Bremen from Rich­mond, was captured on the same date.
15 May 1861
USA. Secretary of the Navy Welles appointed Lieutenant Thomas M Brasher to command USS Bainbridge and ordered him to proceed to Aspinwall, New Granada (Panama), to protect California steamers against Confederate privateers. California steamers transported large quantities of gold from Aspinwall to New York.
16 May 1861
Commander John Rodgers was ordered to report to the War Department to establish naval forces on the western rivers under the command of General John Charles Frémont. Rodgers purchased three river steamers at Cin­cinnati, Ohio, and converted them into the gunboats USS Tyler, USS Lexington, and USS Conestoga.
17 May 1861
Virginia. USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Stringham, captured the bark Star en route Richmond to Bremen.
18 May 1861
CSA. The schooner Savannah, Captain Thomas H Baker, was commissioned as a Confederate privateer.
19 May 1861
Virginia. USS Monticello, Captain Henry Eagle, and USS Thomas Freeborn, Commander Ward, engaged Con­federate battery at Sewell’s Point.
South Carolina. CSS Lady Davis. Lieutenant Thomas P Pelot, captured the American ship A B Thompson off Charleston.
20 May 1861
Florida. USS Crusader, Lieutenant Thomas A Craven. captured Neptune near Fort Taylor.
District of Columbia. US Com­mander James H Ward of USS North Carolina had proposed the organi­sation of a flying flotilla of ships for service in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The USS Freeborn, with two small craft in tow, and Commander Ward in command, arrived at Washington Navy Yard to form part of the Potomac Flotilla.
21 May 1861
Africa. USS Constellation, the oldest United States’ warship afloat, Captain John S Nicholas, captured slave brig Triton at the mouth of the Congo River.
Virginia. USS Pocahontas, Commander John P Gillis, seized steamboat James Guy off Machodoc Creek.
23 May 1861
Massachusetts. USS Mississippi. Flag Officer William Mervine, was compelled to put back into Boston for repairs because of sabotage damage to her condensers.
24 May 1861
Louisiana. The Confederate States Marshal at New Orleans seized all ships from Northern states which had arrived after 6 May 1861.
Virginia. Commander Rowan, commanding USS Pawnee, demanded the surrender of Alexandria. An amphibious expedition had embarked secretly overnight, departed Washington Navy Yard, and occupied Alexandria. The first landing of Union troops on Virginia shores was protected by the improvised gunboats USS Thomas Freeborn, USS Anacostia, and USS Resolute at Alexandria. Alexandria was evacuated by the Confederates
25 May 1861
Virginia. The steamer Thomas Colyer was captured by USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, at Alexandria.
Virginia. USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Stringham, seized the bark Winfred near Hampton Roads.
26 May 1861
Alabama. USS Powhatan, Lieutenant David Dixon Porter, established the blockade at Mobile.
Virginia. USS Brooklyn, Commander Charles H Poor, established the blockade of New Orleans and the mouth of Mississippi River.
27 May 1861
Georgia. USS Union. Commander John R Goldsborough, initiated the blockade of Savannah.
29 May 1861
At Sea. The Confederate privateer J C Calhoun captured the American brig Panama, which was taken to New Orleans with two earlier prizes, the American schooners Mermaid and John Adams.
Louisiana. USS Powhatan, Lieutenant David Dixon Porter, captured the schooner Mary Clinton attempting to run the block­ade near Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River.
29 May 1861-1 June 1861
Virginia. The Potomac Flotilla, consisting of USS Thomas Freeborn, Commander Ward. USS Anacostia, Lieu­tenant Napoleon Collins, and USS Resolute, Acting Master William Budd, engaged Confederate bat­teries at Aquia Creek.
30 May 1861
Virginia. USS Merrimack, scuttled and burned at Norfolk Navy Yard, was raised by the Confederates.
Virginia. USS Quaker City, Acting Master S W Mather, seized the schooner Lynchburg, on route to Richmond with a cargo of coffee.
31 May 1861
At Sea. USS Perry, Lieutenant Enoch G Parrott, captured the Confederate blockade-runner Hannah M Johnson. Virginia. The Union Potomac Flotilla was joined by USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, during the evening.

June 1861

1 June 1861
North Carolina. USS Union, Commander J R Goldsborough, captured the Confederate schooner F W Johnson with a cargo of railroad iron off the coast.
3 June 1861
At Sea. Confederate privateer Savannah Captain Baker, captured the American brig Joseph with a cargo of sugar; the Savannah was then captured in turn by USS Perry, Lieutenant Enoch G Parrott.
5 June 1861
Alabama. USS Niagara, Captain McKean, captured the schooner Aid at Mobile.
Virginia. The revenue cutter Harriett Lane, Captain Faunce USRM, engaged Confederate battery at Pig Point.
Virginia. Flag Officer Garrett J Pendergrast reported the capture of the bark General Green by USS Quaker City, Commander Overton Carr, at the Capes of the Chesapeake.
8 June 1861
Florida. USS Mississippi, Flag Officer Mervine, established the blockade at Key West.
Virginia. USS Resolute, Acting Master W Budd, captured the schooner Somerset at Breton’s Bay and burned her.
9 June 1861
Florida. USS Massachusetts, Commander Melancton Smith, captured British blockade-runner Perthshire with a cargo of cotton near Pensacola.
10 June 1861
Georgia. USS Union, Commander J R Goldsborough, captured the brig Hallie Jackson off Savannah with a cargo of molasses.
Virginia. Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke, CSN, was ordered to design the ironclad warship CSS Virginia based on the salvaged hull of USS Merrimack.
13 June 1861
Florida. USS Mississippi, Flag Officer Mervine, captured the schooner Forest King, at Key West.
14 June 1861
Virginia. The American schooner Christiana Ken, grounded and was burned by Confederates near Upper Machodoc Creek.
Virginia. Confederate efforts to build a navy were underway. The frigate USS United States was acting as a school ship, provided with a deck battery of nineteen guns, 32-pounders, and 9-inch Columbiads, for harbour defence. The frigate USS Merrimack was already raised and in dry dock for conversion to an ironclad warship, and plans were underway for raising the USS German­town and USS Plymouth and repairing them for Confederate use.’ Six batteries had been erected on the Elizabeth River to guard the approaches to Norfolk and the Navy Yard and to prevent the ascent of the Nansemond River and the occupation of the railroad from Norfolk to Richmond. Three batteries had been constructed on the Potomac River, and further sites selected for batteries. The batteries at Aquia Creek had been prepared but not yet equipped. A four-gun battery had been erected on the Rappahannock River.
17 June 1861
Mississippi. USS Massachusetts, Commander M Smith, captured the schooner Achilles near Ship Island.
18 June 1861
South Carolina. USS Union, Commander J R Goldsborough, captured Confederate blockade-runner Amelia at Charles­ton with a cargo of contraband from Liverpool.
Virginia. Lieutenant Robert Randolph Carter CSN, commanding the tender CSS Teaser was ordered to unite with the batteries at Jamestown Is­land for the defence of the James River, and to obtain intelligence of Union movements either side of the river.
19 June 1861
Louisiana. USS Massachusetts, Commander M Smith, captured blockade-running brig Nahum Stetson off Pass a l’Outre.
23 June 1861
Virginia. Confederate naval engineers began the reconstruction of the USS Merrimack as an ironclad warship, named CSS Virginia at Norfolk.
Louisiana. USS Massachusetts, Commander M Smith, captured the Mexican the schooner Brilliant, with a cargo of flour, and the Confederate schooners Trois Freres, Olive Branch, Fanny, and Basile in the Gulf of Mexico.
24 June 1861
Virginia. USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, and USS Thomas Freeborn, Commander Ward, shelled Confederate batteries at Mathias Point.
25 June 1861
Louisiana. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles received a report that the Confederates were constructing a submarine vessel to destroy the USS Brooklyn, or any vessel blockading the mouth of the Mississippi River. The projectile with a sharp iron or steel pointed prow would attempt to perforate the bottom of the vessel and then explode.
26 June 1861
Virginia. USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Stringham, captured the bark Sally Magee off Hampton Roads.
27 June 1861
USA. The Union Blockade Strategy Board met under the chairmanship of Captain Samuel Francis Du Pont USN. It included as members Commander Charles Henry Davis, USN. Major John Gross Barnard, Army of Engineers, and Professor Alexander D Bache, Superintendent of the US Coast Survey. The Board met to consider and report on the major problems of the blockade and to plan amphibious operations to seize vital bases on the Southern coastline.
Virginia. USS Resolute, Acting Master W Budd, burned a Confederate supply depot on the shore of the Potomac River.
Virginia. USS Thomas Freeborn, Commander Ward, USS Reliance. Acting Lieutenant Jared P K Mygatt, with two boats under Lieutenant James C Chaplin, from USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, attacked Confederate forces at Mathias Point. Ward was killed in the action.
28 June 1861
South Carolina. The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis, formerly the slaver Echo, Captain Louis M Coxetter, sailed from Charleston to capture Union ships along the coast.
28 June 1861-29 June 1861
Maryland. The sidewheel steamer St Nicholas, making a scheduled run between Baltimore and Georgetown, District of Columbia, was captured by Confederates who had boarded her posing as passengers at the steamer’s various stopping points on the Potomac River. The Confederate agents were led by Captain George N Hollins CSN who took command of St Nicholas, and Colonel Richard Thomas, CSA, who had come aboard disguised as a woman.
29 June 1861
Virginia. The recently captured steamer St Nicholas searched for USS Pawnee, but, not finding that target, put out into the Chesapeake Bay, where she seized the schooners Margaret and Mary Pierce and the brig Monticello.
30 June 1861
Louisiana. CSS Sumter, Commander Raphael Semmes, ran the blockade at the mouth of Mississippi River and escaped to sea through Pass a I’Outre, eluding USS Brooklyn, and launching Semmes’ successful career as a commerce raider.
Virginia. USS Reliance, Lieutenant Mygatt, seized and destroyed the sloop Passenger in the Potomac River.

July 1861

1 July 1861
South Carolina. The Confederate privateer Petrel evaded blockaders and put to sea from Charleston.
Virginia. USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Stringham. captured the schooner Sally Mears at Hampton Roads.
2 July 1861
Texas. USS South Carolina, Commander James Alden, initiated the blockade of Galveston.
3 July 1861
Cuba. CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned American ship Golden Rocket near the coastal Isle of Pines.
4 July 1861
Texas. USS South Carolina. Commander Alden, captured the blockade-running the schooners Shark, Venus, Ann Ryan, McCanfield, Louisa. and Dart off Galveston.
5 July 1861
Maryland. USS Dana, Acting Master’s Mate Robert B Ely, captured the sloop Teaser in Nanjemoy Creek.
Texas. USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured the blockade-running the schooners Falcon and Coralia off Galveston.
6 July 1861
North Carolina. The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured American brig John Welsh and the schooner Enchantress east of Cape Hatteras.
Texas. USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured the blockade-running schooner George G Baker, off Galveston.
Cuba. CSS Sumter, Commander Raphael Semmes, arrived at Cienfuegos with seven US vessels taken as prizes: Cuba, Machias, Ben Dunning, Albert Adams, Naiad, West Wind, and Lewis Kilham. Semmes appointed a Cuban agent for custody of the prizes, expressing to the Governor there that he had entered that port with the expectation that Spain would extend a friendly reception to cruisers of the Confederate States.
7 July 1861
New Jersey. The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured American schooner S J Waring about 150 miles off Sandy Hook.
Texas. USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured the schooner Sam Houston off Galveston.
Virginia. USS Pocahontas, Commander Benjamin M Dove, fired on and damaged CSS George Page in Aquia Creek.
Virginia. Two floating torpedoes (mines) were picked up in the Potomac River by USS Resolute, Acting Master W Budd. This was the earliest known use of torpedoes by the Confederates.
9 July 1861
North Carolina. The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured American brig Mary E Thompson of Bangor en route to Antigua, and the schooner Mary Goodell of New York en route to Buenos Aires.
Texas. USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, seized and destroyed the schooner Tom Hicks with a cargo of lumber off Galveston.
10 July 1861
Virginia. USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Stringham, captured Confederate brig Amy Warwick in Hampton Roads.
12 July 1861
Texas. USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured the Confederate schooner General T J Chambers off Galveston with a cargo of lumber.
13 July 1861
Mississippi. USS Massachusetts, Commander M Smith, seized the schooner Hiland near Ship Island.
July 1861
16 July 1861
USA. The Union Blockade Strategy Board reported on the necessity of halting Confederate commerce by sinking obstructions made up of old vessels laden with ballast sunk in appropriate channels. This was the first suggestion for the so-called “stone fleet” intended to block harbour entrances
North Carolina. USS St Lawrence, Captain Hugh Y Purviance, captured British blockade-runner Herald, bound from Beaufort to Liverpool.
18 July 1861
Maryland. Commander Ridgely, US Receiving Ship Allegheny, reported his ship had received a battery of guns from the Washington Navy Yard and was standing by in the harbour for the protection of Annapolis.
Virginia. The Confederate schooner Favorite was captured by USS Yankee, Commander T T Craven, on Yeocomico River; Favorite was sunk later at Piney Point on the Potomac River.
Virginia. Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory reported that the frigate Merrimack, later renamed as CSS Virginia had been raised and docked. It was planned to shield the ship completely with 3 inch iron (in the end, 4-inch armour was used), angled to render it invulnerable to solid shot. The innovative warship would seek to contend against enemy ships in Hampton Roads and the ports of Virginia.
19 July 1861
Cuba. The Captain-General of Cuba released all vessels brought into Cuban ports as prizes by the commerce raider CSS Sumter,
20 July 1861
North Carolina. USS Albatross, Commander George A Prentiss, recaptured Enchantress off Hatteras Inlet.
Virginia. USS Mount Vernon, Commander Oliver S Glisson, seized sloop Wild Pigeon on the Rappahannock River.
21 July 1861
Atlantic Ocean. Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured American the bark Alvarado.
North Carolina. USS Albatross, Commander Prentiss, engaged CSS Beaufort, Lieutenant R C Duvall, in Oregon Inlet. The heavier-gunned Albatross forced Beaufort to withdraw.
Virginia. US Marines commanded by Major Reynolds took part in the First Battle of Bull Run. Nine Marines were killed, 19 wounded, and 16 were missing in action. Two naval howitzers were also lost in the battle.
22 July 1861
New York. The black sailor William Tilghman, who had overwhelmed the Confederate prize crew on board the schooner S J Waring and regained possession of the vessel, brought the ship into New York harbour.
24 July 1861
USA. The US Congress authorised the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
25 July 1861
Venezuela. CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured the schooner Abby Bradford and having been denied the right to enter Venezuela with prizes, dispatched her to a Southern port.
North Carolina. Confederate privateer Mariner, Captain W B Berry, captured American schooner Nathaniel Chase off Ocracoke Inlet.
North Carolina. Confederate privateer Gordon captured American brig William McGilvery off Cape Hatteras with a cargo of molasses.
Florida. Confederate privateer Dixie captured American schooner Mary Alice off the eastern coast.
Virginia. John La Mountain began balloon reconnaissance ascensions at Fort Monroe to observe Confederate batteries and positions.
27 July 1861
Venezuela. CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured American bark Joseph Maxwell.
28 July 1861
North Carolina. USS Union, Commander J R Goldsborough, destroyed former American brig B T Martin north of Cape Hatteras, where she had been run aground by Confederates. B T Martin had been captured previously by Confederate privateer York.
North Carolina. Confederate privateer Gordon captured American schooner Protector off Cape Hatteras.
South Carolina. USS St Lawrence, Captain Purviance, sank Confederate privateer Petrel off Charleston.
29 July 1861
Virginia. USS Yankee, Commander T T Craven, and USS Reliance, Lieutenant Mygatt, engaged Confederate battery at Marlborough Point.
Virginia. Four US steamers engaged Confederate battery at Aquia Creek.
31 July 1861
North Carolina. Confederate privateer Dixie captured American bark Glenn and took her to Beaufort.

August 1861

1 August 1861
USA. US President Abraham Lincoln appointed Gustavus Vasa Fox as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
3 August 1861
USA. The US Congress appointed a board of three naval officers to investigate plans and specifications to build iron or steel-clad warships.
South Carolina. USS Wabash, Captain Mercer, recaptured the schooner Mary Alice which had previously been taken by the CSS Dixie, and also captured the blockade-running brig Sarah Starr off Charleston.
Texas. USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, engaged Confederate batteries at Galveston, Texas.
Virginia. John La Mountain made the first balloon ascent from USS Fanny at Hampton Roads, Virginia. He observed the Confederate batteries at Sewell’s Point.
4 August 1861
Virginia. A cutter from USS Thomas Freeborn, Lieutenant Eastman, captured the schooner Pocahontas loaded with timber, and the sloop Mary Grey in Pohick Creek.
5 August 1861
Puerto Rico. The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured the large brig Santa Clara.
Florida. USS Jamestown, Commander Charles Green, burned the Confederate prize bark Alvarado near Fernandina.
7 August 1861
USA. The US government contracted with J B Eads of St Louis, Missouri, to construct seven shallow-draft ironclad gunboats for operations on the western rivers. The seven Eads gunboats (USS Cairo, USS Carondelet, USS Cincinnati, USS Louisville, USS Mound City, USS Pittsburg, and USS St Louis) were constructed by Samuel M Pook USN and became the core of the Union gunboat fleet.
Mississippi. USS Massachusetts, Commander M Smith, captured the blockade-running sloop Charles Henry near Ship Island.
8 August 1861
Gulf of Mexico. USS Santee, Captain Eagle, captured the schooner C P Knapp.
USA. Commodore Joseph Smith USN, Captain Hiram Paulding USN, and Commander Charles Henry Davis USN were nominated to the US Navy’s Ironclad Board, to investigate plans and specifications to build iron or steel-clad warships.
9 August 1861
North Carolina. The Confederate privateer York captured the schooner George G Baker. The ship was then recaptured by USS Union, Commander J R Goldsborough. The crew of the York then burned their privateer off Cape Hatteras to avoid it falling to the USS Union.
11 August 1861
North Carolina. The blockade-runner Louisa was pursued by USS Penguin, Commander John L Livingston, and sank after striking a shoal off Cape Fear.
12 August 1861
Illinois. The newly procured gunboats USS Tyler, USS Conestoga, and USS Lexington arrived at Cairo. They were directed to protect the strategic confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi and to begin scouting operations along those two rivers, and also the Tennessee, and the Cumberland.
13 August 1861
Louisiana. USS Powhatan, Lieutenant David Dixon Porter, recaptured the schooner Abby Bradford off the mouth of the Mississippi River.
15 August 1861
Missouri. USS Tyler and USS Conestoga, Lieutenant S L Phelps, scouted the Mississippi from Cairo as far south as New Madrid, Missouri, while USS Lexington, Lieutenant Roger N Stembel, conducted a reconnaissance to Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Virginia. USS Resolute, Acting Master W Budd, engaged Confederate troops at Mathias Point during a reconnaissance.
16 August 1861
USA. US President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the Confederate States were in a state of insurrection and forbade all international commerce with them.
18 August 1861
Florida. The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis was wrecked on the bar of the harbour at St Augustine on its return from a raiding cruise.
19 August 1861
District of Columbia. A force of two hundred US Marines was ordered for duty at Washington Navy Yard, where they would board the ships of the Potomac Flotilla. Their main aim was to scout the Maryland coast, especially around Port Tobacco, to prevent the movement of Confederate provisions and recruits.
21 August 1861
South Carolina. USS Vandalia, Commander Samuel Phillips Lee, captured the blockade-runner Henry Middleton with a cargo of spirits of, turpentine, and rosin, off Charleston.
22 August 1861
Kentucky. USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, seized the steamer W B Terry at Paducah for trading with the Confederates.
Kentucky. The steamer Samuel Orr was seized by the Confederates at Paducah and taken up the Tennessee River.
Missouri. Union gunboats under Commander J Rodgers patrolled the Mississippi around Commerce and reported that 600 Confederates suspected to be building riverside batteries had withdrawn at their approach.
23 August 1861
Virginia. USS Release and USS Yankee engaged Confederate batteries at the mouth of Potomac Creek.
26 August 1861
Illinois. Captain Andrew Hull Foote USN was ordered to relieve Commander John Rodgers in command of the gunboat flotilla supporting the US Army on the western rivers.
Maryland. The tug USS Fanny, Lieutenant Crosby, captured the blockade-running sloop Mary Emma at the headwaters of Manokin River.
Virginia. A Union squadron under Flag Officer Silas Horton Stringham departed from Hampton Roads to undertake operations at Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. Stringham’s fleet included the USS Minnesota, USS Wabash, USS Monticello, USS Pawnee, the revenue cutter Harriet Lane, the tug Fanny, and two transports carrying about 900 soldiers. The force was later reinforced by USS Susquehanna and USS Cumberland.
Virginia. USS Daylight, Commander Lockwood, recaptured the brig Monticello in the Rappahannock River.
27 August 1861
North Carolina. The Union squadron of Flag Officer Silas Horton Stringham anchored off Hatteras Inlet. Preparations began to land troops for the capture of Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark.
28 August 1861
North Carolina. The Union squadron of Flag Officer Silas Horton Stringham began a bombardment of Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark. Marines and soldiers were landed above the forts under cover of naval gunfire. The Confederates evacuated Fort Clark. During the evening, Commander Samuel Barron CSN arrived with two small vessels to strengthen the Confederate defence of Fort Hatteras.
Virginia. Four hundred Union seaman were sent aboard the steamer Philadelphia from the Washington Navy Yard to strengthen the garrison of Brigadier-General William Buel Franklin at Fort Ellsworth in Alexandria.
Virginia. USS Yankee, Commander T T Craven, captured the schooner Remittance near Piney Point.
29 August 1861
Florida. USS R R Cuyler, Captain Francis B Ellison, seized and burned the ship Finland, which was preparing to run the blockade from Apalachicola.
North Carolina The Confederates surrendered Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark to Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler and Flag Officer Silas Horton Stringham USN. This success sealed off Pamlico Sound for blockade-runners and commerce raiders. Hatteras Inlet was developed as a coaling station and supply depot for the Union blockade.
30 August 1861
Virginia. The Confederate tug Harmony attacked USS Savannah, Captain Joseph B Hull, off Newport News. The Confederates withdraw after inflicting slight damage.
31 August 1861
Florida. USS Jamestown, Commander Green, captured the British blockade-running schooner Aigburth off the Florida coast.
North Carolina. USS George Peabody, Lieutenant Lowry, captured the brig Henry C Brooks in Hatteras Inlet.
Virginia. CSS Teaser shelled Union positions at Newport News.

September 1861

1 September 1861
Maryland: USS Dana, Acting Master’s Mate Ely, captured the blockade-running schooner T J Evans off Clay Island with a cargo including blankets, surgical instruments, and ordnance supplies.
4 September 1861
Georgia. USS Jamestown Commander Green, captured the Confederate schooner Colonel Long. removed her cargo, and scuttled her off the coast.
Kentucky. CSS Yankee (also known as CSS Jackson) and Confederate batteries at Hickman, Kentucky, fired on USS Tyler and USS Lexington. while the gunboats were reconnoitring the Mississippi River south from Cairo, Illinois.
6 September 1861
Great Britain. The US consul in London reported purchase by Confederates of steamers Bermuda, Adelaide, and Victoria.
Kentucky. The gunboats USS Tyler and USS Lexington accompanied an operation by Union Brigadier-General Ulysses Simpson Grant to occupy key points in Kentucky. Captain Andrew Hull Foote USN with his two warships seized Paducah and Smithland at the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers to counter the Confederate advance into Kentucky.
9 September 1861
Canada. USS Cambridge, Commander William A Parker, captured the schooner Louisa Agnes off Nova Scotia.
10 September 1861
Missouri, USS Conestoga, Lieutenant S L Phelps, and USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, covering a troop advance, silenced the guns of a Confederate battery and damaged the gunboat CSS Yankee at Lucas Bend.
North Carolina. USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, captured the schooner Susan Jane in Hatteras Inlet.
North Carolina. USS Cambridge, Commander W A Parker, captured the British blockade-running schooner Revere off Beaufort with a cargo of salt and herring.
11 September 1861
Texas. USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured Soledeid Cos with a cargo of coffee off Galveston.
13 September 1861
North Carolina. USS Susquehanna, Captain John S Chauncey, captured the blockade-running British schooner Argonaut. with a cargo of fish, bound from Nova Scotia to Key West.
Virginia. CSS Patrick Henry. Commander John R Tucker, exchanged fire with USS Savannah, Captain Hull, and USS Louisiana, Lieutenant Alexander Murray, off Newport News. The shots on both sides fell short.
14 September 1861
Florida. In the early morning darkness, sailors and Marines from USS Colorado rowed into Pensacola Harbour, and boarded and burned Confederate the privateering schooner Judah. They also spiked guns at Pensacola Navy Yard.
16 September 1861
USA. The US Navy’s Ironclad Board recommended the construction of three new ironclad warships (USS Monitor, USS Galena, and USS New Ironsides).
Kentucky. USS Conestoga, Lieutenant S L Phelps, captured the Confederate steamers V R Stephenson and Gazelle on the Cumberland River.
17 September 1861
Mississippi. The Confederates evacuated Ship Island. A landing party from USS Massachusetts occupied the key maritime position. Ship Island eventually became the staging area for amphibious opera­tions towards New Orleans.
North Carolina. A landing party from USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, destroyed guns and fortifications on Beacon Island, closing Ocracoke Inlet for use by blockade-runners.
18 September 1861
Virginia. USS Rescue, Master Edward L Haines, captured the Confederate schooner Hartford with a cargo of wheat and tobacco on the Potomac River.
19 September 1861
North Carolina. USS Gemsbok, Acting Master Edward Cavendy, captured the blockade-running schooner Harmony, en route from Nova Scotia to Ocracoke.
21 September 1861
Virginia. A boat under Midshipman Edward A Walker from USS Seminole, Commander Gillis, captured sloop Maryland on the Potomac River.
22 September 1861
North Carolina. USS Gemsbok, Acting Master Cavendy, captured the schooner Mary E Pindar off Federal Point, as it attempted to run the blockade with a cargo of lime.
23 September 1861
Kentucky. USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, proceeded to Owensboro to consolidate Union progress in the area.
North Carolina. Steamship USS Cambridge, Commander W.A. Parker, captured British schooner Julia bound for Beaufort.
24 September 1861
Louisiana, USS Dart, Acting Master William M Wheeler, captured the Confederate schooner Cecelia off the coast. The vessel was later fitted out as Union cruiser USS Huntsville by Commander Cicero Price.
25 September 1861
South America. CSS Sumter captured the American ship Joseph Park off the northeast coast and three days later burned her at sea.
USA. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles sent instructions to Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du Pont, the commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron regarding the increasing number of persons freed black slaves. Permission was granted to enlist them in the naval service under the same forms and regulations as applied to other enlistments, but at no higher rating than ‘boys,’ at a com­pensation of ten dollars per month and one ration per day.
Virginia. USS Jacob Bell, Lieutenant Edward P McCrea, and USS Seminole, Lieutenant Charles S Norton, engaged a Confederate battery at Freestone Point.
28 September 1861
North Carolina USS Susquehanna, Captain Chauncey, captured the Confederate schooner San Juan, bound for Elizabeth City with a cargo of salt, sugar, and gin.
29 September 1861
North Carolina. USS Susquehanna, Captain Chauncey, captured the schooner Baltimore off Hatteras Inlet.
30 September 1861
Louisiana. USS Dart, Acting Master Wheeler, captured the schooner Zavalla off Vermillion Bay.
Louisiana USS Niagara, Captain John Pope, captured the pilot boat Frolic at the South West Pass of the Mississippi River.
Louisiana. Cecelia, currently a prize of USS Huntsville, Commander Price, captured the blockade-running schooner Ranchero west of Vermillion Bay

October 1861

1 October 1861
A Confederate naval force, including CSS Curlew, CSS Raleigh, and CSS Junaluska. under Flag Officer William F Lynch CSN captured the steamer Fanny in Pamlico Sound with Union troops and two rifled guns aboard. This was the first Confederate naval success in North Carolina and the first capture of an armed warship.
3 October 1861
USA. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles opposed the issuing of letters of marque because it would recognise the assumption of the Confederates as a distinct and independent nationality.
Texas. USS Santee, reported the return of USS Sam Houston to Galveston with the schooner Reindeer, captured off San Luis Pass. The worthless schooner was sunk.
4 October 1861
Louisiana. USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured the Confederate schooners Ezilda and Joseph H Toone off the South West Pass of the Mississippi River with four to five thousand stand of arms.
5 October 1861
Virginia. Two boats from USS Louisiana, Lieutenant A Murray, destroyed a Confederate schooner being fitted out as a privateer at Chincoteague Inlet.
North Carolina. USS Monticello, Lieutenant Daniel L Braine, drove off Confederate troops and steamers attacking Union soldiers in the vicinity of Hatteras Inlet.
6 October 1861
South Carolina. USS Flag, Commander Louis C Sartori, captured the Confederate blockade-running schooner Alert near Charleston.
7 October 1861
Kentucky. USS Tyler, Commander Walke, and USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, exchanged fire with Confederate batteries at Iron Bluffs, near Columbus.
Virginia. USS Louisiana, Lieutenant A Murray, captured the schooner S T Garrison, with a cargo of wood, near Wallops Island.
9 October 18t1
Louisiana. The Confederate steamer CSS Ivy, Lieutenant Joseph Fry, attacked US blockading vessels at Head of Passes, causing no damage.
10 October 1861
Florida. Confederate troops at Tampa Bay captured the American sloop William Batty.
Virginia. USS Daylight, Commander Lockwood, silenced a Confederate battery attacking the American ship John Clark anchored in Lynnhaven Bay.
11 October 1861
Virginia. Lieutenant Abram D Harrell with three boat crews from of USS Union cut out and burned a Confederate schooner in Dumfries Creek on the Potomac River.
12 October 1861
USA. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles reported that Bull’s Bay, St Helena, Port Royal, and Fernandina, were the most accessible and desirable locations for coaling and supply stations. And that at least two were to be taken to support future operations. Coaling and supply depots established on the Southern coast allowed blockaders to remain on station for longer periods without returning to Northern navy yards. Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du Pont agreed that Port Royal was the most valuable location to take first and hold. Port Royal alone could admit the entry of large ships.
Florida. USS Dale, Commander Edward M Yard, captured the schooner Specie east of Jacksonville, bound for Havana with a large cargo of rice.
Atlantic Ocean. Confederate privateer Sallie captured the American brig Granada.
Louisiana. The Confederate armoured ram CSSS Manassas, Commodore Hollins CSN, in company with the armed steamer CSSS Ivy and CSS James L Day, attacked USS Richmond, USS Vincennes, USS Water Witch, USS Nightingale, and USS Preble near Head of Passes. The CSS Manassas rammed USS Richmond, forcing her and USS Vincennes aground under heavy fire before withdrawing.
Virginia. Warning was given to the Union fleet that the Confederates had lined the James River with powerful “submarine batteries” (torpedoes or mines).
13 October 1861
Tortugas. USS Keystone State, Commander Gustavus H Scott, captured the Confederate steamer Salvor near the Tortugas Islands with a cargo of coffee, cigars, and munitions.
15 October 1861
South Carolina. USS Roanoke, Flag, Monticello, and USS Vandalia captured and burned the blockade-runner Thomas Watson on Stono Reef, off Charleston.
16 October 1861
Bahamas. Confederate privateer Sallie, Master Henry S Lebby, captured the American brig Betsey Ames opposite the Bahama Banks, with a cargo including machinery.
Louisiana. USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured the schooner Edward Barnard with a cargo of turpentine on board at South West Pass.
18 October 1861
North Carolina. USS Gemsbok, Acting Master Cavendy, captured the brig Ariel off Wilmington with a cargo of salt.
19 October 1861
Louisiana. USS Massachusetts, Commander M Smith, engaged CSS Florida, Lieutenant Charles W Hays, in Mississippi Sound. The action was inconclusive but it was noted that the high calibre and long range of the rifled cannon of the CSS Florida confirmed the ability of fast steam-driven gunboats to remain out of the range of conventional broadside guns. This enabled such warships to disregard the number or armament conventionally armed vessels, if sheltered by shoal water.
22 October 1861
Virginia. Captain T T Craven, commanding the Potomac River Flotilla, reported that the Potomac River was com­manded by Confederate batteries at all important points below Alexandria.
23 October 1861
New York. The officers and men of the Confederate privateer Savannah went on trial, charged with piracy.
25 October 1861
Florida. USS Rhode Island, Lieutenant Stephen D Trenchard, captured the schooner Aristides off Charlotte Harbour.
New York. John Ericsson began the construction of the innovative single-turreted, two-gun ironclad USS Monitor at Greenpoint.
26 October 1861
Kentucky. USS Conestoga, Lieutenant S L Phelps, transported Union troops to Eddyville for an attack on Confederate cavalry at Saratoga.
South Carolina. CSS Nashville, Lieutenant Pegram, ran the blockade out of Charleston.
27 October 1861
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Sumter captured and burned the American schooner Trowbridge after removing five months’ supply of provisions.
Texas. USS Santee, Captain Eagle, captured the brig Delta off Galveston.
28 October 1861
Virginia. A boat expedition from USS Louisiana led by Lieutenant Alfred Hopkins surprised and burned three Confederate vessels at Chincoteague Inlet.
29 October 1861
Virginia. A major Union naval expedition sailed from Fort Monroe under command of Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du Pont. Comprising 77 vessels, this was the largest US Fleet ever as­sembled to that date. The embarked Army forces numbered about 16,000 men, commanded by Brigadier General Thomas West Sherman. The objective was Port Royal Sound, about equidistant between Savannah and Charleston.
30 October 1861
At Sea. The Confederate privateer Sallie captured American brig B K Eaton.
Tennessee. Confederate forces sank stone-filled barges to obstruct Cumberland River near Fort Donelson against the passage of Union gunboats.

November 1861

1 November 1861
South Carolina. A violent storm struck the Union Port Royal Sound Expedition, widely scattering naval vessels, transports, and supply ships and jeopardizing the success of the operation. Damage to the Fleet was less than expected and ships were able to follow secret instructions to be opened in case of separation from the fleet.
2 November 1861
South Carolina. USS Sabine, Captain Cadwalader Ringgold, rescued Major John G Reynolds and a battalion of US Marines under his command from US transport Governor, while it was sinking off Georgetown.
South Carolina. The British steamer Bermuda ran the blockade at Charleston with 2000 bales of cotton.
4 November 1861
South Carolina. The US Coast Survey Ship Vixen entered Port Royal Sound to sound channel escorted by USS Ottawa and USS Seneca. The Confederate naval squadron under Commodore Tattnall took the Union ships under fire.
5 November 1861
South Carolina. USS Ottawa, USS Pembina, USS Seneca, and USS Pawnee engaged and dispersed a small Confederate squadron in Port Royal Sound, and then opened fire on Fort Beauregard and Fort Walker.
6 November 1861
Georgia. Captain Purviance, commanding USS St Lawrence, reported capture of the British schooner Fanny Lee, running the blockade at Darien, with a cargo of rice and tobacco.
Virginia. USS Rescue, Lieutenant William Gwin, captured and burned the schooner Ada hard aground in Corroto­man Creek.
7 November 1861
Missouri. USS Tyler, Commander Walke, and USS Lexington, Commander Stembel, supported Union troops at Belmont and engaged Confederate batteries along the Mississippi River. The arrival of Confederate reinforcements compelled the Union troops to withdraw under pressure. Grapeshot, canister, and shells from the gunboats scattered the pursuing Confederates and enabled the Union troops to re-embark on their transports.
South Carolina. Union Naval forces under Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du Pont captured Port Royal Sound. The naval gunners poured a heavy fire into Fort Walker and Fort Beauregard with extreme accuracy. The Confederate defenders abandoned the Forts, and the small Confederate naval squadron under Commodore Tattnall could offer only harassing resistance. The Confederate flotilla rescued some garrison troops by ferrying them to the mainland from Hilton Head. Union Marines and sailors were landed to occupy the Forts until turned over to Army troops under Brigadier-General Thomas West Sherman.
8 November 1861
Bahamas. USS San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes, stopped the British mail steamer Trent in Old Bahama Channel and removed the Confederate Commissioners Mason and Slidell.
Texas. A boat expedition under Lieutenant, James E Jouett from USS Santee surprised and captured the Confederate crew of the schooner Royal Yacht, and burned the vessel at Galveston.
Virginia. USS Rescue, Lieutenant Gwin, shelled a Confederate battery at Urbana Creek.
9 November 1861
South Carolina. Union gunboats took possession of Beaufort and blocked the mouth of Broad River, to cut communications between Charleston and Savannah, Georgia. The Union success at Port Royal secured control of coastal and inland navigation, and the islands on the coast between Savannah and Charleston. Boats expeditions could penetrate within four miles of Coosawhatchie and larger ships could ascend Broad River to Mackay’s Point, the mouth of the Pocotaligo, and some distance up the Coosawhatchie and Tulifinny.
11 November 1861
Maryland. Thaddeus Lowe made balloon observations of Confederate forces from Balloon-Boat G W Parke Custis anchored in Potomac River. The vessel was procured and modified at the Washington Navy Yard. The vessel was towed out of the yard by the steamer Coeur de Lion, with the balloon crew and gas-generating apparatus. The balloon-boat anchored at the mouth of Mattawoman Creek, about three miles from the opposing shore.
12 November 1861
Bahamas. USS W G Anderson, Acting Lieutenant William C Rogers, captured the Confederate privateer Beauregard near Abaco.
Georgia. The steamer Fingal (later renamed CSS Atlanta) entered Savannah laden with military supplies. This was the first ship to run the blockade solely on the Confederate government account.
13 November 1861
Alabama. USS Water Witch, Lieutenant Aaron K Hughes, captured the blockade-running British brigantine Cornucopia off Mobile.
14 November 1861
California. US cutter Mary, Captain Pease, seized the Confederate privateer Neva at San Francisco.
15 November 1861
Florida. USS Dale, Commander Yard, captured the British schooner Mabel east of Jacksonville.
Virginia. The Confederate Commissioners Mason and Slidell disembarked from USS San Jacinto at Fort Monroe.
16 November 1861
CSA. Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory advertised for plans and bids to build four seagoing ironclads capable of carrying four heavy guns each.
17 November 1861
Florida. USS Connecticut, Commander Maxwell Woodhull, captured the British schooner Adeline, loaded with mili­tary stores and supplies off Cape Canaveral.
18 November 1861
Kentucky. USS Conestoga, Lieutenant S L Phelps, on an expedition up Cumberland River, dispersed Confederate forces and silenced a battery at Canton.
North Carolina. USS Monticello, Lieutenant Braine, engaged a Confederate battery near New Inlet.
19 November 1861
At Sea. CSS Nashville, Lieutenant Pegram, captured and burned the American clipper ship Harvey Birch, bound from Le Havre to New York.
21 November 1861
Louisiana. USS New London, Lieutenant Abner Read, with USS R R Cuyler and crew members of USS Mas­sachusetts, captured the Confederate schooner Olive with a cargo of lumber in Mississippi Sound.
22 November 1861
USA. The US Marine Corps was authorised to enlist an additional 500 privates and a proportionate number of non­-commissioned officers.
Florida. Two days of combined gunfire was directed from USS Niagara, Flag Officer McKean, USS Richmond, Captain Francis B Ellison, and Fort Pickens against Confederate defences at Fort McRae, the Pensa­cola Navy Yard, and the town of Warrington.
Louisiana. USS New London, Lieutenant Abner Read, with USS R R Cuyler and crew members of USS Mas­sachusetts, captured the steamer Anna, with naval stores in Mississippi Sound.
23 November 1861
Martinique. CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, evaded USS Iroquois and steamed a course for Europe.
Arkansas. The Confederate gunboat Tuscarora was accidentally destroyed by fire near Helena.
24 November 1861
Georgia. A landing party from USS Flag, Commander J Rodgers, USS Augusta, USS Pocahontas, USS Seneca, and USS Savan­nah, took possession of the Tybee Island in Savannah Harbour.
25 November 1861
Leeward Islands. CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured the American brig Montmorenci.
South Carolina. USS Penguin, Acting Lieutenant Thomas A Budd, captured the blockade-running schooner Albion near North Edisto, with a cargo of arms, munitions, and provisions.
26 November 1861
Leeward Islands. CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned the American schooner Arcade north of the Leeward Islands.
Georgia. CSS Savannah, Commodore Tattnall, and three steamers sortied against the Union fleet in Cockspur Roads. They failed to draw the Union blockading vessels within range of Fort Pulaski’s guns.
27 November 1861
Louisiana. USS Vincennes, Lieutenant Samuel Marcy, boarded and seized the blockade-running British bark Empress, aground at the mouth of the Mississippi River, with a large cargo of coffee.
28 November 1861
Mississippi. USS New London, Lieutenant A Read, captured the Confederate blockade-runner Lewis, with a cargo of sugar and molasses, and the schooner A J View, with a cargo of turpentine and tar, off Ship Island.
30 November 1861
Florida. USS Wanderer, Lieutenant James H Spotts, captured the blockade-running British schooner Telegraph near Indian Key.
Georgia. USS Savannah, Commander John S Missroon, with other ships in company, seized the Confederate schooner E J Waterman, after the vessel grounded at Tybee Island with a cargo of coffee aboard

December 1861

1 December 1861
Georgia. USS Seminole, Commander Gillis, seized sloop Lida, from Havana, off St Simon’s Sound, with a cargo of coffee, lead, and sugar.
Louisiana. USS New London, Lieutenant A Read, captured the sloop Advocate in Mississippi Sound.
2 December 1861
Virginia, CSS Patrick Henry, Commander Tucker, attacked four Union steamers above Newport News. CSS Patrick Henry was damaged in the two-hour action.
3 December 1861
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned the American ship Vigilant, bound from New York to the West Indies.
Florida. USS Santiago de Cuba, Commander Ridgely, captured the British blockade-running schooner Victoria.
4 December 1861
Louisiana. Confederate steamers CSS Florida and CSS Pamlico attacked USS Montgomery, Commander Thompson D Shaw, off Horn Island Pass, Mississippi Sound.
6 December 1861
South Carolina. USS Augusta, Commander Parrott, captured the British blockade-runner Cheshire off the coast.
8 December 1861
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured and burned the American bark Eben Dodge in mid-ocean. The ship was equipped for a whaling voyage in the Pacific Ocean.
North Carolina. USS Rhode Island, Lieutenant Trenchard, seized British blockade-runner Phantom with a cargo of sugar off Cape Lookout.
9 December 1861
Mississippi. USS New London, Lieutenant A: Read, captured the schooner Delight and sloops Express and Osceola off Cat Island Passage.
Virginia. USS Harriet Lane, Lieutenant Robert H Wyman, and other vessels of the Potomac Flotilla engaged Confederate forces at Freestone Point.
10 December 1861
South Carolina. USS Isaac Smith, Lieutenant James W A Nicholson, on an expedition up Ashepoo River, landed on Otter Island and took possession of an abandoned Confederate fort.
11 December 1861
Florida. USS Bienville, Commander Steedman, captured the schooners Sarah and Caroline off St John’s River.
Louisiana. USS South Carolina, Commander Alden, captured the Confederate sloop Florida off the lighthouse at Timbalier.
12 December 1861
Georgia. USS Alabama, Commander Edward Lanier, captured the British ship Admiral off Savannah, attempting to run the blockade.
South Carolina. USS Isaac Smith, Lieutenant J W A Nicholson, on a reconnaissance in the Ashepoo River, with a detachment of Marines embarked, scattered Confederate troops by gunfire and landed Marines to destroy their quarters.
15 December 1861
North Carolina. USS Stars and Stripes, Lieutenant Reed Werden, captured the blockade-running schooner Charity off Cape Hatteras.
North Carolina. USS Jamestown, Commander Green, captured Confederate sloop Havelock near Cape Fear.
17 December 1861
Georgia. Seven “stone fleet” vessels were sunk by Union sailors at the entrance of Savannah Harbour, to block the passage.
19 December 1861
South Carolina. Confederate forces demolished the lighthouse on Morris Island, near Charleston.
20 December 1861
North Carolina. The steamer Gordon ran the blockade off Wilmington.
South Carolina. A “stone fleet” was sunk at Charleston by Union Captain C H Davis.
24 December 1861
South Carolina. USS Gem of the Sea, Lieutenant Irvin B Baxter, captured and destroyed the British blockade-runner Prince of Wales off Georgetown.
25 December 1861
North Carolina. USS Fernandina, Acting Lieutenant George W Browne, captured the schooner William H Northrup off Cape Fear.
26 December 1861
Georgia. A Confederate Fleet, including CSS Savannah, Commodore Tattnall, CSS Resolute, CSS Sampson, CSS Ida, and CSS Barton, attacked the Union blockading ships at the mouth of the Savannah River. Before returning to anchor under the guns of Fort Pulaski, Tattnall forced the blockaders to move seaward temporarily.
Louisiana. USS Rhode Island, Lieutenant Trenchard, captured the Confederate schooner Venus southeast of Sabine Pass.
28 December 1861
Louisiana. USS New London, Lieutenant A Read, captured the Confederate schooner Gipsey with a cargo of cotton in Mis­sissippi Sound.
29 December 1861
Virginia. CSS Sea Bird, Flag Officer Lynch, evaded Union gunfire and captured a large schooner carrying fresh water to Fort Monroe near Hampton Roads.
30 December 1861
Texas. USS Santee, Captain Eagle, captured the schooner Garonne off Galveston.
31 December 1861
Mississippi. The port of Biloxi surrendered to a landing party of seamen and Marines covered by USS Water Witch, USS New London, and USS Henry Lewis. A small Confederate battery was destroyed, and two guns and the schooner Captain Spedden were captured.
North Carolina. Two boats, under Acting Masters A Allen and H L Sturges, from USS Mount Vernon, destroyed a lightship off Wilmington. It had been fitted out as a gunboat by the Confederates.
South Carolina. USS Augusta, Commander Parrott, captured the Confederate schooner Island Belle attempting to run the blockade near Bull’s Bay.
31 December 1861-2 January 1862
South Carolina. A Union naval squadron under Commander C R P Rodgers, including the gunboats USS Ottawa, USS Pembina, and USS Seneca and four armed boats carrying howitzers, supported a successful am­phibious attack on Confederate positions at Port Royal Ferry and on Coosaw River. Gunboat fire covered the troop advance, and guns and naval gunners were landed as artillery support. Army signal officers acted as gunfire observers and coordinators on board the ships. The action disrupted Confederate plans to erect batteries and build troop strength in the area in order to close the Coosaw River and iso­late Union troops on Port Royal Island.

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