Naval Chronology 1863
1 January 1863
Texas. Confederate warships under Major Leon Smith defeated the Union blockading forces at Galveston in a fierce surprise attack combined with an assault ashore by Confederate troops that resulted in the capture of the Union company stationed there. Smith’s flotilla included the improvised cotton-clad gunboats CSS Bayou City and CSS Neptune, with sharpshooters and boarding parties aboard, and the tenders John F Carr and Lucy Gwin. The Union squadron under Commander William B Renshaw (USS Harriet Lane, USS Owasco, USS Corypheus, USS Sachem, USS Clifton, and USS Westfield, was caught off guard. Despite the surprise, USS Harriet Lane, Commander Jonathan M Wainwright, rammed CSSS Bayou City, causing little damage. In turn, she was rammed by CSS Neptune, which was so damaged by the resulting impact and a shot from USS Harriet Lane taken at the waterline that she sank in 8 feet of water. CSS Bayou City, meanwhile, turned and rammed USS Harriet Lane so heavily that the two ships could not be separated. The troops from the cotton-clad clambered over the bulwarks to board USS Harriet Lane. Commander Wainwright was killed in the wild hand-to-hand combat and his ship was captured. In the meantime, USS Westfield, Commander Renshaw, had run aground in Bolivar Channel prior to the action, could not be extricated, and was destroyed to prevent her capture. Renshaw and a boat crew were killed when USS Westfield blew up prematurely. The small ships comprising the remainder of the blockading force ran through heavy Confederate fire from ashore and stood out to sea.
3 January 1863
Cuba. Confederate commerce raiding schooner Retribution, Master Thomas B Power, chased the merchant ships Gilmore Meredith and Westward, which fled into the harbour at Havana to avoid seizure.
Virginia USS Currituck, Acting Master Thomas J Linnekin, captured the sloop Potter between the mouths of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers.
4 January 1863
Arkansas. A Union expedition under Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter and Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman got underway up the White River, aiming at the capture of Fort Hindman at Arkansas Post. Fort Hindman mounted eleven guns. With a limited coal supply available, Porter had the gunboats towed upriver by Army transports to conserve his fuel as much as possible. The gunboats included USS Baron de Kalb, USS Louisville, USS Cincinnati, USS Signal, USS Marmora, USS Lexington, USS New Era, USS Romeo, USS Rattler, USS Glide, and the flagship USS Black Hawk. Porter ordered the ram USS Monarch to join the force at the mouth of the Arkansas River.
Indiana. Fourteen Union steamers departed Evansville, headed for Nashville with essential supplies. They required convoy protection from Smithland, Kentucky, onwards. Two gunboats were held at Smithland for this purpose.
South Carolina. USS Quaker City, Commander James M Frailey, captured the sloop Mercury off Charleston with important Confederate dispatches. Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont described “the most important” Confederate letter as one demanding greater urgency for the building of ironclads in England.
Tennessee. Union Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant telegraphed Commander Alexander Mosely Pennock at Cairo, Illinois, asking for gunboat support as Confederate troops renewed their attempts to regain positions in Tennessee. Pennock had foreseen the Confederate threat and ordered all available gunboats to ascend the Tennessee River with the rising waters.
5 January 1863
Florida. Boat crews from USS Sagamore, Lieutenant-Commander Earl English, seized the blockade-running British sloop Avenger in Jupiter Inlet, with a cargo of coffee, gin, salt, and baled goods.
6 January 1863
Tennessee. Confederate raiders captured and burned the steamboat Jacob Musselman near Memphis.
Tennessee. Union Colonel William W Lowe, commanding at Fort Henry, was ordered to request gunboats on the Tennessee River to destroy a large number of flatboats and other craft being gathered by the Confederate for crossing the Tennessee.
Florida. USS Pocahontas, Lieutenant-Commander William M Gamble, captured the blockade-runner Antona off Cape San Blas.
7 January 1863
Virginia. A Union expedition up the Pamunkey River destroyed Confederate boats, barges, and stores at West Point and White House. USS Mahaska and USS Commodore Morris, under Commander Foxhall A Parker, supported the movement and convoyed troops aboard the transport May Queen. Low water and obstructions prevented further access upriver.
8 January 1863
Florida. USS Sagamore, Lieutenant-Commander English, seized the blockade-running British sloop Julia off Jupiter Inlet with a cargo of salt.
Florida. USS Tahoma, Lieutenant-Commander Alexander A Semmes, captured the blockade-runner Silas Henry, aground in Tampa Bay with a cargo of cotton.
9 January 1863
Florida. Boat crews from USS Ethan Allen, Acting Master Isaac A Pennell, destroyed large salt works south of St Joseph’s.
9 January 1863
Arkansas. USS Baron De Kalb, USS Louisville, USS Cincinnati, USS Lexington, USS Rattler, and USS Black Hawk, under Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter aboard the tug Ivy, engaged the Confederate batteries at Fort Hindman. After ascending the Arkansas River, the naval squadron covered the landing of troops and drove the Confederates from their rifle pits, enabling Union Major-General John Alexander McClernand’s troops to take command of the woods below the fort and approach unseen.
10 January 1863
Bahamas. USS Octorara, Commander Napoleon Collins, captured the blockade-running British schooner Rising Dawn in North West Providence Channel with a cargo of salt.
Virgin Islands. CSS Retribution, Master Power, captured the brig J P Ellicott, bound from Boston to Cienfuegos.
Arkansas. USS Baron De Kalb, USS Louisville, USS Cincinnati, USS Lexington, USS Rattler, and USS Black Hawk, under Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter aboard the tug Ivy moved to within 60 yards of the fort to break down the works for the next day’s assault. The fort’s eleven guns pouring a destructive fire into the gunboats. USS Rattler, Lieutenant-Commander Watson Smith, attempted to run past the fort to provide enfilade support but was caught on a snag placed in the river, received a heavy raking fire, and was forced to return downstream.
Texas. Union Commodore Henry H Bell in USS Brooklyn, with other ships in company, bombarded the port of Galveston. Bell decided not to force an entrance because of the risks of running aground on shoals or in the narrow channel.
11 January 1863
Virgin Islands. The brig J P Ellicott was retaken by her own crew from the Confederate prize crew and sailed to St Thomas Island where she was turned over safely to USS Alabama, Commander Edward T Nichols.
Arkansas. Arkansas. USS Baron De Kalb, USS Louisville, USS Cincinnati, USS Lexington, USS Rattler, and USS Black Hawk, under Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter aboard the tug Ivy renewed the engagement at Fort Hindman in the morning. The Army launched an assault after the naval bombardment dismounted or disabled every gun in the fort. The ram USS Monarch and USS Rattler and USS Glide, under Lieutenant-Commander Watson Smith, pressed upriver to cut off any attempted escape by the garrison. Confederate Brigadier General Thomas John Churchill surrendered the fort. After the loss of Fort Hindman, the Confederates soon evacuated other positions on the White River and St Charles River before falling waters forced the gunboats to retire downstream. The Union expedition took 6,500 prisoners and a powerful ram at Little Rock, CSS Pontchartrain
South Carolina. USS Matthew Vassar, Acting Master Hugh H Savage, captured the schooner Florida off Little River Inlet, with a cargo of salt.
Tennessee. Confederate raiders captured the steamboat Grampus No 2 near Memphis laden with a large cargo of coal. The steamboat was later burned at Mound City, Arkansas.
Texas. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, sank USS Hatteras, Lieutenant-Commander Homer C Blake, after a close night engagement some thirty miles off Galveston. Only thirteen minutes after the Confederates fired the first gun, the Union warship hoisted a light, and fired an off-gun, as a signal of defeat. USS Hatteras was severely damaged, but the CSS Alabama required negligible repairs. USS Hatteras sank soon afterwards and the CSS Alabama saved the entire crew. Other Union ships in the Galveston area steamed out in a futile chase of the raider.
Virginia. USS Currituck, Acting Master Linnekin, destroyed the salt works at Dividing Creek, which had been supplying Richmond with the essential commodity.
13 January 1863
Arkansas. USS General Bragg, Lieutenant Joshua Bishop, destroyed buildings at Mound City, in reprisal for Confederate attacks on river steamers. The gunboat left Bradley’s Landing near Memphis, Tennessee, at 9 am and fired shells at intervals into the woods until 10 am when troops disembarked at Mound City to carry out the reprisal.
Virginia. USS Currituck, Acting Master Linnekin, captured the schooner Hampton at Dividing Creek.
14 January 1863
Arkansas. A Union expedition under Lieutenant-Commander John G Walker and Brigadier-General Willis Arnold Gorman, including gunboats USS Baron De Kalb and USS Cincinnati with two Army transports in tow, arrived at St Charles on the White River. The aim was to follow up the advantage gained by the capture of Fort Hindman. The Union force discovered that the Confederates had withdrawn upriver aboard the steamer Blue Wing. While USS Cincinnati remained at St Charles, USS Baron De Kalb proceeded up the White River in pursuit of Blue Wing.
Louisiana. USS Kinsman, USS Estrella, USS Calhoun, and USS Diana, under Lieutenant-Commander Thomas McK Buchanan, attacked Confederate defences in Bayou Teche, below Franklin. The warships forced the withdrawal of the Confederates and permitted the removal of the obstructions which had been sunk to halt the ships. CSS Cotton, Lieutenant Edward W Fuller, engaged the attacking force briefly but was compelled to withdraw. The Confederate gunboat was subsequently destroyed by her crew to prevent capture. During the engagement, a torpedo exploded under USS Kinsman, Acting Lieutenant George Wiggin, unshipping her rudder. Lieutenant-Commander Buchanan was killed by shore fire.
North Carolina. USS Columbia, Lieutenant Joseph P Couthouy, ran aground on the coast. High winds and heavy seas prevented all attempts to get her off.
15 January 1863
Bahamas. USS Octorara, Commander Collins, seized the blockade-running British sloop Brave in North West Providence Channel, with a cargo of salt and sponge.
District of Columbia. President Abraham Lincoln conferred with Captain John Adolphus Dahlgren at the Washington Navy Yard regarding the progress of gunpowder development.
16 January 1863
Alabama. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, ran the blockade out of Mobile in the early morning after having remained in that port for four months to complete repairs. Confusion in the Union blockading fleet enabled CSS Florida to escape, even though the Confederate commerce raider passed within 300 yards of USS R R Cuyler, Commander George F Emmons.
Arkansas. USS Baron De Kalb, Lieutenant-Commander J G Walker, arrived at Devall’s Bluff on the White River. A landing party went ashore and took possession of public property, guns, and munitions.
17 January 1863
Arkansas. USS Baron De Kalb, Lieutenant-Commander J G Walker, left Devall’s Bluff on the White River and resumed its pursuit of the Confederate steamer Blue Wing, which was reported to have departed Devall’s Bluff just before the Union gunboat arrived. USS Forest Rose and USS Romeo and an Army transport proceeded up the White River as far as Des Arc. The transport reached Des Arc about an hour after the gunboats and the troops disembarked to search the town. Thirty-nine Confederate soldiers were found in the hospital and paroled. The expedition also captured a quantity of artillery ammunition. The squadron then withdrew downstream.
North Carolina. USS Columbia, Lieutenant Joseph P Couthouy, was captured by the Confederates after running aground two days earlier. She was destroyed by fire and Couthouy and eleven crew members were taken prisoner.
18 January 1863
Mexico. USS Wachusett, Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes, and USS Sonoma, Commander Thomas H Stevens, seized the steamer Virginia off Mugeres Island.
Mississippi. Following the conclusion of operations on the White River, Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter turned his attention to Vicksburg. All the gunboats on the Yazoo River were ordered to convoy and protect the movement of the army on transports to Milliken’s Bend.
South Carolina. The Confederate steamer Tropic accidentally caught fire and burned while attempting to run the blockade at Charleston with a cargo of cotton and turpentine.
Virginia. USS Zouave, Pilot John A Phillips, captured the sloop J C McCabe in the James River.
19 January 1863
Cuba. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured and burned the brig Estelle bound from Santa Cruz to Boston with a cargo of sugar, molasses, and honey.
20 January 1863
Cuba. The commerce raider CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, entered Havana after its escape from Mobile, Alabama. The ship disembarked prisoners taken from her first prize.
Tennessee. Union Major-General William Starke Rosecrans requested naval support to protect the transports on the Cumberland River and to destroy any means of crossing as high up as Somerset.
21 January 1863
South Carolina. USS Ottawa, Lieutenant-Commander William D Whiting, captured the schooner Etiwan off Charleston with a cargo of cotton.
North Carolina. USS Daylight, Acting Master Joshua D Warren, forced an unnamed blockade-running schooner aground off New Topsail Inlet and destroyed her.
South Carolina. USS Chocura, Lieutenant-Commander William T Truxtun, seized the blockade-running British schooner Pride at sea east of Cape Romain, with a cargo of salt.
Texas. CSS Josiah Bell and CSS Uncle Ben, under Major Oscar M Watkins attacked and captured the small blockaders USS Morning Light, Acting Master John Dillingham, and USS Velocity, Acting Master Nathan W Hammond, at Sabine Pass. The two Confederate cotton-clad gunboats had moved into the Pass the preceding evening, and in the morning set out to oppose the Union blockaders. The Confederate sharpshooters on CSS Josiah Bell opened fire from 1,000 yards and cleared the decks on USS Morning Light and forced its surrender. In the meantime, CSS Uncle Ben bore down on the schooner USS Velocity. Coming under fire at short range, the schooner was also forced to surrender unconditionally. The Confederates took charge of the sloop and headed back to Sabine Pass.
Virginia. The Union barges J C Davis and Liberty broke loose from their anchorage at Cornfield Harbour, Maryland, and drifted into Coan River, Virginia, where they were boarded and captured by the Confederates. Union Acting Master Benjamin C Dean, USS Dan Smith, ordered a cutter into the Coan River to rescue the crews and recapture or destroy the boats. This was accomplished successfully by Acting Ensign Francis L Harris.
22 January 1863
Tennessee. Union Commander Alexander Mosely Pennock advised Major-General William Starke Rosecrans the USS Silver Lake had departed for operations in the Cumberland River today. USS Lexington, with heavier guns, ordered to follow the next evening. This raised the number of Union gunboats currently active in the river to five.
Virginia. USS Commodore Morris, Lieutenant-Commander James H Gillis, seized the oyster sloop John C Calhoun, the schooner Harriet, and the sloop Music near Chuckatuck Creek.
23 January 1863
Cuba. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured and burned the brigs Windward and Corris Ann.
North Carolina. USS Cambridge, Commander William A Parker, captured the schooner Time off Cape Fear, with a cargo of salt, matches, and shoes.
Texas. The Confederates burned USS Morning Light, which had been captured two days earlier, because it could not be brought over the bar at Sabine Pass.
24 January 1863
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter reported the arrival of his squadron at the mouth of the Yazoo River. The gunboats covered the landing of troops on the western shore of the Mississippi and guarded the Yazoo River. Their position trapped eleven Confederate steamers up the Yazoo that were obtaining provisions for Port Hudson. That left the Confederates with only two steamers on the river to resupply the Confederate fort, with two more kept to assist Vicksburg.
25 January 1863
Virginia. USS Currituck, Acting Master Linnekin, captured the sloop Queen of the Fleet at Tapp’s Creek.
26 January 1863
Haiti. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the bark Golden Rule off Haiti. This vessel was carrying masts, spars, and a complete set of rigging for the brig USS Bainbridge, which had been severely damaged in a gale and put into port at Aspinwall, Panama.
27 January 1863
Caribbean Sea. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the brig Chastelaine off Alta Velo south of Hispaniola. The Chastelaine was en route to Cienfuegos, Cuba, to take on sugar and rum for delivery in Boston.
Georgia. The ironclad USS Montauk, Commander John L Worden, and USS Seneca, USS Wissahickon, USS Dawn, and the mortar schooner C P Williams engaged Confederate batteries at Fort McAllister on the Ogeechee River. Worden was acting under orders from Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont to test and practise the gunnery of the new ironclads. Although Fort McAllister was an important objective, Du Pont was primarily readying his forces for an assault on Charleston, which relied on his ironclads. Worden was unable to proceed within closer range of the fort because of sunken obstructions protected by torpedoes. The flotilla engaged the fort for four hours before withdrawing and without suffering damage. USS Montauk was struck thirteen or fourteen times, but the impenetrability of the armour was proven.
South Carolina. USS Hope, Master John E Rockwell, seized the blockade-running British schooner Emma Tuttle off Charleston.
28 January 1863
Florida. USS Sagamore, Lieutenant-Commander English, captured and destroyed the blockade-running British sloop Elizabeth at the mouth of Jupiter inlet.
29 January 1863
South Carolina. USS Unadilla, Lieutenant-Commander Stephen P Quackenbush, seized the British blockade-runner Princess Royal as it attempted to run into Charleston with a cargo of arms, ammunition, and two valuable steam engines for ironclads.
Tennessee. USS Lexington, Lieutenant-Commander Samuel L Phelps, and other gunboats on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers continued to convoy Army transports and maintain supply lines. On patrol between Cairo and Nashville, Phelps met a Union transport that had been fired upon by enemy artillery twenty miles above Clarksville. USS Lexington landed a shore party and burned a storehouse. The ship then headed to Clarksville and passed a fleet of thirty-one steamers with numerous barges in tow, convoyed by three gunboats under Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch. USS Lexington was fired upon by the enemy from two Parrott rifled guns and was struck three times. After returning to Clarksville, the gunboat left at midnight with the convoy of transports and reached Nashville on the night of 30 January without interference.
Texas. USS Brooklyn, Commodore Henry Haywood Bell, with gunboats USS Sciota, USS Owasco, and USS Katahdin, tested the effectiveness of the Confederate batteries under construction at Galveston. He discovered that two of the fort’s guns were capable of firing further than the squadron – a range of more than two-and-a-half miles.
30 January 1863
Mississippi. Union Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant informed Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter of a plan to cut a canal through Lake Providence, Louisiana, to permit the passage of troops by a roundabout route to the south and rear of Vicksburg. Lake Providence connects with the Red River through Tensas Bayou, Ouachita River, and Black River, offering a wide and navigable way. Grant ordered a brigade to embark as soon as possible to test the idea, and requested a light-draft gunboat to accompany the expedition. Porter immediately ordered USS Linden, Acting Master Thomas E Smith, to cooperate with what proved ultimately to be impractical experiment.
North Carolina. USS Commodore Perry, Lieutenant-Commander Charles W Flusser, landed troops at Hertford, who destroyed two bridges over the Perquimana River. As a result of the mission, no bridges remained across the river, forcing lengthy detours for the Confederates transporting supplies south of the Chowan River.
South Carolina. USS Isaac Smith, Acting Lieutenant Francis S Conover, conducted an expedition up the Stono River. On her return journey, the ship was caught in a heavy crossfire, was forced aground above Legareville, and captured by the Confederates. USS Commodore McDonough, Lieutenant-Commander George Bacon, attempted without success to prevent the capture.
31 January 1863
West Indies. CSS Retribution, Master Power, captured the schooner Hanover, in coastal waters.
Kentucky. Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch reported from Smithland, Kentucky, that USS Robb had arrived there on 30 January 1863. USS Robb and USS St Clair were sent to Paducah to bring up a coal barge and then to guard a large convoy to Nashville and then bring another downriver.
South Carolina. Confederate Flag Officer Duncan N Ingraham led the rams CSS Chicora, Commander John R Tucker, and CSS Palmetto State, Lieutenant John Rutledge, in an attack on the Union blockading fleet off Charleston early in the morning in a fog. CSS Palmetto State rammed USS Mercedita, Captain Stellwagen, and fired into her at point-blank range, forcing the gunboat to strike her colours in a sinking and defenceless condition. CSS Chicora engaged USS Keystone State, Commander William E LeRoy, severely crippling her before USS Memphis, Captain Pendleton G Watmough, took her in tow in a sinking condition. Commander LeRoy reported that the ship’s steam chimneys were destroyed and all motive power was lost. The ship was leaking badly and the forehold was on fire. Casualties numbered 20 killed and 20 wounded. USS Quaker City was damaged by a shell that entered amidships above the water line, cutting away a portion of the guard beam and a guard brace, and then exploded in the engine room. Severe damage was caused to the machinery the bulkheads were weakened. USS Augusta, Commander Enoch G Parrort, took a shot in the port side above the boiler.’ USS Housatonic, Captain William R Taylor, engaged the two Confederate rams before they withdrew towards safety in Charleston harbour. Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard claimed optimistically that the blockade had been broken by this aggressive action.
1 February 1863
Mexico. USS Two Sisters, Acting Master William A Arthur, seized the sloop Richards from Havana off Boca Grande.
Florida. USS Tahoma, Lieutenant-Commander A A Semmes, and USS Hendrick Hudson, Lieutenant David Cate, captured the blockade-running British schooner Margaret off St Petersburg.
Georgia. Captain Percival Drayton reconnoitred the Wilmington River, Georgia, with USS Passaic and USS Marblehead. The expedition came in sight of Wassaw from two and a quarter miles distance but was stopped by shallow water. The Confederate batteries were found to be extensive, with troops drawn up on the shore to oppose their further progress.
Georgia. The Union ironclad USS Montauk, Commander Worden, with USS Seneca, USS Wissahickon, USS Dawn, and the mortar schooner C P Williams, again tested the defences of Fort McAllister. Worden had learned, through an escaped slave the position of the obstructions and torpedoes which bad effectively blocked his way in the previous attack of 27 January 1863. This information, with the guidance of the contraband aboard, enabled the flotilla to take up a position nearer the fort for this attack. USS Montauk moved within 600 yards of Fort McAllister in the early morning, and the gunboats took a position one and three-quarters miles below the fort. Worden opened fire at 7:45 am. The ironclad’s turret was hit for the first time within three minutes. The Confederate fire was concentrated on the ironclad, which eventually took some 48 hits in the four-hour engagement. Colonel Robert H Anderson, commanding Fort McAllister, reported that the Union naval guns were fired with remarkable precision, and the mortar fire was also highly accurate, with a large number of shells bursting directly over the battery. The ironclad’s fire was principally directed at the defenders’ 8-inch Columbiad, and the parapet in front of this gun was breached, leaving the gun entirely exposed. The attackers withdrew after completing their mission.
Mississippi. Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter reported that the ram Monarch, Colonel Ellet, and the Juliet, Acting Lieutenant Edward Shaw, had seized 250 bales of cotton at Port Chicot. This was employed to protect the boilers of vulnerable vessels.
2 February 1863
North Carolina. USS Commodore Perry anchored at the mouth of the Yeopim River. Two boats were sent upriver and captured three small boats, two of which contained cargoes including salt.
Mississippi. The Union ram USS Queen of the West, Colonel Charles R Ellet, attacked the Confederate steamer City of Vicksburg, which lay under the batteries of Vicksburg. Ellet had hoped to get underway to make the attack before daybreak, but the movement was delayed for mechanical reasons until it was daylight. The advantage of darkness was lost and the Confederates opened a heavy fire on USS Queen of the West as she approached the city. They achieved three hits before the USS Queen of the West reached the steamer. The ram turned partially round in order to strike effectively. At the moment of collision, the strong current caught the stern of the attacking ship nearly all momentum was lost. Ellet ordered the starboard gun to fire incendiary shells, which set the City of Vicksburg aflame, although this was rapidly extinguished by the Confederates. The City of Vicksburg fired back into Queen of the West, which was protected by bulwarks of cotton around the sides. One shell set the ram afire near the starboard wheel and the discharge of its own gun set another fire in the bow. The flames spread rapidly and the dense smoke entered the engine room to suffocate the engineers. The fire was put out by cutting the burning bales loose. USS Queen of the West then steamed downstream with orders to destroy all Confederate vessels encountered. Unable to ascend the Big Black River because of the narrowness of the stream, Ellet continued down the Mississippi.
North Carolina. USS Mount Vernon, Lieutenant James Trathen, drove the blockade-running schooner Industry aground off New Topsail Inlet and burned her.
3 February 1863
Caribbean Sea. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned at sea the schooner Palmetto, bound from New York to San Juan, with a cargo of provisions.
Bahamas. USS Sinoma, Commander Stevens, captured the blockade-running British bark Springbok off the coast.
Mississippi. USS Queen of the West, Colonel Charles R Ellet, met the Confederate steamer A W Baker coming up the Mississippi below the mouth of the Red River. The Confederate vessel ran ashore but was captured. Its cargo had been unloaded in Port Hudson and the steamer was returning for more supplies. Ellet placed a guard aboard when another steamer, Moro, was seen coming downstream. The Moro was taken with large quantities of meat and salt, destined for the Confederate garrison at Port Hudson. Running short of coal, Ellet turned back upriver, destroying more food supplies awaiting transportation to Port Hudson. Stopping at the mouth of the Red River to release the civilians captured on Baker and Moro. Ellet then seized the steamer Berwick Bay, with another a large cargo of food for Port Hudson. Ellet ordered his prizes destroyed and returned to a position below Vicksburg. Some $200,000 worth of property had been destroyed by USS Queen of the West in this surprise raid.
Mississippi. Union operations began against Fort Pemberton at Greenwood, by preparing to breach the levee at Yazoo Pass in order to gain access to the Yazoo River above Haynes’ Bluff. The further aim was to reach Vicksburg from the northeast and rear.
Tennessee. Proceeding up the Cumberland River on convoy duty from Smithfield, Kentucky, Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch’s squadron of the USS Lexington, USS Fairplay, USS St Clair, USS Brilliant, USS Robb, and USS Silver Lake, met the steamer Wild Cat coming downriver some 24 miles below Dover. The steamer carried a message from Colonel Abner C Harding, commanding at Fort Donelson. Harding reported that he was under attack by Confederate troops. Fitch pushed his squadron at high speed and arrived in the evening to find the defending troops short of ammunition and surrounded. Not expecting the arrival of the gunboats, the Confederates had taken a position that could be raked by the naval guns. The Confederates were taken by surprise and immediately retreated. Fitch then stationed his vessels to prevent the return of the Southern forces.
3 February 1863
Mississippi. USS Tyler, Lieutenant-Commander James M Prichett, patrolled the Yazoo River and confiscated 113 bales of cotton. This was in keeping with the plan to seize all Confederate cotton for the dual purpose of preventing its shipment through the blockade and to protect the vessels of the Mississippi Squadron.
4 February 1863
Mississippi. Master G W Brown, of USS Forest Rose, prepared to enter the newly breached opening into the Yazoo River at Yazoo Pass. Two ditches were cut through the levee and a powder charge was exploded under the dam by means of mortar fuses. The explosion shifted large quantities of earth, opening a passage for the water, and loosening the bottom so that the water washed through very fast. Three more shafts were sunk, one in the entrance of the other ditch, and the other two on each side of the mound between the two ditches, and charges were set off simultaneously, to shatter the mound and open a wider passage through the ditch. The project opened a channel 70 or 75 yards wide into the Yazoo River. The plan of attack called for gunboats and Army transports to go through the Pass into Moon Lake, down the Coldwater and Tallahatchie Rivers to the Yazoo, to take Fort Pemberton at Greenwood and capture of Yazoo City, before proceeding downriver to assault Vicksburg from its thinly defended rear.
Missouri. USS New Era, temporarily under Acting Ensign William C Hanford, captured steamer W A Knapp with a cargo of cloth at Island No 10.
6 February 1863
Arkansas. Lieutenant-Commander Thomas O Selfridge, USS Conestoga, forwarded a report by Lieutenant Cyrenius Dominy, USS Signal, that the Confederates had no heavy guns in the White River as far as Little Rock. The Confederate ram CSS Pontchartrain was reported as unable to get up steam with repairs underway; it had no guns and no competent officers. The ram was described as having a casemate of 20 inches of wood and railroad iron to abaft the wheels. Intelligence suggested that the Confederates had 16,000 troops at Little Rock, and a further 6,000 fortifying Pine Bluff. There were 3,000 cavalrymen reported at Dardanelle, but all these were considered to be over-estimates of effective strength. Selfridge proposed an immediate attack on Little Rock and the destruction of the ram but this was not immediately possible.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter ordered Lieutenant-Commander Watson Smith to command the expedition through Yazoo Pass aimed at the capture of Yazoo City. Smith was ordered to lead USS Rattler and USS Romeo to Delta, near Helena, and to join USS Forest Rose for the passage through Yazoo Pass. USS Signal was recalled from the White River to accompany the flotilla. USS Cricket and USS Linden were to be detained if they were encountered at Delta, Smith was ordered to rely on the armoured USS Chillicothe for fighting, in order to protect the lighter warships. The force was later augmented by USS Baron De Kalb, USS Marmora and the towboat S Bayard in lieu of USS Cricket and USS Linden.
7 February 1863
CSA, A daring raiding expedition on the Great Lakes was proposed by Lieutenant William H Murdaugh CSN to the Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory. Four naval officers would make their way to Canada and purchase a small steamer and crew her with Canadian sympathisers. The object of the cruise would be revealed only when underway. The crew was to be armed with revolvers and cutlasses and the steamer was to carry torpedoes, explosives, and incendiary materials. Murdaugh planned to board and capture USS Michigan at Erie, Pennsylvania, and then enter Lake Ontario through the Welland Canal to destroy locks and shipping. The scheme was to pass onwards through Lake Huron into Lake Michigan with Chicago as the final objective. The raiders would burn shipping at Chicago and destroy the locks of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which connected Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. From there, the captured frigate would turn northward, attacking Milwaukee and other places, before returning across Lake Huron, to Sault St Marie, where it would destroy the lock of the Sault Ste Marie Canal. Then the vessel would finally run into Georgian Bay, to cut the railway connecting with the main Canadian lines before destroying the ship. The bold venture was approved by the Navy Department, but President Jefferson Finis Davis believed the attack would raise an undesirable storm in Great Britain about the violation of its neutrality. The project was therefore cancelled.
Alabama. Confederate Commander Ebenezer Farrand reported the successful launching of the two ironclads, CSS Tuscaloosa and CSS Huntsville at Selma. Both warships were directed to Mobile.
Illinois. USS Glide, Acting Ensign Charles B Dahlgren, was destroyed accidentally by fire at Cairo.
Mississippi. USS Forest Rose, Acting Master G V Brown, succeeded in entering Yazoo Pass and proceeded into Moon Lake as far as the mouth of the Old Pass. Brown learned that the Confederates were obstructing Coldwater River by felling trees across it. He also reported that ships could not enter the pass easily until some trees were trimmed and overhanging trees cut down. The density of the woods slowed the vessels greatly and damaged the smokestacks and upper works severely.
8 February 1863
South Carolina. USS Commodore McDonough, Lieutenant-Commander Bacon, and an Army transport reconnoitered the Stono River and Folly River, and discovered that no new enemy batteries had been erected.
9 February 1863
Virginia. USS Coeur de Lion, Acting Master Charles H Brown, captured the blockade-running schooner Emily Murray off Machodoc Creek, with a cargo of lumber, sugar, and whisky.
10 February 1863
Arkansas. Confederate troops disabled by gunfire the ram USS Dick Fulton at Cypress Bend.
11 February 1863
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter made logistical preparations to sustain the fleet for the impending operations around Vicksburg. He requested 160,000 bushels of coal to be sent to the Yazoo River, in addition to the current monthly requirement of 70,000 bushels near Vicksburg, 40,000 to White River and 20,000 to Memphis. He also asked for the transport Abraham to be filled with three months’ provisions and stores for the naval squadron and to be kept ready to move at immediate notice.
12 February 1863
West Indies. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured the ship Jacob Bell, bound from Foochow, China, to New York with a cargo of tea, firecrackers, matting, and camphor valued at more than $2,000,000. Jacob Bell was burned the following day.
Arkansas. USS Conestoga, Lieutenant-Commander Selfridge, seized the steamers Rose Hambleton and Evansville off the White River.
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut was recalled from visiting his blockading depot at Ship Island, and the ships off Mobile and Pensacola to New Orleans to deal with preparations for the campaign against Vicksburg. He reported that his ships are out of coal and that the force on the Mississippi had been reduced to comprise USS Pensacola, USS Portsmouth, USS Hartford, USS Richmond, USS Essex, and the gunboats USS Kineo, USS Albatross, and USS Winona. He considered this an insufficient force to protect river commerce and also to attack the enemy batteries along the river. One ship at least was required each at Galveston and Mobile
Louisiana. USS Queen of the West, Colonel Charles R Ellet, steamed up the Red River and then ascended the Atchafalaya River where a landing party destroyed twelve wagons. During the night, USS Queen of the West was fired on near Simsport, Next day, Ellet returned to the scene of the attack and destroyed all the buildings on three adjoining plantations in reprisal. The vessel had previously run below Vicksburg to disrupt Confederate trade in the Red River area.
13 February 1863
Louisiana. USS Queen of the West, Colonel Charles R Ellet, destroyed all the buildings on three adjoining plantations in reprisal for attacks on his ship the previous night.
Mississippi. USS Indianola, Lieutenant-Commander George Brown, ran past the batteries at Vicksburg to join USS Queen of the West in blockading the Red River. Towing two barges filled with coal, USS Indianola steamed slowly past the upper batteries undetected. Abreast the point, Indianola was sighted and a heavy fire opened upon her without effect.
Mississippi. Union Lieutenant-Commander Watson Smith, ordered to command the gunboat expedition at Yazoo Pass, arrived at Helena, Arkansas. USS Baron Dc Kalb Lieutenant-Commander J G Walker, was added to his force. Unable to enter the pass with his vessels, Smith waited for troops to clear the entrance which did not permit the easy passage of his ships. While Union soldiers cut the trees at the entrance, Confederates felled trees to block the river further ahead. The opening of the pass was expected to take one week of labour.
North Carolina. Union Commander A Ludlow Case, USS Iroquois, reported the strengthening of Confederate positions in the Wilmington area. He predicted that if Charleston were to be captured, Wilmington would become the main port for Confederate blockade-runners. He identified four casemated batteries west of Fort Fisher completed and a fifth nearly ready, each mounting two or three guns. Having learned the vulnerability of masonry fortifications to modern rifled guns, the new defences were built of heavy timber, covered deeply with sand. These defences were more formidable and better arranged with detached batteries than those at the South Bar, Fort Caswell, and other locations. Blockade runners would soon be able to enter the Cape Fear River under cover of the batteries and to anchor safely until the tide allowed for crossing the bar.
Missouri. USS New Era, Acting Ensign Hanford, captured the steamer White Cloud, carrying Confederate mail, and the steamer Rowena, carrying drugs, on the Mississippi River near Island No. 10.
14 February 1863
Bahamas. Commander Clary, USS Tioga, reported the capture of the blockade-running British schooner Avon with a cargo including liquor.
Louisiana. USS Queen of the West, Colonel Charles R Ellet, patrolling the Red River, seized steamer Era No 3 with a cargo of corn some 15 miles above the mouth of Black River. Ellet continued upriver to investigate reports of the presence of three Confederate vessels at Gordon’s Landing. USS Queen of the West was taken under heavy fire by shore batteries. Attempting to back downriver, the pilot ran her aground, directly under the Confederate guns. The chief engineer reported that the escape pipe had been shot away and the steam pipe was severed. Ellet ordered the ship abandoned and the warship fell into Confederate hands.
Mississippi. USS Forest Rose, Acting Master G W Brown, captured the stern-wheel steamer Chippewa Valley with a cargo of cotton at Island No 63.
15 February 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS Sonoma, Commander Stevens, captured the brig Atlantic, bound from Havana to Matamoras.
Mississippi. USS Marmora, Acting Lieutenant Robert Getty, was ordered to proceed to Delta, at the old Yazoo Pass, to join Lieutenant-Commander Watson Smith’s expedition.
17 February 1863
Tennessee. Confederate troops captured and burned the US tug Hercules opposite Memphis. The Confederates attempted to seize seven coal barges at the same place but were unable to escape because of the fire from Union gunboats at the Memphis wharf.
18 February 1863
Gulf of Mexico. A cutter from USS Somerset, Lieutenant-Commander Alexander F Crosman, captured the blockade-runner Hortense, bound from Havana to Mobile.
North Carolina. USS Victoria, Acting Lieutenant Edward Hooker, captured the brig Minna near Shallotte Inlet, with a cargo of salt and drugs.
19 February 1863
West Indies. CSS Retribution. Acting Master Power, captured the brig Emily Fisher.
South Carolina. The Confederate Navy Department decided to mount an expedition to destroy the Union monitors at Charleston. Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory sent orders to Lieutenant William A Webb for an attack by boarding from-boats and barges. A second proposal was to attack with two or three small steamers, and a third suggestion was to use a cotton-clad ship for boarding across a scaffolding bridge. forward and aft. Planning was thorough: some men were to be supplied with iron wedges to wedge between the turret and the deck, others with wet blankets to cover the pilot-house, and others equipped with powder charges to be thrown down the smoke-stack. Other boarders would smash bottles of turpentine or camphine over the turret, creating an inextinguishable fire. Meanwhile, boarders armed with sulphuretted cartridges would try to smoke the enemy crewmen out.
20 February 1863
Virginia. USS Crusader, Acting Master Thomas I Andrews, captured the schooner General Taylor in Mobjack Bay.
21 February 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned at sea the ship Golden Eagle and the bark Olive Jane. The former ship was approaching the end of a long voyage bound for Cork from San Francisco, after collecting guano from Howland’s Island in the Pacific Ocean.
Mississippi Lieutenant-Commander Watson Smith reported the readiness of his expedition to enter Yazoo Pass. The naval element included USS Chillicothe, USS Baron De Kalb, USS Marmora, USS Romeo, USS Forest Rose, the sidewheel towboat S Bayard and coal barges. A small army transport would travel with the warships carrying over 500 men. USS Signal was to join the expedition after it arrived from Memphis overnight. I am to receive the troops tomorrow.
Virginia, USS Thomas Freeborn, Lieutenant-Commander Samuel Magaw, and USS Dragon, Acting Master George E Hill, engaged a Confederate battery below Fort Lowry while reconnoitring the Rappahannock River. USS Thomas Freeborn was struck by one shot and one Confederate gun was silenced.
23 February 1863
Florida. The schooner Stonewall was captured by USS Tahoma, Lieutenant-Commander A A Semmes, near Key West.
Georgia. Union boat crews from Coast Survey schooners Caswell, William H Dennis, and Arago, under William S Edwards, boarded and seized the blockade-running schooner Glide, aground near Little Tybee Island, with a cargo of cotton. The prize was relinquished to USS Marblehead, Lieutenant-Commander Robert V Scott.
Georgia. USS Potomska, Acting Lieutenant William Budd, captured the blockade-running British schooner Belle in Sapelo Sound, with a cargo of coffee and salt.
Louisiana, USS Kinsman, Acting Lieutenant Wiggen, transporting a detachment of troops, struck a snag and sank in Berwick Bay. Six men were reported missing.
North Carolina. USS Dacotah, Captain Sands, and USS Monticello, Lieutenant-Commander Daniel Braine, approached Fort Caswell to engage a large steamer attempting to run the blockade. The fort exchanged fire with the Union ships but the steamer was out of range of the attackers.
24 February 1863
Mississippi. CSS William H Webb and the recently captured CSS Queen of the West, with CSS Beatty in company, engaged USS Indianola, Lieutenant-Commander G Brown, below Warrenton. The Confederate squadron, under Major Joseph L Brent, had reached Grand Gulf four hours behind the Union vessel which was returning upstream towards Vicksburg. Knowing his speed greatly exceeded that of USS Indianola, Brent attempted to overtake the ironclad and then to attack during the night Shortly before 10 pm. the Confederate vessels were seen from USS Indianola and Brown cleared for action. CSS Queen of the West attempted to ram the USS Indianola but struck a coal barge lashed to the ship’s port side, splitting it in two but causing little damage to USS Indianola. CSS William H Webb rammed USS Indianola at full speed and the impact swung USS Indianola around. CSS Queen of the West struck again with a glancing blow. CSS Queen of the West then manoeuvred into a new position to ram from astern, and succeeded in shattering the framework of the starboard wheelhouse and loosening iron plating. Meanwhile, CSS William H Webb completed a circle upstream in order to gain momentum and rammed USS Indianola a second time, crushing the starboard wheel, disabling the starboard rudder, and starting a number of leaks. USS Indianola was now powerless and the crew deliberately allowed it to sink on to the west bank of the river. The crew surrendered to Lieutenant Colonel Frederick B Brand of CSS Beatty, which had been waiting to enter the fight. The loss of USS Indianola was both humiliating and frustrating for the naval operations against Port Hudson and Vicksburg. The earlier loss of USS Queen of the West and now of USS Indianola ended efforts to blockade the Red River with detached vessels while the main body of the river fleet remained above Vicksburg. The Confederates were now operating the captured Queen of the West and saw good prospects for raising USS Indianola and putting it into action.
South Carolina. USS State of Georgia, Commander James F Armstrong, seized the blockade-running British schooner Annie at sea off Cape Romain, with a cargo of salt and drugs.
Virginia. Cutters from USS Mahaska, Lieutenant Elliot C V Blake, captured and destroyed the sloop Mary Jane and the barge Ben Bolt in Back Creek off York River.
24 February 1863
South Carolina. USS Conemaugh, Lieutenant-Commander Thomas H Eastman, chased the blockade-running British steamer Queen of the Wave aground near the mouth of the North Santee River. Unable to get Queen of the Wave off the bar, the ship was destroyed on 7 March.
25 February 1863
West Indies. USS Vanderbilt, Acting Lieutenant Charles H Baldwin, seized the blockade-running British steamer Peterhoff off St Thomas. An international dispute arose as to the disposition of the mails carried aboard the steamer, and eventually President Abraham Lincoln ruled that they should be returned to the British. Though Peterhoff was initially condemned as a lawful prize this decision was reversed in 1867.
Mississippi. The Union gunboat expedition finally entered Yazoo Pass after a lengthy delay while Army troops cleared obstructions in the river. Union Lieutenant Commander Watson Smith had to overcome substantial problems passing the ships through the tangled growth and only one tug was able to assist in the passage. The speed of the ships was slower than the current, and backing up was the only available resort against danger or to pass the numerous turns. Logs and snags continually fouled the machinery and delays were frequent.
Mississippi. The Confederates worked to raise the sunken USS Indianola. CSS Queen of the West was sent upriver to Vicksburg to obtain a pump and other materials, but was forced to return below Warrenton with news of a large Union gunboat passing the Vicksburg batteries and approaching the small Confederate squadron. The Confederate vessels got underway immediately and proceeded downriver, abandoning the working party and artillery aboard the wreck.
27 February 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and released on bond the ship Washington in mid-ocean.
Mississippi. After making fruitless efforts to raise the sunken USS Indianola, the Confederate working party fired the heavy 11-inch Dahlgren guns into each other and burned the warship to the waterline. The powerful warship was denied to the Confederates by a cunning trick. The Union vessel which threatened the salvage operation the previous evening did not approach nearer than two-and-a-half-miles and never made an attack. The Union vessel was, in fact, a barge, camouflaged to give the appearance of a formidable warship. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter floated the barge downriver as a successful ruse.
28 February 1863
Georgia. USS Montauk, Commander Worden, supported by USS Wissahickon, USS Seneca, and USS Dawn, shelled and destroyed the blockade-runner Rattlesnake, formerly known as CSS Nashville, lying under the guns of Fort McAllister in the Ogeechee River. Rattlesnake had been protected by the fort for eight months, awaiting an opportunity to run the blockade. On 27 February, Worden had noticed Rattlesnake’s renewed movements above Fort McAllister and a subsequent reconnaissance indicated that the vessel had grounded. Worden moved forward at daylight and found Rattlesnake still aground. Under heavy fire from the fort, the Union guns began to bombard the target from long range. Within twenty minutes Rattlesnake was aflame. USS Montauk dropped downriver about 8:30am and struck a torpedo. The violent, sudden explosion fractured the iron hull and the damage required running USS Montauk onto a mud bottom to make repairs. About 9:30 am Rattlesnake’s magazine ignited and the vessel blew up.
Mississippi. The Union naval expedition through Yazoo Pass reached the Coldwater River and spent the two more days waiting for the Army transports to arrive. The time was spent repairing damaged smokestacks and wheels, and in preparing the rams USS Fulton and USS Lioness and the gunboat USS Petrel (which joined on this date) for action, and in collecting cotton bales to strengthen the bulwarks of the vessels.
Missouri. USS New Era, Acting Ensign Hanford, seized the steamer Curlew at Island No 10 in the Mississippi River.
Virginia. USS Wyandank, Acting Master Andrew J Frank, captured the schooners Vista and A W Thompson at Piney P
1 March 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned at sea the ship John A Parks, after transferring to his own vessel provisions and stores. The cargo included white pine lumber.
3 March 1863
Georgia. The ironclads USS Passaic, USS Nahant, and USS Patapsco, with three mortar boats and the gunboats USS Seneca, USS Dawn, and USS Wissahickon, under Captain Drayton, engaged Fort McAllister near Savannah for six hours. Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont continued this engagement in preparation for the assault on Charleston, to test the ironclads and give the crews practical experience.
Mississippi. Union Lieutenant-Commander Watson Smith’s Yazoo Pass expedition moved slowly down the Coldwater River. The waterway was narrow and constricted by trees and underwater obstacles, causing damage to and fouling the ships. Their speed was usually slower than one and a half miles per hour.
North Carolina. A boat crew under Acting Master’s Mate George Drain from USS Matthew Vassar destroyed a large boat at Little River Inlet. After proceeding up the western branch of the river to destroy salt works, the boat grounded and the crew was captured by Confederate troops.
4 March 1863
Florida. USS James S Chambers, Acting Master Luther Nickerson, seized the blockade-running Spanish sloop Relampago and the schooner Ida. The schooner was beached at Sanibel Island and when it could not be extracted, was destroyed by the crew of USS James S Chambers.
5 March 1863
Alabama. USS Aroostook, Lieutenant-Commander Samuel R Franklin, chased the blockade-running sloop Josephine and forced her aground near Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay. The target was destroyed by gunfire by USS Aroostook and USS Pocahontas, Lieutenant Commander Gamble.
Mississippi. The Union Yazoo Pass expedition neared the junction of the Coldwater and Tallahatchie Rivers. Progress since leaving Delta at the Yazoo Pass was 50 miles so far, averaging less than six miles per day.
North Carolina. USS Dacotah, Captain Sands, reported the appearance of a Confederate ironclad at New Inlet on the Cape Fear River. There were no Union ironclads on station on this section of coast and the new arrival posed an invincible threat to the wooden blockading fleet. Sands later reported that the ram had returned inside the Cape Fear River because it was not seaworthy in open waters.’
North Carolina. USS Lockwood returned to New Bern from an expedition up the Pungo River where a bridge was destroyed. Some arms, stores, and a small schooner were captured.
6 March 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured and burned the ship Star of Peace bound from Calcutta to Boston with a cargo of saltpetre and hides.
Mississippi. The Union Yazoo Pass expedition pushed twelve miles down the Tallahatchie from its junction with the Coldwater River. Union Lieutenant-Commander Watson Smith was compelled to leave USS Petrel because of damage to her wheel. USS Petrel returned to action on 10 March after essential repairs.
8 March 1863
Florida. USS Sagamore, Lieutenant-Commander English, captured the sloop Enterprise bound from Mosquito Inlet to Nassau with a cargo of cotton.
9 March 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured and burned the ship Aldebaran, bound from New York with a cargo of provisions and clocks.
Bahamas. USS Octorara, Commander Collins, seized the blockade-running British schooner Florence Nightingale with a cargo of cotton in the North East Providence Channel.
Florida. USS Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant William C Rogers, seized the blockade-running British schooner Surprise off Charlotte Harbour, bound for Havana with a cargo of cotton.
South Carolina. USS Bienville, Commander J R Madison Mullany, captured the schooner Lightning south of Port Royal with a cargo of coffee and salt.
Tennessee. Commander Alexander Mosely Pennock, Captain of the Mississippi Squadron, warned Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, USS Lexington, of anticipated Confederate actions along the Tennessee River. The gunboat was required to patrol the Tennessee River as high as the water level permitted to prevent the enemy from crossing anywhere downriver from Decatur, Alabama. The aim was to station two Union gunboats at Decatur, with a third at Waterloo, where they could command important railroads. Low water in the river prevented the gunboats from reaching Decatur.
10 March 1863
Florida. USS Norwich and USS Uncas under Commander James M Duncan convoyed Union troop transports up the St John’s River. The soldiers landed and reoccupied Jacksonville. Some skirmishing took place outside the town the gunboats shelled the supposed direction of the enemy.
11 March 1863
Florida. USS Norwich and USS Uncas under Commander James M Duncan continued to shell enemy troops skirmishing with the Union garrison at Jacksonville.
13 March 1863
North Carolina. Confederate troops launched a surprise night attack against Fort Anderson on the Neuse River. Gunfire from the Union gunboats USS Hunchback, USS Hetzel, USS Ceres, and USS Shawsheen, supported by a revenue cutter and an armed schooner, helped to force the Confederates to break off their attack and withdraw. The naval gunfire drove the Confederates back and covered the landing of the 88th New York, sent to the relief of the garrison.
14 March 1863
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut attacked the strong Confederate works at Port Hudson with his squadron of seven ships, in an attempt to pass the batteries. Union Major-General Benjamin Franklin Banks’ army was in a position to attack ashore in support of the passage, with supporting fire from mortar schooners. The fleet got underway after 10am, with the heavier ships, USS Hartford, USS Richmond, and USS Monongahela placed on the fort side of the smaller USS Albatross, USS Genesee, and USS Kineo. USS Mississippi brought up the rear. Moving up the river aboard USS Hartford, with USS Albatross lashed alongside, exchanged heavy fire using only two guns that could be brought to bear on the shore batteries. Passing the lower batteries, the current nearly swung the flagship around and threatened to ground her but Farragut backed up USS Albatross and then resumed forward progress upriver. Following the flagship closely, USS Richmond took a hit in the steam plant and was disabled. Even with the aid of the USS Genesee lashed alongside it was impossible to make headway against the strong current of the river, and the ship was compelled to turn back under fire. With the aid of USS Genesee, USS Richmond anchored out of the range of the enemy guns. Next in line, USS Monongahela ran hard aground under Port Hudson’s lower batteries and remained fixed for nearly half an hour, taking severe punishment. At least eight shots passed entirely through the ship. The bridge was shot from underneath Captain James P McKinstry, injuring him and killing three others. With the aid of Kineo, USS Monongahela was re-floated and attempted to resume the course upriver. As the ships passed the principal Confederate battery, the crankpin of the forward engine overheated and the engine stopped. The ship became unmanageable and drifted downstream, and anchored out of range of the Confederate guns. Meanwhile, aboard USS Mississippi, Captain Melancton Smith saw USS Richmond coming downstream but, the heavy smoke of the battle meant that he could not sight USS Monongahela. Thinking that the USS Monongahela must have steamed ahead to close the gap caused by USS Richmond falling out of the line ahead formation, he ordered his own ship to speed up to close the supposed gap. In doing so, USS Mississippi also ran aground and could not be brought off. After being set on fire in four places, the ship was abandoned. At 3 am USS Mississippi was seen in flames drifting slowly downriver. Twenty-two hours later, USS Mississippi’s magazine blew up. Only USS Hartford and USS Albatross had successfully run the gannet.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter launched a difficult expedition into Steele’s Bayou with the aim of entering the Yazoo River and taking Vicksburg from the rear. This expedition comprised USS Louisville, USS Cincinnati, USS Carondelet, USS Pittsburg, USS Mound City, four mortar boats and four tugs. They moved to Black Bayou, a waterway about four miles long leading into Deer Creek. At that point, further progress was impeded by dense overhanging forest. Porter set the ironclads to clear the way by pulling up or pushing over trees. After twenty-four hours the expedition had passed through the four-mile blockage and reached Deer Creek, which posed fewer difficulties.’
Virginia. Union boat crews under Acting Master Andrews, commanding USS Crusader, on an expedition to Milford Haven, destroyed a blockade-running schooner without cargo.
15 March 1863
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and released on bond ship Punjaub, from Calcutta for London, northeast of the coast.
California. Armed boats from USS Cyane, Lieutenant-Commander Paul Shirley, boarded and seized the schooner J M Chapman, which was preparing to get underway from San Francisco. The J M Chapman was suspected of having been outfitted as a Confederate commerce raider. There was a crew of four men aboard, but seventeen more men were concealed below decks with a cargo of guns, ammunition, and other military stores. Shirley discharged the cargo and confined the prisoners on Alcatraz Island.
16 March 1863
Florida. USS Octorara, Commander Collins, seized the sloop Rosalie and the schooner Five Brothers with a cargo of cotton off the eastern coast.
Mississippi. USS Chillicothe, Lieutenant-Commander J P Foster, resumed the attack on Fort Pemberton. In a brief engagement, the gunboat was struck eight times. Her guns were rendered unworkable and the ship was forced to retire out of range. In three attacks on the 11th, 13th, and 16th March, USS Chillicothe’s loss amounted to 22 killed, wounded, or drowned. Although the result was a strategic failure, the Confederates had burned two large steamers (Parallel and Magnolia) loaded with cotton, and been forced to construct and garrison two strong fortifications at Fort Pemberton and Greenwood on the Tallahatchie and Yallabusha Rivers. The Confederates ensured that these river routes were guarded in the future.
Mississippi. Union Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman sent troops to cooperate with the gunboat attempting to force a way from Steele’s Bayou into the Yazoo River. The ironclads were able to push forward unharmed, but the trees and overhanging limbs wrecked the superstructure of the wooden boats.’ Sherman’s troops assisted the ships by clearing Black Bayou of entangled obstructions.
Mississippi. After passing the Confederate works at Port Hudson, the two remaining ships of Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut’s flotilla, USS Hartford and USS Albatross proceeded to the mouth of the Red River.
17 March 1863
Mississippi. The Union Yazoo Pass expedition fell back from Fort Pemberton and no further effort was mounted against the Confederate position. The Army was unable to land troops because of the flooded country. Union Brigadier General Isaac Ferdinand Quinby ordered the troops withdrawn and the expedition was abandoned.
Mississippi. The two remaining ships of Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut’s flotilla, USS Hartford and USS Albatross, steamed up to Natchez, tearing down a portion of the telegraph lines to Port Hudson. They anchored for the night below Grand Gulf.
18 March 1863
Mississippi. The two remaining ships of Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut’s flotilla, USS Hartford and USS Albatross ran the batteries at Grand Gulf early in the morning, suffering eight casualties in the engagement. They came to anchor just below Warrenton.
South Carolina. USS Wissahickon, Lieutenant-Commander John L Davis, seized and destroyed the steamer Georgiana attempting to run the blockade into Charleston with a valuable cargo including rifled guns. Georgiana was adapted to mount 14 guns and was suitable to act as a fast commerce raider.
19 March 1863
Bahamas. USS Octorara, Commander Collins, seized the blockade-running British schooner John Williams.
Mississippi. Union troops sent by Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman reached the gunboats of the Steele’s Bayou expedition at Rolling Fork.
Mississippi. Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut in USS Hartford, with USS Albatross in company, engaged the Confederate batteries at Grand Gulf and steamed further up the Mississippi toward Vicksburg.
Mississippi. The Union Steele’s Bayou expedition arrived within one and a half miles of Rolling Fork. The gunboats were delayed by obstructions and stuck fast repeatedly. As the gunboats continued to struggle against these natural hazards, the Confederates felled trees to further obstruct the channel and sharpshooters took the ships under fire. To prevent additional obstructions being placed at Rolling Fork, Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter sent ashore two boat howitzers and 300 men under Lieutenant John M Murphy, the commander of USS Carondelet. Confederate strength continued to grow and news was soon brought that obstructions were being placed both ahead and behind the flotilla. Porter was soon compelled to call off the attempt to reach the Yazoo in order to avoid complete entrapment.
20 March 1863
Bahamas. USS Tioga, Commander Clary, captured the blockade-running British steamer Granite City at sea off Eleuthera island and the British schooner Brothers off Abaco. Each carried cargoes including medicines and liquor.
Florida. USS Ethan Allen, Acting Master Pennell, seized the blockade-running British schooner Gypsy off St Joseph’s Bay, with a cargo including merchants’ tools.
Mississippi. The two remaining ships of Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut’s flotilla, USS Hartford and USS Albatross, were at anchor just below Warrenton. Farragut sent messages to Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant and to Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter to announce his arrival near Vicksburg. He indicated that the river was open to Confederate traffic between Vicksburg and Port Hudson and was aware that two gunboats of the upper fleet (USS Queen of the West and USS Indianola) had been capture. Farragut planned to recapture the boats and stop the Red River trade but required coal for his vessels. He intended to return to the mouth of the Red River Porter replied that there was no advantage to be gained by passing the batteries upriver at Vicksburg and that Farragut’s blocking of the Red River would be highly beneficial as the Confederates were obtaining #their supplies and ammunition by that route. Grant floated a coal barge down the river to Farragut, who steamed above Warrenton to meet the vital cargo.
Mississippi. Although Union troops had arrived to assist the gunboats of the Steele’s Bayou expedition at Rolling Fork, Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter decided that their numbers were insufficient to ensure success. The soldiers met the gunboats without provisions and without field artillery. Porter decided not to risk his warships further and abandoned the expedition.’ Unable to turn around in the narrow waters, the gunboats unshipped their rudders and drifted backwards. Coming to a bend in the river, where the Confederates had blocked the passage with felled trees, the gunboats and Union troops fought their way through. Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman arrived with additional troops, but the crews of the gunboats were exhausted by six days and nights constant labour. The coal barge had been lost and the provision vessel was too high to get through the tangled waters.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut advised Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant that the Confederates were building a strong casemated work’ at Warrenton. His occasional shelling did not greatly disrupt the construction efforts and he offered to land a force from his two gunboats to destroy the batteries. Grant replied agreed to provide troops to destroy the batteries at Warrenton under Farragut’s command. Union Captain Henry Walke, expressed the view that Farragut’s blockade of the Red River could be better achieved with the aid of one of the Ellet rams, which could pass down from above Vicksburg. The ram would also be more suitable for landing the troops at Warrenton than either of Farragut’s seagoing ships, USS Hartford or USS Albatross.
North Carolina. USS Victoria, Acting Lieutenant Hooker, and US schooner William Bacon, captured the blockade-running British steamer Nicolai I in heavy weather off Cape Fear. The steamer was carrying a cargo of dry goods, arms, and ammunition, and had been turned back two days earlier from its attempt to run into Charleston.
23 March 1863
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured ship Morning Star and burned the whaling schooner Kingfisher off the coast near the equator.
Florida. USS Arizona, Acting Lieutenant Daniel P Upton, took the blockade-running sloop Aurelia off Mosquito Inlet, with a cargo of cotton.
24 March 1863
Mississippi. The failed Union expedition through Steele’s Bayou arrived back at Hill’s plantation, the place where it had started on 16 March 1863. Although it did not achieve its primary goal of reaching Vicksburg from the rear, the expedition was not an entire failure. By destroying all bridges encountered, it had cut off the means of transporting provisions from an abundant area to Vicksburg. A vast quantity of corn was destroyed and many horses, mules, and cattle were taken. An estimated 20,000 bales of cotton were destroyed and more retained for sale. Many freed slaves left their plantations with the army.
Mississippi. Union Brigadier General Alfred Washington Ellet informed Captain Henry Walke USN that he intended to send the rams USS Lancaster and USS Switzerland past the Vicksburg batteries to support Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut at Warrenton and in blockading the Red River. Colonel Charles R Ellet, commanding the ram fleet, was given strict orders that if either boat was disabled, no attempt was to be made under fire from the Confederate batteries to one rescue it. The survivor would have to continue the run alto ensure that at least one gunboat should reach Farragut’s force.
North Carolina. USS Mount Vernon, Acting Lieutenant Trathen, seized the British schooner Mary Jane attempting to run the blockade near New Inlet, with a cargo of soap, salt, flour, and coffee.
25 March 1863
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured the ships Charles Hill and Nora off the coast near the equator. Both were laden with salt, bound from Liverpool.
West Indies. USS Wachusett, Lieutenant-Commander Charles E Fleming, seized the British blockade-runner Dolphin between Puerto Rico and St Thomas Island.
Alabama. USS Kanawha, Lieutenant-Commander William K Mayo, took the schooner Clara attempting to run the blockade at Mobile.
Florida. USS Fort Henry, Acting Lieutenant Edward Y McCauley, captured the blockade-running sloop Ranger, from Havana, off Cedar Keys.
Mississippi. The Union rams USS Switzerland and USS Lancaster got underway to run past the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg. The aim was for the rams to join Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut and USS Hartford and USS Albatross at Warrenton. Union Colonel Charles R Ellet reported that the wind was unfavourable and, despite extreme caution, they were audible on the banks and efforts at concealment were futile. The rams rounded the bend under full steam into a concentrated fire from the Confederate batteries. USS Switzerland was struck many times, causing considerable damage. Directly in front of the main Vicksburg batteries, a shell hit USS Switzerland’s boiler, stopping the engines. The pilots kept the ram in the river and it floated slowly downstream to safety. USS Lancaster, under Lieutenant Colonel John A Ellet, followed but it was also hit numerous times. A fatal shot pierced the steam drum and the entire vessel was enveloped in scorching steam. A heavy plunging shot then struck the stern, passing longitudinally through the ship and exiting the hull near the bow, causing a severe leak. The ship sank almost immediately. The planned attack on Warrenton was called off because of the extensive repairs required for USS Switzerland.
North Carolina. USS State of Georgia, Commander Armstrong, and USS Mount Vernon, Acting Lieutenant Trathen, captured the blockade-running schooner Rising Dawn off New Inlet, with a large cargo of salt.
27 March 1863
Florida. USS Hendrick Hudson, Lieutenant Cate, seized the British schooner Pacifique at St Mark’s.
Mississippi. USS Hartford engaged and passed below the Confederate batteries being erected at Warrenton. USS Albatross waited above the batteries for two more days to obtain further coal and provisions which were floated down on barges from the fleet above Vicksburg.
South Carolina. USS Pawnee, Commander Balch, supported an Army landing and reconnaissance on Cole’s Island.
28 March 1863
Brazil. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured the bark Lapwing, bound from Boston to Batavia with a cargo of coal. Maffitt transferred a howitzer and ammunition to the captured bark and renamed her CSS Oreto for use as a tender under the command of Lieutenant S N Averett.
Louisiana. USS Diana, Acting Master Thomas L Peterson, was attacked by Confederate sharpshooters and field guns while reconnoitring the Atchafalaya River. The action lasted almost three hours and casualties were heavy. USS Diana’s tiller ropes were shot away and the engines disabled. The gunboat drifted ashore and was surrendered to the enemy.
South Carolina. USS Stettin, Acting Master Edward F Devens, seized the blockade-running British steamer Aries off Bull’s Bay with a cargo of liquor.
29 March 1863
Florida. Commander Duncan, USS Norwich, reported the evacuation of Jacksonville, by Union troops after destroying the greater part of the city.
Mississippi. USS Albatross passed below the Confederate batteries being erected at Warrenton and joined USS Hartford. It brought coal and provisions which had been floated down on barges from the fleet above Vicksburg.
Mississippi. The failure of the USS Switzerland and USS Lancaster to pass the Vicksburg unharmed prompted Union Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant to again request gunboats to assist in his speculative plan to land below Vicksburg. He required at least one or two vessels to pass below Vicksburg, to cut off the enemy’s communications with the west bank of the river and to enable a landing of troops on the east bank. Without the aid of gunboats, it would be fruitless to send troops to New Carthage or to find an alternate route. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter agreed to cooperate in landing troops or to occupy Grand Gulf. However, he warned that sending any ships downriver would deprive him of gunboats for an attack Haynes’ Bluff. Before moving any ships downriver, he had to wait for the return of the Yazoo Pass Expedition.
South Carolina. USS South Carolina, Commander John J Almy, captured the schooner Nellie off Port Royal.
30 March 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, seized the bark M J Concord, loaded with provisions, from New York and bound for Cape Town, South Africa. The provisions were taken aboard Florida, and the crew was put aboard the Danish brig Christian. The prize was then destroyed.
North Carolina. USS Monticello, Lieutenant-Commander Braine, captured the blockade-running British schooner Sue off Little Rivera.
31 March 1863
Florida. USS Two Sisters, Acting Master Arthur, took the schooner Agnes off the Tortugas, with a cargo of cotton.
Mississippi. The ram USS Switzerland, Colonel Charles R Ellet, completed its repairs and steamed below Warrenton to join USS Hartford and USS Albatross under Rear Admiral Farragut. The three ships ran past the batteries at Grand Gulf during the night and anchored.
North Carolina. Confederate troops began a sustained attack and siege of the Union outpost at Washington. The assaulting forces erected numerous batteries along the Pamlico River in an effort to prevent interference by the Union navy. The senior Union naval officer, Commander Davenport, moved quickly to support the Union garrison. He dispatched all but two of the gunboats guarding New Bern to Washington and left only one at Plymouth. In addition, small boats transported ammunition to the troops and these waterborne supplies enabled the garrison to hold out. The Confederates eventually gave up the attack on 16 April 1863.
South Carolina. USS Memphis, Lieutenant-Commander Watmough, captured the British schooner Antelope attempting to run the blockade into Charleston with a cargo of salt.
Virginia. USS Commodore Morris, Lieutenant-Commander Gillis, proceeded up the Ware River to investigate reports of a large quantity of grain being stored in the area. Thousands of bushels were found at Patterson Smith’s plantation.
1 April 1863
Mississippi. The ram USS Switzerland, USS Hartford, and USS Albatross under Rear Admiral Farragut continued downriver from Grand Gulf to the mouth of the Red River, destroying Confederate supply skiffs and flatboats en route.
Mississippi. USS Tuscumbia, with Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter, Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant and Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman aboard, reconnoitred the Yazoo River to determine the practicability of landing a force at Haynes’ Bluff. Grant believed that an attack would be costly even if successful. This closed the last hope of turning Vicksburg’s fortifications by the right or northern flank and added impetus to his planning for a crossing at Grand Gulf below Vicksburg.
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont sent the ironclads USS Passaic, USS Montauk, USS Patapsco, and USS Keokuk to the North Edisto River and the gunboat USA Sebago to Calibogue Sound. The objective for USS Sebago was to cover the approaches to the west end of Hilton Head Island and to prevent any Confederate landing.
Virginia. USS Commodore Morris, Lieutenant-Commander Gillis, was engaged in seizing grain at Patterson Smith’s plantation when the landing party of soldiers and sailors was attacked by Confederate cavalry. The attack was repelled but Gillis was forced to destroy the remainder of the grain.
2 April 1863
South Carolina. President Abraham Lincoln informed Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles that the seagoing forces in the lower Mississippi had to be strengthened. Welles accordingly wrote Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont to send all but two of his ironclads to New Orleans after the Charleston attack was concluded.
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont left Port Royal aboard USS Adger for the North Edisto River, to supervise preparations for the attack on Charleston.
2 April 1863
Florida. An armed boat expedition of sailors and Marines under Acting Lieutenant McCauley, USS Fort Henry, began an eight-day reconnaissance of the Bayport area. The boats began by heading for Bayport during the evening.
Tennessee. Tennessee. Confederate guerrillas fired on a Union convoy near Palmyra, crippling USS St Clair and damaging the Army transports Eclipse and Luminary.
3 April 1863
Florida. An armed boat expedition of sailors and Marines under Acting Lieutenant McCauley, USS Fort Henry, arrived off Bayport during the morning. The first launch was slow and delayed the expedition’s progress through the intricate channel. Two Confederate sloops and two small schooners ran into a bayou and grounded in order to avoid destruction. The sloop Helen, carrying corn, was captured south of the harbour and destroyed. The Union boat crews engaged and forced the evacuation of a defending battery with two guns, and the Confederates burned a schooner with a cargo of cotton. Fearing that they would be stranded by the ebb tide McAuley gave up trying to destroy the vessels in the bayou by shellfire. The boats withdrew out of range of a rifled gun which the Confederates had brought up. In the following week, the expedition explored the Chassahowitzka, Crystal, Homosassa, Withlacoochee, Waccassassa, and Suwannee Rivers.
Tennessee. A Union expedition under Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, including USS Lexington, USS Brilliant, USS Robb, USS Silver Lake, and USS Springfield, destroyed the town of Palmyra in retaliation for Confederate guerrillas firing on a Union convoy the previous day.
Texas. USS New London, Lieutenant-Commander Abner Read, and USS Cayuga, Lieutenant-Commander David A McDermut, captured the blockade-running British schooner Tampico off Sabine Pass with a cargo of cotton.
4 April 1863
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured the ship Louisa Hatch off the coast with a large cargo of coal. Semmes took the prize with him to supply coal if he failed to rendezvous as planned with the bark Agrippina at Fernando de Noronha Island. Semmes’ foresight paid off, for the bark did not arrive at the island. After coaling and provisioning from Louisa Hatch, Semmes burned her on 17 April.
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont issued his plan of attack on Charleston. The squadron would follow the main ship channel without returning the fire of the batteries on Morris Island. The ships would then take up position north and west of Fort Sumter and open fire from 600 to 800 yards. The primary target would be the fort’s left or northeast face, aiming low at the center embrasure. Precision rather than the rapidity of fire was emphasised. After the reduction of Fort Sumter, the next target would be the Confederate batteries on Morris Island. The warships would steam in line ahead. A reserve, comprising USS Canandaigua, USS Housatonic, USS Huron, USS Unadilla, USS Wissahickon, and commanded by Captain J F Green, would stay outside the bar in readiness to support the ironclads when they shifted their attack to the batteries on Morris Island.
5 April 1863
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont departed North Edisto for Charleston with his ironclads and enough steamers to take them in tow if damaged. They arrived off the Confederate port during the afternoon. As a last step before the assault, preparations were made to buoy the Stono bar to fix a safe channel. USS Patapsco, Commander Ammen, and USS Catskill, Commander George Rodgers, remained inside the bar to protect the navigation buoys.
6 April 1863
Florida. USS Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant W C Rogers, captured the sloop Minnie off Charlotte Harbour, with a cargo of cotton.
North Carolina. Confederate Captain William F Lynch reported the status of ships building in the state. One ironclad, to be named CSS North Carolina was nearly ready for the crew and another, CSS Raleigh, was ready for an iron shield to be installed over the coming eight weeks. At Whitehall on the Neuse River, the gunboat CSS Neuse was within two months of readiness. At Tarboro, there was a frame in place and the keel of CSS Albemarle had been laid near Scotland Neck.
South Carolina. Commander Balch, USS Pawnee, reported that the Stono Bar had been buoyed, preparatory to the assault on Charleston. Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont crossed the bar aboard USS New Ironsides, with Captain Turner commanding the ironclad. The other ironclads in the squadron followed: USS Passaic, Captain Drayton; USS Weehawken, Captain J Rodgers; USS Montauk, Captain Worden; USS Patapsco, Commander Ammen; USS Catskill, Commander G Rodgers; USS Nantucket, Commander Donald McD Fairfax; USS Nahant, Commander John Downes; and USS Keokuk, Commander Alexander C Rhind. After reaching an anchorage inside the bar, the weather became too hazy to permit effective ranging and the pilots declined to go farther.
7 April 1863
Louisiana. USS Barataria, Acting Ensign James F Perkins, on a reconnaissance mission with troops embarked, struck a snag in Lake Maurepas, and was destroyed by her crew to prevent capture.
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral Samuel Du Pont engaged the strong Confederate forts in Charleston harbour with nine ironclads. The squadron got underway at noon, the earliest hour permitted by the tide USS Weehawken led the way, pushing a raft to clear torpedoes from the path of the line ahead column. The grapnels attached to the raft were fouled, delaying the movement for an hour, and continued to impede the column’s progress so that it was not until 3 pm before the warships came within range of Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter in the harbour. USS Weehawken, Captain J Rodgers opened fire on Fort Sumter shortly after 3pm, followed by the other ironclads. The Confederates had heavily obstructed the channels into Charleston and had also marked them with range indicators for their gunners in the forts to increase the accuracy of their fire as the vessels passed. As USS Weehawken became engaged, a torpedo exploded nearby, but without causing damage. The obstructions extending from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter were more intimidating and dangerous. Rodgers swung USS Weehawken’s bow to seaward to prevent being swept against the obstructions by the strong flood tide and then steamed a few hundred feet southward to give the ships in the rear opportunity to turn in her wake. Engaged for forty minutes, the leading ironclad was struck 53 times and was taking water through a hole shot through the deck. Next in line, USS Passaic turned to follow USS Weehawken and had her 11-inch gun disabled for several hours and the turret was temporarily unable to turn. All the plates forming the upper edge of the turret were broken and the pilot-house badly dented by 35 hits. USS Montauk, manoeuvring with difficulty, was struck 14 times as she followed USS Passaic away from the obstructions. USS Patapsco, endeavouring to turn short of USS Montauk’s wake, lost headway and failed to obey the helm. She became a sitting target for the guns of Forts Sumter and Moultrie and took 47 hits. Backing up, she was brought back under control and turned to seaward. The flagship, USS New Ironsides, became unmanageable in the heavy current, and USS Catskill overtook, approaching within 600 yards of Sumter where the point-blank fire of her guns blasted a barbette gun from its mount. Caught in the forts’ crossfire like the others, USS Catskill received 20 shots, one of which broke the deck plates and deck planking forward, causing her to take water. Meanwhile, USS New Ironsides narrowly escaped destruction from a Confederate electric torpedo containing 2,000 pounds of powder lying near Fort Wagner. The Confederates repeatedly attempted to fire the torpedo but it was later discovered that a connecting wire had been cut by a wagon passing over it. USS Nantucket followed USS Catskill past the flagship and was battered by 51 hits, one of which jammed the turret. USS Nahant took 36 hits. Three of these disabled the turret and another broke off a segment of interior iron which wreaked havoc with the steering gear. Nuts from iron bolts sheered off, fatally wounding the helmsman and injuring the pilot. USS Keokuk was compelled to run ahead of the crippled USS Nahant to avoid fouling her in the narrow channel and strong tide. This brought the last ironclad within 600 yards of Fort Sumter, where she remained for half an hour. USS Keokuk was then given undivided attention from the fort and was struck 90 times, including eighteen which pierced at or below the waterline. USS Keokuk was withdrawn from the action and anchored overnight beyond the range of the forts, where the crew was able to keep her afloat only because of the calm seas. With darkness approaching and his ironclads severely battered, Du Pont broke off the action. He intended to resume the attack the following day but damage reports from the ironclads convinced him it would not result in the capture of Charleston, but rather the sinking of ironclads within reach of the enemy. Du Pont called off the attack with the agreement of his commanders. The Confederates repelled a serious threat and Du Pont concluded that Charleston was impregnable to a purely naval attack.
8 April 1863
Florida. USS Gem of the Sea, Acting Lieutenant Baxter, seized the blockade-running British schooner Maggie Fulton off Indian River Inlet.
Mississippi. Edward C Gabaudan, secretary to Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, arrived aboard USS Richmond with a dispatch from upriver above Vicksburg. The courier had floated past the Port Hudson batteries in a small dug-out canoe covered camouflaged to resemble a floating tree. At one point his craft attracted the attention of the Confederate lookouts and a boat put out to examine it. The Confederates seemed satisfied with a cursory glance. At about 10 pm a rocket was fired to signal the success of the perilous journey.
South Carolina. A stiff breeze came up causing the badly damaged USS Keokuk to take on more water. Rapidly filling, the ironclad sank out of range of the Confederate forts in Charleston harbour.
10 April 1863
CSA. Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis reported that the Navy had begun the conflict without a single gun afloat, but could claim to have captured, sunk, or destroyed two large frigates and one sloop of war, while four of captured steamboats had been added to the strength of the growing Navy.
Mississippi. An expedition led by Lieutenant-Commander Selfridge of USS Conestoga cut across Beulah Bend and destroyed guerrilla stations that were harassing Union shipping on the river.
Landing party under Acting Master John C Dutch, USS Kingfisher, captured Confederate pickets on Edisto Island, South Carolina. A Union landing party under Acting Master John C Dutch, USS Kingfisher, captured Confederate pickets on Edisto Island.
Texas. A Union boat crew under Lieutenant Benjamin F Day from USS New London reconnoitred Confederate strength at Sabine City and captured a small sloop with four prisoners, among them Captain Charles Fowler CSN, former commander of CSS Josiah Bell.
11 April 1863
South Carolina. Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard contacted Lieutenant Webb CSN regarding an offensive measure to remove the intense threat from Union ironclads. He suggested that the enemy’s seven ironclads inside the bar should be attacked with spar-torpedoes conducted by rowing boats. He anticipated surprising the targets in darkness on the earliest calm night. The boats would rendezvous at the mouth of the creek in the rear of Cummings Point on Morris Island and await the best condition of darkness. The boats would form a line by the beach opposite the fleet, and attack in pairs any ironclads they could encounter. Early the next day, the Union ironclads withdrew outside the bar, foiling the proposed torpedo attack.
Virginia. Union Army commanders at Suffolk requested gunboat support from Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee, who replied that three small naval vessels were already up the Nansemond River or at its mouth.
Virginia. Union Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee responded to an appeal for naval support on the York River and at Yorktown. Lee sent USS Commodore Morris to aid USS Crusader in that area.
South Carolina. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles instructed Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont to retain a strong force off Charleston. The large-scale attack four days earlier had failed but the presence of the fleet at Charleston would keep the Confederates apprehensive of a renewed attack and tie down their forces.
12 April 1863
Virginia. USS Commodore Barney, Lieutenant William B Cushing, was sent up the Nansemond River to strengthen the defence of Suffolk.
Mississippi. The crew of a launch under Acting Master George C Andrews CSN which had left Mobile on 6 April, captured the steamboat Fox in the coal yard at Pass a l’Outre, Mississippi. Andrews succeeded in running Fox into Mobile under blockaders’ fire on 15 April.
Mississippi. Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter reported to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles bout developments in the campaign to take Vicksburg. He described adaptations to various gunboats, which involved placing three 11-inch guns in the bow of each one to improve their effectiveness. As Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant planned to embark his army at Carthage, then seize Grand Gulf under fire of the gunboats, and make it the base of his operations, Porter was ready to pass the Vicksburg batteries at night, and engaging them while the transports went by under cover of smoke. In addition, Porter ordered eight gunboats to the mouths of the Arkansas and White Rivers to oppose any Confederate response. Porter also sent a sizable force into the Tennessee River and Cumberland River, to raise the strength to 23 vessels in the Tennessee River (including the Marine Brigade).
South Carolina. The blockade-running steamer Stonewall Jackson, attempting to get into Charleston, dashed past USS Flag and USS Huron. The blockaders shelled the steamer and caused several holes in the hull. Finding escape impossible, Stonewall Jackson was run aground and destroyed with her cargo, which included artillery pieces and 40,000 Army shoes.
13 April 1863
Florida. USS Annie, Acting Ensign James S Williams, captured the schooner Mattie off the Gulf coast.
14 April 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS Sonoma, Commander Stevens, captured the schooner Clyde with a cargo of cotton and rosin.
Florida. USS Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant W C Rogers, took the blockade-running British schooner Ascension off the Gulf coast.
Louisiana. USS Estrella, Lieutenant-Commander Augustus P Cooke; USS Arizona, Acting Lieutenant Upton; and USS Calhoun, Acting Master Meltiah Jordan, engaged and destroyed the ram CSS Queen of the West, Lieutenant E W Fuller, in Grand Lake.
Louisiana. CSS Missouri was launched at Shreveport. The steamer mounted six guns but never saw action and remained above the obstructions in the Red River until the end of the war.
Virginia. Following two days of heavy fighting near Suffolk, Union Lieutenant William B Cushing USN reported that USS Mount Washington had been temporarily disabled and grounded under heavy fire but was recovered by USS Stepping Stones. Cushing’s own ship, USS Commodore Barney, had been raked heavily by a Confederate shore battery but remained in good fighting condition.
15 April 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS William G Anderson, Acting Lieutenant Frederic S Hill, took the schooner Royal Yacht with a cargo of cotton.
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured the whalers Kate Cory and Lafayette off the island of Fernando de Noronha. Semmes burned the Lafayette and the Kate Cory two days later.
Alabama. The crew of a launch under Acting Master George C Andrews CSN which had captured the steamboat Fox succeeded in running Fox into Mobile under the blockaders’ fire.
North Carolina. USS Monticello, Lieutenant-Commander Braine, captured the schooner Odd Fellow near Little River, with a cargo of turpentine and rosin.
16 April 1863
Bahamas. USS Vanderbilt, Lieutenant Baldwin, seized the British blockade-runner Gertrude.
Florida. USS Hendrick Hudson, Acting Lieutenant Cate, captured the blockade-running British schooner Teresa off the coast.
16 April 1863
Mississippi. The Union gunboat flotilla of Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter engaged and ran past the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg, shepherding Army transports to New Carthage below the city. The naval force included USS Benton, USS Lafayette, USS Louisville, USS Pittsburg, USS Mound City, USS Carondelet, and USS Tuscumbia. USS General Sterling Price was lashed to the starboard side of USS Lafayette for the passage and the tug Ivy to USS Benton. Each ship, except for USS Benton, also towed a coal barge. USS Lafayette, Captain Walke, hampered by the ship lashed to her side, sustained nine hits through her casemate and her coal barge was sunk. The transport Henry Clay was sunk with no loss of life, during the passage and another transport, the Forest Queen, was temporarily disabled but rescued by USS Tuscumbia (Lieutenant-Commander James W Shirk). The squadron was under fire for two and a half hours, beginning shortly after 11 pm. There was comparatively suffered little loss and all ships were ready for service within half an hour after the passage, partly because of the thorough precautions taken to protect them. They were covered with heavy logs and bales of wet hay, which proved to provide excellent defence.
17 April 1863
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, transferred the coal and provisions from the ship Louisa Hatch and then burned the prize, after he failed to rendezvous as planned with the supply bark Agrippina at Fernando de Noronha Island.
Brazil. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured and destroyed the ship Commonwealth off the coast, bound from New York to San Francisco.
Florida. USS Wanderer, Acting Master Eleazer S Turner, took the schooner Annie B southwest of Egmont Key, bound for Havana with a cargo of cotton.
18 April 1863
Florida. USS Susquehanna, Commodore Hitchcock, captured the schooner Alabama off the Gulf coast with a cargo including wine, coffee, nails, and dry goods.
Florida. USS Gem of the Sea, Acting Lieutenant Baxter, captured and destroyed the blockade-running British schooner Inez off Indian River Inlet.
Louisiana. Following the destruction of the ram CSS Queen of the West in Grand Lake, CSS Diana and CSS Hart were destroyed to prevent their capture.
South Carolina. USS Stettin, Acting Master James R Beers, seized the steamer St Johns off Cape Romain.
Texas. A boat expedition to reconnoitre Sabine City under command of Lieutenant-Commander Read, USS New London, and Lieutenant-Commander McDermut, USS Cayuga, was surprised at the lighthouse and driven off by Confederate troops.
19 April 1863
South Carolina. USS Housatonic, Captain William Taylor, took the sloop Neptune, attempting to run the blockade out of Charleston with a cargo of cotton and turpentine.
South Carolina. USS Powhatan, Captain Steedman, captured the schooner Major F Willis near Charleston with a cargo of cotton.
20 April 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Samuel W Averett, captured at sea and bonded the ship Kate Dyer bound for Antwerp in Belgium.
Florida. USS Octorara, Commander Collins, captured the British blockade-runner W Y Leitch off the eastern coast with a cargo of salt.
Florida. A landing party under Lieutenant-Commander George U Morris, USS Port Royal, captured cotton awaiting transportation at Apalachicola. Three prisoners and a quantity of ammunition were taken.
Louisiana. USS Estrella, Lieutenant-Commander Cooke, with USS Clifton, USS Arina, and USS Calhoun, engaged and received the surrender of Fort Burton at Butte a la Rose.
South Carolina. USS Lodona, Commander Edmund R Colhoun, seized the British schooner Minnie attempting to run the blockade at Bull’s Bay, with a cargo of salt.
Mississippi. USS General Sterling Price, Commander Selim E Woodworth, and USS Tuscumbia, Lieutenant-Commander Shirk, reconnoitred down the Mississippi River from New Carthage to Grand Gulf in preparation for the Union crossing. Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter reported that Grand Gulf was being fortified vigorously, with three guns already mounted on a bluff 100 feet high, aiming upriver.
Mississippi. The sunken hulk of USS Indianola, captured by the Confederates and subsequently sunk below Vicksburg, was inspected by Union naval officers. The hull and machinery were in good condition but the wooden deck was burnt. The casemate for the 11-inch guns was shattered with iron plates strewn across the deck, and the 11-inch gun carriages were also wrecked. The 9-inch gun carriages were burned by the Confederates. One 11-inch and one 9-inch gun were removed. An attempt to raise USS Indianola was launched.
Virginia. A Union attack captured Hill’s Point on the Nansemond River, taking five howitzers and 160 prisoners, as well as occupying a position from which the Confederates were able to shell the flotilla guarding the Union defences near Suffolk. Later that night, the Confederates evacuated their battery at Reed’s Ferry, and the western branch of the Nansemond River was free for Union movements, with gunboats protecting both flanks.
21 April 1863
Florida. USS Octorara, Commander Collins, seized the blockade-running British schooner Handy off the eastern coast with a cargo of salt.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter, aboard USS Lafayette, reconnoitred the Confederate works at Grand Gulf. He found a strung fort under construction and shelled the workers. The Confederate steamer Charm attempted to land supplies for the fort but was driven back up the Big Black River.
Mississippi. The Confederate guns at Vicksburg opened fire on Union steamers attempting a night passage of the batteries. The transport Tigress was sunk, Empire City was disabled, Moderator was badly damaged, but J W Cheeseman, Anglo Saxon, and Horizon passed through safely.
Texas. USS Rachel Seaman, Acting Lieutenant Quincy A Hooper, captured the schooner Nymph attempting to run the blockade off Pass Cavallo, with a cargo including coffee, rice, shoes, and medicine.
22 April 1863
North Carolina. USS Mount Vernon, Acting Lieutenant Trathen, captured the schooner St George off New Inlet, with a cargo including salt and rum.
23 April 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured and burned at sea the bark Henrietta bound for Rio de Janeiro with a cargo including flour.
Alabama. USS Pembina, Lieutenant-Commander Jonathan Young, captured the sloop Elias Beck near Mobile.
Florida. USS Tioga, Commander Clary, seized the blockade-running British sloop Justina bound from Indian River to Nassau with a cargo of cotton.
North Carolina. The steamers Merrimac, Charleston, and Margaret and Jessie successfully ran the blockade into Wilmington. The Merrimac unloaded three modern Blakely 8-inch rifled guns.
24 April 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured and destroyed the ship Oneida, bound from Shanghai to New York with a cargo of tea.
Gulf of Mexico. USS De Soto, Captain William M Walker, captured the blockade-running schooners General Prim and Rapid, bound from Mobile to Havana, and the sloops Jane Adelie and Bright with cargoes of cotton.
Gulf of Mexico. USS Pembina, Lieutenant-Commander Young, captured the schooner Joe Flanner, bound from Havana to Mobile.
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the whaler Nye with a cargo of whale oil.
Mississippi. The Union gunboats took positions to command the upper battery at Grand Gulf and closed off the mouth of the Big Black River, the supply route being used Grand Gulf.
Virginia. USS Western World, Acting Master Samuel B Gregory, and USS Samuel Rotan took the schooners Martha Ann and A Carson off Horn Harbour.
25 April 1863
Cape Verde Islands. CSS Georgia, Lieutenant W L Maury, captured ship Dictator with a cargo of coal. Maury burned the prize the following day.
26 April 1863
Gulf of Mexico, USS De Soto, Captain W M Walker, seized the British schooner Clarita bound from Havana to Matamoras.
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the ship Dorcas Prince east of Natal, with a cargo of coal.
Florida. USS Sagamore, Lieutenant-Commander English, captured the schooner New Year off the Tortugas, with a cargo of turpentine and cotton.
Tennessee USS Lexington, Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, joined the ram fleet under Union Brigadier-General Alfred Washington Ellet to engage and disperse Confederate cavalry concentrated at the mouth of Duck River.
27 April 1863
Florida. USS Preble, Acting Master William F Shankland, was accidentally destroyed by fire while at anchor off Pensacola.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter issued his orders for the naval attack on Grand Gulf. There were four known Confederate batteries placed a quarter of a mile apart, and completely commanding the Mississippi River. USS Louisville, USS Carondelet, USS Mound City, and USS Pittsburg would proceed first, going slowly and firing their bow guns at the first battery on the bluff, passing within 100 yards. Porter gave specific orders for the other gunboats: USS Lafayette would drop stern foremost until within 600 yards, and then fire her rifled guns at the upper battery. USS Tuscumbia was to pass outside USS Benton but not firing until astern of and inside USS Benton. USS Tuscumbia would then her bow guns while USS Benton fired broadside guns. USS Tuscumbia and USS Benton would also fire their stern guns at the forts below them.
South Carolina. Acting Master Louis A Brown led boat crews from USS Monticello and Matthew Vassar to board and destroy the British blockade-runner Golden Liner in Murrell’s Inlet. The ship contained a cargo of flour, brandy, sugar, and coffee.
28 April 1863
Mississippi. The US tug Lily, Acting Master R H Timmonds, was attempting to cross the bow of USS Choctaw, Lieutenant-Commander Francis M Ramsay, which lay at anchor in the Yazoo River when it was swept by the current into Choctaw’s ram and sunk.
29 April 1863
Mississippi. The Union gunboat flotilla of Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter engaged the Confederate fortifications at Grand Gulf. During the five and a half hour battle, the gunboats silenced the lower batteries but only briefly stopped the fire from the upper forts. The Army’s transports passed safely below the batteries during the night. USS Benton, USS Tuscumbia, and USS Pittsburg were damaged in the engagement, but the expedition successfully prepared for a landing of Union troops on the eastern shore. The Union bombardment dismounted four Confederate guns and killed Colonel William Wade, commanding the artillery, and some 5 or 6 other men.
29 April 1863-1 May
Bahamas. USS Juniata, Commander John M B Clitz, captured the schooner Harvest north of the Bahamas with a cargo of cotton.
Mississippi. A Union expedition feigned an attack on the Confederate batteries at Haynes’ Bluff on the Yazoo River. The diversionary force consisted of USS Tyler, USS Choctaw, USS Baron De Kalb, USS Signal, USS Romeo, USS Linden, USS Petrel, USS Black Hawk, and three mortar boats, under Lieutenant-Commander Breese. Ten large transports carried troops under the command of Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman. The feint was intended to prevent the Confederates from reinforcing Grand Gulf. The expedition proceeded as far as Chickasaw Bayou and waited to launch an attack the following morning.
30 April 1863
Mississippi. Union Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant began to ferry his troops across the Mississippi River at Bruinsburg as the first step in his campaign to isolate Vicksburg.
1 May 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS Kanawha, Lieutenant-Commander Mayo, captured the schooner Dart, bound from Havana to Mobile.
CSA. The Confederate Congress enacted legislation to create a Provisional Navy of the Confederate States. The main aim of the act was to promote younger and more active officers in the Provisional Navy to a higher rank. without interfering with the rank of officers in the Regular Navy, The Regular Navy became a kind of retired list while officers suitable for active service could advance. The Confederate Congress also provided for anyone serving in the land forces of the Confederate States to request or be obliged to transfer into the naval service. The Confederate Navy suffered from an acute shortage of seamen but, despite this ruling, hundreds of men who applied for naval duty were not transferred.
Mississippi. A Union expedition made a diversionary attack on the Confederate batteries at Haynes’ Bluff on the Yazoo River. The force consisted of USS Tyler, USS Choctaw, USS Baron De Kalb, USS Signal, USS Romeo, USS Linden, USS Petrel, USS Black Hawk, and three mortar boats, under Lieutenant-Commander Breese. Ten large transports carried troops under the command of Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman. The feint was intended to prevent the Confederates from reinforcing Grand Gulf. The expedition set out from Chickasaw Bayou in the morning. USS Petrel remained at Old River while the remaining vessels moved up the Yazoo River. USS Choctaw and USS Baron De Kalb opened fire on the main works at Drumgould’s Bluff. USS Tyler and USS Black Hawk fired on the fieldworks and batteries. USS Choctaw, Lieutenant-Commander Ramsay, was struck 53 times by the Confederate guns. Sherman’s soldiers landed and marched toward Haynes’ Bluff on the only roadway, the exposed levee as if threatening an attack. The demonstration lasted the entire day but during the evening the force returned to the mouth of the Yazoo River.
Virginia. A boat expedition from USS Western World, Acting Master S B Gregory, and USS Crusader, Acting Master Andrews, destroyed two Confederate schooners found aground at Milford Haven.
2 May 1863
Florida. Two boat crews from USS Roebuck, Acting Master John Sherrill, seized the blockade-running British schooner Emma Amelia off St Joseph’s Bay, with a cargo including flour and wine.
North Carolina. USS Sacramento, Captain Charles S Boggs, seized the blockade-running British schooner Wanderer off Murrell’s Inlet, with a cargo of salt and herring.
South Carolina. USS Perry, Acting Master William D Urann, captured the blockade-running schooner Alma, bound from Bermuda to Beaufort, with a cargo of salt and liquor.
Mississippi. The Union steamer Era was fired upon by the Confederates three miles above Greenville. USS Cricket, Acting Lieutenant Amos R Langthorne, engaged the Confederate battery.
3 May 1863
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the bark Union Jack and ship Sea Lark off the coast.
Mississippi. USS Cricket, Acting Lieutenant Amos R Langthorne, convoyed the steamer Champion downstream form Greenville. In USS Cricket’s absence, the steamer Minnesota was destroyed by Confederate guerrillas. USS Conestoga drove that force away and remained in the area until the evening of 7 May, when she returned to the mouth of the White River.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter moved his gunboats to attack the Confederate batteries at Grand Gulf again. The Confederates had evacuated the untenable position after the Union army marched into the rear of Grand Gulf. Porter departed Grand Gulf with his gunboat squadron and made rendezvous that evening with the fleet of Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut at the mouth of the Red River.
Texas. Confederate troops under Captain Edward F Hobby captured a launch and drove off two other boats from USS William G Anderson, Acting Lieutenant Hill, at St Joseph’s Island. The Union boat crews were salvaging cotton from a sloop which had been run ashore on 30 April.
4 May 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS Kennebec, Lieutenant-Commander John H Russell, captured the schooner Juniper, bound from Havana to Mobile.
Louisiana. Having been joined by part of Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s gunboat squadron, Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut decided to return to New Orleans, leaving USS Hartford and USS Albatross at the mouth of the Red River. The two warships were expected to run downriver past Port Hudson in due course. Meanwhile, USS Albatross, Lieutenant-Commander John E Hart, made a reconnaissance up the Red River and engaged the armed steamers Grand Duke and Mary T and then Confederate cavalry near Fort De Russy. USS Albatross sustained considerable damage and was compelled to withdraw.
Louisiana. After obtaining supplies, Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter proceeded into the Red River with USS Benton, USS Lafayette, USS Pittsburg, USS Sterling Price, the ram USS Switzerland, and the tug Ivy. USS Estrella and USS Arina joined his squadron en route.
South Carolina. USS Chocura, Lieutenant-Commander Truxtun, with USS Maratanza in company, seized the sloop Express off Charleston with a cargo of salt.
5 May 1863
Florida. USS Tahoma, Lieutenant-Commander A A Semmes, captured the schooner Crazy Jane northwest of Charlotte Harbour, with a cargo of cotton and turpentine.
Louisiana. During the evening, Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s gunboat flotilla arrived at Fort De Russy, which the Confederates had recently evacuated in the face of the naval threat. Porter sent USS Sterling Price, USS Pittsburg, USS Arina, and the ram USS Switzerland up the Black River on a reconnaissance. At Harrisonburg, these ships encountered heavy batteries, which they engaged with little effect.
6 May 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS R R Cuyler, Lieutenant-Commander James E Jouett, captured the steamer Eugenie bound from Havana to Mobile.
Brazil. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured the brig Clarence off the coast. Clarence was later converted into a Confederate cruiser under Lieutenant Charles Read with a crew of twenty men. Read proposed to proceed to Hampton Roads and to attack enemy gunboats and steamers. Maffitt concurred with the plan and ordered Clarence to raid Union shipping at either Hampton Roads or Baltimore, as the opportunity arose.
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s gunboat flotilla passed a heavy obstruction in the Red River and reached Alexandria during the morning. The city surrendered without resistance. After turning the town over to the Army, and being unable to continue further upriver because of the low water, Porter’s force returned to Fort De Russy and partially destroyed it.
Virginia. USS Dragon, Acting Master G F Hill, seized the schooner Samuel First attempting to run the blockade above Potomac Creek.
7 May 1863
Mississippi. USS Conestoga left Greenville, where it had been engaged against Confederate guerrillas, and returned to the mouth of the White River.
Virginia. USS Commodore Morris, USS Morse, and USS Mystic under Lieutenant Commander Gillis accompanied an expedition into the York River The Union vessels convoyed Army transports as far as West Point and supported their landing. USS Morse and USS Mystic remained in support while the soldiers established their defences.
South Carolina. The Confederates successfully salvaged the heavy guns of the sunken ironclad USS Keokuk and brought them ashore. The turret had first been detached before the guns could be removed. This was a difficult task performed underwater,and only when the sea was calm and at night. The first gun was raised and removed by an old lightboat and Brigadier-General Roswell Sabine Ripley superintended the removal of the second gun. The two long 11-inch Columbiads were later mounted for the defence of Charleston.
8 May 1863
Louisiana. The Union Mortar Flotilla under Commander Charles H B Caldwell, supported by USS Richmond, Captain Alden, opened the bombardment of the Confederate works at Port Hudson.
South Carolina. USS Canandaigua, Captain Joseph F Green, seized the blockade-running steamer Cherokee off Charleston with a cargo of cotton.
South Carolina. USS Flag, Commander James H Strong, captured the schooner Amelia attempting to run the blockade out of Charleston late at night with a cargo of cotton. While under tow, Amelia developed a serious leak in a storm on 15 May and had to be abandoned.
Virginia. USS Primrose, Master William T Street, captured the schooner Sarah Lavinia at Corrotoman Creek.
9 May 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS Aroostook, Lieutenant-Commander Franklin, seized the schooner Sea Lion bound from Mobile to Havana with a cargo of cotton.
Mississippi. USS General Bragg destroyed property in the vicinity of F=Greenville as a reprisal for recent guerrilla activity.
10 May 1863
Mississippi USS Mound City, Lieutenant-Commander Bryon Wilson, fired on and destroyed a recently constructed enemy battery near Warrenton.
Texas. Boat crews from USS Owasco, Lieutenant-Commander John Madigan, Jr., and USS Katahdin, Lieutenant-Commander Philip C Johnson, burned the blockade-runner Hanover off Galveston.
12 May 1863
South Carolina. USS Conemaugh, Commander Reed Werden, and USS Monticello, Lieutenant-Commander Braine, stood in close to shore at Murrell’s Inlet and bombarded five schooners that had run aground. About 100 bales of cotton were set on fire near the schooners, one schooner was set on fire, and all the others were damaged.
Tennessee. During an expedition up the Tennessee River to destroy any boats that could enable the Confederates to cross the river, Union gunboats under Lieutenant-Commander S L Phelps transported Colonel William K M Breckenridge’s small cavalry force for a surprise attack on Linden.
13 May 1863
Brazil. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured the ship Crown Point off the coast of Brazil. After removing stores, Maffitt burned the prize.
Florida. USS Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant W C Rogers, captured the schooner A J Hodge at sea off the eastern coast.
Florida. USS De Soto, Captain Walker, seized the schooner Sea Bird from Havana, off Pensacola Bay.
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s left the majority of his gunboat fleet in the Red River and returned to Grand Gulf, Mississippi.
Louisiana. Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks requested that USS Hartford and other ships operating around Port Hudson should not be withdrawn as intended, as it would open a line of supplies to the Confederates at Port Hudson. Commodore James S Palmer was ordered to remain above Port Hudson to contribute to the army’s campaign.
South Carolina. An expedition from USS Kingfisher, Acting Master John C Dutch, departed St Helena Sound for Edisto, where previous reconnaissance missions had revealed a large quantity of corn was stored. The expedition returned five days later with 800 bushels.
South Carolina. USS Daffodil, Acting Master E M Baldwin, seized the blockade-running British schooner Wonder off Port Royal.
14 May 1863
Virginia. A boat crew from USS Currituck, Acting Master Linnekin, captured the schooner Ladies’ Delight near Urbanna.
15 May 1863
Alabama. USS Kanawha, Lieutenant-Commander Mayo, seized the blockade-running British brig Comet 20 miles east of Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay.
South Carolina. Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont reported to Benjamin F Isherwood, Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering, the value of the floating machine shop established at Port Royal. The innovative facility brought an essential improvement to naval efficiency. The machine shop was in continual operation, particularly to service ironclads, and avoided the return of many vessels to port for repairs. The machine shop was housed in two old hulks.
South Carolina. USS Canandaigua, Captain J F Green, captured the blockade-running sloop Secesh off Charleston with a cargo of cotton.
Virginia. About 35 Confederates seized the mail steamers Arrow and Emily at Currituck bridge and forced the crews to pilot them to Franklin.
16 May 1863
Florida. USS Two Sisters, Acting Master’s Mate John Boyle, captured the schooner Oliver S Breese off the Anclote Keys, hound from Havana to Bayport.
South Carolina. The store ship USS Courier, Acting Master Walter K Cressy, captured the blockade-running sloops Angelina and Emeline off the coast, bound from Charleston to Nassau with cargoes of cotton.
South Carolina. USS Powhatan, Captain Steedman, captured the sloop C Routereau off Charleston with a small cargo of cotton and turpentine.
17 May 1863
Gulf of Mexico. The Confederate blockade-runner Cuba was burned by her crew to prevent capture by USS De Soto, Captain W M Walker.
Gulf of Mexico. USS Kanawha, Lieutenant-Commander Mayo, captured the schooner Hunter bound from Mobile to Havana with a cargo of cotton.
South Carolina. USS Courier, Acting Master Cressy, captured the schooner Maria Bishop at sea off Cape Romain, with a cargo of cotton.
Virginia. Flag Officer Silas H Stringham, in USS Minnesota, reported the capture of the schooner Almira Ann near the Chickahominy River, with a cargo of timber.
18 May 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS Kanawha, Lieutenant-Commander Mayo, took the schooner Ripple bound from Mobile to Havana with a cargo of cotton.
West Indies. USS Shepherd Knapp, Acting Lieutenant Henry Eytinge, ran aground on a reef at Cape Haitien, and could not be recovered, The ship was stripped of usable stores, provisions, and instruments before being abandoned.
Bahamas. USS Octorara, Commander Collins, captured the British blockade-runner Eagle.
Alabama. A boat crew under Acting Master’s Mate N Mayo Dyer from USSR. R Cuyler boarded, captured, and burned the schooner Isabel near Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter returned from observing operations on the Yazoo River. He left two ironclads at the Red River, one at Grand Gulf, one at Carthage, three at Warrenton, and two in the Yazoo River. This allowed a small force of gunboats to assist the army’s operations against Vicksburg. The Confederates had been cut off from Vicksburg at Snyder’s Bluff, so Porter ordered USS Baron Dc Kalb, USS Choctaw, USS Linden, USS Romeo, USS Petrel, and USS Forest Rose to proceed up the Yazoo to assist in the defeat. After Union troops occupied Snyder’s Bluff, Porter sent provisions for the garrison. USS De Kalb, Lieutenant-Commander J G Walker, pushed on to Haynes’ Bluff which the Confederates were evacuating and captured guns and military stores. The gunboats then returned to join operations at Vicksburg.
Mississippi. USS Linden, Acting Lieutenant T E Smith, escorted five Army transports down the Mississippi. The lead transport, Crescent City, was fired into by a Confederate battery at Island No 82, wounding some soldiers. USS Linden returned fire and drove the Confederates from their battery. Troops were landed and the buildings in the area were destroyed in reprisal.
18 May 1863
South Carolina. Confederate troops began planting torpedoes in Skull Creek, to destroy Union vessels which used the route continually.
19 May 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS De Soto, Captain W M Walker, captured the schooner Mississippian, bound from Mobile to Havana with a cargo of cotton and turpentine.
Florida. USS Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant W C Rogers, seized the blockade-running Spanish steamer Union west of St Petersburg.
Mississippi. As Union Army troops advanced on Vicksburg, naval support was rendered to support their movements. Six mortar boats began to fire night and day from the Union gunboat fleet in the Mississippi against the hilltop batteries at Vicksburg. USS Benton, Lieutenant-Commander James A Greer, was ordered into action whenever the Confederate forts on the hills opened fire on the Union troops advancing toward the town. Despite the long range, the guns were able to disconcert the enemy with unexpected shellfire.
Virginia. The mortar schooner USS Sophronia, Acting Ensign William R Rude, seized the schooner Mignonette at Piney Point, attempting to smuggle whisky.
20 May 1863
Louisiana. Union gunboats contributed to the attack Port Hudson. USS Hartford, USS Albatross, and some smaller gunboats would attack from above the town, landing at Bayou Sara, while Union troops marched from Baton Rouge to attack from below.
North Carolina. A boat crew under Acting Master’s Mate Charles W Fisher of USS Louisiana captured the schooner R T Renshaw in the Tar River, above Washington.
21 May 1863
Florida. USS Union, Acting Lieutenant Edward Conroy, seized the blockade-running British schooner Linnet in the Gulf of Mexico, west of Charlotte Harbour.
Mississippi. USS Baron De Kalb, Choctaw, Forest Rose, Linden, and Petrel pushed up the Yazoo River from Haynes’ Bluff to Yazoo City, under command of Lieutenant-Commander J G Walker. As the gunboats approached the city, Commander Isaac N Brown, former commander of the ram CSS Arkansas, was forced to destroy three valuable steamers, rams and a well-equipped navy yard, with machine shops, sawmills, and blacksmith shops, to prevent their capture. The Confederate steamers destroyed were Mobile, Republic, and an unnamed and incomplete but immense steamer.
Virginia. USS Currituck, Acting Master Linnekin, USS Anacostia, Acting Master Nelson Provost, and USS Satellite, Acting Master John F D Robinson, captured the schooner Emily at the mouth of the Rappahannock River.
22 May 1863
Florida. Small boats from USS Fort Henry, Lieutenant-Commander McCauley, captured the sloop Isabella in Waccassassa Bay.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter prepared his river gunboats to support an Army attack on Vicksburg planned for 10 am on 22 May. The gunboats shelled the Confederate entrenchments from below the city until 10.30am. Six mortar boats fired from near the Louisiana shore throughout the night in preparation. USS Benton, USS Mound City, and USS Carondelet shelled the water batteries and other locations throughout the night. Early in the morning, USS Mound City, Lieutenant-Commander Wilson, engaged the hill batteries. An hour later she was joined by USS Benton, USS Tuscumbia, and USS Carondelet. Their combined fire temporarily silenced the Confederate batteries. Leaving USS Tuscumbia to suppress the hill batteries, Porter attacked the water batteries with the other three gunboats. The Confederates opened a rapid fire but Porter forced his way to within a quarter of a mile. The bombardment continued past 11.30am but there was no sign of an Army assault and ammunition was running short. Porter directed his ships to drop back out of range. The gunboats were hit several times but suffered only light damage. The troops ashore had made an unsuccessful assault on Vicksburg but their attack was obscured from the squadron’s view by smoke from their own guns and the Confederate batteries.
Mississippi. Confederate raiders fired on the commissary and quartermaster boat of the Mississippi Marine Brigade above Austin during the evening.
North Carolina. The Union Army steamer Allison destroyed the schooner Sea Bird after seizing her a cargo of coal near New Bern.
24 May 1863
Florida. A boat expedition under Acting Master Edgar Van Slyck from USS Port Royal, Lieutenant-Commander Morris, captured the sloop Fashion above Apalachicola, with a cargo of cotton. Van Slyck also burned a repair facility at Devil’s Elbow and destroyed a barge near Fashion.
Mississippi. Union Brigadier-General Alfred Washington Ellet put the Mississippi Marine Brigade ashore to engage Confederate cavalry eight miles from Austin and compelled the raiders to withdraw. In reprisal for smuggling and an attack on his ships the previous evening, Ellet ordered the town of Austin burned.
Mississippi. Union Lieutenant-Commander J G Walker ascended the Yazoo River with USS Baron De Kalb, USS Forest Rose, USS Linden, USS Signal, and USS Petrel on a week-long expedition to capture transports and to disrupt Confederate movements. Fifteen miles below Fort Pemberton, Walker found and burned four steamers that were sunk on a bar blocking the river. Fire was exchanged with Confederate sharpshooters as the Union gunboats returned downriver. A landing party destroyed a large sawmill, and Yazoo City brought away military supplies from the navy yard at Yazoo City. Walker also explored the Sunflower River for about 150 miles, destroying shipping and grain before returning to the mouth of the Yazoo River. In all, nine steamers were destroyed during the operation.
25 May 1863
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned ship Gildersleeve and bonded Justina off Bahia.
26 May 1863
North Carolina. Union Commander Davenport assisted the army in the occupation of Wilkinson’s Point. USS Ceres, USS Shawsheen, and USS Brinker reconnoitred along the Neuse River, capturing and destroying a number of small schooners and boats. The gunboats then covered the landing of the troops and remained in support until the Army was entrenched.
27 May 1863
Georgia. CSS Chattahoochee, Lieutenant John J Guthrie, was sunk by an explosion in her boilers. The gunboat exploded at anchor in the Chattahoochee River, the accident killed 18 men and injured many others. The vessel was later raised but never put to sea and was destroyed by the Confederates at the war’s end.
Louisiana. Following a failed Union assault on Port Hudson, Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut continued the mortar and ship bombardment night and day. A heavy naval battery was put ashore. Within a week, a battery of four 9-inch guns and four 24-pounder guns was established by Lieutenant-Commander Terry of USS Richmond and was worked by naval gun crews as a breaching battery. USS Hartford and two or three gunboats were retained above Port Hudson; USS Richmond, USS Genesee, USS Essex, and USS Monongahela, and the mortar boats were kept below the town.
Mississippi. Lieutenant-Commander Elias K Owen, USS Louisville, reported the destruction of the abandoned Rock Hill Point Battery near Grand Gulf. The gunboat also ascended the Big Black River for three miles to destroy a raft the enemy had placed across the river, chained at both ends, to obstruct passage.
Mississippi. USS Cincinnati, Lieutenant Bache, was moved to open enfilade fire on rifle pits which barred the Army’s progress before Vicksburg. The Confederates fired with great accuracy, especially with plunging shots fired from an 8-inch rifle and a 10-inch smoothbore on the hills, and caused severe damage. The ship was packed with protective logs and hay, but a shot entered the magazine and the gunboat sank rapidly. USS Cincinnati suffered 25 men killed or wounded and 15 men presumed drowned.
Virginia. USS Coeur de Lion, Acting Master William G Morris, burned the schooners Charity, Gazelle, and Flight in the Yeoeomico River.
Texas, USS Brooklyn, Commodore Henry Haywood Bell, captured the sloop Blazer with a cargo of cotton at Pass Cavallo.
28 May 1863
Texas. USS Brooklyn, Commodore Henry Haywood Bell, captured the sloop Kate at Point Isabel, with a cargo of cotton.
29 May 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned Jabez Snow, bound from Cardiff to Montevideo, Uruguay, with a cargo of coal.
Georgia. USS Cimarron, Commander Andrew J Drake, took the blockade-runner evening Star off Wassaw Sound, with a cargo of cotton.
Mississippi. Union Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant requested naval assistance for operations near Vicksburg. A force under Major-General Francis Preston Blair was attempting to clear the enemy between the Big Black and Yazoo Rivers and aimed to destroy the Mississippi Central Railroad Bridge over the Big Black River. There was a risk of the Confederates cutting this expedition off from the rear and asked for one or two gunboats to navigate the Yazoo as far as Yazoo City to provide an escape route for Blair’s troops. He also requested the Mississippi Marine Brigade to move and disembark at Haynes’ Bluff, and to hold the town until relieved. Two siege guns and naval gun crews were requested to join the siege works behind Vicksburg. Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter replied that Mississippi Marine Brigade would leave early the next morning but only one suitable gun was available for service ashore, but it was being fitted on a mortar boat for close support. Instead, he suggested that he could remove six 8-inch guns from USS Manitou, and put them ashore as soon as that ship returned from Yazoo City.
Mississippi. Union Lieutenant-Commander Greer, USS Benton, fired on Confederates building rifle pits on the crest and side of a hill near the battery that commanded the Vicksburg canal. This action was renewed during the next two days as the Confederates returned to their work as soon as the ships stopped firing.
30 May 1863
Bahamas. USS Rhode Island, Commander Stephen D Trenchard, gave chase to the blockade-runner Margaret and Jessie off Eleuthera Island. The fleeing steamer was hit in the boiler and was run ashore to prevent it from sinking with a large cargo of cotton.
Mississippi. USS Forest Rose, Acting Lieutenant G W Brown, and USS Linden, Acting Lieutenant T E Smith, reconnoitred Quiver River. A boat expedition from the two ships captured and burned two vessels, Dew Drop and Emma Bett.
North Carolina. The blockade-runner A D Vance sailed into Wilmington from Great Britain. This was the first of eleven successful runs through the blockade for the vessel.
Texas. A boat expedition under Lieutenant-Commander Chester Hatfield captured the schooner Star and the sloop Victoria at Brazos Santiago. The latter was burned after she grounded in the attempt to bring her out into the Gulf.
31 May 1863
Florida. USS Sunflower, Acting Master Edward Van Sice, seized the schooner Echo off the Marquesas Keys with a cargo of cotton.
Louisiana. USS Carondelet, Lieutenant Murphy, patrolling the Mississippi River below Vicksburg, proceeded to Perkins Landing, where Army troops were found cut off from their headquarters. Murphy shelled the woods and prevented the enemy from advancing and enfilading the troops ashore until a transport could arrive to rescue the soldiers. When USS Forest Queen arrived and the Union troops began to embark, a large force of Confederates pressed an attack. USS Carondelet’s guns laid down heavy fire, forcing the Confederates to break off the attack. USS Carondelet remained at Perkins’ Landing after USS Forest Queen departed, saving some supplies and destroying the remainder to prevent capture by Confederates.
South Carolina. USS Pawnee, Commander Balch, and USS E B Hale, Acting Lieutenant Edgar Brodhead, supported an Army reconnaissance to James Island and covered the troop landing. ‘The landing and reconnaissance met no opposition, and the troops were embarked at 9 am without loss. Confederate Colonel Charles H Simonton, commanding at James Island, warned that this reconnaissance would dismiss the threat of Confederate batteries imagined to be located on the Stono River.
1 June 1863
Alabama. The Confederate Navy Department assumed complete control of the Selma Iron Works. Under Commander Catesby ap R Jones, the ironworks cast nearly 200 naval guns were cast, mostly 6.4-inch and 7-inch Brooke rifles, between June 1863 and April 1864.
Mississippi. Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter volunteered to place a naval battery of two 8-inch howitzers ashore to reinforce the siege of Vicksburg.
Virginia. After hearing that four men engaged in the blockade-running were ashore near Lawson’s Bay on the Rappahannock River, Acting Master Street of USS Primrose took a landing party four miles inland arrested four men in hiding.
2 June 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, after a chase of eight hours captured and burned the bark Amazonian, bound from New York to Montevideo with a cargo including commercial mail.
Virginia. USS Anacostia, Acting Master Provost, and USS Primrose, Acting Master Street, took the sloop Flying Cloud at Tapp’s Creek.
3 June 1863
Florida. USS Stars and Stripes, Acting Master Charles L Willcomb, captured the sloop Florida at St Marks Bay, with a cargo of cotton and tar.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter reported that he had sent six 8-inch guns up the Yazoo River to strengthen the army’s defences, and also two 9-inch guns to Warrenton.
3 June 1863
Louisiana. The ram USS Switzerland, Lieutenant Colonel J Ellet, made a reconnaissance of the Atchafalaya River as far as Simsport. The aim was to establish whether a Confederate relief force was advancing to engage the Union positions above Port Hudson. Half a mile above Simsport, the Confederates opened rifle and artillery fire on the ram from strong positions behind the levee and heavy earthworks, and within 100 yards of the channel. After a vigorous exchange in which Switzerland sustained seven hits, the ram withdrew.
4 June 1863
South Carolina. USS Commodore McDonough, Lieutenant-Commander Bacon, with the steamer Island City, the transport Cossack, and the Army gunboat Mayflower, transported and supported an Army force to Bluffton. The troops disembarked without incident but then met strong Confederate resistance. The town was destroyed with the aid of naval gunfire and the troops returned.
Louisiana. USS Lafayette and USS Pittsburg proceeded to Simsport and shelled the Confederate positions which had prevented the passage of USS Switzerland the previous day. The Confederates were driven out and a landing party destroyed their camp and houses used as quarters. The gunboats then returned to their positions at the mouth of the Red River.
4 June 1863
Virginia. A Union expedition including USS Commodore Morris, Lieutenant-Commander Gillis; USS Commodore Jones, Lieutenant-Commander John G Mitchell, the Army gunboat Smith Briggs, and the transport Winnissimet with 400 troops embarked, ascended the Mattapony River. The aim was to destroy a foundry above Walkerton, where Confederate ordnance was being manufactured. The troops landed at Walkerton and marched to Ayletts where the machinery, a flour mill, and a large quantity of grain were destroyed. Reembarking the troops and captured livestock, the expedition fell downriver as the gunboats shelled deserted houses to break up Confederate attempts to intercept the withdrawal.
5 June 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured ship Talisman en route to Shanghai. Semmes transferred two brass 12-pounder guns mounted on carriages, ammunition and two steam boilers, suitable for fitting up a steam gunboat. Two similar guns were left aboard when the ship was burned at nightfall.
Mississippi. Union Lieutenant-Commander Selfridge reported that a naval battery of two 8-inch howitzers had been completed ashore to reinforce the siege of Vicksburg.
South Carolina. USS Wissahickon, Lieutenant-Commander Davis, attacked and sank an unnamed steamer attempting to run the blockade out of Charleston.
6 June 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured and burned the ship Southern Cross, bound from Mexico to New York with a cargo of wood.
Arkansas. The steamer Lady Walton surrendered to USS Tyler, Lieutenant-Commander Prichett, at the mouth of the White River.
Florida. USS Tahoma, Lieutenant-Commander A A Semmes, seized the schooner Statesman, aground at Gadsen’s Point with a cargo of cotton.
South Carolina. CSS Clarence (a former prize of CSS Florida), Lieutenant Read, launched a brief cruise against Union commerce by capturing and burning the bark Whistling Wind with a cargo of coal east of Cape Romain.
7 June 1863
Mississippi. USS Choctaw, Lieutenant-Commander Ramsay, and USS Lexington, Lieutenant-Commander Bache, supported Union troops at Milliken’s Bend, during an attack by Confederate soldiers. The Union troops withdrew to the riverbank where the guns of the ships could be brought into action. The fire from the gunboats compelled the Confederates to fall back.
South Carolina. CSS Clarence, Lieutenant Read, seized the schooner Alfred H Partridge bound from New York to Matamoras with a cargo of arms and clothing.
8 June 1863
Louisiana. A Confederate launch and crew commanded by Master James Duke boarded and captured the steam tug Boston at Pass a l’Outre in the Mississippi River. They put to sea, capturing and burning the Union barks Lenox and Texana. Duke took the Boston safely into Mobile on 11 June to complete a bold raid that disconcerted the blockaders off Mobile.
Brazil. CSS Georgia, Lieutenant W L Maury, captured the ship George Griswold with a cargo of coal off Rio de Janeiro. The prize was released on bond.
9 June 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Clarence, Lieutenant Read, captured and burned the brig Mary Alvina, bound from Boston to New Orleans with a cargo of commissary stores.
Mississippi. Union mortar boats continued to bombard Vicksburg. Between dawn and noon, they fired 175 shells into the city. Heavy rains curtailed the mortar activity the next day, with only some 75 rounds being fired, but on the 11 June the attack was stepped up once again and 193 mortar bombs fell on the stronghold. The mortars maintained a constant harassing fire, and the gunboats shelled any activity observed in the batteries, or if new batteries were under construction.
10 June 1863
Georgia. USS Weehawken, Captain J Rodgers, and USS Nahant, Commander Downes, were sent to Wassaw Sound, after warnings that the ram CSS Atlanta, Commander Webb, was preparing to attack the wooden blockader USS Cimarron.
Virginia. A group of Confederate officer prisoners of war being transported to Fort Delaware aboard the steamer Maple Leaf overpowered the guard, took possession of the steamer, and landed below Cape Henry.
11 June 1863
North Carolina. USS Florida, Commander Bankhead, captured the blockade-running steamer Calypso attempting to dash into Wilmington with a cargo including drugs, provisions, and iron plating for ironclads.
South Carolina. The steamer Havelock ran past the blockading ships USS Memphis, USS Stettin, and USS Ottawa into Charleston. The steamer was so severely damaged by the blockaders’ fire that she was found at daybreak wrecked, aground and ablaze on Folly Island.
Virginia. A boat crew from USS Coeur De Lion, Acting Master W G Morris, seized and burned the schooners Odd Fellow and Sarah Margaret in Coan River.
12 June 1863
North Carolina. The raider CSS Clarence, Lieutenant Read, captured the bark Tacony of Cape Hatteras and then the schooner M A Shindler bound from Port Royal to Philadelphia. Read decided to transfer his command to the Tacony and was in the process of transferring the howitzer when another schooner, Kate Stewart, bound from Key West to Philadelphia, was sighted. Read ordered the schooner to heave to and decided to bond the schooner Kate Stewart. Read then destroyed both CSS Clarence and M A Shindler and chased another brig, Arabella, which was soon overhauled. Arabella carried a neutral cargo and was bonded. The career of CSS Clarence as a commerce raider ended with six prizes made in a single week. Three were destroyed, two were bonded, and the successor CSS Tacony took up the cruise against Union shipping under the same Captain and crew.
13 June 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Georgia, Lieutenant W L Maury, captured the bark Good Hope bound from Boston to the Cape of Good Hope. The prize was burned on 14 June after provisions and stores were removed.
Cuba. USS Juniata, Commander Clitz, captured the blockade-running schooner Fashion off the coast with a cargo of salt and soda.
Arkansas. Confederate guerrillas fired at the USS Marmora, Acting Lieutenant Getty, near Eunice.
Florida. USS Sunflower, Acting Master Van Sice, captured the schooner Pushmataha off the Tortugas.
14 June 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Georgia, Lieutenant W L Maury, captured at sea and bonded the bark J W Seaver with a cargo of machinery bound for Russia.
Gulf of Mexico. USS Lackawanna, Captain John B Marchand, captured the blockade-running steamer, Neptune, bound from Havana to Mobile.
West Indies. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, captured ship Red Gauntlet.
Arkansas. Confederate guerrillas fired on the transport Nebraska near Eunice. In reprisal, Acting Lieutenant Getty, USS Marmora, sent a landing party ashore and destroyed the town, including the railroad depot with a locomotive and railroad car, and a large warehouse.
15 June 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS Lackawanna, Captain Marchand, captured the steamer Planter with a cargo of cotton.
Arkansas. USS Marmora, Acting Lieutenant Getty, and USS Prairie Bird, Acting Lieutenant Edward E Brennand, landed troops and destroyed the town of Gaines Landing in retaliation for a guerrilla attempt to burn the Union coal barge there, and for recent attacks on Union shipping.
Arkansas. USS Juliet, Acting Lieutenant Shaw, seized steamer Fred Nolte on the White River.
Georgia. The ironclad CSS Atlanta, Commander Webb, got underway in the early evening and passed over the lower obstructions in the Wilmington River, preparatory to an attack on the Union blockading ships in Wassaw Sound. Webb dropped anchor at 8 pm and spent the remainder of the night coaling.
Virginia. CSS Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured and burned the brig Umpire with a cargo of sugar and molasses off the coast.
16 June 1863
West Indies. CSS Florida, Commander John Newland Maffitt, captured the ship B F Hoxie. After removing silver bars valued at $105,000, Maffitt burned the prize.
Florida. USS Circassian, Acting Lieutenant William B Eaton, captured the blockade-running sloop John Wesley off St Marks, bound for Havana with a cargo of cotton.
Georgia. The ironclad CSS Atlanta, Commander Webb, set out in the evening near nightfall to a point of land within six miles of the Union monitors in Wassaw Sound. CSS Atlanta remained in concealment, ready to attack at early dawn the next morning.
Missouri. Acting Master John C Bunner, USS New Era, obtained reports that Confederate troops were planning an attack on either Columbus, Hickman, Island 10, or New Madrid. Bunner proceeded above Island No 10, where he found and destroyed nine boats and flats that could have enabled a Confederate raid.
17 June 1863
Georgia. The ironclad CSS Atlanta, Commander Webb, accompanied by the wooden steamers CSS Isondiga and CSS Resolute, engaged USS Weehawken, Captain J Rodgers, and USS Nahant, Commander Downes, in Wassaw Sound. A percussion torpedo was fitted to the ram’s bow which was to be detonated against the USS Weehawken. CSS Atlanta ran aground briefly coming into the channel, then regained momentum but repeatedly failed to obey her helm. USS Weehawken poured five shots from her heavy guns into the Confederate ram, and USS Nahant moved into attacking position. Two of the gun crews on CSS Atlanta were put out of action, and two of the three Pilots were severely injured. The ship was helpless and hard aground and Webb was compelled to surrender. The two wooden escorts returned upriver without engaging. CSS Atlanta was mounted with two 6-inch rifles and two 7-inch rifles. The 6-inch guns were placed in broadside, and the 7-inch working guns operated by pivot either as broadside or bow or stern guns. The crew of 21 officers and 124 men, including 28 marines, were taken prisoner.
Texas. A boat crew under Acting Master Sylvanus Nickerson from USS Itasca captured the blockade-runner Miriam at Brazos Santiago, with a cargo of cotton.
18 June 1863
Florida. USS Tahoma, Lieutenant-Commander A A Semmes, captured the British blockade-runner Harriet near Anclote Keys. USS Tahoma then chased the British blockade-runner Mary Jane ashore and destroyed her at Clearwater.
Florida. USS James S Chambers, Acting Master L Nickerson, captured the schooner Rebekah off Tampa Bay.
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut steamed downriver from Port Hudson to Plaquemine aboard USS Monongahela. A raid by Confederate cavalry had burned two Army transports in the vicinity and there was anxiety that the Confederates intended to capture Donaldsonville, cutting off the flow of supplies between New Orleans and the Union army besieging Port Hudson. USS Winona, Lieutenant-Commander Aaron Weaver, shelled the Confederate cavalrymen from the town. Farragut concentrated three or four gunboats at Donaldsonville to ensure the security of the supply lines.
Mississippi. USS General Sterling Price, Commander Woodworth, and USS Mound City, Lieutenant Wilson, returned to their positions below Vicksburg after a three-day reconnaissance down the Mississippi River as far as Cole’s Creek. During the expedition, some 60 to 70 barges, skiffs, and boats were destroyed which could have been used to transport Confederate troops.Mississippi. USS Benton, Lieutenant-Commander Greer, supplied Major-General Francis Jay Herron with two 32-pounder guns, complete with ammunition, equipment, and a naval crew to man them. ‘The battery, under the command of Acting Master J Frank Reed, contributed to the siege operations at Vicksburg.
19 June 1863
Florida. The mortar schooner USS Para, Acting Master Edward G Furber, captured the blockade-running schooner Emma off Mosquito Inlet.
Tennessee. A naval battery, manned by crewmen from USS Robb, Acting Ensign Hanford, was mounted to fire across the river at Cerro Gordo, was engaged by dismounted Confederate cavalry.
20 June 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured the bark Conrad, bound from Buenos Aires for New York with a cargo of wool. Semmes commissioned her as a new cruiser under the name CSS Tuscaloosa. The new commerce raider was fitted out with weapons, crew, and provisions before sunset on the day of her capture.
New England. CSS Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured the ship Isaac Webb, bound from Liverpool to New York. The prize had 759 passengers aboard and had to be bonded. CSS Tacony also captured and burned the fishing schooner Micawber off the New England coast.
Mississippi. An intense bombardment was fired into the Confederate positions at Vicksburg by Army and Navy batteries from 4 am until 10am. The only response by the Confederates was a brisk fire of heavy guns from the upper batteries against two 12-pounder rifled howitzers that were placed on the Louisiana shore. After this extensive bombardment, reports reached the Union commanders that the Confederates were readying boats for an evacuation of the city across the Mississippi.
Virginia. USS Primrose, Acting Master Street, captured the sloop Richard Vaux off Blakistone Island in the Potomac River.
21 June 1863
New England. CSS Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured and burned ship Byzantium, with a cargo of coal, and the bark Goodspeed, in ballast, off the coast.
Bahamas. USS Santiago De Cuba, Commander Robert H Wyman, seized the blockade-running British steamer Victory off Palmetto Point of Eleuthera Island, after a long chase. The Victory was bound from Wilmington with a cargo of cotton, tobacco, and turpentine.
North Carolina. USS Florida, Commander Bankhead, captured the schooner Hattie off Frying Pan Shoals, with a cargo of cotton and naval stores.
Texas. USS Owasco, Lieutenant-Commander Madigan, and USS Cayuga, Lieutenant-Commander William H Dana, took the sloop Active attempting to run blockade out of Sabine Pass, with a cargo of cotton.
22 June 1863
New England. CSS Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured the fishing schooners Florence, Marengo, E Ann, R Choate, and Ripple off the coast. Florence was bonded and seventy-five prisoners put aboard. The other schooners were burned.
North Carolina. USS Shawsheen, Acting Master Henry A Phelon, while on a reconnaissance in Bay River, captured the schooner Henry Clay up Spring Creek. An armed boat went up Dimbargon Creek and captured a small schooner carrying turpentine before USS Shawsheen returned to New Bern.
Texas. USS Itasca, Lieutenant-Commander Robert F R Lewis, seized the British blockade-runner Sea Drift near Matagorda Island, with a cargo including gunpowder, lead, and drugs.
23 June 1863
New England. CSS Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured and burned the fishing schooners Ada and Wanderer off the coast.
Florida. USS Pursuit, Lieutenant William P Randall, took the sloop Kate in Indian River.
South Carolina. USS Flambeau, Lieutenant-Commander John H Upshur, seized the British schooner Bettie Cratzer, off Murrell’s Inlet, bound from New York to Havana and suspected of being a blockade-runner.
23 June 1863
Virginia. Commander Pierce Crosby and the gunboats USS Commodore Barney, USS Commodore Morris, USS Western World, and USS Morse, with the Army gunboats Smith, Briggs, and Jesup, began a week-long expedition in support of the Army to White House on the Pamunkey River.
24 June 1863
New England. CSS Tacony, Lieutenant Read, captured the ship Shatemuc, bound from Liverpool to Boston with a large number of emigrants aboard. Read bonded the vessel. CSS Tacony later captured the fishing schooner Archer. As enemy gunboats were now in search of CSS Tacony and as his howitzer ammunition was exhausted, Read decided to destroy the CSS Tacony, and to transfer to the schooner Archer until he could capture a steamer.
Virginia. USS Sumpter, Acting Lieutenant Peter Hays, collided with the transport steamer General Meigs in heavy mist near Hampton Roads and sank.
25 June 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Georgia, Lieutenant W L Maury, captured the ship Constitution bound from Philadelphia to Shanghai, with a cargo of coal.
New England. Lieutenant Read burned his own ship, the raider CSS Tacony, and transferred to the schooner Archer, waiting for an opportunity to seize a new steamer to continue his commerce raiding cruise.
Bahamas. USS Santiago De Cuba, Commander Wyman, took the steamer Britannia off Palmetto Point, Eleuthera Island, with a cargo of cotton.
Florida. Lieutenant-Commander English, USS Sagamore. captured the blockade-running British schooner Frolic off Crystal River, bound for Havana with a cargo of cotton and turpentine.
Virginia. Boats from USS Crusader, Acting Master Roland F Coffin, made a reconnaissance of Pepper Creek, near New Point Comfort, to determine whether an armed boat was being outfitted by the Confederates for raiding in the Chesapeake Bay’. The boat crews were fired on by a Confederate party. In retaliation, Coffin burned several houses in the area.
26 June 1863
Louisiana. Union ships, mortar boats, and Army artillery laid a heavy bombardment on Port Hudson. USS Essex was the only Union vessel hit despite coming under fire for four hours. USS Essex was struck three times but one shot passed through the starboard smoke pipe, through the deck and coal bunker, and grazed the starboard boiler. The shot continued through the machinery and steam pipes, over the galley, and through the wheelhouse before exiting into the water.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter decided to put a second naval battery ashore to support the siege of Vicksburg. Guns were removed from USS Cincinnati’s a battery was erected onshore to mount them. This meant that ten heavy naval guns had now been landed from the gunboats in the rear of Vicksburg, some of them manned by sailors.
Virginia. Commander Pierce Crosby with the gunboats USS Commodore Barney, USS Commodore Morris, USS Western World, and USS Morse, and the Army gunboats Smith, Briggs, and Jesup, arrived at White House on the Pamunkey River. The gunboats were stationed at White House and Jesup remained at West Point. Their instructions were for two ships to run daily from White House to West point to protect the army transports and to look for signs of enemy activity. A naval landing party at White House destroyed rails and a turn-table inside an earthwork on which the Confederates had intended to place a railroad car mounting a heavy gun.
26 June 1863
Maine. CSS Archer, Lieutenant Read, reached the lighthouse at Portland. Read picked up two fishermen who consented to pilot the schooner into Portland. Read learned that the revenue cutter Caleb Cushing and a passenger steamer, Chesapeake, were at Portland and would remain there overnight. The steamer For City was also in Portland and two gunboats were under construction. Read made a daring plan to enter the harbour during the night in order to seize the cutter and steamer. CSS Archer sailed in boldly at sunset, anchoring in full view of the shipping. Read discussed the plan with his crew but found difficulties in his scheme. Engineer Eugene H Brown was doubtful that he could get the engines of the steamer started without the assistance of another engineer. As the nights were short it was essential to get the steamer underway and to get clear of the forts before being discovered. Read therefore decided to concentrate on capturing the revenue cutter alone.
27 June 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, seized and bonded the whaling schooner V H Hill en route to Bermuda.
Bahamas. Commander A G Clary, USS Tioga, captured the blockade-running British schooner Julia with a cargo of cotton.
Maine. Lieutenant Read, commanding the schooner CSS Archer, had anchored in Portland harbour overnight. At 1:30 in the morning, Read’s crew boarded and took the revenue cutter Caleb Cushing, without noise or resistance. With only a light breeze and the tide running in, the cutter was still under the fort’s guns at daybreak. By mid-morning, Caleb Cushing was still only twenty miles from the harbour and two large steamers and three tugs were observed leaving Portland in pursuit. Read cleared the cutter’s armament for action and fired on the leading steamer, Forest City, as soon as she was in range. After firing five shells from the pivot gun, Read discovered that all the ammunition for that gun was expended. Defenceless and about to be caught in a crossfire from the steamers, Read ordered the cutter destroyed and the men took to the lifeboats. The intrepid crew surrendered at 11.30am to the steamer Forest City, First Lieutenant James H Merryman USRS.’ At noon the Caleb Cushing blew up from charges which had been set. From the date of their first capture to the destruction of the revenue cutter off Portland, Read’s Confederate raiders had taken 22 prizes.
28 June 1863
Brazil. CSS Georgia, Lieutenant W L Maury, captured the ship City of Bath off the coast.
Florida. Armed boats from USS Fort Henry, Lieutenant-Commander McCauley, captured the schooner Anna Maria in the Steinhatchee River, with a cargo of cotton.
30 June 1863
Alabama. USS Ossipee, Captain Gillis, captured the schooner Helena off Mobile.
Georgia. Captain Josiah Tattnall reported that the ironclad steamer CSS Savannah was completed and ready for service with the exception of officers.
1 July 1863
California. James M Tindel proposed to Confederate Secretary of State Judah Philip Benjamin a plan to capture Pacific Mail Steamers, the Union ships carrying on an active trade along the west co
st. The expedition would proceed first to Matamoras. There the expedition would be divided, with one group travelling overland to San Francisco to capture one of the steamers plying between that port and the Panama Canal. The other group would sail in a neutral vessel from Aspinwall (Panama), to make a similar attempt on a steamer sailing from that port. The Confederates hoped that the mission would disrupt shipping in the area but the US Navy had strengthened its Pacific Squadron and the Confederate plans were not implemented.
2 July 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the ship Anna F Schmidt with a cargo of clothes, medicines, clocks, sewing machines, and other goods. CSS Alabama set its course for the Cape of Good Hope.
Gulf of Mexico. USS Juniata, Commander Clitz, seized the blockade-running British schooner Don Jose with a cargo of salt, cotton, and rum.
Louisiana, USS Cayuga, Lieutenant-Commander Dana, captured the blockade-running sloop Blue Bell in Mermentau River, with a cargo of sugar and molasses.
Mississippi. USS Covington, Acting Lieutenant George P Lord, captured steamer Eureka near Commerce, with a cargo of whisky.
Virginia. USS Samuel Rotan, Acting Lieutenant William W Kennison, seized the schooner Champion off the Piankatank River.
3 July 1863
Florida. Boats from USS Fort Henry, Lieutenant-Commander McCauley, captured the sloop Emma north of Sea Horse Key, with a cargo of tar and Confederate mail.
Mississippi. Union Major-General Ulysses Grant and Confederate Lieutenant-General John Clifford Pemberton arranged an armistice to negotiate the terms of capitulation of Vicksburg and its garrison.
4 July 1863
Arkansas. USS Tyler, Lieutenant-Commander Prichett, repulsed an attack on Helena, by a large Confederate force. The Confederate penetrated the outposts of the outnumbered garrison under Major-General Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss. USS Tyler steamed into action and used its heavy guns to halt the attack and compel a withdrawal.
Mississippi. Vicksburg surrendered to Union Major-General Ulysses Simpson Grant after a long siege by water and land. The river fleet of Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter played a decisive role in achieving the victory. Porter reported the statistical contribution of his squadron to the fall of Vicksburg. Thirteen naval guns had been dismounted from their ships and used ashore. The expenditure of ammunition during the siege amounted to over 7,000 mortar bombs, and 4,500 rounds from the gunboats. The naval guns ashore fired 4,500 rounds, and over 6,000 rounds were supplied to Army batteries.
6 July 1863
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the ship Express off the coast, with a cargo of guano.
Florida. USS De Soto, Captain W M Walker, captured the blockade-runner Lady Maria off Clearwater, with a cargo of cotton.
7 July 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Commander John Newland Maffitt, captured the ship Sunrise, bound from New York to Liverpool, and released her on bond.
Kentucky. Confederate raiders under Brigadier-General John Hunt Morgan captured the steamers John T McCombs and Alice Dean at Brandenburg.
Louisiana. USS Monongahela, Commander Read, and USS New London, Lieutenant-Commander George H Perkins, engaged Confederate field batteries behind the levee about twelve miles below Donaldsonville. Read was mortally wounded in the action.
8 July 1863
Florida. Two cutters from USS Restless and USS Rosalie, Acting Ensigns Henry Eason and James J Russell, captured the schooner Ann and an unnamed sloop in Horse Creek, with cargoes of cotton.
Ohio. Union Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch received word at Cincinnati that Confederate raiders under Brigadier-General John Hunt Morgan were moving up the banks of the Ohio River. Morgan had already captured the steamers John T McCombs and Alice Dean on 7 July. Fitch notified the ships stationed along the river and got underway in USS Morse with USS Victory in company.
New York. CSS Florida, Commander John Newland Maffitt, captured and burned the brig W B Nash and the whaling schooner Rienzi off the coast.
9 July 1863
Florida. A boat crew from USS, Tahoma, Lieutenant-Commander A A Semmes, captured an unnamed flatboat with a cargo of sugar and molasses near the Manatee River.
Kentucky. Union Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch with USS Morse with USS Victory converged on Brandenburg, Kentucky, to find that Confederate Brigadier-General John Hunt Morgan’s raiders had crossed the Ohio River into Indiana. USS Fairfield and USS Silver Take began to patrol from Leavenworth, Indiana, up to Brandenburg during the night, and USS Victory and USS Springfield were set to patrol from Louisville down to Brandenburg. Fitch covered the river crossings for about forty miles.
Louisiana. Port Hudson surrendered after a prolonged attack by Union naval and land forces, completing the Union effort to control the entire navigation of the Mississippi River.
10 July 1863
Kentucky. Union Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch learned that Confederate Brigadier-General John Hunt Morgan’s raiders were moving northward. USS Morse with USS Victory were joined by USS Reindeer and USS Naumkeag and ascended the Ohio in pursuit. The chase continued until 19 July, with USS Springfield and the steamer Alleghany Belle joining later. USS Fairplay and USS Silver Lake remained on patrol between Louisville and Cannelton, Indiana.
Louisiana. USS New London, Lieutenant-Commander G H Perkins, en route from Donaldsonville to New Orleans, was taken under fire and disabled by Confederate artillery at White Hall Point. Perkins left the ship and went to Donaldsonville to bring up troops to prevent the ship’s capture.
Massachusetts. Commodore Montgomery, commandant of the Boston Navy Yard, ordered USS Shenandoah, Captain Daniel B Ridgely, and USS Ethan Allen, Acting Master Pennell, to search for the raider CSS Florida. Two days previously, the commerce raider had destroyed two ships near New York and was reported to be bound for the Provincetown mackerel fleet in New England waters.
South Carolina. The Union ironclads USS Catskill, Commander G W Rodgers, USS Montauk, Commander Fairfax, USS Nahant, Commander Downes, and USS Weehawken, Commander Colhoun, under the overall command of Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren, bombarded Confederate defences on Morris Island in Charleston harbour. They supported a landing by Army troops under Brigadier-General Quincy Adams Gillmore, accompanied by boats armed with howitzers from the blockading ships in Light House Inlet, under Lieutenant-Commander Francis M Bunce. The early morning assault was successful and acted as a preliminary move for a combined military and naval attack on the interior defences of Charleston harbour. The Union ironclads were abreast of Fort Wagner on Morris Island by midmorning and bombarded the works until evening but could not dislodge the defenders. The Confederates replied with heavy fire into Dahlgren’s ships. USS Catskill was hit 60 times but was ready to renew the attack the following day. USS Nahant was hit six times, USS Montauk twice, and USS Weehawken was untouched. Confederate Colonel Robert F Graham withdrew his men into Fort Wagner and reported heavy casualties.
11 July 1863
New York. Rear Admiral Hiram Paulding, Commandant of the New York Navy Yard, stationed gunboats around Manhattan to assist in maintaining order during the Draft Riots.
Virginia. USS Yankee, Acting Ensign James W Turner, captured the schooner Cassandra at Jones Point on the Rappahannock River with a cargo of whisky and soda.
12 July 1863
North Carolina. USS Penobscot, Lieutenant-Commander Joseph F De Haven, chased the blockade-runner Kate ashore at Smith’s Island. Some 3 weeks later (31 July), Kate was floated by the Con-federates and towed under the protecting batteries at New Inlet, but was abandoned on the approach of Union ships.
13 July 1863
Louisiana, USS Forest Rose, Acting Lieutenant G W Brown, with USS Petrel in company, captured the steamer Elmira on the Tensas River. USS Rattler and USS Manitou, Lieutenant-Commander Selfridge, captured the steamer Louisville in the Little Red River. ‘The expedition also burned two small steamers and captured stores of ammunition, a sawmill, and a quantity of rum, sugar and salt.
Mississippi. A Union expedition up the Yazoo River captured Yazoo City. USS Baron de Kalb, USS Kenwood, USS Signal, USS New National, and USS Black Hawk, under Lieutenant-Commander J G Walker, convoyed 5,000 troops under Major-General Francis Jay Herron. Arriving below Yazoo City in mid-afternoon, USS Baron de Kalb, which was leading the force, struck a torpedo and sank within fifteen minutes, without loss of life. As the troops landed, the Confederates evacuated the city. The Union force also captured the steamer St Mary. Confederate Commander I N Brown, commanding the heavy artillery and ships at Yazoo City, ordered all shipping in the area to be destroyed to prevent it falling into Union hands. Commander Brown scuttled and burned the Magenta, Mary Keene, Magnolia, Pargoud, John Walsh, R J Lockland, Scotland, Golden Age, Arcadia, Ferd Kennett, F J Gay, Peytona, Prince of Wales, Natchez, and Parallel in the Yazoo River, and Dewdrop, Emma Bett, Sharp, and Meares in the Sunflower. Of the extensive fleet of Confederate transports and vessels which had sought refuge in the Yazoo River, only the Hope, Hartford City, Ben McCulloch, and Cotton Plant remained up the Tallahatchie and Yalobusha.
Texas. USS Katahdin, Lieutenant-Commander P.C. Johnson, seized the British blockade-runner Excelsior off San Luis Pass, with negligible cargo.
Virginia. A landing party from USS Jacob Bell, Acting Master Gerhard C Schulze, went ashore near Union Wharf on the Rappahannock River, and seized contraband goods consisting of blockade-running flatboats and a cargo of alcohol, whisky, salt, and soda. All the captured material was destroyed.
14 July 1863
Florida. USS R R Cuyler, Lieutenant-Commander Jouett, captured steamer Kate Dale off the Tortugas with a cargo of cotton.
Florida. USS Jasmine, Acting Master Alfred L B Zerega, captured the sloop Relampago near the Florida Keys bound from Havana, with a cargo including copper boiler tubing.
Virginia. A Union naval force under Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee, including USS Sangamon, USS Lehigh, USS Mahaska, USS Morse, USS Commodore Barney, USS Commodore Jones, USS Shokokon, and USS Seymour, captured Fort Powhatan on the James River. The landing party destroyed two magazines and twenty gun platforms for gun carriages. This was the last Confederate fortification on the James River below Chaffin’s Bluff and Drewry’s Bluff.
15 July 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Georgia, Lieutenant W L Maury, captured the American ship Prince of Wales and released her on bond.
France. Confederate Commander Bulloch awarded a contract to Lucien Arman, a naval constructor at Bordeaux, for the construction of two steam rams, with hulls of wood and iron, 300 horsepower, two propellers, with two armoured turrets. The Confederate agent also specified that the ships would have to have a speed of not less than 12 knots in a calm sea. Only one of the rams, later commissioned as CSS Stonewall, reached Confederate hands.
Florida. USS Santiago de Cuba, Commander Wyman, captured the steamer Lizzie off the eastern coast.
Florida. Boat crews from USS Stars and Stripes and USS Somerset, under Lieutenant-Commander Crosman, landed at Marsh’s Island, and destroyed salt and salt boilers.
Florida. A boat expedition from USS Port Royal, Lieutenant-Commander G U Morris, captured cotton ready to be run through the blockade at Apalachicola,
Louisiana. The merchant steamer Imperial arrived at New Orleans, having left St Louis on 8 July. Her arrival proved that Union control of the river was complete.
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut handed command of naval operations the Mississippi River as far south as New Orleans to Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter from 1 August 1863. Farragut took leave and prepared for future operations at Galveston, Texas, and Mobile, Alabama.
South Carolina. Confederate batteries at Grimball’s Landing on the Stono River opened fire on USS Pawnee, Commander Balch, and USS Marblehead, Lieutenant-Commander Scott while Confederate troops assaulted a Union position on James Island under Brigadier-General Alfred Howe Terry. USS Pawnee was struck 40 times by the accurate and concentric shore fire. USS Pawnee and USS Marblehead were both compelled to drop downriver after providing gunfire support.
Virginia. USS Yankee, Acting Ensign Turner, captured the schooner Nanjemoy in the Coan River.
17 July 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS De Soto, Captain M W Walker, USS Ossipee, Captain Gillis, and USS Kennebec, Lieutenant Commander Russell, seized the steamers James Battle and William Bagley. The cargo of the former was cotton and rosin. William Bagley carried a cargo of cotton from Mobile.
Kentucky. The ram USS Monarch participated in the reoccupation of Hickman, which had been taken by Confederate cavalry two days earlier. Brigadier-General Alexander Asboth asked for USS Monarch to patrol the Mississippi between Island No 10 and Columbus, in order to cooperate with land forces along this section of the River.
Mississippi. Boat crews from USS Vincennes, Lieutenant-Commander Henry A Adams Jr., and USS Clifton, Acting Lieutenant Frederick Crocker, captured the barge H McGuin in Bay St Louis.
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren, preparing to renew the attack on Fort Wagner, requested 500 Marines to prosecute the siege. USS Aries departed Boston with 200 men on 28 July and upon her return from Charleston would bring a further 200 sailors from New York. A battalion of 400 marines was alerted to leave New York on the steamer Arago on 24 July 1863.
South Carolina. The Union attack on Fort Wagner in Charleston harbour was renewed. Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren’s naval force consisted of the ironclads USS Montauk, USS New Ironsides, USS Catskill, USS Nantucket, USS Weehawken, and USS Patapsco. The gunboats USS Paul Jones, USS Ottawa, USS Seneca, USS Chippewa, and USS Wissahickon provided long-range support. The ironclads opened fire shortly after noon, with the range closing to 300 yards as the tide permitted. The naval bombardment silenced the fort’s reply against the warships. At sunset, Union Brigadier-General Quincy Adams Gillmore ordered his troops to attack the fort. In the dim light, it was impossible for the naval gunners to distinguish their targets and suspended their bombardment. The Union assault ashore was repulsed with heavy losses.
Virginia. USS Jacob Bell, Acting Master Schulze, with USS Resolute and USS Racer in company, drove off Confederate troops firing on the ship George Peabody, which was aground at Mathias Point.
19 July 1863
Ohio. After seeking to intercept the raiders of Confederate Brigadier-General John Hunt Morgan for ten days and 500 miles, the Union gunboat squadron under Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch engaged them as they attempted to cross the Ohio River at Buffington Island. USS Moose and the steamer Alleghany Belle frustrated the Confederates’ attempts to cross. Pressed from the rear by Union troops and subjected to heavy fire from the gunboats, Morgan’s soldiers scattered into the hills, leaving their artillery on the beach. About 3,000 Confederates were taken prisoner.
South Carolina. Confederate Brigadier-General Thomas Jordan, requested reinforcements to be sent to Morris Island and Fort Wagner aboard CSS Sumter. Brigadier-General Roswell Sabine Ripley replied that reinforcements were available but doubted that they could be transported safely to Morris Island in view of the Union fleet.
South Carolina. USS Canandaigua, Captain Green, sighted the sidewheel steamer Raccoon attempting to run the blockade into Charleston and headed her off. The blockade-runner ran aground near Moultrie House and was destroyed the next day by her crew to prevent capture.
20 July 1863
North Carolina. USS Shawsheen, Acting Master Phelon, captured the schooners Sally, Helen Jane, Elizabeth, Dolphin, and James Brice near Cedar Island on the Neuse River.
21 July 1863
Texas. Boats from USS Owasco, Lieutenant-Commander Madigan, and USS Cayuga, Lieutenant Commander Dana, captured and destroyed the schooner Revenge at Sabine Pass.
22 July 1863
South Carolina. In a move to bolster Union strength on Morris Island, Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren ordered Commander F A Parker to take charge of a four-gun naval battery to bombard Fort Sumter.
23 July 1863
South Carolina. Confederate Brigadier-General Roswell Sabine Ripley proposed the use of a fireship loaded with explosives against USS New Ironsides and other Union ships at Charleston. There could be twenty Union ships stationed in the narrow waterway at any one time, providing plentiful targets for the drifting raft. After assessment by naval officers, the plan was rejected as being too doubtful of success.
24 July 1863
Louisiana. Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks was ordered to prepare a new expedition to Texas. The move was prompted by the French occupation of Mexico City six weeks earlier and the apparently hostile attitude of Emperor Napoleon III toward the United States. The expedition would also aim to halt the extensive blockade-running operations passing via Matamoras and the legally neutral Rio Grande River. The occupation of Galveston and some other points were stipulated for the advance. The expedition could either proceed along the Texas coast or via the Red River into the interior but each required naval support. Ultimately, an operation by way of the Red River was launched in 1864.
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren’s ironclads and gunboats, including USS New Ironsides, USS Weehawken, USS Patapsco, USS Montauk, USS Catskill, USS Nantucket, USS Paul Jones, USS Ottawa, USS Seneca, and USS Dai Ching, bombarded Fort Wagner in support of Army operations ashore. The ships’ fire silenced the guns of Wagner and drove its garrison into shelter. This enabled the army to progress with the siege works and to arm them.
Mississippi. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter directed that all ships in the Mississippi Squadron be provided with an apparatus to destroy torpedoes while on expeditions up narrow rivers. Since a torpedo exploding with 100 pounds of powder would not damage a ship ten feet away, Porter proposed that each vessel be provided with a rake projecting 20 or 30 feet beyond the bow. The rake would have iron teeth or spikes to catch the torpedo or break the detonating wires safely.
North Carolina. USS Iroquois, Captain Case, captured the blockade-runner Merrimac off the coast with a cargo of cotton, turpentine, and tobacco.
North Carolina. USS Arago, Commander Henry A Gadsden, captured the steamer Emma off Wilmington with a cargo of cotton, rosin, and turpentine.
27 July 1863
Bermuda. The commerce raider CSS Florida, Commander John Newland Maffitt, sailed from Bermuda after having coaled and refitted.
Louisiana. USS Clifton, Lieutenant Crocker, with USS Estrella, USS Hollyhock, and USS Sachem was on a reconnaissance of the Atchafalaya River and engaged Confederate batteries at the mouth of Bayou Teche.
28 July 1863
Florida. USS Beauregard and USS Oleander and boats from USS Sagamore and USS Para attacked New Smyrna, under the command of Lieutenant-Commander English. After shelling the town, the Union force captured one sloop loaded with cotton, and a schooner They destroyed several other vessels, some loaded with cotton and about ready to sail. They also burned large quantities of cotton onshore. They then destroyed all the buildings that had been occupied by Confederate troops.
29 July 1863
Florida. USS Rosalie, Acting Master Peter F Coffin, seized the blockade-running British schooner Georgie in the Caloosahatchee River near Fort Myers. The schooner had been abandoned and carried no cargo.
North Carolina. USS Niphon, Acting Master Joseph B Breck, seized the British blockade-runner Banshee at New Inlet.
North Carolina. USS Shawsheen, Acting Master Phelon, captured the schooner Telegraph in Rose Bay after a chase of sixteen miles.
30 July 1863
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren reported that the advanced siege batteries had approached within 600 yards of Fort Wagner. Every day two or three ironclads opened fire on the ground between Fort Wagner and Cummings Point, or Fort Wagner itself to disrupt the Confederate defence. He also requested an innovative electric calcium light to be experimental tests in signalling at night when signal flags were invisible.
31 July 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Tuscaloosa, Lieutenant John Low, captured the ship Santee, bound from Akyab to Falmouth with a cargo of rice, and released the ship on bond.
North Carolina. The blockade runner Kate, which had been driven aground by USS Penobscot three weeks earlier, was floated by the Confederates and towed under the protecting batteries at New Inlet. However, the recovery was abandoned after the approach of Union ships.
1 August 1863
South Carolina. The Confederate steamer Chesterfield, landing troops and ammunition at Cumming’s Point on Morris Island, was taken under fire by a Union gunboat. The ship found safety at Fort Sumter before completing the landing of her stores. This was the first Union attempt to interrupt Confederate communication with Morris Island.
Virginia. USS Yankee, Acting Ensign Turner, captured the sloop Clara Ann near Coan River, with a cargo including whisky.
4 August 1863
South Carolina. Four boat crews under Lieutenant Alexander F Warley and Lieutenant John Payne from CSS Chicora and CSS Palmetto State, supported by a Confederate Army detachment, captured a Union picket station and an unfinished battery at Vincent’s Creek on Morris Island. The surprise attack took place at night after the Confederates discovered that the Union detachment under Acting Master John Haynes had been observing Confederate movements at Cumming’s Point and signalling directions for artillery fire on transports bringing supplies to Fort Wagner.
5 August 1863
South Africa. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured the bark Sea Bride off Table Bay, with a cargo of provisions. The capture took place within view of crowds ashore. Semmes subsequently sold the bark to an English merchant.
South Carolina. CSS Juno, Lieutenant Philip Porcher, captured a launch from USS Wabash commanded by Acting Master Edward Haines in Charleston harbour. The launch was part of the night patrol on guard duty. Haines was investigating reports of a Confederate steamer in the channel close to Morris Island. The launch opened fire with its boat howitzer on CSS Juno which was patrolling in the harbour with a 65-pound spar torpedo. The Confederate ship was otherwise unarmed, having been adapted to become a blockade-runner. Its only means of defence was to run the launch down. Haines’ launch was struck only a glancing blow and the crew tried to carry Juno by boarding but were overwhelmed by superior numbers.
Virginia. USS Commodore Barney, Acting Lieutenant Samuel Hose, was severely damaged when a 1,000-pound electric torpedo was exploded near her above Dutch Gap. Twenty men were swept or jumped overboard, two of drowned. This explosion slowed Union reconnaissance of the James River.
6 August 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Commander John Newland Maffitt, captured and released on bond the vessel Francis B Cutting.
Arkansas. USS Paw Paw, Acting Master Augustus F Thompson, struck a snag in the Mississippi River and sank within 15 minutes near Hardin’s Point.
Florida. USS Fort Henry, Lieutenant-Commander McCauley, captured the sloop Southern Star at St Martin’s Reef, with a cargo of turpentine.
Texas. USS Antona, Acting Master Lyman Wells, seized the blockade-running British schooner Betsey off Corpus Christi.
Virginia. USS Sangamon, USS Cohasset, and USS Commodore Barney were fired on by Confederate shore artillery in the James River. USS Commodore Barney was damaged by a shot through the boilers, and more than 30 hits.
7 August 1863
Louisiana. USS Mound City, Lieutenant-Commander Wilson, fired on and dispersed Confederate cavalry making a raid on a Union encampment at Lake Providence.
8 August 1863
USS Sagamore, Lieutenant-Commander English, seized the British sloop Clara Louisa off Indian River. Later the same day he captured the British schooner Southern Rights and Shot and the Confederate schooner Ann off Gilbert’s Bar.
10 August 1863
Texas. USS Princess Royal, Commander Melancthon B Woolsey, seized the brig Atlantic off the mouth of the Rio Grande River with a cargo of cotton. Sent to New Orleans for adjudication, the brig was recaptured by her master and crew and taken to Havana.
Texas. USS Cayuga, Lieutenant-Commander Dana, captured the blockade-running schooner J T Davis off the mouth of the Rio Grande River, with a cargo of cotton.
12 August 1863
California. Union Rear Admiral Charles Henry Bell, commanding the Pacific Squadron, ordered USS Narragansett, Commander Stanly, to cruise regularly between San Francisco and Acapulco, Mexico, to protect Pacific mail steamers against the risk of attack by Confederate raiders.
Texas. USS Princess Royal, Commander Woolsey, seized the British schooner Flying Scud at Brazos Santiago. The schooner was reported to have run the blockade successfully with 65,000 pounds of powder, 7 tons of horse-shoes, and medical supplies.
13 August 1863
Arkansas. A Union naval force under Lieutenant Bache reconnoitered the White River above Clarendon, to discover the location of Confederate Major-General Sterling Price’s Army, to destroy the telegraph at Des Arc, and to catch the steamboats Kaskaskia and Thomas Sugg. The force, including USS Lexington, Lieutenant Bache, USS Cricket, Acting Lieutenant Langthorne, and USS Marmora, Acting Lieutenant R Getty, with troops aboard, burned a large warehouse at Des Arc and destroyed the telegraph lines for a half a mile.
14 August 1863
Arkansas. The Union naval flotilla of Lieutenant Bache, including USS Lexington, Lieutenant Bache, USS Cricket, Acting Lieutenant Langthorne, and USS Marmora, Acting Lieutenant R Getty, left Des Arc and proceeded up the White River. USS Lexington and USS Marmora reached Augusta while USS Cricket searched the Little Red River for Confederate steamers. At Augusta, Bache learned that Major-General Sterling Price’s Confederate army was concentrating at Brownsville, intending to a defence of Bayou Meto. Confederate Brigadier-General John Sappington Marmaduke was reported to have re-crossed the White River some days before and was currently crossing the Little Red River. Returning downstream, Bache left USS Marmora to guard the mouth of the Little Red River and ascended the tributary himself, meeting USS Cricket on the way. Langthorne had captured steamers Kaskaskia and Thomas Sugg with cargoes of cotton, horses, and arms at Searcy and also destroyed Marmaduke’s pontoon bridge across the river, slowing his movements.
Texas. USS Bermuda, Acting Master J W Smith, seized the British blockade-runners Carmita, with a cargo of cotton, and Artist, with a cargo including liquor and medicine, off the coast.
15 August 1863
South Carolina. The innovative submersible H L Hunley arrived in Charleston on two covered railroad flat cars. Confederate Brigadier-General Thomas Jordan advised that a reward of $100,000 dollars would be paid for the destruction of USS New Ironsides. A similar sum for the destruction of the wooden frigate USS Wabash, and $50,000 dollars for each ironclad monitor sunk was also being offered. Work began to equip the submarine with torpedoes. General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard regarded H F Hunley as the most formidable engine of war for the defence of Charleston now available and was anxious for it be employed to break the Union blockade.
16 August 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS De Soto, Captain W M Walker, captured the steamer Alice Vivian with a cargo of cotton.
Gulf of Mexico. USS Gertrude, Acting Master Cressy, captured the steamer Warrior bound from Havana to Mobile with a cargo of coffee, cigars, and dry goods.
Bahamas. USS Rhode Island, Commander Trenchard, seized the blockade-running British steamer Cronstadt north of Man of War Cay, Abaco, with a cargo of turpentine, cotton, and tobacco.
South Carolina. USS Pawnee, Commander Balch, escaped undamaged when a floating Confederate torpedo exploded under her stern, destroying a launch, shortly after midnight at Stono Inlet. Four hours later, another torpedo exploded within 30 yards of the ship. In all, four devices exploded close by, and two others were picked up by the mortar schooner C P Williams. In addition, a boat capable of holding 10 torpedoes was captured by USS Pawnee. Commander Within ten days, Lieutenant-Commander Bacon, USS Commodore McDonough reported from Lighthouse Inlet that a net had been stretched across the Inlet for the purpose of stopping drifting torpedoes.
17 August 1863
Florida. USS De Soto, Captain W M Walker, captured the steamer Nita in Apalachicola Bay, bound from Havana with a cargo of provisions and medicines.
Maryland. USS Satellite, Acting Master Robinson, seized the schooner Three Brothers in Great Wicomico River.
North Carolina. USS Crocus, Acting Ensign J LeGrand Winton, ran aground at night and was wrecked at Bodie’s Island.
South Carolina. Union naval forces under Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren, including the ironclads USS Weehawken, USS Catskill, USS Nahant, USS Montauk, USS Passaic, USS Patapsco, USS New Ironsides, and the gunboats USS Canandaigua, USS Mahaska, USS Cimarron, USS Ottawa, USS Wissahickon, USS Dai Ching, USS Seneca, and USS Lodona, renewed their bombardment of the Confederate fortifications in Charleston harbour. The naval battery ashore on Mossie Island under Commander F A Parker contributed some 300 rounds to the bombardment of Fort Sumter. USS Passaic and USS Patapsco also concentrated their fire on Fort Sumter, but the main aim was to spend five days engaging the Confederate batteries and sharpshooters at Fort Wagner in support of the army’s advance. Confederate Flag Officer Tucker, CSS Chicora, ordered Lieutenant Dozier to have the torpedo steamers under his command ready for action without the least delay to prevent the ironclads from passing Fort Sumter. During the day’s exchange of fire, Captain G W Rodgers of USS Catskill was killed by a shot from Fort Wagner.
18 August 1863
Georgia. CSS Oconee, Lieutenant Oscar F Johnston, foundered in heavy seas near St Catherine’s Sound, after running the blockade out of Savannah the previous night. She was carrying a cargo of cotton All hands were saved, but two days later a boat containing 4 officers and 11 men was captured by USS Madgie, Acting Master Woodbury H Polleys. North Carolina. USS Niphon, Acting Master Breck, chased the steamer Hebe north of Fort Fisher, Wilmington. Hebe was carrying a cargo of drugs, clothing, coffee, and provisions when she was run aground and abandoned. A strong gale persuaded Breck to destroy the ship rather than attempt to get her off. Three boat crews sent to the steamer for that purpose were captured by the Confederates when the boats were either stove in or swamped by the heavy seas. USS Shokokon, Lieutenant Cushing, assisted in the destruction of Hebe by heavy fire.
19 August 1863
Florida. A boat expedition from USS Norwich and Hale, under Acting Master Charles F Mitchell, destroyed a Confederate signal station near Jacksonville.
Florida. USS Restless, Acting Master William R Browne, captured the schooner Ernti with a cargo of cotton southwest of the Florida Keys.
21 August 1863
South Carolina. The Confederate torpedo boat Torch, Pilot James Carlin, formerly a blockade-runner, made a night-time attempt to sink USS New Ironsides, Captain Stephen C Rowan, in the channel near Morris Island. The small steamer, which was constructed from the hulk of an unfinished gunboat at Charleston, sailed low in the water, was painted gray and burned anthracite coal to avoid detection. The torpedo boat took on water and her engines were of poor quality when she made her run on the heavy Union blockader. When the torpedo boat was within forty yards of USS New Ironsides, Carlin ordered the engines cut and pointed the torpedo at the target. The boat failed to respond properly to her helm, and as USS New Ironsides swung about her anchor with the tide, the torpedo failed to contact the ship’s hull. While alongside the Union ship, Carlin could not start the engines for some minutes, and he kept up a conversation with the officer of the deck on USS New Ironsides who finally became alarmed. The warship was unable to depress any of its guns sufficiently to fire into the attacking craft. At this moment, the torpedo boat’s engines started, and Carlin quickly made his way back to Charleston, evading two shots from USS New Ironsides, which feel 20 feet to either side of his torpedo boat.
France. CSS Florida, Commander John Newland Maffitt, captured and burned ship Anglo Saxon with a cargo of coal near Brest.
21 August 1863
South Carolina. Following four days of intensive bombardment of Fort Wagner, Fort Sumter, and Fort Gregg from afloat and ashore, Union naval forces under Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren moved late at night to press a closer attack on heavily damaged Fort Sumter. USS Passaic, Lieutenant-Commander Edward Simpson, steaming ahead of the other ironclads, grounded near the fort shortly after midnight. It took so much time to extricate USS Passaic that the assault was postponed.
22 August 1863
North Carolina. A boat crew from USS Shokokon, Lieutenant Cushing, destroyed the schooner Alexander Cooper in New Topsail Inlet. Cushing had sighted the blockade-runner ten days earlier while he was on a reconnaissance of the Inlet. During the evening, Cushing sent two boats’ crews ashore under command of Acting Ensign Joseph S Cony. The men landed, shouldered a dingy, and carried it across a neck of land to the inlet. This permitted the assault to come by surprise from behind the Confederate works. In addition to burning the Alexander Cooper, Cony destroyed extensive salt works in the vicinity and took three prisoners back to USS Shokokon.
Texas. USS Cayuga, Lieutenant-Commander Dana, captured the schooner Wave with a cargo of cotton south-east of Corpus Christi.
23 August 1863
South Carolina. Union operations against the Charleston defences continued, and the ironclads of Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren, including USS Weehawken, USS Montauk, USS Nahant, USS Passaic, and USS Patapsco, opened fire again on Fort Sumter after 3 am. The Confederate batteries at Fort Moultrie replied, and three of the monitors turned to face that direction. Much of the firing was within a range of 1,000 yards. Fort Sumter was observed to be badly damaged and Dahlgren concluded break off the attack at daybreak. Later that morning USS New Ironsides, Captain Rowan, steamed abreast of and engaged Fort Wagner for an hour. In the exchange, USS New Ironsides lost a dinghy which was cut away by a shot from a Confederate 10-inch gun.
Virginia. A Confederate boat expedition under Lieutenant Wood, CSN, captured USS Reliance, Acting Ensign Henry Walter, and USS Satellite, Acting Master Robinson, off Windmill Point, on the Rappahannock River. Wood had departed Richmond eleven days earlier with 80 men and four boats moved on wheels. These were launched on 16 August two miles from the mouth of the Piankatank River and rowed into the bay. Concealing themselves by day and emerging by night, the Confederates sought for a week to find Union ships in an exposed position. Shortly after 1 am in the morning, USS Reliance and USS Satellite were found at anchor close enough to each other to be boarded both at the same time. The two ships were captured and taken up the Rappahannock to Urbanna.
24 August 1863
South Carolina. The Confederate submarine H L Hunley discovered that there was not enough water under USS New Ironsides for the to pass below her keel. The original plan was to use a floating copper cylinder torpedo with flaring triggers which she could be towed 200 feet astern of the submarine. The submarine would dive beneath the target ship, surface on the other side, and continue on course until the torpedo struck the ship and exploded. This method proved unworkable. The plan of attack was changed: a spike was fixed to the bow of the boat and the submarine would drive the spike into the warship, then back out. A torpedo containing 90 pounds of powder was attached to the spike, which could be detonated by a string. A volunteer crew commanded by Lieutenant Payne of CSS Chicora took charge of H L Hunley and trained over the next few days.
25 August 1863
Texas. USS William G Anderson, Acting Lieutenant F S Hill, captured the schooner Mack Canfield off the mouth of the Rio Grande River with a cargo of cotton.
Virginia. The recently captured USS Satellite, now commanded by Confederate Lieutenant Wood, seized the schooners Golden Rod, with a cargo of coal, Coquette, and Two Brothers with cargoes of anchor and chain, at the mouth of the Rappahannock River. These schooners were taken upriver where the Golden Rod was stripped and burned and the other two were towed onwards to Port Royal. They were also stripped for useful parts and destroyed together with USS Reliance and USS Satellite which had been taken by boarding just two days earlier.
26 August 1863
Bermuda. USS Fort Jackson, Captain Alden, was ordered to cruise the track of blockade-runners steaming between Bermuda and Wilmington. A warning was received that two large Whitworth guns, weighing 22 tons each, had been carried to Bermuda by the blockade-runner Gibraltar, formerly CSS Sumter, and the aim was to intercept the guns at sea before they could be run through the blockade.
Florida. A boat crew from USS Beauregard, Acting Master Francis Burgess, seized the schooner Phoebe off Jupiter Inlet.
27 August 1863
Florida. USS Preble, Acting Master William F Shankland, was destroyed by accidental fire at Pensacola.
Florida. USS Sunflower, Acting Master Van Sice, captured the schooner General Worth in the straits of Florida.
Texas. USS William G Anderson, Acting Lieutenant F S Hill, captured the schooner America off the coast with a cargo of cotton.
28 August 1863
Namibia. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, and CSS Tuscaloosa, Lieutenant Low, joined briefly in the Bay of Angra Pequena. Semmes ordered CSS Tuscaloosa to proceed on a cruise to the coast of Brazil.
29 August 1863
Louisiana. USS Estrella, Lieutenant-Commander Cooke, was ordered to proceed up the Mississippi to Donaldsonville, and to assist Commander Robert Townsend, of the ironclad USS Essex, in patrolling the river as far as Morganza against the operations of Confederate guerrillas.
South Carolina. The Confederate submarine H L Hunley, Lieutenant Payne, sank in Charleston harbour for the first time. After making several practice dives in the harbour, the submarine was moored by lines fastened to steamer Etiwan at the dock at Fort Johnson. When the steamer moved away from the dock unexpectedly, H L Hunley was drawn over onto her side. She filled with water and rapidly sank, drowning five seamen. Payne and two others escaped. H L Hunley was raised and refitted and a new crew volunteered to man her.
30 August 1863
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Georgia, Lieutenant W L Maury, captured and bonded the ship John Watts with a cargo of teak.
Mississippi. A detachment of the Union Marine Brigade captured three Confederate paymasters at Bolivar. The paymasters, escorted by 35 troops who were also taken prisoner, were carrying $2,200,000 in Confederate currency intended to pay the soldiers at Little Rock, Arkansas.
South Carolina. The Confederate transport steamer Sumter was sunk by batteries on Sullivan’s Island, Charleston harbour, when Confederate gunners mistook her in the fog and heavy weather for a Union ironclad.
31 August 1863
Florida. USS Gem of the Sea, Acting Lieutenant Baxter, captured the sloop Richard in peace Creek, with a cargo of cotton.
1 September 1863
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren, aboard USS Weehawken, took his ironclad fleet against Fort Sumter in a late-night attack following an intensive, day-long bombardment by Army artillery. Moving to within 500 yards of the Fort, the ships bombarded it for five hours, demolishing nearly the whole of the eastern scarp. The Confederates returned a heavy fire from Fort Moultrie, scoring over 70 hits on the ironclads. One shot struck USS Weehawken’s turret, severely wounding Captain Oscar C Badger. The Union fleet broke off the attack as the flood tide set in.
2 September 1863
Florida. A Union boat expedition under Acting Ensign William H Winslow and Acting Master’s Mate Charles A Edgcomb from USS Gem of the Sea, Acting Lieutenant Baxter, reconnoitred Peace Creek. The expedition aim was to disrupt a band of Confederate guerrillas planning to attack Charlotte Harbour and to capture the sloop USS Rosalie. The Union crewmen destroyed buildings used as a depot by blockade-runners and as a rendezvous for guerrillas, and four small boats.
4 September 1863
Louisiana. Union Commodore Henry Haywood Bell reported plans for an expedition from New Orleans aimed at the capture of Sabine Pass, Texas. Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks had organised a force of 4,000 men under Major-General William Buel Franklin to land at Sabine Pass with the cooperation of the Navy. The naval force was commanded by Acting Lieutenant Frederick Crocker, commanding USS Clifton, accompanied by the steamer USS Sachem, Acting Lieutenant Amos Johnson, USS Arizona, Acting Master Howard Tibbits, and USS Granite City, Acting Master C W Lamson. These were the only available vessels of sufficiently light draft for the landing operation. The four gunboats would attack alone, augmented by 180 sharpshooters, aiming to drive off the Confederates defenders, and then to destroy or drive off the enemy rams so that the transports could land the troops. The operation was planned to be launched in secrecy as the first step in deterring French intervention from Mexico. Sabine Pass would become a base for Union operations into the interior of Texas.
South Carolina. Small boats manned by Union sailors under Lieutenant Francis J Higginson transported troops for a night assault on Fort Gregg at Cumming’s Point om Morris Island. Their aim was to spike the guns and blow up the magazine. At the mouth of Vincent’s Creek, a boat carrying a wounded Confederate soldier was captured, but the shots alerted the defenders at Fort Gregg and the secret attack was called off. A similar attempt the next night found the Confederates on their guard and the plan was abandoned.
South Carolina. Confederate Colonel Lawrence M Keitt, commanding Fort Wagner, reported the effects of the Union artillery bombardment combined with the accurate firing from USS New Ironsides, Captain Rowan. One hundred of his 900 garrison were killed in the bombardment of 5 September alone. He recommended evacuation of the exposed outpost and this was considered by General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.
6 September 1863
Mississippi. A landing party from USS Argosy, Acting Ensign John C Morong, seized Confederate ordnance supplies and tobacco at Bruinsburg.
South Carolina. Having been under constant bombardment from land and sea for nearly sixty days, the Confederates secretly evacuated Morris Island by boat at night. Fort Wagner was damaged beyond repair, nearly all of the guns were out of action, casualties were high, and the ammunition supply depleted. Communications with Charleston was difficult and dangerous, and resupply and reinforcement by water were almost impossible. Fort Sumter had been silenced in the harbour and evacuation of Morris Island was indispensable. Confederate transports assembled during the night between Fort Johnson on James Island and Fort Sumter under the protection of the ironclad CSS Charleston. Barges manned by seamen from CSS Chicora and CSS Palmetto State assisted the evacuation. The Union commanders were not aware of the operation until the last group of Confederate soldiers was departing. Union guard boats discovered the movement of our boats and succeeded in cutting off and capturing three barges containing seamen from USS Chicora and some soldiers.
7 September 1863
South Carolina. Following the Confederate evacuation of Morris Island and Fort Wagner, Union Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter, which had been shattered by sea and shore bombardments and now appeared more like a steep, sandy island than a fort. The demand was rejected. Preparatory to renewing the assault, Dahlgren ordered USS Weehawken, Commander Colhoun, to proceed between Cumming’s Point on Morris Island and Fort Sumter. USS Weehawken grounded in the narrow channel and could not be withdrawn until the next day. During the evening USS New Ironsides, USS Nahant, USS Lehigh, USS Montauk, and USS Patapsco reconnoitred the obstructions at Fort Sumter and engaged Fort Moultrie. Dahlgren then pulled back his fleet in order to attend to the recovery of USS Weehawken.
Texas. The transports and warships of a Union expedition arrived at Sabine Pass and anchored off the bar. The attack was intended to come as a surprise but the Confederates were now given two nights’ warning that a fleet was off the harbour and had a full view of the attacking force.
8 September 1863
South Carolina. During the morning, the grounded ironclad USS Weehawken was subjected to heavy fire from Fort Moultrie, Sullivan’s Island and James Island. USS Weehawken replied as other Union ironclads entered the channel between Morris Island and Fort to Sumter to assist in the recovery. USS New Ironsides, Captain Rowan, took a position between USS Weehawken and the Fort Moultrie batteries, drawing Confederate fire. Struck over 50 times, USS New Ironsides finally withdrew as its ammunition was exhausted. USS Weehawken was finally floated with the aid of tugs.
Texas. The Union attack on Sabine Pass began as USS Clifton, Acting Lieutenant Crocker, crossed the bar and attempted to draw the fire of the fort and the cotton-clad steamer CSS Uncle Ben. USS Clifton was followed across the bar by USS Sachem, USS Arizona, USS Granite City, and finally the transports. USS Sachem and USS Arizona advanced up the eastern channel while USS Clifton and USS Granite City moved up the western channel. They opened fire on the Confederate batteries preparatory to landing the troops. The Confederate gunners withheld their fire until the gunboats were within close range and then began a destructive cannonade. A shot through the boiler totally disabled USS Sachem, and another shot away the wheel rope of USS Clifton forcing the ship aground under the Confederate guns. Crocker lost then men killed and nine others wounded before surrendering the defenceless warship. USS Sachem flooded her magazine and surrendered, and was then taken under tow by CSS Uncle Ben. With the loss of USS Clifton and USS Sachem, the two remaining gunboats and transports were forced to abandon the attack. They crossed the bar and departed for New Orleans.
8 September 1863
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren mounted a late-night boat attack on Fort Sumter. Commander Stevens led the assault by more than thirty boats carrying 400 sailors and Marines. The Confederates had recovered a key to the Union signal code from the wreck of USS Keokuk and were alert to the attack. They waited until the attacking boats were nearly ashore before opening a heavy fire and throwing hand grenades. CSS Chicora contributed with enfilading fire. Fort Moultrie added its shellfire and the attack was repulsed, leaving behind more than a hundred men as prisoners.
10 September 1863
Arkansas. USS Hastings, Lieutenant Commander S L Phelps arrived at Devall’s Bluff on the White River to support operations against Little Rock.
11 September 1863
Texas, USS Seminole, Commander Henry Rolando, seized the blockade-running British steamer William Peel off the Rio Grande River with a large cargo of cotton.
12 September 1863
Louisiana. USS Eugenie, Acting Master’s Mate F H Dyer, captured steamer Alabama off the Chandeleur Islands.
Mississippi. The blockade-running steamer Fox was destroyed at Pascagoula by her own crew to prevent capture, by USS Genesee, Commander William H Macomb.
13 September 1863
Florida. USS De Soto, Captain W M Walker, captured the steamer Montgomery south of Pensacola.
Georgia. USS Cimarron, Commander Hughes, seized the British blockade-runner Jupiter in Wassaw Sound. The steamer was aground when captured after her crew attempted to scuttle her.
Mississippi. Twenty crew members from USS Rattler, Acting Master Walter E H Fentress, were captured by Confederate cavalry while attending church services at Rodney.
16 September 1863
Florida. USS San Jacinto, Lieutenant-Commander Ralph Chandler, captured the blockade-running steamer Lizzie Davis off the western coast. The steamer was bound from Havana to Mobile with a cargo including lead.
Virginia. USS Coeur De Lion, Acting Master W G Morris, seized the schooner Robert Knowles in the Potomac River for violating the blockade.
17 September 1863
Virginia. USS Adolph Hugel, Acting Master Frank, seized the sloop Music off Alexandria, for violating the blockade.
19 September 1863
Texas. The coal schooner Manhasset was driven ashore in a gale at Sabine Pass. The wreck was subsequently seized by Confederate troops.
Virginia. A Confederate boat expedition under command of Acting Masters John Y Beall and Edward McGuire captured the schooner Alliance with a cargo of sutlers’ stores in Chesapeake Bay. The raid was continued 2 days later when the schooner J.J. Houseman was seized.
21 September 1863
Virginia. A Confederate boat expedition under command of Acting Masters John Y Beall and Edward McGuire seized the schooner J J Houseman in the Chesapeake Bay.
22 September 1863
Georgia. Acting Master George W Ewer led a party from USS Seneca to destroy the Hudson Place Salt Works near Darien.
Louisiana. Confederate Acting Master David Nichols and a crew of 19 seamen captured the US Army tug Leviathan before dawn at South West Pass of the Mississippi River. Nichols and his men had departed from Mobile a few days earlier in the cutter Teaser. Reaching South West Pass, they pulled the cutter into the marshes and made their way on foot to the coal wharf where Leviathan lay. They successfully seized the tug, a new and very fast screw steamer amply supplied with coal and provisions for a cruise and put to sea at once. They were overtaken some 40 miles offshore later that morning by USS De Soto, Captain W M Walker, which fired three shots at the tug. USS De Soto recaptured the prize.
South Carolina. Confederate Lieutenant William T Glassell was assigned to command the torpedo boat CSS David at Charleston. Glassell’s primary aim was to attack the ironclad USS New Ironsides.
Virginia. A Confederate boat expedition under command of Acting Masters John Y Beall and Edward McGuire took two schooners, Samuel Pearsall and Alexandria in the Chesapeake Bay. The raiders had taken four ships in as many days and all but Alliance were cast adrift at Wachapreague Inlet. Beall attempted to run the blockade in Alliance but the schooner ran aground at Milford Haven.
North Carolina. USS. Connecticut, Commander Almy, seized the blockade-running British steamer Juno off Wilmington with a cargo of cotton and tobacco.
23 September 1863
Virginia. The Confederate prize Alliance, Acting Master John Y Beall was run aground and burned at Milford Haven, after USS Thomas Freeborn, Acting Master Arthur, opened fire. Beall escaped and returned to Richmond.
25 September 1863
Bahama. USS Tioga, Commander Clary, captured the steamer Herald with a cargo of cotton, turpentine, and pitch.
27 September 1863
Florida. USS Clyde, Acting Master A A Owens, seized the schooner Amaranth near the Florida Keys with a cargo including cigars and sugar.
29 September 1863
Portugal. USS St Louis, Commander George H Preble, returned to Lisbon after an unsuccessful cruise of almost a hundred days in search of Confederate commerce raiders. Preble reported that USS St Louis had repeatedly crossed the sea routes between the United States and the Mediterranean and Europe but met only one American merchant vessel at sea and gained no information of the whereabouts of any Confederate commerce raiders.
Louisiana. USS Lafayette, Lieutenant-Commander J.P. Foster, and USS Kenwood, Acting Master John Swaney, arrived at Morganza on Bayou Fordoche to support troops under Major-General Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana. More than 400 Union troops had been captured in an engagement with Confederates under Brigadier-General Thomas Green the arrival of the gunboats deterred the Confederates from further attacks at Morganza.
30 September 1863
Florida. USS Rosalie, Acting Master Peter F Coffin, seized The British schooner Director attempting to run the blockade at Sanibel River, with a cargo of salt and rum.
2 October 1863
Texas. USS Bermuda, Acting Master J W Smith, seized the blockade-running British schooner Florrie near Matagorda, with a cargo including medicine, wine, and saddles.
5 October 1863
Louisiana. The British blockade-runner Concordia was destroyed by her crew at Calcasieu Pass, to prevent her capture by boats from USS Granite City, Acting Master Lamson.
South Carolina. CSS David, Lieutenant Glassell, exploded a torpedo against USS New Ironsides, Captain Rowan, in Charleston harbour but did not destroy the heavy warship. Mounting a torpedo containing some 60 pounds of powder on a 10-foot spar fixed to her bow, the 50-foot David set out from Charleston early in the evening. Riding low in the water, the torpedo boat made her way down the main ship channel and was very close to the target before being sighted and hailed. A volley of small arms fire was aimed at CSS David which steamed at full speed at USS New Ironsides. The torpedo was detonated against the Union ship’s starboard quarter, shaking the vessel and throwing up an immense column of water. As the water fell, it put out the fires in CSS David’s boilers and nearly swamped the torpedo boat, which came to rest alongside USS New Ironsides. Believing the torpedo boat wrecked, Lieutenant Glassell and Seaman James Sullivan abandoned ship and were picked up by the blockading fleet. However, Engineer Tomb at length succeeded in relighting CSS David’s fires and, with pilot Walker Cannon, who had remained aboard because he could not swim, took her back to Charleston. CSS David did not sink USS New Ironsides, but the explosion forced the Union ship to leave the blockade for repairs. The near success of CSS David’s torpedo attack on USS New Ironsides prompted the evaluation of new defensive measures. One suggestion was to equip ships with outriggers.
6 October 1863
Florida. USS Beauregard, Acting Master Burgess, captured the sloop Last Trial at Key West with a cargo of salt.
Texas. USS Virginia, Lieutenant C H Brown, seized the British blockade-runner Jenny off the coast with a cargo of cotton.
7 October 1863
Louisiana. An expedition from USS Osage under Acting Chief Engineer Thomas Doughty captured and burned the Confederate steamers Robert Fulton and Argus in the Red River. Acting Lieutenant Couthouy, commanding USS Osage, ordered the operation after learning that a Confederate steamer was tied up to the riverbank. The naval force travelled overland from the Mississippi to the Red River. Doughty captured Argus shortly before Robert Fulton was sighted steaming downriver. He ordered her to come to take possession of nine prisoners and the two steamboats. Doughty burned Argus immediately and destroyed Robert Fulton when he was unable to get her over the bar at the mouth of the Red River.
Louisiana. A boat crew from USS Cayuga, Lieutenant-Commander Dana, boarded and destroyed the blockade-runner Pushmataha which had been chased ashore and abandoned off the Calcasieu River. Pushmataha carried a cargo of a ram, claret, and gunpowder, and had been set on fire by her crew but the ship was extinguished by the boarding party. USS Cayuga then chased ashore another schooner carrying gunpowder which was blown up before it could be boarded.
9 October 1863
West Africa. CSS Georgia, Lieutenant W L Maury, captured and burned the ship Bold Hunter, bound for Calcutta with a cargo of coal, off the coast.
10 October 1863
Tennessee. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles requested Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter to send gunboats to assist the operations of Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman on the Tennessee River. The low level of the water prevented immediate action but gunboats could not make their way up the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers for ten more days.
Virginia. USS Samuel Rotan, Acting Lieutenant Kennison seized a large yawl off Horn Harbour, with a cargo including salt.
11 October 1863
Georgia. USS Union, Acting Lieutenant Conroy, seized the steamer Spaulding at sea east of St Andrew’s Sound.
North Carolina. USS Nansemond, Lieutenant Roswell H Lamson, chased ashore and destroyed at night the steamer Douro near New Inlet. Douro carried a cargo of cotton, tobacco, turpentine, and rosin and had been captured previously on 9 March 1863 by USS Quaker City. After being condemned the ship was sold and appeared again as a blockade-runner.
the blockade out of Charleston the previous month with a cargo of cotton and was attempting to return from Nassau.
North Carolina. USS Madgie, Acting Master Polleys, in tow of USS Fahkee, Acting Ensign Francis R Webb, sank in rough seas off Frying Pan Shoals.
12 October 1863
Alabama. USS Kanawha, Lieutenant-Commander Mayo, and USS Eugenie, Lieutenant Henry W Miller, attempted to destroy a steamer discovered aground under the guns of Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay. They were taken under fire by the fort and USS Kanawha was damaged.
13 October 1863
Georgia. Guard boat from USS Braziliera, Acting Master William T Gillespie, captured the schooner Mary near St Simon’s.
North Carolina. USS Victoria, Acting Lieutenant John MacDiarmid, seized an unnamed sloop west of Little River, with a cargo of salt and soap.
13 October 1863
Arkansas. USS Queen City, Acting Lieutenant G W Brown, with troops embarked, departed Helena, for Friar’s Point, Mississippi, where the soldiers landed and surrounded the town.
14 October 1863
Mississippi. After landing from USS Queen City, Acting Lieutenant G W Brown, the previous evening, Union troops searched warehouses seized more than 200 hales of cotton and several prisoners.
15 October 1863
Florida. USS Honduras, Acting Master Abraham N Gould, seized the British steamer Mail near St Petersburg, bound from Bayport to Havana with a cargo of cotton and turpentine. The capture was made after a three-hour chase in which USS Two Sisters, USS Sea Bird, and USS Fox also participated.
Mississippi. USS Commodore, Acting Master John R Hamilton, and USS Corypheus, Acting Master Francis H Grove, destroyed a Confederate tannery and its stock at Bay St Louis.
South Carolina. The Confederate submarine H F Hunley, under the command of the eponymous owner, sank in Charleston harbour while making practice dives under Confederate receiving ship Indian Chief. The boat left the wharf at 9:25 am and disappeared at 9:35 am. As air bubbles were seen to rise to the surface of the water its was supposed that the hole in the top of the boat by which the men entered was not properly closed. It was impossible to rescue the crew as the water was too deep. The inventor Horace L Hunley and the seven-man crew perished, the second crew to be lost.
16 October 1863
Texas. USS Tennessee, Acting Lieutenant Wiggin, seized the blockade-running British schooner Friendship off Rio Brazos, with a cargo of munitions from Havana. USS Tennessee also forced the crew of the schooner Jane to destroy their ship to prevent capture.
16 October 1863
Florida. USS Tahoma, Lieutenant-Commander A A Semmes, and USS Adela, Acting Lieutenant Louis N Stodder, were sent to seize the blockade-runners Scottish Chief and Kate Dale which were being loaded with cotton on the Hillsboro River. The two warships diverted attention from the real object of the expedition by shelling the fort and town at Tampa. Meanwhile, a landing party was prepared for an overnight raid to capture the vessels.
17 October 1863
Florida. USS Tahoma, Lieutenant-Commander A A Semmes, and USS Adela, Acting Lieutenant Louis N Stodder, were sent to seize the blockade-runners Scottish Chief and Kate Dale which were being loaded with cotton on the Hillsboro River. The warships landed a party of a hundred men old Tampa Bay under cover of night. The raiders marched overland Hillsboro River for fourteen miles to the. At daylight, as the landing party boarded the blockade-runners, but two crew members escaped and alerted the garrison. A running battle ensued as the raiders attempted to return to their ships. Five members of the landing party were killed, ten wounded, and five taken prisoner.
Georgia. Lieutenant-Commander William Gibson, USS Seneca, reported that the blockaded steamer Herald had escaped the previous night from Darien.
South Carolina. Boat crews from USS T A Ward, Acting Master William L Babcock, destroyed the schooner Rover at Murrell’s Inlet. The schooner was laden with cotton and ready to run the blockade. Three days later, a landing party from T.A. Ward went ashore under command of Acting Ensign Myron W Tillson to reconnoitre the area and obtain water. They were surprised by Confederate cavalry and 10 of the men were captured.
18 October 1863
South Carolina. Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren reported that the capture of Morris Island required a two-month bombardment in which the ironclads of his squadron had fired more than 8,000 rounds and sustained nearly 900 hits.
South Carolina. The sunken Confederate submarine H F Hunley was found in nine fathoms of water. Efforts began to raise the submarine, and a third crew volunteered to man her under Lieutenant George Dixon. The H L Hunley was salvaged and reconditioned, but, as a safety precaution, did not dive again. The boat was fitted with a spar torpedo and spent four months venturing into the harbour at night from her base on Sullivan’s Island in fruitless attempts to sink a blockader.
20 October 1863
Great Britain. Confederate Commander Bulloch advised from Liverpool that two ironclads known as 294 and 295, being built in England, had been seized by the British Government. Bulloch felt the action stemmed from the fact that a large number of Confederate naval officers had arrived in England. The raider CSS Florida had passed the Irish coast and discharged the greater portion of the crew in Brest, who were sent on to Liverpool. It was deduced that the officers were intended to crew the new rams.
Florida. USS Annie, Acting Ensign Williams, seized the blockade-running British schooner Martha Jane off Bayport, bound to Havana with a cargo of sea island cotton.
South Carolina. A Landing party from USS T A Ward, Acting Master William L Babcock, went ashore under command of Acting Ensign Myron W Tillson to reconnoitre Murrell’s Inlet and to obtain water. They were surprised by Confederate cavalry and ten men were captured.
21 October 1863
Mississippi. USS J P Jackson, Lieutenant Lewis W Pennington, captured the schooner Syrena near Deer Island.
North Carolina. USS Nansemond, Lieutenant R H Lamson, chased the blockade-running steamer Venus ashore near Cape Fear River. Four shots from the blockader caused the steamer to take on water. Lamson attempted to get Venus off in the morning but found it impossible and it was burned. A notebook found aboard Venus recorded that 75 ships had so far been engaged in blockade-running during 1863, of which 32 had been captured or destroyed.
Virginia. USS Currituck, Acting Lieutenant Hooker, and USS Fuchsia, Acting Master Street, captured steamer Three Brothers in the Rappahannock River.
22 October 1863
Mississippi. The Union steamer Mist was boarded and burned at Ship Island by Confederate guerrillas when she attempted to take on a cargo of cotton without the protection of a Union gunboat.
23 October 1863
Florida. USS Norfolk Packet, Acting Ensign George N Wood, captured the schooner Ocean Bird off St Augustine Inlet.
24 October 1863
Mississippi. USS Conestoga, Acting Master Gilbert Morton, seized the steamer Lillie Martin and the tug Sweden, near Napoleon. The steamers were suspected of trading with the Confederates.
Mississippi. USS Hastings, Lieutenant-Commander S L Phelps, and USS Key West, Acting Master Edward M King, arrived at Eastport to support Army operations along the Tennessee River. Low water had delayed their arrival for more than ten days. Their arrival enabled Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman to extend his operations extended into mid-December as the Union supply lines were now better protected.
North Carolina. USS Calypso, Acting Master Frederick D Stuart, captured the blockade-running British schooner Herald off Frying Pan Shoals, with a cargo of salt and soda.
25 October 1863
Texas. USS Kittatinny, Acting Master Isaac D Seyburn, captured the schooner Reserve, off Pass Cavallo.
26 October 1863
South Carolina. Union ironclads began an intensive two-week bombardment of Fort Sumter. Union land batteries and warships had battered the fort with nearly 1,000 shots in twelve hours. The bombardment was destructive but the defenders held out in the rubble and ruins.
27 October 1863
Louisiana. A Union expedition to capture Brazos Santiago and the mouth of the Rio Grande River departed from New Orleans convoyed by USS Monongahela, Commander Strong, USS Owasco, Lieutenant-Commander Edmund W Henry, and USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant C H Brown.
Texas. Colonel L Smith, commanding Confederate naval forces in Texas, reported the status of gunboats in the area. CSS Clifton, CSS Sachem, and CSS Jacob A Bell were stationed at Sabine Pass; CSS Bayou City, CSS Diana, and CSS Harriet Lane were at Galveston Bay; CSS Mary Hill was at Velasco, while CSS John F Carr was at Saluria. CSS Bayou City and CSS Harriet Lane lacked armament but the remainder mounted a total of 15 guns.
Texas. USS Granite City, Acting Master C W Lamson, captured the schooner Anita off Pass Cavallo, with a cargo of cotton.
28 October 1863
France. CSS Georgia, Lieutenant W L Maury, anchored at Cherbourg, concluding a seven-month cruise against Union commerce. The raider was laid up for repairs and was no longer functional as a cruiser.
29 October 1863
Tennessee. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter sent additional gunboats to support Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman on the Tennessee River. USS Lexington, USS Hastings, USS Key West, USS Cricket, USS Robb, USS Romeo, and USS Peosta were already in the Tennessee River, and USS Paw Paw, USS Tawah, USS Tyler, and others were ordered to join them.
30 October 1863
Namibia. USS Vanderbilt, Commander Baldwin, captured the bark Saxon, suspected of having rendezvoused with and taken a cargo from CSS Tuscaloosa at Angra Pequena.
Florida. USS Annie, Acting Ensign Williams, seized the blockade-running British schooner Meteor off Bayport.
Texas. USS Owasco, Captain Henry, saved the steam transport Zephyr from being wrecked during a storm while en route to the landing at Brazos Santiago. The Zephyr was towed safely to the rendezvous.
31 October 1863
Virginia. Instruction began for the first 52 midshipmen at the Confederate States Naval Academy. Lieutenant W H Parker was Superintendent of the floating academy aboard CSS Patrick Henry at Drewry’s Bluff on the James River. The decision to establish a Naval Academy was taken in December 1861. Further legislation in the spring of 1862 provided for the appointment of 106 acting midshipmen to the Naval Academy. In May 1862, the CSS Patrick Henry was designated as the Academy ship, and alterations were undertaken to ready her for this role. The curriculum, studies, and discipline at the new school were generally patterned after that of the United States Naval Academy. The training was frequently interrupted for the cadets to take part in actual combat.
2 November 1863
Texas. Union naval forces under Commander Strong, including USS Monongahela, USS Owasco, and USS Virginia, convoyed and supported the landing of troops at Brazos Santiago. The landing began and continued into the next day without opposition.
3 November 1863
Louisiana. USS Kenwood, Acting Master Swaney, captured the steamer Black Flank off Port Hudson with a cargo of cotton.
Texas. Union naval forces under Commander Strong, including USS Monongahela, USS Owasco, and USS Virginia, completed the landing of troops at Brazos Santiago.
4 November 1863
Texas. After the landing of Union troops at Brazos Santiago, the Confederates evacuated Brownsville and the Union foothold on the Mexican border was secured.
Texas. USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant C H Brown, seized the blockade-running British the schooner Matamoras at the mouth of the Rio Grande River with a cargo including shoes, axes, and spades for the Confederate Army.
5 November 1863
Florida. USS Beauregard, Acting Master Burgess, seized the blockade-running British schooner Volante off Cape Canaveral, with a cargo including salt and dry goods.
South Carolina. Union warships continued to bombard Fort Sumter in concert with Army batteries ashore on Morris Island. The only original feature of the fort left standing was the northeast face, while the remainder had been reduced to rubble
South Carolina. The blockade-runner Margaret and Jessie was captured at sea east of Myrtle Beach, after a prolonged chase by the Army transport Fulton and USS Nansemond, Lieutenant R H Lamson. The chase had started the preceding evening by USS Howquah, Acting Lieutenant Mac-Diarmid, which kept the steamer in sight throughout the night. USS Keystone State, Commander Edward Donaldson, joined the chase in the morning and assisted in the capture, which ended the career of a ship that had run the blockade fifteen times.
Texas, USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant CH Brown, seized the blockade-running British bark Science, and, in company with USS Owasco, Lieutenant-Commander Henry, captured the blockade-running British brigs Volante and Dashing Wave at the mouth of the Rio Grande River.
6 November 1863
East Indies. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and destroyed the bark Amanda with a cargo of hemp and sugar.
South Carolina. USS Patapsco, Commander Stevens, tested John Ericsson’s anti-obstruction torpedo, which had been devised to help ships pass through the dense Confederate obstructions near Fort Sumter. The device was a cast-iron shell 23 feet long and 10 inches in diameter containing 600 pounds of powder. It was suspended from a raft attached to the ironclad’s bow and held in position by two long booms. The demonstration was successful and the shock of the explosion of the targeted torpedo was barely perceptible aboard USS Patapsco despite the creation of a column of water 40 to 50 feet into the air. However, even in calm water, the raft seriously interfered with the ship’s manoeuvrability. Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren noted that the device was useful only against fixed objects and the arrangement was too complicated for active operations.
7 November 1863
Florida. A cutter from USS Sagamore, Lieutenant-Commander Charles E Fleming, captured the blockade-running British schooner Paul off Bayport.
Mississippi. The merchant steamer Allen Collier, with a cargo of cotton, was burned by Confederate guerrillas at Whitworth’s Landing, after leaving the protection of USS Eastport, Acting Ensign Sylvester Pool.
8 November 1863
North Carolina. USS James Adger, Commander Thomas H Patterson, and USS Niphon, Acting Master Breck, captured the steamer Cornubia north of New Inlet.
9 November 1863
Alabama. Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan ordered Acting Midshipman Edward A Swain to report to Fort Morgan to take command of the torpedo boat CSS Gunnison and to attack USS Colorado or any other blockading ship in Mobile Bay.
Georgia. An intelligence report about the Confederate naval capability in Georgian waters reached the Union commanders. CSS Savannah, Commander Robert F Pinkney, was described as mounting two 7-inch and two 6-inch Brooke rifled guns and a spar torpedo mounted on the bow. Its sides were plated with 4 inches of rolled iron and her speed was about seven knots in smooth water. CSS Isondiga, a wooden steamer, was reported to have old boilers and unreliable machinery. The frames for two more rams were said to be on the stocks at Savannah, but no iron could be obtained to complete them. CSS Resolute, thought by the Union commanders to be waiting to run the blockade, had been converted to a tender. All the cotton at Savannah was being transferred to Wilmington for shipment through the blockade. The floating battery CSS Georgia, Lieutenant Washington Gwathmey, was at anchor near Fort Jackson and was reported to be a failure.
North Carolina. USS James Adger, Commander Patterson, captured the blockade-runner Robert E Lee off Cape Lookout Shoals. The steamer had left Bermuda two days earlier with a cargo including shoes, blankets, rifles, saltpetre, and lead. The prize was one of the most successful blockade-runners which had previously the blockade twenty-one times.
North Carolina. USS Niphon, Acting Master Breck, captured the blockade-runner Ella and Annie off Masonboro lnlet with a cargo of arms and provisions. In an effort to escape, Ella and Annie rammed Niphon, but it was then taken by a boarding party.
10 November 1863
Java. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the clipper ship Winged Racer in the Straits of Sunda, with a cargo of sugar, hides, and jute.
Louisiana. Union Major-General James Birdseye McPherson requested Lieutenant-Commander E K Owen to bring USS Louisville to Goodrich’s Landing, to assist against an anticipated an attack by Confederate troops
North Carolina. USS Howquah, Acting Lieutenant MacDiarmid, captured the blockade-running steamer Ella off Wilmington.
11 November 1863
East Indies. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and destroyed clipper ship Contest after a long chase off Gaspar Strait with a cargo of Japanese goods bound for New York.
14 November 1863
Florida. USS Bermuda, Acting Lieutenant J W Smith, recaptured the schooner Mary Campbell off Pensacola. The schooner had been seized earlier the same day by Confederate seamen led by Master James Duke. USS Bermuda also took the lugger which the Confederates had used to capture Mary Campbell. The two Confederate ships had emerged from the Perdido River and were sighted by USS Bermuda. Duke and ten crewmen made for land and escaped aboard a boat that was beached and burned.
South Carolina. USS Dai Ching, Lieutenant-Commander James C Chaplin, captured the schooner George Chisholm off the Santee River, with a cargo of salt.
15 November 1863
North Carolina. USS Lodona, Acting Lieutenant Brodhead, seized the blockade-running British schooner Arctic southwest of Frying Pan Shoals, with a cargo of salt.
South Carolina. Confederate guns at Fort Moultrie opened a heavy bombardment during the evening against Union positions at Cumming’s Point on Morris Island. Union Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren ordered the tugs on patrol duty to be alert to a movement by the enemy.
16 November 1863
South Carolina. USS Lehigh, Commander Andrew Bryson, grounded while covering Cumming’s Point and was taken under heavy fire from Fort Moultrie. USS Nahant, Lieutenant-Commander John J Cornwell, recovered the ship.
Texas. USS Monongahela, Commander Strong, escorted Army transports and covered the landing of more than a thousand troops on Mustang Island at Aransas Pass. USS Monongahela sent ashore two howitzers, and the ship shelled Confederate works until the outnumbered defenders surrendered.
17 November 1863
Virginia. USS Mystic, Acting Master William Wright, seized the schooner Emma D off Yorktown.
18 November 1863
Gulf of Mexico. The merchant schooner Joseph L Garrity, two days out of Matamoras bound for New York, was seized by five Confederate sympathisers led by Thomas E Hogg. The raiders had boarded the ship as passengers. Hogg put the schooner’s crew ashore on the coast of Yucatan on 26 November 1863 and sailed her to British Honduras. The schooner was described to the authorities as a blockade-runner under the name Eureka and sold her cargo of cotton. Three crew members were eventually captured in Liverpool, Great Britain, and charged with piracy, but on 1 June 1864, they were acquitted of the charge.
Texas. Acting Master C W Lamson, USS Granite City, reported the capture of the schooner Amelia Ann and the Spanish bark Teresita, with a cargo of cotton, both attempting to run the blockade at Aransas Pass.
21 November 1863
North Carolina. USS Grand Gulf, Commander George M Ransom, and Army transport Fulton seized the blockade-running British steamer Banshee south of Salter Path.
22 November 1863
Maryland. USS Jacob Bell, Acting Master Schulze, transported and supported a troop landing at St George’s Island, to capture 30 Confederates including suspected blockade-runners.
Texas. USS Aroostook, Lieutenant Chester Hatfield, captured the schooner Eureka off Galveston, bound to Havana with a cargo of cotton.
23 November 1863
South Carolina. U USS Marblehead, Lieutenant-Commander Richard W Meade, landed Union troops by the Stono River above Legareville, where they planned to remove obstructions in the river.
24 November 1863
North Carolina. Union Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee reported to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles regarding the best method of attacking Wilmington. One option was to march from New Bern, seize the most suitable fortified inlet on the north of Fort Fisher, and then to cross and blockade the Cape Fear River. A second option was to land below Fort Caswell and blockade the river from the right bank between Smithville and Brunswick. Commander W A Parker supported the Admiral’s views and recommended an operation to capture Fort Fisher, requiring 25,000 men and two or three ironclads. The ironclads should be employed to divert the attention of the garrison at Fort Fisher during the landing of troops at Masonboro Inlet, and to deter opposition to the disembarkation. Fort Fisher’s heavy guns all pointed to seaward and was unlikely to resist an attack from inland. Union efforts were currently focused on the capture of Charleston and the attack on Wilmington was postponed until early in 1865.
South Carolina. Under cover of USS Pawnee, Commander Balch, and USS Marblehead, Lieutenant-Commander Richard W Meade, Union troops commenced sinking piles as obstructions in the Stono River above Legareville. The gunboats remained in support to deter a Confederate attack during the operation.
25 November 1863
CSA. Confederate Commander Brooke reported to Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory that ordnance workshops had been established at Charlotte, Richmond, Atlanta, and Selma, to produce heavy ordnance for the Navy.
Mississippi. USS Fort Hindman, Acting Lieutenant John Pearce, captured the steamer Volunteer off Natchez Island.
26 November 1863
North Carolina. USS Jam
s Adger, Commander Patterson, seized The British blockade-runner Ella off Masonboro Inlet, with a cargo of salt.
Texas. USS Antona, Acting Master Zerega, captured the schooner Mary Ann southeast of Corpus Christi with a cargo of cotton.
27 November 1863
Florida. USS Two Sisters, Acting Master Charles H Rockwell, seized the blockade-running schooner Maria Alberta near Bayport.
28 November 1863
South Carolina. USS Chippewa, Lieutenant-Commander Thomas C Harris, convoyed the Army transports Monohassett and Mayflower up Skull Creek, for a reconnaissance. Confederate troops had established defensive positions but USS Chippewa’s gunfire prevented them from halting the movement.
29 November 1863
Alabama. USS Kanawha, Lieutenant-Commander Mayo, captured the schooner Albert (or Wenona) attempting to run the blockade out of Mobile, with a cargo of cotton, rosin, turpentine, and tobacco.
Texas. A Union gun crew from USS Monongahela, Commander Strong, went ashore to man howitzers in support of an attack on Pass Cavallo.
2 December 1863
Alabama. Union Commodore Henry Haywood Bell, interim commander of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, reported the estimated Confederate naval strength at Mobile Bay. CSS Gaines and CSS Morgan mounted ten guns, CSS Selma mounted four guns, as did the nearly completed ironclad CSS Nashville. All of these were sidewheelers. The ironclad rams CSS Baltic, CSS Huntsville, and CSS Tennessee all mounted four guns each. The latter was Admiral Franklin Buchanan’s flagship and was considered to be strong and fast. CSS Gunnison was fitted as a torpedo boat and another screw steamer was reported being fitted out although a fire had destroyed her upper works. In addition to two floating batteries mounting three guns each and 10 transport steamers were in Mobile Bay. A large vessel was believed to be under construction at Selma, and due to be launched in January. There were three more large rams building on the Tombigbee River, to be launched during the winter. Only four of these reported vessels entered service as the others could not be completed due to a lack of materials.
Florida. A boat expedition from USS Restless, Acting Master William R Browne, reconnoitred Lake Ocala and destroyed salt works.
3 December 1863
Texas. USS New London, Lieutenant-Commander Weld N Allen, captured the blockade-running schooner Del Nile near Padre Pass Island, with a cargo including coffee, sugar, and percussion caps.
5 December 1863
South Carolina. A boat crew under Acting Ensign William B Arrants from USS Perry was captured while reconnoitring Murrell’s Inlet, to determine if a ship being outfitted there as a blockade-runner could be destroyed.
6 December 1863
North Carolina. USS Violet, Acting Ensign Thomas Stothard, and USS Aries, Acting Lieutenant Devens, sighted the blockade-running British steamer Ceres aground and burning at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. During the night, the Ceres floated free and was seized by Violet after the flames were extinguished.
South Carolina. USS Weehawken, Commander Duncan, sank while tied up to a buoy inside the bar at Charleston harbour. USS Weehawken had recently taken on an extra load of heavy ammunition which reduced the freeboard forward considerably. In the strong ebb tide, water washed down on an open hawse pipe and a hatch. The pumps were unable to handle the rush of water and USS Weehawken quickly foundered, drowning two dozen officers and men.
7 December 1863
USA. In his third annual report to the President, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles reported that the blockade commencing from Alexandria, in Virginia, and terminating at the Rio Grande in Texas, was effectively maintained for a distance of 3,549 miles. More than one hundred vessels were employed in patrolling the inland rivers, cutting enemy supply lines, and cooperating with the armies across 3,615 miles. Welles reported a naval strength of 34,000 seamen and 588 ships displacing 467,967 tons, mounting 4,443 guns. More than 1,000 ships had been captured by blockaders. Maine. The steamer Chesapeake en route to Portland from New York was seized off Cape Cod by a group of seventeen Confederate sympathisers led by John C Braine. The undertaking had been planned at St John, New Brunswick, by Captain John Parker (also known as Vernon G Locke), former commander of the Confederate privateer Retribution. Parker ordered Braine and his men to New York where they purchased side arms and boarded Chesapeake as passengers. They cast off their disguise and, after a brief exchange of gunfire in which the second engineer was killed, took possession of the steamer. They intended to make for Wilmington, North Carolina, after coaling in Nova Scotia. Parker came aboard in the Bay of Fundy and took charge. News of the capture prompted a quick response and ships from Philadelphia northward were ordered in pursuit.
8 December 1863
Louisiana. The disabled merchant steamer Henry Von Phul was shelled by a Confederate shore battery near Morganza. USS Neosho, Acting Ensign Edwin P Brooks, and USS Signal, Acting Ensign William P Lee, steamed up to defend the ship and silenced the battery.
9 December 1863
South Carolina. USS Circassian, Acting Lieutenant Eaton, seized the blockade-running British steamer Minna east of Cape Romain. The steamer was carrying cargo including iron, hardware, and powder, along with a propeller and shaft and other parts of a marine engine, suitable for an ironclad.
10 December 1863
Louisiana. Confederate troops burned the schooner Josephine Truxillo and barge Stephany on Bayou Lacomb.
11 December 1863
Louisiana. Confederate troops burned the schooner Sarah Bladen and the barge Helana on Bayou Bonfouca.
Mississippi. Confederate troops fired on the sunken USS Indianola near Warrenton in an attempt to destroy the warship, USS Carondelet, Acting Maser James C Gipson, drove off the attackers. The Union Navy was exerting great efforts to recover USS Indianola from the bar on which she had sunk in February 1863.
15 December 1863
Vietnam. Captain Raphael Semmes, after cruising for some time in Far Eastern waters, determined to change his area of operations. Leaving the island of Condore in CSS Alabama, he set off for the Cape of Good Hope and thence to Brazil where American shipping was more plentiful.
16 December 1863
Florida. USS Ariel, Acting Master William H Harrison, captured sloop Magnolia off the west coast, inbound from Havana with a cargo of spirits and medicines.
Georgia. USS Huron, Lieutenant-Commander Stevens, captured the blockade-runner Chatham off Doboy Sound, with a cargo of cotton, tobacco, and rosin.
17 December 1863
Nova Scotia. The steamer Chesapeake which had been captured at Portland, Maine, by Confederate sympathisers led by John C Braine was recaptured in Sambro Harbour by USS Ella and USS Annie, Acting Lieutenant J Frederick Nickels. The vessel was taken to Halifax and restored to her original American owners. Most of the Confederate raiders including John Braine escaped.
Florida. USS Roebuck, Acting Master Sherrill, seized the blockade-running British schooner Ringdove off Indian River, with a cargo including salt, coffee, tea, and whisky.
Tennessee. Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, USS Moose, sent landing parties ashore at Seven Mile Island and Palmyra, to destroy distilleries used by Confederate guerrillas.
19 December 1863
Florida. A Union expedition under Acting Master W R Browne, comprising USS Restless, USS Bloomer, and USS Caroline, proceeded up St Andrew’s Bay, to continue the destruction of salt works. A landing party went ashore and destroyed works not already demolished by the Confederates when they heard of the approach of the naval party. Browne reported that during ten days he had wrecked 290 salt work sand much other equipment.
20 December 1863
Florida. USS Fox, Acting Master George Ashbury, captured the steamer Powerful at the mouth of Suwannee River. The steamer had been abandoned by her crew on the approach of the Union ship, and Ashbury ordered the sinking ship destroyed.
North Carolina. The steamer Antonica ran aground on Frying Pan Shoals, attempting to run the blockade. Boat crews from USS Governor Buckingham, Acting Lieutenant William G Saltonstall, captured the crew but were unable to get the steamer off and it was wrecked.
North Carolina. USS Connecticut, Commander Almy, seized the British blockade-running schooner Sallie with a cargo of salt off Frying Pan Shoals.
24 December 1863
East Indies. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the bark Texan Star in the Strait of Malacca with a cargo of rice.
Florida. USS Fox, Acting Master Ashbury, seized the blockade-running British schooner Edward off the mouth of the Suwannee River, after a two hour chase during which the schooner at-tempted to run down the smaller Union ship. She was carrying a cargo of lead and salt from Havana.
Florida. USS Sunflower, Acting Master Van Sice, captured the blockade-runner Hancock near the lighthouse at Tampa Bay with a cargo including salt and borax.
Texas. USS Antona, Acting Master Zerega, seized the blockade-running schooner Exchange off Velasco, with a cargo including coffee, nails, shoes, acids, wire, and cotton goods.
25 December 1863
North Carolina. USS Daylight, Acting Lieutenant Francis S Wells, and USS Howquah, Acting Lieutenant MacDiarmid, transported troops from Beaufort to Bear Inlet, where the soldiers and sailors were landed without incident. Four salt works were destroyed along the coast and near the inlet.
South Carolina. Confederate batteries on John’s Island opened an early morning attack on USS Marblehead, Lieutenant-Commander Meade, near Legareville in the Stono River. USS Marblehead sustained 20 hits as USS Pawnee, Commander Balch, contributed enfilading support, and the mortar schooner C P Williams, Acting Master Simeon N Freeman, provided support. After more than an hour, the Confederates broke off the engagement and withdrew. Meade later landed a party and seized two 8-inch seacoast howitzers.
26 December 1863
East Indies. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the ships Sonora and Highlander, both in ballast, at anchor at the western entrance of the Straits of Malacca.
26 December 1863
Tennessee. USS Reindeer, Acting Lieutenant Henry A Glassford, with Army steamer Silver Lake No 2 in company, made a six-day reconnaissance of the Cumberland River. The force moved from Nashville to Carthage The gunboats continued as far as Creelsboro, Kentucky, before returning to Nashville on 31 December 1863.
29 December 1863
Florida. Boat crews from USS Stars and Stripes, Acting Master Willcomb, destroyed the blockade-running schooner Caroline Gertrude aground on a bar at the mouth of Ocklockonee River. While attempting to remove the schooner’s cargo of cotton, the Union sailors were fired on by Confederate cavalry ashore and returned to their ship after setting the blockade-runner ablaze.
Tennessee. USS Reindeer, Acting Lieutenant Henry A Glassford, with Army steamer Silver Lake No 2 in company, came under fire five times at Glassford but the Confederates were shelled into retreat. The gunboats continued as far as Creelsboro, Kentucky and subsequently returned to Nashville on 31 December 1863.
30 December 1863
Florida. A boat expedition under command of Acting Ensign Norman McLeod from USS Pursuit, destroyed two salt works at the head of St Joseph’s Bay.
31 December 1863
Gulf of Mexico. USS Kennebec, Lieutenant-Commander McCann, captured the blockade-runner Grey jacket, bound from Mobile to Havana, with a cargo of cotton, rosin, and turpentine.
Texas. USS Sciota, Lieutenant-Commander Perkins, and USS Granite City, Acting Master Lamson, made a reconnaissance from Pass Cavallo, and landed troops on Matagorda Peninsula. While USS Granite City covered the troops ashore against attacks by Confederate cavalry, USS Sciota reconnoitred the mouth of the Brazos River. Returning to the landing area, USS Sciota anchored close to the beach and shelled Confederate positions. USS Granite City returned to Pass Cavallo to call on USS Monongahela, USS Penobscot, and USS Estrella to assist. The Confederate gunboat CSS John F Carr closed in and opened fire on the Union troops, but was driven ashore by a severe gale and destroyed by fire. The Union troops were withdrawn back aboard their transport.