Naval Chronology 1864
1 January 1864
Georgia. USS Huron, Lieutenant-Commander Francis H Baker, sank the blockade-running British schooner Sylvanus in Doboy Sound, with a cargo of salt, liquor, and cordage.
South Carolina. USS Nipsic, Commander James H Spotts, landed sailors and Marines at Murrell’s Inlet and destroyed a blockade-runner with a cargo of turpentine.
2 January 1864
Louisiana. Commander Robert Townsend reported the seizure of the steamer Ben Franklin in the lower Mississippi River for violation of the blockade.
North Carolina. The US Navy had been pressing for a combined attack on the port of Wilmington since 1862, as it was ideally located for blockade-running, being less than 600 miles from Nassau and only 675 miles from Bermuda. Thirteen steamers ran into Wilmington between 10 and 29 September alone and fourteen ships put to sea between 2 and 19 September 1863. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles proposed an attack on the fortifications protecting Wilmington, the only port by which supplies could now reach the Confederates, beginning with Fort Caswell. However, Union Major-General Henry Wager Halleck advised Stanton that the Army was already committed to campaigns in Louisiana and Texas and could not spare the men for the attack.
3 January 1864
South Carolina. USS Fahkee, with Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee aboard, sighted the steamer Bendigo aground at Lockwood’s Folly Inlet. Three boat crews were sent to investigate and discovered that the blockade-runner had been partially burned to prevent capture and that it was partially flooded. Lee ordered Bendigo destroyed by gunfire from USS Fort Jackson, USS Iron Age, USS Montgomery, USS Daylight, and USS Fahkee.
4 January 1864
Bahamas. USS Tioga, Lieutenant-Commander Edward Y McCauley, seized an unnamed schooner bound from Nassau to Havana with a cargo including salt, coffee, arms, shoes, and liquors.
7 January 1864
Gulf of Mexico. USS San Jacinto, Lieutenant-Commander Ralph Chandler, captured the schooner Roebuck, bound from Havana for Mobile.
North Carolina. A plan devised by Union Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler to send the Army steamer Brewster, Ensign Arnold Harris, into Wilmington harbour under the guise of a blockade-runner to attack the shipping and blockade-runners in the harbour was abandoned after the Confederates’ protective precautions were discovered. Union Brigadier-General Charles Kinnaird Graham reported that even the ship ran past Fort Caswell and Fort Fisher, it would have to halt at a chain stretched across the channel at Fort Lee, where all blockade-runners were required to obtain permission to enter Wilmington.
South Carolina. USS Montgomery, Lieutenant Edward H Faucon, and USS Aries, Lieutenant Edward F Devens, chased the blockade-runner Dare. The steamer was beached at North Inlet and abandoned by her crew. Boat crews from USS Montgomery and USS Aries boarded but, failing to refloat the prize, set her afire.
8 January 1864
Alabama. USS Kennebec, Lieutenant-Commander William P McCann, chased the blockade-runner John Scott off Mobile for some eight hours and captured her with a cargo of cotton and turpentine.
9 January 1864
Canada. Union Rear Admiral Charles H Bell, commanding the Pacific Squadron, reported that a Confederate privateer was being fitted out at Victoria on Vancouver Island.
10 January 1864
Florida. Boat crews from USS Roebuck, Acting Master John Sherrill, captured the blockade-running Confederate sloop Maria Louise with a cargo of cotton off Jupiter Inlet.
South Carolina. The screw steamer USS Iron Age, Lieutenant-Commander Edward E Stone, ran aground while helping to salvage the hulk of the grounded and partially burned blockade-runner Bendigo near Lockwood’s Folly Inlet.
11 January 1864
France. Confederate Flag Officer Samuel Barron reported that Lieutenant Charles M Morris had assumed command of CSS Florida, relieving Commander Joseph N Barney whose ill health prevented active service afloat. CSS Florida had completed her repairs and made a successful trial run under steam. CSS Rappahannock was under repair and be armed with the guns from CSS Georgia, which was no longer fit for service as a cruiser.
Florida. USS Honeysuckle, Acting Ensign Cyrus Sears, captured the blockade-running British schooner Fly near Jupiter Inlet.
Florida. Boat crews from USS Roebuck, Acting Master Sherrill, captured the blockade-running British schooner Susan at Jupiter Inlet, with a cargo including salt.
South Carolina. USS Minnesota, USS Daylight, USS Aries, and USS Governor Buckingham intercepted the blockade-runner Ranger, Lieutenant George W Gift, and forced her aground at the Western Bar of Lockwood’s Folly Inlet. Confederate sharpshooters prevented salvage so the ship was destroyed by Union forces. USS Aries, Acting Lieutenant Edward F Devens, also investigated a fire observed between Tubb’s Inlet and Little River Inlet and found the double propeller blockade-runner Vesta beached and in flames. Vesta had been sighted and chased ashore during the previous night by USS Keystone State, USS Quaker City, and USS Tuscarora.
12 January 1864
Florida. Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut arrived in Key West, ready to resume command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron.
Virginia. Under cover of USS Yankee, USS Currituck, USS Anacostia, USS Tulip, and USS Jacob Bell, commanded by Acting Lieutenant Edward Hooker, Union cavalry and infantry under Brigadier-General Gilman Marston landed on the peninsula between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, and captured some enemy soldiers and a large number of cavalry horses. The gunboats supported the Army operations until the Union soldiers embarked on 15 January 1864.
13 January 1864
Florida. A boat crew from USS Two Sisters, Acting Master Thomas Chatfield, captured the schooner William off Suwannee River, with a cargo of salt, bagging, and rope.
14 January 1864
India. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the ship Emma Jane off the coast of Malabar.
Florida. USS Union, Acting Lieutenant Edward Conroy, captured the blockade-running steamer Mayflower near Tampa Bay, with a cargo of cotton.
Florida. Small boats from USS Roebuck, Acting Master Sherrill, chased the blockade-running British sloop Young Racer and forced her aground north of Jupiter Inlet, with a cargo of salt. The sloop was destroyed by her crew.
South Carolina. Union efforts failed to pull the grounded USS Iron Age off the beach at Lockwood’s Folly Inlet. When the Confederates positioned a battery within range, the Union blockaders blew her up to prevent capture.
15 January 1864
Florida. USS Beauregard, Acting Master Francis Burgess, captured the blockade-running British schooner Minnie south of Mosquito Inlet, with a cargo including salt and liquor.
North Carolina. Confederate Commander James W Cooke was appointed to command the ironclad CSS Albemarle at Halifax, and to complete her construction.
16 January 1864
Alabama. USS Gertrude, Acting Master Henry C Wade, captured the blockade-running schooner Ellen off Mobile with an assorted cargo.
Georgia. Boat crews from USS Fernandina, Acting Master Edward Moses, captured the sloop Annie Thompson in St Catherine’s Sound, with a cargo of cotton, tobacco, and turpentine.
18 January 1864
Alabama. Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut arrived off Mobile Bay to inspect the Union fleet and the Confederate defences. He had sailed from New York aboard his flagship USS Hartford on his way to resume official command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron on 22 January at New Orleans.
Florida. Boat crews from USS Roebuck, Acting Master Sherrill, captured the sloop Caroline off Jupiter Inlet, with a cargo of salt, gin, soda, and dry goods.
Florida. USS Stars and Stripes, Acting Master Charles L Willcomb, captured the blockade-running steamer Laura off the Ocklockonee River, with a cargo including cigars.
19 January 1864
CSA. The Confederate secret agent Thomas E Courtenay informed Colonel Henry E Clark, that the manufacture of so-called coal torpedoes was nearing completion. These devices were really cast iron bombs, shaped and painted to resemble pieces of coal, and filled with powder. They were to be deposited in Union coal depots, from where they would eventually reach and explode inside ships’ boilers.
Florida. Boats from USS Roebuck, Acting Master Sherrill, seized the British schooner Eliza and the sloop Mary inside Jupiter Inlet. Both blockade-runners carried cargoes of cotton.
21 January 1864
Texas. USS Sciota, Lieutenant-Commander George H Perkins, and USS Granite City, Acting Master Charles W Lamson, landed several hundred troops in a reconnaissance of the Texas coast. The gunboats covered the troops at Smith’s Landing and their subsequent movement down the Matagorda Peninsula.
22 January 1864
Florida. The captured blockade-running sloop Mary was en route to Key West when it sprang a leak, ran aground and was wrecked. The prize crew and most of the cotton cargo were saved.
Florida. Acting Ensign James J Russell, USS Restless, accompanied by two sailors, captured the blockade-running schooner William A Kain in St Andrew’s Bay. Russell had intended originally only to reconnoitre but after capturing the Captain and several of the crew members of the blockade-runner in the woods near the vessel, he determined to take the ship. Compelling his prisoners to row him out to the William A Kain, Russell captured the remaining crew members and managed to sail Kain from Watson’s Bayou out into the bay and came under the protection of USS Restless.
28 January 1864
Italy. Union Captain Henry S Stellwagen, commanding USS Constellation, reported from Naples on the attitudes of European powers to US maritime operations against Confederate commerce raiders. USS Constellation was stationed in the Mediterranean, USS St Louis was west of Gibraltar on the converging trade routes, and USS Jamestown was in the East Indies, in order to escort merchant ships and deter the approach of raiders.
Florida. The US Army steamer Western Metropolis seized the blockade-running British steamer Rosita off Key West with a cargo including liquor and cigars. The US Navy officers Acting Lieutenant Lewis W Pennington and Acting Master Daniel S Murphy were aboard as passengers and assisted in the capture.
Florida. USS Beauregard, Acting Master Burgess, seized the blockade-running British sloop Racer north of Cape Canaveral, with a cargo of cotton.
29 January 1864
Georgia. Union Commander Thomas H Stevens, aboard USS Patapsco, completed an extended reconnaissance of the Wilmington River, during which Confederate sharpshooters were engaged. Stevens concluded that an expedition against Savannah by land and sea would be probably successful. The US Navy kept the city under close blockade and engaged the area’s defences, but troops did not become available for an attack until later in the year.
31 January 1864
Louisiana. UnionMajor-General William Tecumseh Sherman communicated with Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks about the proposed campaign up the Red River. He advised that expedition should be rapid with simultaneous movements from Little Rock to Shreveport, from Opelousas on Alexandria, and by gunboats and transports directly up Red River. The gunboats would both spearhead the attack and keep open the army’s supply line.
North Carolina. A Union expedition of 40 sailors and 350 soldiers with a 12-pound howitzer, under command of or Lieutenant-Commander Charles W Flusser, marched eight miles inland from the Roanoke River and occupied Windsor for several hours before returning to their boats without a single shot from the enemy.
1 February 1864
Georgia. A boat expedition from USS Braziliera, Acting Master William T Gillespie, captured the sloop Buffalo with a cargo of cotton near Brunswick.
North Carolina. USS Sassacus, Lieutenant-Commander Francis A Roe, captured the blockade-runner Wild Dayrell aground at Stump Inlet. Roe attempted to get the steamer off for two days but, failing to do so, burned her.
Virginia. A Union expedition supported by USS Commodore Morris, Lieutenant-Commander James H Gillis, and launches from USS Minnesota, was repulsed by Confederate sharpshooters near Smithfield. The Army gunboat Smith Briggs was lost. The Union troops, whose aim had been the capture of a Confederate camp and tobacco on Pagan Creek, re-embarked on the transports and withdrew downstream.
2 February 1864
Mississippi. To provide a diversion to Union Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman’s expedition to Meridian, the stern-wheel gunboats USS Marmora, USS Romeo, USS Exchange, and the tinclad USS Petrel made an expedition up the Yazoo River. Lieutenant-Commander Elias K Owen commanded the gunboats with instructions to distract the Confederates by appearing in force as far up the Yazoo River as possible.
North Carolina. Early in the morning, a Confederate boat expedition planned and led by Commander John Taylor Wood captured and destroyed the 4-gun sidewheel steamer USS Underwriter, Acting Master Jacob Westervelt, anchored in the Neuse River near New Bern. The boats had been shipped by rail from Petersburg, Virginia, to Kinston, and from there they started down the Neuse. Wood approached USS Underwriter silently about 2:30 am and was within 100 yards of the gunboat before the boats were sighted. USS Underwriter’s guns could not be brought to bear in time and the Confederates boarded and took control in hand-to-hand combat, during which Westervelt was killed. Unable to move USS Underwriter because she did not have steam up, Wood destroyed her while under the fire of nearby Union batteries.
South Carolina. US Tug Geranium, Acting Ensign David Lee, captured eight members of the Confederate Torpedo Corps off Fort Moultrie in Charleston Harbour, while they were attempting to remove stores from a grounded blockade-runner.
2 February 1864
South Carolina. The blockade-runner Presto was discovered aground under the batteries of Fort Moultrie in Charleston harbour. The Union monitors USS Lehigh, Commander Andrew Bryson, USS Nahant, Lieutenant-Commander John J Cornwell, and USS Passaic, Lieutenant-Commander Edward Simpson, fired on the steamer for three days, finally completing the destruction on 4 February 1864.
2 February 1864
Florida. Union Major-General Quincy Adams Gillmore began an advance up the west bank of St John’s River. His force was supported by the small screw steamers USS Ottawa and USS Norwich which convoyed the Army troops to Jacksonville, and USS Dai Ching, USS Mahaska, and USS Water Witch which proceeded up the St John’s. Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren went to Florida to directing the forces which needed to keep open the communications by river and assist the troops as required. When the gunboats were in place, the Union troops of Brigadier-General Truman Seymour landed at Jacksonville and moved inland, capturing field guns and a large quantity of cotton.
3 February 1864
Georgia. USS Midnight, Acting Master Walter H Garfield, captured the blockade-running schooner Defy off Doboy Light, with a cargo of salt.
Mississippi. USS Petrel, USS Marmora, USS Exchange, and USS Romeo, under Lieutenant-Commander Owen, silenced Confederate batteries at Liverpool, on the Yazoo River, as they began an expedition to divert Confederate attention from Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman’s march to Meridian. Owen’s light-draft gunboats pushed up the Yazoo River for two weeks, reaching Greenwood, while engaging Confederate troops en route. The Confederates destroyed the steamer Sharp to prevent her capture before the Union naval force turned back.
4 February 1864
Florida. A boat under command of Acting Master’s Mate Henry B Colby from USS Beauregard captured a vessel named Lydia at Jupiter Narrows, with a small cargo of cotton and turpentine.
4 February 1864
Maryland. The US Revenue Steamer Hercules seized the schooner seized Ann Hamilton off Point Lookout. A search of the schooner confirmed suspicions when unauthorised cargoes of salt and lye and more than $15,000 in Confederate money were found on board.
North Carolina. USS Sassacus, Lieutenant-Commander Roe, chased the steamer Nutfield aground off New River Inlet. When it proved impossible to get her off, her cargo of Enfield rifles and quinine was salvaged and the ship was destroyed on 5 February 1864.
5 February 1864
Gulf of Mexico. USS De Soto, Captain Gustavus H Scott, seized the blockade-running British steamer Cumberland south of Santa Rosa Island with a cargo of arms, gunpowder, and dry goods.
South Carolina. Confederate Captain John R Tucker reported that the boiler of CSS Chicora had broken down and that the gunboat could be used only as a floating battery for the defence of Charleston harbour.
6 February 1864
North Carolina. USS Cambridge, Commander William F Spicer, found the blockade-running steamer Dee aground and in flames near Masonboro. The ship had grounded during the preceding night and was set on fire to prevent capture. Spicer completed the destruction of the blockade-runner with her cargo of lead, bacon, and spirits.
7 February 1864
Florida. The Confederate steamer St Mary’s was trapped in McGirt’s Creek above Jacksonville, USS Norwich, Acting Master Frank B Meriam. The steamer was sunk and her cargo of cotton destroyed by the crew to prevent capture.
9 February 1864
Madagascar. The Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama made a call on the island of Johanna to obtain provisions.
Georgia. A cutter commanded by Acting Ensign Walter C Odiorne from USS Patapsco, Commander T H Stevens, captured the blockade-running schooner Swift off Cabbage Island, with a cargo of fish.
Virginia. Acting Master Gerhard C Schulze received six refugees aboard USS Jacob Bell off Blakistone Island. One of the men, Joseph Lenty, an Englishman, had worked in Richmond for four years and brought news of ingenious explosive devices invented by the Confederates. He explained that the shells were being made to look exactly like a piece of coal, and filled with enough powder to burst any boiler. They were undetectable in a coal pile. The “coal torpedo” was reported to have been in production since January 1864 and they were suspected later of being the cause of several unexplained explosions and fires during the war. Precautions were taken to guard coal barges and agents found depositing the coal torpedoes were to be shot on sight.
10 February 1864
France. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Charles M Morris, escaped to sea from Brest, having been laid up for repairs since August 1863. CSS Florida took advantage of a thick, rainy night and left at 2 o’clock, proceeding through the southern passage. USS Kearsarge, Captain Winslow, was guarding the entrances to Brest but did not detect the escape.
North Carolina. USS Florida, Commander Peirce Crosby, forced the blockade-runner Fanny and Jenny aground near Masonboro Inlet. Immediately afterwards, Crosby sighted the blockade-runner Emily aground nearby. Unable to get either of the steamers afloat, and coming under fire from a Confederate Whitworth battery, Crosby burned them. Fanny and Jenny carried an assorted a cargo including a quantity of coal, while Emily carried a cargo of salt.
11 February 1864
Texas. USS Queen, Acting Master Robert Tarr, captured the schooner Louisa off the mouth of the Brazos River, with a cargo of powder and Enfield rifles.
13 February 1864
Virginia. A reconnaissance mission by USS Morse, Lieutenant-Commander Charles A Babcock, proceeded up the York River and Potopotank Creek. A sloop, with a cargo of corn and the small schooner Margaret Ann were seized and taken to Yorktown. Babcock swept the river from Moody’s Wharf to Purtan Island Point to confirm that no Confederate torpedoes had been discovered in that area, but received information that torpedoes had definitely been placed from Goff’s Point to Terrapin Point and in the forks of the river at West Point.
15 February 1864
Mexico. Union Rear Admiral C H Bell of the Pacific Squadron ordered USS Saginaw, Commander William E Hopkins, to cruise in Mexican waters and to protect both itself and American shipping from capture by Confederate sympathisers.
Louisiana, USS Forest Rose, Acting Lieutenant John V Johnson, came to the relief of Union soldiers under attack by Confederate troops at Waterproof. The gunboat compelled the Confederates to retire from a heavy bombardment.
Texas. USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant Charles H Brown, seized the blockade-running British schooner Mary Douglas off San Luis Pass, with a cargo of bananas, coffee, and linen.
16 February 1864
Alabama. A Union naval force composed of USS Octorara, Lieutenant-Commander William W Low, USS J P Jackson, Acting Lieutenant Miner B Crowell, and six mortar schooners, began to bombard the Confederate works at Fort Powell at Mobile Bay. The bombardment of Fort Powell by gunboats continued intermittently, although the mortar boats were subsequently relocated.
South Carolina. Benjamin Maillefert, an engineering specialist, proposed the use of torpedoes to clear the obstructions in the channel between Fort Sumter and Charleston. Each would be provided with a clockwork timer to detonate the charges. After successful tests, Union Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren, ordered 100 new torpedoes to be made for this purpose.
South Carolina. USS Montgomery, Acting Lieutenant Faucon, seized the blockade-running British steamer Pet off Lockwood’s Folly Inlet.
16 February 1864
Florida. USS Para, Acting Master Edward G Furber, escorted troops up the St Mary’s River to Woodstock Mills to obtain lumber. The schooner engaged Confederate troops along the riverbanks and covered the transports while a large quantity of lumber was taken on board.
17 February 1864
South Carolina. The Confederate submarine H L Hunley, Lieutenant George E Dixon, destroyed USS Housatonic, Captain Charles W Pickering, off Charleston. This was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in combat. The third volunteer crew trained for months and then moved into the harbour under the cover of darkness to await favourable conditions and a target. The small cylindrical craft found the heavy steam sloop USS Housatonic anchored outside the bar and attacked. Just before 9 pm, Acting Master John K Crosby, USS Housatonic’s officer of the deck, sighted an object in the water about 100 yards off and making directly for the ship. USS Housatonic slipped her cable and began backing full, and all hands were called to quarters. Within two minutes of being sighted, H L Hunley rammed a spar torpedo mounted on the bow into USS Housatonic’s starboard side, forward of the mizzenmast. Dixon and his crewmates perished with H L Hunley either during the attack or soon afterwards. The warship was shattered by the ensuing explosion and sank immediately. The crew took to the rigging to escape the water. The explosion made little noise and the attack was not properly understood until daybreak, when the crew were rescued after hanging on all night. Two officers and three men were reported missing, supposed drowned. The loss of the USS Housatonic caused great consternation, and the attack was attributed to a surface torpedo boat similar to the CSS David, rather than to a submersible attacker. All wooden vessels were ordered to keep up steam and to go out to sea every night, and were no longer allowed to anchor inside the harbour bar.
17 February 1864
Florida. A boat expedition under the command of Acting Ensign J G Koehler, USS Tahoma, destroyed a large Confederate salt works and a supply of salt near St Marks.
18 February 1864
Texas. US President Abraham Lincoln declared the blockade of Brownsville ended and opened the port for normal trade.
20 February 1864
Florida. USS Ottawa, USS Norwich, USS Dai Ching, USS Mahaska, and USS Water Witch supported the Union troops of Brigadier-General Truman Seymour at Jacksonville after they had been forced to retreat to defend the port. Naval howitzers were put ashore and manned by seamen.
21 February 1864
Florida. USS Para, Acting Master Edward G Furber, captured the small steamer Hard Times by the St Mary’s River.
Louisiana. Confederate Lieutenant-Commander Francis M Ramsay reported that the water in the Red River was too low for three Confederate gunboats at Shreveport to get over the falls.
22 February 1864
Arkansas. USS Linden, Acting Master Thomas M Farrell, attempting to aid the transport Admiral Hines, hit a snag in the Arkansas River and sank.
North Carolina. The tinclad USS Whitehead, Acting Master William N Welles, was ordered to make an expedition up the Roanoke River. The ship destroyed a corn mill used by Confederate troops near Rainbow Bluff.
Texas. USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant C H Brown, captured the blockade-running British schooner Henry Colthirst off San Luis Pass, with a cargo of gunpowder, hardware, and provisions.
23 February 1864
Mexico. Union Rear Admiral C H Bell reported that the presence of the warship USS Lancaster at Acapulco had deterred prevented an attempt by local Indians to destroy the town.
24 February 1864
Florida. USS Nita, Acting Lieutenant Robert B Smith, chased the blockade-runner Nan-Nan ashore in the East Pass of the Suwannee River. The steamer’s crew burned the ship to prevent it falling into Union hands, but part of Nan-Nan’s cargo of cotton, thrown overboard during the chase, was recovered.
25 February 1864
Florida. USS Roebuck, Acting Master Sherrill, seized the blockade-running British sloop Two Brothers in Indian River, with a cargo including salt, liquor, and nails.
26 February 1864
South Carolina. A boat on picket duty from USS Nipsic, commanded by Acting Master’s Mate William H Kitching, was captured by a Confederate cutter from CSS Palmetto State in Charleston harbour. The Union boat was encountered in a thick fog and was unable to withdraw rapidly enough against the flood tide to escape. Kitching and his five crew members were taken prisoner and confined initially aboard CSS Charleston near Fort Sumter.
27 February 1864
Florida. A Union boat expedition under the command of Acting Master E C Weeks, USS Tahoma, destroyed a large salt works on Goose Creek, near St Marks.
27 February 1864
Florida. USS Roebuck, Acting Master Sherrill, seized the blockade-running British sloop Nina with a cargo of liquors and coffee, and the schooner Rebel with a cargo of salt, liquor, and cotton, at Indian River Inlet.
Georgia. Confederate naval officers reported from the Columbus naval station that the new CSS Muscogee was drawing too much water to be of use and would have to be altered.
28 February 1864
Texas. USS Penobscot, Lieutenant-Commander Andrew F K Benham, seized the British schooner Lilly attempting to run the blockade at Velasco, with a cargo of powder.
29 February 1864
France. The US consular agent at Calais sent Captain Winslow aboard USS Kearsarge a detailed description of CSS Rappahannock, Lieutenant William P A Campbell. It was anticipated that CSS Rappahannock would soon attempt a commerce raiding cruise. CSS Rappahannock had been purchased for the Confederacy in England by Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury the previous year and in November had been brought to Calais to make necessary repairs. Late in January, Flag Officer Barron had instructed Campbell to rendezvous with CSS Georgia, Lieutenant William E Evans, as soon as possible in order to transfer the latter’s guns to CSS Rappahannock. CSS Georgia subsequently made its way to the appointed rendezvous off Morocco, but CSS Rappahannock never left Calais, detained by want of crew members and the intervention of the French Government.
North Carolina. Two boats from USS Monticello led by Lieutenant William Barker Cushing landed at Smithville during the night to attempt the capture of Confederate Brigadier-General Louis Hébert. Cushing made his way undetected with three men to the General’s quarters in the middle of town and within fifty yards of the Confederate barracks. Cushing was disappointed to find that Hébert had left for Wilmington earlier that day and the raid was unsuccessful.
Texas. USS Penobscot, Lieutenant-Commander Benham, captured the blockade-running schooners Stingray and John Douglas with cargoes of cotton off Velasco.
Texas. USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant C H Brown, captured the Confederate schooner Camilla with a cargo of cotton off the coast at Galveston. The sloop Catherine Holt was also captured with a cargo of cotton, but ran aground off San Luis Pass and had to be burned.
29 February 1864
Louisiana. Prior to the start of the Red River campaign, Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter ordered a week-long naval reconnaissance expedition under Lieutenant-Commander Ramsay up the Black and Ouachita Rivers. The force included USS Osage and the gunboats USS Ouachita, USS Lexington, USS Fort Hindman, USS Conestoga, and USS Cricket. Ramsay set out and moved up the Black River.
1 March 1864
Madeira. Commander George H Preble, USS St Louis, reported that the commerce raider CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, had left Funchal, where she had docked after leaving Brest. USS St Louis gave chase but its sailing speed could not match that of the steamer CSS Florida.
Florida. USS Roebuck, Acting Master Sherrill, seized the blockade-running British steamer Lauretta off Indian River Inlet, with a cargo of salt.
Louisiana. A naval reconnaissance expedition under Lieutenant-Commander Ramsay moved up the Black River. The force included USS Osage and the gunboats USS Ouachita, USS Lexington, USS Fort Hindman, USS Conestoga, and USS Cricket. Confederate sharpshooters took the ships under fire below Trinity during the afternoon. The gunboats replied with gunfire and steamed above the city before anchoring for the night.
North Carolina. USS Connecticut, Commander Almy, took the blockade-running British steamer Scotia with a cargo of cotton at sea off Cape Fear.
2 March 1864
Georgia. USS Dan Smith, Acting Master Benjamin C Dean, seized the blockade-running British schooner Sophia stranded in Altamaha Sound, with an assorted cargo.
Louisiana. A Union naval reconnaissance expedition under Lieutenant-Commander Ramsay, including USS Osage and the gunboats USS Ouachita, USS Lexington, USS Fort Hindman, USS Conestoga, and USS Cricket, entered the Ouachita River. The gunboats shelled Harrisonburg, and Confederate troops opened fire on the force below the town. Focussing their fire on USS Fort Hindman, which took 27 hits. One shot disabled Fort Hindman’s starboard engine and it dropped back. Ramsay transferred his command to USS Ouachita, which took three hits without serious damage. The gunboats silenced the Confederates ashore. Ramsay proceeded onwards to Catahoula Shoals and Bayou Louis without further incident. The water level permitted further progress to Monroe but it was falling so fast and the expedition began its return journey.
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter arrived off the mouth of the Red River to coordinate the movements of his Mississippi Squadron with those of the Army for the coming campaign into Louisiana and Texas. A joint expedition was directed up the Red River to Shreveport for the Army to begin its attempt to occupy Texas. Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks’ army was reinforced by 10,000 men from Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army at Vicksburg. The aim was for the army and Porter’s gunboats to rendezvous at Alexandria by 17 March. The naval forces would provide convoy and gunfire support up the river as far as Shreveport, where Major-General Frederick Steele was expected to join them from Little Rock, Arkansas. Porter found the Red River lower than had been seen for years but a delay in ascending the river would jeopardise the timing of the general advance and he decided to proceed as planned.
North Carolina. At the request of Union Brigadier-General Henry Walton Wessells, Lieutenant-Commander Flusser took USS Southfield and USS Whitehead up the Chowan River, to aid the Army steamer Bombshell which had been cut off by Confederates above Petty Shore. Flusser was aware of Confederate torpedoes being planted at that point and dared not attempt the passage. The gunboats were engaged by shore artillery as night fell, and, unable to fire effectively or navigate safely in the darkness, dropped downstream about a mile to await morning before continuing operations.
3 March 1864
North Carolina. USS Southfield, Lieutenant-Commander Flusser, and USS Whitehead made a rescue attempt in the Chowan River to aid the Army steamer Bombshell, which had been cut off by Confederates above Petty Shore. The gunboats began a bombardment of the Confederate position and the Confederate guns withdraw, enabling Bombshell to escape later in the day.
4 March 1864
South Africa. The British authorities instructed the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, Sir Philip E Wodehouse, to restore CSS Tuscaloosa to the control of the Confederate authorities. CSS Tuscaloosa had been captured as a prize under the name Conrad by Captain Raphael Semmes in CSS Alabama on 20 June 1863 and began a cruise under Lieutenant John Low. On 26 December 1863, CSS Tuscaloosa had put into Simon’s Bay at the Cape of Good Hope after searching for Union merchantmen off the coast of Brazil. On the following day, the Governor had the bark seized for violating neutrality laws because she had never been properly adjudicated in a prize court. Low promptly protested on the grounds that he had previously entered Simon’s Bay in August, at which time his ship took on supplies and completed repairs with the full knowledge and sanction of the authorities. No protest had been made by the Governor at that time. Seeking the release of his ship for more than three weeks, Low paid off his crew and with Acting Midshipman William H Sinclair made his way to Liverpool, where he arrived late in February 1864. The reversal of Governor Wodehouse’s action was accounted for by the peculiar circumstances of the case. CSS Tuscaloosa was allowed to enter the port of Cape Town and to depart on its first visit, the instructions of the 4th of November not having arrived at the Cape before her departure. The captain of the CSS Alabama was entitled to assume that Low might bring CSS Tuscaloosa a second time into the same harbour. This decision came too late for the Confederates. CSS Tuscaloosa was never reclaimed after Low’s departure and was eventually turned over to the Union.
North Carolina. USS Pequot, Lieutenant-Commander Stephen P Qackenbush, seized the blockade-running British steamer Don east of Fort Fisher, with a cargo including Army shoes, blankets, and clothing.
5 March 1864
Louisiana. A Union naval expedition under Lieutenant-Commander Ramsay, including USS Osage and the gunboats USS Ouachita, USS Lexington, USS Fort Hindman, USS Conestoga, and USS Cricket, returned to the mouth of the Red River after making a reconnaissance of the Black River and Ouachita River.
Mississippi. Gunfire support by USS Petrel, Acting Master Thomas McElroy, and USS Marmora, Acting Master Thomas Gibson, helped to drive off a Confederate attack on Yazoo City.
Virginia. Confederate Commander John Taylor Wood led an early morning raid on the Union-held telegraph station at Cherrystone Point. He had crossed the Chesapeake Bay at night with fifteen men in open barges and seized the station. The Union Army steamers Aeolus and Titan, unaware that the station was now in enemy hands, put into shore and both ships were captured by the Confederate raiders. Wood then destroyed the telegraph station and surrounding warehouses, disabled and bonded the Aeolus and then boarded Titan before steaming up the Piankatank River. An expedition to recapture her was quickly organised by the Union, but Wood evaded USS Currituck and USS Tulip in the early morning haze. A force of five gunboats under Commander F A Parker followed the Confederates up the river and found Titan destroyed on 7 March 1964, along with a number of large boats.
6 March 1864
North Carolina. USS Grand Gulf, Commander George M Ransom, captured the blockade-running British steamer Mar Ann, which had run out of Wilmington with a cargo of cotton and tobacco.
North Carolina. USS Peterhoff, Acting Lieutenant Thomas Pickering, was run into by USS Monticello and sank off New Inlet.
South Carolina. A Confederate torpedo boat commanded by First Assistant Engineer Tomb attacked USS Memphis, Acting Master Robert O Patterson, in the North Edisto River near Charleston. The “David-type” boat was first sighted 50 yards to port and a volley of musket fire failed to halt the small craft. The spar torpedo containing 95 pounds of powder was pressed squarely against USS Memphis’ port quarter, about eight feet below the waterline, but failed to explode. Tomb turned away and renewed the attack on the starboard quarter. Again, the torpedo struck home, but with only a glancing blow because USS Memphis was now underway. The two vessels collided, damaging the Confederate boat, and Tomb withdrew under heavy fire. The failure of the defective torpedo prevented the destruction of the 800-ton steamer USS Memphis.
Virginia. USS Morse, Lieutenant-Commander Babcock, ascended the York River, to assist a Union cavalry detachment under the command of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren. USS Morse was slowed at Purtan Island Point by the need to sweep the river for torpedoes and anchored for the night off Terrapin Point.
7 March 1864
North Carolina. USS Peterhoff, Acting Lieutenant Thomas Pickering, which had sunk off New Inlet on 8 March 1864, was destroyed by USS Mount Vernon to prevent its salvage by the Confederates.
Virginia. USS Morse, Lieutenant-Commander Babcock, seeking to assist a Union cavalry detachment under the command of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, left Terrapin Point and continued up the York River., The ship fired signal guns to attract the attention of the cavalry. Off Brick House Farm, a boat carrying five cavalrymen reached USS Morse. They reported that the Union cavalry had been cut off and captured by the Confederates, and Dahlgren was killed in the engagement.
8 March 1864
Mississippi. USS Conestoga, Lieutenant-Commander Thomas O Selfridge, was rammed accidentally by USS General Price, Lieutenant J E Richardson, about ten miles below Grand Gulf. USS Conestoga sank in four minutes with the loss of two crewmen. The collision resulted from a confusion in whistle signals aboard USS General Price. Selfridge had previously been aboard USS Cumberland when it was sunk by CSS Virginia on 8 March 1862. He was then in command of USS Cairo when she was sunk by a torpedo in the Yazoo River. Selfridge next took command of the USS Osage, but after the monitor grounded in the Red River, he became captain of the new gunboat USS Vindicator.
Texas. USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant C H Brown, captured the blockade-running sloop Randall off San Luis Pass.
9 March 1864
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter was awaiting the arrival of troops from Vicksburg in order to commence his part of the Red River campaign. He needed to move as quickly as possible after collecting the detachment from the Army of the Tennessee, in order to meet Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks at Alexandria by 17 March. Porter directed Lieutenant-Commander James A Greer, USS Benton, to advise him as soon as the transports were sighted coming down the Mississippi. Meanwhile, Porter gathered his gunboat flotilla (USS Essex, USS Benton, USS Choctaw, USS Chillicothe, USS Ozark, USS Louisville, USS Carondelet, USS Eastport, USS Pittsburg, USS Mound City, USS Osage, and USS Neosho, USS Lafayette, USS Ouachita, USS Lexington, USS Fort Hindman, USS Cricket, and USS Gazelle) at the month of the Red River.
Virginia. USS Shokokon, USS Morse, and USS General Putnam, under Lieutenant-Commander Babcock, convoyed an Army expedition up the York and Mattapony Rivers. After disembarking the troops from the transports, Babcock remained in support at Sheppard’s Landing.
Virginia. USS Yankee, Acting Lieutenant Hooker, reconnoitred the Rappahannock River to within a mile of Urbanna. The reconnaissance established that no Confederate force of importance were near Urbanna. The ship remained for two more days patrolling the Rappahannock from ten miles below Urbanna to its mouth in support of Army operations in the area.
10 March 1864
Virginia. USS Shokokon, USS Morse, and USS General Putnam, under Lieutenant-Commander Babcock, left Sheppard’s Landing on the York River and withdrew downriver.
South Carolina. The Confederate steamer Helen, commanded by Lieutenant Philip Porcher was lost at sea in a gale while running a cargo of cotton from Charleston to Nassau.
Texas. USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant C H Brown, captured the schooner Sylphide off San Luis Pass, with a cargo including percussion caps.
11 March 1864
Alabama. USS San Jacinto, Commander James F Armstrong, captured the schooner Lealtad, which had run the blockade at Mobile with a cargo of cotton and turpentine.
Florida. USS Beauregard, Acting Master Francis Burgess, captured the blockade-running British sloop Hannah off Mosquito Inlet, with a cargo of cotton cloth.
North Carolina. Boats from USS Beauregard under Acting Ensign Henry B Colby, and from USS Norfolk Packet under Acting Master George Delap, seized the British schooner Linda at Mosquito Inlet, with a cargo including salt, liquor, and coffee.
Texas. USS Aroostook, Lieutenant-Commander Chester Hatfield, captured the blockade-running British schooner Mary P Burton south of Velasco, with a cargo of iron and shot.
Virginia. The schooner Julia Baker was boarded by Confederate guerrilla forces near Newport News. After taking the master and five men prisoner, the boarders burned the schooner.
12 March 1864
Florida. USS Columbine, Acting Ensign Francis W Sanborn, supported an Army movement up the St Johns River and captured the Confederate river steamer CSS General Sumter. Acting Master John C Champion, commanding a launch from USS Pawnee, which was in company with the tug USS Columbine, took command of the prize, and the two vessels pushed on up the St John’s River towards Lake Monroe.
Georgia. USS Massachusetts, Acting Lieutenant William H West, captured the sloop Persis in Wassaw Sound, with a cargo of cotton.
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s gunboat fleet moved up the Red River to begin a two month operation aimed at securing control of Texas. USS Eastport, Lieutenant-Commander Samuel L Phelps, pushed ahead to remove the obstructions in the river below Fort De Russy, and was followed by the ironclads USS Choctaw, USS Essex, USS Ozark, USS Osage, and USS Neosho and then by the wooden steamers USS Lafayette, USS Fort Hindman, and USS Cricket. Porter took the ironclads USS Benton, USS Chillicothe, USS Louisville, USS Pittsburg, and USS Mound City and the wooden paddle-wheelers USS Ouachita, USS Lexington, and USS Gazelle into the Atchafalaya River to cover an Army landing at Simsport. A landing party from USS Benton, Lieutenant-Commander Greer, drove back the Confederate pickets prior to the arrival of the transports.
Texas. USS Aroostook, Lieutenant-Commander Hatfield, captured the schooner Marion near Velasco, with a cargo of salt and iron.
13 March 1864
Louisiana. The ironclads USS Benton, USS Chillicothe, USS Louisville, USS Pittsburg, and USS Mound City and the wooden paddle-wheelers USS Ouachita, USS Lexington, and USS Gazelle ascended the Atchafalaya River to cover an Army landing at Simsport. The soldiers disembarked and pursued the Confederates falling back on Fort De Russy. Louisiana. USS Eastport, USS Choctaw, USS Essex, USS Ozark, USS Osage, and USS Neosho, USS Lafayette, USS Fort Hindman, and USS Cricket continued up the Red River and reached the obstructions which the Confederates had built across the river. The Union sailors opened a passage after a few hours and USS Eastport and USS Neosho passed through to commence a bombardment of Fort De Russy. Union troops also closed in to attack the fort.
Virginia. USS Shokokon, USS Morse, and USS General Putnam, under Lieutenant-Commander Babcock, returned from an expedition to the York River and arrived at Yorktown.
14 March 1864
lorida. USS Columbine, Acting Ensign Francis W Sanborn, and the captured prize CSS General Sumter pushed up the St John’s River to reach Lake Monroe. During the afternoon, they captured the steamer Hattie at Deep Creek. The expedition remained for a few days, destroying a sugar refinery before reaching Palatka, where the Army took up a defensive position.
Louisiana. The Union gunboat flotilla supported the Union army’s capture of Fort De Russy on the Red River.
Texas. The schooner Marion, which had been captured by USS Aroostook on 12 March, sank in a gale off Galveston.
15 March 1864
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter ordered USS Benton and USS Essex to remain at Fort De Russy in support of an Army detachment engaged in destroying the works. Porter convoyed the main body of troops further up the Red River towards Alexandria. USS Eastport, USS Lexington, and USS Ouachita steamed ahead to overtake the Confederate vessels seeking to escape above the Alexandria rapids. The Union gunboats arrived at the rapids half an hour behind the Confederates and failed to catch them. Only the Confederate steamer Countess grounded in the attempt to get upstream and was destroyed by her crew to prevent capture.
Louisiana. USS Nyanza, Acting Lieutenant Samuel B Washburn, captured the schooner J W Wilder in the Atchafalaya River.
16 March 1864
West Indies. Rear Admiral James L Lardner, commander of the West Indies Squadron, ordered USS Neptune, Commander Joseph P Sanford, and USS Galatea, Commander John Guest, to convoy California steamers operating in the Caribbean. This was a measure explicitly designed to protect the ships, which often carried gold shipments, from Confederate cruisers.
North Carolina. Union officers reported that the Confederate ironclad CSS Albemarle was almost ready for action on the Roanoke River.
Louisiana. Nine Union warships arrived at Alexandria, during the morning and a landing party under Lieutenant-Commander Selfridge of USS Osage occupied the town. They awaited the arrival of Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks’ army, which was delayed by heavy rains.
18 March 1864
Louisiana. Confederate Lieutenant-General Edmund Kirby Smith ordered the steamer New Falls City to be taken to Scopern’s Cut-off, below Shreveport on the Red River, where she was to be sunk if the Union advanced threatened to reach that far upriver.
19 March 1864
Louisiana. Confederate Lieutenant-General Edmund Kirby Smith directed thirty torpedoes to be placed below Grand Ecore to obstruct the Red River against the Union advance. An officer from CSS Missouri was detailed for this duty.
20 March 1864
South Africa. Arriving off Cape Town, Captain Raphael Semmes, CSS Alabama, found no Union warships in the vicinity to interfere with his continuing raiding cruise.
Florida. USS Honeysuckle, Acting Ensign Sears, captured the blockade-running sloop Florida off the western coast, with a cargo of powder, shot, nails, and coffee.
South Carolina. USS Tioga, Lieutenant-Commander Edward Y McCauley, captured the blockade-running sloop Swallow, bound from the Combahee River to Nassau, laden with cotton, rosin, and tobacco.
21 March 1864
Gulf of Mexico. USS Hendrick Hudson, Lieutenant-Commander Charles J McDougal, rammed the blockade-runner Wild Pigeon, hound from Havana to Florida. The schooner Wild Pigeon was struck amidships and sank immediately.
Texas. Confederate forces at Sabine Pass, destroyed the steamer Clifton (the former USS Clifton captured on 8 September 1863) to prevent her capture by the Union blockading force. The Clifton had been attempting to run out of the port when she grounded and could not be floated.
24 March 1864
Florida. USS Stonewall, Master Henry B Carter, captured the sloop Josephine in Sarasota Sound, with a cargo of cotton.
North Carolina. Union officers reported that the Confederate ironclad CSS Albemarle was at Hamilton and that the torpedoes placed in the Roanoke River below Williamston were being removed to permit her passage downstream.
North Carolina. A Union expedition departed Beaufort aboard the side-wheel steamer USS Britannia. The force included 200 soldiers commanded by Colonel James Jourdan, accompanied by 50 sailors from USS Keystone State, USS Florida, and USS Cambridge under Commander Benjamin M Dove. The expedition aimed to capture or destroy two schooners used in blockade-running at Swansboro, and to capture a group of Confederate soldiers at the southern end of Bogue Island Banks. Arriving off Bogue Inlet late at night, the expedition encountered high winds and heavy seas which prevented their landing on the beach. They remained overnight to make a new attempt in the morning.
25 March 1864
USA. US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles called President Abraham Lincoln’s attention to the scarcity of seamen and suggested the transfer of 12,000 men from the Army to the Navy. The transfer was achieved later in the year.
North Carolina. USS Britannia landed a force of soldiers and soldiers off Bogue Inlet under difficult conditions. The landing party reached Bear Creek where a blockade-running schooner was burned. Bad weather persisted throughout the day and the expedition returned to Beaufort on 26 March after only limited success on their mission.
Kentucky. USS Peosta, Acting Lieutenant Thomas E Smith, and USS Paw Paw, Acting Lieutenant A Frank O’Neil, engaged Confederate troops who had launched an attack Paducah. The gunboats’ assisted the garrison of Brigadier-General Mason Brayman and the Confederates finally withdrew.
Louisiana. Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks arrived at Alexandria with his army and joined the gunboat flotilla already there. Banks arrived a week later than originally planned and nine days after the naval force. Albeit, behind schedule, the main force of the Union Red River expedition was now assembled for an advance into Texas.
South Carolina. A boat expedition from USS Winona, Lieutenant-Commander A W Weaver, under Acting Master Edward H Sheffield, made an extensive reconnaissance of McClellansville in the South Santee River and captured the blockade-runner Little Ada loading cotton. As Union sailors sought to bring the prize out, Confederate artillery opened fire on the vessel and the damaged prize had to be abandoned to save the boarding party from possible capture.
28 March 1864
Pennsylvania. USS Michigan, Commander John C Carter, was stationed at Erie. Rumours of a Confederate naval raid from Canada across the Great Lakes reached the Union authorities and the ship prepared for active service as soon as the ice permitted.
South Carolina. USS Kingfisher, Acting Master John C Dutch, ran aground and was wrecked in St Helena Sound.
29 March 1864
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, captured the ship Avon with a cargo of guano. After removing the crew, Morris used the prize for gunnery practice and finally destroyed her by burning.
Louisiana. The low level of the Red River continued to hinder Union efforts to pass the gunboat fleet above the rapids at Alexandria for an advance on Shreveport. After labouring for two and a half days, USS Eastport was hauled over the rocks on the falls by main force. The Army transports manoeuvred safely above the rapids but the hospital ship Woodford was battered against the rocks and sank.
29 March 1864
Virginia. A boat expedition under the command of Acting Master James M Williams from USS Commodore Barney, with a detachment of sailors under the command of Acting Master Charles B Wilder from USS Minnesota, ascended Chuckatuck Creek late at night to pursue Confederate troops in the area.
30 March 1864
Virginia. A boat expedition under the command of Acting Master James M Williams from USS Commodore Barney, with a detachment of sailors under the command of Acting Master Charles B Wilder from USS Minnesota, landed at Cherry Grove on Chuckatuck Creek shortly before dawn and captured a party of 20 Confederates.
31 March 1864
Florida. A boat crew under the command of Acting Master’s Mate Francisco Silva, returned to USS Sagamore after destroying two blockade-running schooners near Cedar Keys. Three boats had begun a search for a blockade-runner sighted on 28 March, but two turned back after six hours as night was falling and the weather threatening. Silva continued his search in heavy rain squalls for two more days. Despite the adverse conditions, Silva succeeded in destroying the schooner Etta and a second unnamed schooner.
North Carolina. Union forces at Plymouth sank hulks, some with percussion torpedoes attached, to obstruct the Roanoke River and provide additional defence against the Confederate ironclad further up the Roanoke River.
1 April 1864
Florida. The Union Army transport Maple Leaf, returning from carrying troops to Palatka, was destroyed by a Confederate torpedo in the St John’s River. The Confederates had mined the river on 30 March 1864 with twelve floating torpedoes, each containing 70 pounds of powder.
3 April 1864
Louisiana. As Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks began to deploy his army for the Red River campaign, the ironclads USS Eastport, USS Mound City, USS Osage, USS Ozark, USS Neosho, USS Chillicothe, USS Pittsburg, and USS Louisville, and the steamers USS Fort Hindman, USS Lexington, and USS Cricket convoyed Major-General Andrew Jackson Smith’s Corps from Alexandria to Grand Ecore. The majority of the troops disembarked (leaving the division of Brigadier-General Thomas Kilby Smith on board) and marched to join Banks at Natchitoches.
4 April 1864
Florida. Union troops evacuated Palatka but USS Ottawa, Lieutenant-Commander Breese, which had protected the garrison, remained in the St John’s River. USS Ottawa moved to Picolata where two regiments were stationed.
Texas. USS Sciota, Lieutenant-Commander Perkins, captured the schooner Mary Sorly attempting to run the blockade at Galveston with a cargo of cotton. The vessel was the refitted US Revenue Cutter Dodge, which was seized by the Confederates at Galveston at the war’s outbreak.
5 April 1864
Florida. Following the Union evacuation of, Florida, gunboats under Commander Balch continued to patrol the St John’s river. USS Ottawa, Lieutenant-Commander Breese, remained at Picolata and USS Pawnee, Commander Balch, remained at Jacksonville. USS Mahaska, Lieutenant-Commander Robert F Lewis, USS Unadilla, Lieutenant-Commander James Stillwell, and USS Norwich, Acting Master Frank B Meriam, continued to convoy troops on the river.
6 April 1864
Texas. USS Estrella, Lieutenant-Commander Augustus P Cooke, captured the mail schooner Julia A Hodges in Matagorda Bay.
7 April 1864
Florida. USS Beauregard, Acting Master Edward C Healy, seized the blockade-running British schooner Spunky near Cape Canaveral, with an assorted cargo.
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter left Lieutenant-Commander Phelps in command of the heavier gunboats at Grand Ecore while he accompanied the advance up the Red River toward Shreveport with USS Osage, USS Neosho, USS Chillicothe, USS Fort Hindman, USS Lexington, and USS Cricket. The heavier gunboats would be summoned upriver only if the water level began to rise.
9 April 1864
Virginia. The Confederate torpedo boat Squib, Lieutenant Hunter Davidson, successfully exploded a spar torpedo against the steam frigate USS Minnesota, Lieutenant-Commander John H Upshur, off Newport News. The attack began about 2 am. The officer of the deck saw a small boat 150 to 200 yards off, just forward of the port beam. To his hail, the Confederates replied “Roanoke.” Acting Ensign James Birtwistle ordered her to stay clear but the Confederate boat continued to close rapidly. USS Minnesota attempted to fire but the gun could not be brought to bear. Squib rammed the powder charge of more than 50 pounds into the blockader’s port quarter and it exploded. The explosion caused the ship to roll to starboard and Squib was sucked under the port quarter. As USS Minnesota rolled back to port, however, the pressure of the water shoved the boat free. Curtis pushed against USS Minnesota to get the small craft clear and Squib escaped under musket fire. The Union tug Poppy did not have steam up and could not pursue the torpedo boat, which withdrew up the James River. Little damage resulted although the immediate shock was severe.
10 April 1864
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s gunboats and the Army transports arrived at Springfield Landing, where further progress was halted by a Confederate obstacle in the river. The large steamer New Falls City was broken down the middle, one mile above Loggy Bayou. About 15 feet of the ship at stem and stern was left on shore on each side, and the boat was broken down in the middle onto a sand bar accumulating beneath. Before this ingenious obstruction could be removed, news arrived from Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks of his defeat at Sabine Crossroads near Grand Ecore, and his subsequent retreat toward Pleasant Mill. The division of Union Brigadier-General Thomas Kilby Smith was transported to rejoin Banks ashore.
11 April 1864
Florida. USS Nita, Lieutenant Robert B Smith, captured the blockade-runner Three Brothers at the mouth of the Homosassa River, with an assorted cargo.
Texas. USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant C H Brown, captured the blockade-runner Juanita off San Luis Pass and occupied by a prize crew.
12 April 1864
Alabama. Union Major-General Stephen Augustus Hurlbut described a Confederates submerged torpedo boat intended for use in Mobile Bay. The craft was propeller-driven, about 30 feet long, with a powerful engine constructed to raise steam rapidly. Only a small smoke outlet and pilothouse showed above the surface, both of which could be lowered and covered. The plan of attack was expected to be to approach within a short distance of the target, put out the fires, cover the smoke pipe and pilothouse, and sink the craft to a proper depth. The propeller would then be cranked by hand, until the submersible could drop beneath the ship, using a magnet suspended in the propeller to rise against the bottom. A torpedo would be fastened by screws. The boat would pull away to a safe distance, rise to the surface, detonate the explosive, relight the fires, and escape. While there is no evidence that such a vessel described by Hurlbut ever was taken to Mobile, the submersible torpedo boat Saint Patrick, was constructed at Selma and taken to Mobile late in 1864.
Louisiana. Confederate guns opened fire from the high bluffs overlooking the river on the Union gunboats and Brigadier-General Thomas Kilby Smith’s transport ships as retraced their course down the Red River from Springfield Landing. Dismounted cavalry supported by artillery engaged the Union fleet at Blair’s Landing. USS Lexington, Lieutenant Bache, silenced the enemy battery but the Confederate cavalry continued to fire into the squadron for over an hour. The gunboats’ fire inflicted heavy losses on the Confederates, including the death of their commander, Brigadier-General Thomas Green. This engagement featured the use of a unique instrument developed by Chief Engineer Thomas Doughty of USS Osage. It was described by Selfridge as a method of sighting the turret from the outside by means of a periscope. The high banks of the Red River posed great difficulty for the ships’ gunners in aiming from water level. Doughty’s apparatus helped to solve the visibility problem.
South Carolina. Boats from USS South Carolina, Acting Lieutenant William W Kennison, and USS T A Ward, Acting Master William L Babcock, seized the blockade-running British steamer Alliance, which had run aground on Daufuskie Island, with a cargo including glass, liquor, and soap.
Tennessee. Confederate cavalry and infantry commanded by Major-General Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked Fort Pillow. The gunboat USS New Era, Acting Master James Marshall, steamed in to support the Union soldiers and drove the Confederates away from their first position before the fort. In mid-afternoon, Forrest’s force mounted a successful assault on the fort despite the fire from USS New Era. Refugees from the fort came aboard USS New Era but after the Confederates turned the captured artillery of the fort onto the vessel, it was forced to withdraw upstream out of range.
Texas. USS Estrella, Lieutenant-Commander Cooke, supported by the Army steamers Zephyr and Warrior made a reconnaissance expedition in Matagorda Bay. As the ships approached Matagorda Reef, two Confederate vessels were sighted and fired upon but escaped. Acting Master Gaius P Pomeroy took charge of the two transports and sailed them into the upper bay where the troops from Brigadier-General Fitz Henry Warren’s command were landed. After completing the reconnaissance and capturing two small schooners, the expedition returned to Pass Cavallo.
13 April 1864
Louisiana. USS Rachel Seaman, Acting Master Charles Potter, seized the blockade-running British schooner Maria Alfred near the Mermentau River, with an assorted cargo.
Louisiana. USS Nyanza, Acting Lieutenant Washburn, captured the schooner Mandoline in Atchafalaya Bay, with a cargo of cotton.
Texas, The blockade-runner Juanita, which had been captured two days earlier by USS Virginia, went aground and was recaptured by the Confederates. The Union prize crew under Acting Ensign N A Blume was taken prisoner.
13 April 1864
Kentucky. Confederates appeared at Columbus, which was protected by USS Moose, Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, USS Hastings, Acting Master John S Watson, and USS Fairy, Acting Master Henry S Wetmore. They were held at bay by the presence of the light gunboats.
Virginia. A Union expedition advanced up the Nansemond River to capture Confederate troops in the area and to destroy the torpedo boat Squib. The naval force deployed by Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee included USS Stepping Stones, USS Commodore Morris, USS Commodore Perry, USS Commodore Barney, USS Shokokon, and two launches from USS Minnesota. Some prisoners were taken and information obtained that Squib had departed Smithfield for Richmond on 10 April 1864. Acting Lieutenant Charles B Wilder, commanding USS Minnesota’s two launches, was killed by snipers near Smithfield.
14 April 1864
Kentucky. Union Lieutenant-Commander James W Shirk, USS Peosta, with USS Key West, Acting Lieutenant Edward M King, USS Fairplay, Acting Master George J Groves. and USS Victory, Acting Master Frederick Read, took up defensive positions at Paducah in anticipation of a Confederate attack. When Confederate troops entered Paducah, they were taken under fire by the Union ships and withdrew.
Louisiana. The situation of Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s gunboats in the Red River became increasingly critical as the water level refused to rise, threatening to strand the gunboats. Two vessels of the fleet at Grand Ecore were above the bar, and unlikely to pass without a rise in the water level. The Confederates were diverting sources of water into other channels, in an attempt to strand the warships.
Tennessee. The Union gunboat USS New Era, Acting Master James Marshall, returned to Fort Pillow, finding it evacuated by the Confederates, With support from the lately arrived steamers USS Platte Valley, Captain Riley, USS Master, and USS Silver Cloud, Acting Master William Ferguson, they scattered the Confederates as they withdrew.
15 April 1864
Louisiana. USS Eastport, Lieutenant-Commander Phelps, struck a Confederate torpedo in the Red River eight miles below Grand Ecore. After the shock of the explosion, USS Eastport was run aground in shoal water. Phelps, assisted by other gunboats in the river, attempted to bail and pump out the water for six days.
Texas. USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant C H Brown, forced the sloop Rosina aground and destroyed her at San Luis Pass.
16 April 1864
Florida. The Union Army transport General Hunter was destroyed by a Confederate torpedo at Mandarin Point in the St John’s River.
17 April 1864
North Carolina. Confederate troops began a sustained attack on Plymouth. Union gunboats moved to support the troops ashore and were taken under fire by Confederate batteries.
North Carolina. The ironclad CSS Albemarle, Commander Cooke, departed Hamilton on the evening of 17 April. The machinery broke down on the way and the rudder head broke off, but repairs were made promptly.
Texas. USS Owasco, Lieutenant-Commander Edmund W Henry, seized the blockade-running British schooner Lilly at Velasco.
18 April 1864
Florida. USS Fox, Acting Master Charles T Chase, captured and burned the schooner Good Hope at the mouth of the Homosassa River, with a cargo of salt and dry goods.
Florida. Boats from USS Beauregard, Acting Master Edward C Mealy, seized the blockade-running British schooner Oramoneta in Matanzas Inlet, with a cargo of salt and percussion caps.
North Carolina. Confederate troops resumed their attack on Plymouth. The Union Army steamer Bombshell, commanded temporarily by Acting Ensign Thomas B Stokes, was sunk but by 9 pm the Confederate advance had been halted. USS Southfield and USS Miami took part in the defence and force the Confederates to bring down naval support in the form of the ironclad ram CSS Albemarle.
North Carolina. Despite the navigational hazards of the Roanoke River, the ironclad CSS Albemarle, Commander Cooke, Cooke anchored above Plymouth at 10 pm. Failing to rendezvous with Confederate troops as planned, Cooke dispatched a boat to determine the position of the Union gunboats and shore batteries.
Virginia. A landing party from USS Commodore Read, Commander F A Parker, destroyed a Confederate camp and supplies at Circus Point on the Rappahannock River.
19 April 1864
North Carolina. Shortly after midnight, a scouting party from CSS Albemarle returned and reported that the ironclad could pass over the Union obstructions at Plymouth because of the high water level. Commander Cooke weighed anchor at 3:30 in the morning to attack the Union gunboats at the town. Meanwhile, anticipating an attack by the ram, Union Lieutenant-Commander Flusser lashed USS Miami and USS Southfield together for mutual protection and concentration of firepower. When CSS Albemarle appeared, he the two light wooden ships headed directly for the Confederate ram, firing as they approached. CSS Albemarle rammed USS Southfield, Acting Lieutenant Charles A French, and tore a hole through to the boiler and drove ten feet into the side of the wooden gunboat. CSS Albemarle backed out immediately at once but could not break free from the sinking USS Southfield. The collision prevented CSS Albemarle from replying to the fire from USS Miami. When the prow was freed, USS Southfield sank and Cooke forced USS Miami to withdraw under heavy fire. The steamer USS Ceres and the tinclad USS Whitehead also moved downriver. The shots of the Union ships were ineffective against the heavily plated, sloping sides of the ram. Lieutenant-Commander Flusser was killed early in the engagement. CSS Albemarle now controlled the water approaches to Plymouth and rendered invaluable support to Confederate moves ashore.
South Carolina. A “David”-type torpedo boat commanded by Engineer Tomb attempted to sink USS Wabash, Captain John De Camp, off Charleston. The “David” was sighted 150 yards distant from the blockader. The steam frigate slipped her cable and rapidly got underway, pouring musket fire at the approaching “David”. Tomb turned back by heavy swells that threatened to swamp the boat 40 yards from the target.
Texas. USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant C H Brown, took the blockade-running Mexican schooner Alma off the coast, with assorted cargo.
20 April 1864
North Carolina. The Union garrison at Plymouth surrendered to the Confederate attackers. The success of the attack was attributed to the impact of the ironclad ram CSS Albemarle and the floating iron battery constructed from CSS Cotton Plant.
21 April 1864
Florida. A boat expedition under Acting Ensign Christopher Carven, USS Sagamore, took 100 bales of cotton and destroyed 300 additional bales near Clay Landing on the Suwannee River.
Louisiana. USS Eastport, Lieutenant-Commander Phelps, had struck a torpedo in the Red River and run aground eight miles below Grand Ecore on 15 April 1864. After bailing and pump out the water for six days the ship got underway with carpenters working day and night to close the leak. During the next five days, USS Eastport could travel only 60 miles downstream and grounded eight times.
Mississippi. USS Petrel, Acting Master McElroy, USS Prairie Bird, Acting Ensign John W Chambers, and the transport Freestone steamed up the Yazoo River to support Union troops attacking Yazoo City. Reaching the city, USS Petrel was fired on by a Confederate battery and sharpshooters. The river was too narrow to turn about, so USS Petrel steamed past the batteries to avoid their direct line of fire. USS Prairie Bird dropped downriver out of range of the batteries.
North Carolina. Union naval commanders urgently considered methods to defeat the ironclad CSS Albemarle at Plymouth with their vulnerable wooden gunboats. If the ram could not be disposed of by ship’s gunfire, Union Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee suggested that an attack might be made with torpedoes by two vessels, one coming on each side to close quarters, aiming to cave in the roof.
North Carolina. Boat crews from USS Howquah, USS Fort Jackson, and USS Niphon, commanded by Acting Lieutenant Joseph B Breck, destroyed Confederate salt works on Masonboro Sound. The sailors landed undetected under cover of darkness at 9 pm and demolished the works while taking 160 prisoners. The Confederates abandoned all efforts to rebuild salt works on Masonboro Sound.
South Carolina. Boat crews from USS Ethan Allan, Acting Master Isaac A Pennell, landed at Cane Patch, near Murrell’s Inlet, and destroyed extensive salt works.
South Carolina. A boat expedition commanded by Acting Master John K Crosby from USS Cimarron destroyed a rice mill and stores at Winyah Bay.
Texas. USS Owasco, Lieutenant-Commander Henry, seized the blockade-running British schooner Laura with a cargo of guns off Velasco.
Virginia. USS Eureka, Acting Ensign Isaac Hallock, approached the shore below Urbanna to capture two small boats. The gunboat was surprised by heavy fire from concealed Confederate soldiers. USS Eureka replied immediately and forced the Confederates to withdraw.
22 April 1864
Mississippi. USS Petrel, Acting Master McElroy, had passed the batteries at Yazoo City on 21 April but was unable to turn back to join USS Prairie Bird which had dropped downriver out of range of the batteries. McElroy attempted to turn about but was attacked by rifle and artillery fire and disabled. McElroy attempted to destroy USS Petrel to prevent capture, but was taken prisoner before he could successfully burn the wooden gunboat. The Confederates removed eight 24-pounder guns and then burned the warship.
North Carolina. CSS Neuse, Lieutenant Benjamin P Loyall, got underway at Kinston and began steaming downriver. She grounded just below Kinston and could not be recovered. Confederate Brigadier-General Montgomery Dent Corse reported that the ship was likely to be damaged if not quickly refloated. The falling water level prevented efforts to save the ram and it was burned to prevent capture nearly a year later.
South Carolina. Two boat crews under Acting Master William H Winslow and Acting Ensign James H Bunting from USS Ethan Allan, Acting Master Isaac A Pennell, landed to destroy a salt work off Wither’s Swash.
23 April 1864
Cape Verde. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and destroyed the ship Rockingham with a cargo of guano west of the Cape Verde Islands. Stores and provisions were transferred and the ship was used for target practice until it caught fire.
26 April 1864
Florida. USS Ottawa, Lieutenant-Commander S Livingston Breese, and a launch from USS Pawnee under Acting Master John C Champion convoyed the transports Harriet A Weed and Mary Benton up the St John’s River. The move was requested by Union Brigadier-General William Birney after receiving reports of Confederates operating near Union-held Fort Gates and threatening St Augustine. Several small craft were destroyed and one small sloop was captured before the Union force withdrew on 28 April 1864.
Florida. USS Union, Acting Lieutenant Edward Conroy, captured the schooner O.K. attempting to run the blockade between Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbour.
Louisiana. Union gunboats under Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter fought a running engagement with Confederate troops and artillery along the Red River as they attempted to reach Alexandria. The damaged USS Eastport, Lieutenant-Commander Phelps, had travelled only 60 miles downstream from Grand Ecore and grounded eight times. Abandoning the enterprise, Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter ordered Phelps to transfer his men to USS Fort Hindman and to destroy USS Eastport. USS Fort Hindman, Acting Lieutenant John Pearce, USS Cricket, Acting Master Henry Gorringe, USS Juliet, Acting Master J S Watson, and two pump steamers were attacked preparing to blow up the damaged USS Eastport. The Confederates charged USS Cricket in an attempt to seize her by boarding but were driven back by heavy fire from the gunboats. Phelps detonated more than 3,000 pounds of powder and destroyed the gunboat. The wreck remained as an obstruction in the Red River. USS Eastport had originally been captured from the Confederates on 6 February 1862, while under construction in the Tennessee River. Later in the day, near the mouth of the Cane River at Deloach’s Bluff, Confederate artillery riflemen attacked the warships. USS Cricket was hit repeatedly by artillery but succeeded in rounding a bend in the river downstream and out of range. Pump Steamer Champion No 3 took a direct hit in her boiler, drifted out of control, and was captured. USS Juliet’s engine was disabled by a shot but Champion No 5, although badly hit, succeeded in towing her upstream out of range. USS Fort Hindman covered the withdrawal of the disabled vessels and the night was spent making urgent repairs.
Louisiana. USS Fort Hindman, USS Cricket, USS Juliet and a pump steamer made a second attempt to pass the Confederate batteries near the sunken USS Eastport. USS Fort Hindman received a hit that partially disabled her steering and she drifted past the Confederate guns. Pump steamer Champion No 5 was damaged, ran aground and was burned to prevent capture. USS Juliet succeeded in passing the guns but was severely damaged. The ironclad USS Neosho, Acting Lieutenant Samuel Howard, attempting to assist the embattled gunboats, arrived after the ships had passed the batteries, having endured heavy fire.
27 April 1864
Louisiana. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter completed the assembly of his gunboat fleet at Alexandria and prepared to pass the Red River rapids.
Brazil. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, captured and burned the bark Tycoon at sea east of Salvador, with a cargo of merchandise, including clothing.
28 April 1864
Louisiana. The Union gunboat fleet of Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter was stranded above the rapids on the Red River at Alexandria. The falling water level and the withdrawal of Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks’ army left the warships in a precarious situation. No amount of lightening ship would enable the gunboats to pass the rapids. The Confederates were bringing in artillery to blockade the River below Alexandria and there was a risk having to destroy the ships to prevent them from falling into Confederate hands.
29 April 1864
Florida. USS Honeysuckle, Acting Ensign Cyrus Sears, captured the blockade-running schooner Miriam, west of Key West, with assorted cargo. Sears had previously boarded Miriam on 28 April but, finding her papers in order, released the ship. He kept the schooner under surveillance and found her off the predicted course and boarded her again. This time he inspected the ship’s cargo and discovered mail bound for the Confederate States and seized the vessel.
Louisiana. Confederate Major-General Richard Taylor sought to take advantage of the vulnerable position of Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s gunboats above the Alexandria rapids. He planned to convert a captured transport into a fireship to burn the fleet crowded above the upper falls. Meanwhile, the Union #commanders accepted a plan proposed by Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Bailey to raise the water level of the Red River enough to permit the vessels to pass the rapids. Bailey’s proposal was to construct a large dam of logs and debris across the river to back up the water level to a minimum depth of seven feet. The dams would then be broken and the ships would ride the crest of the rushing waters to safety. Work on the dam commenced early on 30 April. The proposition was engineers ridiculed by some Engineers but the project was begun. The falls extended for about a mile, filled with rocks, over which it seemed impossible safe passage.
North Carolina. Confederate naval forces on the inland waters of North Carolina reported their strength. There were two commissioned ships mounting four guns. On the Cape Fear River, under Flag Officer William F Lynch, there were an additional three ships and a floating battery mounting a total of 12 guns.
Virginia. An expedition up the Rappahannock River including boats from USS Yankee, Acting Lieutenant Edward Hooker, and USS Fuchsia, assisted by USS Freeborn and USS Tulip, engaged Confederate cavalry and destroyed a camp under construction at Carter’s Creek.
30 April 1864
Alabama. USS Conemaugh, Lieutenant-Commander James C P De Krafft, captured the schooner Judson 18 miles east of Mobile with a cargo of cotton.
South Carolina. USS Vicksburg, Lieutenant-Commander Daniel L Braine, seized the blockade-running British schooner Indian east of Charleston, with a small cargo of palm oil.
Texas. The blockade-runners Harriet Lane, Alice (also called Matagorda), and Isabel, escaped through the Union blockade at Galveston under cover of darkness and rain squalls. USS Katahdin, Lieutenant-Commander J Irwin, sighted a large steamer passing rapidly inshore near the Southwest Channel at about 9:15 pm. Since Harriet Lane had been reported as too large to use this channel, Irwin thought the vessel to be a different blockade-runner and did not fire send up the agreed signal for fear of diverting other blockaders from the Main Channel. Harriet Lane passed within 100 yards of Katahdin but was not identified because of the heavy rain. Irwin gave chase, hoping to cross the path of the steamer to seaward.
Virginia. Confederate Flag Officer French Forrest reported naval strength in the James River. There were eight warships mounting 17 guns in commission, including the school ship CSS Patrick Henry under Commander Robert F Pinkney.
1 May 1864
Florida. USS Fox, Acting Master Charles T Chase, captured the sloop Oscar outbound from St Marks, with a cargo of cotton.
Texas. The blockade-runners Harriet Lane, Alice (also called Matagorda), and Isabel, escaped through the Union blockade at Galveston overnight. USS Katahdin, Lieutenant-Commander J Irwin, sighted four ships heading out to sea. The Union vessel initially gained on the blockade-runners but eventually they pulled away. USS Katahdin fired all of its shells at the closest steamer to no effect. Irwin continued the chase overnight.
Virginia. USS Morse, Lieutenant-Commander Babcock, and USS General Putnam, Acting Master Hugh H Savage, convoyed 2,500 Army troops up the York River to West Point, where the soldiers landed and occupied the town. USS Shawsheen, Acting Master Henry A Phelon, joined the naval forces later in the day and patrolled the Pamunkey River with USS General Putnam. USS Morse patrolled the Mattapony River.
2 May 1864
Louisiana. Union Colonel Joseph Bailey and his regiments of Maine and New York soldiers began eight days of gruelling work to complete a dam across the Red River at Alexandria, which would permit Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter to save the gunboat fleet marooned above the rapids.
Texas. USS Katahdin, Lieutenant-Commander J Irwin, continued its pursuit of four blockade runners heading out to sea from Galveston. Having fired all of its shells USS Katahdin turned back to rejoin the blockading fleet off Galveston. All of the blockade-runners were laden with cotton. The steamer Alice threw 300 bales overboard to increase speed during the chase.
3 May 1864
Texas. USS Chocura, Lieutenant-Commander Bancroft Gherardi, captured the blockade-running British schooner Agnes off the mouth of the Brazos River, with a cargo of cotton. Later in the day, USS Chocura overhauled and captured the Prussian schooner Frederick the Second, also laden with cotton, which had run the blockade with Agnes.
Texas. USS Virginia, Acting Lieutenant C H Brown, captured the schooner Experiment off the coast and destroyed her after removing the cotton cargo.
4 May 1864
Great Britain. Confederate Commander J D Bulloch, agent for the Confederate Navy Department in Europe, took command of CSS Georgia which had arrived in Liverpool from Bordeaux, France.
4 May 1864
Florida. USS Sunflower, Acting Master Edward Van Sice, and USS Honduras, Acting Master John H Platt, and the bark USS J L Davis, Acting Master William Fales, supported the capture of Tampa. The Union ships carried troops to Tampa and provided a naval landing party for the assault. The town was occupied at 7 am, with the capture of 40 prisoners.
Louisiana. USS Covington and USS Warner were attacked by Confederate infantry at Dunn’s Bayou, downriver from Alexandria on the Red River.
5 May 1864
Louisiana. While Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s fleet awaited the opportunity to pass over the Red River rapids, the ships already below Alexandria were attacked continually by Confederate forces. USS Covington, Acting Lieutenant George P Lord, USS Signal, Acting Lieutenant Edward Morgan, and the transport Warner were lost in a fierce engagement near Dunn’s Bayou. Two Confederate artillery pieces and a large company of riflemen made the attack. USS Warner, in the lead, went out of control, blocked the river at a bend near Pierce’s Landing, and was forced to surrender. USS Signal was disabled and although USS Covington attempted to tow her upstream, she drifted out of control and had to drop anchor. The gunboats continued the fight but after his ammunition was exhausted and many of the crew were killed, Lord burned and abandoned USS Covington. After continuing to fight alone, the damaged USS Signal was also compelled to surrender. The Confederate sank USS Signal as an obstruction in the river channel.
North Carolina. CSS Albemarle, Commander Cooke, and the captured steamer CSS Bombshell, Lieutenant Albert G Hudgins, with CSS Cotton Plant in company, steamed into Albemarle Sound and engaged Union naval forces off the mouth of the Roanoke River. CSS Bombshell was captured early in the action after coming under fire from USS Sassacus, and the vulnerable CSS Cotton Plant withdrew up the Roanoke. The ironclad CSS Albemarle continued the action. USS Sassacus, Lieutenant-Commander Roe, rammed the ironclad to little effect and then received a direct hit in her starboard boiler, killing several sailors and forcing the ship out of action. USS Mattabesett, Captain Melancton Smith, and USS Wyalusing, Lieutenant-Commander Walter W Queen, continued to engage the ram for nearly three hours until darkness halted the action. CSS Albemarle withdrew up the Roanoke River, followed by USS Commodore Hull and USS Ceres which began picket duty at the river’s mouth. Captain Smith reported that CSS Albemarle was a formidable warship, comparatively fast and manoeuvrable, and armed with heavy guns. In contrast, CSS Albemarle’s own commander was disappointed that the ship drew too much water to navigate the sounds, and poor buoyancy made the ship slow and difficult to manage.
6 May 1864
Florida. USS Sunflower, Acting Master Edward Van Sice, and USS Honduras, Acting Master John H Platt, and the bark USS J L Davis, Acting Master William Fales, captured the blockade-running sloop Neptune near Tampa with a cargo of cotton.
Georgia. USS Grand Gulf Commander George M Ransom, captured the blockade-running British steamer Young Republic at sea east of Savannah with a cargo of cotton and tobacco.
Louisiana. USS Granite City, Acting Master C W Lamson, and USS Wave, Acting Lieutenant Benjamin A Loring, were captured by Confederate troops in Calcasieu River. The two ships had been dispatched to Calcasieu Pass to collect refugees on 28 April and remained until the morning of 6 May, landing a small army detachment ashore as pickets. Confederate artillery and about 350 sharpshooters from the Sabine Pass garrison overran the Union landing party and opened fire on the ships during the morning. After an hour’s engagement, USS Granite City received a shot in her boiler and steam drum and was forced to surrender. USS Wave surrender soon afterwards.
North Carolina. Early in the evening, CSS Raleigh, Flag Officer Lynch, steamed over the bar at New Inlet, and engaged USS Britannia and USS Nansemond, forcing them to withdraw temporarily and enabling a blockade-runner to escape.
Virginia. USS Commodore Jones, Acting Lieutenant Thomas Wade, was completely destroyed by a huge 2,000-pound electric torpedo in the James River while dragging for torpedoes with USS Mackinaw and USS Commodore Morris. The explosion claimed 40 lives. A landing party of sailors and Marines went ashore immediately and captured two torpedomen and the galvanic batteries which had detonated the mine. One of the Confederates, Jeffries Johnson, initially refused to divulge information under interrogation about the location of torpedoes, but quickly complied when he was placed in the bow of the forward ship on river duty.
Virginia. USS Dawn, Acting Lieutenant John W Simmons, transported soldiers to capture a signal station at Wilson’s Wharf. After landing the troops two miles above the station, Simmons proceeded to Sandy Point to cover their attack. The soldiers were halted temporarily so a boat crew from USS Dawn landed to join the successful attack.
Virginia. USS Eutaw, USS Osceola, USS Pequot, USS Shokokon, and USS General Putnam, supported the landing of Union troops at Bermuda Hundred.
7 May 1864
North Carolina. Early in the morning, CSS Raleigh, Flag Officer Lynch, steamed over the bar at New Inlet, and engaged USS Howquah and Nansemond. Two other Union steamers, USS Mount Vernon and USS Kansas, opened fire on the ram and Lynch broke off the action at 6 am. Attempting to cross the bar at the mouth of Cape Fear River, CSS Raleigh grounded and was severely damaged and had to be destroyed.
Virginia. USS Shawsheen, Acting Ensign Charles Ringot, was disabled, then captured and destroyed by Confederates in the James River. USS Shawsheen was dragging the river for torpedoes above Chaffin’s Bluff when it anchored near shore shortly before noon. Confederate infantry and artillery surprised the gunboat’s crew. A shot through the boiler forced many sailors overboard to avoid being scalded. Confederate Lieutenant Colonel W M Elliott reported that USS Shawsheen was completely disabled and the prisoners were removed by boat. The warship was burned and the exploding magazine completed its destruction.
8 May 1864
Georgia. The blockade-running British schooner Sophia, which had been made a prize by USS dan Smith in March, was lost at sea after damage in a heavy gale forced her abandonment by the prize crew, Acting Ensign Paul Armandt.
9 May 1864
Louisiana. Union Colonel Joseph Bailey and his regiments of Maine and New York soldiers continued the construction of a dam at the Red River rapids. Two stone-filled barges sunk to strengthen the dam gave way under the increasing pressure of the backed-up water. However, the barges swung fortuitously into position to form a chute over the rapids, and Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter quickly ordered his lighter-draft vessels to attempt a passage through the unexpected gap. As the water was falling, USS Osage, USS Neosho, USS Fort Hindman, and USS Lexington careened over the rapids with little damage. The larger ships of the squadron remained above the falls, awaiting a more reliable channel. Bailey and his men, despite the fact that eight days of heavy labour had been swept away, started work immediately on a new dam.
North Carolina. USS Connecticut, Commander Almy, seized the blockade-running British steamer Minnie with a cargo of cotton, tobacco, turpentine, and $10,000 in gold.
10 May 1864
Florida. The US Army transport Harriet A Weed, supporting troop movements in the St John’s River, was destroyed by a torpedo. Sinking in less than a minute, the steamer was the third victim of Confederate torpedoes in the river in less than six weeks. USS Vixen recovered and examined a torpedo of the type that destroyed the transport near the hulk.
Louisiana. USS New London, Acting Master Lyman Wells, unaware that the Confederates had captured the Union warships USS Granite City and USS Wave on 6 May, arrived off Calcasieu Pass. Wells sent a boat to USS Granite City, which did not return.
Louisiana. USS Mound City, Acting Lieutenant Amos R Langthorne, and USS Carondelet, Lieutenant-Commander John G Mitchell, grounded near the wing dams across the Red River rapids above Alexandria.
North Carolina. USS Connecticut, Commander Almy, captured the blockade-running British steamer Greyhound, Lieutenant George H Bier, with a cargo of cotton, tobacco, and turpentine.
11 May 1864
Louisiana. USS New London, Acting Master Lyman Wells, unaware that the Confederates had captured USS Granite City and USS Wave on 6 May, had already lost one boat which did not return from USS Granite City on 10 May. During the morning, Wells sent another boat toward USS Granite City, under a flag of truce and commanded by Acting Ensign Henry Jackson. Seeing a Confederate flag flying, Jackson tried to shoot it down and was killed by a Confederate sharpshooter.
Louisiana. USS Mound City, Acting Lieutenant Amos R Langthorne, USS Carondelet, Lieutenant-Commander John G Mitchell, and USS Pittsburg, Acting Lieutenant William R Hoel, were hauled across the upper falls above the obstructions in the Red River. As the troops looked on, the gunboats, with all hatches battened down, successfully lurched through the gap between the wing dams to safety. USS Ozark, USS Louisville, and USS Chillicothe, prepared to follow the next day.
12 May 1864
Florida. A boat expedition under Acting Lieutenant William Budd, USS Somerset, transported a detachment of troops to Apalachicola, to disperse a Confederate force thought to be in the vicinity. Budd’s force discovered Confederate sailors embarking on a boat expedition, and after a brief exchange of fire succeeded drove them into the town and captured their boats and supplies. The Confederates, led by Lieutenant Gift, were planning to capture USS Adela by boarding.
Florida. USS Beauregard, Acting Master Edward C Mealy, seized the blockade-running sloop Resolute off Indian River.
Virginia. Union Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee, prompted by the recent loss of USS Commodore Jones and USS Shawsheen, ordered Lieutenant Roswell H Lamson to command a new torpedo and picket division in the James River comprising USS Stepping Stones, USS Delaware, and USS Tritonia. In addition to patrolling and reconnoitring the riverbanks and dragging the river for torpedoes, Lamson maintained a vigilant watch against surprise attacks by gunboats, rams, torpedo boats, and fire rafts.
13 May 1864
Louisiana. Concluding two weeks of unceasing effort, USS Louisville, USS Chillicothe, and USS Ozark, the last ships of Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s stranded fleet, passed successfully over the rapids above Alexandria. By mid-afternoon the gunboats were steaming downriver, convoying Army transports. The water had fallen so low that there was little hope or expectation of saving the vessels, but the engineering feats of Colonel Joseph Bailey enabled the escape of the fleet.
North Carolina. USS Ceres, Acting Master Henry H Foster, with Army steamer Rockland and 100 soldiers, conducted a raiding expedition on the Alligator River. They captured the Confederate schooner Ann S Davenport and disabled a mill supplying ground corn for the Confederate armies.
15 May 1864
Louisiana. As the ships of Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s gunboat fleet neared the mouth of the Red River, they met resistance from Confederate shore batteries and riflemen. USS St Clair, Acting Lieutenant Thomas B Gregory, engaged a battery near Eunice’s Bluff. The gunboat exchanged fire with the Confederate guns until the transports he was convoying were past the danger, and then continued downriver.
North Carolina. USS Kansas, Lieutenant-Commander Pendleton G Watmough, captured the blockade-running British steamer Tristram Shandy east of Fort Fisher, with a cargo of cotton, tobacco, and turpentine.
16 May 1864
Mississippi. USS General Price, Acting Lieutenant Richardson, engaged a Confederate battery which had fired on the transport steamer Mississippi near Ratliff’s Landing. USS Lafayette, Lieutenant-Commander J P Foster, and USS General Bragg, Acting Lieutenant Cyrenius Dominy, converged upon the battery and the three steamers forced the Confederate gunners back from the river, enabling the transport to proceed.
Louisiana. Having successfully crossed the rapids of the Red River at Alexandria, Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s fleet had to traverse the many bars in the River near its mouth. The water was higher than expected and the gunboats were able to pass all the bars and obstructions safely and entered the Mississippi.
Louisiana. A landing party from USS Stockdale, Acting Lieutenant Thomas Edwards, was fired on by Confederate cavalry at the mouth of the Tchefuncta River in Lake Pontchartrain. The Confederates were forced to withdraw, but not until two of the ship’s officers had been captured and one killed.
18 May 1864
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, captured and burned the schooner George Latimer of Baltimore, with a cargo of flour, lard, bread, and kerosene.
Alabama. After encountering many difficulties and setbacks, Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan succeeded in floating the formidable ram USS Tennessee over Dog River Bar and into Mobile Bay.
19 May 1864
Louisiana. USS General Price, Acting Lieutenant Richardson, engaged a Confederate battery on the banks of the Mississippi River at Tunica Bend. The Confederates had been attacking the transport steamer Superior and were forced to evacuate their position. Richardson put ashore a landing party who burned a group of buildings used by the Confederates to launch attacks against river shipping.
20 May 1864
Louisiana. Union Major-General Nathaniel Prentiss Banks’ army crossed the Atchafalaya River near Simsport, protected by Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s gunboat fleet. This concluded the unsuccessful Union campaign on the Red River.
21 May 1864
Virginia. Gunfire from the ironclad USS Atlanta, Acting Lieutenant Thomas J Woodward, and USS Dawn, Acting Lieutenant John W Simmons, dispersed Confederate cavalry attacking Fort Powhatan on the James River. USS Dawn remained above the fort during the night to deter further attack.
22 May 1864
Maryland. USS Crusader, Lieutenant Peter Hays, captured the schooner Isaac L Adkins at the mouth of the Severn River, with a cargo of corn and oats.
Texas. USS Kineo, Lieutenant-Commander John Waters, seized the blockade-running British schooner Sting Ray off Velasco. However, the prize crew put on board the schooner was overwhelmed by the original crew. The schooner was grounded on the Texas coast where the Union sailors were taken prisoner by Confederate troops.
23 May 1864
Florida. USS Columbine, Acting Ensign Sanborn, was captured after an engagement with Confederate batteries and riflemen at Horse Landing near Palatka. USS Columbine was supporting the Union Army when it lost steering control and ran onto a mud bank, where it was damaged by accurate Confederate fire. With 20 men killed and wounded, Sanborn surrendered to prevent further loss of life. Shortly after taking USS Columbine, the Confederates destroyed her to avoid recapture by USS Ottawa, Lieutenant-Commander Breese. USS Ottawa had been fired upon the night before and suffered some damage but no casualties before compelling the Confederate battery at Brown’s Landing to withdraw.
24 May 1864
Arkansas. Confederate soldiers captured and burned the steamer Lebanon near Ford’s Landing.
Virginia. Gunfire from USS Dawn, Acting Lieutenant Simmons, compelled Confederate troops to break off an attack on the Union position at Wilson’s Wharf on the James River. Other Union ships moved up to repel the Confederates.
25 May 1864
North Carolina. A boat crew from USS Mattabesett, Captain M Smith, made an unsuccessful attempt to destroy CSS Albemarle in the Roanoke River near Plymouth. After ascending the Middle River with two 100-pound torpedoes, Charles Baldwin, a coal heaver, and John W Lloyd, coxswain, swam across the Roanoke carrying a towline with which they hauled the torpedoes to the Plymouth shore. Baldwin planned to swim down to the ram to position torpedoes on each side of the bow. Across the river, Alexander Crawford, a fireman, would detonate the weapons. However, Baldwin was discovered by a sentry when within a few yards of Albemarle and the attack was abandoned. John Lloyd cut the guidelines and swam back across the river to join John Laverty, fireman, who was guarding the far shore. They made their way to the dinghy in which they had rowed upriver and, with Benjamin Lloyd, coal heaver, who had acted as boatkeeper, made their way back to USS Mattabesett. Baldwin and Crawford returned in exhaustion to the ship on 29 May.
South Carolina. A Union expedition advanced up the Ashepoo and South Edisto Rivers to cut the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. The Union naval forces under Lieutenant-Commander Edward F Stone, included USS Commodore McDonough and the steamers USS E B Hale, USS Dai Ching, and USS Vixen, with a detachment of Marines. The gunboats pushed up the South Edisto while Army transports moved up the Ashepoo convoyed by USS Dai Ching.
26 May 1864
Japan. Robert H Pruyn, US Minister to Japan, requested Captain Cicero Price to bring USS Jamestown to the port of Kanagawa, which the Japanese were threatening to close to foreign commerce.
Illinois. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter arrived at Cairo after returning from the Red River.
South Carolina. A Union expedition up the Ashepoo and South Edisto Rivers to cut the Charleston and Savannah Railroad landed a detachment of Marines and howitzers during the morning and opened fire on Willstown. The naval force was unable to contact Union Brigadier-General William Birney to coordinate a further attack and withdrew the following morning. The transport Boston ran aground in the Ashepoo and was destroyed to prevent capture.
New York. Commander Carter, USS Michigan, reported from Buffalo, New York, that his cruise of Lake Erie found no foundation to rumours of Confederate raids being [;anned across the lake from Canada.
28 May 1864
Florida. USS Ariel, Acting Master James J Russell, captured the sloop General Finegan north of Chassahowitzka Bay. The blockade-runner’s crew attempted to set the ship afire, but USS Ariel saved the cargo of cotton and turpentine before destroying the unseaworthy General Finegan.
Texas. After a six-hour chase, USS Admiral, Lieutenant William B Eaton, captured the blockade-running steamer Isabel south of Galveston, with a cargo of powder and arms. The steamer did not surrender until two broadsides had been fired at close quarters and the Marines cleared the deck with small arms fire. Isabel was a highly successful blockade-runner reputed to have made more than twenty trips through the blockade at Mobile and Galveston. The ship was severely damaged and despite all efforts sank at Quarantine Station on the Mississippi River on 2 June.
29 May 1864
Arkansas. The Union transport Clara Ames and her cargo of cotton were taken and burned by Confederate troops near Gaines Landing, after she was disabled by artillery fire.
Mississippi. USS Cowslip, Acting Ensign Richard Canfield, captured the sloop Last Push off the coast with a cargo of corn.
30 May 1864
North Carolina. USS Keystone State, Commander Crosby, and USS Massachusetts, Acting Lieutenant William H West, captured the blockade-running British steamer Caledonia south of Cape Fear after a three-hour chase in which the steamer’s a cargo of bacon, leather, and medical supplies, was thrown overboard.
Virginia. John Loomis, a deserter from CSS Hampton, warned of an impending a Confederate naval assault on Union forces in the James River. He warned that three ironclads and six wooden gunboats, all armed with torpedoes, had passed the obstructions at Drewry’s Bluff and were below Fort Darling, awaiting an opportunity to attack. The ironclads were CSS Virginia II, Flag Officer John K Mitchell, CSS Richmond, Lieutenant William H Parker, and CSS Fredericksburg, Commander Thomas R Rootes.
31 May 1864
Mediterranean Sea. USS Constellation, Captain Stellwagen, was ordered to return from duty in the Mediterranean to join the fleet preparing to attack Mobile Bay.
Virginia. USS Commodore Perry, Acting Lieutenant Amos P Foster, engaged Confederate artillery on the James River for two hours. USS Commodore Perry was damaged by six hits.
1 June 1864
Arkansas. USS Exchange, Acting Master James C Gipson, engaged two Confederate batteries on the Mississippi River near Columbia and sustained serious damage. Gipson was wounded during the encounter. USS Exchange passed by the lower battery and then the second battery opened a destructive crossfire. Having rounded a sand bar, the ship could not back down and had to run by the upper battery. The port engine was struck and USS Exchange remained under fire for about forty-five minutes while the ship crept slowly out of range of the Confederate guns. The engine then stopped entirely but the Confederate artillery did not appear to resume the attack. USS Exchange was badly damaged in the encounter.
Virginia. Archy Jenkins, a black refugee from Richmond, confirmed warnings of an impending Confederate naval attack in the James River. He described a large fire raft that was being built to attack the Union fleet.
2 June 1864
Arkansas. USS Louisville, Lieutenant-Commander Owen, sustained severe damage in an exchange with Confederate artillery at Columbia and reported increasing attacks on river traffic.
Mississippi. A landing party from USS Cowslip, Acting Ensign Canfield, captured five sloops and a steam boiler, destroyed six large boats, four salt works, and three flatboats during a raid up Biloxi Bay.
North Carolina. USS Victoria, Acting Master Alfred Everson, chased the blockade-running steamer Georgiana McCaw aground near Wilmington, with a cargo of provisions, and destroyed her.
South Carolina. USS Wamsutta, Acting Master Charles W Lee, chased the blockade-running British steamer Rose aground at Pawley’s Island, with a cargo including liquor, and destroyed her.
3 June 1864
Georgia. A Confederate boat expedition of 130 men under the command of Lieutenant Thomas P Pelot surprised and captured USS Water Witch, Lieutenant-Commander Austin Pendergrast, in an early morning raid off Ossabaw Island. Pelot silently guided his party to the anchored blockaders’ in pitch darkness at 2 am and came within 50 yards of the target before being discovered. Before the Union sailors could man their stations, the Confederates boarded USS Water Witch and won a brief hand-to-hand struggle in which Pelot and five others were killed and 17 were wounded in taking the prize. Confederate Lieutenant Joseph Price assumed command of the expedition after Pelot and took USS Water Witch into the Vernon River. The captors moored their prize above the obstructions guarding Savannah.
Louisiana. Union Major-General Edward Richard Sprigg Canby offered help to reduce the increasing number of Confederate hit-and-run attacks being made on shipping on the western rivers. He ordered reserves of troops and transports to be held in readiness at different points along the Mississippi, to repel any Confederate attempts to interrupt the navigation of the river.
Tennessee. Lieutenant-Commander John G Mitchell, USS Carondelet, reported that every steamer arriving at Memphis from Cairo was being fired upon by Confederate raiding parties numbering up to 100 men.
Virginia. USS Coeur de Lion, Acting Master William G Morris, seized the schooner Malinda in the Potomac River for violating the blockade.
4 June 1864
Canada. USS Ticonderoga, Captain Charles Steedman, was ordered to cruise the Gulf of St Lawrence until the close of the fishing season to prevent a repetition of the successful raid by CSS Tacony against shipping off the New England coast the previous year.
Louisiana. USS Louisville, Lieutenant-Commander Owen, covered the landing of 8,000 Union troops under Major-General Andrew Jackson Smith near Sunnyside on the Mississippi River. The Union troops engaged Confederate forces near Bayou Macon, forcing the Confederates to withdraw inland.
South Carolina. USS Fort Jackson, Captain Sands, captured the blockade-running steamer Thistle east of Charleston. The cargo, except for a cotton press, was thrown overboard during the six-hour chase.
5 June 1864
North Carolina. USS Keystone State, Commander Crosby, seized the blockade-running British steamer Siren off Beaufort harbour, with a cargo including hoop iron and liquor.
6 June 1864
Alabama. USS Metacomet, Lieutenant-Commander Jouett, captured the blockade-running steamer Donegal off Mobile, with a cargo of munitions.
Arkansas. USS Louisville, Lieutenant-Commander Owen, covered the embarkation of 8,000 Union troops under Major-General Andrew Jackson Smith near Sunnyside on the Mississippi River after their successful attack at Bayou Macon, Louisiana.
7 June 1864
Florida. Suspecting that Confederates were using cotton bales to build defences on the banks of the Suwannee River, a boat expedition from USS Clyde and USS Sagamore, commanded by Acting Ensign Louis R Chester, proceeded upriver top Clay Landing and seized over 100 bales of cotton.
South Carolina. The Confederate transport steamer Etiwan ran aground off Fort Johnson in Charleston harbour and was sunk by Union batteries on Morris Island.
8 June 1864
Louisiana. Lieutenant-Commander Ramsay in USS Chillicothe led an expedition up the Atchafalaya River, with USS Neosho, Acting Lieutenant Howard, and USS Port Hindman, Acting Lieutenant Pearce. The aim was to silence a Confederate battery above Simsport. The Union gunboats forced the Confederates to abandon their position and a landing party captured the guns.
9 June 1864
Bahamas. USS Proteus, Commander Robert W Shufeldt, captured the blockade-running British schooner R S Hood north of Little Bahama Bank.
Florida. USS Rosalie, Acting Master Peter F Coffin, captured the steamer Emma at Marco Pass, with a cargo of blacksmith’s coal.
Georgia. After capturing USS Water Witch, the Confederates attempted to bring the ship from Ossabaw Sound to Savannah to strengthen the defence of the city. Flag Officer William W Hunter ordered Lieutenant William W Carnes commanding CSS Water Witch to prepare the ship for destruction if threatened with recapture.
North Carolina. USS New Berne, Acting Lieutenant Thomas A Harris, chased the blockade-running steamer Pevensey aground near Beaufort, with a cargo including arms, lead, bacon, and clothing. The steamer blew up shortly afterwards.
Virginia. Confederate Flag Officer Mitchell, commanding the Confederate James River Squadron, proposed an attack on the Union fleet at Trent’s Reach. The senior officers of his squadron advised against the assault as they were outnumbered and the Union fleet had artillery support ashore. They also argued that the Confederate ships were not manoeuvrable enough for operations in the narrow confines of Trent’s Reach, and that obstructions in the river would further hamper their movements. They recommended a less risky alternative of sending fire rafts and floating torpedoes downriver against the Union squadron.
10 June 1864
Florida. USS Union, Acting Lieutenant Edward Conroy, took the sloop Caroline attempting to run the blockade at Jupiter Inlet.
Mississippi. USS Elk, Acting Lieutenant Nicholas Kirby, captured the blockade-running sloop Yankee Doodle at the middle entrance of the Pearl River in Mississippi Sound, with a cargo of cotton.
11 June 1864
France. CSS Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, arrived at Cherbourg for urgent repairs. The commerce raider had cruised continuously from August 24 1862 to June 11 1864, traversing a large portion of the globe. Of the two hundred and thirteen officers and men engaged in the crew none was lost disease, and only one by accidental death. The Confederate Commissioner in France, John Slidell, sought permission for CSS Alabama to use the dock facilities. Meanwhile, William L Dayton, US Minister to France, protested the use of the French port by a vessel with such a notorious reputation. Intelligence of the condition of CSS Alabama was relayed to Captain Winslow aboard USS Kearsarge at Flushing in the Netherlands.
12 June 1864
North Carolina. USS Lavender, Acting Master John H Gleason, struck a shoal in a severe squall. The steamer was wrecked and nine crewmen were lost before the survivors were rescued on 15 June by the Army steamer John Farron.
South Carolina USS Flag, Commander James C Williamson, captured the blockade-running sloop Cyclops shortly after running out of Charleston with a cargo of cotton.
13 June 1864
Great Britain., USS Kearsarge, Captain Winslow, sailed from Dover to blockade the raider CSS Alabama at Cherbourg.
14 June 1864
Bahamas. USS Courier, Acting Master Samuel C Gray, ran aground and was wrecked on Abaco Island. The sailing ship’s crew and stores were saved.
France. USS Kearsarge, Captain Winslow, arrived off Cherbourg and found CSS Alabama at anchor in the roads off the port. USS Kearsarge took up the blockade in international waters off the harbour entrance. Confederate Captain Raphael Semmes planned to fight USS Kearsarge as soon as the condition of his ship permitted.
15 June 1864
Indian Territory. The Confederate transport J R Williams, carrying supplies up the Arkansas River, from Fort Smith to Fort Gibson, was hit by Union artillery. The steamer was run aground and abandoned, and Union troops destroyed her.
Louisiana. Confederate artillery opened fire in the early morning hours on USS General Bragg, Acting Lieutenant Dominy, off Como Landing. The return fire from USS General Bragg forced the Confederates to move to Ratliff’s Landing where they fired on USS Naiad, Acting Master Henry T Keene. USS Winnebago was alerted by the sound of gunfire and the combined firepower of the three ships temporarily silenced the Confederate field battery.
Mississippi. Lieutenant Bache, commanding USS Lexington, and a boat crew from USS Tyler, captured three steamers off Beulah Landing. Reports had reached Bache that the three steamers Mattie, M Walt, and Hill, were actively supporting Confederate forces.
16 June 1864
Alabama. Commander Catesby ap R Jones, commandant of the Confederate Naval Gun Foundry and Ordnance Works at Selma, reported that the submersible torpedo boat Saint Patrick, built by John P Halligan, was close to being launched. The boat was propelled by a compact steam engine but could be moved underwater by a hand-crank. The boat could ascend and descend in order to attach a torpedo to the bottom of enemy ships. It was assigned to the defence of Mobile Bay but was not available for action until January 1865.
Louisiana. USS General Bragg was taken under fire by Confederate field guns on the riverbank near Como Landing, and a shot disabled the ship’s engine.
North Carolina. A Union expedition under Acting Lieutenant George W Graves, commander of USS Lockwood, with a detachment of sailors from USS Louisiana and a dozen soldiers embarked on Army transport Ella May, departed from New Bern. USS Ceres joined the expedition at the mouth of the Pamlico River. The Confederate schooners Iowa, Mary Emma, and Jenny Lind were captured and two others destroyed. USS Valley City then joined the expedition, which patrolled the Pungo River area for five days before returning to New Bern.
16 June 1864
Virginia. USS Commodore Perry, Acting Lieutenant A P Foster, shelled Fort Clifton to support Army operations along the James River.
17 June 1864
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, captured and burned the brig W C Clarke bound from Machias, Maine, to Matanzas with a cargo of lumber.
19 June 1864
France. CSS Alabama left the port of Cherbourg between 9 am and 10 am to challenge the blockade imposed by the USS Kearsarge. Sightseers collected on the heights above Cherbourg in the upper storeys of houses with a view of the sea, and on the walls and fortifications of the harbour. Several French luggers employed as pilot-boats put to sea, along with an English steam-yacht called Deerhound. CSS Alabama exited the western entrance of the harbour with the French ironclad La Couronne following its passage. Emerging from behind the mole, USS Kearsarge was sighted at a distance of six to seven miles from land. CSS Alabama mounted 8 guns to USS Kearsarge’s 7 guns. However, Captain Winslow of USS Kearsarge had a superiority in weight of broadside including two heavy 11-inch Dahlgren guns while Semmes had only one 8-inch heavy gun. Winslow protected the sides of his ship and the vulnerable machinery by hanging heavy chains over the sides from topside to below the waterline. USS Kearsarge’s complement numbered 163 men and CSS Alabama’s was 149. The antagonists closed within one and a half miles, when Semmes opened the action with a starboard broadside. Within minutes the firing increased from both ships as they fought starboard to starboard on a circular course. Semmes wished to come to close quarters, fouling and boarding to overcome the enemy but was frustrated in his plan. The heavier guns of USS Kearsarge struck CSS Alabama’s hull, while the Union sloop was protected by the chain armour and suffered only minor damage. One shell from CSS Alabama lodged in the USS Kearsarge’s sternpost but failed to explode. If it had exploded, USS Kearsarge would have probably sunk, but the Confederate warship’s ammunition was old and deteriorated. After an hour and ten minutes, CSS Alabama began to sink after shells exploded in the ship’s side and between decks, causing major leaks. CSS Alabama attempted to reach French waters by raising full steam and setting all available sails. However, the ship filled rapidly and the fires were extinguished in the furnaces. On the point of sinking, CSS Alabama surrendered to avoid further loss of life. A boat was dispatched to inform USS Kearsarge of the ship’s condition. CSS Alabama settled stern first and her bow raised high in the air as the sea closed over her. Boats from USS Kearsarge and French boats rescued the survivors. The English yacht Deerhound picked up Captain Raphael Semmes with 13 of his officers and 27 crew members and carried them to Southampton. CSS Alabama had captured and burned at sea 55 Union merchantmen valued at over $4,500,000 and had bonded then others to the value of $562,000. One prize, the Conrad, was commissioned as CSS Tuscaloosa, and also attacked American shipping. The victory of USS Kearsarge was greeted with jubilation and relief in the USA.
20 June 1864
Virginia. USS Morse, Lieutenant-Commander Babcock, and USS Cactus, Acting Master Newell Graham, dislodged Confederate batteries which had opened fire on Army supply wagon trains near White Mouse. Deserters reported that Confederate cavalry had intended to attack the army’s supply trains, but was deterred by the fire of the gunboats.
20 June 1864
North Carolina. USS Calypso, Acting Master Frederick D Stuart, and USS Nansemond, Acting Ensign James H Porter, transported an Army expedition up New River. The aim was to cut the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad but the Confederates learned of the attempt and took up strong defensive positions, compelling the Union troops to evacuate after four days.
21 June 1864
Virginia. USS Shokokon, Acting Master William B Sheldon, dispersed a Confederate attack on the transport Eliza Hancox at Cumberland Point.
Virginia. The Confederates began a long-range bombardment of the Union naval squadron in the James River at Trent’s Reach and Varina Reach. The Confederate ships, commanded by Flag Officer Mitchell in the ironclad flagship Virginia II, included CSS Fredericksburg, Commander Rootes; CSS Hampton, Lieutenant John S Maury, CSS Nansemond, Lieutenant Charles W Hayes, and CSS Drewry, Lieutenant William H Hall. They were accompanied by CSS Roanoke, Lieutenant Mortimer M Beton, and the tug CSS Beaufort, Lieutenant Joseph Gardner. The ironclad CSS Richmond, Lieutenant W H Parker, was intended to join in the bombardment but broke down and had to be towed upriver to a position near the obstructions below Richmond. An engine failure in CSS Virginia II could not be repaired until the afternoon, when it was too late to move farther downstream to engage at a more effective range. The Union gunboats and monitors concentrated their fire on the shore batteries during the exchange and neither fleet suffered serious damage.
22 June 1864
Arkansas. USS Lexington, Acting Ensign Henry Booby, repelled a surprise Confederate attack on White River Station, and forced the attacking Confederate troops to withdraw.
23 June 1864
North Carolina. A Union expedition under Acting Lieutenant George W Graves, comprising USS Lockwood, the transport Ella May, and USS Valley City returned to New Bern from the Pungo River area.
Virginia. USS Tecumseh, Commander Tunis A M Craven, was sent secret orders to leave the James River and to proceed to the Gulf of Mexico for the planned attack on Mobile Bay.
23 June 1864
North Carolina. Union Lieutenant William Barker Cushing, with Acting Ensign J E Jones, Acting Master’s Mate Howorth and fifteen men from USS Monticello, reconnoitred up the Cape Fear River to within three miles of Wilmington. They rowed past the batteries guarding the western bar during the night and pulled safely ashore below Wilmington as day dawned on 24 June. The expedition was an attempt to gain information about CSS Raleigh which, unknown to the Union naval commanders, had been wrecked after the engagement on 6 May.
24 June 1864
North Carolina. Union Lieutenant William Barker Cushing continued his reconnaissance up the Cape Fear River to Wilmington. They confirmed that CSS Raleigh had been destroyed discovered that CSS Yadkin, the flagship of Confederate Flag Officer Lynch, mounted only two guns. The ironclad CSS North Carolina was found at anchor off Wilmington but was assessed as weak and unlikely to be able to cross the bar. They counted blockade-running traffic, captured a fishing party and a mail courier, and acquired intelligence about obstructions and fortifications along the Cape Fear River. The expedition returned to the blockading fleet during the night, after being detected and pursued in the harbour. The Union sailors managed to divert the Confederates and rowed across the bar to safety.
Arkansas. USS Queen City, Acting Master Michael Hickey, lying at anchor off Clarendon on the White River, was attacked and destroyed in the early morning hours by two regiments of Confederate cavalry supported by artillery. The wooden paddle-wheeler was taken by surprise and was disabled immediately, forcing Hickey to surrender. Union Lieutenant Bache, USS Tyler, attempted to retake the ship but after they approached within a few miles they heard the sound of USS Queen City being blown up. Bache proceeded with USS Tyler, USS Fawn, Acting Master John R Grace, and USS Naumkeag, Acting Master John Rogers, to Clarendon, and engaged the Confederate battery for forty-five minutes. USS Naumkeag recaptured one howitzer and several crewmen from USS Queen City as the Confederates abandoned the riverbank.
26 June 1864
Florida. USS Norfolk Packet, Acting Ensign George W Wood, captured the sloop Sarah Mary off Mosquito Inlet, with a cargo of cotton.
27 June 1864
Bahamas. USS Proteus, Commander Robert W Shufeldt, seized British blockade-running steamer Jupiter northwest of Man-of-War Cay, after her cargo had been thrown overboard.
Georgia. USS Nipsic, Lieutenant-Commander Alexander F Crosman, captured the sloop Julia off Sapelo Sound, with a cargo of salt.
29 June 1864
Virginia. USS Hunchback, Lieutenant Joseph P Fyffe, and USS Saugus, Commander Colhoun, bombarded Confederate batteries at Deep Bottom on the James River, forcing their eventual removal. The control of Deep Bottom protected Union lines of communication and reduced the risk of attack by torpedo craft from upriver or out of Four Mile Creek.
30 June 1864
Alabama. USS Glasgow, Acting Master N Mayo Dyer, forced the blockade-running steamer Ivanhoe to run aground near Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay. The steamer was protected by the fort’s guns, so attempts were made unsuccessfully to destroy her by long-range fire from USS Metacomet and USS Monongahela.
Florida. Acting Ensign Edward H Watkeys, commanding a launch from USS Roebuck, captured the sloop Last Resort off Indian River Inlet, with a cargo of cotton.
1 July 1864
Bermuda. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, captured and burned the bark Harriet Stevens at sea southwest of Bermuda with a cargo of lumber, cement, and gum opium. Morris sent the opium in a blockade-runner for hospital use.
Florida. USS Merrimac, Acting Lieutenant W Budd, captured the blockade-running sloop Henrietta at sea west of Tampa, with a cargo of cotton.
2 July 1864
North Carolina. USS Keystone State, Commander Crosby, captured the blockade-running British steamer Rouen off Wilmington. The steamer had thrown her cargo of cotton overboard during the four-hour chase, and was not brought to until USS Keystone had fired 22 warning shots.
South Carolina. The Union monitors USS Lehigh, Lieutenant-Commander A A Semmes, USS Montauk, Lieutenant-Commander A W Johnson, and other ships supported Army troops in a week-long demonstration up the Stono River. Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren and Major-General John Gray Foster planned the diversion with the intention of cutting the important Charleston-Savannah Railroad. Union monitors and gunboats shelled Confederate works on both sides of the river in support of the movements ashore. Union Brigadier-General Alexander Schimmelfenning reported that the warships had driven enemy troops out of their rifle pits and prevented them from erecting an earthwork.
4 July 1864
Arkansas. USS Hastings, Acting Lieutenant J S Watson, engaged Confederate sharpshooters on the White River above St Charles.
Florida. USS Magnolia, Acting Lieutenant William S Cheesman, captured three boats several hundred miles east of Florida with a small cargo of cotton and turpentine. The Confederate sailors had been at sea for forty days attempting to reach Nassau by sail and oars.
6 July 1864
Alabama. When Union attempts to destroy the grounded blockade-running steamer Ivanhoe near Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay proved unsuccessful, a Union boat expedition was organised to destroy the ship. Lieutenant J Crittenden Watson and four boats left the cover of USS Metacomet and USS Kennebec, and reached the grounded steamer, setting her on fire after midnight.
7 July 1864
Florida. The schooners USS Ariel, Acting Master Russell, USS Sea Bird, Acting Ensign Ezra L Robbins, and USS Stonewall, Acting Master Henry B Carter, and the ton sloop Rosalie, Acting Master Coffin, transported Union troops for a week-long raid on Brookville. After disembarking the soldiers, USS Ariel and USS Sea Bird proceeded to Bayport where a landing party captured a quantity of cotton and burned the customs house. The Union troops rejoined the two schooners at Bayport on 11 July and the force returned to Anclote Keys the next day.
8 July 1864
Bermuda. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, captured and burned the whaling bark Golconda southwest of Bermuda with 1,800 barrels of whale oil.
South Carolina. USS Fort Jackson, Captain Sands, captured the blockade-running British steamer Boston off the coast with a cargo of copper, salt, and soap.
South Carolina. USS Sonoma, Lieutenant-Commander Edmund O Matthews, captured steamer Ida off the Stono River, with a cargo of cotton.
South Carolina. USS Azalea, Acting Master Frederick W Strong, and USS Sweet Brier, Acting Ensign J D Dexter, captured the blockade-running schooner Pocahontas off Charleston with a cargo of cotton.
Texas. USS Kanawha, Lieutenant-Commander Bushrod B Taylor, forced the blockade-running steamer Matagorda aground near Galveston. USS Kanawha, was joined by USS Penguin and USS Aroostook, to destroy by gunfire the steamer, which carried a cargo including cotton.
9 July 1864
Maryland. Confederate Major John Tyler, Assistant Adjutant General, reported a proposed attack on Point Lookout to release Confederate prisoners of war. The plan was for Lieutenant-General Jubal Anderson Early to seize Baltimore and hold it with his infantry while his cavalry proceeded to Point Lookout to liberate almost 30,000 prisoners held there. In the meantime, Confederate Naval Captain John Taylor Wood would proceed from Wilmington with five gunboats carrying 0,000 stand of arms to arm the liberated soldiers. Success would lead to the capture of Washington, DC. Rumours of this astonishing plan reached Union Lieutenant Stuyvesant aboard USS Minnesota on 18 July and he warned that Wood was reported to have left Richmond with 800 volunteers on 7 July. The plan caused concern among the Union authorities, but Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis had already advised against the attempt on 10 July. Wood reported that he was ready to run the blockade out of Wilmington on 9 July but Davis objected that the secret plan was so widely known that it must be abandoned.
South Carolina. USS Gettysburg, Acting Master William M Gloin, captured the blockade-running steamer Little Ada off Cape Romain after a lengthy chase, with a cargo of pig lead and potash.
Virginia. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, captured and burned the bark Greenland, with a cargo of coal, and the schooner Margaret Y Davis, in ballast, off Cape Henry.
10 July 1864
Alabama. USS Monongahela, Commander Strong, USS Lackawanna, Captain Marchand, USS Galena, Lieutenant-Commander Clark H Wells, USS Sebago, Lieutenant-Commander William E Fitzhugh, opened fire on the blockade-running steamer Virgin, aground near Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay. Protected by Fort Morgan’s guns, a river steamer attempted to tow Virgin off but was forced to withdraw by the accurate shelling from the blockaders.
Florida. USS Roebuck, Acting Master William L Martine, captured the blockade-running British schooner Terrapin at Jupiter Inlet, with a cargo of cotton and turpentine.
Maryland. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, captured and burned the bark General Berry with a cargo of hay and straw only 35 miles from Maryland’s eastern shore. Shortly afterwards, Morris chased and captured the bark Zelinda, in ballast. He put an officer and prize crew aboard Zelinda with orders to follow CSS Florida. The pair pursued the schooner Howard eastward. The schooner and its cargo of fruit was bonded and 62 prisoners put aboard. Morris then removed Zelinda’s provisions and burned her. CSS Florida also captured the mail steamer Electric Spark on the same day. The passengers were transferred to the passing British ship Lane. Seeking to create the impression that he had made a tender of Electric Spark, Morris scuttled her during the night rather than burning the vessel. Realising that Union ships would be in hot pursuit from nearby ports, CSS Florida took an easterly course into the Atlantic Ocean for refuge. Union Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee dispatched the screw steamers USS Mount Vernon, Lieutenant-Commander Henry A Adams, and USS Monticello, Lieutenant Cushing, to cruise together to and capture CSS Florida. Lee also ordered USS Ino, Acting Lieutenant French, to sea, USS Ino hid its guns and disguised the crew as a merchantman to entice CSS Florida into coming alongside where it could be subjected to a surprise attack.
11 July 1864
Alabama. A Confederates river steamer rescued the grounded blockade runner Virgin from in front of Fort Morgan and towed it into Mobile Bay.
Florida. A landing party from USS James L Davis, Acting Master Griswold, destroyed Confederate salt works near Tampa.
12 July 1864
North Carolina. USS Whitehead, Acting Ensign George W Barrett, and USS Ceres, Acting Master Foster, in company with transport steamer Ella May, made an expedition up the Scuppernong River to Columbia. USS Whitehead and USS Ceres landed troops near the town and the soldiers destroyed a bridge and a quantity of grain.
Texas. USS Penobscot, Lieutenant-Commander Benham, captured the blockade-running schooner James Williams off Galveston with a cargo including medicines, coffee, and liquor.
13 July 1864
Alabama. Union Colonel Albert J Myer sent intelligence regarding the naval defences of Mobile Bay to Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut. Myer revealed that a line of piles had been driven underwater, extending from the shoal water near Fort Gaines, across Pelican Pass Channel, to the edge of the main ship channel. The obstruction comprised five rows of piles driven closely together. He added that a torpedo line extended from the western edge of the main ship channel, where the fixed obstructions terminated, eastward to a point between 400 yards and half a mile from Fort Morgan. A team of seven men was reported to be in charge of the underwater torpedoes.
13 July 1864
Maryland. In order to protect the rear of the Union Army defences around Annapolis against potential raiders, Lieutenant-Commander Braine, USS Vicksburg, detailed a boat expedition under the command of Acting Ensign Francis G Osborn to destroy all means of crossing the South River.
14 July 1864
Georgia, Acting Master George R Durand, USS Paul Jones, was captured while attempting to destroy CSS Water Witch in Ossabaw Sound. USS Paul Jones had been captured previously from the Union in June 1864. Durand and his men hid by day and moving by night. They were discovered and captured by a Confederate patrol.
Virginia. USS Pequot, Lieutenant-Commander Quackenbush, and USS Commodore Morris, Acting Master Robert G Lee, engaged Confederate batteries near Malvern Hill for four hours.
16 July 1864
Florida. A landing party from USS James L Davis, Acting Master Griswold, destroyed a Confederate salt works near Tampa.
Virginia. Confederate batteries near Malvern Hill opened fire on USS Mendota, Commander Nichols, USS Pequot, and USS Commodore Morris. USS Mendota sustained minor damage and several casualties. The presence of this battery below Four Mile Creek temporarily closed the navigation of the James River.
21 July 1864
Mississippi. USS Prairie Bird, Acting Master Thomas Burns, seized the steamer Union on the Mississippi River for aiding the Confederates.
22 July 1864
Alabama. Union Lieutenant Charles S Cotton and Acting Ensign John L Hall led a landing party from USS Oneida on an expedition that resulted in the capture of a Confederate cavalry patrol near Fort Morgan. The sailors rowed in from USS Oneida under cover of’ darkness and lay in wait for a nightly Confederate patrol of five men which had been under observation for some time. Surprise was complete and Hall marched a detachment four miles further inland to destroy the patrol’s camp.
23 July 1864
Mississippi. The Army transport B M Runyan, with 500 military and civilian passengers aboard, hit a snag and sank in the Mississippi River near Skipwith’s Landing. USS Prairie Bird, Acting Master Thomas Burns, rescued 350 survivors and salvaged part of the cargo.
24 July 1864
Virginia. Confederate guerrillas captured and burned the steamer Kingston, which had run aground the preceding day between Smith’s Point and Windmill Point.
25 July 1864
Alabama. Boats from USS Hartford, USS Monongahela, and USS Sebago, commanded by Lieutenant J C Watson, reconnoitred Mobile Bay in an attempt to discover the type and number of torpedoes laid by the Confederates off Fort Morgan. Watson and his men located and cut loose many of the torpedoes, a number of which were defective. Several similar night operations were conducted to remove this dangerous obstacle.
North Carolina. Union Acting Master’s Mate John Woodman and three companions made the first of three reconnaissance expeditions up the Roanoke River to Plymouth, to gather intelligence about the ironclad CSS Albemarle. The ram was found at a wharf near a steam sawmill.
Tennessee. USS Undine, Acting Master John L Bryant, struck a snag and sank in the Tennessee River near Clifton. Bryant attempted to raise the gunboat and meanwhile sent the guns ashore to help defend the town, which was threatened by Confederate troops.
20 July 1864
Virginia. Pickets from USS Shokokon, Acting Master Sheldon, were attacked ashore by Confederate sharpshooters at Turkey Bend in the James River. USS Shokokon supported the landing party with gunfire and prevented their capture.
21 July 1864
Virginia. USS Shokokon, Acting Master Sheldon, engaged a Confederate battery at Turkey Bend on the James River.
27 July 1864
North Carolina. The Union tugs Belle, Martin, and Hoyt, were fitted as torpedo boats and sent to New Bern for use against the Confederate ironclads in the area. They carried spar torpedoes containing 150 pounds of powder.
Alabama. A Union boat crew commanded by Lieutenant J C Watson made daylight reconnaissances of the Mobile Bay channel. Watson and his me were towed into the bay by the tug Cowslip, and sounded the outer channel, marking the outside limits of the Confederate torpedo fields and other obstacles with buoys.
28 July 1864
Virginia. USS Mendota, Commander Nichols, and USS Agawam, temporarily commanded by Lieutenant George Dewey, shelled Confederate positions across Four Mile Creek on the James River, in support of Union moves to clear the area of enemy interference and restore full control of the river.
28 July 1864
North Carolina. USS Whitehead, Acting Ensign Barrett, with Army steamers Thomas Colyer and Massasoit began a two-day expedition up the Chowan River, to confiscate contraband. The steamer Arrow was seized at Gatesville with a cargo of cotton and tobacco.
30 July 1864
Georgia. A landing party from USS Potomska, Acting Lieutenant Robert P Swann, destroyed two large Confederate salt works near the Back River. Returning to USS Potomska, they exchanged fire with Confederates for three-quarters of an hour and managed to reach USS Potomska.
31 July 1864
Tennessee. USS Undine, Acting Master John L Bryant, which sank in the Tennessee River near Clifton on 25 July was raised by the pump steamer Little Champion and returned to action.
1 August 1864
Georgia. A Union landing party of 115 officers and men under Commander George M Colvocoresses, raided a meeting of civilians forming a coastal guard at McIntosh Court House. Colvocoresses landed his men during the night of 2 August and made his way inland on a four-day expedition.
2 August 1864
France. After months of attempting to ready CSS Rappahannock for sea and negotiating her clearance from the French authorities in Calais, Confederate Flag Officer Barron concluded that the ship could not sail under the Confederate flag. Lieutenant Charles M Fauntleroy, commanding CSS Rappahannock, informed him that the French would only permit a crew of 35 men, which was insufficient to operate as a commerce raider. The crew was discharged the ship was laid up. Private agents acting for the Confederacy had purchased CSS Rappahannock at Sheerness in Britain in November 1863. Concerned that the British would detain the putative cruiser, CSS Rappahannock left port on 24 November. The officers joined the ship in the channel, aiming to rendezvous with CSS Georgia off the French coast and to load her guns. However, the engine bearings burned out and the ship had to stop at Calais for repairs.
3 August 1864
Alabama. Union Lieutenant J C Watson and his boat crew made their final night expedition in Mobile Bay to deactivate and sink Confederate torpedoes in the channel preparatory to the fleet’s entry into Mobile Bay.
Florida. Union Captain Percival Drayton urged the senior officer at Pensacola, Captain Thornton A Jenkins, to hurry the ironclad USS Tecumseh immediately to Mobile for the impending attack.
Virginia. USS Miami, Acting Lieutenant George W Graves, engaged Confederate batteries at Wilcox’s Landing. Graves had come to the sound of the batteries firing on Union transports and immediately opened fire, forcing the Confederates to withdraw after an hour.
4 August 1864
Georgia. A Union landing party of 115 officers and men under Commander George M Colvocoresses, returned from a raid on McIntosh Court House. They destroyed a bridge to prevent being cut off by Confederate cavalry and captured 26 prisoners before returning to USS Saratoga.
Virginia. USS Miami, Acting Lieutenant George W Graves, and USS Osceola, Commander Clitz, drove off Confederate batteries which were firing on transports near Harrison’s Landing on the James River.
5 August 1864
Alabama. Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut led his squadron of 18 ships against the Confederate defences of Mobile Bay. Soon after 6 am, the Union ships crossed the bar and moved into the bay. The monitors USS Tecumseh, USS Manhattan, USS Winnebago, and USS Chickasaw formed a column to starboard of the wooden ships in order to take most of the fire from Fort Morgan, which they had to pass at close range. The seven smaller wooden ships were lashed to the port sides of the larger wooden screw steamers. Shortly before 7 am, USS Tecumseh, Commander T A M Craven, opened fire on Fort Morgan and the action intensified quickly. The Confederate naval squadron of Admiral Franklin Buchanan, including the ironclad CSS Tennessee, CSS Gaines, Lieutenant John W Bennett, CSS Selma, Lieutenant Peter U Murphey, and CSS Morgan, Commander George W Harrison, moved out to repel the attack. Craven headed USS Tecumseh straight at CSS Tennessee but a sudden explosion rocked the Union warship. USS Tecumseh careened violently and sank in seconds, the victim of a torpedo. In the confusion below decks Craven and the pilot John Collins arrived together at the foot of the ladder leading to the main deck. The captain stepped back and Collins was saved, but Craven and 90 officers and men of Tecumseh’s crew of 114 drowned with the ship. USS Brooklyn was to Tecumseh’s port when the disaster occurred. The heavy steamer stopped and began backing to avoid a row of suspicious-looking buoys directly under the bow. The entire line of wooden vessels began drifting into confusion under the guns of Fort Morgan. Farragut, lashed in the rigging to observe the action over the smoke billowing from the guns, saw the boldest course was to push through the torpedo field. “Damn the torpedoes,” he ordered; “full speed ahead ” The flagship USS Hartford swept past USS Brooklyn into the rows of torpedoes and the fleet followed. Torpedoes were heard bumping against the hulls but none exploded. The Union force steamed into the bay without further loss. As the fleet approached, CSS Tennessee attempted to ram USS Hartford. The Union ship avoided the slower antagonist, returning fire but also being raked by the fire of the gunboat CSS Selma. USS Metacomet, Lieutenant-Commander Jouett, engaged CSS Selma and, sustained considerable damage before forcing the Confederate gunboat to surrender shortly after 9 am. Meanwhile, CSS Tennessee attempted in vain to ram USS Brooklyn. CSS Gaines advanced to engage the Union ships as they entered the bay but suffered a steering loss early in the action and was subjected to concentrated fire from USS Hartford, USS Richmond, and others at short range. CSS Gaines soon began to sink and was run aground near Fort Morgan before settling in two fathoms of water. CSS Morgan briefly engaged USS Metacomet to assist CSS Selma prior to her surrender, but as the action occurred at high speed, CSS Morgan could not maintain her position and faced the possibility of being cut off and captured by the Union fleets. Harrison took CSS Morgan under Fort Morgan’s guns and saved the ship by running the gauntlet of Union ships back into Mobile. Meanwhile, USS Philippi, Acting Master James T Seaver, grounded near Fort Morgan while attempting to enter the bay. The fort’s heavy guns quickly found the range and USS Philippi was severely damaged, forcing Seaver and his crew to abandon ship. A boat crew from CSS Morgan completed the destruction by setting fire to the wreck. The Union fleet anchored briefly in the bay. Buchanan decided to continue the fight with the ironclad CSS Tennessee. Farragut ordered his best-protected warships to attack CSS Tennessee with guns and by ramming strikes. The battle raged for more than an hour. USS Monongahela struck CSS Tennessee a heavy blow but succeeded only in damaging its own prow. USS Lackawanna rammed the Confederate ship at full speed but the only perceptible effect was to give the Confederate ironclad a heavy list. A shot from USS Manhattan’s 15-inch gun smashed into the armoured casemate but did not burst through to the interior. USS Hartford struck a glancing blow and poured a broadside into CSS Tennessee from a distance of ten feet, and USS Chickasaw pounded the ram with heavy shot. Meanwhile, USS Lackawanna and USS Hartford collided but regained position and prepared to run down CSS Tennessee, joined by USS Ossipee and USS Monongahela. The Confederate Admiral was seriously wounded and relinquished command to Commander James D Johnston. The Union shells knocked out the ironclad’s steering; unable to manoeuvre and taking on water, CSS Tennessee struggled on until Buchannan and Johnston agreed that surrender was essential to save lives. The white flag was hoisted at 1o am. The victory was costly to the Union but it was closed the last major Confederate port on the Gulf of Mexico. During the afternoon, USS Chickasaw, Lieutenant-Commander George H Perkins, engaged Fort Powell at a range of less than 400 yards. The Confederate work could not meet this assault from the rear and was evacuated and blown up during the night.
6 August 1864
Alabama. Alabama. USS Chickasaw, Lieutenant-Commander Perkins, bombarded the isolated garrison at Fort Morgan.
North Carolina. CSS Albemarle, Captain J W Cooke, arrived at 4 am at the mouth of the Roanoke River from Plymouth, causing anxiety to the Union blockading fleet. The ironclad advanced as far as the mouth of the river, then halted and steamed back to Plymouth.
North Carolina. CSS Tallahassee, Commander Wood, ran out of Wilmington harbour, and eluded several blockaders off the bar. The raider began a destructive commerce raiding cruise, destroying more than 30 ships in two weeks.
7 August 1864
Alabama. Confederate Colonel Charles D Anderson, commanding Fort Gaines at Mobile Bay, proposed the surrender of his isolated garrison.
8 August 1864
Alabama. Confederate Colonel Charles D Anderson concluded the surrender of Fort Gaines at Mobile Bay before 10 am.
Alabama. Although the Union fleet under Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut controlled Mobile Bay, and Fort Powell and Fort Gaines had fallen into Union hands, Confederate Brigadier-General Richard Lucian Page, also a Commander in the Confederate Navy, refused to surrender Fort Morgan. Union naval forces took station in Mobile Bay while troops began the land investment of Fort Morgan. After a brief bombardment, Union Major-General Gordon Granger demanded the unconditional surrender of Fort Morgan but was rebuffed. The captured ironclad ex-CSS Tennessee was sent to bombard Fort Morgan from close range. It was towed into action by the gunboat USS Port Royal and anchored between the Middle Ground and the fort. The former Confederate guns fired until 10 pm when USS Winnebago towed Tennessee back to her anchorage.
North Carolina. USS Violet, Acting Ensign Thomas Stothard, ran aground off the western bar at Cape Fear River. Stothard and his men had laboured to keep USS Violet afloat for five hours, but as the leak could not be halted, the magazine was detonated and the ship destroyed.
South Carolina. The blockade-running steamer Prince Albert went aground off Fort Moultrie at Charleston and was destroyed by USS Catskill, Commander Napoleon B Harrison, and the batteries on Morris Island.
Virginia. Two members of the Confederate Torpedo Corps, John Maxwell and R K Dillard, planted a disguised clockwork torpedo containing twelve pounds of powder on a Union transport at City Point. The device caused a huge explosion that rocked the entire area. Maxwell and Dillard had succeeded in getting through Union lines to the wharf area, where Maxwell convinced the sentry that he had been ordered by the captain of the ammunition barge to deliver a box on board. The box was accepted and the two Confederates started back for Richmond. When the torpedo exploded an hour later, it set off a devastating chain reaction that spread from the barges to storage buildings ashore and even to Lieutenant-General Ulysses Simpson Grant’s headquarters. The Union assessment was that an ordnance boat had exploded.
10 August 1864
Alabama. Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut’s fleet continued a continual day and night bombardment of Fort Morgan.
10 August 1864
Arkansas. USS Romeo, Acting Master Thomas Baldwin, and USS Prairie Bird, Acting Master Thomas Burns, and the transport Empress engaged a recently placed Confederate battery at Gaines Landing on the Mississippi River. Empress had been attacked by the batteries earlier in the day. The vessel was disabled by sixty-three hits and Captain John Molloy was killed. USS Romeo closed in and fired on the Confederate guns before towing Empress to safety.
New Jersey. Cruising within 80 miles of the coast at Sandy Hook, CSS Tallahassee, Commander Wood, took seven prizes, including the schooners Sarah A Boyce and Carrol, the brigs Richards and Carrie Estelle with a cargo of logs, the pilot boats James Funk (No 22) and William Bell (No 24), and the bark Bay State, with a cargo of wood. All the ships were scuttled or burned except Carrol, which was bonded and sent to New York with the passengers and crews of the other ships. Rear Admiral Hiram Paulding, Commandant of the New York Navy Yard, and put three ships in pursuit of CSS Tallahassee by evening. Naval commanders at Hampton Roads, Philadelphia, and Boston were ordered to join the search for the raider.
11 August 1864
Arkansas. Confederate artillery fired on USS Prairie Bird near Gaines Landing on the Mississippi. Hearing the firing from upstream, USS Romeo came downriver and joined in the engagement. The Confederates broke off the action and withdrew. All three ships were severely damaged in the two-day exchange, Empress alone taking some sixty-three hits.
12 August 1864
Alabama. The former Confederate ironclad ram USS ex-Tennessee got up steam for the first time since her capture by Union forces on 5 August. A new stack had been fitted on 11 August and this was tested by steaming around the bay. New York. CSS Tallahassee, Commander Wood, seized six prizes off the coast. Wood burned ships Atlantic, Adriatic, and Spokane were burned, the brig Billow was prepared to scuttle, and the bark Suliote and the schooner Robert E Packer were released on bond. Billow did not sink and was saved by USS Grand Gulf, Commander Ransom, two days later.
13 August 1864
Alabama. The partially repaired USS Tennessee, recently captured from the Confederates, steamed across Mobile Bay and opened fire on Fort Morgan.
New York. CSS Tallahassee, Commander Wood, continued to raid commerce off the American coast, burning the schooner Lammot Du Pont with a cargo of coal, and the bark Glenavon.
Virginia. USS Agawam, Commander Rhind, engaged three different Confederate batteries near Four Mile Creek on the James River. The ship was fired upon early in the afternoon and replied for over four hours when it was forced to withdraw due to a shortage of ammunition.
Virginia. Ships of the Confederate James River Squadron, including CSS Virginia II, CSS Fredericksburg, CSS Commander Rootes, CSS Hampton, Lieutenant John W Murdaugh, CSS Nansemond, Lieutenant Charles W Hays, and CSS Drewry, Lieutenant William W Hall, shelled Union Army positions near Dutch Gap, Virginia. Flag Officer Mitchell kept up the fire to support Confederate troop movements in the area, for over twelve hours. The Union positions were largely beyond the range of his guns and hidden by hills. Union gunboats took a position below the James River obstructions but their guns could not reach the Confederate ships. Union shore emplacements did manage to fire on the bombarding ships until they returned to their anchorages at nightfall.
14 August 1864
New York. CSS Tallahassee, Commander Wood, seized and scuttled the ship James Littlefield with a cargo of coal. Virginia. USS Agawam, Commander Rhind, returned to engage Confederate batteries near Four Mile Creek on the James River, in support of Union troops advancing along the river.
15 August 1864
New England. CSS Tallahassee, Commander Wood, captured and scuttled the schooners Mary A Howes, Howard, Floral Wreath, Restless, and Etta Caroline, and bonded the schooner Sarah B Harris off the coast.
Portugal. USS Niagara, Commodore Thomas T Craven, captured the steamer Georgia off the coast. Georgia was formerly the commerce raider CSS Georgia, which had been sold to British merchants in June 1864. American Ambassador to England Charles Francis Adams recommended that she be taken when she put to sea under private ownership because of her previously belligerent status. Georgia was later condemned by a prize court in Boston.
Alabama. Union Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut’s fleet continued its bombardment of Fort Morgan.
16 August 1864
New England. CSS Tallahassee, Commander Wood, captured and burned the bark P C Alexander, and the schooners Leopard, Pearl, Sarah Louise, and Magnolia.
Georgia. A Union boat expedition by Commander Colvocoresses, USS Saratoga, consisting of men from that ship and USS T A Ward, Acting Master Babcock, captured 100 prisoners on a raid into Mcintosh County. They also destroyed a salt works and a strategic bridge across the South Newport River on the main road to Savannah.
Virginia. Union ships transported and supported Union troops in an advance from Dutch Gap. USS Mount Washington transported the troops from Dutch Gap to Aiken’s Landing and remained ready to re-embark the troops if necessary. Just above her USS Delaware, then USS Mackinaw, and at the bend of Dutch Gap USS Canonicus were stationed to cover the advance by shelling the enemy’s line. USS also engaged the Signal Hill Battery.
17 August 1864
Virginia. The Confederate warships on the James River provided gunfire support against enemy forces fortifying New England. Running short of coal, Commander Wood headed CSS Tallahassee for Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he hoped to refuel in order to continue his attacks on Union commerce. CSS Tallahassee destroyed the schooners North America and Josiah Achom and released brig Neva on bond while en route.
Signal Hill. CSS Virginia II, Lieutenant Johnston, and CSS Richmond, Lieutenant J S Maury, steamed to a position above Signal Hill and fired on the Union position, which fell back permitting Confederate troops to regain possession of the hill.
18 August 1864
Nova Scotia. CSS Tallahassee, Commander Wood, put into Halifax to replenish coal supply. US Consul Mortimer M Jackson protested to Lieutenant Governor Richard G MacDonnell but was informed that it was possible under international law to detain CSS Tallahassee. USS Pontoosuc, Lieutenant-Commander George A Stevens, which had put into Eastport, Maine, the preceding day, was ordered to steam to Nova Scotia without delay to impose a blockade. Consul Jackson protested the sale of coal for the cruiser.
Louisiana. Confederate Lieutenant-General Richard Taylor advised General Edmund Kirby Smith that Union gunboat patrols made it impossible to cross the Mississippi River with large bodies of troops.
19 August 1864
Nova Scotia. British Lieutenant Governor Richard G MacDonnell informed Commander Wood that CSS Tallahassee, which had put into port to replenish its coal supplies, could depart Halifax with no more than 100 tons of coal, sufficient to reach the nearest Confederate port at Wilmington. The Confederate cruiser put to sea during the night with an additional 120 tons of coal rather than the 60 tons permitted.
20 August 1864
Nova Scotia. USS Pontoosuc, Lieutenant-Commander Stevens, entered Halifax Stevens and learned that CSS Tallahassee had sailed late the night before, failing to intercept the commerce raider by only seven hours. USS Pontoosuc departed immediately in pursuit and, based on information reported by the US Consul, steamed north into the Gulf of St Lawrence. CSS Tallahassee set a southward course for Wilmington, capturing and burning the brig Roan.
22 August 1864
Georgia. A three-day boat expedition from USS Potomska, Acting Lieutenant Swann, captured prisoners and destroyed over 2,000 barrels of rosin and turpentine on the Satilla and White Rivers.
23 August 1864
Alabama. Confederate Brigadier-General Richard Lucian Page surrendered Fort Morgan after a two-week siege and naval bombardment. This was the last Confederate fortification protecting Mobile Bay. The guns had all been disabled and all powder and supplies were expended or destroyed.
North Carolina. Union Acting Master’s Mate Woodman made his second of three reconnaissances up the Roanoke River to gather intelligence about CSS Albemarle and the defences of Plymouth. He reached Plymouth at 10am and confirmed that the ironclad was still alongside the wharf.
23 August 1864
Georgia. A three-day boat expedition under Commander Colvocoresses, USS Saratoga, composed of men from Saratoga, USS T A Ward, Acting Master Babcock, and USS Braziliera, Acting Master Gillespie, engaged Confederate pickets along Turtle River. The expedition aimed to capture an encampment at Bethel but the Confederates were alerted by the firing downstream and escaped.
24 August 1864
Mississippi. USS Narcissus, Acting Ensign William G Jones, captured the schooner Oregon in Biloxi Bay.
North Carolina. USS Keystone State, Commander Crosby, and USS Gettysburg, Lieutenant R H Lamson, captured the blockade-running steamer Lilian off Wilmington with a cargo of cotton. Both Union ships fired on Lilian and it began to sink. Crosby managed to repair the damage and sent the vessel to Beaufort where the was purchased by the US Navy and assigned to serve under the same name.
25 August 1864
North Carolina. CSS Tallahassee, Commander Wood, successfully ran the blockade into Wilmington, after being chased and fired at by several blockading vessels. During the short cruise off the north-eastern coast, Wood took 31 prizes, all but eight of which were destroyed.
27 August 1864
North Carolina. USS Niphon, Acting Lieutenant Joseph B Breck, and USS Monticello, Acting Master Henry A Phelon, conducted an expedition up Masonboro Inlet to silence a Confederate battery reported to have been erected in the vicinity. The two steamers shelled the shoreline and a number of buildings at Masonboro, and landing parties went ashore to capture military supplies.
29 August 1864
Alabama. Five Union sailors were killed and nine others injured when a torpedo exploded while they were removing Confederate obstructions from the channel leading into Mobile Bay.
30 August 1864
Arkansas. USS Fawn, Acting Master Grace, convoyed Union infantry and artillery aboard the transport Kate Hart, on an expedition up the White River from Devall’s Bluff. The troops were to join the search for Confederate Brigadier-General Joseph Orville Shelby’s raiders being conducted by Brigadier-General Joseph Rodman West.
31 August 1864
South Carolina. The blockade-running British steamer Mary Bowers ran aground between Rattlesnake Shoals and Long Island and was wrecked. The ship was bound for Charleston to load a cargo of cotton.
2 September 1864
Arkansas. USS Fawn, Acting Master Grace, and the transport Kate Hart returned to Devall’s Bluff to transport a second group of soldiers up the White River for the pursuit of Confederate raiders. The larger force embarked in the transports Nevada, Commercial, and Celeste during the afternoon.
Louisiana. USS Naiad, Acting Master Keene, engaged a Confederate battery near Rowe’s Landing and silenced it.
4 September 1864
North Carolina. The blockade-running British steamer Elsie was chased near Wilmington by blockading ships but escaped in the darkness.
5 September 1864
North Carolina. USS Keystone State, Commander Crosby, and USS Quaker City, Lieutenant Silas Casey, captured the blockade-running British steamer Elsie off Wilmington with a cargo of cotton. USS Keystone State and USS Quaker City opened fire and a shell exploded in the blockade-runner’s forward hold and forced her to halt.
6 September 1864
Gulf of Mexico. USS Proteus, Commander Shufeldt, captured the blockade-running British schooner Ann Louisa.
Arkansas. USS Fawn, Acting Master Grace, and the transports Kate Hart, Nevada, Commercial, and Celeste continued from Devall’s Bluff up the White River with troops embarked. Confederate batteries opened on the convoy above Peach Orchard Bluffs but were dislodged from their riverbank position by USS Fawn’s gunfire. Unable to proceed further by water because of the low level of the river, scouts and cavalry were sent ahead to communicate with Brigadier-General Joseph Rodman West. They returned, escorted by USS Fawn, to Devall’s Bluff. Confederate Brigadier-General Joseph Orville Shelby’s forces continued to elude the pursuit of Union troops and to harass shipping on the White River.
8 September 1864
Alabama. USS Tritonia, USS Rodolph, USS Stockdale, and an Army transport, under Acting Lieutenant George Wiggin, began a two-day expedition to destroy large salt works at Salt House Point near Mobile Bay. Only USS Rodolph and USS Stockdale crossed the bar and entered the Bon Secours River. Arriving at the Point at mid-morning, Wiggin sent two boat crews ashore and began the demolition of the saltworks, and the destruction was completed by late afternoon of the following day.
9 September 1864
Texas. USS Kanawha, Lieutenant-Commander Taylor, reinstated the blockade of Brownsville. The blockade had been lifted in on 18 February 1864 by Presidential proclamation but it needed to be reinforced because of the withdrawal of Union troops from the area. USS Kanawha sailed with orders to blockade the Brazos Santiago and carried new orders for USS Aroostook to blockade the Rio Grande.
10 September 1864
Cuba. USS Magnolia, Acting Lieutenant Cheesman, seized the steamer Matagorda off Cape San Antonio, with a cargo of cotton.
North Carolina. An expedition from USS Wyalusing, Lieutenant-Commander Earl English, landed at Elizabeth City on the Pasquotank River. The naval landing party encountered little resistance at Elizabeth City and took 29 prisoners including several leading citizens. They were taken for interrogation regarding the burning of mail steamer Fawn on the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal the night before by members of CSS Albemarle’s crew.
North Carolina. USS Santiago de Cuba, Captain Glisson, captured the blockade-running steamer A D Vance northeast of Wilmington with a cargo of cotton.
11 September 1864
Alabama. Acting Lieutenant Wiggin led an expedition up Fish River at Mobile Bay of USS Rodolph, Acting Lieutenant George D Upham, and USS Stockdale, Acting Master Spiro V Bennis, and the Army transport Planter. They proceeded to Smith’s Mill where they seized an engine used by the Confederates in a sawmill and gathered a large quantity of lumber. Loading the lumber on board a barge in tow of Planter took almost until nightfall While returning downstream in the dusk, Confederate riflemen took the ships under fire and felled trees ahead of them. The gun-boats returned the fire rapidly and USS Rodolph broke through the obstructions, enabling the remaining ships to pass downriver.
Texas. USS Augusta Dinsmore, Acting Lieutenant Miner B Crowell, captured the schooner John off Velasco, with a cargo of cotton.
13 September 1864
Alabama. Union sailors continued to clear the main ship channel at Mobile Bay of torpedoes. Hitherto, 22 torpedoes had been raised and the channel was believed to be clear.
15 September 1864
Alabama. The ironclad CSS Nashville was reported as ready for service at Mobile. The Confederate defenders of Mobile also had the ironclads CSS Tuscaloosa and CSS Huntsville available. The Confederate warships were closely watched by the Union ironclads USS Winnebago and USS Chickasaw, and four gunboats.
16 September 1864
Florida. A boat expedition from USS Arid, Acting Master Russell, captured over 4,000 pounds of cotton in the vicinity of Tampa Bay.
19 September 1864
North Carolina. A boat expedition commanded by Acting Ensign Semon of USS Niphon, landed at Masonboro Inlet, to gain intelligence on the defences of Wilmington and the strength of its garrison. Semon learned that the raider CSS Tallahassee was docked at Wilmington, along with several blockade-runners.
Ohio. The Confederate secret agent Captain Charles H Cole conceived a plan to capture the warship USS Michigan, which was guarding Confederate prisoners at Johnson’s Island, near Sandusky. He was aided by Acting Master John Yates Beall and by Jacob Thompson, a Confederate agent in Canada. The plan was for Cole to befriend and bribe the officers of USS Michigan. Beall would then approach with a captured steamer from the mouth of Sandusky Bay and board USS Michigan, after which the prisoners would be released from their camp and the whole force would embark on a guerrilla expedition along the lake. Beall and his 19 men boarded the steamer Philo Parsons as passengers, seized the steamer, and took her to Middle Bass Island on the way from Detroit to Sandusky. While there, Beall’s vessel was approached by the steamer Island Queen, which was quickly boarded, captured and burned. Beall then landed the passengers and cargoes of the two ships and proceeded with his improvised warship to Sandusky. Meanwhile, Union Commander J C Carter of USS Michigan had discovered Cole’s plot and arrested him and his assistant. As Beall and his men approached Sandusky aboard Philo Parsons, the prearranged signals were not made so Beall and his men abandoned their part in the plan and took Philo Parsons to Sandwich in Canada, where she was stripped and burned. The Confederate conspirators then dispersed.
23 September 1864
Louisiana. USS Antelope, Acting Master John Ross, struck a snag and sank in the Mississippi River below New Orleans.
24 September 1864
Virginia. USS Fuchsia, USS Thomas Freeborn, and USS Mercury under command of Acting Master William T Street, proceeded to Milford Haven, where the Confederates were believed to be preparing a number of boats to attack the blockading force at the mouth of the Piankatank River. Leaving USS Fuchsia and USS Thomas Freeborn at Milford Haven, Street took armed boats in tow of USS Mercury and proceeded up Stutt’s Creek. Some three miles upstream a force of 40 sailors was landed, under Acting Master William A Arthur and Acting Ensign Philip Sheridan. Four Confederate boats were destroyed, five were captured, and a fishery demolished.
25 September 1864
North Carolina. USS Howquah, Acting Lieutenant John W Balch, USS Niphon, Acting Master Edmund Kemble, and USS Governor Buckingham, Acting Lieutenant John MacDiarmid, chased ashore and destroyed the blockade-running steamer Lynx off Wilmington with a cargo of cotton. The three Union steamers were fired upon by Lynx and by shore batteries. One Confederate shell struck USS Howquah but did not explode. Lynx sustained severe damage, ran ashore in flames, and was destroyed.
26 September 1864
Brazil. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, captured the bark Mondamin off the north-eastern coast.
North Carolina. Confederate Major-General William Henry Chase Whiting requested that CSS Tallahassee and CSS Chickamauga be retained in Wilmington for the defence of the port. The Confederate were nearly ready for sea and would attract more enemy blockaders to the region, making blockade-running more difficult. Despite Whiting’s objections and of General Robert Edward Lee two days earlier, the raiders were sent to sea to raid American commerce.
27 September 1864
Louisiana. USS Arkansas, Acting Lieutenant David Cate, captured the schooner Watchful south of Barataria Bay, with a cargo of lumber and arms.
North Carolina. Union Acting Ensign Semon made a second reconnaissance expedition to Masonboro Inlet and Wilmington. Semon gained important information concerning Confederate blockade-runners, the disposition of forces in the area, and arranged to procure pilots for the impending operation against Wilmington. He learned for the first time that the ironclad CSS North Carolina had sunk at anchor at Smithville and was no longer operational. USS North Carolina drew too much water to pass over the bars at the mouth of the Cape Fear River and had been almost entirely immobilised at Smithville.
29 September 1864
Cuba. The steamer Roanoke, bound for New York from Havana, was captured by Confederates under Acting Master John C Braine off the coast. Braine’s actions caused the Richmond government concern and embarrassment since his expedition was organised and carried out illegally from the neutral port of Havana. Instead of boarding the vessel as a passenger appropriately in New York, Braine had captured the ship on the Havana segment of its voyage. With a small group of Confederates, he overwhelmed the ship’s officers and took over the ship, then steered for Bermuda. After failing to smuggle coal and supplies, Braine decided that he could not pass the blockade into Wilmington and burned the ship.
North Carolina. The blockade-running British steamer Night Hawk was fired upon by USS Niphon as she attempted to run into New Inlet. The vessel was observed her go aground.
Virginia. Ships of the Confederate James River Squadron, Flag Officer Mitchell, supported Confederate troops in attacks against Fort Harrison at Chaffin’s Farm on the James River. Although the Confederates failed to retake Fort Harrison, the fire from Mitchell’s ships helped to prevent Union soldiers from capturing Chaffin’s Bluff.
30 September 1864
USS Niphon, Acting Master Kemble, had forced the blockade-running British steamer Night Hawk aground off Fort Fisher. A boat crew led by Acting Ensign Semon boarded the steamer, and under the fire of Fort Fisher set her ablaze and brought off the crew as prisoners.
29 September 1864
Virginia. Ships of the Confederate James River Squadron, Flag Officer Mitchell, supported troops in attacks against Fort Harrison at Chaffin’s Farm on the James River. Although the Confederates failed to retake Fort Harrison, the fire from Mitchell’s ships assisted them in preventing Union soldiers from capturing Chaffin’s Bluff.
1 October 1864
North Carolina. USS Niphon, Acting Master Kemble, ran The British blockade-runner Condor aground off New Inlet. USS Niphon was prevented from destroying the steamer by intense fire from Fort Fisher. Among the passengers on board the Condor was the famous Confederate agent Rose O’Neal Greenhow. Greenhow, fearful of being captured on the grounded runner with important dispatches, set out in a boat for shore but the craft overturned in the heavy surf. The crew managed to get ashore but the agent was weighed down by $2,000 in British gold in a pouch around her neck and drowned.
Texas. Confederate Major-General John George Walker reported that ten sailors and marines under Marines Captain W F Brown and Navy Lieutenant Marcus J Beebee had disguised themselves as passengers on board the steamer Ike Davis and captured her off Brazos. After overpowering the crew and imprisoning them, the Confederates took Ike Davis into Matagorda Bay.
3 October 1864
Great Britain. Captain Raphael Semmes, former commander of the raider CSS Alabama, embarked in the steamer Tasmanian bound for Havana, and thence to the Confederacy.
4 October 1864
Brazil. CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, arrived in Bahia for provisions and coal.
North Carolina. Confederates destroyed the lighthouse at the entrance from Albemarle Sound to Croatan Sound.
5 October 1864
Texas. USS Mobile, Acting Lieutenant Pierre Giraud, seized the blockade-running British schooner Annie Virdon south of Velasco, with a cargo of cotton.
5 October 1864
Florida. A two-day Union boat expedition commanded by Acting Ensign Henry Eason, USS Restless, destroyed large salt works on St Andrew’s Bay, along with 150 ancillary buildings.
6 October 1864
South Carolina. Acting Master Charles W Lee, USS Wamsutta, reported that the blockade-running steamer Constance had run aground and sunk near Long Island in Charleston harbour while trying to enter the port.
7 October 1864
Brazil. USS Wachusett, Commander Napoleon Collins, captured the raider CSS Florida, Lieutenant Morris, in Bahia harbour. Collins had been searching the sea lanes for the Confederate raider for many months and observed her entry into Bahia on 4 October and anchored close by the next morning. Collins challenged Morris to a ship-to-ship duel outside the harbour but the Confederate captain declined. The Brazilian authorities, recognizing the explosiveness of the situation, exacted promises from both Lieutenant Morris and the US Consul, Thomas Wilson, that no attacks would be made in Brazilian waters. Collins did not allow the elusive USA Florida to escape and plans were made to attack shortly after midnight. At 3 am USS Wachusett slipped her cable, steamed past the Brazilian gunboat anchored between itself and CSS Florida, and rammed the raider on her starboard quarter. After a brief exchange of gunfire, Lieutenant Porter, commanding CSS Florida in Morris’s absence, surrendered the ship. By this time the port authorities had reacted and the coastal fort opened fire, USS Wachusett had towed the prize out to sea. Collins’ actions were in clear violation of international law and prompt disavowal was made by US Secretary of State William Henry Seward. CSS Florida was taken to Hampton Roads, arriving on 12 November 1864. She was ordered returned to the Brazilian Government, but before she could be made ready for sea she sank in unexplained circumstances. Commander Collins was court-martialled and ordered to be dismissed from the naval service. At the trial, the captain admitted his actions had violated international law but offered a defence that the capture of the raider was for the public good. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles concurred with Collins, in view of the extensive destruction done by CSS Florida to Union commerce, and he restored Collins to command. The furore over the capture did not die down. Ultimately, to satisfy Brazil, a 21-gun salute as an “amende honorable” was fired by USS Nipsic in Bahia harbour on 23 July 1866.
North Carolina. USS Aster, Acting Master Samuel Hall, chased the blockade-runner Annie ashore at New Inlet, under the guns of Fort Fisher. The steamer deliberately ran aground and was destroyed to prevent capture. USS Niphon, Acting Master Kemble, rescued Hall and his men. Then, under fire from the Confederate batteries, USS Niphon also towed to safety USS Berberry, which had become disabled while trying to pull Aster off the shoal.
8 October 1864
Great Britain. The steamer Sea King sailed from London under merchant captain G H Corbett to make rendezvous with SS Laurel at Madeira. Sea King carried Confederate officers including Lieutenant William C Whittle. Laurel put to sea later the same day carrying Lieutenant James I Waddell who planned to take command of Sea King and commission her as the raider CSS Shenandoah. Laurel also carried the armaments and supplies to sustain CC Shenandoah for a long voyage.
Virginia. Union steam picket Boat No 2, Acting Ensign Andrew Stockholm, was captured by Confederate troops in Wicomico Bay. The boat was one of two purchased by Lieutenant William Barker Cushing in New York for the expedition against CSS Albemarle. It was en route with Picket Boat No 1 to Fortress Monroe. Mechanical troubles forced No 2 ashore for repairs and while these were in progress, No 1 continued onwards. Stockholm and his men were attacked by guerrillas and fought back until the boat grounded on a sand bar. Stockholm burned the boat and supplies before being captured.
9 October 1864
Alabama. A Confederate battery near Freeman’s wharf, in Mobile Bay, opened fire on USS Sebago, Lieutenant-Commander Fitzhugh, which was guarding the approaches to Mobile. USS Sebago returned the Confederate fire for an hour, sustaining five casualties.
Tennessee. USS Key West, Acting Lieutenant King, USS Undine, Acting Master Bryant, in company with the transports City of Pekin, Kenton, and Aurora, set out from Clifton to capture the town of Eastport, Mississippi. The aims were to secure the crossing against Confederate Major-General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry and to provide an outpost against the advance of Confederate General John Bell Hood from the east.
10 October 1864
Mississippi. USS Key West, Acting Lieutenant King, USS Undine, Acting Master Bryant, steamed up the Tennessee River and cautiously approached Eastport. Finding no evidence of the Confederates, the Federal troops began to land. Suddenly, masked batteries on both sides of the river opened a severe crossfire, immediately disabling the transports Aurora and Kenton and causing widespread confusion among the troops. USS Key West and USS Undine engaged the batteries. Seeing the two disabled transports drifting downstream out of control, Lieutenant King ordered USS Undine to follow them, while he stayed at Eastport to cover the re-embarkation of the troops on to City of Pekin as troops re-embarked and then to escort her downstream in retreat.
North Carolina. USS Montgomery, Lieutenant Faucon, captured the blockade-running British steamer Bat near Wilmington with a cargo of coal and machinery.
12 October 1864
Texas. USS Chocura, Lieutenant-Commander Richard W Meade, captured the blockade-running British schooner Louisa off Aransas Pass, with a cargo including iron and tools.
13 October 1864
Georgia. A three-day Union boat expedition from USS Braziliera, Acting Master Gillespie, and USS Mary Sanford, Acting Master Zaccheus Kempton, freed slaves from a plantation on White Oak Creek and drove off a company of Confederate cavalry at Yellow Bluff.
15 October 1864
North Carolina. Union Acting Master’s Mate Woodman completed his third successful reconnaissance of the Confederate positions at Plymouth. He reported that the ironclad CSS Albemarle was still moored to the wharf confirmed the abandonment of efforts to raise the captured steamer Southfield.
18 October 1864
Tennessee. In anticipation of the advance of Confederate General John Bell Hood, Union Major-General George Henry Thomas made plans to control the rivers. Lieutenant-Commander Greer, commanding the Union gunboat fleet on the lower Tennessee was patrolling the river as far up as Eastport, Mississippi, while Lieutenant Glassford patrolled between Bridgeport and Decatur, Alabama. As Hood approached Tuscumbia to make rendezvous with Major-General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry, Union commanders were determined to prevent the Confederates from crossing the Tennessee River in Alabama, relying on the gunboats for this purpose and for intelligence.
19 October 1864
Madeira. Sea King, a fast ship obtained for the Confederate cause in England, made rendezvous with the tender Laurel north of the island of Las Desertas. Sea King was sold to the Confederate States and renamed CSS Shenandoah, and then guns, supplies, and a crew were brought on board to equip her as a commerce raider. Lieutenant James I Waddell, who had sailed in Laurel, assumed command of the cruiser.
Texas. USS Mobile, Acting Lieutenant Giraud, captured the schooner Emily off San Luis Pass, with a cargo of cotton.
19 October 1864
Florida. A two-day Union boat expedition under Acting Master George E Hill, USS Stars and Stripes, ascended the Ocklockonee River and destroyed an extensive Confederate fishery on Marsh’s Island, capturing the guard detachment of soldiers.
21 October 1864
Florida. USS Sea Bird, Ensign E L Robbins, captured the blockade-running British schooner Lucy off Anclote Keys, with assorted cargo.
South Carolina. USS Fort Jackson, Captain Sands, captured steamer Wando at sea east of Cape Romain, with a cargo of cotton.
22 October 1864
North Carolina. USS Eolus, Acting Master William O Lundt, captured the Confederate blockade-running steamer Hope near Wilmington with a cargo of machinery.
South Carolina. The British blockade-running steamer Flora, after being chased by USS Wamsutta, USS Geranium, and USS Mingoe off Charleston.
Virginia. Union batteries on the north bank of the James River at Signal Hill opened fire on ships of the Confederate James River Squadron, anchored in the river near that point. The gunboat CSS Drewry, Lieutenant Wall, sustained damage and, after engaging the batteries for about one hour, the Confederate vessels retired under the protection of the guns of Fort Darling, on Chaffin’s Bluff.
22 October 1864
North Carolina. Union Acting Ensign Sommers, USS Tacony, led a three-day reconnaissance up the Roanoke River. While returning, they were fired on by Confederates and forced to seek cover in a swamp. After constructing a make-shift raft to support his wounded men, Sommers reached the mouth of the river and was picked up by Union forces. Four members of the party, missing in the swamp for four days, were rescued by Union scouts on 29 October.
23 October 1864
South Carolina. The British blockade-running steamer Flora, chased ashore off Charleston the previous day, was destroyed by gunfire from warships and the batteries on Morris Island.
South Carolina. The blockade-runner Flamingo, aground off Sullivan’s Island, was destroyed by Union shell fire from Fort Strong and Fort Putnam, Battery Chatfield, and warships of the blockading fleet.
24 October 1864
Florida. USS Nita, Acting Lieutenant Robert B Smith, captured an unknown schooner off Clearwater Harbour, after the crew fled.
Florida. USS Rosalie, Acting Ensign Henry W Wells, captured an unidentified the blockade-running sloop off Little Marco, with a cargo of salt and shoes.
Virginia. Confederate Flag Officer Mitchell considered the withdrawal of his gunboats upriver and closer to Richmond, because of their growing vulnerability to Union attack. Confederate General Robert Edward Lee advised that if the enemy could cross a force to the southern bank of the James River, it would provoke a major withdrawal and the abandonment of Petersburg and its railroad connections. Lee’s arguments required the fleet to remain on guard on the river below Chaffin’s Bluff.
25 October 1864
Virginia. A Union expedition from USS Don, Commander F A Parker, landed at Fleet’s Point in the Great Wicomico River, and burned buildings used by home guards when firing on Union gunboats. Four boats were also burned and five more captured.
26 October 1864
Maryland. USS Adolph Hugel, Acting Master Sylvanus Nickerson, captured the schooner Coquette with a cargo including tobacco and wheat at Wade’s Bay on the eastern shore of the Potomac River.
North Carolina. A boat expedition commanded by Union Lieutenant William Barker Cushing set out to destroy the ironclad CSS Albemarle at Plymouth on the Roanoke River. Cushing had been sent to Washington by Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee to explain his plan for sinking the Confederate ram. He proposed two options, one involving a boarding party to travel overland and attack from rubber boats, and the other calling for two steam launches to approach the ram’s moorings by river. Both plans envisaged the capture of the ram since Cushing wished to destroy the valuable ship only if absolutely necessary. Cushing proceeded to New York to procure the necessary boats and selected two thirty-foot steam picket launches, each fitted with a fourteen-foot spar torpedo and a twelve-pounder howitzer in the bow. Moving south by the inland water route, one boat was captured by the Confederates on 8 October 1864, but the other arrived in the sounds of North Carolina on 24 October. Cushing disclosed his secret plan and seven officers and men volunteered for the dangerous mission. An additional seven men were recruited from the blockading squadron. Cushing departed during the night of 26 October but grounded at the mouth of Roanoke River, spending most of the hours of darkness freeing his craft. The attack attempt postponed until 27 October.
27 October 1864
North Carolina. The boat expedition commanded by Union Lieutenant William Barker Cushing to destroy the ironclad CSS Albemarle at Plymouth on the Roanoke River resumed its progress after a delay aground at the mouth of the Roanoke River. Cushing was accompanied by fourteen men. Among them were Acting Master’s Mate William L Howorth and Acting Master’s Mate John Woodman, who had reconnoitred the approach thoroughly. Towed behind the raiders’ torpedo boat was a cutter from USS Shamrock whose crew was to board the steamer Southfield at the first hail and prevent any warning signals from being made. Southfield was sunk in the Roanoke a mile below the ironclad’s berth. The steam engine was muffled by a heavy tarpaulin as the expedition covered the eight miles between Albemarle Sound and Plymouth, keeping close to the bank and anticipating discovery. Cushing’s boats passed within twenty feet of Southfield without being challenged. The lieutenant still hoped to board CSS Albemarle but as he steamed up to the ram, a picket sighted the boat and issued a challenge. Cushing changed his plan and directed the cutter to cast off and capture the enemy guard aboard Southfield to secure his path of escape. The steam launch increased to full speed and came under heavy fire from the ship and from ashore. A large fire was lit ashore to light the scene and Cushing discovered a large boom of protective logs surrounding the Confederate ship. Under fire, he turned the boat around in order to strike the obstructions at full speed. In the lull in firing the Confederate Captain hailed the boat to identify itself. Cushing replied with a round of canister them from his howitzer. The boat lurched over the log barrier, the torpedo boom was lowered and the torpedo was thrust against the target at the same time that the CSS Albemarle’s first gun was fired. A shot went through the boat and this, along with the mass of water made by the exploding torpedo, swamped the launch. CSS Albemarle received a gaping hole in her port quarter and began to sink rapidly. CSS Albemarle went down in a few moments, leaving only the casemate and smokestack above water. Cushing found his own boat sinking but, refusing to surrender, ordered his men to save themselves and started to swim for shore. Making for shore, he tried to save the Woodman, who was unable to swim any longer, but he was lost. Cushing reached the bank and lay concealed until morning. Finding himself near a Confederate picket station, he stole a skiff and rowed eight miles downstream to Albemarle Sound, where he was picked op by USS Valley City. Edward J Houghton was the only other man of the fourteen raiders to escape death or capture.
28 October 1864
Alabama. USS General Thomas, Acting Master Gilbert Morton, engaged Confederate batteries near Decatur on the Tennessee River. USS General Thomas sustained damage but passed the batteries, rounded to and with the Army gunboat Stone River, opened fire at close range to drive the Confederates from their guns.
Maryland. The sloop James Landry was seized by USS Adolph Hugel, Acting Master Sylvanus Nickerson, for violation of the blockade.
North Carolina. CSS Chickamauga, Lieutenant, John Wilkinson, left Wilmington harbour, eluded the blockading vessels off the bar, and put to sea as a commerce raider.
North Carolina. USS Calypso, Acting Master Stuart, and USS Eolus, Acting Master Lundt, captured the blockade-running British steamer Lady Sterling off Wilmington with a cargo of cotton and tobacco.
29 October 1864
North Carolina. CSS Olustee (formerly CSS Tallahassee), Lieutenant William H Ward, eluded the blockaders off Wilmington and began a nine-day raiding cruise.
29 October 1864
North Carolina. Exploiting the destruction of the ironclad CSS Albemarle, Union Commander David B Macomb steamed up the Roanoke River with six ships to attack Plymouth. USS Valley City, Acting Master John A J Brooks, proceeded via Middle River and entered the Roanoke above Plymouth to cut off the garrison’s escape by water. Macomb’s gunboats engaged the lower batteries protecting the town but, finding two schooners had been sunk abreast the wreck of the USS Southfield to obstruct the river, was forced to withdraw to Albemarle Sound.
30 October 1864
Azores. CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant Waddell, captured and scuttled the bark Alina due south of the Azores and due west of Dakar. Alina was CSS Shenandoah’s first prize, with a cargo of railroad iron.
North Carolina. Union Commander David B Macomb resumed his advance to Plymouth, avoiding the obstructed route by the Roanoke River. His fleet of six gunboats approached via the Middle River to attack the city and its defences from above. The gunboats spent the entire day in navigating the difficult channels and shelling the Confederate works at long range.
Tennessee. Confederate batteries on the Tennessee River near Johnsonville, fired on and captured USS Undine, Acting Master Bryant, and the transports Venus and Cheeseman, after a brief engagement. USS Undine had convoyed transport Anna below Sandy Island and was returning upstream when the sound of artillery was heard further down the Tennessee. Bryant came about to investigate and was attacked near Paris Landing by a battery and small arms. While Undine USS was engaged, the transport Venus steamed down the river and passed the batteries to join the fight. About twenty minutes later, the transport Cheeseman also came downriver but was immediately disabled and captured. USS Undine fired for nearly three hours when her ammunition was nearly exhausted and the engine disabled. Bryant was forced to surrender but, when this was not observed by the Confederates and firing continued, he unsuccessfully attempted to destroy his vessel. USS Undine was taken intact along with the two transports, which were now available to ferry Confederate troops across the Tennessee River. The Confederate troops were part of Major-General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry who were attempting to cross the Tennessee River and join forces with General John Bell Hood for an advance into Tennessee.
31 October 1864
New England. CSS Chickamauga, Lieutenant Wilkinson, captured and burned off the coast the ship Emma L Hall, with a cargo of sugar and molasses, and also the ship Shooting Star, with a cargo of coal. Wilkinson transferred the passengers of Shooting Star to a passing vessel, the Albion Lincoln, which headed directly for New York to spread the alarm.
North Carolina. Union Commander David B Macomb resumed his advance to Plymouth via the Middle River. Macomb formed a line of battle with USS Commodore Hull, Acting Master Francis Josselyn, in the van, followed by USS Tacony, Lieutenant-Commander Truxtun, USS Shamrock, Commander Macomb, USS Otsego, Lieutenant-Commander Henry N T Arnold, and USS Wyalusing, Lieutenant-Commander English. USS Whitehead, Acting Master Barrett, was lashed to the port side of USS Tacony, with the tugs Bazely and Belle lashed to USS Shamrock and USS Otsego. The fleet engaged the Plymouth batteries and rifle pits at close range and USS Commodore Hull sustained heavy damage. The Union bombardment detonated a large magazine ashore and the Confederates began to evacuate their fortifications. Macomb ceased firing and landed men to capture the batteries. A landing party from USS Wyalusing entered Fort Williams without resistance, captured prisoners and secured the capture of Plymouth. Macomb captured 37 prisoners, 22 guns, and the sunken but valuable ironclad CSS Albemarle. The recapture of the town restored Union control of the Roanoke River, Albemarle Sound, and posed a threat from the sea to the interior of North Carolina.
North Carolina. USS Wilderness, Acting Master Henry Arey, and USS Niphon, Acting Master Kemble, seized the blockade-running British steamer Annie off New Inlet, with a cargo of tobacco, cotton, and turpentine.
Texas. USS Katahdin, Lieutenant-Commander John Irwin, captured the British blockade-runner Albert Edward off Galveston with a cargo of cotton.
1 November 1864
New Jersey. CSS Chickamauga, Lieutenant Wilkinson, captured and scuttled off the coast the schooners Goodspeed in ballast and Otter Rock with a cargo of potatoes. CSS Chickamauga, Lieutenant Wilkinson, captured the bark Speedwell off the New Jersey coast and bonded her for $18,000.
2 November 1864
Maryland. USS Adolph Hugel, Acting Master Sylvanus Nickerson, took the sloop Zion as a prize on the Potomac River for violation of the blockade.
New Jersey. CSS Chickamauga, Lieutenant Wilkinson, captured and bonded the bark Speedwell off the coast.
South Carolina. USS Santiago de Cuba, Captain Glisson, captured the blockade-running steamer Lucy east of Charleston with a cargo of cotton and tobacco.
Tennessee. USS Key West, Acting Lieutenant King, and USS Tawah, Acting Lieutenant Jason Goudy, patrolling the Tennessee River, encountered the former USS Undine and Venus, which the Confederates had captured three days earlier. After a running engagement, Venus was retaken and CSS Undine was damaged but escaped. Carrying Confederate troops, CSS Undine outran the pursuit and gained the protection of Confederate batteries at Reynoldsburg Island, near Johnsonville. King pressed on and discovered a strong Confederate field battery emplaced to command a narrow channel in the Tennessee River between Reynoldsburg Island and the west bank two miles below Johnsonville. The Confederate gunboat CSS Undine twice attempted to lure King and his gunboats downriver in range of the batteries but without success.
4 November 1864
Tennessee. Union Acting Lieutenant King was in command of the naval group which was patrolling the Tennessee River and protecting the Union depot and headquarters at Johnsonville when the forces of Confederate Major-General Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked the town by surprise. During the morning, CSS Undine came upriver from the protection of the Confederate batteries at Reynoldsburg Island. King took his three ships (USS Key West, USS Tawah, Acting Lieutenant Goudy, and USS Elfin, Acting Master Augustus F Thompson) down to engage her. At about the same time, Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, commanding USS Moose and five steamers, USS Brilliant, USS Victory, USS Curlew, USS Fairy, and USS Paw Paw, approached the downstream side of Reynoldsburg Island, to bring support to King. The Confederates burned CSS Undine and opened fire on the Union gunboats with shore fire. The narrowness of the channel and the commanding position occupied by the batteries meant that Fitch could not bring his ships closer to Johnsonville to aid USS Key West, USS Tawah, and USS Elfin, which had retired to a position off Johnsonville to protect the transports and supplies. The Confederates then moved their main batteries along the river to positions opposite Johnsonville, leaving sufficient guns to block Fitch’s passage, and commenced a heavy bombardment of the gunboats, transports, and wharves. After fighting for nearly an hour, King finally ordered his three severely damaged gunboats to be set on fire and abandoned. King and most of his men escaped to the waterfront, which was in flames as Union officers destroyed supplies to prevent them from falling into Confederate hands. The gunboats and transports were lost, but Forrest was prevented from capturing them intact. Forrest was unable to cross the river in force to capture Johnsonville and moved his batteries downstream to cut off Fitch and the gunboats below Reynoldsburg Island. Fitch succeeded in withdrawing his forces safely. The loss of USS Key West, USS Tawah, and USS Elfin proved the impossibility of small gunboats to contend successfully against heavy rifled field guns in a narrow river restricted by bars and shoals. It was apparent that Forrest was threatening to close the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers completely to Union river traffic.
5 November 1864
Cape Verde. CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant Waddell, captured and burned the schooner Charter Oak after removing her passengers and provisions. Suspecting that Union cruisers might be attracted by the blaze, then set off southward.
New York. Mayor W G Fargo of Buffalo news that that the ship Georgian had been purchased in Toronto by a known Confederate sympathiser, Dr James Bates. It was suspected that Georgian, to be commanded by Master John Y Beall, would be armed on the Canada shore for the purpose of attacking USS Michigan. Union Commander Carter of USS Michigan discounted the rumours but Georgian continued to arouse concern in the Great Lakes area. The suspicions had some basis as part of a new plot on the part of Confederate agent Jacob Thompson to capture USS Michigan and attack the cities on Lake Erie. The ship was kept under strict surveillance by Union agents and was searched twice by American and Canadian authorities without her true character being detected. Carter was authorised to seize Georgian if she ventured into American waters. Union intelligence and surveillance prevented this Confederate scheme from being executed and Georgian was laid up at Collingwood and later sold to private parties.
South Carolina. USS Patapsco, Lieutenant-Commander John Madigan, bombarded and set afire an unidentified sloop found aground off Fort Moultrie in Charleston harbour.
Texas. USS Fort Morgan, Lieutenant William B Eaton, captured the blockade-runner John A Hard off the coast with a cargo including coffee, rice, oil, dry goods, and medicines.
6 November 1864
Florida. Boats from USS Adela, Acting Lieutenant Louis N Stodder, captured the schooner Badger attempting to run the blockade out of St George’s Sound, with a cargo of cotton.
Texas. USS Fort Morgan, Lieutenant Eaton, captured the blockade-running schooner Lone off Brazos Pass, with a cargo including iron and bagging.
North Carolina. CSS Olustee (formerly CSS Tallahassee), Lieutenant William H Ward, returned to Wilmington after a brief but successful cruise, having destroyed the bark Empress Theresa, the schooners A J Bird, F F Lewis, and Vapor, the ship Arcole, and the brig T D Wagner.
8 November 1864
Cape Verde. CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant Waddell, captured and burned the bark D Godfrey southwest of the islands, with a cargo of beef and pork.
North Carolina. Acting Master Francis Josselyn, USS Commodore Hull, landed with a party of sailors at Edenton under orders to break up an illegal court session.
9 November 1864
Virginia. USS Stepping Stones, Acting Lieutenant Daniel A Campbell, captured the blockade-running sloops Reliance and Little Elmer in Mobjack Bay.
10 November 1864
Cape Verde. CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant Waddell, captured and scuttled the brig Susan southwest of the islands, with a cargo of coal.
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren proposed a new plan to attack Charleston. A force could be landed at Bull’s Bay, and then would march by road for fifteen miles. A second force would enter the inlet seaward of Sullivan’s Island, seize Long Island, and be transported by the Navy in the rear of Sullivan’s Island. Once there, they would be joined by the force from Bull’s Bay to occupy Mount Pleasant. The operation was estimated to require 30,000 to 50,000 men, but no such force was currently available.
11 November 1864
California. Union Commander Henry K Davenport, USS Lancaster, arrested Confederate agents aboard the steamer Salvador, bound from Panama to California. He had been informed that they intended to seize the ship at sea and convert her into a raider to intercept gold shipments from California. Salvador’s captain had warned naval authorities at Panama Bay that the attempt was to be made and Davenport arranged to search the baggage of the passengers after the vessel passed the territorial limits of Panama. The search revealed guns and ammunition, along with a commission from the Confederate Secretary of the Navy for the plan. The Confederate conspirators were led by Acting Master Thomas E Hogg.
Virginia. USS Wachusett, Commander Collins, arrived at Hampton Roads with the captured commerce raider CSS Florida.
12 November 1864
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant Waddell, seized and bonded the clipper ship Kate Prince and the brig Adelaide near the equator.
Florida. A boat expedition from USS Hendrick Hudson, Acting Lieutenant Charles H Rockwell, and USS Nita, Acting Lieutenant Robert B Smith, attempted to destroy Confederate salt works on a reconnaissance near Tampa Bay, but the sailors were driven back to their boats by Confederate cavalry.
13 November 1864
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant Waddell, captured and burned the schooner Lizzie M Stacey near the equator with a cargo of pine salt and iron. Two of the schooner’s seamen joined Shenandoah’s crew voluntarily and another was impressed.
14 November 1864
Virginia. Union Acting Master Lothrop Wight and Acting Ensign Frederick W Mintzer reconnoitred Confederate naval dispositions above Dutch Gap on the James River. Work was going ahead rapidly on the Dutch Gap Canal, which would allow Union gunboats to bypass the obstructions at Trent’s Reach.
17 November 1864
North Carolina. USS Otsego, Lieutenant-Commander Arnold, and USS Ceres, Acting Master Foster, ascended the Roanoke River to Jamesville, on a reconnaissance. The smaller USS Ceres continued upriver to Williamston but no Confederate batteries or troops were encountered.
18 November 1864
North Carolina. The raider CSS Chickamauga, Lieutenant Wilkinson, attempted to run the blockade into Wilmington under cover of heavy fog. Wilkinson had miscalculated his position entered Masonboro Inlet rather than New Inlet, as intended.
19 November 1864
North Carolina. CSS Chickamauga, Lieutenant Wilkinson, dropped down the coast from Masonboro Inlet early in the morning and anchored under the guns of Fort Fisher. The raider awaited high tide to cross the bar and ascend the Cape Fear River to Wilmington. As the fog lifted, the blockaders USS Kansas, USS Wilderness, USS Cherokee, and USS Clematis opened fire on what they believed to be a grounded blockade-runner. CSS Chickamauga returned the fire, and was joined by the heavy guns of Fort Fisher. Fog and the long range of the fort’s guns thwarted efforts to stop the cruiser and by mid-morning CSS Chickamauga was nearing Wilmington.
20 November 1864
North Carolina. USS Louisiana was ordered to move from Beaufort to Hampton Roads, to be loaded as the powder ship with which Union Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler intended to level the defences of Fort Fisher.
21 November 1864
Mississippi. Boats from USS Avenger, Acting Lieutenant Charles A Wright, captured a large quantity of supplies on the Mississippi River near Bruinsburg, after a brief engagement.
North Carolina. USS Iosco, Commander John Guest, captured the blockade-running schooner Sybil with a cargo of cotton, off the coast.
24 November 1864
Alabama. Confederate Lieutenant James McC Baker first proposed a raid to capture Fort Pickens in April 1864. He would lead a landing force of sailors and soldiers in small boats down the eastern shore pf Pensacola Bay into Bon Secours. After hauling the boats across a narrow strip of land into Little Lagoon, the raiders would enter the Gulf twenty miles east of Fort Morgan and be within seven hours’ rowing of Fort Pickens. On 25 October 1864, Baker departed Mobile with a number of sailors on the steamer Dick Keys and was joined that night at Blakely by 100 soldiers from Major-General Dabney Herndon Maury’s command. Maury ordered a temporary delay because of reports that Union reinforcements had landed at the Pensacola Navy Yard near Fort Pickens. This intelligence was later found to be inaccurate, but Maury was reluctant to go ahead with the operation which he thought had been detected. He suggested that the soldiers return temporarily to their companies to give the appearance of the expedition being called It would be launched when the project could proceed in secrecy and with more certainty of success. The mission was finally cancelled by Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory and the troops were recalled to the defence of Mobile.
Texas. USS Chocura, Lieutenant-Commander Meade, sighted the schooner Louisa and chased her ashore on the bar off San Bernard River. A heavy gale totally destroyed the schooner before she could be boarded.
27 November 1864
Mexico USS Metacomet, Lieutenant-Commander Jouett, captured the blockade-running steamer Susanna off Campeche Banks. Half the cargo of cotton was thrown overboard in the chase.
Mississippi. USS Vindicator, Acting Lieutenant Gorringe, and USS Prairie Bird, Acting Master Burns, transported and covered a successful Union cavalry attack on Confederate communications in western Mississippi. Thirty miles of track and the important railroad bridge over the Big Black River east of Vicksburg were destroyed.
South Carolina. The blockade-running British steamer Beatrice was captured by picket boats under Acting Master Gifford off Charleston. The prize crew accidentally grounded Beatrice near Morris Island and was soon wrecked.
Texas. USS Princess Royal, Commander Woolsey, seized the blockade-running British schooner Flash off Brazos Santiago with a cargo of cotton. Later in the day, USS Princess Royal also captured the blockade-running schooner Neptune.
Virginia. An explosion and fire destroyed Union Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler’s headquarters steamer Greyhound five miles from Bermuda Hundred on the James River. Butler, Major-General Robert Cumming Schenck, and Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter, were on board for a conference on the forthcoming Fort Fisher expedition and narrowly missed being killed or injured in the explosion. It is probable that one of the secret Confederate “coal torpedoes” had been planted in Greyhound’s boiler.
29 November 1864
Louisiana. A boat under the command of Acting Ensign A Rich from USS Elk, Acting Lieutenant Nicholas Kirby, captured an unidentified small craft with a cargo of whisky and opium near Mandeville.
South Carolina. Union Major-General John Gray Foster had proposed an expedition up the Broad River to cut the Charleston-Savannah Railway and to establish contact with the approaching armies of Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman. Commander George H Preble organised an artillery battalion and two naval infantry battalions to operate with the Army and they landed at Boyd’s Landing on Broad River.
Virginia. USS Onondaga, Commander William A Parker, and USS Mahopac, Lieutenant-Commander Edward E Potter, engaged Howlett’s Battery on the James River for three hours.
30 November 1864
Florida. A boat expedition under the command of Acting Master Charles H Cadieu, USS Midnight, landed at St Andrew’s Bay, destroyed a salt work and took prisoners.
South Carolina. A Union Naval Brigade composed of 350 sailors and 150 Marines commanded by Commander George H Preble moved forward from Boyd’s Landing on Broad River. They took part in the battle at Honey Hill and afterwards entrenched on the Grahamville Road. Union Major-General John Gray Foster then decided to advance up the Tulifinny River toward Pocotaligo.
Texas. USS Itasca, Lieutenant-Commander George Brown, seized the blockade-running British schooner Carrie Mair off Pass Cavallo.
30 November 1864
South Carolina. Intelligence reached the blockading fleet off Charleston that Union prisoners were attempting to reach the fleet after having escaped from a prisoner train en route to Savannah. Acting Master Isaac Pennell, with five boats and nearly 100 men from USS Ethan Allen and USS Dai Ching, searched the South Altamaha River for five days but found none of the escapees. After encountering a considerable Confederate force, Pennell was compelled to withdraw to the ships.
1 December 1864
North Carolina. USS Rhode Island, Commander Stephen D Trenchard, captured the blockade-running British steamer Vixen off Cape Fear, with a cargo including arms.
Tennessee. In order to cope with the powerful rifled batteries erected by the Confederates along the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee strengthened the forces of Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch with the ironclads USS Neosho and USS Carondelet.
2 December 1864
South Carolina. USS Pequot, Lieutenant-Commander Braine sighted the blockade-running steamer Ella off the coast of South Carolina and pursued her for nearly seven hours before darkness halted the chase.
2 December 1864
North Carolina. A four-day Union expedition including sailors from USS Chicopee, Commander Harrell, captured and burned a large quantity of Confederate supplies and equipment near Pitch Landing on the Chowan River. A quantity of cotton and Confederate money and bonds were taken.
3 December 1864
Florida. A boat expedition from USS Nita, USS Stars and Stripes, USS Hendrick Hudson, USS Ariel, and USS Two Sisters, commanded by Acting Lieutenant Robert B Smith, destroyed a large salt work at Rocky Point in Tampa Bay.
North Carolina. Early in the morning, USS Emma, Acting Lieutenant Thomas Dunn, sighted the blockade-running steamer Ella steering for the western bar of the Cape Fear River. After attempting to intercept her, USS Emma forced the Ella aground near the light at Bald Head Point. Ships of the blockading squadron shelled the grounded Ella for two days.
South Carolina. USS Mackinaw, Commander Beaumont, captured the schooner Mary east of Charleston with a cargo of cotton, tobacco, and turpentine.
Tennessee. USS Moose, Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, USS Carondelet, Acting Master Charles W Miller, USS Fairplay, Acting Master George J Groves, USS Reindeer, Acting Lieutenant Henry A Glassford, and USS Silver Lake, Acting Master Joseph C Coyle, started down the Cumberland River during the night after hearing that Confederate troops under Major-General Nathan Bedford Forrest had erected a battery on the river at Bell’s Mills.
3 December 1864
Tennessee. USS Moose, Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, USS Carondelet, Acting Master Charles W Miller, USS Fairplay, Acting Master George J Groves, USS Reindeer, Acting Lieutenant Henry A Glassford, and USS Silver Lake, Acting Master Joseph C Coyle, engaged Confederate field batteries on the Cumberland River near Bell’s Mills. Fitch caught the Confederate gunners by surprise. Although visibility was limited by darkness, smoke, and steam, USS Moose and USS Reindeer, and USS Silver Lake drove the Confederate gunners from the bank. USS Carondelet and USS Fairplay passed below the batteries and recaptured the three transports Prairie State, Prima Donna, and Magnet and released many prisoners taken earlier from the transports. Fitch returned to Nashville with valuable intelligence on the Confederate forces preparing for battle at Nashville.
4 December 1864
Atlantic Ocean. CSS Mackinaw captured the brig Hattie E Wheeler west of the Azores, with a cargo of sugar.
Atlantic Ocean. USS R R Cuyler, Commander Caldwell, USS Mackinaw, Commander Beaumont, and USS Gettysburg, Lieutenant R H Lamson, captured the blockade-running steamer Armstrong west of the Azores. USS R R Cuyler and USS Gettysburg, joined USS Montgomery to picked bales of cotton thrown over from Armstrong during the chase. Tristan da Cunha. CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant Waddell, captured and burned the whaling bark Edward after transferring supplies and acquiring two small boats.
Alabama. Confederate Major-General Dabney Herndon Maury, commanding at Mobile, reported that USS Hartford and other heavy vessels had disappeared from Mobile Bay. Maury also commented that John P Halligan, builder of the torpedo boat Saint Patrick had not yet used the vessel in action and seemed unlikely to risk his invention.
Florida. Boats from USS Pursuit, Acting Lieutenant George Taylor, captured Peep O’Day near Indian River, with a cargo of cotton.
Texas. USS Chocura, Lieutenant-Commander Meade, captured the schooner Lowood south of Velasco, with a cargo of cotton.
Texas. USS Pembina, Lieutenant-Commander James G Maxwell, seized the blockade-running Dutch brig Geziena Hilligonda near Brazos Santiago, with a cargo including medicines, iron, and cloth.
5 December 1864
USA. In his fourth annual report to the President, US Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles noted the impact of sea power on the Confederacy. The blockade of a coastline had resulted in the acquisition or destruction of sixty-five steamers, worth $13,000,000 with their cargoes, out of Wilmington alone. Over fifty vessels had been taken off Charleston. The US Navy had grown to 671 ships mounting over 4,600 guns. A total of 203 ships had been built for naval service since March 1861, including 62 ironclads. This growing force had imposed an increasingly close blockade and by December 1864 had taken nearly 1,400 prizes. Three Confederate commerce raiders had been suppressed or destroyed: CSS Alabama, CSS Florida, and CSS Georgia. The last major Gulf port had been closed at Mobile Bay by naval victory.
North Carolina. A Union boarding party commanded by Acting Ensign Isaac S Sampson burned the blockade-runner Ella, which had been driven aground at Bald Head Point on 3 December 1864
Texas. USS Chocura, Lieutenant-Commander Meade, seized the blockade-running British schooner Julia south of Velasco, with a cargo including bar iron, medicines, cotton bagging, and rope.
Virginia. A Confederate force under Acting Master William A Hines captured the tug Lie Freeman by boarding near Smithfield. The raid took place shortly before midnight while the Union tug, with two Army officers on board, lay at anchor.
5 December 1864
Georgia. The Union naval landing force under Commander George H Preble participated in fighting around Tulifinny Crossroads, as Union troops attempted to cut the Savannah-Charleston Railway and meet the advancing forces of Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman. The Naval Brigade was withdrawn from Boyd’s Landing on Broad River. While Union gunboats made a feint against the Coosawhatchie River fortifications, they landed further up the nearby Tulifinny River. The naval brigade attempted four days to reach the strategic railway, managing to shell it but not to destroy it.
Virginia. USS Saugus, USS Onondaga, USS Mahopac, and USS Canonicus engaged Confederate shore batteries at Howlett’s landing on the James River. USS Saugus was hit by a solid shot that disabled her turret.
6 December 1864
Florida. USS Sunflower, Acting Master Charles Loring III, seized the blockade-running sloop Pickwick off St George’s Sound.
North Carolina. Union Lieutenant-General Ulysses Simpson Grant informed Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler about the objectives of the proposed joint expedition against Wilmington. The first objective was for Major-General Godfrey Weitzel’s troops to close the port of Wilmington by landing on the mainland between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic north of the north entrance to the river. The troops would entrench and cooperate with the Navy to reduce and capture the Confederate fortifications. The Navy would then enter the harbour and capture the port of Wilmington.
Tennessee. Union Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch led USS Neosho, Acting Lieutenant Howard, USS Fairplay, USS Silver Lake, and USS Moose with several Army transports down the Cumberland River from Nashville to engage Confederate batteries near Bell’s Mills. The ironclad USS Neosho took the lead with the more lightly protected ships to the rear, single-handedly engaging the Confederate artillery from a position directly in front of the main battery. USS Neosho soon scattered the enemy infantry, but the batteries were elevated too high to be seriously targeted. The Confederate fire rapidly wrecked everything on deck. After holding the position for about two and a half hours, Fitch withdrew upstream. Aware that his less armoured vessels would not survive a passage of the batteries, he returned with the flotilla to Nashville. Later in the day, USS Neosho was joined by USS Carondelet and the batteries again from a different firing position and disabled some of the Confederate guns. During the day, USS Neosho was struck over a hundred times but received no serious damage.
Texas. USS Chocura, Lieutenant-Commander Meade, seized the blockade-running British schooner Lady Hurley off Velasco, with a cargo including bar iron, steel, salt, and medicines. This was the third prize taken by Meade in three days as the Union naval forces reinstated the blockade of the Texas coast.
Texas. USS Princess Royal, Commander Woolsey, captured the blockade-running schooner Alabama after forcing her aground near San Luis Pass. The crew abandoned ship. A boarding party got the ship free and took the prize to Galveston with a cargo of iron bars, rope, flour, and soda.
7 December 1864
Alabama, USS Narcissus, Acting Ensign William G Jones, struck a Confederate torpedo off the city of Mobile in a heavy storm. The torpedo exploded and broke a large hole in the starboard side amidships, causing the vessel to sink in about fifteen minutes. The tug sank without loss of life and was raised later in the month.
North Carolina. The blockade-running steamer Stormy Petrel was run ashore and fired upon by Union gunboats while attempting to enter Wilmington.
8 December 1864
Mississippi. USS J P Jackson, Acting Lieutenant Pennington, and USS Stockdale, Acting Master Thomas Edwards, captured the blockade-running schooner Medora in Mississippi Sound with a cargo of cotton.
North Carolina. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter revealed to Lieutenant-Commander Watmough, the senior Naval officer off New Inlet, the plan to explode a vessel laden with powder at Fort Fisher. The vessel would draw as near to Fort Fisher as possible and explode its load of 350 tons of powder against the exterior of the fort. The explosion was expected to silence Fort Fisher and the defences along the beach so that the blockading fleet could approach to fire without risk of damage.
North Carolina. USS Cherokee, Lieutenant William E Dennison, captured the blockade-running British steamer Emma Henry off the coast with a cargo of cotton.
Texas. USS Itasca, Lieutenant-Commander George Brown, chased the blockade-running sloop Mary Ann ashore at Pass Cavallo. Brown removed the cargo of cotton and destroyed her.
9 December 1864
North Carolina. USS Otsego, Lieutenant-Commander Arnold, USS Wyalusing, Lieutenant-Commander English, USS Valley City, Acting Master John A J Brooks, and the tugs Belle and Bazely, made an expedition to capture Rainbow Bluff on the Roanoke River, and to discover a Confederate ram rumoured to be under construction at Halifax. Commander David B Macomb anchored his squadron at Jamesville to await the arrival of cooperating troops. USS Otsego sank while anchoring in the Roanoke River near Jamesville after striking two torpedoes in quick succession. The tug Bazely, coming alongside to assist, also struck a torpedo and sank instantly. Arnold and part of his crew remained on board the sunken USS Otsego to cover the river with her guns which remained above the water on the hurricane deck. The rest of the flotilla slowly moved upriver, dragging for torpedoes, while waiting to join the attack on Rainbow Bluff.
10 December 1864
Florida. USS O H Lee, Acting Master Oliver Thacher, captured the blockade-running British schooner Sort off Anclote Keys, with a cargo of cotton.
North Carolina. The blockade-running steamer Stormy Petrel, which had been run ashore while attempting to enter Wilmington, was destroyed in a gale.
10 December 1864
Georgia. CSS Macon, Lieutenant Kennard, CSS Sampson, Lieutenant William W Carnes, and CSS Resolute, Acting Master’s Mate William D Oliveira, under the command of Flag Officer Hunter, took Union shore batteries under fire at Tweedside on the Savannah River. Hunter attempted to run his gunboats downriver to join the defence of Savannah but was unable to pass the Union guns.
Georgia. The Confederate Navy attempted to save the remaining warships in the city to evade capture at Savannah. Commander Thomas W Brent, CSS Savannah, ordered the torpedoes in Savannah harbour to be removed so that his ships might fight their way to Charleston. After every endeavour, Confederate Lieutenant McAdam found that he was unable to remove any of them because the anchors to which they are attached were too firmly embedded in the sand.
12 December 1864
Georgia. CSS Macon, Lieutenant Kennard, CSS Sampson, Lieutenant William W Carnes, and CSS Resolute, Acting Master’s Mate William D Oliveira, under the command of Flag Officer Hunter, continued in their attempt to pass the Union shore batteries at Tweedside on the Savannah River. CSS Resolute was disabled, abandoned and captured. Accepting that he could not pass his remaining two vessels to Savannah, and having destroyed the railroad bridge over the Savannah River which he had been defending, Hunter took advantage of unusually high water to move upstream to Augusta.
13 December 1864
Louisiana. Confederate Captain Raphael Semmes reached the banks of the Mississippi River before dark. He had returned a month to Mexico from London and was en route to Mobile, Alabama, before making his way to Richmond. Semmes crossed the Mississippi River with his son, Major O J Semmes. They made a night crossing of the river in a crowded skiff, avoiding Union gunboats patrolling the vicinity. Semmes succeeded in reaching Richmond, where he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral for his exploits as a commerce raider.
Virginia. The Union fleet massed for the bombardment of Fort Fisher departed Hampton Roads for Wilmington. USS Sassacus, Lieutenant-Commander John L Davis, was assigned the duty of towing the powder ship Louisiana to Beaufort, North Carolina, where she was to take on more powder. Army transports carrying the invasion force commanded by Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler left Hampton Roads at the same time.
14 December 1864
Georgia. Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Russell Mallory directed Flag Officer Hunter, commanding the warships at Savannah, to attempt to fight his way to Charleston with all of his ships except the immobilised CSS Georgia.
14 December 1864
Georgia. Union gunboats supporting Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman aided in the capture of Fort Beaulieu and Fort Rosedew in Ossabaw Sound, which formed the outer defences of Savannah. USS Winona, Lieutenant-Commander Dana, USS Sonoma, Lieutenant-Commander Scott, and mortar gunboats shelled the forts for seven days.
Tennessee. Union Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch took the seven gunboats of his command down the Cumberland River towards the main Confederate battery guarding the river near Nashville. Four guns were found to be in position. The Union army of Major-General George Henry Thomas was not yet in a position to capture the battery, so Fitch remained above them until the afternoon when Union cavalry reached the rear of the Confederate defences. USS Neosho and USS Carondelet moved down and found the Confederates trying to remove the guns. The Union cavalry closed in and captured them with little resistance. The Union gunboats then engaged other batteries down the river, silencing some with gunfire and distracting the Confederate gunners at others until Union cavalry encircled them.
15 December 1864
Virginia. A Union expedition under Acting Master William G Morris, including USS Coeur De Lion and USS Mercury, seized and burned more than thirty large boats which the Confederates had been massing on the Coan River, and drove off their guards.
15 December 1864
Tennessee. Gunboats of the Union Mississippi Squadron commanded by Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, continued to engage Confederate batteries on the Cumberland River. By the afternoon, all of the Confederate batteries on the Cumberland had been captured and the left flank of Confederate General John Bell Hood was in full retreat after the Union army’s attack at Nashville.
16 December 1864
North Carolina. USS Mount Vernon, Acting Lieutenant James Trathen, in company with USS New Berne, Acting Lieutenant T A Harris, captured and burned the schooner G O Bigelow in ballast at Bear Inlet.
16 December 1864
North Carolina. Union Acting Master Charles A Pettit, USS Monticello, began a dangerous mission off New Inlet to remove Confederate torpedoes and their firing apparatus near the base of Fort Caswell. Pettit’s expedition was part of the extensive preparations for the bombardment and assault on Fort Fisher and the defences of Wilmington planned for later in December.
18 December 1864
North Carolina. USS Louisiana, Commander Rhind, arrived off Fort Fisher, having been towed from Beaufort by USS Sassacus, Lieutenant-Commander J L Davis. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter and his fleet accompanied the bomb-ship USS Louisiana, which was to be blown up against the exterior of Fort Fisher to reduce the Confederate defences. Rhind and his crew of volunteers then proceeded toward Fort Fisher towed by USS Wilderness, Acting Master Henry Arey, but found the swells too severe and turned back. Union Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler, seeing the worsening weather, asked Porter to postpone the attempt until the sea was calm enough to land his troops safely.
19 December 1864
Georgia. CSS Water Witch was burned by the Confederates in the Vernon River near Savannah, in order to prevent capture by Union troops advancing on the city. After failing to move his smaller vessels upriver, Confederate Flag Officer Hunter destroyed CSS Savannah, CSS Isondiga, CSS Firefly, and the floating battery CSS Georgia.
Texas. USS Princess Royal, Commander Melancthon B Woolsey, captured the schooner Cora off Galveston with a cargo of cotton.
20 December 1864
North Carolina. Boats from USS Chicopee, USS Valley City, and USS Wyalusing under the command of Commander David B Macomb made an expedition to engage Confederate troops at Rainbow Bluff. The gunboats had been fired upon while dragging for torpedoes in the Roanoke River seven miles below the Bluff. Macomb attempted to clear the banks but made slow progress against the Confederates along the river. The Union gunboats continued to move laboriously up the river, dragging for torpedoes in small boats while being harassed by Confederate riflemen. As many as 40 torpedoes were found in some bends of the river. Union troops assigned to assist the gunboats were delayed and by the time they arrived to advance on Rainbow Bluff, the Confederate garrison had been strongly reinforced. The torpedoes in the river, the strong batteries along the banks below that point, and the difficulty of navigating the river forced the abandonment of the operation.
20 December 1864
South Carolina. A Union boat expedition under the command of Acting Master Pennell, USS Ethan Allen, made a reconnaissance of the Altamaha River, engaging Confederate pickets and returning with prisoners and horses.
21 December 1864
Georgia. USS Winona, Lieutenant-Commander Dana, USS Sonoma, Lieutenant-Commander Scott, and some mortar gunboats had shelled Fort Beaulieu and Fort Rosedew in Ossabaw Sound, which formed the outer defences of Savannah, for a week. The forts were abandoned by the Confederates and occupied by a landing party.
North Carolina. The blockade-runner Owl, Commander Maffitt, ran the Union blockade out of Wilmington with a cargo of cotton.
23 December 1864
USA. US President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill passed the preceding day by Congress which created the rank of Vice-Admiral in the US Navy. David Glasgow Farragut became the first Vice-Admiral in American history, just as he had been its first Rear Admiral.
Georgia. Union Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman occupied Savannah and found Union warships off the coast ready to provide support, supplies, and transportation for his forces.
South Carolina. USS Acacia, Acting Master William Barrymore, captured the blockade-running British steamer Julia off Alligator Creek, with a cargo of cotton.
23 December 1864
Alabama. Union Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee, commanding the Mississippi Squadron, arrived off Chickasaw in an attempt to cut off the retreat of Confederate General John Bell Hood’s army from Nashville. At Chickasaw, USS Fairy, Acting Ensign Charles Swendson, destroyed a Confederate fort and magazine but the riverboat was unable to go beyond Great Mussel Shoals on the Tennessee River because of low water.
North Carolina. After many days of delay because of heavy weather, the powder ship USS Louisiana, Commander Rhind, was towed forward by USS Wilderness late at night and anchored 250 yards off Fort Fisher.
24 December 1864
North Carolina. The powder ship USS Louisiana, Commander Rhind, was anchored 250 yards off Fort Fisher. After Rhind and his crew set the fuses and a fire in the stern, they escaped by small boat to USS Wilderness. Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter and Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler, who was waiting in Beaufort to land his troops the next morning to storm Fort Fisher, placed great hope that the exploding powder ship would wreck the exterior defences of Fort Fisher. The clock mechanism failed to ignite the powder at the appointed time of 1:18 am, but after an anxious wait the fire set in the stern of the ship reached the powder and a tremendous explosion occurred. Fort Fisher and its garrison were not greatly affected although the blast was heard many miles away. Confederate Colonel William Lamb, the fort’s commander, presumed in fact that a blockader had gone aground near the fort and blow itself up to avoid capture.
24 December 1864
North Carolina. The sunken wrecks of USS Otsego and USS Bazely were destroyed in the Roanoke River at Rainbow Bluff to prevent their falling into Confederate hands.
North Carolina. Union naval forces under the command of Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter and the army of Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler launched an unsuccessful attack against Fort Fisher. The transports carrying Butler’s troops had retired to Beaufort in order to avoid the anticipated effects of the explosion of the powder boat USS Louisiana while the fleet assembled twelve miles from the fort. At daylight, the entire fleet got underway, formed a line of battle before the Confederate works and commenced a heavy bombardment. The Confederate defenders, under the command of Colonel William Lamb, were mostly driven from their guns and into the bombproof shelters of Fort Fisher. Some gun crews managed to return fire from a few of their heavy guns. By taking shelter the defenders suffered comparatively few casualties from the heavy bombardment. The Union transport ships did not arrive from Beaufort until evening, and it was too late for an assault landing. Porter withdrew his ships, intending to renew the attack the next day. Most of the Union naval casualties resulted from the bursting of five 100-pounder Parrott guns on board five different ships.
25 December 1864
North Carolina. Union Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s fleet opened fire at 10:30 on Fort Fisher and maintained the bombardment while troops were landed north of the works near the Flag Pond Battery. Naval gunfire kept the garrison away from their guns while Union Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler landed about 2,000 men, who advanced toward the land face of the fort. Meanwhile, Porter attempted to find a channel through New Inlet in order to attack the Confederate forts from Cape Fear River. Commander Guest, USS Iosco, and a detachment of gunboats encountered a shallow bar over which they could not pass. Crews led by Lieutenant William Baker Cushing began to sound the channel in small boats, buoying it for the ships to pass through. Receiving heavy fire from the forts, Cushing was forced to turn back, and one of his boats was cut in half by a Confederate shell. Late in the afternoon, skirmishers advanced to within a few yards of the fort, supported by unrelenting fire from the Union warships. The Union Army commanders found the works too strongly defended to be carried by assault with the troops available and the soldiers withdrew to re-embark. About 700 men were left behind on the beaches as the weather worsened. They were protected by gunboats under Captain Glisson, USS Santiago de Cuba, who had lent close support during the initial landing.
26 December 1864
North Carolina. The blockade-runner Chameleon, formerly the raider CSS Tallahassee, under the command of Lieutenant Wilkinson, slipped out of Wilmington amid the confusion of the attack on Fort Fisher.
27 December 1864
Alabama. Union gunboats engaged and destroyed two Confederate field guns near Florence, but as the water of the Tennessee River had fallen drastically, the ships were compelled to withdraw toward Eastport.
North Carolina. The last Union troops trapped onshore at Fort Fisher embarked on ships and escaped capture. The Union attack on Fort Fisher had failed. Confederate reinforcements under Major-General Robert Frederick Hoke came from Wilmington and arrived at Confederate Point just after the Union force departed. The Union Army transports returned to Hampton Roads while Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter’s fleet remained at Wilmington and Beaufort. Porter maintained a sporadic bombardment to prevent repairs of the fort.
Texas. Shortly after midnight a boat crew under the command of Acting Ensign N A Blume from USS Virginia, cut out the schooner Belle in Galveston harbour with a cargo of cotton. Belle was at anchor only some 400 yards from the Confederate guard boat Lecompte when Blume’s party boarded and sailed her out of the harbour.
28 December 1864
North Carolina. The expedition by USS Chicopee, USS Valley City, and USS Wyalusing under the command of Commander David B Macomb returned to Plymouth after abandoning their expedition to ascend the Roanoke. The gunboats had been halted by Confederate batteries at Rainbow Bluff, torpedoes and other obstacles, and the difficulty of navigating the river.
South Carolina. Union Rear Admiral John Adolphus Dahlgren withdrew the naval brigade of Commander George H Preble from the Tulifinny River. The sailors and marines were restored to their respective ships. The 500-man brigade was hastily brought together and trained in infantry tactics, and then took part in an arduous four-week campaign against the Charleston-Savannah Railroad. Although the Savannah-Charleston railroad was not cut, the operation diverted Confederate troops from opposing the approaching armies of Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman.
Texas. USS Kanawha, Lieutenant-Commander Taylor, forced an unidentified the blockade-running sloop ashore near Caney Creek and destroyed her.
29 December 1864
Indian Ocean. CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant Waddell, captured and destroyed the bark Delphine with a cargo of rice.
30 December 1864
Mississippi. USS Rattler, Acting Master Willets, parted her cables in a heavy gale, ran ashore, struck a snag, and sank in the Mississippi River near Grand Gulf. Willets salvaged most of Rattler’s supplies and armament but was forced to abandon the ship, which was subsequently burned by Confederates.
31 December 1864
South Carolina. Two launches from USS Wabash and USS Pawnee under the command of Acting Master’s Mates Albert F Rich and William H Fitzgerald ran aground and were captured in Charleston harbour by Confederate pickets. The two launches were driven aground close to Fort Sumter by a strong tide and freshening wind. A total of 27 sailors were captured.’
Texas. USS Metacomet, Lieutenant-Commander Jouett, captured the schooner Sea Witch southeast of Galveston, with a cargo of coffee and medicine.