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Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume 2., Early operations on the Potomac River. (search)
Early operations on the Potomac River. Professor J. Russell Soley, U. S. N. The first active naval operations of the war were those on the Potomac River, in May and June, 1861. At this time the larger vessels of the navy were engaged in setting on foot the blockade of the coast, in pursuance of the President's proclamations Potomac River, in May and June, 1861. At this time the larger vessels of the navy were engaged in setting on foot the blockade of the coast, in pursuance of the President's proclamations of April 19th and 27th. The Niagara, Minnesota, Roanoke, and Susquehanna on the Atlantic coast, under Flag-Officer Silas H. Stringham, and the Colorado, Mississippi, Powhatan, and Brooklyn in the Gulf, under Flag-Officer William Mervine, took the initial steps to render the blockade effective. Smaller vessels were sent to the blockading stations as rapidly as they could be prepared. The Potomac River, although officially within the limits of the Atlantic Squadron, became early in the war a nearly independent command, owing to its distance from the flag-ship, and its nearness to Washington. In May the Potomac flotilla was organized, under Commander Jame
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: Volume 2., The Administration in the Peninsular campaign. (search)
mained inactive. For seven months the Army of the Potomac was held within the defenses of Washington. Its only important movement had resulted in the disheartening disaster of Ball's Bluff. The Confederates, with headquarters at Manassas, confronted them with an army, represented by General McClellan, on the faith of his secret-service department, as numbering at least 115,500, probably 150,000, but now known to have at no time exceeded 63,000. Of which only 44,563 were at Manassas. The Potomac was closed to navigation by Confederate batteries established on its banks within twenty-three miles of the capital. Norfolk, with its navy-yard, was left untouched and unmenaced. The loyal States had furnished three-quarters of a million of soldiers, and the country had rolled up a daily increasing war debt of $600,000,000. There is no indication that General McClellan appreciated, or even perceived, the consequences that must inevitably follow the loss of confidence on the part of the