previous next

The operations of the United States navy were almost unknown to the public during the first weeks of the war, while there was not a move of the army that was not heralded in the newspapers and made known in all quarters. But a very small proportion of the people knew that another class of men was struggling for the preservation of the Union, spending nights and days in sleepless vigilance and untiring activity. The seamen and officers of the navy should receive their due proportion of praise and honor for the ultimate victory that they helped to win.

By the force of circumstances, the Potomac River, from Washington to its mouth, drew the attention of the naval authorities in April, 1861. All thoughts were concentrated upon the protection of the national capital, and besides offering this protection on the water, the navy, at first, played scout for the land forces as well. There was a constant and painstaking inspection of the river; observations were made to see if preparations for batteries were in progress, and every effort was made to prevent communication between the northern and southern shores. It was actually the beginning of the blockade, although the Confederates were first in the field with their attempts to intercept transports and steamers on the way to Washington. On the 14th of May, Lieutenant Sproston, commanding the Mount Vernon, discovered an earth battery in the course of erection at Aquia Creek.

The Federal flotilla in the Potomac, at the time hostilities began, was composed of small vessels of light draft, whose armament precluded them from any close or lengthy action with land batteries that possessed heavier guns. The sloop-of-war

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Sproston (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April, 1861 AD (1)
May 14th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: