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February 17th (search for this): chapter 50
d it of sufficient importance to notify him of it. Dahlgren, however, did not think that such a plan would be carried out against the vessels blockading outside of the harbor, but only against the iron-clads on the inside; but, at the same time, thought it advisable to give notice to the officers on the outer blockade, so that they might be on their guard. Notwithstanding these precautions, the Confederates managed to get one of their torpedo-boats over the bar, and on the night of the 17th of February the fine new ship Housatonic, while lying at anchor off Charleston, in a most convenient position to be attacked by torpedo-boats, was destroyed under the following circumstances: At about 8:45 P. M., the officer of the deck on board the Housatonic, Acting-Master J. K. Crosby, discovered something in the water, about one hundred yards away, moving towards the ship. All the officers in the squadron had been informed of the character of the Davids, and what they looked like on the wat
sel, sinking her in less than one minute's time, with five men killed and ten badly wounded. The naval force employed in the St. John's River, under Commander Balch, was composed of the Pawnee, Mahaska and Norwich, off Jacksonville, and the Ottawa at Palatka. With such a small force it would have been impossible to prevent the enemy from practicing their system of torpedo warfare, which they had found to be so effective wherever the Federal gunboats were employed. On about the last of March, the transport Maple-leaf offered another success for the Confederates, and was blown up by a torpedo, fifteen miles above Jacksonville — this being the highway to Palatka and above, where Federal troops were being constantly transported. The duty on the river became very hazardous, for a severe torpedo warfare was carried on in small boats during dark nights by the Confederate torpedo corps, which first made its appearance on the Mississippi in 1862. The above operations in Florida of t
red another success for the Confederates, and was blown up by a torpedo, fifteen miles above Jacksonville — this being the highway to Palatka and above, where Federal troops were being constantly transported. The duty on the river became very hazardous, for a severe torpedo warfare was carried on in small boats during dark nights by the Confederate torpedo corps, which first made its appearance on the Mississippi in 1862. The above operations in Florida of the Army and Navy lasted from March 6th to April 16th, when orders were received from the War Department for the troops to be sent North, in consequence of which the gun-boats were withdrawn; but while employed with the Army, Commander Balch, Lieutenant-Commander S. Livingston Breese, of the Ottawa, and the commanders of the Mahaska and Norwich performed good and gallant service. It must not be supposed that there were not constantly occurring gallant affairs on the Federal side as well as on that of the Confederates; for tho
March 23rd (search for this): chapter 50
lant service. It must not be supposed that there were not constantly occurring gallant affairs on the Federal side as well as on that of the Confederates; for though the latter resorted to every means in their power to damage the Federal vessels, yet the officers of the Navy were ever on the alert to take advantage of anything that would enable them to circumvent the enemy. These were small affairs, but they were hazardous, and showed the skill of the Union officers and men. On the 23d of March, a steamer, supposed to be loading with cotton, was discovered up the Santee River, at a point called McClellansville, and Commodore Rowan, senior officer of the blockading squadron, ordered Lieutenant A. W. Weaver, of the gun-boat Winona, to fit out an expedition and cut her out. Accordingly, an expedition was started from the Winona, under the command of Acting-Master E. H. Sheffield (executive officer), consisting of the gig and second and third cutters. Acting-Ensign Lieutenant-Com
April 16th (search for this): chapter 50
uccess for the Confederates, and was blown up by a torpedo, fifteen miles above Jacksonville — this being the highway to Palatka and above, where Federal troops were being constantly transported. The duty on the river became very hazardous, for a severe torpedo warfare was carried on in small boats during dark nights by the Confederate torpedo corps, which first made its appearance on the Mississippi in 1862. The above operations in Florida of the Army and Navy lasted from March 6th to April 16th, when orders were received from the War Department for the troops to be sent North, in consequence of which the gun-boats were withdrawn; but while employed with the Army, Commander Balch, Lieutenant-Commander S. Livingston Breese, of the Ottawa, and the commanders of the Mahaska and Norwich performed good and gallant service. It must not be supposed that there were not constantly occurring gallant affairs on the Federal side as well as on that of the Confederates; for though the latter
April 21st (search for this): chapter 50
hen, in fact, it may have been due to the hurried performance of a multiplicity of duties, or to the indiscretion of a secretary. But it is the duty of the historian to correct these discrepancies when they are manifest, where it can be done without raising questions that might end in angry controversies. There was published in the Army and Navy Journal, on the 16th of April, 1864, a review of the services of the Monitors in Southern waters. Commander Edward Simpson, in a report dated April 21st, expressed himself as dissatisfied with the amount of credit given his vessel, the Passaic, in the official reports. On the 29th of July, 1863, the Passaic went into action with Fort Wagner, followed by the Patapsco and the New Ironsides. The presence of the Passaic is not mentioned in Rear-Admiral Dahlgren's review. On the 31st of August, 1863, the most serious engagement in which the iron-clads had yet taken part occurred between Fort Moultrie on one side, and the Monitors Patapsco,
first place to raise the flag of secession, and desired to be the last that would haul it down. Towards the close of the year 1864, owing to the stringent blockade of the whole Southern coast by the Navy, except at the entrance to Wilmington, the Confederate States began to be placed in great distress for the want of food to supply their armies, and at one time there was a prospect of their being starved into submission, even without victories by the Federal armies. In the early part of May there were on hand but two days rations for Lee's army at Richmond, and on the 23d of June only thirteen days rations, showing how the Navy had cut off the foreign supply; and to meet the demand, and keep the Confederate army from disbanding, the Commissary-General had to offer market rates for wheat then growing in the fields. A great deal of this distress and exhaustion of supplies was, however, owing to the exhaustion of Virginia. The prevalence of droughts, and the fact that the crops
t it was not likely the Confederates could make much impression on them. The Confederates of that region, however, did not propose to allow their native State to be invaded without making a stubborn resistance, and left no means untried to annoy the military positions whenever there was an opportunity of doing so. But the gun-boats were generally at hand with their heavy guns and bursting shells, and the Southerners were usually discomfited. General Gordon landed at Jacksonville on the 9th of May, and assumed command of the district of Florida; and, in view of the long line of river to be kept open, objected to any reduction of the naval force in the St. John's River, in which Commander Balch concurred with him. The activity of the Confederates in this quarter, as elsewhere, was very marked; for, though they yielded up all the forts along the coast, they seemed determined to resist any further entrance of Federal troops into the interior of the State, and they tried to confine t
with him. The activity of the Confederates in this quarter, as elsewhere, was very marked; for, though they yielded up all the forts along the coast, they seemed determined to resist any further entrance of Federal troops into the interior of the State, and they tried to confine the Navy as much as possible to the lower part of the St. John's River. Notwithstanding the vigilance of the naval commanders, the Confederates succeeded in planting torpedoes in the river in the channel. On May 10th, the steamer Harriet A. Weed ran into two of these torpedoes, which exploded at the same moment and completely destroyed the vessel, sinking her in less than one minute's time, with five men killed and ten badly wounded. The naval force employed in the St. John's River, under Commander Balch, was composed of the Pawnee, Mahaska and Norwich, off Jacksonville, and the Ottawa at Palatka. With such a small force it would have been impossible to prevent the enemy from practicing their system
ederate surgeons, Assistant-Surgeon Pierson afterwards received better treatment, was finally released through the same influence, and found himself under the old flag again, without any conditions. We dislike, and have always avoided as much as possible referring to cruelties practiced by the Confederates in retaliation for supposed injuries received by Southern prisoners — or for the purpose of preventing Federal batteries firing on besieged places. But the following letter, received in June from the Confederate commander at Charleston, must have shocked the sense of humanity and propriety which every gallant officer must feel at having to carry out such an order. It plainly showed what straits the Confederates were in when they could resort to such a measure to prevent besiegers from firing on a city which was a fair object of attack according to the strictest rules of war, and when, if the besieged non-combatants were in any danger, it was the duty of the military authorities
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