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der his command, and reported that the credit of the Navy had been well maintained throughout. Commander Renshaw, at Washington, and Lieutenant-Commander McCann, below on the river, conducted affairs with prudence and zeal. The former held a position of great responsibility and severe trial, and he met the various emergencies with promptness and decision. He had the direction of naval matters, and would have been held responsible if the town had fallen into the enemy's hands. On the 3d inst., the enemy had established their batteries abreast of the town, one of them a rifled 12-pounder, distant 600 yards. The batteries succeeded in firing only five shots before they were silenced by the Federal shell, which fairly demolished the works. During the siege (if it may be so called) there was an incessant peal of artillery, and the enemy seemed determined to carry the place, no matter what the cost might be to them; but, whether aground on the river-bed or lying in the stream, the
October 21st (search for this): chapter 36
ly employed. It was not a very brilliant service, but it was a useful one. Without it the Confederates would have seriously harassed the important Army posts, and driven in the smaller ones. They dreaded those frail vessels, with their heavy guns and fearless seamen, and a gun-boat was often worth more to the Army than two or three stout regiments. The last act chronicled in the records of the North Atlantic squadron for this year is the destruction of the blockade-runner Venus. on October 21st. The Venus was from Nassau, bound to Wilmington, and, while attempting to run the blockade, was chased by the steamer Nansemond, Lieutenant Lamson, and overtaken. As the chase did not comply with his orders to heave-to, Lieutenant Lamson opened fire upon her. One shot struck her foremast, another exploded in her ward-room, a third passed through the funnel and killed one man, and a fourth, striking an iron plate near the water line, caused her to leak so badly that it was necessary to
eries, thus conveying ammunition and dispatches. On the 3d of April, the flotilla below Hill's Point was reinforced by the Southfield, Whitehead and Seymour, from Plymouth. In the meantime the Commodore Hull and Louisiana, and an armed transport called the Eagle, under charge of Second-Assistant Engineer J. L. Lay and Assistant Paymaster W. W. Williams, of the Louisiana, as volunteers, were almost continually engaged with the enemy's batteries opposite Washington, until the morning of the 4th, when the Ceres made a gallant dash past the forts, with a full supply of ammunition, and joined the besieged force above. On the 6th, a small naval battery of two light guns was established on shore, commanding the channel from above, to repel any attempt on the part of the enemy to attack the gun-boats from that quarter by water. On the 7th inst. 112, on the 8th 107, and on the 9th 55 shot and shell were fired by the enemy at the gun-boats without inflicting any serious damage. On
y vessels, that could not encounter a moderate gale of wind at sea without danger of foundering. This was one of the most gallant affairs that had occurred in the North Atlantic squadron since Rear-Admiral Lee took command, and was an instance of how necessary was the aid which the Navy stood always ready to afford the other branch of the service. Moreover, it was not an assistance that was sought by the Army, but one which the Navy anticipated by being on hand at the right moment. In April the Confederates seemed to be making more zealous efforts to obtain a firm footing in North Carolina, and the naval officer in command of the Sounds urged the commander of the North Atlantic squadron to increase his flotilla, suggesting-that, if the Army also was not re-enforced, that the Union forces would be driven out of the State. The policy of keeping small detachments of troops at the different towns on the rivers, with the gun-boats to look after them, had no permanent effect towar
January 5th (search for this): chapter 36
to pursue would have been to concentrate all the troops, drive the enemy out of the State of North Carolina, tear up the railroads leading to Richmond, and destroy all the means of subsisting an army in the State. Though it may have been said that the Federals held North Carolina, yet it was by a most precarious tenure; and this section, which should in the beginning have been completely conquered, remained simply a skirmishing-ground for the contending forces throughout the war. On January 5th the indefatigable Lieutenant Cushing started on an expedition to capture some Wilmington pilots, and having heard that there was a pilot station at Little River, thirty miles below Fort Caswell. he made sail for that point, and reached it on the morning of January 5th, 1863. He crossed the bar at 8 o'clock at night with twenty-five men, in three cutters, and proceeded up the river. He was in hopes of finding pilots above and also some schooners. About a mile from the mouth of the ri
Admiral S. P. Lee succeeded Rear-Admiral Goldsborough in the command of the North Atlantic squadron there was not much left to be done except keeping up a strict blockade of the coast and keeping the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds under subjection. All the naval force of the enemy between Norfolk and Howlet batteries had either been destroyed or made its escape to Richmond, enabling the Navy Department to decrease the large force kept in and about Hampton Roads. From September 1st up to January there was but little of moment to report in the North Atlantic squadron, beyond the operations in the sounds of North Carolina and the naval expedition under Commander Foxhall A. Parker, off Yorktown, which proved successful, the Navy being of much service to the Army contingent under General Negley; also a successful military expedition up the Neuse River under General Foster, in which the Navy participated, with much credit to its commander, Commander Alexander Murray. On December 31st
April, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 36
keep up such an effective blockade, contrary to the predictions of able statesmen and experienced admirals. This duty was relieved somewhat of its monotony, as it paid well in prize-money, which amply compensated officers and sailors for any hardships they had to undergo in winter storms or summer heats. North Atlantic Squadron, January 1, 1863. Acting-Rear-Admiral Samuel P. Lee. Commander Pierce Crosby, Fleet Captain, July, 1863.--Lieutenant R. H. Lamson, Flag Lieutenant, April, 1863. Steam-Frigate Minnesota--Flag-Ship. Commander, N. B. Harrison; Lieutenant-Commander, E. C. Grafton; Lieutenant, Adolphus Dexter; Fleet Surgeon, W. Maxwell Wood; Surgeon, John S. Kitchen; Assistant Surgeons, S. J. Jones and E. R. Dodge; Paymaster, C. C. Upham; Chaplain, T. G. Salter; Marines: Captain, W. L. Shuttle-worth, Second-Lieutenant, C. F. Williams; Acting-Masters, D. A. Campbell and Wm. Wright; Ensigns, J. H. Porter, R. S. Chew, C. S. Cotton and S. W. Terry; Acting Ensigns,
July, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 36
at astonishment abroad at the ability of the Federals to keep up such an effective blockade, contrary to the predictions of able statesmen and experienced admirals. This duty was relieved somewhat of its monotony, as it paid well in prize-money, which amply compensated officers and sailors for any hardships they had to undergo in winter storms or summer heats. North Atlantic Squadron, January 1, 1863. Acting-Rear-Admiral Samuel P. Lee. Commander Pierce Crosby, Fleet Captain, July, 1863.--Lieutenant R. H. Lamson, Flag Lieutenant, April, 1863. Steam-Frigate Minnesota--Flag-Ship. Commander, N. B. Harrison; Lieutenant-Commander, E. C. Grafton; Lieutenant, Adolphus Dexter; Fleet Surgeon, W. Maxwell Wood; Surgeon, John S. Kitchen; Assistant Surgeons, S. J. Jones and E. R. Dodge; Paymaster, C. C. Upham; Chaplain, T. G. Salter; Marines: Captain, W. L. Shuttle-worth, Second-Lieutenant, C. F. Williams; Acting-Masters, D. A. Campbell and Wm. Wright; Ensigns, J. H. Porter, R.
April 4th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 36
, the loss to the Federal side was small; but never was there a better commanded affair, and Lamson gives due credit to those of his officers and men who were engaged in it. Though the work of the Navy in this affair is lightly spoken of by the Army authorities, the Secretary of the Navy saw in it something worth noticing, and he issued the following communication, which in part repaid Lieutenant Lamson for the hard work he had performed throughout the campaign: Navy Department, April 4, 1863. Sir — Your recent important and meritorious services on the upper Nansemond deserve the special commendation of the Department. The ability displayed in the discharge of the important and responsible duties which devolved on the naval force during the late demonstration of the enemy reflected the greatest credit upon yourself and the officers and men under your command. Their zeal and courage in the hazardous positions in which they were placed have not failed to receive the approb
April 14th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 36
deeds of his gallant sailors as well as those of his officers. Henry Thielberg, Robert Jourdan and John Sullivan, seamen; Robert Woods, boatswain's-mate; Quartermaster De Lunn; Third-Assistant Engineer, John Healey; William Jackson and James Lody (both colored), are all handsomely spoken of. They, no doubt, received medals (the highest reward a sailor can aspire to), but let their names go down in history as part of the gallant band who so nobly sustained the reputation of the Navy on April 14th, 1863, the anniversary of the day when Sumter, battered and torn, had to lower her flag to those who gave the first stab to our free institutions. Another one of the events of this expedition, which General Getty alludes to, occurred on April 19th, when Lieutenant Lamson received on board the Stepping Stones a portion of the 89th New York Volunteers, under Lieutenant-Colonel England, and the 8th Connecticut, under Colonel Ward, the whole consisting of 300 men. Lieutenant Lamson had four 12
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