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1 The Western Flotilla of Flag Officer Davis joined the fleet of Flag Officer Farragut above Vicks-burg. Farragut wrote: "The iron-clads are curious looking things to us salt-water gentlemen; but no doubt they are better calculated for this river than our ships. They look like great turtles. Davis came on board . We have made the circuit (since we met at Port Royal) around half the United States and met on the Mississippi." The meeting of the fresh-water and salt-water squadrons had considerable psychological value throughout the North, but it did not imply control over the river so long as the Gibraltar-like fortress of Vicksburg remained unsubdued. In a military sense this temporary joining of the squadrons pointed up the necessity for the arduous, year-long amphibious campaign which was necessary to capture Vicksburg.
President Lincoln recommended to the Congress that Flag Officer Foote be given a vote of thanks for his efforts on the western waters. The President knew well the import of the defeats dealt the Confederacy by the gunboats on the upper Mississippi. He recognized that Foote's forces had cleared the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, and had succeeded in splitting the Confederacy as far as Vicksburg on the Father of Waters.
U.S.S. De Soto, Captain W. M. Walker, captured British schooner William attempting to run the blockade at Sabine Pass, Texas.
1-2 Flag Officer L. Goldsborough's fleet covered the withdrawal of General McClellan's army after a furious battle with Confederate forces under General Robert E. Lee at Malvern Hill. Dependent on the Navy for his movement to Harrison's Landing, chosen by McClellan at Com-modore J. Rodgers recommendation because it was so situated that gunboats could protect both flanks of his army, the General acknowledged the decisive role played by the Navy in enabling his troops to withdraw with a minimum loss: "Commodore Rodgers placed his gunboats so as to protect our flanks and to command the approaches from Richmond . During the whole battle Commodore Rodgers added greatly to the discomfiture of the enemy by throwing shell among his reserve and advancing columns.'' The Washington National Intelligencer of 7 July described the gunboats' part in the action at Malvern Hill: "About five o'clock in the after-noon the gunboats Galena, Aroostook, and Jacob Bell opened from Turkey Island Bend, in the James River, with shot and shell from their immense guns. The previous roar of field artillery seemed as faint as the rattle of musketry in comparison with these monsters of ordnance that literally shook the water and strained the air. They fired about three times a minute, frequently a broadside at a time, and the immense hull of the Galena careened as she delivered her complement of iron and flame. The fire went on . making music to the ears of our tired men. Confederate] ranks seemed slow to close up when the naval thunder had torn them apart. During the engagement at White Oak Swamp, too, the Intelligencer reported, the gunboats "are entitled to the most unbounded credit. They came into action just at the right time, and did first rate service.'' The Navy continued to safeguard the supply line until the Army of the Potomac was evacuated to northern Virginia in August, bringing to a close the unsuccessful Peninsular Campaign.
2 U.S.S. Western World, Acting Master Samuel B. Gregory, captured blockade running British schooner Volante in Winyah Bay, South Carolina, with cargo of salt and fish.
3 U.S.S. Quaker City, Commander Frailey, captured blockade running British brig Lilla off Hole-in-the-Wall, Virginia.
U.S.S. Hatteras, Commander Emmons, captured schooner Sarah bound for Sabine Pass, Texas, with cargo of sugar and molasses.
4 U.S.S. Maratanza, Lieutenant Stevens, engaged C.S.S. Teaser, Lieutenant Davidson, at Haxall's on the James River. Teaser was abandoned and captured after a shell from Maratanza exploded her boiler. In addition to placing mines in the river, Davidson had gone down the river with a balloon on board for the purpose of making an aerial reconnaissance of General McClellan's positions at City Point and Harrison's Landing. By this time both Union and Confederate forces were utilizing the balloon for gathering intelligence; Teaser had been the Southern counterpart of U.S.S. G. W. Parke Custis, from whose deck aerial observations had been made the preceding year. The balloon, as well as a quantity of insulated wire and mine equipment, were found on board Teaser. Six shells with ''peculiar fuzes'' were also taken and sent to Captain Dahlgren at the Washington Navy Yard for examination.
Commander J. Rodgers reported to Flag Officer L. Goldsborough on the stationing of the gunboats supporting the Army's position at Harrison's Landing: "It is now too late, I hope, for the enemy to attack the army here with any chance of success. The troops are in good spirits and everyone seems confident." Major General McClellan advised President Lincoln that "Captain Rodgers is doing all in his power in the kindest and most efficient manner." General Robert E. Lee came to the same conclusion in a letter to Confederate President Davis: ''The enemy is strongly posted in the neck formed by Herring creek and James River. The enemy's batteries occupy the ridge along which the Charles City road runs, north to the creek, and his gunboats lying below the mouth of the creek sweep the ground in front of his batteries Above his encamp-ments which lie on the river, his gunboats also extend; where the ground is more favorable to be searched by their cannon. As far as I can now see there is no way to attack him to advantage; nor do I wish to expose the men to the destructive missiles of his gunboats . I fear he is too secure under cover of his boats to be driven from his position.
U.S.S. Rhode Island, Commander Trenchard, captured blockade running British schooner R. O. Bryan off the coast of Texas.
5 Act to reorganize the U.S. Navy Department increased the number of Bureaus to eight: Yards and Docks, Equipment and Recruiting, Navigation, Ordnance, Construction and Repair, Steam Engineering, Provisions and Clothing, Medicine and Surgery. This act, and other far-reaching measures were guided through Congress by Senator Grimes of Iowa, who had an outstanding appreciation of sea power.
U.S.S. Hatteras, Commander Emmons, captured sloop Elizabeth off the Louisiana coast.
6 Commodore Wilkes ordered to command James River Flotilla as a division of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Flag Officer L. Goldsborough. Secretary of the Navy Welles' instructions to Wilkes stated: "You will immediately place yourself in communication with Major General McClellan, Commanding the Army of the Potomac, near Harrison's Landing . It will be your special duty to keep open the navigation of James River and afford protection to all vessels trans-porting troops or supplies, and generally to cooperate with the army in all military movements.
7 Commander J. Goldsborough on the convoying of Army transports on James River: There is to be a convoy of gunboats each day from Harrison's Bar to near the mouth of the Chickahominy, going and returning each day. As there was no better reason for the time than the arrival and departure of the mail from Old Point, it was agreed that at 9 a.m. all the transportation down should sail, convoyed by gunboats-I had selected four for it. And at 3 p.m. all the army transportation to this point should come up, convoyed by the same force." Convoy and cover of supply ships by the gunboats were indispensable to General McClel-lan's army.
U.S.S. Tahoma, Lieutenant John C. Howell, captured schooner Uncle Mose off Yucatan Bank, Mexico, with cargo of cotton.
U.S.S. Quaker City, Commander Frailey, in company with U.S.S. Huntsville, captured blockade running British steamer Adela off the Bahama Islands.
Boats from U.S.S. Flag, Commander James H. Strong, and U.S.S. Restless, Acting Lieutenant Conroy, captured British blockade runner Emilie in Bull's Bay, South Carolina.
President Lincoln and military party departed Washington on board U.S.S. Arid to visit General McClellan with the Army of the Potomac at Harrison's Landing, Virginia.
9 General Robert E. Lee wrote President Davis, advising him of the Confederate troops' inability to move against the Union forces on the James River because of the presence of the Navy gunboats: "After a thorough reconnaissance of the position taken up by the enemy on James River, I found him strongly posted and effectually flanked by his Gunboats. I caused field batteries to play on his forces, and on his transports, from points on the river below. But they were too light to accomplish much, and were always attacked with superior force by the Gunboats. .
U.S.S. Commodore Pen, Lieutenant Flusser, U.S.S. Shawsheen, Acting Master Woodward, and U.S.S. Ceres, Acting Master John MacDiarmid, embarked on an expedition up Roanoke River and landed a field piece and force of soldiers and sailors at Hamilton, North Carolina, where steamer Wilson was captured.
U.S.S. Arthur, Acting Lieutenant Kittredge, captured schooner Reindeer with cargo of cotton near Aransas Pass, Texas.
10 Flag Officer Du Pont, learning of the action at Malvern Hill, wrote: "The Mississippi, [Army] transport passed us this morning. We boarded her and got papers to the 5th. The captain of the transport told the boarding officer that McClellan's army would have been annihilated but for the gunboats." Continual Confederate concern about the gunboats was noted by a British Army observer, Colonel Garnet J. Wolseley, who wrote that he "noted with some interest the superstitious dread of gunboats which possessed the Southern soldiers. These vessels of war, even when they have been comparatively harmless had several times been the means of saving northern armies.
U.S.S. Arthur, Acting Lieutenant Kittredge, captured sloop Belle Italia at Aransas Pass, and schooner Monte Christo was burned by Confederates at Lamar, Texas, to prevent her falling into Union hands.
11 President Lincoln, demonstrating his appreciation of the role sea power had played thus far in the Civil War, recommended to the Congress that votes of thanks be given to Captains Lardner, Davis, and Stringham, and to Commanders Dahlgren, D.D. Porter, and Rowan.
Congress passed an act for the relief of relatives of the officers and men who died on board U.S.S. Cumberland and Congress when C.S.S. Virginia destroyed those vessels and threatened to break the blockade of Norfolk four months before.
12 U.S.S. Mercedita, Commander Stellwagen, captured blockade running schooners Victoria and Ida off Hole-in-the-Wall, Abaco, Bahamas, the former laden with cotton, the latter with general cargo, including cloth, shoes, needles and salt.
13 Commodore Wilkes reported operations of the James River Flotilla to Secretary of the Navy Welles: "The Army transports are daily convoyed up and down by the gunboats, besides having others stationed off the principal salient points where the rebels have come down to fire at our vessels passing. They almost daily make some attempts to annoy these unarmed boats, but seldom venture to do anything. I believe it is in my power to keep the river open effectually. .
I found . a necessity of active and prompt measures to bring the flotilla into operation, as the duties on the river require, and the effective protection of the two flanks of the army. I would ask the Assistant Secretary's attention to the subject of torpedoes, and also barbed rockets that will enter wood and be the means of firing any bridges or other works of wood. If we had some Congreve rockets, they would prove effective in driving the sharpshooters out of the woods."
14 Congress passed an act stating that: " . the spirit ration in the Navy of the United States shall forever cease, and . no distilled spiritous liquors shall be admitted on board vessels of war, except as medical stores . there shall be allowed and paid to each person in the Navy now entitled to the ration, five cents per day in commutation and lieu thereof, which shall be in addition to their present pay." Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox and officers generally held that it was in the Navy's best interest to abolish the spirit ration.
15 U.S.S. Carondelet, Commander Walke, U.S.S. Tyler, Lieutenant Gwin, and ram Queen of the West, carrying Army sharp shooters on reconnaissance of the Yazoo River, engaged Confederate ironclad ram Arkansas, Lieutenant Isaac N. Brown. In a severe fight as Union ships withdrew, Arkansas partially disabled Carondelet and Tyler. Entering the Mississippi, Arkansas ran through fire from the Union fleet to refuge under the Vicksburg batteries in a heavily damaged condition and with many casualties. Farragut's fleet pursued Arkansas, but, as the Flag Officer reported, "it was so dark by the time we reached the town that nothing could be seen except the flashes of the guns." In the heavy cannonade as Farragut's ships continued down river below Vicks-burg, U.S.S. Winona, Lieutenant Edward T. Nichols, and U.S.S. Sumter, Lieutenant Henry Erben, were substantially damaged. The daring sortie of Arkansas emphatically underscored the need to reduce Vicksburg. Major General Ear] Van Dorn, CSA, said that Lieutenant Brown had ''immortalized his single vessel, himself, and the heroes under his command, by an achievement, the most brilliant ever recorded in naval annals.'' Secretary Mallory added: "Naval history records few deeds of greater heroism or higher professional ability than this achievement of the Arkansas." Lieutenant Brown was promoted to Commander, and the Confederate Congress later expressed thanks to Brown and his men "for their signal exhibition of skill and gallantry. in the brilliant and successful engagement of the sloop of war Arkansas with the enemy's fleet."
16 David Glasgow Farragut, in recognition of his victory at New Orleans, promoted to Rear Admiral, the first officer to hold that rank in the history of the U.S. Navy.
The measure passed by Congress which created the rank of Rear Admiral also revamped the exist-ing rank structure to include Commodore and Lieutenant Commander and established the number of Rear Admirals at 9; Commodores, 18; Captains, 36; Commanders, 72; and the remainder through Ensign at 144 each. The act provided that ''The three senior rear admirals [Farragut, L. Goldsborough, and Du Pont] shall wear a square blue flag at the mainmast head; the next three at the foremast head, and all others at the mizzen.'' Rear Admirals were to rank with Major Generals in the Army.
Congress approved a bill transferring "the western gunboat fleet constructed by the War Depart-ment for operations on the western waters'' to the Navy Department. Actual enactment of the measure took place on 1 October 1862.
Commander Woodhull, U.S.S. Cimarron, reported from Harrison's Landing: "I have placed my vessel, as directed, on the extreme right flank of the army; so also the other gunboats under my charge, as will give us full command of the open country beyond the line."
U.S.S. Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant William C. Rogers, seized blockade running British schooner Agnes off Abaco with cargo of cotton and rosin.
17 Congress passed an act which established that "every officer, seaman, or marine, disabled in the line of duty, shall be intitled to receive for life, or during his disability, a pension from the United States, according to the nature and degree of his disability, not exceeding in any case his monthly pay."
17-18 Twenty Marines from U.S.S. Potomac participated in an expedition up Pascagoula Rivet, Mississippi. Under First Lieutenant George W. Collier, the Marines, whose force was augmented by an equal number of sailors, acted with U.S.S. New London and Grey Cloud to capture or destroy a steamer and two schooners rumored to be loading with cotton, and to destroy telegraphic communications between Pascagoula and Mobile. The expedition succeeded in disrupting communications, but, pursuing the Confederate vessels upstream, it was engaged by cavalry and infantry troops and forced to turn back to care for the wounded.
18 Secretary of the Navy Welles notified Flag Officers commanding squadrons of a bill authorizing the President to appoint annually three midshipmen to the Naval Academy from the enlisted boys of the Navy. "They must be of good moral character, able to read and write well, writing from dictation and spelling with correctness, and to perform with accuracy the various operations of the primary rules of arithmetic, viz, numeration, and the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers." Each Flag Officer was requested to nominate one candidate from his command "not over 18 years of age."
19 Naval court martial meeting in Richmond acquitted Flag Officer Tattnall with honor for ordering the destruction of C.S.S. Virginia on 11 May after the evacuation of Norfolk. The court found that "the only alternative was to abandon and burn the ship then and there, which in the judgment of the court, was deliberately and wisely done.
21 U.S. steamers Clara Dolsen and Rob Roy and tug Restless under Commander Alexander M. Pennock, with troops embarked, arrived from Cairo to protect Evansville, Indiana, at the request of Governor Morton. Troops were landed and retook Henderson, Kentucky, from Confederate guerrillas, several boats were burned, and the Ohio was patrolled against attack from the Kentucky side of the river. Major General John Love wrote to Commander Pennock expressing the "gratitude with which the citizens of Indiana and of this locality will regard the prompt cooperation of yourself and your officers in this emergency, which threatened their security." The mobility which naval control of the river gave to Union forces neutralized repeated Confederate attempts to re-establish positions in the border states.
Confederate artillery at Argyle Landing, Mississippi River, destroyed naval transport U.S.S. Sallie Woods.
U.S.S. Huntsville, Acting Lieutenant W. C. Rogers, captured steamer Reliance in Bahama Channel.
22 U.S.S. Essex, Commander W. D. Porter, and ram Queen of the West, Lieutenant Colonel Ellet, attacked C.S.S. Arkansas, Commander I. N. Brown, at anchor with a disabled engine at Vicksburg.
Although many of his officers and crew were ashore sick and wounded after the action of 15 July, Commander Brown fought his ship gallantly. After attempting to ram, the Essex became closely engaged in cannon fire with Arkansas. Breaking off the engagement, Essex steamed through a bail of shell Past the shore batteries and joined Rear Admiral Farragut's fleet which had re-mained below Vicksburg after passing the city on 15 July. Queen of the West rammed Arkansas but with little effect. She rejoined Flag Officer Davis' fleet in a shattered condition. The day after repelling the attack by Essex and Queen of the West, Commander Brown defiantly steamed Arkansas up and down the river under the Vicksburg batteries. A member of Arkansas's crew, Dabney M. Scales, described the action in a vivid letter to his father: "At 4 o'clock on the morning of the 22nd, I was awakened by the call to quarters. Hurrying to our stations, with not even a full complement of men for 3 guns; our soldiers having left just the night before; we discovered the enemy coming right down upon us. We did not have men enough to heave the anchor up and get underway, before the enemy got to us, even if we had had steam ready. So we had to lay in to the bank, and couldn't meet him on anything like equal terms. The Essex came first, firing on us with her three bow guns. We replied with our two bow guns as long as they could be brought to bear, which was not a very long time, as our vessel being stationary, the enemy soon came too much on our broadside for these guns, and their crews Lad to be shifted to the broadside guns. In the meantime, the Essex ranged up alongside us, and at the distance of 20 feet poured in a broads. which crashed against our sides like nothing that I ever heard be-fore. We were so close that our men were burnt by the powder of the enemy's guns. All this time the Ram [Queen of the West] was not idle, but came close down on the heels of his con-sort. We welcomed him as warmly as we could with our scanty crew. Just before he got to us, we managed by the helm and with the aid of the starboard propellor, to turn our bow out-stream a little, which prevented him from getting a fair lick at us. As it was, he glanced round our side and ran aground just astern of us." Meanwhile, the Confederate Secretary of War in a gen-eral order praised Arkansas's feats of the week before: "Lieutenant Brown, and the officers and crew of the Confederate steamer Arkansas, by their heroic attack upon the Federal fleet before Vicksburg equaled the highest recorded examples of courage and skill. They proved that the Navy, when it regains its proper element, will be one of the chief bulwarks of national defense and that it is entitled to a high place in the confidence and affection of the country.
President Davis telegraphed Governor John J. Pettus of Mississippi: "Captain Brown of the Arkansas, requires boatmen, and reports himself doomed to inactivity by the inability to get them. We have a large class of river boatmen and some ordinary seamen on our Gulf Coast who must now be unemployed. Can you help Captain Brown to get an adequate crew?"
23 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote Major General John G. Barnard: ''Part of the mortar fleet are ordered to James River and should be there by the 1st proximo. There is no army to cooperate at Nicksburg where we have been lying two months, and the keeping open James River up to McClellan's position is the first duty of the Navy, so we ordered twelve of the vessels there. If a fort is erected below you on the right bank of the James (and I see no obstacle) or if offensive or defensive operations are undertaken I think the mortar will not come amiss. The iron boats are progressing . We have forty underweight, and are putting others in hand as fast as contracts for engines shall be made. The machinery for manufacturing marine engines is limited." The Union Navy's rapid transformation from wood to iron doomed the Confederacy's effort with ironclads and rams to break the noose of Federal seapower.
24 Rear Admiral Farragut's fleet departed its station below Vicksburg, as the falling water level of the river and sickness among his ships' crews necessitated withdrawal to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Farragut's return to the lower Mississippi made abundantly clear the strategic significance of Vicksburg for, although the Navy held the vast majority of the river, Confederate control of Vicksburg enabled the South to continue to get some supplies for her armies in the East from Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. To prevent as much of this as possible, Rear Admiral Davis and Major General Samuel R. Curtis provided for combined Army-Navy expeditions along the banks of the Mississippi from Helena, Arkansas, to Vicksburg. Though supplies continued to move across the river, this action prevented the Confederates from maintaining and reinforcing batteries at strategic points, an important factor in the following year's operations.
U.S.S. Quaker City, Commander Frailey, captured blockade runner Orion at Campeche Bank, south of Key West, Florida.
U.S.S. Octorara, Commander D. Porter, captured British blockade runner Tubal Cain east of Savannah.
25 Steamer Cuba ran the blockade into Mobile.
26 Confederates hoarded and burned schooner Louisa Reed in the James River.
27 U.S.S. Yankee, Lieutenant Commander William Gibson, and U.S.S. Satellite, Acting Master Amos Foster, captured schooner J. Sturges in Chippoak Creek, Virginia.
28 U.S.S. Hatteras, Commander Emmons, captured Confederate brig Josephine off Ship Shoal, Loui-siana, en route to Havana with cargo of cotton.
Bark Agrippina, Captain Alexander McQueen, was ordered to rendezvous in the Azores with steamer Enrica (afterwards C.S.S. Alabama) which was to depart Liverpool pursuant to arrange-ments made by Commander Bulloch in London, for the purpose of transferring guns, ammunition, coal, and other cargo to Alabama. Under the command of Captain Raphael Semmes, the re-nowned Confederate cruiser Alabama ravaged the seas, dealing serious damage to Union commerce.
29 U.S.S. Mount Vernon, Commander Glisson, and U.S.S. Mystic, Lieutenant Commander Arnold, captured blockade running British brig Napier near Wilmington.
Writing of Union reverses in the East, which he ascribed to the deception of Northern commanders by false reports of the size of Confederate armies, Rear Admiral Farragut stated: "The officers say I don't believe anything. I certainly believe very little that comes in the shape of reports I mean to be whipped or to whip my enemy, and not be scared to death."
31 U.S.S. Magnolia, Acting Lieutenant W. Budd, captured British steamer Memphis off Cape Romain with large cargo of cotton and rosin. She had run the blockade out of Charleston on 26 July.
31-1 Confederate batteries at Coggins' Point took Union forces under fire on the James River between Harrison's Landing and Shirley, Virginia, sinking two Army transports. U.S.S. Cimarron, Com-mander Woodhull, immediately opened counter fire on the battery. Praising Gunner's Mate John Merrert who, although extremely ill and awaiting transfer to a hospital, bravely manned his station in the main magazine, Commander Woodhull wrote: "Merrett is an old man-of-warsman; his discipline, courage, and patriotism would not brook inaction when his ship was in actual battle. His conduct, I humbly think, was a great example to all lovers of the country and its cause . it is the act of a fine speciman of the old Navy tar." This mutual respect between the naval officer and the long service enlisted man enabled the Navy to maintain its tone through-out the Civil War despite expansion.
U.S.S. Hatteras, Commander Emmons, captured sloop Poody off Vermilion Bay, Louisiana.
18 Commander S.P. Lee submitted a demand from Flag Officer Farragut and General Butler for the surrender of Vicksburg; Confederate authorities refused and a year-long land and water assault on the stronghold began. As Flag Officer Du Pont observed: "The object is to have Vicksburg and the entire possession of the river in all its length and shores."
U.S.S. Hunchback, Acting Lieutenant Colhoun, and U.S.S. Shawsheen, Acting Master Thomas J. Woodward, captured schooner G. H. Smoot in Potecasi Creek, North Carolina.
20 Union gunboats occupied the Stono River above Cole's Island, South Carolina, and shelled Con-federate positions there. Flag Officer Du Pont reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles: "The Unadilla, Pembina, and Ottawa, under Commander Marchand . succeeded in entering Stono and proceeded up the river above the old Fort opposite Legareville. On their approach the barracks were fired and deserted by the enemy . This important base of operations, the Stono, has thus been secured for further operations by the army against Charleston.
U.S.S. Whitehead, Acting Master French, captured schooner Eugenia in Bennet's Creek, North Carolina.
21 Boat expedition from U.S.S. Whitehead, Acting Master French, captured schooner Winter Shrub in Keel's Creek, North Carolina, with cargo of fish.
22 U.S.S. Mount Vernon, Commander Glisson, captured steamer Constitution attempting to run the blockade at Wilmington.
U.S.S. Whitehead, Acting Master French, captured sloop Ella D off Keel's Creek, North Carolina, with cargo of salt.
24 U.S.S. Bienville, Commander Mullany, captured British blockade runner Stettin off Charleston.
U.S.S. Amanda, Acting Lieutenant Nathaniel Goodwin, and U.S.S. Bainbridge, Commander Brasher, captured steamer Swan west of Tortugas with cargo of cotton and rosin.
25 Confederate gunboat under command of Captain F. Bonneau, guarding the bridge between James and Dixon Islands, Charleston harbor, exchanged fire with Union gunboats. Captain Bonneau claimed several hits on the gunboats.
26 Lieutenant Isaac N. Brown, CSN, ordered to take command of C.S.S. Arkansas and "finish the vessel without regard to expenditure of men or money. Captain Lynch after inspecting the unfinished ram reported to Secretary of the Navy Mallory that: "the Arkansas is very inferior to the Merrimac[k] in every particular. The iron with which she is covered is worn and indif-ferent, taken from a railroad track, and is poorly secured to the vessel; boiler iron on stern and counter; her smoke-stack is sheet iron." Nevertheless, with great energy to overcome shortages and difficulties of every nature, Lieutenant Brown completed Arkansas, reinforced her bulwarks with cotton bales, and mounted a formidable armament of 10 guns. Lieutenant George W. Gift, CSN, who served in the ship later recorded that "within five weeks from the day we arrived at Yazoo City, we had a man-of-war (such as she was) from almost nothing-the credit for all of which belongs to Isaac Newton Brown, the commander of the vessel." A number of Army artillerists volunteered to act as gunners on board the ram.
U.S.S. Brooklyn, Captain T. T. Craven, and gunboats U.S.S. Kineo, Lieutenant George M. Ransom, arid U.S.S. Katahdin, Lieutenant Preble, shelled Grand Gulf, Mississippi.
U.S.S. Huron, Lieutenant Downes, captured British blockade runner Cambria off Charleston.
U.S.S. Pursuit, Acting Lieutenant Cate, captured schooner Andromeda near the coast of Cuba with cargo of cotton.
27 U.S.S. Bienville, Commander Mullany, seized blockade running British steamer Patras off Bull's Island, South Carolina, from Havana with cargo of powder and arms.
U.S.S. Santiago de Cuba, Commander Ridgely, captured schooner Lucy C. Holmes off Charleston with cargo of cotton.
28 U.S.S. State of Georgia, Commander Armstrong, and U.S.S. Victoria, Acting Master Joshua D. Warren, captured steamer Nassau near Fort Caswell, North Carolina.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote Senator Grimes: "I beg of you for the enduring good of the service, which you have so much at heart, to add a proviso [to the naval bill] abolishing the spirit ration and forbidding any distilled liquors being placed on board any vessel belonging to, or chartered by the U. States, excepting of course, that in the Medical Department. All insubordination, all misery, every deviltry on board ships can be traced to rum. Give the sailor double the value or more, and he will be content." Congressional Act approved 14 July 1862 abolished the spirit ration in the Navy.
29 U.S.S. Keystone State, Commander LeRoy, captured British blockade runner Elizabeth off Charleston.
U.S.S. Bienville, Commander Mullany, captured blockade runners Providence, with cargo of salt and cigars, Rebecca, with cargo of salt, and La Criola, with cargo of provisions, off Charleston.
31 Commander Rowan, commanding U.S.S. Philadelphia, reported the capture of schooner W. F. Harris in Core Sound, North Carolina.
U.S.S. Keystone State, Commander LeRoy, captured blockade running British schooner Cora off Charleston.
Tranquillity, Solace & Mercy
“David goes out to meet Goliath and every man who can walk to the beach sits down there, spectators of the first ironclad battle in the world. The day is calm, the smoke hangs thick on the water. The low vessels are hidden by the smoke. They are so sure of their invulnerability they fight at arm’s length. They fight so near the shore, the flash of their guns is seen and the noise is heard of the heavy shot pounding the armor.”
This is how U.S. Navy physician Charles Martin described the legendary fight between the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia. What made the Civil War at sea different from what came before is indeed that image—the first seemingly unequal duel of the ironclads—the Yankee cheese box on a raft versus the slope-sided, ungainly ex-Merrimack. After all, the once U.S. Navy sloop of war had just hours before set Congress afire, rammed and sank the Cumberland, and run Minnesota aground. The following day she was headed out to finish off the grounded vessel when Monitor, her low-freeboard decks nearly awash, popped into view and saved the day, fighting Virginia to a draw.
What was the medical aftermath of that now legendary combat: On the Union side, three men were injured on Monitor. One was the acting master whose knee came into contact with the turret at the same instant one of Virginia’s heavy shot struck it. Knocked senseless by the impact, he regained consciousness 10 minutes later. Another seaman in the turret was knocked unconscious in a similar manner. Acting Assistant Surgeon Daniel Logue described this sailor’s injury as a concussion of the brain. His circulation remained depressed and it became necessary to administer stimulants. When the patient regained consciousness, Dr. Logue watched for a reaction and then applied cold affusion to the head.
Toward the close of the action, the Confederate ironclad inflicted its last and most significant casualty—Monitor’s skipper John Worden. LT S. Dana Green, Monitor’s executive officer described the event:
“Soon, after noon, a shell from the enemy’s gun, the muzzle not ten yards distant, struck the forward side of the pilot house directly in the sight hole or slit and exploded, cracking the second iron log and partly lifting the top, leaving an opening. Worden was standing immediately behind this spot and received in his face the force of the blow which partly stunned him and filling his eyes with powder, utterly blinded him.
“[Sent for], I found him standing at the foot of the ladder leading to the pilot house. He was a ghastly sight with his eyes closed and the blood apparently rushing from every pore in the upper part of his face. He directed me to take command. I assisted in leading him to a sofa in his cabin. Dr. Logue examined his eyes, succeeded in removing tiny scales of iron and a small quantity of paint, and then made cold applications to his eyes.”
Following the battle, only Worden left the ship for hospitalization in Washington. The other two patients returned to duty the following day. Worden, it turned out, proved to be the only serious casualty of the battle, permanently losing the sight in one eye and incurring a disfiguring scar on his face.
On the Confederate side, Virginia’s crew did not get away unscathed. In her unequal fight with Congress, Cumberland, and Minnesota the previous day, Virginia suffered several killed or wounded. In contrast, her wooden-hulled victims suffered enormous losses. Cumberland alone lost over 100 men. Before the ship went to the bottom, all the wounded who could walk were ordered out of the cockpit but those of the wounded who had been carried into the sick bay and on the berthdeck were so mangled that it was impossible to save them. So recalled her acting commander. During her engagement with Virginia the following morning, Monitor’s two 11-inch Dahlgren smoothbores did moderate damage, wounding a few aboard the Virginia but killing no one. As it turns out, the Confederates got a lucky break. Although each 11-inch Dahlgren aboard Monitor threw a shot weighing 168 pounds, Worden was under orders from the Navy Department to fire half-weight powder charges of 15 pounds for fear the guns would explode.
If this first great combat between the ironclads ended in a draw, war at sea had changed forever and with it the practice of naval medicine. What made the naval environment different from the Civil War battlefield was the advent of the ironclad ship. John Ericsson’s Monitor employed the new technology, incorporating many technical advances for the time including forced ventilation of living spaces, a protected anchor which could be raised and lowered without it or the crew being exposed to enemy fire, and a protected pilothouse.
Nevertheless, the new technology of iron and steam introduced brand-new hazards—exploding boilers, scalding with live steam, burn injuries, and primary and secondary wounds resulting from large caliber, rifled naval guns. Ironclad vessels also introduced environmental and occupational concerns for sailors aggravated by badly ventilated and hell-hot engine rooms. It is estimated that a typical low ranking coal heaver aboard a poorly ventilated ironclad routinely endured temperatures approaching 130 degrees F. In fact, aboard Monitor in summer, temperatures of 125 degrees were recorded on the berth deck and 150 degrees in the galley. One cannot underestimate the utility of awnings in deflecting the sun from ironclads decks.
Almost everyone has experienced opening the door of an automobile after the vehicle has been baking in the summer sun all afternoon. Those freshly scrubbed teak decks on World War I and World War II era battleships were not designed for aesthetics. They insulated steel decks and made living conditions somewhat bearable in the days before air conditioning. One can only imagine then, the plight of the typical Civil War ironclad sailor stationed on an inland river of the deep south or in the vicinity of the besieged Charleston, SC. Add the oppressive humidity of July or August and now one can begin to understand the life of an ironclad sailor.
There were other hazards to be endured. With only inches of freeboard, many ironclads of both navies were literally only inches from disaster. One has only to contemplate Monitor’s ill-starred voyage to Hampton Roads even before her fight with ex-Merrimack. Only one day out of New York, she encountered a storm which soon had heavy seas cascading over her deck, washing out turret caulking, flooding her berth deck, disabling her blowers, and nearly extinguishing her boiler fires. Her paymaster recalled what the ironclad’s fight for survival meant for her crew.
“Turning to go down from the turret I met one of our engineers coming up the steps, pale, black, wet and staggering along gasping for breath. He asked me for brandy and I turned to go down and get him some and met the sailors dragging up the fireman and other engineers apparently lifeless. I got down as soon as possible and found the whole between decks filled with steam and gas and smoke the sailors were rushing up stifled with gas. I found when I reached the berth deck that it came from the engine room, the door of which was open. As I went to shut it one of our sailors said he believed that one of the engineers was still in there—no time was to be lost, though by this time almost suffocated myself, I rushed in over heaps of coal and ashes and fortunately found the man lying insensible. One of the sailors who had followed me helped pull him out and close the door.”
This nightmare would be played out again—fatally—at the end of the year when Monitor’s pumps failed to stem the incoming seas and John Ericsson’s ironclad pioneer plunged to the bottom off Cape Hatteras with the loss of several crewmen.
Even the fuel that fired an ironclad’s boilers was a threat. Coal, while not a new fuel used by the Navy, had the potential of becoming a silent killer. Fossil fuels require proper ventilation and this concept was not yet adequately understood by Civil War engineers. Untold casualties, some fatal, occurred when crewmen either loaded wet bituminous coal in below-deck bunkers or bilge water contaminated the fuel. Both the Mississippi Squadron and the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron reported a number of cases of sailors being discovered either dead or unconscious below deck. The more fortunate were revived when exposed to the fresh air. Besides unconsciousness, surgeons described their patients as being cyanotic—blueness of the skin caused by oxygen starvation with foreheads and eyelids markedly swollen. Similar cases reported aboard a coal-fired ship in 1913 recognized the problem as carbon monoxide poisoning. Wet, unventilated coal produces high levels of that dangerous gas.
Indeed, there were significant differences in warfare once ironclads came into their own. Naval guns up to the middle of the nineteenth century had an effective range of only about a mile and a half. These were the smoothbores throwing balls weighing 24 and 32 pounds. The strategy therefore called for close-in fighting terminated by boarding parties and hand-to-hand combat.
There were many differences between wounds sustained in battle on the old wooden ships and those encountered aboard ironclads. Shots striking wooden vessels tended to throw about splinters which, as secondary projectiles, caused many of the wounds. Burns were uncommon. In yardarm engagements and during the hand-to-hand fighting resulting from boarding an enemy’s vessel, many wounds were caused by small arms, cutlasses, bayonets, and pikes.
In ironclad fighting, splinters might be fewer, but burns and fragment wounds became commonplace. The so-called protected environment an ironclad warship provided was illusory. If anything, it offered fatal hazards the crew of a wooden ship rarely experienced. Take the example of the monitor Nahant. Engaged in Samuel Du Pont’s attack on the Charleston forts in April 1863, shellfire from the forts slammed against her pilot house and turret with such velocity that broken bolts ricocheted about her pilot house like bullets, killing one man and injuring two others, including her captain.
Iron shot weighing over 150 pounds were now common, making the 24- and 32-pound size thrown by earlier guns seem quite puny in comparison. What’s more, a newer generation of rifled guns that could pulverize masonry forts could do worse to those enclosed within an iron-sheathed hull. What resulted was the “garbage can” effect. Imagine yourself encased in a typical galvanized steel garbage pail or a 55-gallon steel oil drum, ears unprotected, and then having your antagonists hurling 50-pound cement blocks against your cocoon, one per second. With blood dripping from nose and ears, crewmen were sometimes driven mad under the barrage of both rifled and unrifled artillery impacting against iron armor. And if not driven mad, many sailors had their eardrums ruptured or, at very least, suffered temporary or permanent deafness. Civil War sailors frequently described ringing in the ears or tinnitus. With noise levels aboard Civil War ironclads routinely exceeding 130 decibels, one can only conjecture what kind of hearing damage resulted among these warriors. For comparison, a modern F-18 jet engine produces about 125 decibels of noise. The noise on the flight deck of a modern aircraft carrier during flight operations routinely exceeds that level. And these crews have available hearing protection. One can only imagine the degree of hearing loss suffered by Civil War sailors.
As similar as the practice of medicine may have been for both Army and Navy physicians--certainly in the treatment of battle injuries--the marine environment offered some very unique circumstances. Sailors on blockade duty experienced little battle and much boredom. Off Cape Fear, NC, a sailor in the blockading squadron wrote home to his mother that she should get some notion of blockade duty if she would go to the roof on a hot summer day, talk to a half dozen degenerates, descend to the basement, drink tepid water full of iron rust, climb to the roof again, and repeat the process at intervals until she was fagged out. Then go to bed with everything shut tight.
Needless to say, under these conditions, the psychological health of sailors was often in question. “Give me a discharge and let me go home,” a distraught coal-heaver begged his skipper after months of duty outside of Charleston. “I am a poor, weak, miserable, nervous, half crazy boy. Everything jarred upon my delicate nerves.”
And this routine was accompanied by an unbroken diet of moldy beans, stale biscuits, and sour pork. To ease the monotony or perhaps to anesthetize themselves from reality, mess crews specialized in the manufacture of outlaw whiskey distilled from almost any substance that fermented in the southern heat. Commanding officers and medical officers assigned to the James River Flotilla complained a great deal of the lack of fresh provisions and vegetables. Following a July 1862 inspection, Fleet Surgeon of the North Atlantic Squadron, Dr. James Wood, recommended that vessels be furnished with fresh provisions twice a week. His report on his inspection also contained a recommendation for improving the water supply used in the vessels. He said that the “turbid and objectionable” river water used tended to produce diarrhea. He saw no reason for continuing to use impure river water, since steam vessels could condense more pure water than their crews needed.
Even though sanitary conditions aboard ship were often superior to those ashore, and both navies probably fared better than the armies when it came to the frequency of disease, rheumatism and scurvy kept the doctors busy along with typhoid, dysentery, break bone fever, hemorrhoids, and damage done by knuckles. In the southern climes, insect-borne malaria and yellow fever laid low many a crew. And, regardless of what they had to work with, surgeons aboard the ironclads, and indeed every vessel, had no medicine for the ills of the spirit brought on by the strain of monotony, poor food, and unhealthy living conditions which produced much longer casualty lists than did Confederate shells or mines.
The ironclad navy of the Civil War was neither all wood nor all iron. Nevertheless, it represented the first, halting steps into the modern age. Even though many of the hulls were still wood with but a veneer of iron, such vessels as Monitor and the vessels it spawned would soon become commonplace. The age of sail was over and had been since Monitor and Virginia fought their legendary duel in 1862. It was a new navy in 1865, even though hard-bitten conservatives in Washington had been loathe to trade traditional wooden hulls and canvas for an all-iron fleet. By the late 1870s and certainly by the turn of the twentieth century that fact was a reality. Medical planners and health care providers would now have to face squarely the realities Civil War surgeons had already encountered during their war. The new steel ships now carried rifled, breach-loading artillery. What their muzzle-loading predecessors had inflicted upon human flesh and bone had already been demonstrated. Traumatic amputations, penetrating fragment wounds, and horrific burns had become commonplace during that war. In the post- Civil War environment, these wounds would increase exponentially as would new kinds of injuries merely hinted at during the Civil War—primary and secondary blast injuries, scalded skin and flesh caused by ruptured steam pipes and boilers, toxic smoke inhalation—the products of fire below decks. The problems first encountered during the war of the ironclads would now have to be dealt with aboard ships of the all-steel, all-steam navy.
Whether victims of disease or hostile action, sailors required treatment and much Navy medicine took place in the three existing hospitals at Chelsea, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. By the fall of 1862, all three were filled to their utmost capacity. As a result, medical facilities at navy yards and naval stations were expanded and both civilian and Army hospitals were also treating naval patients. To remedy the situation, a major hospital expansion campaign began. Unfortunately, many of these improvements weren’t realized until the very end of the war.
Following their recapture by Union forces, the two naval hospitals in the South--Portsmouth and Pensacola were put back into operation. In addition to the naval hospitals that had been established before the war, at least four others came on line between 1862 and 1865. These hospitals at Mound City, IL (1862) Memphis, TN (1863) New Orleans, LA (1863) and Port Royal, SC (1864), were located within the theater of operations of the blockading river squadrons and acted as receiving hospitals, taking patients on a short-term basis.
Ironically, one of the medical stations that could perform long-term care was not stationary at all. In 1862, Union forces captured a Confederate side-wheeler, Red Rover. Under the order of the Naval Fleet Surgeon, the ship was converted into what can be considered the Navy’s first hospital ship (however, there is evidence that Navy ships used during the Tripolitan Wars were used as floating hospitals). According to a Navy General Order of June 1862, “only those patients are to be sent to the hospital boat who it is to be expected to be sick for some time, and whose cases may require more quiet and better attention and accommodation than on board the vessels to which they belong.”
Regardless, Red Rover was something of a naval anomaly. The vessel had a laundry an elevator that could transport the sick from lower to upper decks an amputation room nine water closets an icebox to store fresh food and gauze blinds to keep flies, mosquitoes, cinders, and smoke from “annoying” the patients. It was also the first ship to have a staff of female nurses trained in the medical arts.
On Christmas Eve, 1862, Sisters of the Order of the Holy Cross of St. Mary’s of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN, reported aboard the medical vessel to care for sick and wounded seamen. One hundred years later, the Navy helped to honor these women at a ceremony on the campus of Notre Dame as true pioneers of the Navy Nurse Corps.
From 1862 until 1865, the medical staff on-board Red Rover cared for 2,450 casualties, including 300 wounded Confederates. In roughly the same time period, Navy shore facilities handled more than 31,000 patients, with 990 treated in 1864 alone, a record for a four-year conflict. However, the conflict was not without other distinctions. The war took a heavy toll on the Navy Medical Corps, killing 33 surgeons including Assistant Surgeon William Longshaw, Jr., who was acknowledged by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and RADM John Dahlgren for gallant behavior for his action on 15 November 1863 when he, under heavy fire, volunteered to retrieve the monitor Lehigh which had run aground. In January 1865, Dr. Longshaw was killed in an assault on Fort Fisher, NC, while binding the wounds of a dying man. His heroism under fire encapsulates Navy medicine’s real Civil War legacy.
The Battle of Booneville, MS July 1, 1862, US Civil War
The Battle of Booneville was fought on July 1, 1862, in Booneville, Mississippi, during the American Civil War. It occurred in the aftermath of the Union victory at the Battle of Shiloh and within the context of Confederate General Braxton Bragg's efforts to recapture the rail junction at Corinth, Mississippi, twenty miles north of Booneville.
After the Union Army victory at Shiloh, the Union armies under Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck advanced slowly on Corinth, an important rail center. By May 25, 1862, after moving five miles in three weeks, Halleck was in position to lay siege to the town. However, on May 29 the Confederate forces under General P.G.T. Beauregard had slipped away undetected and moved towards Tupelo, Mississippi. Halleck in late June ordered further movement south and learned that the Confederates, now under Bragg, were advancing towards Corinth. Union Col. Philip Sheridan established a fortified position at Booneville on June 28 to await the Confederate attack.
Lead elements of 4,700 troops under Confederate Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers encountered Sheridan's pickets on the morning of July 1, three and a half miles to the southwest of the town. The pickets fell back and established a sound defensive line at the intersection of the roads from Tupelo and Saltillo. Aided by the new Colt revolving rifle, the line withstood the initial Confederate assault but then withdrew to a backup position two miles closer to the town.
An effort to turn the left flank of this new line was thwarted when Sheridan's main force joined the battle. The bulk of the Union force stayed on the defensive while Sheridan sent the 2nd Michigan Cavalry under Capt. Russell Alexander and the 2nd Iowa Cavalry under Lt. Col. Edward Hatch to attack, respectively, the Confederate rear and left flank. Chalmers was forced to retreat and Sheridan's pursuit was called off after four miles as the fatigued troops encountered swampy terrain.
It was estimated by Sheridan that 65 of Chalmers's troops were killed in the battle while Federal casualties consisted of 1 dead, 24 wounded, and 16 missing. The battle caused Bragg to reconsider his offensive strategy towards Corinth and allowed Halleck additional time to unite his troops.
Reference: Eldridge, David P., "Battle of Booneville, Mississippi (1 July 1862)", Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History, Heidler, David S., and Heidler, Jeanne T., eds., W. W. Norton & Company, 2000, ISBN 0-393-04758-X.
Yazoo County Civil War History, 1862-1864
For Yazooans, the War Between the States at first seemed far away. For its first full year, though scores of Yazoo boys had already enlisted and many were fighting in distant Virginia, life at home went on quietly. And in those early, heady days of the conflict, most Yazooans expected things to remain that way.
Then in the spring of 1862, in rapid succession, came stunning, sobering Confederate losses nearer home in the Western Theater. Union victories at Pea Ridge in Arkansas and Shiloh in Tennessee brought the way to Mississippi’s doorstep. The U.S. Navy entered the Mississippi River in force from both north and south, quickly capturing New Orleans and Baton Rouge, then Memphis. With Vicksburg as President Lincoln’s personally ordered next target, in early June a formidable fleet commanded by David Farragut, soon to be commissioned the first rear admiral in American naval history, was steaming toward it. Thus Yazoo City and Yazoo County, in the space of a few weeks, found themselves almost in the center of the storm.
Successive Union efforts to take Vicksburg would continue until it finally fell on July 4, 1863, and Farragut’s first attempt to capture it in 1862 by a purely naval action was fruitless. But in the months before that first siege was abandoned, Yazoo City was spurred into action. A string of earthwork fortifications manned with cannon was built on the bluffs above the town and the Yazoo River. A barricade of submerged rafts, old boats and chains were placed across the river at Liverpool Landing some 15 miles downstream. Hurriedly the Confederate Navy Department, with the help of local artisans and plantation owners, created a rudimentary navy yard a half-mile south of town on the eastern bank of the Yazoo River.
Yazoo City soon became a key naval base almost by accident, and its one great contribution to naval warfare was probably the most incredible vessel ever to engage an enemy fleet.
The ironclad ram CSS Arkansas was a child of misfortune from the beginning. She was one of several ships being built at Memphis when Union forces threatened that city. Of all the vessels in the yards, only the CSS Arkansas was saved. Her unfinished hull was towed down the Mississippi and up the Yazoo to near Greenwood where work on her stopped.
On the morning of May 28, 1862, Lieutenant Isaac N. Brown, a native of Grenada and a 27-year veteran of the United States Navy, who had commanded the Confederate navy yards at Memphis and Nashville, received a telegram from Stephen Mallory, Secretary of the Confederate Navy, instructing him to “finish and equip that vessel (the CSS Arkansas) without regard to expenditure of men or money.”
At Greenwood, where the vessel was supposed to be, Lt. Brown was told the Arkansas was up river “nigh to four miles from dry land, but we will try to row you to her.” Upon reaching the hulk, Brown found that she had no engines, no armor, and no deckhouse. She was loaded down with ten enormous guns, but there were no carriages on which to mount them. Her armor plate lay on the river bottom in a sunken barge.
With the help of soldiers from a nearby army camp, the barge was raised, the armor retrieved, and two old mismatched engines were salvaged from wrecks.
Greenwood offered comparative safety for completing the vessel, but there was no skilled help and no necessary materials available. In Yazoo City, both men and materials were in readiness, but the whole Union fleet was practically on top of Vicksburg – less than 50 miles away. Because of the plight of Vicksburg, Lieutenant Brown had the river steamer Capitol tow the hull downstream to the shipyard at Yazoo City.
There was excitement among the worker as the big gray shape was berthed. The Arkansas, even at this stage, was an imposing sight. She stretched 110 feet long and at her bow was a massive ramming beak. Her sides, soon to be covered with four inches of iron, sloped inward 45 degrees to help deflect cannon balls and there were gun ports all around. When fully armored, she would draw 14 feet of water. Her pilot house which stuck up 12 inches from the armored gun housing would be only six feet above the water line.
Soon 200 men were working around the clock to get the ship ready. Crews of workmen systematically scavenged the countryside for metal and parts. Any likely item, and some that were not so likely, wound up in the makeup of the ship that – after her destruction – the enemy dubbed “a floating junkyard.”
After five weeks the stern and some portions of the shop were still unprotected by armor, but the Yazoo River was falling. Pilots warned that if the Arkansas did not get into the deeper Mississippi River soon, the great ironclad would be land-bound for the summer.
So, on July 2, 1862, the Arkansas steamed away on her first self-powered voyage. Never a more unlikely vessel headed for combat. Her armor was skimpy in spots and boilerplate had been “tacked” over the unprotected stern to hide its weakness. Her mismatched engines were totally inadequate for a ship of her size and would push her along at only eight knots – far too slow for any ramming. Her crew of two hundred men was composed principally of landsmen with no experience in either operating of fighting a shop. One notable exception was young Confederate Navy Lieutenant Charles “Savez” Read, a native of Yazoo County born in Satartia. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and a U.S. Naval officer up until the war, he manned the stern guns of the Arkansas. Serving on the ram as long as she stayed afloat, Read went on later to a swashbuckling and heroic career, first in Confederate raiders on the high seas, then to exploits on the James and Red Rivers.
Lieutenant Brown of the CSS Arkansas, recognizing his vessel’s weaknesses, explained to the crew that they would have to meet the enemy head on. Said he, “No ram, no run, just fight.”
And fight they did, but not before one more piece of bad luck plagued the ship. Some 25 miles below Yazoo City a steam pipe broke and soaked all the gunpowder. Luckily it was a hot, dry day and the powder soon dried on tarpaulins spread over warm beds of sawdust at a sawmill where the broken steam pipe was repaired.
On July 13, the CSS Arkansas rounded a bend about a mile and a half upstream from the Mississippi River. Ahead were the Union gunboats O.S. Tyler, Carondelet, and Queen of the West. Although this was a formidable fleet, the Arkansas – which had already been affectionately named “the ramming bucket of bolts” by its crew – must have looked to the enemy like the world’ best fighting ship in perfect shape. The Union fleet reversed engines and tried to back away into the broader Mississippi.
The Confederate ironclad continued to forge straight for the enemy. There were two reasons for this: (1) because despite her weaknesses she was a first class fighting ship and (2) because she couldn’t expose her weakly armored stern to Federal fire. Each of the enemy let the Arkansas have a broadside, but most of the shot bounces off the armor like hailstones. In her turn, the Arkansas gave the Union ships a severe mauling.
When the battle ended the Carondelet was badly damaged and had run ashore, the Tyler limped off in bad shape, and the Queen of the West decided to retire and fight another day.
The CSS Arkansas had taken the fire of all three ships. Lieutenant Brown had been wounded and a part of the wheel had been blown away. The base of the smokestack had been hit and heat and smoke filled the engine room, making frequent changes of the crew necessary. Bit the pride of Yazoo city had survived her first battle and there was no place to except straight ahead – or straight down.
Straight ahead could only mean to Vicksburg where the entire Union armada lay in wait. As the Arkansas stormed toward the beleaguered city, there was consternation in the Federal fleet. The guns were manned, but he fires had been banked to preserve precious coal. The Arkansas drove at the middle of the fleet and took broadsides from the Hartford and Richmond without serious damage. Anywhere the Confederate ironclad might fire, it was almost certain to hit a Union ship. But the Union fleet did more damage to itself than the Arkansas could ever have inflicted. Many of the shots fired at the Arkansas passed over her low gun house and landed on a Union target.
The Arkansas docked at Vicksburg under the protection of the shore batteries. The Union battleship Essex charged in for a ramming attempt and both vessels loosed a short-range broadside. The Essex missed the ramming and dug its bow into the river bank where shore batteries gave it a tough time until it could back off and steam away at full speed. Next, the Queen of the West, which had followed the Arkansas down-river, tried to ram, but a well-placed broadside from the Arkansas disabled her and she was towed away after drifting out of range.
Presence of the CSS Arkansas at Vicksburg made the Union position precarious. It was always necessary for the Federal fleet to keep upstream for fear of a surprise attack, and coal was scarce. Commodore Farragut’s deep-water vessels were in danger of being stranded as the low-water season approached, so he ordered his fleet back to New Orleans. The “bucket of bolts” had almost single-handedly lifted the siege of Vicksburg.
The Federals did not know the damage they had inflicted on the brave vessel. One point-blank shell from the Essex had penetrated Arkansas’ armor, killing eight men. Many of the crew had to be transferred to the hospital, including the able engineer who seemed the only man capable of keeping the ancient engines operating. Lieutenant Brown had been ordered home to Grenada to recuperate from his wounds and Executive Officer Stevens, a fine officer, was in command.
Although the Arkansas had been in heavy battle and was not in shape to go without extensive repairs, General Earl Van Dorn ordered her to support him on a drive he planned against Union forces at Baton Rouge. Lieutenant Stevens told Van Dorn that Lieutenant Brown had left orders for the ship to stay at Vicksburg. General Van Dorn appealed all the way to Richmond to have these orders overruled.
CSS Arkansas had steamed only a short distance before her creaking engines played out. After being patched up, she headed for Baton Rouge, but on the way met the Essex. Charging full steam ahead and bow guns firing, the Arkansas headed straight for her old enemy, but just before the expected collision, the Arkansas’ port engine quit. With each engine connected separately to a propeller, this pulled the ship square-around into a terrific broadside from the Essex.
As the CSS Arkansas drifted helplessly toward shore, her weak stern a perfect target for enemy fire, Lieutenant Stevens ordered the crew to destroy the ship and try to reach Confederate lines. Men of the Arkansas put powder on deck, set her afire, and scurried for the woods. Then an unpredictable current swung the Arkansas into the river where, face to face with the Essex, she blew up.
Thus, in just 24 full days, the CSS Arkansas dealt the Union severe blows and then died honorably.
The CSS Arkansas was not the only surprising weapon unleashed on the harried Union navy on the Yazoo River. The first warship to be sunk by an electrically detonated mine was the USS Cairo, sent to the bottom in the autumn of 1862 near the mouth of the Yazoo River.
Eight months after the sinking of the Cairo, the USS Baron DeKalb was sunk by torpedoes at Yazoo city. But descendants of the men who touched off those torpedoes are still living in Yazoo city, and they say that this ship was sunk by jugs filled with explosives and pulled against the ships by strong cord.
When General U.S. Grant’s final great siege of Vicksburg by both the Union Army and Navy began in May 1863, a Confederate fortification at Snyder’s Bluff on the Yazoo River blocked passage to Yazoo City where the navy yard was still building ironclad vessels. Union Rear Admiral David D. Porter sent five ironclads to try to bypass the Snyder’s Bluff defenses and destroy the yard. And he almost succeeded in becoming one of the first admirals to have his naval fleet captured by land forces.
The vessels ascended Steele’s Bayou, passed through Black Bayou and entered Deer Creek. If the Yankee warships gained Rolling Fork, they would have clear sailing down the Big Sunflower and up to Yazoo City. Confederate Colonel Samuel W. Ferguson moved his combat team to Rolling Fork. While snipers lined the creek banks and peppered the ships with small arms, other soldiers cut trees to fall across the stream ahead of and behind the vessels. With the fleet blocked in by trees, the crews unable to come into the open, and Confederate forces ready to drive in and take the ships, General Grant had to send a land force to rescue Admiral Porter’s fleet.
By May 17, the Confederate forces had abandoned Snyder’s Bluff and two days later units from the Union army and navy occupied the fortifications without firing a shot. The first frontal attack upon Yazoo city itself came on May 21, 1863, and was a naval thrust. Admiral Porter ordered a task force consisting of the ironclads Baron DeKalb and Choctaw, supported by the tinclads Forest Rose, Linden, and Petrel, to proceed against the Yazoo city Naval works as soon as demolition teams could destroy the chain placed across the Yazoo River by Confederates.
With Lieutenant Commander John g. Walker in charge, the fleet met only token resistance on the river. But Captain Isaac Brown, recovered from the wounds he had received on the Arkansas and in command at Yazoo City, ordered the navy yard burned.
A landing party from the Union ships found that Confederate demolition squads had destroyed everything of military value in the town. Three warships at the naval station were smoldering ruins, nothing more than charred hulks. They were the Mobile, the Republic, and an unnamed ironclad monster 310 feet long and with a beam of 70 feet. The latter vessel was scheduled to be plated with 1/5 inch iron and was to have had six engines, four side wheels, and two propellers.
All that remained of the navy yard, which had contained five saw and planning mills, extensive machinery, carpenter and blacksmith shops, were fire-blackened ruins. Shore partied reported that except for a large sawmill and lumberyard north of town, Confederate forces had also either removed or burned all the public property in Yazoo City of potential value to the enemy. By the morning of May 23, the sawmill and lumberyard had been put to the torch by the Federals. After patrolling the 115 military patients in the city hospital, the Union squadron was ready to return to the fleet anchorage at the mouth of the Yazoo.
After the destruction of the shipbuilding facilities at Yazoo city the river had little naval value to the Confederacy, but Union ships continued to use the waterway.
Immediately after General Grant failed to crack the Vicksburg defenses by a massive assault on May 22, 1863, he received word of a Confederate build-up at Yazoo City and Commander Walker’s squadron again steamed upriver. There was no build-up of Southern forces and the expedition met little resistance. Lieutenant Brown had planted torpedoes in the Yazoo River, but the Federal fleet inadvertently avoided them when the ships cut through Tchula Lake – an old channel of the Yazoo – instead of staying on the mainstream.
After passing Yazoo City uneventfully, the Union fleet was stopped below Greenwood by a barrier of vessels which Lieutenant Brown had ordered sunk across the channel. While sailors tried to remove the scuttled steamboats, Confederate Captain John H. Morgan’s Arkansas sharpshooters peppered them with rifle fire. The Union fleet sprayed the area with canister and shell, then cut the cables and withdrew downstream.
The expedition stopped again at Yazoo City where a landing party gathered a number of iron bars missed on the first raid of the navy yard. In the eight-day raid up the Yazoo, the Union fleet destroyed seven Confederate steamboats.
At the time he ordered Commander Walker’s fleet up the Yazoo (May 22, 1863), General Grant received word that Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston was massing a large force to move in relief of Vicksburg. He feared that his army would move toward him down the “Mechanicsburg Corridor,” the ridge in Yazoo County that separated the watersheds of the Big Black and Yazoo rivers. Accordingly, he detailed Colonel Amory J. Johnson to take 1,000 men and reconnoiter that area. Secondary objectives were the destruction of the Mississippi Central Railroad bridge across the Big Black at Way’s Bluff, near Vaughan in Yazoo County, and destruction of all forage and corn stored in the region between the Big Black and Yazoo rivers.
On May 24, Colonel Johnson and his blue coats rode out of Snyder’s Bluff and the next day they rode right back in again. They had encountered Confederate Colonel W. Wirt Adams’ Mississippi Cavalry and after a brief skirmish had withdrawn.
Upon his return to his base, Colonel Johnson made the wildly exaggerated report that General Joe Johnston, with a force of between 6,000 and 10,000 men, was camped near the Yazoo County village of Mechanicsburg. Actually, at this time the only Rebel force operating between the Big Black and Yazoo were scattered units belonging to Brigadier General John Adams’ mounted command.
General Grant dispatched 12,000 of the troops which he has assembled at Vicksburg to meet the threat of General Joe Johnston’s overestimated forces. General Grant places these troops under command of aggressive Major General Francis P. Blair, who in turn split them into two divisions under Brigadier Generals Joseph A. Mower and John McArthur.
General Blair planned a two-pronged thrust toward Mechanicsburg with General Mower’s division marching up the Ridge Road and General McArthur’s division moving up the Benton road to a rendezvous at Sulphur Springs. Colonel Johnson’s cavalry was to screen the advance of the “Expeditionary Corps.”
The force moved out of Vicksburg on May 27 and even Colonel Johnson’s far-raging cavalry failed to flush any Confederates that day. On May 28 the two forces came together at Sulphur Springs, but Colonel Johnson brought General Blair a disturbing report. The cavalrymen had talked to a farmer, Richard A. Barkley, who told him that Lieutenant General Ambrose P. Hill had just reached Jackson with heavy reinforcements from the battle-hardened Army of North Virginia. Between them, General Johnston and General Hill were reported to have 45,000 men in Central Mississippi.
General Blair, nevertheless, decided to push on. It was about 1 p.m. When the Federal horsemen rode by the dozen or so houses that constituted Mechanicsburg and they turned into the road leading to Kibbey’s Ferry. Two miles beyond the village, an Iowa Regiment sighted a number of gray clads. These were the same hell-for-leather troopers that had turned back Colonel Johnson’s blue clad cavalry four days before.
As soon as General John Adams saw the bluecoats he sent his cavalrymen charging at the enemy. The startled Federal troops fell back toward Mechanicsburg, fighting a bitter delaying action. General McArthur sent his advance brigade to the rescue and the thin line of gray clads, vastly outnumbered, fell back toward the Big Black River.
Two miles southeast of Mechanicsburg the Confederates made one more effort to hold the Federal advance. Guns of the Brookhaven Artillery charged up and started firing on General Blair’s men. This threat was quickly met by the arrival of additional Union artillery, armed with 12-inch howitzers. After a brief duel, the outgunned Mississippians broke off the engagement.
What Confederate forces had failed to do, General Grant did for them. Troubled by reports of General Joe Johnston’s huge army and fearing that General Blair might be moving into a trap, he ordered the northern army back to Snyder’s Bluff.
The Union forces made their return trip down the fertile Yazoo Valley. Here General Blair estimated there was sufficient subsistence and forage to supply General Joe Johnston’s army for at least a month.
The soldiers destroyed an immense quantity of bacon, approximately 500,000 bushels of corn and seized about 1,000 head of cattle and 200 horses and mules.
Meanwhile, Confederate communications being very slow, General Johnston did not receive work at his Jackson headquarters that a force of Federals was advancing up the “Mechanicsburg Corridor” until May 30, the same day General Blair was evacuating Mechanicsburg to fall back toward Snyder’s Bluff.
To effect a concentration against General Blair, General Johnston sent Major General Samuel G. Maxey’s brigade to Canton by the tail. At the same time, he ordered Major General William H.T. Walker’s “Right Wing” to march from Canton to Yazoo City. Colonel Samuel W. Ferguson’s hard-hitting combat team joined General Walker and by June 1 the “Army of Relief” was in Yazoo City.
Immediately after the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, Admiral Porter prepared to follow up this Confederate disaster with a series of raids into the surrounding countryside.
General Johnston, occupied with defending the capital, Jackson, against Major-General William T. Sherman’s forces, had called the “Army of Relief” and all the troops he could take from other Central Mississippi locations.
At Yazoo City, Commander Isaac Brown was in charge of a naval unit, while Colonel William B. Creasman commanded the soldiers. They were desperately trying to throw up fortifications against an inevitable Union attack.
On July 12, Admiral Porter sent seven transports carrying Major General Francis J. Herron’s division to Yazoo City. The transports were convoyed by the ironclad Baron DeKalb and the tinclads Signal and New Republic. The 5,000 men of General Herron’s army disembarked below the city and the ships moved upstream where there was a short duel between Confederate artillery in the bluffs above the town and the vessels on the river. The troops, during the artillery engagement, outflanked the town and made the Confederate position untenable.
Both Commander Brown and Colonel Creasman withdrew. Commander Brown moved on to the Confederate Arsenal at Selma, Alabama, and his sailors joined ships at Mobile. Colonel Creasman’s small force made contact with General Johnston’s Rebels at Morton, Mississippi.
The only bright spot in all of this from the Southern viewpoint was the sinking of the DeKalb by two planters, Mr. J.J.B. White and Dr. Washburn, who had devised the mine-like device described earlier that they could discharge under the vessel.
From September 1863 to December 1864, northern gunboats ranged the Yazoo River at will, and Yazoo City was raided and/or temporarily occupied four more times without significant resistance from the small number of Confederate units operating in the interior of Mississippi. The main objective of these raids was to commandeer cotton and food supplies, livestock, horses and miles for the Yankee stronghold in Vicksburg.
In September 1863 the Federals landed two regiments of troops from river vessels which went on a rampage in the city. In October, another Federal force, this time under General McArthur, occupied the town and were particularly ruthless.
Only once did the Confederates strike back, on March 5, 1864, during the third temporary occupation. And this time bloody fighting in the streets of downtown Yazoo City left 31 northerners dead, 121 wounded, 31 missing and brought a hasty return to Vicksburg by the rest. The southerners lost only 6 with another 51 wounded.
That Union operation was part of a master plan by General William T. Sherman, then commanding from Vicksburg all Yankee troops in the area to tear up completely the railroad from Vicksburg to Meridian. There his forces would destroy the Confederate rail center and supply depot, thus paralyzing all rail transportation left within Mississippi. He would then try to drive all remaining Confederate forces from the state, and destroy as much public and private property as possible.
As a bluff, and to keep the Confederates guessing about his next moves, he planned other diversions. One was to send an amphibious force of about 1,600 men to occupy Yazoo City, and from there to raid on up the Yazoo River as far as possible, seizing cotton, mules, and food to be brought down to warehouses in Yazoo City for further shipment to his Vicksburg stronghold. Two tinclad gunboats would protect the warehouses.
The raiding in Central Mississippi would keep Rebel troops there too busy to hinder his Meridian expedition.
To stop the raiding, and to retrieve as much of the loot as possible, a strong contingent of 1,300 Tennessee and Texas cavalry was assembled at Benton, just east of Yazoo City. With some artillery support, they were led by Generals R.V. Richardson of Tennessee and Sul Ross of Texas. Early in the day they first surrounded and silences with cannon-fire the main Union redoubt on the Benton Toad protecting the occupying force. Then the southerners swept from the bluffs into the north of town and on down toward the river landing. Fiercely resisting house by house, the Federals were pushed during the day toward the protection of their tinclads which were also lobbing shells into the fray. At one point a howitzer was landed from one of the boats to the foot of Main Street and surrounded by cotton bales to make a small fort. Firing up Main Street, it was soon taken by the southerners but then was recaptured by the Yankees.
By mid-afternoon, the southerners had found and burned much of the looted cotton and had retaken most of the miles and supplies not inside the warehouses. Considering their objectives largely gained they began an orderly withdrawal. Rushing out of the warehouses to fire and the departing enemy, the Yankees were quick to claim a Southern route that is, until their true losses were realized the next day. *
*See additional articles included in this booklet for more details on this bloodiest day of the way in Yazoo County.
The following month, on April 22, 1864, another surprising and most uncommon event occurred on the Yazoo River two miles upstream from Yazoo City. A Federal gunboat, the tinclad USS Petrel, tied up to the riverbank near the mouth of the Tokeba Bayou, was attacked and captured by a combat patrol from the 11th and 17th Arkansas Consolidated Mounted Infantry. Accurate fire from the opposite bank by two 10-pound Parrot rifles partially disabled the vessel, causing part of its crew to flee. Then Arkansas boys swimming across the swift-flowing muddy waters took their prize.*
* See additional articles included in this booklet for a more detailed account of the USS Petrel’s capture.
On May 19, 1864, Federal troops for the last time came into Yazoo City and got out of hand. Despite the efforts of the provost guards, they burned the courthouse, the lawyer’s offices, and several dwellings.
By the last few months of the war, Yazoo County had been so overrun by the frequent raids of the enemy that there was little of value left and the County had practically no strategic value.
In addition to serving as a battleground, Yazoo City and County contributed mightily of men to the Confederate cause. The Hamer Rifles was the first unit to be organized and mustered into service at Yazoo City on April 8, 1861. This unit was assigned to the Army of Virginia and served there as Company D of the 18th Mississippi Regiment.
By the end of the war all companies made up from Yazoo County had suffered extreme losses through death, wounds, prison confinement and disease. Only a small remnant of those who enlisted returned.
It was these survivors who, when they returned to their denuded homeland, were faces wit the heartbreaking task of rebuilding under the rigors of Reconstruction days. It was several years before the county began to take on a health economic complexion and the battle against great odds was turned in favor of the residents.
The numbers of people who died during the Civil War are only estimates. In 2011, American historian J. David Hacker reported research he had conducted comparing male and female survival rates in U.S. censuses between 1850 and 1880. Based on that, he has credibly argued that the traditional statistic of 620,000 deaths is an underestimate of actual Civil War deaths by approximately 20%. Hacker believes, and his assertions have been supported by other historians, that the most probable number of deaths attributable to the Civil War is 750,000, and that the number may have been as much as 850,000. Hacker found that 10% of white men of military age died between 1860 and 1870—one in ten in the United States.
That number includes not just battle casualties but also people who died from their injuries, as well as mortality from diseases, malnutrition, and exposure from the large numbers of Black and white refugees from the South, and even for those civilians who did not become refugees. The 620,000 statistic was revised upward several times after the original numbers estimated during post-war Reconstruction. In particular, Confederate losses were greater than reported, in part because General Lee's commanders were pressured to under-report.
The Civil War was devastating for the United States. Despite the pinpoint accuracy of some of the numbers listed below, they are almost certainly too low.
124th Infantry Regiment
The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.
Colonel A. Van Horne Ellis received authority, July 11, 1862, to recruit this regiment it was organized at Goshen, and there mustered in the service of the United States for three years September 5, 1862. Part of the 71st Regiment of the National Guard formed its nucleus. September 1, 1864, Mr. Charles Gale of Mooers, Clinton county, received authority to recruit a company, the Mooers Company, which later was assigned to this regiment and became part of its company E. February 28, 1865, a number of men of the 1st U. S. Sharpshooters were transferred to this regiment. June 2, 1865, the men not to be mustered out with the regiment were transferred to the 93d Infantry.
The companies were recruited principally: A at Newburgh, Cornwall, Chester and Goshen B-Goshen Company-at Goshen, Warwick, Florida and Newburgh C-Cornwall Company- at Goshen, Cornwall, Newburgh, Monroe and New Windsor D at Warwick and Goshen E at Goshen, Crawford, Otisville, Wallkill, Newburgh, Bullville, New Windsor, Mt. Hope and Port Jervis F at Port Jervis and Deer Park G at Washingtonvil1e, Blooming Grove, New Windsor, Monroe, Newburgh, Craigsville and Chester H at Montgomery, Walden and Goshen I at Newburgh and Windsor, and K at Wallkill, Goshen, Middletown and Newburgh.
The regiment left the State September 6, 1862 it served in Piatt's Brigade, Whipple's Division, from September, 1862 in 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 3d Corps, from October, 1862 in 2d Brigade, 1st Division, 3d Corps, from June, 1863 in the 1st Brigade, 3d Division, 2d Corps, from March, 1864 and it was honorably discharged and mustered out, under Col. Charles H. Weygant, June 3, 1865, near Washington, D. C.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 9 officers, 93 enlisted men of wounds received in action, 2 officers, 45 enlisted men of disease and other causes 1 officer, 94 enlisted men total, 12 officers, 232 enlisted men aggregate, 244 of whom 11 enlisted men died in the hands of the enemy.
The following is taken from The Union army: a history of military affairs in the loyal states, 1861-65 -- records of the regiments in the Union army -- cyclopedia of battles -- memoirs of commanders and soldiers. Madison, WI: Federal Pub. Co., 1908. volume II.
One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Infantry.&mdashCols., A. Van Horn Ellis, Francis M. Cummins, Charles H. Weygant Lieut.-Cols., Francis M. Cummins, Charles H. Weygant, Henry S. Murray Majs., James Cromwell, Charles H. Weygant, Henry S. Murray, James W. Benedict. This regiment, known as the "Orange Blossoms," was recruited in the county of Orange, organized at Goshen, and there mustered into the U, S. service Sept. 5, 1862, for three years. A part of the 71st regiment national guard, on their return from their second three months' service in Sept., 1862, formed the nucleus of the 124th. It left the state on Sept. 6, 1862, 930 strong served for several weeks in Virginia then joined the Army of the Potomac at Harper's Ferry was attached to the 1st brigade, Whip-pie's (3d) division, 3d corps, in Nov. 1862 joined Burnside's army on its way to Fredericksburg and arrived at Falmouth Nov. 24. The corps was only lightly engaged at Fredericksburg and the loss of the 124th was small. It was hotly engaged at Chancellorsville, losing 28 killed, 161 wounded and 15 missing&mdasha total of 204 out of 550 engaged. The heroic efforts of Col. Ellis during the battle to redeem the fortunes of the day evoked general commendation. In the 2nd brigade, Birney's (1st) division, 3d corps, it marched on the field at Gettysburg with 290 officers and men, of whom 28 were killed, 57 wounded and 5 reported missing, both Col. Ellis and Maj. Cromwell being killed while bravely cheering on their men. A beautiful monument has been erected by the regiment at Gettysburg, surmounted by a life size marble statue of their heroic colonel. During the pursuit of Lee after the battle, the regiment was engaged at Jones' cross-roads and Wapping heights. In the subsequent campaigns in Virginia it was under fire at Auburn and Kel-ly's ford, suffered a loss of 16 during the Mine Run campaign, and then went into winter quarters at Brandy Station. In April, 1864, the 3d corps was discontinued and Birney's division became the 3d division of the 2nd corps, but the men were allowed to retain the beloved diamond shaped badge on their caps and the piece of orange ribbon on their coats. Gen. Ward was still in command of the brigade. The regiment lost 58 killed, wounded and missing at the Wilderness, and 61 at Spottsylvania, where the regiment was in the front line during the celebrated charge of Gen. Hooker, both Col. Cummins and Lieut.-Col. Weygant being among the wounded. Continuous hard fighting followed at the North Anna river, Toto-potomy, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and the Weldon railroad. In July, 1864, Gen. Mott succeeded to the command of the division, and Gen. DeTrobriand to the command of Ward's old brigade. During the remainder of the year, while before Petersburg, it was engaged at Deep Bottom, Strawberry Plains, Poplar Spring Church, Boydton plank road, the Hicksford raid, and early in 1865 it was active at Hatcher's run, Fort Stedman and the final assault on Petersburg. It then entered on the Appomattox campaign, being engaged at White Oak ridge, Deatonsville road, Farmville and Appomattox Station. In reporting the action of March 25, near Wat-kins' house, Lt.-Col. Weygant, commanding the regiment, says that his men charged in gallant style a force of the enemy composed of the 42nd, 59th and 60th Ala. regiments, "capturing the battle flag of the 59th Alabama, 6 officers and 159 men, about 20 of whom were wounded, including Lieut.-Col. Troy of the 60th Ala. The enemy being completely dispersed I returned to my former position, leaving between 20 and 30 of their dead upon the field. At 11:30 p. m. I received orders to withdraw and return to camp, which I did, bringing with me about 75 stands of arms. All this, I am happy to say, was accomplished without the loss of a man, either in killed, wounded or missing." The regiment was mustered out, under Col. Weygant, June 3, 1865, near Washington, D. C. The total enrollment during service was 1,320, of whom 11 officers and 137 men, or 11.2 per cent, were killed and mortally wounded 1 officer and 94 men died of disease and other causes 11 men died in Confederate prisons 516 officers and men were killed and wounded. Private Archibald Freeman and Corp. George W. Tomkins were awarded medals of honor by Congress for the capture of battle flags, at Spottsylvania and near Watkins' house, respectively.
124th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | National Color | Civil War
The 124th New York Volunteers organized in Goshen, New York, in July and August 1862 with recruits from throughout Orange County. Initially known as…
The new screw sloop-of-war departed New York on 20 January, to join the Union blockade of the southern coast. She reported to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron at Pensacola, Florida early in February and, for the remainder of the war, served along the gulf coast of the Confederacy, principally off Mobile Bay. Lackawanna took her first prize — Neptune — on 14 June after a long chase in which the 200 long tons (200 t) Glasgow ship had jettisoned her cargo trying to escape. The Union sloop-of-war scored again the next day, capturing steamer Planter as the Mobile blockade runner attempted a dash to Havana, Cuba laden with cotton and resin.
Following duty along the Texas coast near Galveston in March–April 1864, Lackawanna returned to the blockade of Mobile early in May to prevent the escape of Confederate ram Tennessee. During the summer she served in the blockade while preparing for Admiral David Farragut's conquest of Mobile Bay.
On 9 July, with Monongahela, Galena, and Sebago, she braved the guns of Fort Morgan to shell steamer Virgin, a large blockade runner aground at the entrance of Mobile Bay. The Union guns forced a southern river steamer to abandon efforts to assist Virgin, but the next day the Confederates refloated the blockade runner which reached safety in Mobile Bay. Closing this strategic southern port was an important part of the Union strategy to isolate and subdue the South.
At dawn on the morning of 5 August, Farragut's ships crossed the bar and entered the bay. A Confederate squadron, led by ironclad ram Tennessee and a field of deadly mines awaited to block their advance. Farragut's lead monitor Tecumseh struck a mine and went down in seconds. The Confederate flagship Tennessee vainly tried to ram Brooklyn and the action became general, raging for more than an hour. At one point in the struggle, Lackawanna rammed Tennessee at full speed, causing the Confederate ram to list, and later she collided with Hartford while attempting to ram Tennessee again, shortly before the ironclad struck. This daring operation closed the last major gulf port to the South.
Twelve of Lackawanna's sailors received the Medal of Honor for their actions during this battle:  
Following the Union victory in Mobile Bay, Lackawanna continued to operate in the gulf, enforcing the blockade until after the end of the Civil War. She departed Key West on 24 June 1865, reached New York on the 28th, and decommissioned at New York Navy Yard on 20 July.
Pacific, 1866–1885 Edit
Recommissioned on 7 May 1866, Commander William Reynolds in command, Lackawanna sailed for the South Atlantic on 4 August, transited the Straits of Magellan on 9 November, and arrived Honolulu, Hawaii on 9 February 1867. Lackawanna sailed to Midway Island and, on August 28, 1867, Captain Reynolds took formal possession of the island for the United States.  She continued to operate in the Pacific, primarily in the Hawaiian Islands and along the coast of California and Mexico until she arrived at Mare Island for decommissioning on 10 February 1871.
In 1867, the USS Lackawanna surveyed what is now called Kure Atoll to produce more accurate charts of the reefs, which had been causing shipwrecks. 
2 thoughts on &ldquoCivil War Battles of Tennessee&rdquo
Looking for information on the 22nd Virginia cavalry. Trying to find out all the battles they fought after May 1863 up until November of 1863. Thanks for any and all help
It’s more than you asked for, but hope this helps
22nd Cavalry CSA “Bowen’s Regiment Virginia Mounted Riflemen”
May Formed by adding eight companies to Baldwin’s Partisan Rangers. Baldwin’s two companies became Company A and Company E of the new regiment. Colonel Henry S. Bowen, Lieutenant Colonel John T. Radford and Major Henry F. Kendrick were assigned as field officers.
Many of the new recruits had served in the 37th Virginia Infantry Regiment. The regiment was assigned to the Department of Western Virginia.
September 1 Jonesboro, Tennessee
September 12 Jonesboro, Tennessee
September 21 Jonesboro, Tennessee
October 24 Nicholas County
December 9 Logan County
December 15 Scott County
December 17 Russell County
April Assigned to Jenkins’ Cavalry Brigade, Department of Western Virginia.
April 24 Breathitt County, Kentucky
May Assigned to McCausland’s Brigade of Lomax’s Cavalry Division, Army of the Valley.
May 7 Abb’s Valley
May 9 Cloyd’s Mountain
May 10 New River Bridge
May 13 Jackson’s Ferry & Covington
May 15 Abb’s Valley
May 31 Pike County
June 1 White Sulpher Springs, WV
June 2 Covington VA
June 4 Panther Gap
June 6 Goshen
June 7 Buffalo Gap
June 8 Staunton Road
June 10 Arbor Hill, Newport, Middlebrook and Brownsburg
June 11 Lexington
June 13 Buchanan
June 15 Fancy Farm
June 16 Otter River
June 17 Forrest Depot
June 18 Lynchburg
June 20 Liberty
June 21 Salem
July 3 Leetown
July 4 North Mountain Depot
July 7 Hagerstown, MD
July 8-9 Battle of Monocacy
Major Kendrick was wounded in the hip and captured.
July 10 Urbana, MD
July 11 Rockville, MD
July 12 Attack on Fort Stevens, Washington D.C.
July 14 Edwards Ferry VA
July 15 Snicker’s Gap, VA
July 16 Loudoun County
July 18 Ashby’s Gap, VA
July 19 Berry’s Farm
July 20 Stehenson’s Depot, VA
July 23 Second Battle of Kernstown
July 29 Mercersburg, PA
July 30 Burning of Chambersburg
August 2 Cumberland, MD
August 4 New Creek, WV
August 5 Shenansoah Valley
August 7 Battle of Moorfield
Federal cavalry caught McCausland’s brigade in camp by surprise after Union ‘Jesse Scouts’ dressed in Confederate grey captured the picket. The camp was overrun at dawn, capturing around five hundred men from the brigade. The catured men were imprisoned at Cam Chase, Ohio, for the rest of the war.
August 9 New Creek Station VA
August 10 Charles Town, WV
August 11 Newtown, VA
August Assigned to Bradley Johnston’s Brigade of Lomax’s Cavalry Division
August 15 Charles Town, WV
August 17 New Creek, WV
August 21 Summit Point, WV
August 25 Kearneyville, WV
August 28 Opequan Creek, VA
September 1 Brandy Station, VA
September 2 Bunker Hill, VA
September 3 Berryville, VA
September 4 Maritinsburg, WV
September 10 Big Spring WV
September 12 Darkesville, WV
September 19 Third Battle of Winchester
The regiment acted as rear guard while Early’s army retreated after the battle to Fisher’s Hill.
September 21 Front Royal Pike
September 22-24 Battle of Fisher’s Hill
September 24 Harrisonburg and Timberville, VA
September 25 Gaines Crossroads, VA
October 1 Port Republic, VA
October Returned to McCausland’s Brigade.
October 8-9 Battle of Tom’s Brook
October 19 Battle of Cedar Creek
October 23 Bentonville, VA
October 26 Milford, VA
October 29 Beverly, WV
November 12 Nineveh (Cedarville), VA
Lieutenant Colonel Radford was killed.
November 22 Front Royal, VA
December 17 Berry’s Ford, VA
December 20 Madison Court House, VA
December 23 Jack’s Shop, VA
December 24 Gordonsville, VA
January 29 Moorfield WV
February 6 Balltown, WV
February Major Kendrick was exchanged.
March Ordered with the rest of Rosser’s Division to leave the Valley and join the Army of Northern Virginia at Petersburg.
March-April Siege of Petersburg
March 29 Quaker Road, VA
March 31 Dinwiddie Court House, VA
April 1 Battle of Five Forks
July 4, 1862: The Civil War POW Game
The ballfield was surrounded by stately oak trees, sweet-water wells, and handsome brick buildings, and lined by a wooden fence. The weather was mild when the inmates took to the playing field on the Fourth of July in 1862. Otto Boetticher was there. A 45-year-old military artist and lithographer originally from Prussia, he operated a studio in New York City before enlisting in the 68th New York Volunteers at the start of the Civil War in 1861.
Boetticher, a captain, was captured and spent time in Libby prison in Richmond, Virginia, before he was shipped to the Salisbury Prison in North Carolina in the summer of 1862. It is his print “drawn from nature” and published by Sarony, Major, and Knapp in color in 1863 that captured life in the prison at Salisbury and the baseball games that were played in the pastoral surroundings for a few brief seasons before the prison became unbearable.1
For months Salisbury was the “most endurable prison,” with only 600 inmates who were allowed to “exercise in the open air.” They were comparatively well fed and treated kindly, recalled former inmate Willard W. Glazier in 1866.2 Before the great influx of prisoners arrived at Salisbury in October of 1864, the prison population remained consistently low. The old cotton factory rested on 16 acres and was renovated by the Confederate government in 1861 to house 2,500 inmates, deserters, civilian prisoners, and Negro prisoners of war. Men were allowed “liberty of the yard”3 and many of the captured soldiers enjoyed afternoon and evening games of baseball.
“Took a little walk in the evening and watched some of the officers play ball,” wrote 23-year-old prisoner Charles Gray, a Union Army doctor, in May 1862. Gray wrote frequently of the games in his diary. “A good state of cheerfulness, thanks to the open space is fairly prevailing.” “Ball play for those who like it and are able…”4
Gray and other observers watched the match games between the captured Union prisoners and other inmates. A soldier from Rhode Island, William Crossley, who arrived at Salisbury in March 1863, recalled a baseball game played by recently transferred prisoners from New Orleans and Tuscaloosa, Alabama:
And to-day the great game of baseball came off between the Orleanists and Tuscaloosans with apparently as much enjoyment to the Rebs as the Yanks, for they came in hundreds to see the sport, and I have seen more smiles to-day on their oblong faces than since I came to Rebeldom. … The game was a tie, eleven each but the factory fellows were skunked three times, and we but twice.”5
It can be surmised that the “factory” boys were possibly the Confederate guards from the factory-turned-prison or captured soldiers held in the prison barracks. By the time this game took place, Captain Boetticher had been exchanged for a Confederate captain in September of 1862.
On holidays during the Civil War, sport became a common diversion for soldiers as they attempted to forget the hardships, danger, boredom, and homesickness of wartime life. Accounts show that soldiers marched in St. Patrick’s Day parades, ran footraces on Thanksgiving, and held shooting and boxing matches. Regiments challenged each other to football and baseball games and snowball fights on Christmas — substituting sport for traditional holiday observances.
On July 4, 1862, at Salisbury prison there was music, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, sack races and footraces along with a greased-pig-catching contest and a baseball game.6 It is unclear if this is the game featured in Otto Boetticher’s rendering, although it is altogether possible. The image shows a well-worn, diamond-shaped playing field, hundreds of fans in the bucolic prison yard and prisoners who even appeared to don makeshift red uniforms!
Confederate Chaplain Adolphus Magnum, who visited Salisbury in 1862, wrote of the celebration on the Fourth of July to include a blindfolded wheelbarrow race and described a dress parade and ball play on the prison grounds:
… the officers among the prisoners came out and presented a truly beautiful scene in their recreation. A number of the younger and less dignified ran like schoolboys to the play ground and were soon joining in high glee in a game of ball. Others … sat down by side with the prison officials and witnessed the sport. 7
Salisbury prisoner Josephus Clarkson, a ship chandler’s apprentice from Boston, wrote of the impromptu ballgames that took place and of the lengthy debates over whether to play by town-ball rules (in which “plugging” or putting runners out by hitting them with the ball was allowed) or by the New York rules:
“Since many of the men were in a weakened condition, it was agreed to play the faster but less harsh New York rules which intrigued our guards. The game of baseball had been played much in the south, but many of them (the guards) had never seen the sport devised by Mr. Alexander Cartwright.” 8
It is unclear how long Clarkson spent at Salisbury but the inmates he described were failing in health. As the war dragged on, it was unlikely that the prison yard at Salisbury saw anything but deprivation. By 1864 the prison population had risen to more than 10,000 and hundreds of men died daily of starvation and illness. Most of Salisbury was burned to the ground when the war ended in 1865 a national cemetery is now close by.
After the war some historians promoted baseball as a healing tool to reinforce a new sense of union. A grand game of baseball was indeed played at Salisbury on July 4, 1862. It is unclear whether the game in Boetticher’s print was an illustration of this game or a composite of many he remembered while imprisoned there. The print does illustrate, however, that baseball was a uniting force for both armies during and long after the Civil War.
This essay was originally published in “Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century” (2013), edited by Bill Felber. Download the SABR e-book by clicking here.
1 An Album of Civil War Battle Art, 1998, p. 97.
2 Glazier, W. 1866, The Capture, The Prison Pen and the Escape (303-304).
3 Sumner, Jim. 1997, “POWs Collected RBIs in Civil War Prison Camp.” Baseball America. p. 51.
4 Sumner, Jim. 1989. “Baseball at Salisbury Prison Camp.” Baseball History. p. 20.
6 Brown, Louis. 1980. The Salisbury Prison: A Case Study of Confederate Military Prisons. p. 136.
7 Sumner, Jim. 1989. “Baseball at Salisbury Prison Camp.” p. 22.
8 Twombly, Wells. 1976. 200 Years of Sport in America. p. 71.
Game between captured Union soldiers
At Salisbury Prison Camp
Special Order No. 314, Union Head Quarters for the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, Army of the James, October 28, 1864
The Missouri Army Argus was a Confederate soldier newsletter printed in the field by forces under Gen. Sterling Price and published between October 1861 and May 1862. In his January 1862 edition, editor William F. Wisely writes, “We have only a little hand press . . . we publish . . . without an office.” During times between actions, it was not uncommon for units to prepare news sheets recording recent military actions, regulations, and events of interest. Hundreds of newspapers are known to have been produced by various military units.