Monday, September 19, 2011

Naval Happenings 150 Years Ago

From the US Navy Civil War Chronology.

SEPTEMBER 16, 1861

The Ironclad Board reported to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles: "For river and harbor service we consider ironclad vessels of light draught, or floating batteries this shielded, as very important...Armored ships or batteries may be employed advantageously to pass fortifications on land for ulterior objects of attack, to run a blockade, or to reduce temporary batteries on the shores of rivers and the approaches to our harbors."

They recommended the construction of three ironclads: The New Ironsides, Monitor and Galena.

These ships and the ones that followed completely revolutionized naval warfare.


Landing parties from the USS Pawnee destroyed guns and fortifications on Beacon Island, this closing Ocracoke Inlet. Hatteras Inlet had been closed in August. This deprived blockade runners of an important access to land and gave he Union an important foothold in North Carolina.


Confederates evacuated Ship Island, Mississippi, and a landing party from the USS Massachusetts took possession, giving the Union an important staging area and base for operations along the Gulf Coast.

Thus, these two days were very important in the overall Union war effort. The taking of the NC inlets and Ship island are little-known today, but important nonetheless.

Of the three first ironclads, only the Galena proved to be ineffective.

Important Events. --Old B-Runner

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