Showing posts with label USS Delaware. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USS Delaware. Show all posts

Monday, November 16, 2020

Dr. Seth Rogers to his daughter Dolly, January 28, 1863

January 28, 1863.

 While superintending the transfer of the wounded from the John Adams last night, I sent ashore for mattrasses, but without success. This morning I have been ashore and procured a bale of fine hay from Quartermaster Seward, a gentleman who was my partner at euchre on the Delaware and who is now very prompt in doing what he can for us, so that now our men are about as comfortably placed as if they were in a hospital. Yesterday I saw how difficult it is to keep down vandalism when a town is to be burned. In this respect the blacks are much more easily controlled than the whites. Of course we have a right to appropriate what we need in the service of Uncle Sam, but I would be as severe as the Colonel is on individual appropriations. My only regret about burning the town is that we did not give those “unprotected ladies” the protection of our flag and then burn every house. I find the same feeling among officers here in Fernandina. If we are ever to put down this ungodly rebellion, we must act on the broadest principles of justice. If I offer my life in the defence of my country I shall not be slow nor economical in my demands upon my enemies. This is true justice and wise humanity. Just now two companies were sent to St. Mary's on the Planter to load brick; I let Dr. Minor go with them. That I did not go myself instead was the bravest thing I have done since I came to Dixie.

SOURCE: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 43, October, 1909—June, 1910: February 1910. p. 351-2

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Fight in Hampton Roads

In giving place to all the details which have yet reached us of the Naval combat in Hampton Roads on Saturday and the following night, which (though the Rebel assailants were ultimately driven back to their hiding places – the Merrimac, their best ship, apparently in a sinking condition) will inevitably be regarded by the impartial as a National defeat and disgrace, it seems our duty to recall some antecedent and not very creditable facts.

The Rebels opened fire on Fort Sumter on the 12th of April last – and the fact was known throughout the country forthwith.  It was intended and understood to be a challenge of the Nation by the Slave Power to mortal combat.  Norfolk, as by far the greatest Naval arsenal in the Slave States – perhaps in the country – was of course in imminent danger.  It was within less than a day’s passage of Washington and Baltimore, not two days from Philadelphia and New York.  On the 17th (five days after fire was opened on Sumter) the Virginia Convention pretended to take their State out of the Union, and, though the act was passed subject to ratification by a popular vote, Gov. Letcher immediately issued a Proclamation of adherence to the Southern Confederacy.  On the 19th, the Virginia traitors obstructed Elizabeth River below Norfolk, so as to prevent the passage of the National vessels from the Navy Yard down into Hampton Roads, and so out to sea.  On the 20th (eight days after the opening of fire on Sumter) the Navy Yard was hastily dismantled by our officers in charge of it, the Cumberland sloop-of-war, (sunk by the Rebels last Saturday) towed out, while the Pennsylvania, Delaware, Columbus, Merrimac, Raritan, Columbia, Germantown, Plymouth, Dolphin, and the United States – all ships of war of various sizes, from a three-decker down – were (it was reported) scuttled and set on fire to keep them from falling into the hands of the Rebels.  We do not learn that any attack was made by the Rebels (who were certainly in very moderate force,) nor that any effort was made to arm the workmen in and about the Navy Yard – who were naturally, instinctively loyal – nor to appeal to the loyalty of the vicinage.  It is popularly understood that Taliaferro, the Rebel chief, was drunk, so that he failed to attack, and let our Navy officers have things very much their own way.  That, with more power on hand than they knew how even to destroy, they might have blown every vessel to atoms in three hours, is at least a very strong presumption.  The Merrimac – Which inflicted so stinging a blow on us last Saturday – was one of those vessels.

Of course, we do not know that those Navy officers who have not yet openly affiliated with the traitors, did not here do their best.  We only know that somebody ought to have been put on trial for their shameful, disastrous miscarriage – by which the Nation lost and the Rebellion gained twenty-five hundred cannon and more military and naval material than could be bought for Ten Millions of Dollars.  We do not know that any one yet  has been, though nearly eleven months have elapsed since the disaster, and the then commandant at the Yard, still wears the uniform and pockets the pay of a U. S. officer.  That this is as it should not be is our very decided opinion.

The Merrimac, it was soon announced, was raised by the Rebels, and was being iron plated and otherwise fitted for the destruction of some of our vessels in the Roads.  She has been so fitting ever since, almost within sight of our fleet.  Several times she has been announced on the eve of coming out.  Once or twice it was given out by the Rebels that she was a failure; and, as a Western man has said, they “would rather lie on a twelve months’ note than tell the truth for cash,” this should have incited to greater vigilance.  If we had not the proper vessels on hand to resist her, they should have been hurried up at least six months ago.  Yet when she does at last see fit to put in an appearance, lo! One of our principal war steamships have been lying in the Roads disabled for four months and cannot get near her, while the only other ship fit to engage her gets aground – in water that her officers should know as thoroughly as their own cabins – and cannot be brought into action while two of our noble frigates are torn to pieces, one of them sunk, the other captured and burned, and some two or three hundred of our brave tars killed, drowned, or captured.

We do not attempt to fix the blame of these disasters.  Possibly, there is no one to blame; but the people will not believe it in advance of thorough scrutiny.  We respectfully call upon the commander-in-chief of the army and Navy to have this whole business sifted to the bottom. – {N. Y. Tribune.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 15, 1862, p. 2

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

From Washington


There is nothing in the official telegrams last received, to show that the rebels are evacuating Columbus, nor has any information been received from Gen. Buell since the announcement of the taking of Nashville, when he was four miles from that city.  Hence the newspaper reports of rebels being surrounded at Murfreesboro are not reliable.

Dispatches were received at the Navy Department to-day from Commodore Foote, inclosing a report from Lieut. Gwin, in which he says he returned to Cairo on the 23d inst., after having gone up the Tennessee river in the gunboat Tyler as high as Eastport, Miss.  He is happy to state that he has met with an increased Union sentiment in Southern Tennessee and Northern Alabama.  He saw few Mississippians.  In Hardin, McNary, Wayne, Decatur and a portion of Hardeman counties, all of which boarder upon the river, the Union sentiment is strong, and those who do not express themselves openly loyal, are only prevented by their fears of the military tyranny and coercion which is practiced by the marauding bands of guerilla companies of cavalry.

Learning that a large quantity of wheat and flour was stored in Clifton, Tenn., intended, of course, to be shipped South, a large portion of it having been bought for a firm in Memphis, on his down trip he landed there and took on board about 1,000 sacks and 100 brls. Of flour and some 6,000 bushels of wheat.  He considered it his duty to take possession of the above to prevent its being seized by the rebels or disposed of in the rebel country.

The glorious success of our armies at Forts Henry and Donelson, he says, has been most beneficial to the Union caused throughout South Tennessee and Alabama.  The Union men can now again dare to express their loyal sentiments without fear of being mobbed, especially along the banks of the river.

He brought down under arrest a man named Wm. H. Pool, who has been active in oppressing [sic] Union men in his community.  He has warned the inhabitants of the different towns along the banks of the river that he would hold the secessionist and their property responsible for any outrages in their community on Unionists, and had enlisted seventeen men and brought down a portion of the refugees.

A dispatch form Com. Goldsborough to Secretary Welles, dated U. S. steamer Philadelphia, off  Roanoke Island, Feb. 23, says the reconnoitering party sent up the Chowan river has returned.  It did not go up beyond Winton.  There the enemy in considerable force opened a heavy fire upon the vessel (the Delaware) in advance, with a battery of artillery and musketry, which induced our force to attack it in return, both by landing the New York 9th Zuaves and with the guns of the vessels that could be brought to bear upon  the enemy.  The enemy soon took flight, and the houses they occupied as quarters were burned.  Not a man was injured on our side.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Tuesday Morning, March 4, 1862, p. 1

Monday, November 1, 2010

Latest from Roanoke Island


A special messenger arrived this morning bring the following dispatch:

off Roanoke Island, Feb. 9.

Roanoke Island is ours.  The military authorities struck to us yesterday.  Their means of defence were truly formidable, and they were used with a determination worthy of a better cause.  They consisted of two elaborately constructed works, together mouthing 22 heavy guns, 3 of them being 100-pounders rifled; four other batteries, mounting together 20 guns, and some of them rifled; 8 steamers, mounting 2 guns each and each having a rifled gun with a diameter of a 32-pounder; a prolonged obstruction of sunken vessels and piles to thwart our advance, and altogether a body of men numbering scarcely less than 5,000, of whom 3,000 are now our prisoners.

The fighting commenced on the morning of the 7th about 11 a. m., and was continued till dark.  It was resumed at an early hour and lasted until late in the afternoon, when by a bold charge by our army the rebel flag was made to succumb and our own was hoisted everywhere on the island in its place.  No attack could have been more completely executed, and it was carried out precisely in accordance with the arrangements made before the expedition left Cape Hatteras Inlet.


Flag Officer.


Just as I closed my dispatch of yesterday I received reliable information that the rebel steamers which escaped had gone to Elizabeth City, and thereupon I immediately ordered Com. Rowan to take thirteen of our steamers under his command and go in pursuit of them, and also, if practicable, to execute another service, namely: the destruction of the North river – a link of the Albemarle and Chesapeake canal.  The way he has already accomplished the first part of it his own preliminary report – a copy of which I herewith inclose [sic] – will inform you.

I am, &c.,


Off Elizabeth City, Feb. 10.

Sir:  I have the honor to report that I met the enemy off this place this A. M. at 9 o’clock, and after a very sharp engagement, have succeeded in destroying or capturing his entire naval force, and silencing or destroying his battery on Cobb’s Point.  The only vessel saved from destruction is the Ellis, Capt. J. M. Cook, who was wounded, and is at present on board the ship.  I have other prisoners.  I am happy to say that our casualties are few, considering the warmth of the enemy’s fire – say two or three killed and some wounded.  The conduct of the gallant men I have the honor to command is worthy of all praise.  None of our vessels are severely injured.  I shall leave here a small force, and visit the canals, and have a look into other places before I return.

I have the honor to be, &c.,

J. [sic] C. ROWAN, U. S. N.

No official report, but merely a private letter, up to 1 o’clock to-day, has been received from Gen. Burnside.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Saturday Morning, February 15, 1862, p. 1