Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Confederate States Navy Department Seal-Official and Unofficial

Above is the the official seal of the Confederate States Navy, showing a  three masted sailing ship.  It is eriely similar to the current seal of the Department of the Navy.  However, in many ways, the image below should have been the logo.

This Southern belle version of "Columbia" holding the First National Flag, while sitting on bales of cotton and staring out a merchant ship sums up the main objective of the Confederate States Navy: get cotton overseas. The image appeared on "cotton bonds" that Confederate agents sold overseas. Sellers of the bonds pledged cotton with interest in order to raise needed hard currency to buy ships and weapons. By all accounts the program was extremely successful in convincing European investors to bank on the South. Stephen Wise in Lifeline of the Confederacy wrote that the agents raised $7 million in cash on $45 million worth of pledged cotton. The bond holders, however, lost millions as much of the promised cotton was never delivered and the U.S. Government refused to pay debts on the Confederacy after the war.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

U.S.N. United, One Last Time

This is a picture of a delegation of Japanese government officials and their U.S. Naval escorts at the Washington Navy Yard, 1860. A few years after Commodore Mathew Perry opened Japan to American trade, the two nations signed a formal treaty and exchanged diplomatic credentials for the first time in 1860. The U.S. Navy escorted the Japanese delegation from Japan to San Fransisco on Kanrin Maru with the steamer USS Powhatan and to Washington, D.C. via Panama and Cuba. You can read more about the 150th anniversary of this historic event at the Consulate-General of Japan in New York's website.

To naval historians of the American Civil War, the picture shows just how gut wrenching the war would become as brother officers would have to fight against each other. Half of the officers in this picture would "Go South" less than a year later. Notable officers in this picture are David Dixon Porter (fourth from the left, wearing the straw hat), Samuel DuPont (center, wearing the top hat), and Franklin Buchanan (center, next to DuPont).  A complete listing of the officers can be found at the NHHC's website.