Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Images of USS Cumberland & CSS Florida Wrecks

USS Cumberland, starboard side

USS Cumberland, bow looking forward

CSS Florida, from top

CSS Florida, starboard side
The Hampton Roads Naval Museum (HRNM) recently received these stunning 3-D images of the sloop-of-war USS Cumberland and the cruiser CSS Florida.  The images were taken by technicians from Adavanced Underwater Surveys, Inc., using their Wrecksight(TM) software during the June 2011 stabilization survey project of the two shipwrecks. The project was sponsored by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Sanctuaries Division, the Naval History and Heritage Command's Underwater Archeology Division, and HRNM (also part of NHHC).  The Navy and NOAA conduct surveys like these to ensure that the sites have not been disturbed.

The ironclad CSS Virginia rammed and sank Cumberland on March 8, 1862 on the first day of the Battle of Hampton Roads. Shortly after being brought back from Brazil under tow, Florida sank just a few hundred yards away from Cumberland in 1864 under mysterious circumstances. 

Both wrecks under the protection of Federal law and artifacts from both vessels can be seen at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Welles considers torpedo attack on CSS Virginia

As the Union Army commanders dithered over attacking Confederate-held Norfolk and Portsmouth, the Union Navy reeled under the attack of CSS Virginia. 

What were steady rumors flowing across Hampton Roads about the Confederates building a new kind of warship out of Merrimack became published fact when a New York Herald reporter, Bradley Sillick Osbon with extensive service in the Navy, rowed “a Hellgate pilotboat” with muffled oars from Fortress Monroe to the naval shipyard.

Drawing close  to the vessel on a foggy night, “I fixed her outlines and proportions in my mind and returning undiscovered wrote a description of her for the Herald, and made a sketch for Harper's Weekly.”   Osbon reported his findings to the aged Major General John Wool, commander of the fortress and a veteran of the War of 1812, and offered to lead a boarding party to sink the ship before it could leave the yard.  Like Army officers before and after in Hampton Roads, Wool demurred. Sinking ships, even attacking warships, were what navies did.

Osbon, dismissing Flag Officer Louis Goldsborough, the senior Union Navy officer, as overly cautious, did not pursue the matter with him.  If he had probed, Osbon would have learned that  the blockade commander had warned Washington that “she will, in all probability, prove to exceedingly formidable,” especially if accompanied by fast-moving shallow-draft gunboats.


In the winter of 1861-1862, more and more naval officers in Hampton Roads wanted the Army to destroy Merrimack before it could  threaten the Union’s tenuous control of Hampton Roads by re-taking Southside Hampton Roads.  McClellan, now commanding the Army of the Potomac, eventually received the Navy’s proposal to attack the port of Norfolk and the Gosport shipyard in Portsmouth, but, like Wool on the scene, did nothing with it.

Congress and sloop Cumberland paid the price for these months of dithering.  They were the first ships sunk by Merrimack, now christened CSS Virginia,  in the Battle of Hampton Roads in March, 1862. Commander William Smith, who had turned over command to Lieutenant Joseph B. Smith a few days earlier,  was still on board when Merrimack attacked.  Congress was only able to fire two of its stern guns in its defense. It didn’t slow the ironclad down. When Lieutenant Smith was killed in the fighting, Commander Smith ordered Congress’ colors struck at 4 p.m. The frigate had been engaged with CSS Virginia for about 30 minutes.

The threat that Smith had been forced to ignore to defend against mine attacks remained a menacing force even after John Ericsson’s Monitor battled the Confederate ironclad to a draw. The Union Navy in Hampton Roads and in Washington were now frantically searching for any way to rid themselves of this enemy. It did not appear likely that Monitor was capable of sinking Virginia; and as long as it was able to fight the wooden ships of the Union Navy in Tidewater Virginia were in great danger.

A little more than a month after the battle and as the Union Army was descending on Tidewater in preparation for the Peninsula campaign, lawyer and self-described patriot, H.K. Lawrence offered Welles his ideas on how to sink the Confederate ironclad and two other Confederate vessels, Jamestown and Yorktown, at the naval shipyard.  With those three vessels out of action, the Union Navy would control Hampton. Roads.  At first he put the prize money he wanted for sinking the ironclad at $500,000 and the two smaller steamers at $100,000 each.

Although the price was high, Welles was interested.

If the Confederates could use submarine explosives to destroy ships so could the Union, Lawrence wrote.  He first proposed receiving 2,000 pounds of gunpowder, later reduced to 1,500 pounds, to build “four submarine armors” at the Washington Arsenal at a cost not to exceed $1,800 and in unspecified ways to ship those “armors” to Fortress Monroe and from there to destroy CSS Virginia by May 9. The attacks on Jamestown and Yorktown were dropped in later correspondence, and Lawrence reduced the suggested prize for sinking the ironclad to $100,000. 

Still unanswered in the correspondence were any details of how the attack was to be carried out.  He likely either intended to float the mines toward Virginia and have them explode on contact or draw close enough to it to place the explosives under the ironclad to detonate them electronically.

Welles was considering Lawrence’s plan out of desperation. He knew his wooden ships were no match for the Confederate ironclad, and the Monitor was doing all it could to protect the troop build-up.  Yet even knowing all that, Union Army commanders ignored the threat Virginia posed to all their operations in Hampton Roads.

Finally, at President Abraham Lincoln’s personal insistence after he surveyed the Confederates’ hold on Southside Hampton Roads from the water, the Union Army moved on Norfolk and Portsmouth May 10.

Reeling from the long-delayed attack, the Confederates scuttled Virginia and Confederate States (one of the Navy’s six original frigates) off Craney Island because they had  too deep a draught to go up the James River to safety in Richmond and burned Germantown, Plymouth, Jesup, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and William Seddon.

From July, 1861 through May, 1862, Union Navy officers had been pre-occupied with defending themselves against a mine attack or how to use mines to destroy the Confederacy’s great warship with mines before it could strike again.  Within weeks, they were confronting new mine threats past the Curle in the James River, just below Richmond. The mine ranges set in the water close by large gun emplacements on Drury’s Bluff and the south bank and Chaffin’s Farm on the north were effective and deadly.  Unlike New Orleans, the Union Navy even with its attack gunboats never succeeded in taking Richmond from the river.

Lawrence’s scheme to sink Virginia as bold as it seemed in letters and as desperate as it would have been in practice had been overcome by old-fashioned events.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Updates and Admiral's Row: Week of 21 November 2011

On This Day: 21 November 2011:

Coming from our friends at the Museum of the Confederacy:  On this day in 1861, CSA forts McRee, Barrancas, & the Pensacola Navy Yard were bombarded by Union naval guns & Ft. Pickens.

You can see a more incorporated outlook HERE via Huffington Post.

Around the Internet/Blogosphere:

"See the Elephant:"  Civil War Monitor blogger Laura June Davis posted an interesting quote from Confederate States Navy officer Douglas French Forrest last week (17 November) about his experiences aboard CSS Rappahannock.  Let's just say he was a little disturbed, but not sick. 

Admiral's Row: Week of 21 November 2011

This week's Admiral's Row features a new follower of the week (@shoosies), who has done a terrific job in re- our information via Facebook and Twitter.  Thanks a lot @shoosies! 
For more information on the "Admiral's Row" social media incentive, please go to THIS POST for more information, or email matthew.t.eng@navy.mil for more information.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Union Navy Fends Off Mine Attacks in Hampton Roads.

Early in the Civil War, it wasn’t the electrically-triggered torpedoes set up in long and deadly water ranges that later so troubled Union Navy officers in the upper James River, on the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, or just outside the port cities of Charleston and Mobile. Their concerns in Hampton Roads centered on floating torpedoes or mines in wooden casks and the use of the tides and currents to carry them into their anchorages. For almost a year, mines in Hampton Roads were never far from Union Navy leaders minds – first in how to defend against them and later how to employ them to destroy the greatest menace they would face in the war.

Matthew F. Maury
The Union Navy had escaped disaster in July before the Battle of Bull Run when Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury and his raiding party had floated a number of mines toward the anchored fleet off Fortress Monroe in Hampton Roads. Maury's idea was to let the tide and current carry the powder-laden oak casks toward the ships. The pairs of casks were connected by a span of rope about 600 feet in length, and corks kept the span afloat. The explosives, contained in the barrels, were submerged, and the triggers were in the barrelheads.

The idea behind the plan was this: As the span became entangled in the ship's hawse and the barrels were pulled alongside by the tidal wash, the tightening line would activate the triggers, setting off a fuse igniting the powder that would explode below the vessels' waterlines.

When he thought he was in correct position, Maury quietly ordered the first mines released. Then the next set. Finally, all were safely off. The twenty-five Confederates tensed, waiting to hear the explosions as they hurriedly rowed back toward Sewell's Point stillunchallenged by any Union patrol vessels.

As they drew closer and closer to safety, the Confederates heard only their muffled oars. There were no shattering blasts, secondary explosions, and alarm bells and trumpet calls, only the sounds of a summer Tidewater night.

All knew the raid had failed. Ashore, Maury scrutinized each detail to pinpoint what had gone wrong. "I attributed it to the fact that such a fuse would not burn under a pressure of 20 feet of water” and vowed to try again. When Union forces found the washed ashore mines later, they had another explanation: wet powder.

In late October, another Maury-designed raid again used floating mines to attack frigate Congress off Newport News in Hampton Roads, but it too had gone awry. Nonetheless, Captain Louis Goldsborough, the senior Union officer in the area, warned the skipper of Congress, Commander William Smith, a week after the latest attack to “be on the alert for submarine infernal machines” that could be rowed close to the ship and set adrift to become ensnared in its propeller and set off the explosives in their casks.

Smith wrote back in early November that he was protecting Congress as best he could with a frame in the shape of the letter A floating nearby, placing booms alongside it at night, and keeping grapnels at the ready in case a floating mine came near. Yet with all this attention paid to mines, Smith admitted that the most dangerous challenge to his ship, the raised Merrimack being outfitted with railroad iron and new powerful guns a few miles away in Portsmouth, was receiving scant attention.

“I have not yet devised any plan to defend against Merrimack unless it be with hard knocks.” - Commander William Smith

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Artillery Duel at Pensacola Bay

Artillery engagement on Pensacola Bay on 22-23 November 1861. Santa Rosa Island, Ft. Pickens, and Union batteries on the island are in the foreground; Pensacola Navy Yard and adjacent towns on the mainland are in the background. Source: Fla. Dept. of State on-line photo archive.

Angered by the Union Navy’s destruction of the privateer Judah in September 1861 (my 11 Sept 2011 post), Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, commanding the CS Army forces garrisoning Pensacola and the Pensacola Navy Yard, sent a force of 1,200 soldiers to Santa Rosa Island. The force landed at night on 8 October 1861 and assaulted the camp of the 6th New York, a Zouave regiment. The Union troops were initially routed, but reinforcements from Ft. Pickens helped them reform and they pushed the Confederate forces back, who then departed the island by the next morning.

In response to this attack, and the increasing size of the Confederate force garrisoning Pensacola, Col. Harvey Brown, now commanding the Union forces in Ft. Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, ordered his artillery to open fire on the mainland on 22 November. The army artillery was supplemented by gunfire from the steam frigate USS Niagra and steam sloop USS Richmond. The Confederates returned the Union gunfire. For two days, the bombardment continued, with thousands of rounds expended by both sides. Ft. McRee was destroyed by the gunfire from the US Navy ships, and portions of the Navy Yard and adjacent villages were set on fire from the barrage. Richmond suffered one sailor killed and seven injured by fire from the Confederate batteries. Hostilities ceased on the night of 23 November.

Steam frigate USS Niagra. Source: USN History and Heritage Command on-line photo library.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hampton Roads Surface Navy Association Talk: Steam and Iron

Last month (October 19, 2011), I had the fortunate opportunity to speak at the Hampton Roads Surface Navy Association meeting and luncheon at Vista Point Club (Naval Station Norfolk).  The title of my talk, "Iron and Steam: The Battle of Hampton Roads" focused on the role the event played into the creation of the modern Surface Navy. 

Here are some of the pictures from the event.  Special thanks to MC2 Martie for the photography and former staff of COMSECONDFLT for attending the lecture.  It was a special honor to meet MCPON Bushey.

HMCM Modglin presenting me with coin and SNA ballcap
MCPON Duane Bushey (ret.) and FLEET Tom Howard (ret.) chatting at event
MCPON Bushey, VADM Donnell, Matthew Eng, HMCM Modglin

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

USS Hartford Stern Emblem

Stern emblem of the Hartford today (HRNM)
During a recent trip to HRNM's collection storage, my coworker and fellow CWN 150 blogger Laura Orr snapped a photo of a recently acquired object in the collection: the stern emblem of the USS Hartford. The ship, captained by first Admiral David Glasgow Farragut at the battle of Mobile Bay, spent the remainder of its post-war career in disrepair at shipyards up and down the east coast. Decommissioned for the last time in 1926, she eventually sank at her berth in 1956 at the Norfolk Navy Yard (Portsmouth, VA).

Stern emblem visible Mare Island’s dry dock #1 in October/November 1899 (U.S. Navy)
Pieces of the Hartford scattered across the United States following its sinking, from California to Connecticut. The emblem and several sideboards were previously on display at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ode to Civil War Naval Engineers and Firemen

USS Pensacola's engineers (center and right) talk to one of Pensacola's line officers (at left)

Attempting to cold crank the boiler
Steam propulsion was one of the great advances in marine technology.  It allowed the captain of a ship to go where he want, when he wanted.  Their countless examples in the Civil War of how steam propulsion allowed both navies to conduct operations their forefathers never could have dream of.  The technology, however, came at a steep human price as someone had to be in the boiler room manging the machines.

In their history The Steam Navy of the United States, authors Frank Marion Bennett and Robert Weir published a series of cartoons of the engineering department aboard the steam sloop-of-war USS Pensacola during the Civil War. Like any good editorial cartoon, the images were meant to both entertain and enlighten about the plight of its subject. 
"Going On Watch, Coming Off Watch"

Operating the water pump to the boiler

"A Little Oil"

"Smuggling the oil"

New Guest Blogger: John Grady

It is my pleasure to welcome aboard the newest guest blogger of the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial, John Grady.  Grady is an accomplished historian and professional.  He has contributed to USNI's Naval History on Civil War subjects,   served as lead interviewer for the Naval Historical Foundation's Oral History Program, written book reviews on CWN topics for Militarylifestyles.com and the Naval Historical Foundation, and served as managing editor of the Navy Times

He is currently completing a biography of Matthew F. Maury.
Welcome aboard, John!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Navy Strikes at Belmont

With Leonidas Polk's Confederate army straddling the Mississippi in the autumn of 1861, local Union commander Brig. General U.S. Grant prepared to neutralize half the threat.

Polk had placed a significant portion of his force on the western Missouri bank near Belmont, where several regiments of infantry made camp. On the eastern side of the river towered the bluffs of Columbus, Kentucky. Atop those bluffs stood several heavy artillery emplacements, and through their elevation and the protection of more Confederate infantry in on the Kentucky shore, these guns controlled navigation on the Mississippi River. The range of the rebel artillery was even great enough to reach across to Missouri and well upriver. Grant wouldn't attack the Confederate positions at Columbus, instead he planned to assault and capture the rebel force isolated on the western shore.

Grant's 3,000-strong army was ferried by five transports south from Cairo, and escorted by the timberclads Lexington and Tyler. Grant disembarked upriver (northwest) from Belmont on November 7th, and led his men eastward and overland for a surprise attack. After sharp fighting that morning, Union troops occupied the Confederate encampment while routed enemy troops fled to the river bottoms.

At the same time Grant fought on land, Commander Henry A. Walke took the Lexington and Tyler downriver to duel the Confederate shore batteries. The first two encounters were brief, and though both sides exchanged heavy fire, no damage was done. The third duel, however, resulted in one Union sailor killed and two wounded. The Tyler even sustained damage from at least two hits. Walke realized his pair of steamers could do little to silence the bluff batteries, and though the timberclads diverted Confederate attention, the Union naval commander withdrew upriver to defend the idle troop transports.

But Union victory on land was not complete. Grant's raw troops became disorderly after their victory, and General Polk took advantage of the confusion to transfer fresh brigades from Columbus to Missouri. The Confederates attacked Grant's confused force, and the U.S. contingent made a fighting retreat to their original landing area. As Grant's men converged on the waiting transports, Polk's infantry swarmed closely behind and threatened to capture the Union army before they could depart.

Commander Walke, seeing Grant's perilous situation, maneuvered the Tyler and Lexington into firing positions and raked the closely grouped Confederates with grape, canister, and shell. The effect of the naval bombardment was great enough to halt Confederate momentum. The timberclads bought just enough time to ensure Grant's escape. Both armies suffered 600-700 casualties. Who won the Battle of Belmont? It's hard to tell, but both sides claimed victory.

Though this wasn't the first naval action in the West (the timberclads had traded a few shots with the C.S.S. Jackson in September) it was the first major engagement for the riverine fleet. More important action would quickly follow.

  • The Timberclads in the Civil War: The Lexington, Conestoga and Tyler on the Western Water, by Myron J. Smith, Jr.
  • The Battle of Belmont: Grant Strikes South by Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Confederate Navy at Port Royal

Flag Officer Josiah Tattnall and his mosquito fleet saw their share of action during the Battle for Port Royal. Tattnall had a reputation for aggressiveness, and he certainly displayed it at this engagement. On 4 November 1861 Flag Officer DuPont of the Union fleet sent the survey vessel Vixen in to chart the configuration of the bars and channel into Port Royal, accompanied by the gunboats Ottawa, Seneca, Pembina and Penguin. Tattnall, on his flagship, the steamer CSS Savannah, and with three armed tugs (Lady Davis, Resolute, and Sampson), bravely headed in towards the USN vessels. Gunfire from Ottawa, Seneca, and Pembina drove him back to his anchorage in Skull Creek. The next day, USN gunboats led by Ottawa went in to probe the defensive capabilities of the Confederate shore batteries and the CSN fleet attacked again. This time the Confederate flotilla was under the command of John Newland Maffitt, who, as Robert Browning notes, “went at them” when he saw the enemy vessels steaming into the harbor. A shot from the Seneca’s forward 11 inch pivot gun struck the Savannah and again the Union gunfire forced the Confederate ships to withdraw. Tattnall was furious with Maffitt, claiming that he did not authorize an attack, and of course Maffitt believed otherwise. Tattnall relieved Maffitt of command, but the two officers later settled their dispute. The day the Union offensive began (7 November), the mosquito fleet, back under Tattnall’s command, again stood out to take on the USN attacking fleet. A flanking column of Union gunboats (Bienville, Seneca, Penguin, Augusta, and Curlew) was assigned to keep watch on the mosquito fleet and fend off any attacks, which they did. Tattnall, as he reluctantly withdrew, dipped his blue ensign three times as a salute to his old friend DuPont. Later that day, Seneca went after the Confederate vessels and drove them back to Skull Creek. After the capitulation of the forts, the CSN vessels helped evacuate the Confederate garrison.

Image of the "90-day" or Unadilla class gunboats. Ottawa, Pembina, and Seneca are all shown. Source: Naval History and Heritage Command

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Port Royal Commemorative Events

Our friends at the South Carolina Civil War 150th pointed out to us some other commemorative events coming up in the upcoming week. Here is a quick list:

The Port Royal Plantation Commemorative Event has a great full list of event details (how to get there, parking, etc.) Got to it HERE.

Mike Coker Luncheon Lecture sponsored by Powder Magazine (November 10, 2011)
Description: November 1861, the South was winning the War. The Confederacy had been victorious at Fort Sumter and Manassas and the blockade of Southern ports was a farce! The Federals needed to turn the tide. The largest fleet ever assembled by the U.S. set its sights on the SC coast! Join historian Michael Coker on the 150th Anniversary of this largely forgotten pivotal battle of the war. Lunch will be provided by AW Shucks. $18

Battle of Port Royal Boat Tour (November 12, 2011) (updated)
Time: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Description: The University of South Carolina at Beaufort is sponsoring this boat tour about the Battle of Port Royal in November 1861. Noted historians Stephen Wise and Dr. Lawrence Rowland will lead the tour. $115, including lectures, lunch, boat fee and handouts. Call 843-521-4147 or kingsley@ucsb.edu

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Brother Against Brother at Port Royal

Percival Drayton was born in the South, but remained loyal to the Union when war came. This resulted in a situation that is often referenced in the study of the Civil War - brother against brother. At the Battle of Port Royal, Percival Drayton commanded the Pocahontas. His brother, Thomas Fenwick Drayton, was a Confederate brigadier general and was also present at Port Royal. During the battle, the Pocahontas fired upon Fort Walker, where Thomas was in command.
Percival wrote in a letter dated 30 November 1861 from Port Royal: "To think of my pitching here right into such a nest of my relations, my brother, William Heyward, Tatnall &c it is very hard but I can not exactly see the difference between their fighting against me and I against them except that their cause is as unholy a one as the world has ever
seen and mine just the reverse."

Interpretive marker at Fort Walker
Civil War Letters of Percival Drayton

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Storms off the South Carolina coast

The morning of 3 November 1861 off the coast of Port Royal, SC was stormy, both literally and figuratively. The coast was still being brushed by the trailing remnants of a hurricane that had gone by over the past few days (post by Matt on 29 August), and the storm clouds of war were beginning to gather. After weathering the hurricane on their journey south from Hampton Roads, elements of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron were assembling off Port Royal in preparation to take the anchorage for use as a base of operations. As detailed by Matt in that prior post, the expedition was beat up somewhat by the storm, but managed to make it through with relatively minimal loss of life and ships. The Army suffered the greater loss, in terms of ships carrying equipment and supplies and the failure to make the rendezvous of the small steamers which were to tow the surfboats loaded with soldiers to the beaches. Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont arrived the afternoon of 3 November in the flagship USS Wabash, and during the day, other warships of the squadron and US Army transports carrying troops under the command of Gen. Thomas W. Sherman rendezvoused with the flagship. During this time they were being watched by Confederate soldiers in Forts Walker and Beauregard and by Flag Officer Josiah Tattnall of the Confederate Navy, with his “mosquito fleet.” The stage was set for the Battle of Port Royal to begin. Illustration source: US Naval History and Heritage Command.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Navy Leadership at Port Royal

As described in our previous post, this week we will be highlighting the Battle of Port Royal.  This was an historic event for the United States (Union) Navy, as it was the first major test of the fleet against formidable, shore based defenses (Forts Walker and Beauregard).  Today's post centers around the two commanders responsible for coordinating the naval attack and defense of the port: Samuel Francis Du Pont and Josiah Tattnall.

Union Navy Leadership: Samuel Francis Du Pont

Union forces specifically needed an adequate and well executed naval component in order for the mission to be successful.  This would prove a daunting task for officials in Washington as well as the newly installed South Atlantic Blockading Squadron Commander Samuel Francis Du Pont.  Du Pont knew about blockade strategy already in his naval career, serving on the blockade of California in the twighlight days of the Mexican American War.  The seasoned Flag Officer, who served  in the United States Navy since 1815, took command of the SABC on 18 September 1861.  He would uphold the command until June 1863.  Port Royal would arguably be his greatest test, now in the waning years of his life. 

For the aging Squadron Commander, preparations were anything but slow.  Decisions were made so fast that Du Pont felt officials in Washington, including President Lincoln, were not being realistic to the start date of the expedition (originally in early October).  The burden of leadership indeed weighed on Du Pont.  In coordination with Brig. General Thomas Sherman's 13,000 troops, 77 ships under Du Pont would assemble at Port Royal. 

If all went well, this early engagement would be a hallmark of combined Army/Navy operations utilized by Union forces during the war.       

Confederate Navy Leadership: Josiah Tattnall

For the Confederacy,   Captain Josiah Tattnal would be responsible for the Southern naval defense of Port Royal.  Although Tattnall opposed secession, he nonetheless resigned his U.S. Navy commission and became a senior naval officer for the state navy of Georgia, his home state.  As the war progressed, he soon found himself in command of the Georgia and South Carolina coastline, which included Port Royal.  He would have very little resources to put against the amassed fleets: several converted tugboats and harbor vessels with 2 mounted cannon. 

It would seem that any subsequent defense of Port Royal would have to rely on its hastily built up forts (Walker and Beauregard).  The forts would become the focus of both Union and Confederate forces in the days to come before the attack.