Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year, New Things for the CWN 150

As we are now in the final days before the sesquicentennial anniversary of the American Civil War, it would only be fitting to highlight some new ideas and activities surrounding the CWN 150 for our devoted readers.

One of the most celebrate activities during the New Year is the countdown of the ball in Times Square. Everybody gathers around the television (or if you are lucky enough to be there in Times Square) to count down the final 10 seconds of the previous year, celebrating the first seconds of the proceeding one in joyful applause and embrace.

Here is our own "Top 10" list of new features and activities for CWN 150 readers to get involved with.

1. Featured Blog Tabs

The newest feature to the blog are the series of tabs at the top of the page. These allow you ease of access through the site, as well as provide some helpful links to other CWN 150-related pages. As you can see from the picture above, the tabs are as follows:

  1. Home - takes you back to the CWN 150 Blog home page
    CWN 150 Bloggers - a list of all the current CWN 150 bloggers with their emails and info
  2. Organizations - participating CWN 150 organizations
  3. Publications - a list of all current CWN 150/NHHC publications
  4. Links - Need another CWN 150-related link? Find it here
  5. Facebook - directly links you to the official CWN 150 Facebook page
  6. NHHC CWN - directly links you to information on the Civil War Navy, courtesy of NHHC
  7. Boards - directly links you to the official CWN 150 Message Board (see below)
  8. ORN - directly links you to a complete and free view of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies During the Rebellion. These records are also available for FREE on Google Books.
  9. Questions? - Have a question about the Civil War navies? Click this tab to directly link to your email

2. Get Involved with Facebook

It is no surprise that Facebook is the #1 social networking tool in the world. Many (if not all) of you have Facebook accounts. Help us spread the word and awareness of the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial by "liking" the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial on Facebook. Simply search "Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial" to get to the page, or click the direct link HERE or on our tab on the CWN 150 blog home page. Stay connected and up to date!

3. Featured Polls

Over the past two months, we have asked readers about who they felt was the most influential Civil War naval officer. The results and comments thus far have been very positive. As the poll continues into its quarterfinal round, we will likely post other interactive this blog. Submit your vote today!

4. CWN 150 Message Board

As of today, the CWN 150 has its own message board. It is free to sign up and start contributing and interacting with fellow CWN 150 readers and enthusiasts. Forum topics include everything from general CWN discussion to the ships, sailors, and organization of the Union and Confederate navies. You can click the tab to link you there, or by clicking HERE to the forum index.

5. Updated Calendar of Events on CWN 150 Blog

Several 2011 events are now added to the calendar located at the top page of the blog. If you have an event that you would like to see on the CWN 150 blog calendar or Facebook page, please email Matthew Eng at

6. CWN 150 Special Edition Daybook Available for Download

As stated before in previous blog entries (30 November 2010), the Civil War Navy Special Edition Daybook is now available for FREE download HERE. You can also access the page by clicking on the "Publications" tab.

7. Future Online Contests for Prizes

Future online contests for prize incentives will become an excellent way to foster growth and interest in the sesquicentennial in upcoming years. Stay posted.

8. Getting Involved with the CWN 150

Have an interest in the Civil War and its navies? Enjoy writing or researching? If you are, then click on the "Questions" tab to email about your interest in getting involved with the CWN 150. We are always looking for new people to help with the blog or Facebook page. If this is you, don't delay! If you are an undergrad currently in college or are a prospective college student email Sarah Adler at for more information.

9. Civil War Navy Card Game in Final Development Stages

We are nearing the final stage of development of The Fight at Sea: Anaconda trading card game. Please check back for details on how you can get involved and start playing today. If you would like info on current details, email Gordon Calhoun at

10. Coming Soon: CWN 150 Podcasts and Youtube

One of the goals of the CWN 150 in the next year is to have not only a Civil War Navy Youtube video page, but a weekly or biweekly podcast devoted to any and everything Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial. Stay posted for more details.

I hope this is some exciting news for many of you. Have a safe and happy new year.

Full Speed Ahead,

Matthew T. Eng
Coordinator, Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial

Matthew F. Maury wins Week 8 Poll, Quarterfinal Poll Posted

Former U.S. Navy Commander turned Confederate Matthew F. Maury won the final Round 1 poll today. Over the last two months, we have asked our readers: "Who Was the Greatest Naval Officer During the Civil War?" Many of those included were not in fact "officers," but had ties or affiliations closely resembling that of distinguish. After 8 weeks of polls, the first round is over. Maury himself spent a long and distinguished career in the United States Navy before resigned his commission at the outset of war.

Indeed, Maury's influence from his naval career spanned his entire lifetime. He was the Civil War-era equivalent of a "Renaissance Man," as he was a well established explorer, author, historian, lecturer, cartographer, and geologist. You can see a brief biography of Matthew F. Maury HERE, courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

We will now begin the quarterfinal round of polls this week. The eight remaining officers chosen by you (the readers) are as follows: Union - David D. Porter, John Dahlgren, William Cushing, Andrew H. Foote; Confederate - Raphael Semmes, John M. Brooke, Thomas Lockwood, Matthew F. Maury. We will be posting the quarterfinal round of polls over the next month. This week's poll includes a matchup between Union naval officers of high mark and distinguish: David D. Porter and John Dahlgren. There were a lot of votes towards the end of the poll, so vote now, and encourage other enthusiasts to do so!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Civil War Navy As Seen In DC's Public Art

Anyone who has visited or lived in Washington, DC knows that public art -- especially in the form of monuments and statuary -- is prevalent in nearly all of the city's green spaces. Four of these pieces are directly related to the Civil War Navy and are well worth noticing next time you are in the area.

Admiral David G. Farragut appears in standing statue form in Farragut Square (17th and K St. NW). The piece was sculpted by Vinnie Ream Hoxie, cost $20,000, and was dedicated on 25 April 1881.

The Naval Peace Monument also known as the Naval Monument or Peace Monument, was created by Franklin Simmons in 1877 to honor those who died honorably at sea during the Civil War. It is located at Pennsylvania Ave. and 1st St. NW. The cost of the piece was $20,000, paid for primarily by subscriptions from naval personnel.

The DuPont Memorial, a monumental fountain located in Dupont Circle at the intersections of Massachusetts Ave., Connecticut Ave., 19th St. and P St. NW, was paid for by the family of Admiral Samuel DuPont and was dedicated on 17 April 1921. It was sculpted by Daniel Chester French (of Lincoln Memorial fame) and cost $77,521.33.

John Ericsson, the inventor behind the famous Monitor, can be found in West Potomac Park sitting with an allegorical group representing his heritage and contributions. The monument was sculpted by J.E. Fraser at the price of $63,500 and was dedicated on 29 May 1926.

Photographs courtesy of flickr.

Update on the CSS Peedee

An update on the archaeological survey on the CSS Peedee wreck site posted today:

USC Archeologists Locate Wreck of Confederate Gunboat

Although the ship itself is identified as "... in pieces and buried." The team has located two of the three guns from the Peedee, one Brooke rifle and one Dahlgren IX-inch smoothbore. Some of the Dahlgren's stamps are still legible after nearly 150 years underwater. Photos in the article show a recovered Brooke projectile.

The intent is to recover some portions of the wreck, including the guns, in a preservation program hosted by nearby Francis Marion University.

John M. Brooke Wins Week 7 Poll; Final Poll on Blog

Over the past few months, we have included a series of polls on the CWN 150 blog asking readers this question: "Who Was the Greatest Naval Officer During the American Civil War?" After seven weeks of voting, we are on our last round of voting before going into the next "playoff" round between Union and Confederate officers. After a week's worth of voting, John M. Brooke, creator of the infamous Brooke Rifle, won week 7's poll with 7 votes. You can read a brief bio of John M. Brooke HERE courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Here is a picture of a Brooke Rifle used by a Confederate Battery along the James River:

This week's final Round 1 poll with highlight the last four Confederate naval officers on our list: Franklin Buchanan, John Maffitt, Samuel Barron, and Matthew F. Maury.

Please encourage others to vote in this poll. Although voting for these men may seem a bit superficial, your participation helps CWN 150 participant organization gain a better understanding of exactly what has "stuck" over the past 150 years.

One of the goals of the CWN 150 is to understand who and what enthusiasts and general public alike feel about the Civil War Navy. In a sesquicentennial that is already drawing up much attention in the press, it is important to understand how the Civil War Navy is regarded in public memory. As we approach the final days before the official 150th anniversary of America's most troubling period in its short history, your thoughts and ideas on the "webbed feet" of the war will be greatly appreciated.
Happy Holidays from the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

1 Day Left to Vote on Week 7 Poll!

Just a reminder that there is 1 day left to vote on this week's poll: Who Was the Greatest Naval Officer During the Civil War (Week 7). This week's choices are Catesby ap Roger Jones, John T. Wood, John M. Brooke, and James Montgomery. Next week's poll will complete the 8 preliminary polls before we go into a series of "playoff" scenarios for the officers you voted for in previous weeks. The final poll will showdown the Union and Confederate officer, ultimately decided by YOU the dedicated readers of CWN 150.

We hope everybody has a safe holiday season as we go "full speed ahead" towards the sesquicentennial years of the American Civil War.

You will also notice a few changes to the blog. We have now included tabs on the top of the page. Each tab offers some useful information on links, publications, and some general info on the ongoing list of bloggers for the Civil War Navy. If you are interested in contributing to the blog, or would like to post your events to the CWN 150 homepage, please email Matthew T. Eng at for more information.


 Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial on Twitter
 Naval History and Heritage Command

Hampton Roads Naval Museum

Mariners' Museum

National Civil War Naval Museum

National Museum of the US Navy

NPS Civil War Homepage

Cape Fear Civil War Roundtable

Civil War Daily Gazette

Civil War Preservation Trust

Twenty Great Reads_Civil War Navy

Wars and Conflicts_Civil War Navy

Civil War Navies Message Boards

Civil War Florida

Civil War Traveler

Friends of Fort Fisher

CWN 150 Publications

The Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial is dedicated to providing scholarship on the history and heritage of the navies during the Civil War during the commemorative years. The following is a summary list of publications produced by the participants of the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial.

Civil War Navy Special Edition Daybook

The staff of the Hampton Roads Naval Museum published a Civil War Navy 150 Special Edition for The Daybook, its quarterly publication of local naval history. This issue serves a primer for the events and facts concerning the war between the U.S. Navy and the C.S. Navy. A PDF version of the issue can be downloaded here, or click the cover image. Print copies are still available. Requests for print copies can be made to The Daybook editor at or CWN 150 Coordinator at

Civil War Navy Special Edition: The Tech War (NEW for 2012)

The latest special edition of The Daybook focuses on the importance of technology and the Civil War navies.  A PDF version of the issue can be downloaded here, or click the cover image. Print copies are still available. Requests for print copies can be made to The Daybook editor at or CWN 150 Coordinator at

The Daybook: The Official Publication of the Hampton Roads Naval Museum
The quarterly publications of the Hampton Roads Naval Museum offers Civil War Navy specific posts.  For more information, please go HERE.

Blacks in Blue Jackets: African Americans in the Union Navy

African Americans played an integral part in securing victory for the Union during the Civil War. Download this brief pamphlet outlining a brief history of their involvement during the Civil War HERE or download these .jpg images. below. Click the image and "save as" to save the images. 

Participating Organizations

Interested in partnering your organization with the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial? Email Matthew Eng, CWN 150 Coordinator, at for details and information.

Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial Bloggers

Naval History and Heritage Command Bloggers

Laura Orr
Special Events Coordinator/Educator, Hampton Roads Naval Museum
Other Blog Contributions: Hampton Roads Naval Museum

John Pentangelo
Curator/Registrar, Naval War College Museum
Other Blog Contributions: Naval History Blog, Naval War College Museum

Naval Historical Foundation Bloggers

Matthew Eng, Coordinator
Digital Content Developer, Naval Historical Foundation
Other Blog Contributions: Naval Historical FoundationNaval History

CWN 150 Blog Contributors

Craig Swain
Civil War Historian and Enthusiast
Other Blog Contributions: Marker Hunter, Civil War Monitor

Andrew Duppstadt
Assistant Curator of Education, NC Historic Sites
Other Blog Contributions: Civil War Navy

"Seaman Rob" AKA Rob Mattson
USS Fort Henry Living History Association

John Grady
Civil War Historian and Author

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thomas Lockwood Wins Week 6 Poll, Week 7 Poll Up

Over the past six weeks, we have asked our readers to vote who they thought was the greatest naval officer during the American Civil War. Each week, we offer four candidates. After each week's winner is decided, they will essentially go into a weekly "playoff" system to decide who YOU think deserves credit. Thomas Lockwood, the "Dashing Blockade Runner," won last week's poll. This week's poll (Week 7) offers four more Confederate candidates, many of which are highly familiar in Confederate naval lore. Please follow the links for a brief biography.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Those Old Ships of the Line

Hard to believe, but at the eve of a war which would feature use of armored warships, steam propulsion, rifled naval guns, mines, and primitive submarines, the U.S. Navy retained several ships-of-the-line on the vessel list. Although most sat on the stocks out of commission, in 1860 the Navy counted eight 74-gun and two 120-gun ships-of-the-line.

Retention of such seemingly obsolete vessels was not as absurd as it may seem. Steam propulsion, a technology still evolving past infancy, suffered from a few tactical issues. Among those was slow speed handling in exactly the tight formations in which doctrine called for the battle divisions to fight. Yes, just as Army officers looked back to the Napoleonic wars for components of their tactics and doctrine, many naval officers considered Nelson's battle line in regard to dispositions. And certainly around appropriations time, many noted place of honor the ship-of-the-line retained even as steam power prevailed.

(Contemporary Illustration of the USS Pennsylvania - Wikipedia commons)

The USS Pennsylvania, laid down in 1822 and commissioned in 1837, was the largest sailing warship ever built in the United States. Rated as a 120-gun ship, by 1860 she was laid up in Norfolk as a receiving ship. If fitted out for war, the Pennsylvania would mount an impressive mix of 8-inch shell guns and 32-pdr cannon. But she was not ready for war as the secession crisis loomed.

Also laid up at Norfolk were the 74-gun ships USS Columbus and USS Delaware. The Columbus was completed in 1819 and commissioned in 1828, the Delaware actually carried 84 guns. A sister ship of the Delaware, the New York was, according to some sources, laid up incomplete at Norfolk. But the Naval records indicate the partially completed vessels was in the New York shipyard. Regardless the New York was never actually commissioned into the U.S. Navy.

(USS North Carolina - Wikipedia commons)

The USS North Carolina served as a storeship in at the New York Navy Yard. Another 74-gun ship, the USS Ohio which dated to 1820, lay in Boston as a receiving ship. Other ships of the rate - the Alabama, Vermont, and Virginia - lay incomplete and thus not commissioned on the stocks. And at Sacketts Harbor, New York, the New Orleans, a 120-gun rate, remained incomplete as the sole Great Lakes ship-of-the-line.

Of the American ships-of-the-line, the Columbus,, North Carolina, and Delaware saw substantial service before the Civil War. The Columbus and Ohio were active during the Mexican War. Like the American frigates, the American 74s often carried guns in excess of their rate. The North Carolina reportedly carried over 100 guns during some Mediterranean cruises.

As indicated, at the time of South Carolina's secession in December 1860, none of these vessels were ready for service. Faced with other operational concerns, the Navy let the ships remain either on the stocks or in yard support capacities right up to the start of the Civil War. The Navy burned the Pennsylvania and Delaware when Virginia state troops took over Norfolk in April 1861, somewhat symbolically marking the end of the ship-of-the-line era.

(USS New Hampshire as receiving ship - Wikipedia commons)

However, a few of the big old sailing ships continued to serve as store ships or receiving ships until the end of the Civil War. The Alabama became the USS New Hampshire, and was commissioned as a store ship. The New Hampshire and Vermont served on station at Port Royal, South Carolina, reportedly receiving heavy caliber Parrott rifles.

As the U.S. Navy entered 1861, in spite of their reserve status these ships-of-the-line were proud measures used to compare with foreign navies. However, during the Civil War the Navy found more use for the ship's holds than the big ship's cannons.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Vicksburg Military Park Included in 2011 America the Beautiful Program Coins

Vicksburg Military Park will be included in the second set of coins issued by the United State Mint's Beautiful Quarters Program. Other 2011 Beautiful Quarters will honor Gettysburg National Military Park, Glacier National Park, Olympic Nationalo Park, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

The coin depicts the U.S.S. Cairo on the Yazoo River as it would have been seen when it served the Union Navy during the Civil War. Inscriptions are VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI, 2011 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.