Monday, January 24, 2011

Civil War Navy in the News

Here is some updates and links to information related to the Civil War Navy:

According to associated content on Yahoo News, artifacts from the USS Westfield, a Federal gunboat converted from a civilian ferryboat that ran aground and sank near Galveston Island, has surfaced important artifacts in recent days. Recovery experts for the USS Westfield under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Navy began in November 2009. Recently, however, new items have surfaced. According to the Yahoo newswire report:

"On Wednesday, January 19, 2011 Galveston County, The Daily News, announced that four cannonballs were recovered from near the resting place of the large cannon. Explosive experts from the Navy and Marine Corps were on hand for any possible necessary disarming of the devices. Other artifacts from the site have been recovered but skeletal remains of the captain and crew members of the USS Westfield are not expected to be found intact after so long a time."

The latest blog post from the Civil War Picket has some great information concerning Columbus, GA and its involvement (i.e. a "military industrial complex") in the Civil War. According to Phil Gast, author of the blog, Columbus ranked only second to Richmond in producing supplies and weapons for the Confederacy. Within their capacity, the city along the Chattahoochee River made gunboats for the Confederate Navy during the war. Columbus, GA is also the current home of the National Civil War Naval Museum.

There is also a great quote included on the Civil War Interactive Newswire. The 24 January quote is from Admiral David Dixon Porter, writing from the Yazoo River in 1863. Writing to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles of his success in capturing 11 Confederate steamers on the way to Vicksburg, he stated that:

"I am guarding the Yazoo River. The front…is heavily fortified. Unless we can get troops in the rear of the city I see no chance of taking it…though we cut off all their supplies.”

If you would like more information on David Dixon Porter, you can read his Naval History of the Civil War HERE for free, courtesy of Google Books.


  1. Good links to information. One humble correction; the Westfield was blown up by her crew to prevent capture by the Confederates. This was mentioned in a post on this blog on Oct. 14 2010 ("The Unlikely Warships"). Her captain was killed in the explosion when it detonated prematurely. It would not surprise me to not find human remains because most of the crew had evacuated the ship and the explosion would likely destroy any souls remaining on board. Seaman Rob

  2. Rob,

    Thank you for the response. Thank you for "filling in the holes" to what was originally said. The emphasis of the article was that it was run aground and subsequently sunk because it was blown up by the crew to avoid capture. CWN 150 readers appreciate your thoroughness.


    Matthew T. Eng