Thursday, October 13, 2011

Navy Birthday and October Updates

Today marks the 236th birthday of the United States Navy. Revolutionary War hero and first President George Washington said it best when describing the needs of a Navy for the United States, past and present: "Without a decisive naval force, we can do nothing definitive." For more information on the 236th birthday of the United States Navy, please see these resource at the Naval History and Heritage Command website.

Tons of activity about the Civil War Navy on the interwebs. Of course, this week marks the beginning of Mason and Slidell's overseas assignment, ultimately leading to the infamous Trent Affair with Charles Wilkes. You can read a previous post about the Trent Affair HERE, or go to CivilWarHome.

USS Richmond near Baton Rouge, LA
 "My Knees Knocked Together:" Civil War Visions Blog
Around the blogosphere, an interesting tidbit popped up on the Civil War Visions blog about a sailor's first reaction to combat. The text, taken from United States Sanitary Commission Soldiers' Letters From Camp, Battlefield, and Person, describes Walton Grinnell's eyewitness account of an engagement between the USS Richmond and the rebel steamer William H. Webb along the Mississippi River. For the 17 year old sailor aboard the Nyack, there was much cause for excitement. He ends his entry by saying, "Although I have before been under fire of musketry, yet I can fancy nothing comparable with the whizzing and bursting of rifle-shell." A very interesting bit of primary source information to read. It tells much of what sailors experienced in what historian John Keegan called the "Face of Battle." The Richmond would later take part in the capture of New Orleans.

By far, the most interesting article about the Civil War navies put out in the last few days should be credited to the Washington Post Lifestyle section. The article, titled "Battle of Ball's Bluff revealed a truth: The Civil War was a river war," describes how the small engagement turned Union fiasco can explain the complex nature of rivers and warfare during the five year conflict. The author of the article summarized the battle best: "sketchy information, a river too deep to ford, not enough boats, and soldiers who couldn’t swim." The article goes on to explain the "River Fact," justifying the importance of riverine combat in the West "both strategically and tactically." Check it out. A very interesting piece for the collection of our collective understanding of the Civil War navies, as much of the focus in the past few months has remained on land.

LH Marines from the Galena explain how a 3-pounder cannon works to a NMC sailor. (Eng)
HRNM/Civil War Navy 150 at Navy Day 2011 (Portsmouth, VA)
Hampton Roads Naval Museum Education Director Lee Duckworth and CWN 150 Coordinator Matthew T. Eng had a booth at Tuesday's Navy Day 2011 Event at Navy Medical Center (Portsmouth, VA). Various living history groups were in attendance, including the Tidewater Marine Living History Association and Galena Marine Ships Company. You can see the photo stream on the CWN 150 Facebook page HERE.

Events Updated
A few events were uploaded to the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial calendar. These events were submitted by "Seaman Rob" and the USS Ft. Henry Living History Association. The living history group is scheduled to appear at these Florida events. for more information, please go to
  • 15 October: Seahorse Key Open House (Cedar Key, FL)
  • 22-23 October: The Civil War in Jacksonville at Ft. Caroline National Monument (Jacksonville, FL)


  1. This is a beautiful and informative website. I commend you on taking the time to design and develop valuable articles like this. I wasn't in the Navy. I am a United States Marine. I spent allot of time on Navy ships though....such as the USS Peleliu (14 months). I am an Afghanistan War veteran. I started a simliar blog called "The Veterans Guide."
    Veteran's Guide to PTSD and Benefits
    You can visit it here and perhaps guest post on it from time to time. I will be waiting for your next post. Please keep up the good work!

    Thanks again!

    Semper Fidelis

  2. Yes, but can you afford the massive financial and technical outlays implicit in the iPhone studio system? web design baton rouge