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The "Stone Fleet" sets sail from New Bedford, Massachusetts

Civil War at Sea Topic Image, Crew members of the USS Pawnee
The U.S. Navy had been buying aging whaling ships in New England since September 1861 with the goal of sinking them, loaded with stone, in the channels of Southern harbors to facilitate the blockade. On November 2, 1861, a large group of these vessels sailed from New Bedford in Massachusetts.  They, with other ships, assembled at Port Royal and then sailed to Charleston Harbor where they were sunk under the direction of Captain Charles Henry Davis December 19-20, 1861.  Herman Melville later commemorated the fleet in verse. (By John Osborne)  
Source Citation: 
Ann Sophia Stephens, Pictorial history of the war for the Union: a complete and reliable history ... (New York: Benjamin W. Htitchcock, 1866), I: 225-226.


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