Civil War at Sea

    Date Event
    Confederate president invites applications for "letters of Marque and Reprisal"
    - On Chesapeake Bay, a bold stroke captures a Baltimore ferry and turns it into a Confederate privateer
    Confederate privateer encounters the loaded Boston schooner "Enchantress" and takes her as a prize
    In Baltimore, the War Department, to secure local shipping from hijack, seizes two Chesapeake ferries
    U.S. Navy recaptures the Boston schooner "Enchantress" taken as a Confederate prize two weeks before
    The first of the six new warships Congress appropriated for at the start of the war is launched in Philadelphia
    - In North Carolina, a combined federal army and navy operation bombards and captures coastal forts
    - On the Florida coast, Union sailors and marines raid Pensacola and destroy a Confederate warship there
    Union naval landing parties retake Chandeleur Island in Louisiana off the mouth of the Mississippi
    Confederate forces evacuate Ship Island, off the coast of Mississippi
    U.S. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles authorizes the enlistment of runaway slaves into the naval service
    Confederate gunboats seize Union steamer off North Carolina, capturing Indiana and New York troops aboard
    On the North Carolina coast, a Confederate amphibious assault captures a Union camp at Chicomacomico
    United States Navy raiding party crosses the Potomac and destroys a Confederate schooner in Dumfries Creek
    Confederate naval units stage a dawn attack on the U.S. Navy squadron blockading New Orleans
    The United States Navy celebrates the eighty-fifth anniversary of its founding
    Off the Tortugas, the U.S.S. Keystone State captures a Confederate blockade runner bound for Florida
    - In Philadelphia, the piracy trial of privateer William Smith results in guilty verdict and a death sentence
    At Greenpoint, New York, John Ericsson lays the keel for his revolutionary ironclad
    Captured blockade runner arrives at Philadelphia Naval Yard - her cargo includes 400,000 Cuban cigars
    The Confederate commerce raider Nashville runs the blockade at Charleston and heads for the North Atlantic
    Largest U.S. Fleet ever assembled sails from Norfolk, Virginia to blockade and harass the Confederate coast
    - The South Atlantic Blockading Squadron runs into a storm on its way to South Carolina and ships are lost
    The "Stone Fleet" sets sail from New Bedford, Massachusetts
    - In South Carolina, the U.S. South Atlantic Blockading Squadron takes Port Royal by naval bombardment
    In Philadelphia, U.S. Justice Grier rebels against piracy cases interrupting U.S. District Court business
    A U.S. warship intercepts and boards a British mail ship off Cuba to arrest Confederate diplomats
    In Richmond, Confederates select prisoners for trial in retaliation for Northern convictions of privateers
    Union warship captures Confederate privateer off the Bahamas
    The new 730-ton side wheel gunboat U.S.S. Miami is launched at the Philadelphia Navy Yard
    In the Atlantic, the Confederate commerce raider Nashville burns the U.S. merchantman Harvey Birch
    In southern England, the Confederate commerce raider Nashville docks for repairs in the port of Southampton
    - On the Florida coast, Union artillery and navy ships bombard Confederate positions around Pensacola
    On the Georgia coast, U.S. Navy boat crews take control of Tybee Island
    The captured blockade runner Albion arrives in New York Harbor under a prize crew from USS Penguin
    U.S.S. Hartford returns home from Asia with four officers who had declared for the Confederacy
    In the English port of Southampton, the Confederate warship Nashville enters dry-dock for repairs
    In Southampton harbor, the Confederate warship Nashville dips its flag in mourning for Prince Albert
    The "Stone Fleet" sets sail from Port Royal, South Carolina for Charleston Harbor
    - The U.S. Navy's "Stone Fleet" is deliberately sunk in the channels of Charleston Harbor
    Off Mississippi, a U.S. Navy steamer collides with a French warship sent to evacuate citizens from New Orleans
    On the Mississippi Gulf coast, U.S. Navy units based at Ship Island capture the town of Biloxi
    In South Carolina, a Confederate steamer easily avoids the U.S. Navy and enters the blockaded port of Charleston
    The U.S.S. Tuscarora moors in Southampton Water, a mile from the Confederate commerce Nashville
    In the English port of Southampton, sailors from Confederate and Union warships brawl in a pub
    The U.S. Navy sinks a second "stone fleet" to block another channel in Charleston Harbor
    John Ericsson's new ironclad is launched in New York
    Watched by the U.S.S. Tuscarora, the Confederate warship Nashville sails from Southampton
    The United States reclassifies convicted Confederate privateers as prisoners of war
    At Greenpoint, New York, John Ericsson's new ironclad is completed and turned over the the U.S. Navy.
    At Beaufort, North Carolina, Confederate commerce raider Nashville returns home
    John Ericsson's new ironclad is commissioned as the U.S.S. Monitor
    Off Norfolk, Virginia, the ironclad C.S.S. Virginia leads an attack that cripples the Union blockading fleet
    In Hampton Roads, the Virginia and the Monitor pound each other in the first ever battle between ironclads
    The Governor of New York reacts to the emergence of naval ironclad warfare in Virginia
    Union naval units bombard remaining Confederate installations along Aquia Creek in northern Virginia
    - Under cover of darkness, the Confederate commerce raider Nashville escapes Beaufort, North Carolina
    British ship Emily St. Pierre seized off the South Carolina coast and sent as a prize to Philadelphia
    The U.S.S. Rhode Island arrives in Philadelphia with Confederate privateer prisoners
    The new steam sloop Juniata is launched at the Philadelphia Naval Yard
    British captain and two of his men recapture the Emily St. Pierre from its U.S. Navy prize crew
    Commodore Du Pont moves on Saint Augustine, Florida and finds U.S. Marines already there
    New 1400 ton steam sloop for the expanding Union Navy is launched at the Boston Navy Yard
    Union naval units occupy Appalachicola, Florida
    - The U.S.S. Carondelet makes her daring night run past the Confederate blockade on the Mississippi
    The Emily St. Pierre, the British ship recaptured from its U.S. Navy prize crew, arrives in Liverpool
    New warship Sacramento launched at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in eastern Maine
    New British built steamer Oreto arrives in the Bahamas, a secret purchase of the Confederate Navy
    In Philadelphia, the U.S. Navy's first submarine, French-designed and called the Alligator, is launched
    Captured blockade runner packed with munitions arrives in New York harbor as a U.S. Navy prize
    Off Norfolk, Virginia, President Lincoln observes a bombardment of Confederate positions
    Captain Charles H. Davis replaces Commodore A.H. Foote as commander of the Union's Mississippi Flotilla
    In Virginia, a Union amphibious operation forces the surrender of Norfolk and its naval installations
    In Philadelphia, War of 1812 hero Charles Stewart does the honors at launch of new Union ironclad
    Sharp half-hour naval engagement on the Mississippi River below Fort Pillow in Tennessee
    In Virginia, the famous and feared Confederate ironclad "Merrimac" is burned to avoid its capture
    U.S. Navy gunboats demand the surrender of Natchez, Mississippi
    African-American slave defects with his Confederate dispatch boat from Charleston Harbor
    Natchez, Mississippi surrenders to U.S. Navy gunboats
    - U.S. Navy transport with new Department of the South commander aboard wrecked in North Carolina
    U.S. Navy warships demand the surrender of Galveston, Texas
    In Richmond, the Confederate Navy convenes a court of inquiry over the destruction of the Merrimac
    In Richmond, the Confederate Navy court of inquiry into the scuttling of the Merrimac makes its report
    New paddle steamer launched for the U.S. Navy at the Philadelphia Naval Yard
    U.S.S. Canandaiga captures the blockade runner S.S. Cherokee off Charleston
    U.S. Navy prize caught running the Charleston blockade sinks off North Carolina on its way to Boston
    U.S. Navy sailing vessel strikes a reef off Haiti and is lost though all the crew survive
    A destructive fire in a Jersey City shipyard threatens naval construction there
    - In Florida, a U.S. Navy small boats expedition cuts out a Confederate blockade-runner
    Confederate naval vessel explodes on the Chattahoochie River, killing eighteen of its crew
    Heavy gale off the Florida Panhandle destroys two Union naval sailing barks
    Off the coast of Brazil, the Confederate raider, Alabama, burns the New York bark Amazonian
    Admiral Andrew Foote assigned to replace Admiral Dupont as head of South Atlantic Squadron
    Off the coast of Brazil, the Confederate raider, Alabama, captures the New York clipper ship Talisman
    Confederate sailors capture a Union steam tug towing a ship up the Mississippi to New Orleans
    U.S.S. Florida captures the blockade runner Calypso off the North Carolina coast.
    Confederate naval units capture the Tacony off the East Coast and convert her into a commerce raider
    The C.S.S. Atlanta attempts to attack the U.S. Navy off Savannah, Georgia and lasts fifteen minutes
    Admiral Dahlgren appointed to replace the ailing Admiral Foote as South Atlantic Squadron commander
    Admiral Andrew Foote dies after a short illness at the Astor Hotel in New York City
    In Maine, an audacious Confederate attempt to sail away with a Coast Guard cutter narrowly fails
    - U.S. Navy intercepts and destroys Confederate blockade-runner crossing the bar in Charleston Harbor
    An exchange of wounded prisoners takes place off Fort Wagner in Charleston Harbor under a flag of truce
    In Virginia, a river mine causes heavy damage to Union naval units operating on the James River
    The experimental Confederate submarine, H.L. Hunley again sinks in Charleston Harbor during trials, drowning eight men
    - In Charleston Harbor, the U.S.S Lehigh runs aground under the guns of Fort Sumter and is badly damaged
    A few days after arriving from New York, the transport ship "Aquila" sinks at its wharf in San Francisco
    The newly purchased Confederate ship "Rappahannock" slips out of its English Channel port at midnight
    U.S. Navy monitor besieging Charleston sinks in heavy weather and over thirty crewmen are lost
    Off the Indonesian coast, the Alabama captures and burns an American merchant ship
    In North Carolina, Confederate sailors and marines capture a Union gunboat in a night attack
    The former C.S.S. Atlanta sails from the Philadelphia Naval Yard to join the Union fleet as U.S.S. Atlanta
    In Charleston Harbor, the C.S.S. H.L. Hunley attacks and sinks the first ship ever lost to a submarine
    Famous former blockade runner, now a U.S. Navy patrol vessel, sunk in a collision off North Carolina
    In North Carolina, Confederate warship clears the Roanoke River near Plymouth of Union vessels
    The Confederacy's most successful commerce raider meets its end off the French coast
    The private British steam yacht "Deerhound" lands rescued survivors of the raider "Alabama" at Southampton
    In Mobile Bay, Alabama, U.S. naval forces win a comprehensive victory over the Confederate fleet
    The U.S. Navy seizes a Confederate raider, now a British civilian vessel, off the coast of Portugal
    The U.S.S. Niagara visits Dover on the English coast to drop off a captured British crew
    Near Norfolk, Virginia, a veteran U.S. Navy frigate burns and sinks at her moorings
    U.S. naval units controversially capture the notorious raider C.S.S. Florida in neutral waters off the coast of Brazil
    - In the Roanoke River, a daring U.S. Navy night raid sinks the Confederate warship Albemarle
    In San Francisco Harbor, the U.S.S. Camanche is finally launched into the waters of the Pacific
    The controversially captured raider C.S.S. Florida sinks off Norfolk, Virginia after a collision
    Powerful and feared Confederate warship sails away from Ferrol in Spain and U.S. Navy warships decline an engagement
    Confederate warship departs Lisbon and confusion involving following U.S. ships almost sparks an international incident
    In the Blakeley River east of Mobile, Alabama, the U.S.S. Milwaukee hits a mine and sinks in three minutes
    In Alabama, a U.S. Navy stern-wheeler becomes the latest victim of Confederate mines near Mobile
    - On the Mississippi, a Confederate warship makes a bold breakout and almost reaches the open sea
    In Cuba, a powerful Confederate warship reaches Havana from Lisbon in Portugal and learns that the war has ended
    Still fighting, the C.S.S. Shenandoah begins its campaign to destroy the American whaling fleet
    Prominent United States Navy hero Samuel Francis Du Pont dies suddenly in Philadelphia
    In the far north Pacific, the last Confederate raider decimates the American whaling fleet in a single day
    Almost three years in the building, the U.S.S. Dunderburg is finally launched into New York's East River
    Famous navy veteran is laid to rest in the Brooklyn Naval Cemetery
    Date Title
    Boston (MA) Herald, “England and the Southern Blockade,” May 18, 1861
    New York Times, “One of their Errors,” June 3, 1861
    Charleston (SC) Mercury, “The Capture of the Privateer Savannah,” June 11, 1861
    New York Times, “Are They Pirates?,” June 23, 1861
    New York Times, “Closing the Southern Ports,” June 30, 1861
    Fayetteville (NC) Observer, “What is a Blockade?,” July 25, 1861
    Boston (MA) Advertiser, “Another Prize Saved by a Negro,” July 31, 1861
    Gideon Welles to Abraham Lincoln, August 5, 1861
    Boston (MA) Advertiser, “Naval Expeditions and the Press,” October 10, 1861
    USN Commander Melacton Smith reports an engagement with a Confederate warship off Mississippi coast, October 21, 1861
    USN Lieutenant A. Murray reports on a night raid up the Chincoteague Inlet, Virginia, October 28, 1861
    Judah Benjamin to Brig-General John H. Winder, Order to select Richmond prisoners for reprisal, November 9, 1861
    Captain W.H. Nelson of the Harvey Birch, Sworn protest at the November 19, 1861 destruction of his ship, November 22, 1861
    Col. Harvey Brown to Gen. Lorenzo Thomas, November 25, 1861
    Gen. Braxton Bragg, Congratulation on the November 22-23, 1861 Florida bombardment, November 25, 1861
    Flag Officer William W. McKean to Gideon Welles, Concerning Brigadier-General Phelps' Declaration, December 27, 1861
    Judge Samuel R. Betts, U.S. District Court, New York, Condemnation of Schooner Albion as Lawful Prize, January 22, 1862
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