…You refer to our terrible civil war. I wish so much we could talk it over together—the subject is too vast to attempt even to allude to it in the brief space of a letter. We feel here how little the subject is understood in Europe, because our political institutions have never been comprehended there. One sentiment across the water seems quite pervasive and I perceive you share in it, viz., that we cannot be a united people again. Why should we be an exception to the world’s history and to your own history in this respect? Is there bad blood between England and Scotland now? Is not Ireland united with you? How is it across the Channel? Has Louis Napoleon more devoted adherents than in Brittany? Your historians tell us there was a dead body or wounded man in every hamlet in La Vendee during the civil war that desolated in that country—where the forests were burned in order to extinguish the last haunts of the opposition…
Off the land twelve miles. The morning is thick and hazy. The shore is scarcely distinguishable. There is all the preparations being made for our Sabbath Day devotions. Inspection at quarters at ten o’clock after which we are all waiting to hear the Church bell till. At ten minutes after ten the fore top man at the mast head sang out – Steamer under the land! Standing out! That’s the Alabama, said the quarter master. We were all anxious to catch a glimpse of her before going into battle. The bell sounded fire quarters and the boys were to be seen tumbling down the forecastle ladders – fore rigging Jacob’s Ladders & c trying who could be first at their quarters. She was coming straight out for us and we were all ready for the conflict in just three minutes. Decks sanded down. Batteries cast loose and manned. Magazines opened & all reported ready. Go ahead fast, said the Captain. The Alabama was now about two miles distant and coming on fast. Lay down! Every man, said the Captain, and down we all lay flat on the deck. And now as I lay down not knowing how soon I might be killed or maimed for life I thought of home and how I had been neglected by those who should have been all in all to me…
Another two chapters in our history read-along this summer! This section focuses exclusively on World War II in the Pacific, so if you’ve been waiting for that – we’ve arrived.
Looking for some World War II books to read with kids? (since this read-along book isn’t suitable for kiddos) Check out our resource lists on the WWII history page! May we recommend Pearl Harbor is Burning! A Story of World War II Kathleen V. Kudlinski?
It’s time to focus on some aspects of maritime history during the American Civil War. We’ll spend the rest of the year (on Wednesdays) taking about Blockade Runners – their voyages, international politics, ships, captains and crew, and other aspects of these “secretive” merchant vessels.
However, in today’s blog post we’ll talk about the blockade. After-all, it’s rather hard to have a blockade runner if there is no actual blockade. So I’ve asked the five classic questions (what, when, where, why, and how) and the answers will give some anchoring information as we sail into this new topic connected to 19th Century American Maritime. Continue reading →
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK, Norfolk, Va., March 10, 1862
General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General.
SIR: I telegraphed yesterday to the Secretary of War the fact of the naval engagement on the 8th and 9th instant. As the battle was fought by the Navy, Flag-Officer Forrest will no doubt report to the Navy Department the result of the engagement.
The batteries at Sewell’s Point opened fire on the steamers Minnesota and Roanoke, which attempted on the 8th to pass to Newport News to the assistance of the frigates attacked by the Virginia. The Minnesota ran aground before reaching there. The Roanoke was struck several times, and for some cause turned around and went back to Old Point. Continue reading →
We’ve been talking about American trade, and last week we discussed the international aspects. One important and defining moment in American and World History is directly linked to the U.S. Navy and maritime trade interests.
It wasn’t a war or even a battle. Instead, an American fleet broke through the isolationist “walls” surrounding Japan, opening opportunity for the Asian country and establishing firm diplomatic relationships between the countries. Taking place in 1853 and 1854, it signaled a positive beginning of maritime trade with Japan – an arrangement which could benefit both countries.
Understanding this event is a key foundation to examining the history of American roles, influences, and diplomacy with Asia. Today, we present some overview history of the American commodore, the Japanese shogun, the first American ships to enter Japanese harbors, and the first treaty between the countries. Continue reading →