St. Nick Gives Up; McDowell Sets a Date

Saturday, June 29, 1861 As dawn broke over the Potomac River, the St. Nicolas, captured the day before by the Rebels, steamed against the current searching for the USS Pawnee. Captain Hollins and Colonel Thomas, along with a regiment of Tennessee soldiers, hoped to take the dreaded Union vessel by using a civilian ship asRead More

Manly French Lady Captures US Vessel

Friday, June 28, 1861 The evening brought a spring coolness to the Baltimore wharfs as the 1,200 ton, side-wheel steamer St. Nicholas received her passengers. She regularly made runs from Baltimore to Georgetown, Washington DC by chugging down the Chesapeake Bay, rounding Point Lookout and then paddling up the Potomac to the capital. This evening,Read More

A Botched Landing; Not Martial Law; The Anti-Lincoln Press

Thursday, June 27, 1861 The Union troops who landed on the Virginia side of the Potomac at Mathias Point were greeted with a warm welcome from the waiting Confederates encamped there. The USS Pawnee and Thomas Freeborn saw their last notable action at Aquia Creek in the beginning of June. The Freeborn was anchored fiveRead More

Seemingly Fictitious Skirmishes Along the Potomac

Wednesday, June 26, 1861 It would be awhile before the world would know Lew Wallace as the author of Ben-Hur. He had been a Senator from Indiana, as well as son of the state’s Governor, and was at this time Colonel of the 11th Indiana Zouaves. He was also being fought over by Union GeneralsRead More

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Jackson’s Way

Tuesday, June 25, 1861 The coming Union attack on Col. Thomas Jackson’s front at Martinsburg, reported by Jeb Stuart three days prior, had never materialized. Jackson sent a regiment and a battery of artillery to greet them, but the rumors turned out to be untrue. Before knowing any of this, Jackson wired his superior, GeneralRead More

A Better Day for a Balloon Ride and Fine Time with a Coffee Mill

Monday, June 24, 1861 No doubt General Beauregard has looked up on the high position of Professor Lowe with considerable amazement. All his far-reaching guns will fail to reach the messenger, who, from his cloudy seat, spies out the weak points of the traitor’s nest. -Washington Sunday Morning Chronicle The weather that kept Professor LoweRead More

Not the Worst Day for Ballooning

Sunday, June 23, 1861 Thaddeus Sobieski Coulincourt Lowe (“Professor Lowe” to pretty much everyone) was a self-taught balloonist. During the early 1850s, he had learned the craft mostly from books. He was able to build his own balloon by 1857, and another the following year. His dream to cross the Atlantic by air was twiceRead More