The Eugenia Smith Affair?

December 7, 1861 (Saturday) The USS Santiago de Cuba, a wooden, ten-gun, side-wheel steamer, had left Havana on November 29, in pursuit of the British ship Eugenia Smith. Under the command of Daniel Ridgeley, the Santiago had been patrolling the waters between Southern ports and Cuba. By the end of November, Ridgeley and his shipRead More

The “Grand and Sublime” Duel Continues; Rebels Moving North in Missouri?

November 23, 1861 (Saturday) The Union guns at Fort Pickens, barely cooled from the previous day’s fighting, sounded again this morning. Col. Harvey Brown and his Federal force had already done much damage to Fort McRee and wished to drive the Rebels from their fortifications at Pensacola, Florida. The US Naval ship Niagara stood inRead More

A “Grand and Sublime” Duel at Fort Pickens

November 22, 1861 (Friday) It had been a month and a half since the Rebel surprise attack on Santa Rosa Island and Fort Pickens, near Pensacola, Florida. Since then, an uneasy peace had settled between the Union’s Fort Pickens and the Rebel Fort McRee, each on opposite sides of the channel, nearly a mile andRead More

Surprise Attack at Santa Rosa Island!

Wednesday, October 9, 1861 Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s plan to surprise and capture Fort Pickens near Pensacola, Florida had taken shape. The 1,200 troops had landed on Santa Rosa Island, four miles east of the fort and had driven in a few Union pickets. Union Col. Harvey Brown, commanding at Pickens, had received and dismissedRead More

Sherman Reluctantly Takes Command in Kentucky

Tuesday, October 8, 1861 After commanding at Fort Sumter, Robert Anderson was promoted to Brigadier-General and given command of the Department of Kentucky. With things heating up in that state, he was quickly succumbing to the stress and wear that went with the position. A couple of days prior, he had called upon General WilliamRead More

Bagging Rebel Blockade Runners; The Chicamacomico Races

Friday, October 4, 1861 The USS South Carolina, a steamer carrying five naval guns, captured the Joseph H. Toone in the South West Pass of the Mississippi River. Captain James Alden suspected her of being a Confederate blockade runner, bringing arms and contraband of war into the Southern States via New Orleans. He was notRead More

The Escape of the CSS Sumter

Sunday, June 30, 1861 For more than a week, the USS Brooklyn had her eye on the CSS Sumter, a converted merchant-class steam cruiser, in Pass a l’Outre, forty miles southeast of New Orleans. Also, for more than a week, the Sumter‘s Commander, Raphael Semmes, wondered why the Brooklyn did not attack. Along with theRead More

The Brink of Revolution: Blood Will Flow – Virginia’s Secession

Wednesday, April 17, 1861 “We are all upon the brink of revolution,” reckoned former Supreme Court Justice John Archibald Campbell, as he spoke before the Virginia secession convention. He had recently been in Washington, acting as go-between for Secretary of State Seward and the Confederate commissioners. Now, like much of Virginia, he found himself aRead More