A Naval Timeline (1861-65)

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SOME SIGNIFICANT EVENTS OF 1861

12 April
Fort Sumter fired on by Confederate batteries -- the conflict begins.

19 April
President Lincoln issued proclamation declaring blockade of Southern ports from South Carolina to Texas.

20 April
Norfolk Navy Yard partially destroyed to prevent Yard facilities from falling into Confederate hands and abandoned by Union forces.

24 May
Commander S. C. Rowan, U.S.S Pawnee, demanded the surrender of Alexandria, Virginia.

3 August
John LaMountain made first ascent in a balloon to observe Confederate batteries on Sewell's Point, Virginia.

29 August
Union forces under Flag Officer S. H. Stringham and General B. F. Butler received the unconditional surrender of Confederate-held Forts Hatteras and Clark, closing Pamlico Sound.

1 October
Confederate naval forces, including CSS Curlew, Raleigh, and Junaluska, captured steamer Fanny (later CSS Fanny) in Pamlico Sound with Union troops on board.

7 November
Naval forces under Flag Officer S. F. Du Pont captured Port Royal Sound. U S S Tyler, Commander H. Walke, and USS Lexington, Commander R. Stembel, supported 3,000 Union troops under General Grant at the Battle of Belmont, Missouri. and engaged Confederate batteries along the Mississippi River

8 November
USS San Jacinto, Captain C. Wilkes, stopped British mail steamer Trent in Old Bahama Channel and removed Confederate Commissioners James Mason and John Slidell.

11 November
Thaddeus Lowe made balloon observation of Confederate forces from Balloon-Boat G. W. Parke Curtis anchored in Potomac River.

12 November
Fingal (later CSS Atlanta), purchased in England, entered Savannah laden with military supplies -- the first ship to run the blockade solely on Confederate government account.

21 December
Congress enacted legislation providing for the Medal of Honor.

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SOME SIGNIFICANT EVENTS OF 1862

9 January
Flag Officer D. G. Farragut was appointed to command the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron -- the beginning of the New Orleans campaign.

16 January
Seven armored river gunboats were commissioned.

6 February
Naval forces captured strategic Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.

7-8 February
Joint amphibious expedition captured Roanoke Island.

14 February
Gunboats under attacked Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River.

3 March
Forces took Fernandina, Florida, and the surrounding area in joint operations against the South Atlantic coast.

8 March
Ironclad ram CSS Virginia, Captain F. Buchanan, destroyed wooden blockading ships USS Cumberland and Congress in Hampton Roads.

9 March
USS Monitor,engaged CSS Virginia, in the historic first battle of ironclads.

14 March
Joint amphibious assault captured New Bern, North Carolina.

17 March
CSS Nashville, ran the blockade out of Beaufort, North Carolina.

4 April
USS Carondelet, avoided Confederate batteries on Island No. 10 to support Major General J. Pope's assault on the island.

7 April
Island No. 10, vital to the Confederate defense of the upper Mississippi, surrendered to the naval forces of Flag Officer A. H. Foote.

24 April
Flag Officer D. G. Farragut's fleet ran past Forts Jackson and St. Philip, destroyed the defending Confederate flotilla below New Orleans.

10 May
Confederates destroyed the Norfolk and Pensacola Navy Yards.

11 May
CSS Virginia was blown up by her crew off Craney Island to prevent her capture by advancing Union forces.

15 May
The James River Flotilla advanced unsupported to within eight miles of Richmond before being turned back.

6 June
Gunboats destroyed the upper Mississippi portion of the Confederate River Defense Fleet at the Battle of Memphis.

28 June
Flag Officer D. G. Farragut's fleet successfully passed the heavy Vicksburg batteries.

1-2 July
Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough's fleet covered the withdrawal of Major General G. B. McClellan's army after the battle of Malvern Hill.

15 July
CSS Arkansas, Lieutenant I. N. Brown, engaged and ran through the Union fleet above Vicksburg.

16 July
David Glasgow Farragut promoted to Rear Admiral, the first officer to hold that rank in the history of the U.S. Navy.

24 August
Commander R. Semmes assumed command of celebrated raider CSS Alabama.

26 August
Franklin Buchanan promoted to Admiral, ranking officer in the Confederate Navy.

25 September
USS Kensington and Rachel Seaman and mortar schooner Henry James bombarded Sabine City, Texas, and forced Confederate troops to withdraw from the city.

1 October
The Western Gunboat Fleet was transferred from the War Department to the Navy.

31 October
During October the Confederate Torpedo Bureau was established under Lieutenant H. Davidson, continuing work pioneered by Commander M. F. Maury.

3 November
CSS Cotton and shore batteries engaged Union squadron at Berwick Bay, Louisiana. The squadron suffered considerable damage before the gallant Confederate gunboat expended all its ammunition and was compelled to withdraw.

12 December
USS Cairo, Lieutenant Commander T. O. Selfridge, was sunk in the Yazoo River, the first ship to be destroyed by a Confederate torpedo.31 December USS Monitor, Commander J. P. Bankhead, foundered and was lost at sea off Cape Hatteras.

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SOME SIGNIFICANT EVENTS OF 1863

1 January
CSS Bayou City and Neptune engaged the Union fleet at Galveston, forcing the North's withdrawal from that foothold on the Texas coast.

9-11 January
Gunboats with troops embarked,compelled the surrender of Fort Hindman (Arkansas Post) on the Arkansas River.

11 January
CSS Alabama, Captain R. Semmes, engaged and sank USS Hatteras off Galveston.

14 January
Joint Army-Navy forces attacked Confederate positions at Bayou Teche, Louisiana.

17 January
CSS Josiah Bell and Uncle Ben captured USS Morning Light and Velocity, temporarily lifting the blockade of Sabine Pass, Texas.

30 January
USS Commodore Perry and Army troops severed Confederate supply lines to Richmond via the Perquimans River.

31 January
CSS Palmetto State and Chicora attacked the blockading fleet off Charleston.

14 February
USS Queen of the West grounded in the Black River and was abandoned under heavy fire.

24 February
CSS William H. Webb and Queen of the West engaged and sank ram USS Indianola below Warrenton, Mississippi.

28 February
USS Montauk, Wissahickon, Seneca, and Dawn shelled and destroyed blockade runner Rattlesnake (formerly CSSNashville) under the guns of Fort McAllister, Georgia.

11 March
Ships of the Yazoo Pass Expedition, begun in February with the objective of cutting off Vicksburg in the rear, but had to retire without achieving its purpose.

14 March
Rear Admiral D. G. Farragut passed the heavy batteries at Port Hudson with USS Hartford and Albatross to establish an effective blockade of the Red River supply lines.

31 March
Confederate troops opened a sustained attack on Union forces at Washington, North Carolina.

7 April
Rear Admiral S. F. Du Pont's ironclad squadron engaged strong Confederate forts in Charleston harbor in an attempt to penetrate the defenses and capture the city.

16-17 April
Gunboats under Rear Admiral D. D. Porter escorting Army transports successfully passed the Vicksburg batteries.

3 May
Rear Admiral Porter's force and troops under Major General U. S. Grant forced the evacuation of Grand Gulf.

17 June
CSS Atlanta, with two wooden steamers in company, engaged USS Weehawken and Nahant in Wassaw Sound, Georgia.

4 July
Vicksburg surrendered after a lengthy bombardment and siege by Union naval and land forces.

9 July
Port Hudson, Louisiana, surrendered after prolonged attack by Northern sea and land forces.

10 July
Rear Admiral J. A. Dahlgren's ironclads renewed the bombardment of Charleston defenses, opening on Fort Wagner, Morris Island.

13 July
Yazoo City, Mississippi, was captured by a joint Army-Navy expedition.

1 August
Rear Admiral D. D. Porter relieved Rear Admiral D. G. Farragut of command of the lower half of the Mississippi and assumed command of the River from New Orleans to the headwaters.

5 August
USS Commodore Barney was severely damaged by Confederate electric torpedo in the James River above Dutch Gap, Virginia.

29 August
Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, Lieutenant J. A. Payne, CSN, sank for the first time in Charleston harbor after making practice dives preparatory to attacking the blockading fleet.

6 September
Morris Island, Charleston harbor, was evacuated by Confederate forces after nearly 2 months of intensive bombardment from afloat and ashore.

8 September
CSS Uncle Ben and shore batteries turned back a Union expedition to take Sabine Pass, Texas. USS Clifton and Sachem were disabled and surrendered.

5 October
CSS David, Lieutenant W. T. Glassell, exploded a spar torpedo against USS New Ironsides in an attempt to destroy the heavy blockader off Charleston. New Ironsides was damaged but not destroyed.

15 October
Submarine H. L. Hunley sank for the second time in Charleston harbor. The part owner for whom she was named and a crew of seven perished in the accident, but she was again recovered and a third crew volunteered to man her.

31 October
During October, instruction began for 52 midshipmen at the Confederate States Naval Academy on board CSS Patrick Henry in the James River.

2-4 November
Naval forces convoyed and supported Army troops at Brazos Santiago, Texas, where the Union secured a valuable position on the Mexican border. As a result of this operation, Brownsville, Texas, was also evacuated.

7 December
Steamer Chesapeake en route Portland, Maine, was seized off Cape Cod by Confederates disguised as passengers and carried to Nova Scotia.

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SOME SIGNIFICANT EVENTS OF 1864

2 February
Confederate boat expedition captured and destroyed USS Underwriter in the Neuse River, North Carolina.

17 February
Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley sank Union blockader Housatonic off Charleston -- the first submarine to sink a ship in combat.

12 March
Ships of Rear Admiral D. D. Porter's Mississippi Squadron moved up the Red River to commence the unsuccessful Army-Navy campaign to gain a foothold in the Texas interior.

19 April
CSS Albemarle, Commander J. W. Cooke, sank USS Southfield and forced the remainder of the Union squadron at Plymouth, North Carolina, to withdraw.

5 May
USS Sassacus, Wyalusing, and Mattabesett engaged CSS Albemarle off the mouth of the Roanoke River as the Union sought in vain to regain control near Plymouth.

6 May
Confederate torpedo destroyed USS Commodore Jones in the James River, Virginia.

13 May
The last of Rear Admiral Porter's squadron, dashed through the hurriedly constructed Red River dams to safety below the Alexandria rapids.

19 June
USS Kearsarge, Commander J. A. Winslow, sank CSS Alabama, Captain R. Semmes, off Cherbourg, France, ending the career of the South's most famous commerce raider.

5 August
Rear Admiral D. G. Farragut's fleet steamed by Forts Morgan and Gaines in the fierce engagement with the forts and Admiral F. Buchanan's small squadron.

6 August
CSS Tallahassee, Commander J. T. Wood, put to sea from Wilmington, launching a brief but highly successful cruise against Northern shipping.

23 August
Fort Morgan, the last of the three forts at Mobile Bay to remain in Confederate hands, surrendered.

7 October
USS Wachusett, Lieutenant N. Collins, captured CSS Florida.

19 October
CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant J. I. Waddell, commissioned off the Madeira Islands.

27 October
Torpedo launch commanded by Lieutenant W. B. Cushing destroyed ram CSS Albemarle in the Roanoke River.

4 November
Confederate raiders captured small gunboats USS Key West, Tawah, and Elfin near Johnsonville on the Tennessee River.

13 December
Rear Admiral Farragut arrived in New York City, and was acclaimed as a conquering hero. Ten days later he was promoted to the newly established rank of Vice Admiral.
21 December
Flag Officer W. W. Hunter destroyed the last of the Confederate Savannah Squadron.

24-25 December
A joint Army-Navy operation under Rear Admiral Porter and Major General B. F. Butler unsuccessfully attempted to take the stronghold of Fort Fisher.

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SOME SIGNIFICANT EVENTS OF 1865

13-15 January
The joint amphibious assault under Rear Admiral David D. Porter took Fort Fisher.

23-24 January
The Confederate fleet attempted to dash down the James River to attack General Grant's headquarters at City Point, Virginia.

17-18 February
Charleston, confronted by General William T. Sherman's soldiers was evacuated.

18 February
CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant James I. Waddell, departed Melbourne to resume her commerce raiding career in the Pacific.

22 February
Wilmington, North Carolina, was evacuated as Rear Admiral Porter's ships steamed up the Cape Fear River and General Terry's soldiers marched on the city.

24 March
CSS Stonewall, Captain Thomas J. Page, put to sea from Ferrol, Spain, en route to Havana.

28 March
Rear Admiral Porter joined Generals Grant and Sherman for a conference with President Lincoln on board steamer River Queen at City Point, Virginia.

2-4 April
CSA Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory ordered the destruction of the Confederate James River Squadron and directed its officers and men to join General Lee's troops.

3 April
Midshipmen at the Confederate Naval Academy, under the command of Lieutenant William H. Parker, escorted the archives of the government and bullion of the treasury from Richmond to Danville and southward.

4 April
Rear Admiral Porter accompanied President Lincoln up the James River to Richmond on board flagship Malvern.

9 April
General Lee met General Grant at Appomattox Courthouse and formally surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia.

11-12 April
Batteries Tracy and Huger, fell to Union forces and Confederate troops evacuated Mobile, which was surrendered by the mayor.

14 April
President Lincoln was shot shortly after 10 p.m. while watching ";Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre, Washington.

23-24 April
CSS Webb, Lieutenant Read, entered the Mississippi in an effort to escape to sea.

27 April
The body of John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln's assassin, was delivered on board USS Montauk.

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3 May
CSA Secretary of the Navy Mallory submitted his resignation to President Davis at Washington, Georgia.

10 May
President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia.

19 May
CSS Stonewall, Captain T. J. Page, was turned over to Cuban officials at Havana.

2 June
Terms of surrender of Galveston were signed on board USS Fort Jackson by Major General E. Kirby Smith on behalf of the Confederacy.

18 July
Rear Admiral Louis M. Goldsborough arrived at Flushing, in the Netherlands, where he hoisted his flag on USS Colorado and assumed command of the reinstated European Squadron. The East India Squadon was reactivated on 31 July.

2 August
Lieutenant Waddell, CSS Shenandoah, spoke the English bark Barracouta and for the first time learned positively that the war was over.

12 August
Brazil Squadron reactivated under Rear Admiral Godon in flagship Susquehanna.

11 September
Emperor Maximilian approved the "Regulations and Instructions" prepared by Matthew Fontaine Maury to encourage emigration of Southerners to Mexico.

3 November
Secretary Welles ordered all naval vessels to resume rendering honors when entering British ports and to begin again exchanging official courtesies with English men of war.

6 November
CSS Shenandoah, Lieutenant Waddell, arrived at Liverpool, England, 123 days and 23,000 miles from the Aleutians. Waddell lowered the last official Confederate flag, and his ship was ultimately turned over to American authorities.

4 December
Secretary Welles announced that the West India Squadron was to be re-established under Commodore James S. Palmer, in that.

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