ORN Series 1, Vol. X: Union Orders in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, June 1864

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in Naval Volume X

SOPO Editor’s Note: Rather than posting each order in the Naval Official Records as its own post, I decided to group all of the orders of a given side in a given month together.

 

[Page 136]1

General Order regarding information furnished to the press by naval officers.

General Order.

Flagship Agawam,
James River, June 9, 1864.

United States Steamer AgawamThe attention of all officers, petty officers, seamen, and marines of this squadron is called to the recent violations of the Department’s orders prohibiting giving information to the press regarding naval operations. The effect and the fault are the same if this is done directly or through private sources. Information useful to the enemy is given and partial statements are made violating the discipline of the Navy and injurious to the public interests.

It is the duty of all good officers, petty officers, and men promptly to expose those who are guilty of such misconduct.

Each commanding officer will, on the receipt of this order, assemble the officers and men of his command and read it to them, and he will earnestly endeavor to ascertain the offenders, if any, in his command, and promptly report them in writing for punishment.

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

 

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[Page 140]2

Order of the Secretary of the Navy to Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, regarding obstructing the James River.

Navy Department,
June 11, 1864.

Sir: I have received your No. 325,* enclosing copy of correspondence between General Butler and yourself, relative to sinking obstructions in James River.

Action in this matter is left to the discretion of the admiral of the squadron, in whom the Department has confidence.

Very respectfully, etc.,

Gideon Welles,
Secretary of Navy.

Acting Rear-Admiral S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, James River.

* See p. 129.

 

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[Page 145]3

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to Lieutenant Lamson, U. S. Navy, enjoining vigilance against meditated attack of the enemy in James River.

Flagship Agawam,
James River, June 13, 18645 p. m.

Sir: The signal corporal ashore reports a rebel gunboat lying close to the brick house at Dutch Gap.

5:30 p. m.—The last report from the signal station is that a battery of six pieces is seen at Chaffin’s farm.

The enemy meditate some movement against our communications on the river, or against our occupation here.

The advance pickets must be vigilant against surprise to-night.

Respectfully, yours,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Lieutenant R[oswell] H. Lamson,
U. S. S. Delaware.

S.—Captain Barnes just from signal station (Crow’s Nest) reports the firing is from the rebel gunboat’s 100-pounder near Cox’s house Dutch Gap. No battery seen from there.

 

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[Page 146]4

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Foster, U. S. Navy, enjoining vigilance against surprise by the enemy.

Flagship Agawam,
James River, June 13, 1864.

Sir: These three deserters from the rebel ironclads who surrendered to our pickets this morning say that a boat expedition is talked of against our gunboats in the Appomattox. Communicate this information to the Putnam. I have informed General Butler of it.

The Perry and Putnam should keep in supporting distance of each other, and be very vigilant and prepared against surprise and attack from the enemy.

Respectfully, yours,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Acting Volunteer Lieutenant A[mos]. P. Foster,
U. S. S. Commodore Perry.

 

*****

[Page 147]5

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to Commander Nichols U. S. Navy, in view of the probable proximity of the enemy.

Flagship Agawam,
James River, June 14, 186412 m[eridian, aka noon].

Sir: Fleet Captain Barnes has just returned from headquarters of Major-General Gillmore, to whom he communicated the intelligence conveyed in your note of yesterday evening, that cavalry and four pieces of artillery had been seen in your vicinity and that musketry was heard by you in a northeast direction last night at or about — p. m. General Gillmore states that he knows nothing of any of Grant’s forces in your vicinity, but that he knows that some of Grant’s force were at Wilcox’s Wharf. General Butler replied to a telegram from General Gillmore on this subject, that he has no knowledge of any of our forces being in your neighborhood, and from their description judges they are the enemy’s forces. You will not permit any force to approach your position without being fully satisfied beyond all question that they are our own people. It is their business to make themselves known if they are our own troops.

Respectfully, yours,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Commander E[dward]. T. Nichols,
U. S. S. Mendota.

 

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[Page 148]6

Order of the Secretary of the Navy to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Garfield, U. S. Navy, to proceed to duty in Hampton Roads.

Navy Department, June 14, 1864.

Sir: Proceed with the U. S. S. Banshee to Hampton Roads and report to Acting Rear-Admiral S[amuel]. P. Lee, or the senior officer present, for duty in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Very respectfully, etc.,

Gideon Welles,
Secretary of Navy.

Acting Volunteer Lieutenant W[alter]. H. Garfield, U. S. Navy,
Commanding U. S. S. Banshee, New York.

 

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[Pages 148-149]7

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to Commander Beaumont, U. S. Navy, to cooperate with General Butler.

Flagship Agawam,
James River, June 15, 18645:45 a. m.

Sir: General Butler asks for a gunboat to aid in crossing General Grant’s army near Fort Powhatan.

There are three gunboats near Powhatan besides the Atlanta. Assistance may be needed at some other point. Proceed without delay immediately with the Mackinaw and ascertain where your services are needed near or below Bermuda Hundred and there render them.

Respectfully,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Commander J. C. Beaumont,
U. S. S. Mackinaw.

 

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[Page 151]8

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Cressy, U. S. Navy.

Flagship Agawam,
James River, June 16, 1864.

Sir: Proceed with the Malvern under your command to report to me in Trent’s Reach on the 18th instant.

Respectfully, yours,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Acting Volunteer Lieutenant W. K. Cressy,
U. S. S. Malvern.

 

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[Page 159]9

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. 8. Navy, to Commander Beaumont, U. 8. Navy, commanding U. 8. S. Mackinaw.

Flagship Agawam,
James River, Virginia, June 18, 1864.

Sir: You will upon the receipt of this order proceed with the Mackinaw under your command and take your station off Aiken’s Wharf, James River, previously occupied by you.

Respectfully, yours,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Commander J[ohn]. C. Beaumont,
U. S. S. Mackinaw.

 

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[Page 159]10

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to Lieutenant-Commander Quackenbush, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Pequot.

Flagship Agawam,
James River, June 18, 1864.

Sir: As the Mackinaw has resumed her station, you will closely observe the vicinity of Wilcox’s Wharf, whence an army transport was recently fired on.

Respectfully, yours,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Lieutenant-Commander S[tephen]. P. Quackenbush,
U. S. S. Pequot.

 

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[Page 175]11

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to Captain Smith, U. S. Navy, for the transfer of his command in the sounds.

Flagship Malvern,
James River, June 21, 1864.

Sir: Proceed without delay to resume command of the Onondaga in James River.

Turn over the command in the sounds to Commander Bankhead, delivering to him all unexecuted orders and post him on the situation and your views.

Send the Miami, Sassacus, and Commodore Barney here as soon as practicable, choosing favorable weather and taking a convoy if necessary. The two former will answer to protect points in James River.

Respectfully, yours,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Captain M[elancthon]. Smith,
Senior Naval Officer in Sounds of North Carolina.

 

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[Page 198]12

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to Lieutenant-Commander Babcock, U. S. Navy, regarding operations in the Pamunkey River.

Confidential.

U. S. S. Malvern, June 23, 1864.

Sir: I understand from General Grant that General Sheridan is expected to come here from the White House, and that after that there will be no need for our gunboats up the Pamunkey River, etc.

You were sent up the York and Pamunkey to cooperate with the Army, and when this is no longer necessary withdraw the gunboat force there.

Be vigilant at all times against surprise from the enemy’s boats. The recent capture of the Water Witch, which had the usual boarding nettings up, impresses the necessity of having wire nettings and wire ridge ropes for them, as used in the Potomac Flotilla, and these you are authorized to require for your permanent vessels. Single vessels are very subject to assault.

The gunboats should be kept in supporting distance, as near as practicable.

Respectfully, yours,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Lieutenant-Commander C[harles]. A. Babcock,
U. S. S. Morse, York River.

 

*****

[Pages 198-199]13

Order of Acting Rear Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to Commander Craven, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Tecumseh, to proceed to sea under sealed orders.

Flagship Malvern,
In James River, June 23, 1864.

Sir: Proceed to sea as soon as practicable with the Tecumseh under your command, and with the Eutaw to convoy you to your destination, if the Augusta or Alabama, in case the Department makes no other detail for this service, does not arrive in time to do so.

Enclosed are sealed orders from the Department to be opened when you discharge your pilot.

On your arrival at the roads send back Pilot Tilby (James River pilot), with his accounts, to be sent here from the Roanoke. If the men from the Army now on board the Tecumseh are necessary to give her efficiency, and can not be exchanged for men from the Roanoke, about whose accounts there is no embarrassment, take them with you, but send a report to the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting, giving their names, and reporting that their accounts with the Army have not been closed, if such is the case, about which you can learn from Lieutenant-Commander Upshur, of the Minnesota.

It is desirable that you should reach your destination as soon as practicable, and you can, in your judgment, lighten and trim the Tecumseh and choose the weather most favorable to the success of your passage.

Transfer your superfluous ammunition, if any, which your escorts can not take, to-the ordnance schooners at City Point.

The Augusta or Alabama, in preference to the Eutaw, will convoy you to your destination, if either is at Hampton Roads when you are ready for sea. Otherwise the Eutaw will convoy you, and her commander may, if you and he think it absolutely necessary to do so, apply by telegraph to the Department for authority to leave a part of her battery at Norfolk; but it should be borne in mind that she will not return here. The Tritonia also will accompany you. On reaching her destination order her to report to Admiral Farragut.

Wishing you a pleasant passage and regretting very sincerely to part with you and your efficient command, I am, very respectfully, yours,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Commander T[unis]. A. Craven,
Commanding U. S. Monitor Tecumseh.

 

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[Page 208]14

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to commanding officers of vessels in James River, in view of the approach of General Sheridan.

Flagship Malvern,
James River, Virginia, June 21, 18641 p. m.

The following dispatch has just been received:

General Sheridan is expected at General Foster’s pontoon bridge. Don’t mistake him for the enemy.
C. J. Paine, Colonel and Aid-de-Camp.

Admiral Lee.

Commanding officers of vessels in James River will exercise due caution upon the approach of any cavalry force on the north bank of the James.

By order of the admiral.

John S. Barnes,
Fleet Captain North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Commanding officer of the Althea will show this to each commanding officer in James River as he passes down.

 

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[Pages 218-219]15

Order of Acting Rear-Admiral Lee, U. S. Navy, to Commander Nichols, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Mendota, regarding operations near Jones’ Neck Reach.

Flagship Malvern,
James River, Virginia, June 30, 18648:30 p. m.

Sir: In reply to your note of 7:30 p. m., to-day, the Mackinaw will go down in the morning to assist you to clear out the woods, etc., on the left bank, around Jones’ Neck Reach. The Mendota and Hunchback should be sufficient, ordinarily, for that part of the river, but before moving down to and by Tilghman’s Wharf, you are authorized to send your tug to desire the Mackinaw to drop down during your absence to strengthen General Foster’s position. Whenever other aid is necessary to clear out a battery send up a report by your tug.

Respectfully, yours,

S[amuel]. P. Lee,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron

Commander E[dward]. T. Nichols,
Commanding U. S. S. Mendota.

****

Sources:

  1. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 136
  2. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 140
  3. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 145
  4. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 145
  5. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 147
  6. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 148
  7. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, pp. 148149
  8. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 151
  9. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 159
  10. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 159
  11. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 175
  12. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 198
  13. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, pp. 198199
  14. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, p. 208
  15. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, pp. 218219

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