Sunday, Feb. 2, 1862
FOOTE FIXES FIRING FRAMEWORK
Flag Officer Andrew Foote, commander of the Union naval forces on
the Mississippi and tributaries, held his gunboat crews to strict
standards. He issued these orders to the four crews sailing today:
“Let it also be distinctly impressed upon the mind of every man
firing a gun that, while the first shot may be either of too much
elevation or too little, there is no excuse for a second wild fire,
as the first will indicate the inaccuracy of the aim of the
gun...Let it be reiterated that random firing is not only a mere
waste of ammunition, but, what is far worse, it encourages the
Monday, Feb. 2, 1863
QUIXOTIC QUEEN QUEST QUASHED
Federal Col. C. R. Ellet took his ramship Queen of the West, covered
her decks with confiscated cotton bales, and went under the guns of
Vicksburg. Her mission: destroy the steamer “City of Vicksburg”.
Alas, the ramming failed when the current caught the Queen’s stern
and she lost momentum. She shot incendiaries at her foe, which
proved not to be a great idea as it immediately
started a tit-for-tat: the “City” shot incendiaries back and set the
cotton bales on fire, nearly asphyxiating several of Ellet’s men.
All fires were eventually extinguished and little harm was done.
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 1864
UNDERWRITER UNFORTUNATELY USELESS UNDERWATER
Despite the vast superiority of the Union naval forces over the
Confederate, as reflected in the ever-tightening noose that they
were inflicting on shipments into Southern ports, things did not all
go the Union way at this point in the war. On this day, Confederate
navy men, manning inconspicuous small boats rather than great
warships, snuck up on the U.S. gunboat “Underwriter”, boarded her
and captured her in the Neuse River near New Berne, N.C. The intent
was to sail her into Confederate port and switch her allegiance, but
such was not to be the case. Unable to get underway, and threatened
by other Union ships, they had no choice but to set her afire, sink
her, and escape.
Thursday, Feb. 2, 1865
SWAMPY SALKEHATCHIE SLOWS SHERMAN
Gen. William T. Sherman’s march through Carolina was being slowed
far more by foul weather and high rivers than the efforts of
Confederate resistors. On this day his right wing, the 20th Corps
under Gen. O. O. Howard, was on, if not in, the Salkehatchie River.
Nasty skirmishing took place all along the river: Lawtonville,
Barker’s Mill, Duck Branch, and Whippy Swamp. Nothing resembling
full-scale resistance, however, was forthcoming.
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