Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lifting The Blockade

The CSS Palmetto State and CSS Chicora made a surprise attack January 31st 1863 on the Union blockading force off Charleston, South Carolina.

The CSS Palmetto State was an ironclad ram built by the Cameron and Company of Charleston, South Carolina and under the command of Confederate Lieutenant Commander John Rutledge.  The CSS Chicora was her sister ram, also an ironclad was under Commander John Randolph Tucker.

The two Confederate ships slipped through a pre-dawn haze on January 31st 1863 to make a surprise attack on the Union blockading force located off Charleston, South Carolina.  The ships sat low in the water, which allowed the Palmetto to ride under the guns of the USS Mercedita.  The Palmetto rammed the Union ship and fired into her, disabling the Mercedita.  The Confederate ram then went for the USS Keystone State.  The Keystone was hit by shells, puncturing her steam chests, putting her out of power and needing a tow.  As this was going on a long range gun battle ensued between the Chicora and the other Union blockaders, with little damage being done to either side.

The Palmetto and Chicora moved safely back into Charleston Harbor.  The battle caused a temporary lifting of the blockade of Charleston.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Church Seceded Too

As southern states seceded from the Union, dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the south began forming the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Confederate States of America on January 30th 1861.

As southern states began to secede from the Union in December 1860, the dioceses of the Episcopal Church in those states began to struggle over what their status was going to be.  The first diocese to separate from the main church was Louisiana’s.  The Episcopal bishop of Louisiana, Leonidas Polk on January 30th 1861 issued a proclamation, saying, "The State of Louisiana having, by a formal ordinance, through her Delegates in Convention assembled, withdrawn herself from all further connection with the United States of America, and constituted herself a separate Sovereignty, has, by that act, removed our Diocese from within the pale of 'The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.”  Although some bishops disagreed with Polk as to the causes, they did agree that the separation was made compulsory by changing politics.

The Confederate dioceses requested that representatives from all the dioceses of the seceded states meet at Montgomery, Alabama on July 3rd 1861.  At the meeting a draft of the new constitution and canons were drawn up.  The meeting ended with the declaration that the “secession of the States ... from the United States, and the formation by them of a new government, called the Confederate States of America, renders it necessary and expedient that the Dioceses within those States should form among themselves an independent organization.”

After the end of the Civil War, with the southern states back in the Union the members of the Confederate Episcopal Church, rejoined the Episcopal Church of United States at a general convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Real Princess

The British blockade runner the Princess Royal was captured by the Union Navy January 29th 1863 at Charleston, South Carolina.

The British ship the Princess Royal was a 774 ton iron hulled screw steam boat built in Glasgow, Scotland.  She was trying to run the Union blockade of Charleston, South Carolina on January 29th 1863 when she was captured by the USS Unadilla.  She was purchased from the Philadelphia Prize Court in March 18th 1863 and refitted as a cruiser.  Commissioned May 29th 1863, she was placed under the command of Melancthon B Woolsey.

 The USS Princess Royal was sent to the Gulf of Mexico in June 1863.  Her first Union action was an engagement against Confederates in Donaldson, Louisiana on June 28th 1863.  While serving off the Texas coast between 1863 and the end of the war in 1865, she captured or wrecked a number of blockade runners.  The Princess' last capture was the CSS Anna Sophia in February 7th 1865 in Galveston Bay, a cotton loaded schooner.

Following the end of the war the Princess was sold, and she became a merchant steamer.  She was sunk January 10th 1874 off the Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Pass To New Orleans

Fort Macomb in Louisiana was occupied by the Confederates on January 28th 1861.

Fort Macomb was built in 1822 on the western shore of Chef Menteur Pass.  It was a few miles from New Orleans, Louisiana.  Chef Menteur Pass is a water route to Lake Pontchartrain from the Gulf of Mexico.  It was seized by Confederate troops on January 28th 1861 and used for a garrison.  The Union re-took the fort a year later.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Battle In The Fog

The Battle of Fair Garden was fought January 27th 1864 in Sevier County, Tennessee.

Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet who commanded the Department of East Tennessee ordered his troops to stop Union movements south the French Broad River.  On January 26th 1864 Union Brigadier General Samuel D Sturgis positioned his cavalry watching two fords on the river.  There was some minor skirmishing between cavalry that day, but nothing decisive.

On the morning of January 27th 1864 Union scouts detected Confederates assembling on the Fair Garden Road.  Sturgis ordered an attack.  Union Colonel Edward M McCook attacked in a heavy fog and drove Confederate Major General William T Martin’s troopers back.  The fighting continued until about 4 pm when the Union men charged with sabers drawn and smashed the Confederates.  The Union saw losses of about 100 men.  The Confederate Cavalry casualties numbered about 165.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another State Leaves The Union

The Louisiana Secessionist Convention voted to secede January 26th 1861 by a vote of 112 to 17.

A hundred and thirty men met at Baton Rouge, Louisiana to hold the Louisiana Secession Convention.  The fact that the Governor of Louisiana had, since the beginning of the new year seized Federal Forts and properties made the Convention a forgone conclusion.  The vote on January 26th 1861 was 113 to 17 to secede straightaway from the Union.  The Ordinance of Secession was signed by 120 of the delegates.

“An ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of Louisiana and other States, united with her under the compact entitled "The Constitution of the United States of America."

We, the people of the State of Louisiana, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance passed by us in Convention on the 22d day of November, in the year 1811, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America and the amendments of the said Constitution were adopted; and all laws and ordinances by which the State of Louisiana became a member of the Federal Union, be and the same are hereby repealed and abrogated; and that the union now subsisting between Louisiana and other States, under the name of "The United States of America," is hereby dissolved.

We do further declare and ordain, That the State of Louisiana hereby resumes all rights and powers heretofore delegated to the Government of the United States of America; that her citizens are absolved from all allegiance to said Government; and that she is in full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which appertain to a free and independent State.

We do further declare and ordain, That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or any act of Congress, or treaty, or under any law of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force, and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Doctor, A Lawyer, A General

Union Brigadier General Stephen Gardner Champlin died January 24th 1864, from wounds he received.

Stephen Gardner Champlin was born July 1st 1827 in Kingston, New York, the son of Jeffrey Clark and Allis Ellen Champlin.  He attended local academies and then began studying medicine.  In 1845 Champlin had a medical practice in Warwarsing, Ulster, New York.  He decided in 1849 to become a lawyer and attended a law school in Balston Spa, New York.  He was admitted to the New York State bar and opened a practice in Albany, New York.  Champlin moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1853 where he opened a law practice with Lucius Patterson.  Champlin joined the Michigan state militia and was elected the Captain of the Grand Rapids Light Artillery.  In the fall of 1858 Champlin was elected the Prosecuting Attorney of Kent County, Michigan.

Champlin entered the Union Army June 10th 1861 as a Major in the 3rd Michigan Infantry.  Their first action was a reconnaissance near Bailey’s Corners in Virginia on August 30th 1861 for which Union Major General George B McClellan said of Champlin, I am “pleased with Major Champlin's dispositions on the occasion”.  Champlin was promoted to Colonel of the 3rd Michigan October 28th 1861.  He was wounded in the hip at the Battle of Seven Pines.  After partially recovering Champlin led the regiment at the Second Battle of Bull Run, and was again wounded.  While recovering from both wounds in Washington, DC, Champlin was promoted on November 29th 1862, to Brigadier General.

Champlin was placed in command of the Draft Depot at Camp Cleveland, Ohio in 1863.  He was then re-assigned on September 22nd 1863 to the Draft Depot in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Champlin’s wounds did not heal well, and on November 8th 1863 he resigned his commission.  He died January 24th 1864 at his home as a result of complications of his wounds and is buried in the Fulton Street Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Killing in North Carolina

The Shelton Laurel Massacre in North Carolina on January 19th 1863 left 15 men and boys dead.

The Appalachian area of North Carolina found its citizens of divided loyalties.  Yancey County, North Carolina actually split, with the eastern part breaking away and forming the pro-Confederate county of Mitchell.  As the Civil War continued, the government showed its ineffectualness, and food became short, the residence became violent against one another.

In late 1862 Union sympathizer and Confederate deserters of the Shelton Laurel Valley in Madison County, North Carolina decided to take matters into their own hands.  Looking for promised government rations the grouped moved into Marshall, North Carolina where they made raids on private homes.  The men stole from and destroyed houses along the way.  They took the home of Confederate Colonel Lawrence Allen; who commanded the 64th North Carolina.  Allen wasn’t home, but the group of men intimidated his wife and children, and took all their food and other supplies.

The citizens of Marshall were infuriated, and they went after the men, hunting them down in the Shelton Laurel Valley.  Most of the men fled, but on January 19th 1863 fifteen men from the age of 15 to 60 were rounded up.  The men were started back to Marshall.  Somewhere along the way two of the Shelton Laurel Valley group escaped.  The rest of the men were lined up and executed their bodies place in a shallow grave.

When the residents of Shelton Laurel learned of the massacre, they removed their men from the quickly dug grave.  The bodies where decently buried in a single grave by their families.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Solid Ironclad

The USS Weehawken was commissioned January 18th 1863 under the command of Captain John Rodgers.

The USS Weehawken was an enlarged version of the USS Monitor, a Passaic class ironclad.  She was launched by the Zeno Secor & Company of Jersey City, New Jersey on November 5th 1862.  Accompanied by the USS Iroquois bound for duty as part of the South Atlantic Blocking Squadron they left New York January 18th 1863.  They encountered high winds and heavy seas off the coast of New Jersey, but the Weehawken was better designed then her archetype the Monitor, and her commander Captain John Rodgers put her safely into Norfolk on February 1st 1863.

On April 7th 1863 the Weehawken led the first assault against Confederate installations in the Charleston, South Carolina harbor.  During the failed action the Weehawken took 53 direct hits and a torpedo.  She did not suffer any real damage.  Her next action was again the CSS Atlanta in Wassaw Sound, Georgia.  With just five shots the crew of the Weehawken put the Atlanta out of action, and got Captain Rodgers a commendation from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and a promotion to Commodore.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fourty Acres And A Mule

Union General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Field Orders Number 15 on January 16th 1865.

As Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army marched across Georgia to the sea, tens of thousands of former slaves joined the march.  The slaves joined the Union troops looking for support and protection.  Sherman after meeting with ministers of the black community in Savannah, Georgia and United States Secretary of War Edwin M Stanton about the problem raised by these former slaves, issued Special Field Order Number 15 on January 16th 1865.

Special Field Order Number 15 provided for the seizure of four hundred thousand acres of land along the coast from Charleston, South Carolina to St John’s River, Florida.  The land was to be divided into 40 acre lots to be given to the 40,000 freed slaves in the area.  Union Brigadier General Rufus Saxton; an abolitionist from Massachusetts, was placed in charge of executing the order.  The order clearly called for black families to settle on the confiscated land, and for the newly freed men to join the Union army.  Sherman also latter ordered that the newly settled farmers be loaned mules by the army.

The Order was revoked in the fall of 1865 by President Andrew Johnson.  Johnson had all lands returned to the planters who had originally owned it.

If you would like to see the actual wording of SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, No. 15.  look at this web site.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Army West Of The Rockies

The Union Army reorganized the Department of the Pacific on January 15th 1861 by consolidating the Departments of California and Oregon.

The Department of the Pacific was first organized at San Francisco, California October 31st 1853.  It reported to Army headquarters in Washington, DC and oversaw the military in California and the Oregon and Washington Territories.  It moved its headquarters to Benicia, California for a short time in 1854, but was back in San Francisco by 1857.  In 1858 the Utah Territory was included this department.  The Department was disbanded on September 13th 1858.

On January 15th 1861, with the Civil War about to start, the Union Army reorganized the Department of the Pacific.  The first commander was Union Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston.  He served as commander until March 1861, when Johnston resigned his commission to join the Confederate Army.  He was replaced by Union Brigadier General Edwin Vose Sumner.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Short Life As A Union Ship

The USS Diana was a part of the Union engagement at Brashear City and Bayou Teche, Louisiana on January 14th 1863.

The USS Diana was built in 1858 in Brownsville, Pennsylvania.  She was a 239 ton side wheeled steamship.

On April 27th 1862 Diana was captured from the Confederacy at New Orleans, Louisiana.  She was turned over to Union General Benjamin Franklin Butler.  For the next few months she was used as a Union transport ship.  In November 1862 the USS Diana was transferred to the Union Navy.  On January 14th 1863 Diana took part in an attack on Confederate forces at Bayou Teche, Louisiana, and the demolition of the CSS J A Cotton.

The USS Diana was doing reconnaissance on Grand Lake, Louisiana and the Atchafalaya River when she was captured by the Confederates March 28th 1863.  A few weeks later the Diana was destroyed by Union forces.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The First To Serve

The 1st Kansas Colored Infantry was mustered January 13th 1863 into the Union Army.

Six companies or one battalion of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry was mustered into Union service January 13th 1863 at Fort Scott, Kansas.  They were place under the command of Colonel James M Williams of the 5th Kansas Cavalry.  The regiment was recruited without Union authorization by James H Lane a Union recruiter for the Kansas territory.  It took only 60 days to raise the 500 men.

The 1st saw duty with the Department of Kansas, participating in actions at Cabin Creek, Island Mound, Baxter Springs, Elk Creek, Honey Springs, and Steele’s Camden Expedition among others.  They were also attached to Armstrong’s Battery of Light Artillery.  No other Kansas regiment saw more casualties then the 1st.  They had 178 men killed and 166 die of disease.

The 1st Kansas Colored Infantry stopped being on December 13th 1864, when it became the 79th United States Colored Infantry.

If you’re interested, this web site has more information on the First Kansas,  First to Serve

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Last Confederate Senator

Missouri Confederate State Senator George Graham Vest, who was appointed to fill a vacancy, resigned his seat in the Confederate Senate on January 12th 1865.

George Graham Vest was born December 6th 1830 in Frankfort, Kentucky.  He graduated in 1848 from Centre College, and then with a law degree from Transylvania University.  He was admitted to the bar in 1853.  On his way to California, Vest defended a black man who was accused of murder in Pettis County, Missouri.  He settled after winning the case in Georgetown, Missouri.  In 1860 Vest was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, where he chaired the Committee on Federal Relations.

When the Civil War first started Vest was a Unionist, but changed his mind and by October 1861 he had written the Secession Ordinance that passed the Missouri legislature.  For a short time Vest was the Judge Advocate for the Army of Missouri under the command of Confederate General Sterling Price.  Vest was appointed to fill a vacant seat from Missouri in the Confederate State Senate on February 1862.  He resigned his seat January 12th 1865.

When the war was over Vest returned to his law practice in Sedalia, Missouri.  It was here in 1869 that he took the case of Burden and his hunting dog Old Drum.   He moved to Kansas City in 1877 and was elected to the United States Senate in 1879.  Vest served on the Committee of Public Buildings and Grounds, Public Health and the Committee on Epidemic Diseases.  He retired from public service March 4th 1903.  He died at his summer home in Sweet Springs, Missouri August 9th 1904 and is buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St Louis, Missouri.  Vest was the last living Confederate States Senator.

Another web site that might interest you about this subject is  George Graham Vest A Tribute To A Dog

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Wheeler Dealer

Simon Cameron resigns January 11th 1861 as the United States Secretary of War.

Simon Cameron was born March 8th 1799 in Maytown, Pennsylvania the son of Charles and Martha [Pfoutz] Cameron.  He was an orphan by the time he was nine, and was apprenticed to Andrew Kennedy the editor of the Northumberland Gazette.  Cameron became an editor himself in 1821 when he took over the helm of the Bucks County Messenger, before moving to Washington, DC where he worked for Gales and Seaton Printers.  After moving back to Pennsylvania, Cameron was the state printer from 1825 to 1827, the Pennsylvania state adjutant general in 1826, the founder of several rail lines, a bank, and the state commissioner of claims for the Winnebago Indians.

After being a Whig, Cameron joined the Democratic Party and was voted into the United State Senate in 1844.  He switched to the Republican Party and was nominated for President at the 1860 Republican National Convention.  As part of the wrangling of the Convention, Cameron threw his support behind Abraham Lincoln.  The payoff was that Cameron was named the United States Secretary of War.  While in office he centralized recruiting, but was criticized for awarding contracts and positions through favoritism.  Cameron was notoriously corrupt and was forced to resign January 11th 1862.  When discussing Cameron’s corruption; Thaddeus Stevens told Lincoln that, "I don't think that he would steal a red hot stove".

Cameron finished out the years of the Civil War, as the United States Minister to Russia.  In 1866 he ran and was elected again to the United States Senate from Pennsylvania.  He served until 1877, when the Pennsylvania General Assembly assured him if he resigned, his son James Donald Cameron would be placed in his seat.  Cameron retired to his estate near Maytown, Pennsylvania.  He died June 26th 1889 at his home.  Cameron is buried the Harrisburg Cemetery in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Another good web site for information  Simon Cameron

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Third State

Florida joined two other southern states January 10th 1861, when they seceded from the Union.

A convention of delegate from around Florida met in Tallahassee early in January 1861, to deliberate on whether Florida should seceded from the United States.  The State Governor, Madison Starke Perry and the Governor elect John Milton both supported secession.

After days of debate the delegates voted on January 10th 1861, sixty two to seven for Florida to break away from the United States.  The next day a public ceremony was held on the capital steps, where the Ordinance of Secession was formally signed.  There were local celebrations once news of the event got around.

Florida was the third southern state to leave to Union.  She sent three men; James Patton Anderson, Jackson Morton and James Byeram Owens to the 1861-62 Provisional Confederate Congress at Montgomery, Alabama, and then in Richmond, Virginia.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Union Star

The USS Star of the West was fired on January 9th 1861 as it entered Charleston Harbor by cadets from the Citadel.

The Star of the West was built in 1852 for Cornelius Vanderbilt, and was launched June 17th 1852.  It was a 1,000 ton steamer with a wooden hull, two masts, and a side paddle wheel.  She worked for the United States Mail Steamship Company running between New York City, Havana Cuba, and New Orleans, Louisiana until January 1861.

A week after South Carolina had seceded from the Union, the USS Star of the West was fired on when she tried to enter Charleston Harbor on January 9th 1861.  Cadets from the Citadel fired a warning shots across the Stars’ bow as she was attempting the get supplies to the garrison at Fort Sumter.  The Star was hit three times.  She gave up trying to get to Fort Sumter and returned to her home port in New York Harbor.

The Star then went to work as troop transport, picking up seven companies of Union troops at Indianola, Texas.  She was captured April 18th 1861 while anchored in Matagorda Bay by Confederate Colonel Earl Van Dorn.  Taken to New Orleans her name was changed to CSS St Philip.  The Confederates had her sunk near Greenwood to block the Union flotilla from making it up river to Vicksburg.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

One Of Three Forts

Confederate troops under Colonel William Henry Chase demanded the surrender of the Union held Fort Barrancas located near Pensacola, Florida January 8th 1861.

Fort Barrancas was a hilltop fort built near Pensacola, Florida.   The fort was built of brick with a connected underground walkway to a battery located down the hill at sea level.  United States General Andrew Jackson fought two battles at Fort Barrancas against the Spanish one in 1814 and again in 1818.  The United State acquired Florida from Spain in 1821 and Fort Barrancas, along with Fort McRee and Fort Pickens were designed to defend Pensacola Bay.

At the start of the Civil War in 1861 Fort Barrancas was manned by 50 Union soldiers, under the command of Lieutenant Adam J Slemmer.  Florida militia under the command of Confederate Colonel William Henry Chase made a call for the surrender of the Union troops holding the Fort on January 8th 1861.  Slemmer ordered that warning shots be made on the militia.  Knowing that he could hold Fort Pickens more easily, Slemmer had the guns of Fort Barrancas spiked, and the Fort’s supplies and ammo loaded on a flatboat.  He moved the Union company to Fort Pickens, which was held the rest of war by the Union.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Blockade Runner Catcher

The USS Sacramento was commissioned January 7th 1863 under Commander Andrew E K Benham.

The USS Sacramento was launched from the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine April 28th 1862.  Her first assignment after being commissioned on January 7th 1863 with Commander Andrew E K Benham in charge was blockade duty off the North Carolina coast.  She captured the blockade runner the British ship the Wanderer off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina on May 1st 1863.  In February 1864 the Sacramento was ordered to European waters where she cruised off the British and French coasts looking for Confederate blockade runners.

The Sacramento took part in detaining the CSS Rappahannock in France and the CSS Stonewall off Spain in early March 1865.  Following the end of the Civil War the Sacramento left Queenstown, Ireland July 25th 1865 and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on August 12th 1865.  She was decommissioned at the Boston Navy Yard August 21st 1865 and remained inactive until 1866.

Friday, January 6, 2012

How Far North Did They Secede

The mayor of New York City, Fernando Wood proposed on January 6th 1861 that the city should secede from the United States.

Just previous to the start of the Civil War; as southern states began to secede, the Democratic Mayor of New York City, Fernando Wood proposed that the city secede.  Wood who was consider to be the most unethical mayor in the city’s history, suggested the city become a sovereign city state called Free City of Tri-Insula.  It would have included Long Island, Manhattan, and Staten Island.  Wood addressed the Common Council on January 6th 1861 in which he articulated a commiseration with the seceded southern states, stating that the city would find a great profit in maintaining cotton shipping.

The idea of seceding from the United States was to extreme for the Council, and after the south bombed Fort Sumter in April 1861 it fell apart.  As a side note though the upstate New York town of Town Line did vote to secede from the Union, and did not officially rejoin until 1946.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Up The River

The USS Signal got underway January 4th 1863 on an expedition to attack Fort Hindman.

The USS Signal was a small 190 ton steamship which the Navy outfitted as a gunboat.  There is no record of when she was commissioned, but it is known that the Signal was in operation October 22nd 1862.  She departed on that date from Carondelet, Missouri as part of the campaign against Confederate held Vicksburg.  On November 29th 1862 the Signal entered the Yazoo River on a reconnaissance expedition.  She was fired on from time to time by Confederates on the river bank, but returned that afternoon unscathed.

On January 4th 1863 the Signal started on an expedition up the White River to attack Confederate held Fort Hindman.  After a three day long battle the Fort surrendered.  The Signal continued up the White River to make reconnaissance on Little Rock, Arkansas.  In February the Signal returned to the Yazoo where she probed until the fall of Vicksburg.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Blockade Of The Potomac

A part of the Potomac River blockade, the Battle of Cockpit Point took place January 3rd 1862 in Prince William County, Virginia.

The Confederate Army established a defensive line after the Battle of First Manassas from the Occoquan to the Potomac River.  They used the rivers to set up gun positions to stop Union boats.  By December 1861 they had 37 heavy guns along the river.

On January 3rd 1862 the Union ships the USS Anacostia and USS Yankee shelled the Confederate location at Cockpit Point.  Neither side made any headway.

Union ships would again approach the point on March 9th 1862, only to find the Confederates had left the area.  But the Confederates had sealed off the Potomac River for almost five months.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Another Davis

George Davis; no relation to Jefferson Davis, was appointed Confederate Attorney General January 2nd 1864.

George Davis was born March 1st 1820 at Porter’s Neck, near Wilmington, North Carolina.  He was the valedictorian of the class of 1838 of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Davis became a lawyer in 1840, and in 1848 the general counsel of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad.

As the country moved toward Civil War, Davis served as a delegate at the Washington Peace Conference from North Carolina in 1861.  He then served on the Provisional Confederate Congress and the Confederate Senate from 1861 through 1864.  Confederate President Jefferson C Davis appointed Davis Attorney General January 2nd 1864 a position he held until the last days of the Confederacy on April 24th 1865.

Davis was captured by a Union force October 18th 1865 in Key West, Florida and served several months at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York before being pardoned on January 1st 1866.  He returned to his law practice in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Davis was offered, but turned down a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court.  He died February 23rd 1896.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

He Would Not Surrender His Ship

William Bainbridge Renshaw died in an explosion of his ship during the Second Battle of Galveston January 1st 1863.

William Bainbridge Renshaw was born October 11th 1816 in Brooklyn, New York the son of United States Commodore James Rneshaw.  He went into the family business and joined the Navy where he was appointed a midshipman December 22nd 1831.  Renshaw served for the next twenty years on an assortment of ships and outposts.

At the beginning of the Civil War Renshaw was appointed Commander on April 26th 1861, and assigned the steamer the USS Westfield.  He was attached to Union Admiral David G Farragut’s squadron, and was part of the Mortar Flotilla on the Mississippi River in 1862.  The end of 1862 found Renshaw in charge of the Union ships preforming blockade duty on the port of Galveston, Texas.  During the Second Battle of Galveston on January 1st 1863 Renshaw refused to surrender his ship the USS Westfield; which had ran aground on a sandbank.  He set her on fire to keep the Confederates from capturing it.  The fire caused an explosion and Renshaw died during it.