Tag Archives: Civil War

SECNAV: Monitor Sailors to be Buried in Arlington

SECNAV: Monitor Sailors to be Buried in Arlington

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Facial reconstruction of the two unknown sailors from USS Monitor from a March,6 2012 ceremony in Washington D.C. U.S. Navy Photo

Facial reconstruction of the two unknown sailors from USS Monitor from a March,6 2012 ceremony in Washington D.C. U.S. Navy Photo

Two of the U.S. Navy’s oldest unknown sailors from the Civil War ship USS Monitor will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery in March, announced Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on Tuesday.

The decision comes after more than a decade of work to by the Joint Prisoner of War Missing in Action Command to identify the remains, Navy spokesperson Lt. Lauryn Dempsey told USNI News on Wednesday. Read More

False Flags: A History

False Flags: A History

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The term False Flags has been used frequently related to the recent Taliban assault on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. We present other instances of False Flags in history.

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Sinking of the HMAS Sydney – Posing as the Dutch merchant ship Straat Malakka, the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran was challenged by the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney off the south west coast of Australia on November 19, 1941. The Kormoran continued to give signals that it was only a merchant ship in distress until the two ships were sailing parallel to one another at close range. After the Sydney demanded further proof of identification, the Kormoran raised the German Kriegsmarine ensign and uncovered its hidden guns so quickly that a German officer noted that the Australians were slow to react because they did “not seem to have grasped the spectacle of the transformed merchant steamer.” The Kormoran opened fire and scored several hits, but the Sydney hammered back. The encounter would prove fatal to both ships, but the Sydney was lost with all hands.

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The Witch's Final Flight

The Witch’s Final Flight

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Naval History, August 2012

On a rainy night on a remote station, the U.S. Navy paid the price for poor training and lack of vigilance when Confederate raiders seized the gunboat Water Witch.

For the officers and men of the Union side-wheel steamerWater Witch , the evening of 2 June 1864 passed quietly. On board the gunboat, nothing about the monotonous night distinguished it from any other of the previous several months. She was moored in familiar waters—Ossabaw Sound, Georgia—where, as usual, she was the lone ship blockading the large ocean inlet 15 miles south of Confederate-held Savannah.

The Water Witch ’s isolation, however, made her an inviting target. And as her crew turned in that drizzly night, nearby Confederate sailors and marines rowed stealthily through the darkness in hopes of carrying out one of the Civil War’s most audacious naval raids.

Launched at the Washington Navy Yard in 1851, the Water Witch shipped 378 tons and measured 150 feet in length and 23 feet at the beam. In early 1853 she sailed on her first mission, exploring and surveying portions of South America’s Atlantic coast, the River Plate region, and the Paraná River. As the ship ascended the Paraná two years later, she was fired on by Paraguayan forces attempting to halt her progress. One cannon shot cut away the ship’s wheel, killing the helmsman.

The incident was not forgotten. In 1858 Congress authorized President James Buchannan to dispatch a large naval force, which included the Water Witch , to strong-arm concessions from Paraguay. Along with issuing an apology and granting a favorable commercial treaty to the United States, the South American country paid an indemnity to the family of the dead helmsman.

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