Mississippi Marine Brigade – Part 8

by Dan O'Connell on April 18, 2014 · 0 comments

Changes

Following the surrender of Vicksburg the brigade fell into a period of idleness. Sickness filled the hospital boat, Woodford, and Ellet found it a perfect time to grant leaves. To take up time with the rest of the command Ellet conducted a number of unauthorized raids that ired both Porter and Grant. The good feelings that followed the surrender of the city quickly dissipated. Porter continued his attempts to rid himself of the troublesome command and Grant noted that the conduct of the brigade was “bad.” He wanted the boats moved to the Army quartermaster department for use in moving men and supplies and the men converted to conventional forces under a new commander. Secretary of War Stanton, however, did not agree and ordered Halleck to reject the proposal. By late August the continual complaints and requests from Grant to shift the command to his control finally won over Stanton. The control of Ellet’s command shifted to the Army with the proviso that they not be broken up as Grant suggested.

GeorgeECurrie Mississippi Marine Brigade   Part 8The first order from Grant sent the brigade on its strangest mission and probably one of the strangest missions of the war. With orders not to open his instructions until they had landed Grant sent the brigade to Port Gibson. On arrival there the orders were unsealed. The brigade was to round fifty of “the most aristocratic women” and return them to Vicksburg. The marines travelled out to the nearby plantations and ordered all the women to report or the houses would be burned. Amongst “great weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth” the women were herded aboard for the journey to Vicksburg. When the women were handed over the marines discovered that they were to be used as bargaining chips to secure the freedom of “a number of northern school teachers” that had been captured by Confederate troops. The negotiations lasted about thirty days before the exchange was conducted.

When LTC Currie returned from his 60 day leave he found Ellet gone and Major Hubbard in charge. Currie was discouraged by the lack of activity and ordered the boats to patrol the river from Greenville, Mississippi to Napolean, Arkansas. He also decided to mount the remaining infantry on confiscated mules. The increased number of animals required extensive retrofitting of the boats for more stable space.

The first chance to test the new mounted men came on 9 September when CPT Edward Hughes’ mounted infantry was sent out near Bolivar Landing to scout the area. They returned in less than an hour dragging a stage coach behind them with four gentlemen aboard. When the coach was searched $1.2 million in Confederate currency was discovered. Also found was a draft for $1 million more from a Louisiana bank. The money turned out to be , as the captives admitted, the payroll for General E. Kirby Smith’s Trans-Mississippi Department. Another paymaster was captured shortly thereafter denying Smith’s troops a total of $3,252,340 in pay. The brigade was ordered to Vicksburg on 24 September so that the boats could be used as transports, as Grant had requested. The Marines enjoyed garrison duty until 18 Oct.

Mississippi Marine Brigade (Campaign Series)

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Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Editor’s Note: Bill Morgan, the author of The Civil War Lover’s Guide to New York City (published by Savas Beatie), was kind enough to offer up his list of the top 5 most overlooked Civil War sites in the Big Apple as a series of guest posts here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.  Bill’s introduction will be followed by one overlooked NYC site per week, every Monday for the next five Mondays.  Join Bill here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog, as he counts down his list.

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The Top 5 Most Overlooked Civil War Sites in New York City

by Bill Morgan

#5 FORT RICHMOND, NOW CALLED BATTERY WEED, and FORTS

TOMPKINS AND WADSWORTH

Hudson Road, Staten Island. Hours: W–Sun 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

General information: (718) 354-4500.

Battery Weed 500x375 The Top 5 Most Overlooked Civil War Sites in New York City #5: Battery Weed

Battery Weed.

Battery Weed is now part of the Fort Wadsworth Military Reservation and is open to the public as a museum. It was built between 1849 and 1861 as Fort Richmond to guard the Narrows, the gateway to New York Harbor from the Atlantic Ocean. It is located strategically across from Fort Hamilton, which is on the Brooklyn side of the channel. Like Fort Totten, it was designed by Gen. Joseph G. Totten (1788–1864) and later named for Gen. Stephen Weed (1831–1863), who had been killed at the battle of Gettysburg. The fort is in the shape of a trapezoid, with three tiers of guns housed under open arches. During the Civil War, it boasted approximately 116 guns, making it the strongest fortification along the Atlantic coast. Fort Tompkins was built between 1861 and 1870 and stands on the crest of the hill above Battery Weed. It was finished too late to see much Civil War activity, and was used primarily as a barracks for Battery Weed. Both Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins are good examples of the type of heavy granite masonry fortifications that were rendered useless by the new rifled cannon developed during the Civil War era. Fort Wadsworth, beneath the bridge at Bay Street and Wadsworth Avenue, has the distinction of being the oldest continually staffed military reservation in America, having first been used for military purposes in 1663. In 1865, it was renamed in honor of Brevet Maj. Gen. James Samuel Wadsworth (1807–1864), who had been killed during the battle of the Wilderness the previous year.

Fort Tompkins 500x354 The Top 5 Most Overlooked Civil War Sites in New York City #5: Battery Weed

Fort Tompkins.

 

If you visit Staten Island via the Staten Island ferry, take time to visit the memorial erected in 1915 to the memory of Maj. Clarence T. Barrett. It is in Barrett Triangle, the park bounded by Hyatt Street, Bay Street, Stuyvesant Place, and Richmond Terrace. Barrett signed on with the 175th New York at the outbreak of the war and took part in the Union’s 1864 siege of Mobile and the final battles around Richmond that ended the war. The classical bronze figure of a warrior by artist Sherry Edmundson Fry stands on a pedestal decorated with traditional Greek figures and the motto “Loyal, Honest, Brave and True.”

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Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Mississippi Marine Brigade – Part 7

by Dan O'Connell April 11, 2014

Affair at Goodrich’s Landing As the surrender of Vicksburg became a foregone conclusion the emphasis of operations shifted to the Louisiana side of the river. Ellet’s cavalry had maintained patrols in the area and reported that an informant had warned of another attack on Milliken’s Bend. On 27 June the attack took place, not at […]

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Civil War Book Preview: The Petersburg Campaign Volume II: The Western Front Battles

by Brett Schulte April 9, 2014

Bearss, Edwin C., Suderow, Bryce & Wyrick, William. The Petersburg Campaign Volume 2: The Western Front Battles September 1864-April 1865. Savas Beatie LLC (March 2014). 600 pp., 38 illustrations, 25 maps, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN: 978-1-61121-104-7 $34.95 (Cloth). The Petersburg Campaign Volume 2: The Western Front Battles September 1864-April 1865 by Ed Bearss and edited by Bryce Suderow, is […]

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The Top 5 Most Overlooked Civil War Sites in New York City #4: St. John’s Episcopal Church

by Brett Schulte April 7, 2014

Editor’s Note: Bill Morgan, the author of The Civil War Lover’s Guide to New York City (published by Savas Beatie), was kind enough to offer up his list of the top 5 most overlooked Civil War sites in the Big Apple as a series of guest posts here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.  Bill’s introduction will […]

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Mississippi Marine Brigade – Part 6

by Dan O'Connell April 4, 2014

Vicksburg The Mississippi Marine Brigade finally made its way to Young’s Point on 29 May and Porter, acting on a request from Grant, ordered them to occupy Haines Bluff until relieved. Pemberton, completely overestimating the size and combat power of the brigade, saw the move as a threat to the water batteries located nearby and […]

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Civil War Times: Vol. 53, No. 3 (June 2014)

by Brett Schulte April 3, 2014

[TOCWOC Editor’s Note: I’ve decided to again go through the latest issues of Civil War magazines I subscribe to and comment on articles which interest me.  In the interest of protecting what seems to be my ever shrinking free time, not all of the items/articles in a given magazine will receive comment, but they will […]

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