State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

150 Years Ago Today

The Yankees on the Peninsula.

--We learn that on Saturday a party of Federals made a raid up to Custis, (Gen. Lee's farm,) on the Pamunkey river, and captured a small steamer owned by Mr. T. T. Cropper. It was afterwards stated that they were making a raid further up the Peninsula, but we have heard nothing more of their doings than the performance noted above.

-from the Richmond Daily Dispatch September 28, 1863

 -The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: Chapter XLI - Operations in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. August 4-December 31, 1863

It might be tangential to the whole point of this website but I was perplexed by the mysterious gunboat Jesup, of which there seemed to be no official listing, and by its Wisconsin landlubber crew. What I have pieced together from the record is this . . .

. . . from the Official Records

Norfolk, January 21, 1865. 

 Major General E. O. C. Ord,
Commanding Dept. of Va. and N. C. and Army of the James:
GENERAL: In obedience to your verbal orders, I respectfully report that this command consists of the following boats: 
. . .
 (3.) Propeller Jesup; the hull of a gun-boat built by the ladies of Norfolk for the rebels; partially destroyed by rebels when Norfolk was evacuated; rebuilt by United States; mounts two 30-pounder Parrott guns; hull and engine in excellent order, but requires new boiler; crew, thirty men.

. . . . and explaining a bit more, from Wisconsin in the War of the Rebellion by Gale Cengage Learning . . .

In May 1863, Lieutenant Colonel Whipple [ of the Nineteenth Wisconsin] was appointed to take command of the gun-boat "General Jesup," he selected Lieutenant Charles D. Williams, of company E, for his mate, and chose a full crew from the regiment. The boat was armed with two thirty-two[?] pound Parrotts and two twelve-pound Napoleons. The colonel, with his Wisconsin crew, did excellent service during the year up the James, the York and its tributaries, and in the sounds of North Carolina. In one action they received eleven shots through the boat. In the autumn Colonel Whipple was compelled by ill health to quit his post, and was discharged from the service. Lieutenant Williams being appointed to succeed him in the command of the boat, proved himself a competent and reliabel brofficer in that capacity, capturing a rebel steamer soon after his promotion, on the York River, near West Point.

. . . and so Wisconsin got its navy.

A 30 pound Parrott

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