Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lincoln plans strategy; The Nicholas takes prizes

Gen. Winfield Scott addresses Lincoln's Cabinet
  • In Washington, President Lincoln and Cabinet meet with key military leaders to plan the future course of invasion of the South. Generals Irvin McDowell and Winfield Scott unveil their plans with an eye toward the importance of maintaining public support and enthusiasm for subjugating and destroying the South in order to “preserve” the Union.
    I. McDowell
    Gen. McDowell presents a plan for attacking the Confederates under Gen. Beauregard at Manassas, Virginia. Gen. Scott proposes sending an expedition down the Mississippi River, establishing a blockade, and starving the South into submission as the best way to suppress the rebellion. Lincoln thinks the troops are too raw for battle and disagrees with the military authorities, but the President and Cabinet believe the public wants action and further delay might cool Northern zeal./1861 
  • On the Chesapeake Bay, Confederate sympathizers led by Marylanders and veteran US Navy men George N. Hollins and Richard Thomas Zarvona have seized the side-wheeler St. Nicholas, a commercial vessel, now deposit the crew and passengers in the care of a Tennessee regiment at Coan River, Virginia, and proceed to take 3 small commercial ships today in place of their original purpose of attacking the USS Pawnee. Their first prize is the large brig, Monticello, with 3,500 bags of precious coffee from Brazil to Baltimore, which was commandeered by Lieutenant Rimms and taken to Fredericksburg. In less than a hour, a schooner, Mary Pierce, ten days out of Boston, bound for Washington with a cargo of 200 tons of ice. Lieutenant Robert D. Minor, CSN, took her to Fredericksburg, too, where it was needed by the hospitals. As Hollins and Zarvona grew nervous about the St. Nicholas’ dwindling coal supply, the schooner Margaret, bound from Alexandria to New York, appeared loaded with 270 tons of coal. Putting the Margaret in tow up the Rappahannock out of danger of US Navy vessels who may have caught word of the successful privateering, they coal the St. Nicholas by night and in the morning will start for Fredericksburg. This is the first Confederate naval victory of some lasting merit, and Hollins will get promotion to commodore in the Confederate Navy and will command the famous Mosquito Fleet near New Orleans. Out of respect for the Baltimore owners, the St. Nicholas will be put up for sale by the Richmond District Court in Admiralty for $18,924.17. She will be purchased by the Confederate Navy with the proceeds going to her original owners. The St. Nicholas will become the C.S.S. Rappahannock which would be burned in the evacuation of Fredericksburg in April 1862 to prevent her capture by Union forces. The US flag flying on her staff when she was seized is the first American flag captured in the War between the States./1861
  • Confederates make a dash at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, after having abandoned the town earlier in the month, destroying several boats and the railroad bridge./1861

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