150 Years Ago: Defending New Orleans

One-hundred and fifty years ago, Admiral David Farragut faced the difficult task of reducing or bypassing Confederate defenses to capture New Orleans.  The Confederates inherited an extensive network of fortifications constructed under the “Third System” by the U.S. Army from 1815 to 1860.  As such, the defenses provide a good study of the seacoast defenseContinue reading “150 Years Ago: Defending New Orleans”

Mortar on a raft: The Navy puts the 13-inch mortar to use

Continuing my examination of the 13-inch mortars, it is time to look at the Navy’s use of the weapon. Two types of naval craft carried the 13-inch mortar and both became very active at this time 150 years ago. Admiral David Farragut brought schooners armed with mortars to the lower Mississippi River, to use themContinue reading “Mortar on a raft: The Navy puts the 13-inch mortar to use”

Here’s why Polk needed that Gun

Why did General Leonidas Polk need an 8-inch rifled gun? Maybe due to rumors of this “turtle.” Starting in the summer of 1861, rumors floated down river of ironclad gunboats under construction in the shipyards of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.  Just as similar rumors about Confederate river ironclads caused concerns on the Union side,Continue reading “Here’s why Polk needed that Gun”