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Official Reports - Re Tyler & Lexington - Pittsburg Landing

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  • 4 years later...

This is a document that would have been used to construct the OR (Navy)... How does such an historically valuable logbook end up outside the National Archives? (Scroll down to Lot 640, and read 'description.')  ['Log Book US Gunboat 'Taylor' (Tyler) -beginning August 28, 1861, ending April 1862. Inscribed: 'Lieut. Commanding Wm. Gwin. Produced in a clear, legible hand. Aside from the usual weather reports it talks about happenings on the 'Tennesse', the 'Savannah' and the 'Pittsburgh'.... from Auction House Description.]






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  • 4 months later...

Continuing from my previous post...


Imagine you are responsible for storing archived government records, and you have one large warehouse at your disposal. During an inspection tour, you discover that the warehouse is full: new records arriving are being left on the loading dock, because there is no more room in the warehouse. Would you:

  • Hire temporary workers to review existing stored records. Determine what is 'most valuable,' and destroy the rest (to make room for freshly arriving documents), or
  • Contract for temporary storage, while a second warehouse is built.

 I ask this question, because there appears to be 'uncertainty' surrounding what is to be done with historical documents: my previous post records an Official Navy Logbook, for sale by an auction house. The following link involves an Official Record of the Lincoln Assassination.


Your historical records. What do you want done with them?





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVdMEFn6MZ8     (Lincoln Assassination police report)

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Here is an example of a 'private diary,' which can be preserved in any manner that the owner deems appropriate (although it would be hoped that the owner would make his holding known to Historians.) This is different from an Official Record, which should be preserved by an approved Government Archivist... not thrown in the trash... not disposed of by an Auction House.





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tzIuo7FNbc     (Michigan man's April 1865 diary)

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  • 2 years later...

Of interest in the OR (Navy) volume 22 [first reported by Idaho Native] on page 763 of Lieutenant Gwin's April 8 report:

  • 2:50 pm   USS Tyler opened fire on Rebel positions (fire directed by General Hurlbut); firing ceased 3:50 pm.
  • 4pm         USS Lexington opened fire 3/4 mile above Pittsburg Landing. Silenced a Rebel battery in 30 minutes.
  • 5:35 pm    Tyler and Lexington opened on advanced Rebel position 1/8 mile above Pittsburg Landing. Silenced Rebel battery.
  • 6pm          USS Tyler fired on Rebel right wing until 6:25 pm.
  • 9pm          Under direction of General Nelson, USS Tyler fired a 5-  10- or 15-second shell (or occasionally howitzer firing shrapnel) every fifteen minutes during the night of April 6/7. At 1am USS Lexington took over and continued firing until 5am (when firing from gunboats suspended by order of General Grant for remainder of April 7th.)

General Beauregard confirms firing of gunboats against Chalmers position at 3pm on April 6th (Roman page 295.)



References:  OR (Navy) volume 22

Roman's Military Ops of PGT Beauregard  http://archive.org/stream/militaryoperatio01roma#page/294/mode/2up 


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On page 764 of OR (Navy) volume 22 Lieutenant Gwin itemizes the ammunition USS Tyler expended during April 6th:

  • 188 shell (various fuse timings)
  •     4 solid shot
  •     2 stand of grape shot
  •     6 shrapnel


          200     total rounds fired (of which sixteen would have been fired from 9pm til 1am, leaving 184 ...fired from 3pm until 6:30 pm, approximate rate of 46 rounds-per-hour. Then add in the rounds fired by USS Lexington during the same period (details not provided) but not unreasonable to assume a similar total. And the average rate of fire exceeds one round-per-minute during 3pm - 6:30 pm.

But, most significant: the details provided on pages 763 and 764 indicate an earlier commencement of firing by the Federal gunboats than many Shiloh enthusiasts realize (before the collapse of the Hornet's Nest.) With the exception of a pause from 4:30 until 5:30, the firing by one or both gunboats was continuous (2:50 pm til 6:25 pm). And lastly, I would suggest 6:25 pm -- the time recorded as when USS Tyler ceased firing -- coincided with sunset. 

Was the artillery fire provided by the Federal gunboats effective?  It did not prevent the collapse of the Hornet's Nest. But it may have "silenced" Gage's Battery. And based on the number of Confederate After-Action reports that mention "firing of the gunboats," those commanders did not indicate willingness to remain "where the shell fragments were landing" ...including OR reports of Withers, Chalmers, Jackson and General Beauregard.



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  • 3 years later...

U.S. Navy Crew Lists and Muster Rolls

Good news for those interested in complete crew lists for U.S. Navy vessels during the Civil War: Family Search is engaged in making those lists available to the public, free of charge. Currently, the lists accessible are for ship names beginning Letter "A" through Letter "C" (so USS Colorado and USS Carondelet and USS Cairo and USS Alfred Robb are available for viewing now.) Review the below site every couple of weeks to check on progress...

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/index.php?title=Muster_Rolls_of_Naval_Ships,_1860_-_1900_-_National_Archives_Catalog&mobileaction=toggle_view_desktop  U.S. Navy ship crew lists and muster rolls (Civil War)

N.B.  For those interested in Savannah Tennessee men that joined the crew of tinclad steamer Alfred Robb (sometimes labeled USS Robb) in 1862 and afterwards, that list is available now... https://catalog.archives.gov/id/134410287  begin page 40 thru 54. At least twenty men named with Hardin County Tennessee indicated as "place of enlistment." [Confederate steamer Alfred Robb was hidden away up the Tennessee River near Florence Alabama until captured by timberclads Lexington and Tyler on 21 April 1862, and subsequently pressed into service as Tinclad No.21 (although it was the FIRST tinclad vessel.)]


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  • 2 weeks later...

Not only is Muster Roll of the USS Alfred Robb (or simply USS Robb) now available, with its listing of names and residences of Tennessee men recruited into Federal Navy service, online for viewing. The Muster Roll of USS Conestoga is now available. Working slowly but surely, the collection of Civil War vessel muster rolls is being released online to the public; and while we wait for USS Lexington and USS Tyler, the roll of USS Conestoga (which ascended the Tennessee River as far as Muscle Shoals in February 1862) is ready now.

What can be learned? Crew size; ratings (warfare specialization) of the members of the crew; ages of the men and boys... And in the case of Conestoga, many of her crew joined from USS Cairo after the sinking of their vessel due to torpedo (mine) end of 1862.

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/134415932  Muster Rolls and Crew Lists of USS Conestoga.


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