Mr. Ken Johnston, Program Directror at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia, will present "Mr. Mallory's Miracle" at the Washington Civil War Round Table meeting on Monday evening, April 25, at 6:00 p.m., at the Talk of the Town Cafe in the Fitzpatrick Hotel located on The Square in Washington, GA.
When the Civil War started, the Confederacy had no navy and extremely few ships and next to no war ships. There were relatively few naval yards and even fewer facilities to make what war ships needed, such as marine engines, heavy naval guns and ship armor. There were few skilled tradesmen who could build war ships. Comparatively few naval officers and trained seamen came from the South. It was this daunting and dire situation that faced the Confederate Secretary of the Navy, Stephen R. Mallory, when he took office. The Pensacola, FL, native threw himself at this impossible task and achieved unbelievable success.
In quick order, the USS Merrimac was raised and salvaged and turned into the ironclad CSS Virginia , which sunk Union war ships and forced the USS Monitor to retire after a severe battle. The Condederate Navy had the first submarine, the CSS H.L. Hunley, to ever sink a enemy war ship. The Davids, 50 foot long, low riding torpedo boats were designed and built for the defense of Charleston Harbor.
A number of ironclads were built throughout the South. The CSS Tennessee was built in Selma, AL; the CSS Nuese was built in Kinston , N.C. The list goes on.
Some of the most famous ships of the Confederate Navy were the raiders. One of the most notorious was the CSS Alabama, captained by Admiral Raphael Semmes of Savannah which sunk 59 Union ships. His cousin, Brig. Gen Paul Jones Semmes was born in Wilkes County and lived on North Alexander Street in Washington. There was the CSS Shenandoah, under Captain James Waddell, which fought for two months after the War was over, not knowing of its conclusion. There was the CSS Tallahassee, commanded by Captain John Taylor Wood, who destroyed 26 Union ships wihtin 10 days. Captain Wood was in Washinton with Jefferson Davis in May, 1865.
The Confederate Navy developed the naval mines, called torpedos at the time. When Admiral Farragut was running the gauntlet past Fort Morgan, which protected the port of Mobile, AL, his lead ship, the ironclad USS Tecumseh , was blown out of the water by one of the Confederate "torpedos".
Most of us know very little about the confederate Navy. The story of "Mr. Mallory's Miracle" is amazing and is one that you will not want to miss.