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Blockade Runner Armstrong and Michael Philip Usina, CSA Navy

Discussion in 'Civil War History - The Naval War' started by donna, May 12, 2011.

  1. donna

    donna Colonel Forum Host

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    The blockade runner Armstrong was a 230-foot-long iron side-wheel steamship. The ship was built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1864 by the firm Crenshaw and Company. This ship successfully ran the Federal blockade of the Confederacy's Atlantic ports five times during the last four months of 1864.

    On Dec. 4, 1864 as she was attempting to come out of Wilmington, North Carolina she was captured by the U.S. Navy ships R.R. Cuyler, Gettysburg, Mackinaw and Montgomery. I don't know who was commanding her on Dec. 4, 1861.

    However, at one time she was under the command of Michael P. Usina. He was the man who owned Tinker, the dog I have done thread on.

    Michael P. Usina was born in St. Augustine, Florida in 1840.

    He enlisted as private on May 21, 1861 in Company B, 8th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry. He was wounded at the Battle of Manassas July, 1861. He was captured but managed to escape with the help of an African-American who was riding a horse and let Usina ride on back of horse and took Usina to Southern lines.

    After Michael Usina got back to Southern lines, he was transferred to Navy on Nov. 26, 1861. In 1862 he was a pilot on CSS Talomico. He served on several blockade runners as commander. These included the May Celeste, Atalanta, Virginia, Armstrong and Rattlesnake.

    At the time of Lee's surrender he was on the Whisper. Blockade running ceased. He took the Whisper with Tinker, the dog aboard and headed to England. Tinker died on the way and was buried in the North Atlantic.

    Two references for this information are: "In Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the War" by Stephen R. Wise and "Michael Philip Usina, "The Boy Captain". this is by Jody Owen and written in 1985. This article is found at library.armstrong.edu/usina-michael-philip.pdf. from Savannah Biographies Vol. 13.
     

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  3. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

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  4. donna

    donna Colonel Forum Host

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    Thanks for posts on drawings.
     
  5. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

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  6. donna

    donna Colonel Forum Host

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    From what I have read, the Confederate government operated the blockade runners. They were mostly commanded by officers of the Confederate Navy. Probably others on this forum know more about who actually owned the runners.

    I wanted to find out more about George M. Horner, the English man who was blockade runner for Confederates and mentioned in Crenshaw and Co. article. Did find article on "Blockade Running by Officers of the Royal Navy". This article was on Captain Grosvenor Porter. Maybe this has been discussed on this forum before.

    Blockade running during Civil War is very interesting and I am just beginning to read about it. Any one out there want to recommend some books.
     
  7. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

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  8. kansas

    kansas Corporal

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    The Crenshaw Line of runners was half owned by the Confederate War Department. The Crenshaw brothers owned the other half and operated on money of their own as well as a government loan. A never ending supply of ships were contracted for and built in England that began as an effort by the new Quartermaster in 1863 to provide cloth and leather items for Longstreets corps. Navy officers were often provided as well as agents working for the Confederates to purchase and handle items bought by the Quartermaster Department. The government agreed to provide the cotton for the outbound loads to pay for their items and for Crenshaws to finace their own purchases at government cost. Coal was gathered and warehoused as well by the government for ship use. The Crenshaws profits came from the delivery of meat purchased abroad and from the U.S. through their own agents, stored in warehouses in Nassau and delivered on Crenshaw ships as well as others. Large amounts of bacon spoiled in the hot humid climate packed into warehouses to the ceilings and had to be tossed, a great deal of the rest of it was nasty but edible and its consumption by both military and civilian Confederates led to the term Nassau Bacon. Many soldiers came to like it and passed it down through the generations. The Crenshaw line had the poorest success of any line of runners throughout its time in use.
     
  9. donna

    donna Colonel Forum Host

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    Kansas Thanks for information on the Crenshaw Co. There must have been several companies involved. Do you recommend any books?
     
  10. kansas

    kansas Corporal

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    The best three i have seen is Lifeline of the Confederacy, Confederate Industry Manufacturers and Quartermasters, and From Cape Charles to Cape Fear. The second one has a good chapter on the Crenshaw Line, the third one is the Union efforts to prevent the running of the blockade, it has a great deal of information on Union ships and ship outfitting as well as confederate ships they grabbed, failed to grab, or destroyed. Some of the Crenshaw ships are mentioned. The first one has a great deal of general information that includes some on Crenshaw.
     
  11. donna

    donna Colonel Forum Host

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    Thanks for names of books. I have seen the one Lifeline of the Confederacy on line. Have read some on Michael Usina. I will see if any of these in our library or able to get around here.
     
  12. BillO

    BillO 1st Lieutenant

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    I own the book Blockade Runners of the Confederacy by Hamilton Cochran and I think it's a very good read.
     

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