Send Me Thirty Marines... Part II

By Richard A. Long - Originally Published May 1961

29 Apr 1862:
A Battalion of Marines, numbering approximately 250, under the command of Captain John L. Broome, disembarked and took possession of New Orleans facilities.

At the Custom House, he detailed Captain Alan Ramsay and a detachment to occupy it and hoist the American flag upon it. Here they were joined by a force of seamen from the USS Hartford with two howitzers, whereupon those left marched to the City Hall in the center of the city. Second Lieutenant John C. Harris, nephew of the Commandant, was ordered to occupy the building and haul down the Confederate flag. The remainder of the force marched back to the fleet anchorage. Upon the arrival of General Benjamin Butler on 1 May, the Marines evacuated the city.

8 May 1862:
Marine Detachments of the USS Dakota, USS Mount Vernon, USS St. Lawrence, USS San Jacinto, and USS Susquehanna participated in the bombardment of Sewell's Point, Va.

15 May 1862:
The Marine Guard of the USS Galena, together with crews of the USS Aroostook, USS Monitor, USS Naugatuck, and USS Port Royal, participated in the bombardment of Confederate defenses on Drury's Bluff, eight miles below Richmond on the James River.

Cpl John F. Mackie, USMC, a member of the Galena Guard, was cited in a letter to the Secretary of the Navy for his gallantry in the bombardment. Colonel Commandant Harris promised a correspondent that he would try to procure a medal for him. In Department of the Navy General Orders #17, issued on 10 July 1863, Mackie was awarded the first Medal of Honor authorized a member of the Marine Corps.

25 May 1862:
A battalion of Marines, under the command of Captain Charles G. McCawley, re-occupied the Gosport (Norfolk) Naval Yard, Va.

24 Jun-1 Jul 1862:
Sixty Marines from the USS Albatross, USS James Adger, and USS Keystone State, all under the command of First Lieutenant H. B. Lowry, boarded the USS Hail and USS Henry Andrew, and performed duty as sharpshooters in raids up the Santee and Wahamait Rivers, near Georgetown, S. C.

28 Jun 1862:
In the course of an advance of Farragut's fleet up the Mississippi River, the Marine Guards of USS Brooklyn, First Lieutenant James Forney; USS Hartford, Captain John L. Broome and First Lieutenant John H. Higbee; and USS Richmond, Captain Alan Ramsay, manned the great guns in action with Confederate batteries at Vicksburg, Miss.

15 Jul 1862:
Marine Detachments of Union ships engaged in action against the Confederate Ram Arkansas above Vicksburg.

17-18 July 1862:
Twenty Marines from the USS Potomac, under the command of First Lieutenant George W, Collier, participated in an expedition up the Pascagoula River, Miss.

Acting with the U. S. Steamers Grey Cloud and New London, the objective was to capture or destroy a steamer and two schooners rumored to be loading with cotton, and to destroy telegraphic communications between Pascagoula and Mobile, Ala. Assisted by 20 sailors, Collier's command was able to destroy the communications, but upon pursuing the Confederate vessels upstream, they were ambushed by cavalry and infantry along the shore and forced to turn back to care for three who were wounded.

23-28 Aug 1862:
Major Addison Garland, commanding Marines at Brooklyn Navy Yard, dispatched Captain David M. Cohen and a force of Marines to quell a riot within the command of Army General Spinola's "Empire Brigade" in East New York City.

Aug 1862:
Ninety-five Marines of the USS Wabash and USS New Ironsides, all under the command of First Lieutenant H. B. Lowry, installed batteries of Whitworth and Parrott guns on Morris Island, outside Charleston Harbor, S. C.

25 Sep 1862:
Marines re-occupied the Navy Yard, Pensacola, Fla.

31 Oct 1862:
Death of Major William W. Russell, Paymaster, United States Marine Corps.

3 Nov 1862:
Having been ordered by the Commandant to command a new Marine barracks at Mare Island, Calif., Major Addison Garland asked authorisation for a large number of officers and men and for specific instructions concerning his official relationships with his naval superiors at the new station.

4 Nov 1862:
One hundred and fifty Marines, under the command of Captain Matthew R. Kintzing, arrived at Cairo, Ill., to establish a new naval station.

10 Nov 1862:
Colonel Commandant Harris gave Maj Garland his initial instructions, specifically assigning him the task of planning the barracks at Mare Island to accommodate 300 to 400 men, and requested estimates of cost for their construction.

20 Nov 1862:
Captain John C. Cash promoted to major and appointed Paymaster, United States Marine Corps.

5 Dec 1862:
Marine Guards of the USS Ottawa, USS Pembina, and USS Seneca participated in the occupation of a Confederate fort on Wassaw Island, Wassaw Sound, Ga.

7 Dec 1862:
Capture of two companies of Marines under the command of Maj Addison Garland, aboard the U. S. Mail Steamship Ariel off the eastern end of Cuba, by the Confederate Raider Alabama, Captain Raphael Semmes, CSN, Commanding.

Maj Garland and his Marine command were en route, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, to establish the barracks at Mare Island, Calif. Surprised while at dinner, the Ariel hove to when the Alabama fired a shot into the foremast above the head of Maj Garland. All arms, ammunition, and supplies of the Marines were taken by the Confederates. Officers and men, after being offered a berth in the Alabama, and subsequently declining, were paroled with the promise not to serve against the Confederacy. Writing from Aspinwall, Colombia, Garland informed the Commandant of his desire to continue to California upon his assignment, not considering this a violation of his parole. In addition to asking a Navy Department ruling in the matter, however, he also asked for a replacement of arms and accoutrements.

13 Dec 1862:
First Lieutenant Thomas McElrath arrived at the Flag Ship Lancaster in Panama with a detachment of Marines, after receiving his parole from the capture of the Ariel. A portion of these were sent on to California with McElrath, and the remainder replaced the Marine Guard of the USS Narragansett.

27 Dec 1862:
Maj Garland and his command arrived at the U. S. Station Ship Independence, Mare Island, Calif. Difficulty vas encountered in obtaining, from the Navy, rations for the laundresses sent out with the detachment.

Late 1862:
A detachment of Marines, under the command of First Lieutenant McLane Tilton, garrisoned Pilot Town, La.

2 Jan 1863:
U. S. Flag-Steamer Wachusett captured the Confederate Iron-Steamer Virginia off Mujeres Island, Yucatan, Mexico. First Lieutenant George P. Houston and an 18-man Marine Guard took charge of the vessel and sailed it to Key West, Fla., for disposition.

12 Jan 1863:
Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles notified Col Harris that all officers and men captured "on the sea and sea and gulf coasts and voters flowing into the same" were exchanged as of 10 December 1862.

These provisions relieved the officers and men of the Mare Island detachment of any imagined violation of their paroles.

31 Jan 1863:
USS Keystone State battled two Confederate iron-clad gunboats outside Charleston Harbor, S. C. Eight Marines of the Guard commanded by Captain James Lewis were killed and one was wounded.

2 Feb 1863:
First Lieutenants George W. Collier and McLane Tilton of the USS Potomac were temporarily assigned to garrison the Marine Barracks, Pensacola, Fla., Navy Yard, with 52 men. A request was made for 100 to 150 more men.

14 Mar 1863:
Marine Detachments of the USS Hartford, USS Mississippi, USS Monongahela, and USS Richmond participated in an attack on Port Hudson, La. Four Marines were killed, nine wounded, and seven were missing.

Capt John L. Broome, still commanding the Marine Guard on the Hartford, reported to the Commandant that "Marines [were] at the great guns, as regular gun crews, fighting two after nine-inch guns in broadside, and their opposites, with their usual ability, and marked success, so much as to receive the praise of that distinguished Naval Commander Admiral Farragut." Marines not so engaged constituted a reserve "under the immediate direction of 1st Lieut. John H. Higbee, and rendered efficient service in the performance of such duty as they were called upon to execute."

14 Mar 1863:
USS Hartford engaged rebel batteries at Grand Gulf, in which one Marine was severely wounded and another slightly wounded.

19 Mar 1863:
In a small engagement between Union ships and Confederate batteries at the junction of the Red and Mississippi Rivers, two Marines were wounded.

25 Mar 1863:
Rebel batteries at Warrenton, below Vicksburg, were engaged by the USS Hartford and two Marines were slightly wounded.

16 May 1863:
U. S. Sloop Preble reported sunk, in correspondence of First Lieutenant George W. Collier at Pensacola with Colonel Commandant Harris. The Marine Guard of the vessel was attached to the garrison at Pensacola.

13-20 Jul 1863:
A Battalion of Marines from Brooklyn Navy Yard, under the command of Captain John C. Grayson, First Lieutenant C. A. Stillman, and Second Lieutenant Robert L. Meade, aided in the restoration of order in the New York City draft riots.

28 July 1863:
The Secretary of the Navy directed Harris to provision a battalion of Marines to sail on the U. S. Steamer Arago from New York on 31 July for the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

31 Jul 1863:
Col Harris notified Secretary of the Navy Welles that one officer and many of the men destined for the battalion service at Port Royal were unfit for duty, and that the organization had been changed from four to three companies of Marines.

Aug 1863:
Arrival of the Marine battalion, under the command of Major Jacob Zeilin at Morris Island, S. C., to man the Parrott and Whitworth guns emplaced there and to cooperate with the Blockading Squadron.

17 Aug 1863:
Captain Edward McD. Reynolds, in a letter to the Commandant, explained, in reference to the Guards of the USS Ironsides, USS South Carolina, and USS Wabash, South Blockading Squadron, "having white belts rendering them conspicuous, by the sanction of the Admiral, I stained them black."

8 Sep 1863:
One hundred Marines and six officers of the Marine battalion from Morris Island and detachments of Marines from ships of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, accompanied by naval ships furnishing bombardment, unsuccessfully assaulted Fort Sumter, S. C.

Captain Charles G. McCawley commanded the Marines of the fifth division in the landing party. First Lieutenant Charles H. Bradford was mortally wounded and died in the hands of the Confederates. Second Lieutenant Robert L. Meade was captured, and imprisoned at Columbia, S. C., until exchanged a year later. In addition, four enlisted Marines were wounded, and 39 were taken prisoner.

9 Nov 1863:
Lieutenant Colonel John G. Reynolds, commanding the Marine Battalion at Port Royal, was directed to fill the complements of the Marine Guards of the vessels in the Squadron, after which the remainder of the battalion was to return to Philadelphia in the USS Massachusetts.

After carrying out this order on 1 December, Colonel Reynolds embarked himself, two captains, four lieutenants. 15 sergeants, 10 corporals, six musics, and 150 privates on the Massachusetts, and arrived at Philadelphia on 4 December. Instead of disembarking, however, Col Harris ordered that the forces await orders afloat.

17 Nov 1863:
Rear Admiral David D. Porter, distrusting reliability of the Volunteer troops assigned to guard stores for the Mississippi Squadron, asked Col Harris for the services of 30 Marines and two officers.

18 Nov 1863:
Secretary of the Navy Welles ordered the Marine Band sent to Gettysburg, Pa., to perform at President Lincoln's address and dedication of the cemetery there.

28 Nov 1863:
Captain James Lewis, finding a scarcity of recruits for the Marine Corps in the Philadelphia area, requested permission of the Commandant to recruit rebel deserters and prisoners, upon an oath of allegiance, in the prison camps.

Col Harris voiced no objection to the proposal, as the Army was having signal success in the same endeavor, but he ordered Lewis to scrutinize each carefully to determine if the object was merely to be released for the purpose of desertion, and to "take none but good-looking, robust young men."

4 Dec 1863:
A number of rebel deserters and prisoners were turned over to Capt Lewis by the commanding officer of Fort Mifflin, Pa., and the draft of names was sent to Col Harris in Washington. The Army advised Lewis to have each sign his name before turning his papers over to him.

18 Dec 1863:
This enterprising Philadelphia recruiter notified Col Harris that the city of Philadelphia had just passed an ordinance to pay recruits a $250 bounty.

Capt Lewis, knowing personally several of the councilmen in the Philadelphia "machine," persuaded the council to include those recruited into the Marine Corps, with the city being credited for each recruit against its draft quota. A copy of the ordinance was sent to the Marine Corps recruiters in New York and Boston in hope of similar action being taken in those cities.

28 Dec 1863:
A detachment of Marines and sailors aided in the capture of Stono, S. C., and in the destruction of Confederate property in the enemy earthworks.

1 Jan 1864:
Thirty Marines, under the command of Second Lieutenant Louis E. Fagan, destroyed a Confederate vessel and its cargo at Murrill's Inlet, S. C.

Feb 1864:
First Lieutenant Richard S. Collum and Second Lieutenant Henry C. Cochrane and a detachment of 40 Marines were ordered to Mound City, Ill., to guard ordnance stores destined for the Mississippi Squadron.

18 Apr 1864:
The Marine Detachment of the USS Wabash, stationed as musket sharpshooters, beat off several attacks of a Confederate torpedo boat.

2 May 1864:
Colonel Commandant John Harris died at Washington, D. C., after serving 50 years in the Marine Corps. He entered the Corps on 3 April 1814, and vas appointed to command it on 7 January 1859.

Correspondence to and from Headquarters Marine Corps following the death of Col Harris indicates that Major Augustus S. Nicholson, the Adjutant and Inspector, took interim command of the Marine Corps.

9 Jun 1864:
Colonel William Dulaney, Lieutenant Colonel Ward Marston, Lieutenant Colonel John G. Reynolds, and Major Issac T. Doughty were entered on the Retired List of Officers of the Marine Corps in the grades listed, but all were immediately reassigned to their present duties.

10 Jun 1864:
Major Jacob Zeilin was promoted to colonel, and assumed the position of Commandant of the Marine Corps.

19 Jun 1864:
The Marine Detachment of the USS Kearsarge, manning the 30-pounder rifle on the forecastle, fired that ship's first shots in its decisive battle with the Confederate Raider Alabama off Cherbourg, France. Shortly after, the Alabama was sunk by successive blasts from an 11-inch pivot Dahlgren amidships.

3 Jul 1864:
Thirty Marines manning, two light howitzers, and under the command of Brigadier General William Birney, USA, participated in a skirmish with Confederate troops near White Point, S. C.

11-18 Jul 1864:
Captain James Forney, in command of a battalion of Marines and a battery of howitzers, formed part of a naval brigade from the Philadelphia Nary Yard which repelled a threatened Confederate attack on a railroad at Gunpowder Bridge, Harre de Grace, Md. He further assisted in re-establishing Union communications between Baltimore and Washington.

5 Aug 1864:
Marine Guards, under both officers and sergeants, manned the guns of Union ships in an action with Confederate ironclads at Mobile Bay, Ala.

12 Aug 1864:
Orders were issued by Colonel Commandant Zeilin to the commanding officers of the various posts and stations to discharge all men enlisted between May 1862 and July 1863 under the promise "by the late Commandant of the Corps" of a bounty to be paid by the United States Government.

5-23 Aug 1864:
Marine Guards of United States ships participated in the bombardment of Forts Gaines, Morgan, and Powell at Mobile, Ala. Forts Gaines and Morgan surrendered on 8 and 23 August, respectively, and Fort Powell vas evacuated on 6 August:

6 Aug-6 Sep 1864:
Following an intensive bombardment by the U. S. Monitor Chickasaw, 25 Marines under the command of Captain Charles Heywood and Second Lieutenant Charles L. Sherman, occupied Fort Powell, Mobile Bay, Ala.

1 Oct 1864:
When the USS Wabash ran aground at Frying Pan Shoals, N. C., the Marine Detachment, under the command of Second Lieutenant Louis E. Fagan, was credited with refloating and saving the ship.

11 Oct 1864:
The President of the United States directed that the bounty offered by the late Commandant of the Marine Corps to Marines enlisted between May 1862 and July 1863, be paid to those still in the Corps who enlisted under its promise.

10 Nov 1864:
Marines of the USS Lancaster, under the command of Captain David M. Cohen, assisted in the capture of Confederate agents aboard the CSS Salvador off New Grenada (Colombia), South America.

28-30 Nov 1864:
A battalion of Marines, under First Lieutenant George G. Stoddard, were employed as skirmishers in a sharp fleet brigade action with Confederate forces at Boyd's Neck and Honey Hill, S. C. One enlisted man was killed, one mortally wounded, five wounded, and one missing in action.

6-9 Dec 1864:
This same battalion of persistent Marines, again under Stoddard, engaged in brisk fire fights with stubborn Confederates at Derang's Neck and Tulifinney's Crossroads. One enlisted man (acting First Lieutenant) was mortally wounded; four men wounded; one missing, and one was drowned.

13 Dec 1864:
Recruiting became dull in Philadelphia as the city's draft quota was filled and the bounty of $250 was scheduled to cease.

13 Dec 1864:
Twenty-five transports, bearing 12,000 men, departed Hampton Roads, Va., for the first attack on Fort Fisher, N. C.

24-25 Dec 1864:
The First Battle of Fort Fisher. Marines aboard 37 ships of the Union fleet manned guns in the terrific and prolonged shelling of the bastion. One Marine officer, Second Lieutenant Jones Pile, of the USS Juniata, was killed, and two enlisted men were wounded.

5 Jan 1865:
Major Charles G. McCawley notified Colonel Commandant Zeilin that the Philadelphia City Council had voted to pay a $400 bounty for all recruits who were accredited to the city's draft quota. He also informed him that New York City was paying a $1000 bounty. Recruiting, however, continued to be lax, until such time as the commissioners were named.

13-15 Jan 1865:
The Second Baittle of Fort Fisher. Four hundred Marines and 1600 sailors landing from the sea supported Army troops attacking the fort from the land side. Other Marines manned guns aboard the ships in support.

The first assaulting line from the sea was composed of Marines, commanded by Captain Lucien L. Dawson. Companies of Marines were led by Captain George Butler, First Lieutenant William Wallace, F. H. Corrie, and William H. Parker. First Lieutenant Charles F. Williams commanded a body of skirmishers, and First Lieutenant Edward P. Meeker was adjutant. Killed either in the assault or in the explosion of the powder magazine as the victors were entering the fort, were 11 enlisted men, and 36 were wounded. Two additional enlisted men were missing in action. One officer, Lieutenant Wallace, was wounded.

26 Feb 1865:
Georgetown and Battery White, S.C., were occupied respectively by six companies of Marines commanded by First Lieutenant George B. Stoddard, and one company under Second Lieutenant James B. Breese.

28 Feb 1865:
The Marine Band was ordered to perform, as part of the ceremony of the second inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, at the Capitol on Saturday night, 4 March. After the inaugural address, it was directed to render "the national air, 'God Save Our President'," from music arrangements sent to the Commandant.

This was the role of the United States Marine Corps in the dawn of modern warfare. The majority of its actions were performed on a small scale, a ship's detachment or guard here and another there; minor shorebound skirmishes in isolated tangles and nearly inaccessible reaches of a rugged coastline, each of which contributed its inevitable measure toward tightening the blockading noose around the neck of a hapless Confederacy.

The roving battalion of Marine officer John G. Reynolds was perhaps an unconscious experiment in amphibious warfare, conceived long before the principle became a reality in the third and fourth decades of this century. Its contributions to Marine Corps policy and traditions, however, cannot be taken too lightly. Problems of organization, manpower, supply, transportation, finance, morale, and a host of others were rudely encountered here, and only the limitations of the men and machines of the era precluded their final analysis.

Despite the gigantic-by comparison -concentration of armed might mustered in a single effort for the possession of an island or a country in today's warfare, the Marine Corps still stresses the over-all importance of a series of small unit actions, each planned and calculated to contribute its minute part toward the winning of a larger objective.