Monday, April 18, 2011

Guns of Gosport-Where They Ended Up

On April 19, 1861, Commandant Charles Stewart McCauely ordered the Gosport Navy Yard's buildings to be torched, the dry-dock destroyed, the guns spiked, and the ships scuttled. The job of spiking the guns fell to the ship's company of USS Cumberland. With only a few hours and two hundred men to complete the task, the operation was a failure. When the Virginia state forces moved to occupy the Yard, they found several hundred guns in operating order.

Norfolk-native Samuel Barron, officer-in-charge of Virginia's newly established state navy (much like his grandfather was during the American Revolution) and French Forrest, the new commandant of the Gosport Navy, quickly ordered the treasure trove to be deployed throughout the South. In a June 10 memo to Virginia Governor John Letcher, Barron reported on where the guns were sent. In all, they distributed 412 guns with about half remaining in Virginia.

James River Defenses:
-Fort Powhatan: Eight 32-pounders
-Jamestown Island-Three IX-inch Dahlgrens, nine 8-inch Columbiads, six 32-pounders, two 12-pounders
-Pig Point: Four VIII-inch Dahlgren, four 32-pounder

York River Defenses:
-West Point: Two IX-Inch Dahlgrens, one 32-pounder
-Gloucester Point: Eight IX-Inch Dahlgrens, four 32-pounders
-Yorktown-Eight 8-inch Columbiads and barbette guns

Potomac River defenses
-Potomac Creek: Two VIII-inch Dahlgrens
-Aquia Creek: One VIII-inch Dahlgren, one Parrot Rifle field piece
-Simms’ Point: One VIII-inch Dahlgren, three Parrot Rifle field pieces
-Harpers Ferry: Two 32-pounders Elizabeth River defenses:
-Fort Norfolk: Twelve IX-inch guns, four 32-pounders
-Craney Island: One X-inch Dahlgren, sixteen VIII-inch Dahlgrens, four 32-pounders
-Fort Nelson (Naval Hospital): Two VIII-inch Dahlgren, five 32-pounders
-Bush Bluff: Five 32-pounders
-Pinner’s Point: Twelve 32-pounders
-Sewell’s Point: Six IX-inch Dahlgrens, four 32-pounders
-Lambert’s Point: Six 32-pounders
-Barrett’s Point: Six 32-pounders

-Frigate United States (in Norfolk)-Three IX-inch Dahlgrens, Sixteen 32-pounders
-Steam Tug Teaser (in Norfolk)-Two 32-pounders
-Steamer Yorktown (in Richmond)-One X-Inch Dahlgren, Six VIII-inch Dahlgrens, One 64-pounder

Shipped Out of Hampton Roads
For the City of Richmond-Sixty guns of unspecified calibers
For the State of North Carolina-Ten VIII-inch Dahlgrens, seventy 32-pounders
For the State of Tennessee-Fifty-two 32-pounders
For the State of Louisiana-One IX-inch Dahlgren, Eight VIII-inch Dahlgrens, twelve 32-pounders
For the State of Georgia-Two 32-pounders

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