A Civil War Gunboat in Pacific Waters
Life Aboard the USS Saginaw
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University Press of Florida
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
List of Figures
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Water is unquestionably the most important natural feature on earth. By volume, the world’s oceans compose 99 percent of the planet’s living space; in fact, the surface of the Pacific Ocean alone is larger than that of the total land bodies. Water is as vital to life as air. Indeed, to test whether...
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The project of compiling the historic narrative of USS Saginaw has stretched slowly over the last six years; this account was written on various weekends, certain vacation days, and after work hours. During that time, I have had the personal pleasure of seeking out the details of...
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Sometimes the biggest stories begin with the smallest discoveries. In 2003, research divers with the Office of Marine Sanctuaries of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) came across a small and almost insignificant accumulation of brass sheathing tacks...
1. A New Ship for a New Ocean
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Hardly any of us today would remember—though their grandparents may once have told them of it—a time when California and the west coast seemed as distant to most Americans as the moon. America was an east coast nation, and few initially felt themselves hardy enough to attempt...
2. Seasoning on the China Station
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The pressing need for strengthening the East India Squadron led to a fair deal of anxiety among those waiting for Saginaw’s arrival in China. Secretary Toucey had envisioned a multipurpose antipiracy patrol vessel and had communicated this to Captain Stribling, who had just replaced...
3. The Civil War on the Pacific Coast
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By any measure, the Civil War had an immense and devastating impact on the United States. The issues of slavery and emancipation, the right of secession and the nature of the union, and the violence and horrendous loss of life and destruction of property combined to literally tear...
4. Hard Times on Coastal Patrol
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On May 9, 1865, Commander Charles Baldwin was relieved of his temporary duty on Saginaw and returned to the naval yard as ordnance officer. Lieutenant Commander Charles J. McDougal replaced him as commander, but like Baldwin, his term on Saginaw would be short. Still, command of...
5. Exploring Seward’s Icebox
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Fortunately, a new role did emerge for the little ship. Following years of service in sweltering tropical climates, Saginaw and her crew were finally in for a drastic change to a beautiful, cold, and mostly unknown region. The ship’s move north was prompted by one of the most cost-efficient...
6. Hawai`i and the End of the Archipelago
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Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Sicard, looking down on USS Saginaw as she was decommissioned at Mare Island from the nearby deck of USS Pensacola, may have recognized the little side-wheeler from his days on the China Station, when he had served as sailing master on...
7. The Castaways of Ocean Island
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USS Saginaw was sent to Midway to terminate the channel project and take the Boston divers home. To their credit, Townsend’s men continued to work at blasting and hoisting on the bar, weather permitting, for a week following the ship’s arrival. If the Navy Department wanted to find a...
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Our maritime heritage is that part of our seafaring past that we choose to treasure, that part of ourselves that informs us about our human relationship to the sea. We were all sailors once, no matter where we find ourselves now, so this heritage is made up of many things: charts, oral histories...
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Page Count: 378
Illustrations: 42 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2010
Series Title: New Perspectives on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology
Series Editor Byline: James C. Bradford, Gene Allen Smith