Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7, 1864 – Admiral Dahlgren Attacks Jacksonville

This day 150 years ago in Rebel Raiders’ History

-Dedicated to Civil War episodes, battles, people and ships that also appear in my game, GMT’s Rebel Raiders on the High Seas.

February 7, 1864 – Admiral Dahlgren Attacks Jacksonville 

Historical Event:  On February 7, 1864 Admiral John Dahlgren and five powerful Union warships supported the landing at Jacksonville by General Truman Seymour and 7,000 Union troops.  The admiral’s stated purpose was three-fold:  to close the port to Blockade Runners, to free and recruit Black men for the army and navy, and to “engineer Florida’s return” to the Union.

The troops were borne up the St. John’s River by USS Ottawa and USS Norwich.  The USS Mahaska, USS Water Witch and USS Dai Ching escorted and provided fire support for the operation. The Union move would culminate in the Battle of  Olustee, a railroad depot 50 miles southwest of Jacksonville.  There on February 20 Confederate General Joseph Finnegan and his 5,000 men thoroughly defeated the Union, forcing Seymour to retire upon Jacksonville – thus ending the campaign to “engineer Florida’s return” to the Union.

Game Connection:  Admiral John Dahlgren is represented in Rebel Raiders on the High Seas by USN Card 31 – John Dahlgren.    Due to the scale of the map, Jacksonville itself is not individually represented, but is included in the St. Augustine site.   The USS Ottawa was an Unadilla-class “90 Day Gunboat;”  the lead vessel for which that class is named is represented by USN Card 17 – USS Unadilla.

Union amphibious assaults on Confederate ports are a major part of the Northern player’s strategy, allowing the Federals to turn the sea into a front line, from which to strike the Confederacy.   Naval forces must be present to allow the army to land, as they must clear the port of Confederate warship and can duel with any Confederate defending the port. Taking ports not only reduces places for Blockade Runners to unload cargo, but also hurts Confederate production – and moves the North one step closer to restoring the Union.

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