The Tidewater Maritime Living History Association
Welcome to our Site!
Crew of the USRC Harriet Lane at Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day 2010
Schedule of Events for Current & Previous Years
2000 TMLHA Grey/BlueJackets' Manual;
To Hand, Reef, Steer and Cast the Lead (or, Why do a Naval Impression?)
Clocks, Bells, and Watches; Timekeeping during the Age of Sail
The Lead Line:
The Speed/Chip Log:
"It Pays to Increase Your Nautical Word Power!"
Naval and Nautical Links:
Mystic Seaport Museum
The Navy and Marine Living History Association
The Roanoke River Landing Party
History of the TMLHA:
The TMLHA was formed in July, 2000 by a collection of veteran reenactors and Living history interpreters from the Southeastern Virginia area who perceived a need to provide quality nautical historical presentations to the public. Our membership includes active duty, veteran and retired Navy and Coast Guard sailors, their families and friends. Our group is based in the Tidewater, Virginia area, but has members from as far south as central NC as well. Ours is currently the only Living History organization in the U.S. who portray a US Revenue Cutter crew.
TMLHA MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Tidewater Maritime Living History Association is to establish and maintain a positive and accurate image of sailor's lives in the Age of Sail, by presenting nautical history and general seamanship knowledge to the public. This is done through living history demonstrations, battle reenactments, school programs, parades and memorial dedication activities, by offering period naval and nautical information and training to fellow living history interpreters in the Tidewater region, and by performances of traditional sailor's music.
Our members portray crewmen from various merchant, naval, and revenue vessels who lived, worked, sailed and/or fought along the East Coast of the United States from it's discovery through the late 20th century.
Who is Eligible to Join?
Our organization is interested in mustering-in new recruits or experienced "sailors".
Prior sailing or boating knowledge is welcomed but not required, as we will train "landsmen"
in the sailor's trade. The most important things a new sailor needs to bring with them
are a love of nautical and naval history, a desire to teach and/or learn the old-time sailor's
arts, and a willingness to be involved in interacting with the public in a living history
environment. For the experienced reenactor/living history interpreter, most of your kit
is usable in a naval impression (see our BlueJacket's Manual in the Reference Articles Section for details).
TMLHA members currently portray sailors from the following ships:
USS Monitor (Hampton Roads events):
The Monitor was the first US Navy ironclad steamship built. She was completed in an amazing 100 days, and incorporated some of the Swedish-born inventor John Ericsson's most famous concepts, including the rotatable shipboard gun turret, fan-forced air draft into the firebox of the steam engine, below-waterline flush toilets, and screw-propeller drive for ships. She was the first Federal ironclad to engage a Confederate one in combat. She was armed with two 11 inch Dahlgren smoothbore guns. Her battle with the ironclad ram CSS Virginia was a landmark event in the history of naval warfare. After the destruction of the Virginia at Craney Island, Monitor participated in the unsuccessful attempt to pass the rebel battery at Fort Darling, Drewry's Bluff on the James River. She was lost in the Atlantic Ocean during a storm 17 miles off Cape Hatteras on New Year's Eve, 1862.
USS Cumberland (Hampton Roads events):
USS Cumberland was a 1,726-ton sailing frigate built commissioned in 1843 at the Boston Navy Yard. She served in the Mediterranean and in the Home Squadron, sometimes as its flagship; during 1846-48 she participated in Mexican War operations. Cumberland made two cruises to the Mediterranean in 1849-51 and in 1852-55. During 1855-56, Cumberland was razee'd (converted) to a sloop of war. This allowed her to carry fewer but much heavier guns. She was flagship of the Africa Squadron in 1857-59 and again as flagship of the Home Squadron in 1860. In the spring of 1861, Cumberland was at the Gosport Navy Yard, Virginia, and when the yard was abandoned on 20 April, was towed to safety at Fortress Monroe by the steamer USS Pawnee. Thereafter, she served on Civil War blockading duty off the Confederacy's Atlantic coast, taking part in the capture of Forts Hatteras and Clark in late August 1861. Cumberland was anchored off Newport News, Virginia on 8 March 1862, when the CSS Virginia attacked the Federal warships in Hampton Roads. Cumberland was rammed and sunk by the Virginia.
USS Congress (Hampton Roads events):USS Congress was a 1,867-ton sailing frigate, was commissioned in May 1842 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. She served in the Mediterranean into 1843, then sailed off the South American east coast until 1845. After overhaul she was sent as flagship of the Pacific Squadron until 1848. During that cruise, Congress participated in Mexican War operations. From June 1850 until 1861, the frigate served twice as flagship of the Brazil Squadron, and in the Mediterranean Sea. She joined the blockade of the Confederacy's Atlantic coast in September 1861. On 8 March 1862, while anchored off Newport News, Virginia, Congress was attacked by the ironclad CSS Virginia. After suffering heavy casualties in a one-sided action with an invulnerable opponent, she was forced to surrender. She was later destroyed by heated shot and exploding shells which resulted in a fire that exploded her powder magazine.
USRC Harriet Lane (Hampton Roads/North Carolina events)
Commissioned on February 25, 1858, the first Harriet Lane was named in honor of President Buchanan's
niece and official White House hostess. The Harriet Lane was the Revenue Marine's first successful steam
side wheeler. She consumed 1,500 lbs. of coal per hour at a maximum speed of 12 knots. Harriet Lane also had a brigantine
sail rig. She was 180 feet in length, 30 foot beam, 700 tons displacement, and draft of 10 ft. and was armed with one 8-inch rifled gun,
4 32-lbr guns, 2 24-lbr and 1 12-lbr boat howitzers, making her the largest, fastest and most heavily-armed cutter in the service to date.
Captain John Faunce oversaw her construction, and was her only commander under Revenue service. During late 1858 to early 1859,
Harriet Lane was attached to a Navy flotilla sent to Paraguay in response to an attack on an American vessel in the Parana River.
USS Miami, Tacony, Wyalusing or Shamrock (Hampton Roads/North Carolina events):
The Sassacus class 730-ton "double-ender" side-wheel gunboats were built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. During 1864-65, several were employed in the North Carolina Sounds area, participating in a number of actions. On 19 April 1864, Miami, Tacony and Wyalusing engaged the Confederate ironclad Albemarle, a battle that caused the death of Miami's Commanding Officer, LCDR Charles W. Flusser. In late 1864, Miami shifted to the James River and spent the remainder of the war there. Shamrock served as "mother ship" for Picket Boat Number One at the time of Lieutenant William Cushing's successful spar torpedo attack on the Albemarle on 27-28 October 1864, and provided some of Cushing's crew. On 31 October 1864 she was also flagship of a force including Tacony that captured Plymouth, NC. Tacony was involved in the January 1865 assault that captured Fort Fisher, N.C.
USS Aroostook (Hampton Roads events):USS Aroostook, a 691-ton, 158-foot Unadilla class screw steam gunboat built at Kennebunk, Maine, was commissioned in February 1862. She was armed with one 11-in. Dahlgren, two 24-lbr. shipboard howitzers and one 20-lbr Parrot rifled gun. In early March she assisted the storm-disabled USS Vermont, suffering damage herself in the process. After repairs, Aroostook arrived at Hampton Roads, Virginia, where she participated in operations against Norfolk and, once that port had fallen, up the James River. She engaged Confederate forces on several occasions, among them the bombardment at Drewry's Bluff on 15 May. In September 1862, after the end of General McClellan's Peninsula Campaign, the gunboat served briefly with the Potomac Flotilla before being ordered to the Gulf of Mexico. Aroostook joined the blockade of Mobile Bay, Alabama, in October 1862, and served off there for nearly a year, during that time she assisted in capture or destruction of several blockade running sailing vessels. Stationed off the Texas coast from November 1863, she took three more blockade runners and assisted in destroying another. Aroostook left the Gulf in September 1865, some months after the end of the Civil War, and was decommissioned at Philadelphia. Recommissioned in December 1866, Aroostook voyaged to the Far East by way of the Cape of Good Hope, arriving at Hong Kong in August 1867. As a unit of the Asiatic Squadron, she operated off Japan and on anti-piracy patrols along the China coast. USS Aroostook was decommissioned for the las time at Hong Kong in September 1869 and sold a month later.
USRC E.A. Stevens (AKA Naugatuck) (Hampton Roads events):
The Stevens, otherwise referred to as the "Hoboken Ironclad" from the city where she was built, was the idea of
Edwin A. Stevens, a well-known inventor, and was built by his son John Stevens in 1844. The gunboat was also known
also by the name later given by the Navy, "USS Naugatuck". The 192-ton, 110-foot-long vessel was equipped with two screws,
driven by two inclined engines with one boiler. Her main protection was her ability to partially submerge by flooding
compartments to increase her draft from 7 feet, 8 inches to 9 feet, 10 inches. In the semi-submerged state the bottom of
an armored skirt, built around her gunwales, extended to just below the surface, rendering her impervious to shipboard guns.
She awas armed with one 100 lb. Parrott rifled naval gun and two boat howitzers.
USS Dawn (James River events)
USS Dawn was a 399-ton screw steam gunboat, built in 1857 at New York for commercial use. She was chartered by the Navy in April 1861 and commissioned for Civil War duty as USS Dawn. In October 1861 the Navy purchased her outright. After repairs at the Washington Navy Yard, Dawn was sent to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. While on station, she operated along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. In November 1862 and in January-March 1863, she took part in operations against Fort McAllister, GA and assisted in destruction of the Confederate privateer Rattlesnake. Dawn was reassigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in December 1863, following five months under repair at New York. She served in the James River in 1864 and into 1865, She provided gunfire support to the 1400 man garrison of Fort Pocahontas against an attack from 2500 Confederate cavalry.
How to Contact Us:If you have questions on 19th Century nautical or naval topics, if you would like information about our event schedule, or if you would like further information about signing on in the crew, please take a moment to sign the Visitor's Log below -or- contact us at:
Tidewater Maritime Living History Association