A NOVEL OF TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
After skimming the papers and extras quite rapidly, I had sort of an outline of what had happened in 1861.
I had gotten an overview from the man I met on the road to Harpers Ferry and the Widow Hawkins in Halltown, but now I had a clearer picture of the progress of the War during 1861.
Union General-in-Chief Winfield Scott had set up a plan of blockade to strangle the Confederacy. It had been derisively dubbed “The Anaconda Plan” by the press.
In all my readings while in my prior universe I had never really studied the Union Navy’s closing down of the Confederate Coasts because, other than the taking of New Orleans and Vicksburg, no significant Union Army advancements had ever been made from the acquired Confederate ports and Atlantic coastal islands.
So, I didn’t know if the information I gathered corresponded to what happened in my old universe. However, it was definitely pertinent to this day and time.
Anyway, in this universe, General Scott had organized his “Anaconda” system of blockade into four regions; the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron,the East Gulf Blockading Squadron, and the West Gulf Blockading Squadron.
In addition, an army of 60,000, supported by flotillas, was assigned to the Anaconda Blockading Squadrons with the intent of taking possession of Confederate forts and ports. For this plan to work, the Union Navy needed a succession of ports for coaling their steam ships along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. At the beginning of the War, the only Union ports open south of the Mason/Dixon Line was Hampton Roads, VA, and Key West, FL. So, the first order of business was to take Confederate areas that could provide coaling locations and at the same time start to close down Confederate shipping and trade.
In late August, 1861, a Navy Flotilla of seven steam warships under Flag Officer Silas Stringham and 900 soldiers under Major General Benjamin Butler set sail, (oops, make that steamed) for Cape Hatteras, which was located off the coast of North Carolina.