Highlights from Naval History
Vessels of the Union Navy’s Mississippi River Squadron, shown here during the 1862 Battle of Island Number Ten, needed manpower—and those who escaped from slavery and joined the service as “contrabands” proved a valuable asset to the war effort.

Contraband Sailors of the USS Avenger

By Sandy Brass Jenkins
February 2024
In towns along the war-torn Mississippi, those who went from slavery to enlistment in the U.S. Navy in the Civil War forged a legacy that continues to inspire generations later.
Ghost Ship

Superstitions and the Sea

By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)
February 2024
Superstition will likely remain tucked away in the sailor’s sea bag to emerge when strange happenings seem to defy logic.
The Bonhomme Richard (foreground) engages HMS Serapis in the Battle of Flamborough Head, 23 September 1779.

On Our Scope

February 2024
In this issue we run the gamut from John Paul Jones storming across the deck of the Bonhomme Richard to the birth of the nuclear Navy.
6 December 1917: The munitions ship Mont-Blanc exploded in Halifax Harbor following a collision with another ship. The blast vaporized the iron-hulled ship, flattened much of the city, and killed or gravely injured thousands.

Havoc in Halifax

By Robert L. Willett
February 2024
It was a catastrophic occurrence of historic proportions: the gargantuan 1917 explosion of an ammunition ship loaded for transport to the Western Front in World War I.


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