For our May meeting Jon Guttman provides a detailed look at the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff:
Meeting time: 7:30 PM, May 8, 2012.
Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia.
Topic: The Battle of Drewry’s Bluff:
With the fall of Norfolk and the scuttling of the C.S.S. Virginia on
May 11, 1862, the Federal fleet at the mouth of the James River was
free to move upriver. The Navy had an opportunity to beat the Army
into Richmond. A squadron, commanded by Commander John Rodgers,
consisting of the ironclads USS Monitor, USS Galena, and USRC
Naugatuck, along with the gunboats USS Aroostook and USS Port Royal.
The only defense standing in the way of the Federals was Fort Darling
on Drewry’s Bluff.
On May 15, Rodger’s squadron attempted to run Fort
Darling. The action proved that, much as had happened months earlier
at Fort Donelson, ironclads were not immune to fire from shore
batteries. After a few hours, the Federals withdrew, having received
the worst of the affair. The Galena suffered serious damage, along
with 14 dead and 10 injured. In the action, Corporal John Mackie
became the first Marine to earn the Medal of Honor. Fort Darling
continued to block Federal advances up the James until April 1865.
About our speaker:
One of our own, Jon Guttman, delivers tonight’s presentation. Jon is
a native of Flushing, New York. He holds a masters in European
History from SUNY Albany. Jon took up residence in Leesburg in the
late 1980s. In roles to include senior editor, research director, and
contributing writer, he has served on the staff of several magazines
to include Modern Warfare, Military History, World War II, Aviation
History, America’s Civil War, Civil War Times Illustrated, Vietnam,
and Wild West. Outside of periodicals, his works include several
books on subjects of aviation and naval history. These include
several monographs on World War I aircraft and volumes in the Osprey’s
Aircraft of the Aces series. Among his most recent books is “Origins
of the Fighter Aircraft” exploring the emergence of air-to-air combat
in 1914-1918. Jon retired as a master sergeant from the Army National
Guard after twenty years service.