Civil War Echoes: Pearl Harbor

Today 75 years ago the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, catapulting the United States into World War II – a conflict that turned out to be the country’s bloodiest save for the Civil War.battleship-row-torpedos-small

Many of the U.S. ships in Pearl Harbor that day have names with Civil War ties. On this 75th Anniversary, I note these for our readers:

USS Nevada (BB-36): Named for the State of Nevada, which joined the Union in 1864. Only U.S. capital ship to get underway during the attack.

USS Pennsylvania (BB-38): Named for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which sent more units than any other Union state and hosted the bloodiest battle of the war at Gettysburg.

USS Arizona (BB-39): Named for the State of Arizona, which as Arizona Territory was site of one of the westernmost battles of the war at Picacho Peak.

USS Tennessee (BB-43): Named for the State of Tennessee, one of 11 in the Confederacy and site of a significant portion of the Western Theater’s battles.

USS California (BB-44): Named for the State of California.

USS Maryland (BB-46): Named for the State of Maryland, host to many operations in the Eastern Theater – most notably the Battle of Antietam.

USS West Virginia (BB-48): Named for the State of West Virginia, created in June 1863 out of the loyal counties of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

USS New Orleans (CA-38): Named for the City of New Orleans, largest city in the Confederacy which was captured by a Union fleet under David G. Farragut in April 1862.

USS Raleigh (CL-7): Named for North Carolina’s capital city.

USS St. Louis (CL-49): Named for Missouri’s largest city in 1861, and an important Union stronghold throughout the Civil War.

USS Schley (DD-103): Named for Civil War veteran (and future Admiral) Winfield Scott Schley.

USS Ward (DD-139): Named for James Harmon Ward, the first U.S. naval officer killed in the Civil War on 27 June 1861 in King George County, Virginia. Fired the first shots of the Pacific War at 0630 7 December 1941 by engaging a Japanese midget submarine.

USS Farragut (DD-348): Named for David Glasgow Farragut, the U.S. Navy’s first Admiral and victor of New Orleans and Mobile Bay.

USS Dewey (DD-349): Named for Civil War veteran (and future Admiral) George Dewey.

USS Worden (DD-352): Named for John Worden, commander of the USS Monitor in her battle against CSS Virginia on 9 March 1862.

USS Selfridge (DD-357): Named for Thomas O. Selfridge, Sr. and Jr. The former commanded blockade forces in the Gulf of Mexico; the latter was executive officer of USS Cumberland when she was sunk by Virginia and later commander of Monitor.

USS Phelps (DD-360): Named for Civil War naval veteran Thomas Phelps.

USS Cummings (DD-365): Named for Civil War naval veteran Andrew Boyd Cummings, killed at Port Hudson in 1863.

USS Case (DD-370): Named for Civil War naval veteran Augustus Ludlow Case.

USS Patterson (DD-392): Named for Daniel Patterson, a U.S. Navy officer and father-in-law of David Dixon Porter.

USS Ramsay (DM-16): Named for Civil War naval veteran Francis Ramsay.

USS Breese (DM-18): Named for Civil War naval veteran Kidder Breese.

USS Tracy (DM-19): Named for Benjamin F. Tracy, an Army of the Potomac veteran (Medal of Honor recipient at the Battle of the Wilderness) and Secretary of the Navy in the Benjamin Harrison Administration.

USS Sicard (DM-21): Named for Civil War naval veteran Montgomery Sicard.

USS Wasmuth (DMS-15): Named for a sailor killed at the Battle of Fort Fisher in 1865.

USS Thornton (AVD-11): Named for James and Ryan Thornton, Civil War naval veterans.

USCGC Taney (WHEC-37): Named for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney.

Top image is Pearl Harbor as seen from a Japanese plane at the start of the attack. Battleship Row is visible in the foreground.

5 Responses to Civil War Echoes: Pearl Harbor

  1. Most interesting. Upon reflection, most states had but little ‘history’ except their civil war and there weren’t that many naval heroes in 1941’s American history outside of the civil war veterans (cue the bellows from John P. Jones and Matthew C. Perry fan clubs). You’ve inspired me to look at the names of our naval vessels today; how many of those recall the civil war and how many are drawn from the heroes of WWII and after?

  2. To add another one Chris:

    Franklin Van Valkenburgh was captain of the USS Arizona and went down with his ship 75 years ago.

    His first cousin 4 generations removed was Major James Van Valkenburg (he didn’t have the H) of the 61st Georgia, who was killed at the Battle of Monocacy on July 9, 1864.

  3. The Taney is still afloat, the sole survivor of Pearl Harbor. She is berthed in Baltimore Inner Harbor, right across from the USS Constellation, a Civil War survivor and the last all-sail ship built for t he US Navy.

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