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January 2004

 

What's Up?
It has been a while since our last newsletter but you'll be happy to know that all things USS England are still underway. However, I sure could use some help. We very much need articles for the newsletter and these can come from anyone in the ENGLAND family, officers, crew, families, historians and more.

We had a very successful reunion last June. Thank you to everyone who attended! I want to thank our speakers RADM Hugh L. Webster, USN (ret.), Captain Peter J. Gaskin USN (ret.), Commander Michael R. Fierro, and CWO4 George P. Evans USN (ret.) for stepping up and making our reunion banquet a fantastic event!

 
NOTICE!
The USS England Forum was retired on 02/03/07.

We'll be having a Southern California Mini-Reunion this year. I'd like some of the people who'd like to attend to help plan the event. It does not need to be anything formal. A location with food and drink with a date and time. We have done a couple of these in Brea, CA and one on Hotel Circle in San Diego. Where would you like to meet? Let me know (dennis@obriens.net or better yet, try the forums at http://forums.ussengland.net/ and we can all discuss it on-line).

Operation King Update!
Gordon England was confirmed as the 73rd Secretary of the Navy on 26 September 2003 and sworn in on 1 October. He becomes only the second person in history to serve twice as the leader of the Navy-Marine Corps Team and the first to serve in back-to-back terms. So the address for letters requesting a new England has changed again. See the Operation King Page for details! Send your letters today!

Reunion 2005
As you know, at out last reunion in the summer of 2003 the attendees voted on the location and timing for our next reunion. The result is that our next reunion is scheduled for early June 2005 in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston will be our group's first trip to the east coast and our chance to start having reunions at locations across the country.

The Charleston area offers a lot of things to see and do along with its rich military heritage. Nearby are Fort Moultrie, the site of the first decisive patriot victory of the American Revolution, and Fort Sumter, the scene of the first shots of the Civil War. Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum includes World War II aircraft carrier U.S.S. YORKTOWN, 25 military aircraft, submarine CLAMAGORE, destroyer LAFFEY, Coast Guard cutter INGHAM, Vietnam Base Camp, Congressional Medal of Honor Museum, and New Cold War Submarine Memorial. There will also be all the usual reunion fun, meals and the final banquet.

More details will be coming in 2004.

Start planning on attending this event now!!!

History Corner: :Fort Sumter National Monument
After it became clear that Abraham Lincoln had won the presidential election of 1860, South Carolina passed an order of secession on December 20. Six days later Major Robert Anderson, commander of the Union forces at Charleston, moved his small garrison from Fort Moultrie, also in the Charleston Harbor, to the unfinished, ungarrisoned Fort Sumter, farther from shore and less vulnerable to land attack. Governor Francis Pickens of South Carolina demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter; Anderson refused. On January 9, 1861, the Union merchant vessel Star of the West attempted to land supplies and reinforcements for Fort Sumter, but was fired on and withdrew.

By the time Lincoln took office on March 4, six more states had seceded, and Fort Sumter was one of the two Southern forts remaining under Union control. Lincoln was faced with either recalling Anderson or risking war by providing him with supplies and reinforcements. After much agonizing, Lincoln notified Pickens on April 8 that an attempt would be made to send provisions, but no troops or ammunition, to Fort Sumter, then in danger of being starved out. Three days later General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, under orders from Confederate President Jefferson Davis, demanded evacuation of the fort. Anderson stated that he would evacuate only if he received neither provisions nor instructions from the federal government by noon on April 15. This answer proved unsatisfactory, and at 4:30 am on April 12, Fort Johnson in Charleston fired the first shot of a 34-hour bombardment, ending all negotiations and marking the beginning of the Civil War. Lincoln's relieving fleet arrived the same day but could not enter the harbor because of cannon fire from the shore. Anderson surrendered the fort on April 14; neither side suffered any casualties. The following day the United States declared war on the Confederacy.

Confederate troops completed construction of the fort, greatly strengthened it, and in 1863-64 held it through several massive Union attacks and a 15-month siege. Only on February 17, 1865, with the approach of the army of the Union general William Tecumseh Sherman, did they evacuate the fort. The site became a national monument in 1948.