The Casco-class monitor was a unique class of light draft monitor built on behalf of the United States Navy for the Mississippi theatre during the American Civil War. The largest and most ambitious ironclad program of the war, the project was dogged by delays caused by bureaucratic meddling. Twenty ships of the class were eventually built at great expense, but proved so unseaworthy when trialed that they were quickly sidelined, causing a public scandal



Crew of the Russian frigate Osliaba harbored in Alexandria, Virginia, 1863.

During the American Civil War, the Russian Empire was an open supporter of the Union. When Britain and France threatened to go to war with the United States in 1863, Czar Alexander II sent the entire Russian Baltic Fleet to New York City in support of the Union Navy. Britain was also threatening to intervene against Russia in the Polish Uprising of 1863, and thus it was decided the fleet would be safer in American, rather than the Baltic where it could be trapped by the Royal Navy. This act, along with Prussian threats to go to war with France in support of the Union, caused Britain and France to back off. 

For six months the Russian fleet harbored along the Atlantic Coast, helping to enforce the Union blockade on Southern ports. Russian ships of the Far East Fleet also harbored in San Francisco to protect the city against Confederate raiders.

Russian sailors are buried at Mare Island Navy Yard, they died fight a huge fire in San Francisco.











TIL Minnesota keeps the original Confederate flag hidden and refuses to give it up, even when Virginia sued for it


“In 2000, Virginia legislators got involved, asking Governor Jesse Ventura to return their captured icon.

‘Why?’ he asked. ‘We won.’”


All the salty racists in the comments are a cherry on top.

Die mad about it energy strong af

Okay but this is a story that @dadhoc loves to talk about because this is a REALLY BIG DEAL in Minnesota. 

I have heard the story of The First Minnesota at LEAST ONE HUNDRED TIMES in the course of my marriage and now I GET TO TELL THE REST OF YOU. 

So. It’s not just ANY Confederate flag. It is the Confederate flag that the First Minnesota captured on July 3rd, 1863. The First Minnesota prevented the Union line from crumbling by keeping the Federalists from being pushed off of Cemetery Ridge on July 2nd, and on July 2nd, the First Minnesota sustained 82% casualties.

EIGHTY-TWO PERCENT CASUALTIES. They started out as 262 men and ended as 47. But they held the line. They held. The. Line. Then on July 3rd they were placed in one of the few places where the line was breached, and they thus had to charge in again and retake the line breaches, and they did

It was during one of these charges – remember, they’d already lost eighty-two percent of their friends – that Private Marshall Sherman of Company C captured the flag. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for this.

The survivors of the First Minnesota at Gettysburg served through the rest of the war. 

Now, Virginians have asked for it back repeatedly, saying ‘it’s our heritage.’ But the response from the Minnesota Historical Society has basically been, as @dadhoc has summed it up, “to us, this is the legacy of 215 men who were killed or wounded in the preservation of the Union. What, exactly, is its legacy to you?”

No one’s been able to give an answer that isn’t ‘it’s our legacy of trying to destroy the US over slavery,’ because there isn’t one

Fuck Virginia wanting that flag back, it belongs in Minnesota. 

As someone who grew up in Gettysburg, I feel like I missed out on not knowing this story and now I need to pay my respects to these men next time I visit my mom. This is entirely amazing and I love it.

@dadhoc yells about this piece of their state’s history ALL THE TIME. It’s one of those pieces of history that should be talked about more because the fact that the First Minnesota held the line on the 2nd where they did is one of those “for want of a nail” moments, where if that specific spot in the line had broken, Gettysburg, and thus the war, would have gone VERY differently.

The flag was on display for a long time and IIRC it only isn’t now because of its condition. HOWEVER if any of my followers who live in MN want to go see the actual flag of the First Minnesota, IIRC it’s in the State House rotunda. (I told you, @dadhoc talks about this A LOT.)

Okay but this image from the Reddit thread linked above:

I’m. Screaming.

@dadhoc needs one of these shirts IMMEDIATELY

This thing makes truly happy!



Armor during the American Civil War

While armor was relatively during the American Civil War, it was still something that some soldiers on both side used. While neither the Union of Confederate Army ever issued armor to their soldiers, some soldiers bought body armor from private firms or even individual blacksmiths with their own money. Often, armor salesman would travel from army camp to army camp, hawking various pieces of body armor, many of very dubious quality. The two most common legitimate armorers during the Civil War were G&D Cook Company and the Atwater Armor Company, both located in New Haven, Connecticut. Before the Civil War both companies advertised their products to guards, police, and other law enforcement officials. With the Civil War they hit paydirt, with Atwater Armor Company manufacturing 200 sets of armor at the height of the war.  The armor made by G&D Cook (pictured above right) consisted of two plates, with a cavalry and infantry model, while the Atwater Company set (above left) featured four plates. Both manufacturers lined their armor with blue cloth and gold buttons to match the standard Union Army uniform. Confederate armor is rare due to the shortages of iron and steel in the south during the war. 

(note: the Atwater armor shown above was worn by Capt. William G. LeDuc of Hastings, Minnesota and is currently housed with the Minnesota Historical Society)

In the first few years of the war the use of body armor was somewhat popular. However, as the war progressed use of body armor became less and less common. This was for three reasons. First, fine quality plate armor, such as the armor made for a wealthy knight or nobleman in the Late Middle Ages or Renaissance, is always made to specifically fit the wearer. Properly fitting armor will feel light (much lighter than it actually weighs), flexible, and do little to hinder movement. To see what a person can do in properly fitting plate armor, see the video below.

The armor made during the American Civil War was not individually fitted, often only being made in three or four sizes. Even though the weight of Civil War armors was only around 3-6lbs, improperly fitted armor can feel much heavier than it’s actual weight and be extremely uncomfortable. Thus many sets of armor were ditched shortly after soldiers went on the march. Second, during the Civil War, many saw wearing armor as a mark of cowardice. The third reason for declining use was due to how well it protected the wearer. Which brings up a good question: how well did this armor actually protect the wearer?

The outbreak of gunpowder warfare started an arms race between the gunmaker and the armorer, with the gunmaker inventing new firearms technology that could penetrate armor, and the armorer in turn inventing better armor which could stop a bullet. The race was pretty even up until the beginning of the 18th century. However, during the Napoleonic Wars armorers could make armor which could stop a musket ball (ahem, sometimes). Such breastplates were heavy and were extremely expensive, and thus only reserved for elite cavalry units such as cuirassiers, but it could be done. 

With the invention of the minie ball and the rifled musket in the mid 19th century, the arms race between armorer and gunmaker became a runaway race in favor of the gunmaker, and the only armor that could effectively stop a bullet was so heavy that it was impractical. Older smoothbore muskets had low muzzle velocity and limited range. Mid 19th century rifled muskets firing conical shaped minie balls had substantially greater velocity with greater range and accuracy.  So with this in mind I return to my original question. Of course, the armor was effective in melee combat against saber strikes and bayonets. When testing their armor, most manufacturers proofed their armor to stop pistol shots at close range, but rifle shots at around 200 – 300 yards. The advertisement above advertises “pistol shots at 10 paces, and rifle shots at 40 rods (220 yards or 201 meters). Typically battle lines opened fire at ranges around 100 yards. So in other words, in typical Civil War combat ranges, most armorers would not claim that their armor was effective. 

In 1862 a New Jersey officer named Col. F. Johnson purchased a number of popular armors and tested them against rifled muskets. In a letter to his wife he remarked,

“ …a common musket put a ball clear through it at 50 yards, through yes, and carried some four or five inches of the stuff with it.“

Sometimes the armor could be effective. One example is from Capt. Jesse H. Jones of Company I, 60th New York Infantry, whose body armor stopped a bullet on July 2nd, 1863 during the Battle of Gettysburg. But then again there is the account of Gen. Joshua Chamberlain from his wartime memoirs The Passing of Armies (Chapt. 7), who remarked that such armor was only good for identifying the skeletal remains from a battle fought at the beginning of the war,

“In the morning the men got to looking around among the bodies and relics, and by initials cut into the breast-plates or other marks or tokens identified the remnants of bodies of comrades long left among the missing.”


Minnesota Historical Society

Knights in binding armor: to a Civil War soldier, a bulletproof vest could be a lifesaver–or just one more impediment. America’s Civil War, v.23, no.1, 2010 March, p.56(4) (ISSN: 1046-2899).

Smithsonian: National Museum of American History Article,