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Just One League Under the Sea by Gary D. Crawford

No war is more fraught with strange coincidences and tangled destinies than our War Between the States. In Maryland, sympathies with the South cut across political party lines, severed business interests, split church organizations and divided families. Although effectively locked down by Union forces for the duration, the Eastern Shore was no exception. One such twisted story was that of Franklin Buchanan. Baltimoreborn, he became a U.S. Navy midshipman at age 14. His career in the Mexican War and the Far East was distinguished, and when the Naval Academy was founded in 1845, Capt. Buchanan became its first superintendent. By age 60, Buchanan had command of the Washington Navy Yard. Then the nation came apart. Just before Christmas in 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union, and by February 1, five other states had followed suit. In April, the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina; Virginia seceded five days later. Then Buchanan made a fateful miscalculation. Believing that Maryland would be next to secede, he resigned his commission. When

Maryland stood with the Union, Buchanan tried to withdraw his resignation, but the Secretary of the Navy refused to meet with him and struck him off the rolls. Finding it impossible to stay neutral, Buchanan soon offered his services to the Confederacy. He was well received there and within months was given command of a frightening new warship, the CSS Virginia. Built on the hull of the USS Merrimack, the Virginia was the world’s first operational ironclad. At the Battle of Hampton Roads


Capt., Franklin Buchanan, USN

February 2012 Tidewater Times  

Tidewater Times February 2012

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