NHF Historian Wins LEGO Shipbuilding Contest with 5 Foot Long Fletcher Class Destroyer

This past Saturday, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum (HRNM) held their second annual “Brick by Brick: LEGO Shipbuilding” contest. The event brought together those who love naval history, and those who love the iconic children’s construction blocks. The day-long event encouraged builders of all ages to bring in LEGO ships they had created at home, to enter into a contest. Over 100 creations were entered, and nearly 1,500 people visited the Museum for the event. We’re happy to announce that one of our own was judged the grand prize winner for the day. Naval Historical Foundation Digital Historian Dave Colamaria built a five foot long replica of a Fletcher class destroyer, and was selected by representatives of HRNM and the Hampton Roads LEGO User Group as the overall winner.

(read more about the design process here)

Saving Historic Ships: NHF Historian Pens Article in Current Issue of Proceedings


The February Naval Institute Proceedings features an article by Naval Historical Foundation Historian Dr. David F. Winkler who looks at Historic Ships as an underutilized asset for the Navy in telling the Navy’s heritage story.

(read more here)

Image: USS Olympia, 1902. NH 42514

On 19 January 1840 an expedition led by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, USN became the  first Americans to discover the Antarctic coast. This engraving by Jorban & Halpin is after a sketch by Wilkes himself, showing the men and dogs of the expedition ashore, with USS Vincennes in the background. NHHC image NH 51495.

Call for Papers: Historic Naval Ships Association 2013
The Historic Naval Ships Association 2013 Annual Conference will be held in Camden, NJ/Philadelphia. The Battleship New Jersey and Independence Seaport Museum will be co-hosting.
(information for those interested in submitting a paper or panel idea)

Call for Papers: Historic Naval Ships Association 2013


The Historic Naval Ships Association 2013 Annual Conference will be held in Camden, NJ/Philadelphia. The Battleship New Jersey and Independence Seaport Museum will be co-hosting.

(information for those interested in submitting a paper or panel idea)

On 12 November 1942 three days of fighting began, in what came to be known as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The battle began with Japanese air attacks on American ships which had just landed reinforcements, including units from the US Army’s Americal Division (learn more here). Over the course of the next three days, the battle would evolve into a monumental engagement between battleships, cruisers, and destroyers in the narrow confines of Iron Bottom Sound.

In this photo, USS President Jackson (AP 37) maneuvers while under Japanese air attack off Guadalcanal on 12 November. In the center background is smoke from an enemy plane that had just crashed into the after superstructure of USS San Francisco (CA 38), which is steaming away in the right center. National Archives image 80-G-32366.

BOOK REVIEW: Steam Coffin – Captain Moses Rogers and the Steamship Savannah Break the Barrier

By John Laurence Busch, Hodos Historia, (2010), 726 pp.

Reviewed by Mark Lardas

On Thursday June 17, 1819 lookouts at the Cape Clear Island semaphore station sent a report to the Royal Navy base at Cork, Ireland that a ship was afire off Cape Clear. A revenue cutter sent to investigate discovered not a vessel in distress, but the steamship Savannah completing the first steam-assisted crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

Most with even casual interest in maritime history have heard of Savannah. When pressed, many can add that they heard the ship completed only one voyage, that it was an economic failure, and that it was converted back to a sailing vessel upon its return to the United States.

(read the full review)

BOOK REVIEW: The Role the USS Casablanca (CVE-55) Played in World War II in the Pacific

By Dr. Barbara G. Jones. 2010, The Edwin Mellen Press, Box 450, Lewiston, NY., 515pp.

Reviewed by Charles H. Bogart

Dr. Barbara Jones has penned a well-written and interesting history of the escort carrier USS Casablanca (CVE 55). The story is told using official records, personal reminiscences, and secondary sources. The author divides her account into four periods: an account of how the United States got into the war, the development of the escort carrier concept, a description of the Casablanca enlivened by accounts of the day-to-day routine on board, and her war time service.

(read the full review)

USS Sterett Flag From World War II Finds Its Way Home

We were contacted last month by the Commanding Officer of the destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) about an historic artifact that once belonged to the Naval Historical Foundation. Commander Stewart L. Bateshansky, USN, recently assumed command of the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, homeported in San Diego. He was shown a tattered 5 foot by 3 foot 48-star American flag, and informed that it had been flown by USS Sterett (DD 407) during the 1942 Guadalcanal campaign. On the packaging for the flag, he noted that the item was marked as once being in the possession of the Naval Historical Foundation.

(read the full story)

On 24 September 1960, the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) was launched at Newport News, VA. This image shows Enterprise underway in March 2012.

(watch “The Nuclear Navy,” which tells the story)

BOOK REVIEW: The Shenandoah Affair

By Paul Williams, Fantascope Pty. Ltd., Australia (2012)
Reviewed by Diana L. Ahmad, Ph.D.  Missouri University of Science and Technology

In the 2012 edition of The Shenandoah Affair, author Paul Williams provides lay historians with an expanded edition of his 1992 historical novel about the adventures of CSS Shenandoah in Australia. There are basically two themes to the work. The first considers the debate about whether or not Australia should provide aid to Shenandoah in matters of repairs to the vessel and in recruiting crew members that might constitute violations of neutrality laws. This section describes the machinations of the American Consul who tried to get the Australian authorities to declare the Confederate vessel a pirate ship and have it seized. Newspapers in Australia covered the ship’s arrival and took either a pro-CSA or pro-USA position. Like the newspapers, some Australians supported the CSA, while others the USA. The second focus of the novel features the illicit romance between the commanding officer of Shenandoah, Lieutenant-Commanding James Waddell, and the wife of Captain William Nichols, Lillias Nichols. Captain and Mrs. Nichols came from multiple generational Maine shipping families. The two lovers meet when Waddell ordered the Nichols’ Yankee trading vessel, Delphine, sunk. Waddell took Delphine’s crew and passengers, as well as cargo, on board Shenandoah. In a short time, Waddell and Lillias found themselves in a love affair that began aboard ship and continued while Shenandoah was repaired near Melbourne.

(read the full review)