tv Washington Navy Yard Walking Tour CSPAN June 3, 2017 10:30am-11:51am EDT
enabling human capital and social networks. a lot of what people panicked about then was what we are going to be experiencing for work speed -- at work speed for forevermore. 40-year-olds, 50-year-old, six-year-old schedules and not just out of their jobs, but whole industries. no civilization has ever done that. >> each week, american history tv's american artifacts visits use them archives, and historic , -- museums archives, and , historic places. located about two miles southeast of the u.s. capitol building on the anacostia river, the washington navy yard was established in 1799. up next, a walking tour through the historic navy yard organized by the national museum of the united the navy. -- states navy. this program is about 75 minutes. >> welcome to the washington navy yard.
i'm the director of education here at the national museum of the u.s. navy, and this tour will take us throughout the history of the washington navy yard, which is a very extensive one. the art itself has seen a lot of -- yard itself has seen a lot of different historical events. some happy, some sad some every , day events. the yard itself has changed dramatically over the many years. it was first founded in 1798 and it was around that time that the united states realized we needed a standing military force. it was after the american revolution that all the military was basically disbanded because of the sentiments from before the american revolution, who had a standing army at that time that was stationed in the united states. the british, with that idea still fresh in their mind, they realize they didn't want a standing military.
we started having problems overseas. american merchant ships were being attacked in the mediterranean. we realized we needed that standing military. and more importantly, we needed a navy to protect american interests all over the globe. congress basically said that yes, we need a navy. they passed the resolution founding the united states navy and commissioned different different naval yards to build numerous amounts of forgets for frigates-- forget -- for the navy, one of which is still with the navy today. is anyone know the name of that ship? the constitution there's a point , for you. there will be a quiz later on. just be ready for that. we realize that not only did we
frigates built and ships being built, but we needed a navy yard to actually build those ships. congress wanted a navy yard that was very close to them though they could keep an eye on what the navy was doing. where a better place to do that than right along the anacostia river, right down the street from the u.s. capitol so they basically could keep an eye on what was going on here? again that suspicion of the , military for the federal government at that time, that's why this area was chosen. the very first commandant of the navy yard, who was tasked with building the yard was a man by the name of thomas tingy. he has a very long history with this navy yard. he builds it, destroys it, then builds it again. but we are getting a little bit ahead of ourselves with that story. but again, this is really part of the original portion of the navy yard. the very first portion of the navy yard.
we are going to head out to our second stop, which is just up the hill over there. there it is -- there's a small looking shack that is a nice looking shack when you get up close to it, but it has a long history behind it. so, feel free to get under the porch. take a second and check it out. it's pretty unassuming right,? -- unassuming, right? just a single room, nothing too fancy. tingey, thehomas first commandant of the washington navy yard. he is in charge of building the facilities here. there are a few buildings that are on the property that are actually still around today, but what he's tasked with building is not only the shipbuilding facilities, which down the hill in that direction over there, you see how the hill slopes down.
that was the first boat ramp area that they would build ships on and then launch them out. but they also have massive wood lots he was in charge of surrounding the navy yard, so cutting down all the lumber. he had sawmills and everything here as well, but he was also in charge of holding all the housing as well for yard workers, and the officers who would stay here in the yard itself. and also in charge of building the gates that's behind us. that is latrobe gate, built i -- by the famed architect benjamin latrobe. this is name sound familiar at all? how many of you have been to the u.s. capitol? he designed a capital. there is that familiarity. it was actually thomas jefferson who worked with him to get latrobe down here to design not only the gate that's there, but also the house that's right next to it, that is the house of the
commandant of the navy yard. so they designed the facilities that are up there. they also designed all the other surrounding facilities. 1798, the yard starts picking up, there's more and more activity happening here. just a few years later, let's say 1814, what's happening in the u.s. around that time? >> the war of 1812 ? >> the war of 1812 is happening. 1813 is when the british started reading this area. tingey is still commandant of the yard and there is a commodore by the name of joshua barney was put in charge of the of washington dc. there's actually militia that maryland and virginia militia that are brought to washington to help protect the capital, but you also have yard workers, sailors, and marines who are
basically drafted into the effort to help defend washington. by the way, latrobe gate, just oh, out of the gate and of the -- up the street, guess what's up there? the barracks. what barracks? the marine barracks. the whole reason why the marines are there is because of the washington navy yard. this gate is the oldest u.s. marine guard post in the world. that's the reason why the marines are at the barracks because of that guard post right , there. we will get back to that in just a second. back to the war of 1812, the british are making their way onto the city. the militia is sent out first to a place called bladensburg.
it's at bladensburg that the militia are routed by the british, they are sent packing, and the sailors and marines are sent over the navy yard ridge, today's 11 street ridge. -- bridge, today's 11 street bridge. they are there to defend the bridge. they were never told that the militia turned and fled. so they are there by themselves, and the entire british forts -- force comes up. wounded, theney is use of all the ammunition that they have, and they flee because there is nothing else for them to do. barney is captured and surrenders to the british. we actually have the sword he surrendered to the british in the museum, so if you wanted to check that out later you definitely can. are noause there defenses left, they start making their way onto the city. the navy yard here. -- tingy is in charge, and
we were told if the british make their way into the city, burn the navy yard. we do not want them using the supplies. so he does. but he evacuates some things first. when john adams really put forth the effort to form the united states navy, he founded the united states navy library. ands basically books tactical manuals from all around the world. he wanted the officers to read these books and learn from the best around the world. tingyevacuated -- evacuated the navy yard library, and here is question for you -- i will be asking a lot of questions as well. be prepared. library is older?
the library of congress or the library of the navy? the navy library. they did not evacuate the library of congress when it was burned by the british. we have that over the library of congress. he actually -- the book ramp that is there, he makes his way down the boat ramp. there is a rowboat with some of the yard workers waiting for him after they took a torch to the yard and make their way down to the anacostia to alexandria, and a hideout out a few days there until the british leave the city. he did not torch all of the buildings, though. this includes the commandant's house and the other houses that you see across the way over there. those houses were untouched. it was really no wall surrounding navy yard, and all the locals saw that the navy had basically left the area, so they came in to all of the houses and took everything that was not nailed down. ,hen the common door came back
he came back to a gutted navy yard, and had to work on rebuilding the facility that was here. as he is doing that, he puts them in a proposal to congress, saying that i want to build a wall around the navy yard, and i wanted to be about 10 feet high. that is the first wall that surrounds the navy yard. when you walk around the perimeter of the navy yard, you see the white painted brick wall, that is a portrait of the original wall. that is what tinge he had built. and back to this facility right here, this facility is actually the original marine guard house, so the marine watch spot for the navy yard. it originally was up over there. when visitors would common --, in through the great -- come in through the gate, they would
walk right into the navy yard. this is the first original guard post for the navy yard. this has seen a lot of famous it when itrs would people passy was the official marine watch spot, including presidents franklin pierce and president abraham lincoln, including on his last day of life when he comes to the navy yard to visit the facilities here and meet with some people. we will talk about that further in the tour. this building was actually brought to the indianhead facility for a while because they were lacking buildings, and they needed it to serve as a telephone switchboard operator house, served as a mailroom, and a guard post. about there in use until 1936 when it was abandoned at , indianhead, and it wasn't
until the 1990's that somebody tracked it down. it wasn't until a few years ago that they picked it up and brought it back here and refurbished it into what you see today. so all right. as we start making our way back down the pathway, we will be crossing the street and talking about what is over there. as we do, you notice there are cannons that line the drive here. these are all cannons that were captured during different wars the firstd from barbary war up until the civil war. one of the cannons was actually captured twice, and i will show that to you as we get down the road here. it is actually the very last canon in this line. so this little done here, and you can share it with your friends later on if you ever
take anybody else walking by this, but this gun was actually captured during the first theary war, and not from navy yard but down to the northwood naval yard, it was put on display there. during the civil war, nor folk falls to the confederates. they take over the shipyard there, and they find the canon and say hey, free canon. they place it onto one of their gunboats. that gunboat was captured by a union navy ship, and was brought here to the navy yard. this is the canon that was captured twice, and now it is here on display at the washington navy yard. >> do they know they got it twice? as basicallycribed .ust tracking it as you can see on the top it has a trophy marking. whenever they would capture guns, they would market with a trophy number. so yeah there's a little bit of
that peoplehistory just walk by every day and do not realize. we are going to cross the street, so we will go behind this pickup here and stick to the sidewalk. so the part that you see behind this anchor here, is named for a -- park that you see behind this anchor here, is named for a rear admiral who is the commandant of the yard 1905 to 1910, and was the son of one who painted the -- emanuel lutz, who painted the famous crossing of the delaware. everyone has seen that painting, where it is washington crossing the delaware with all the ice flow and everything. this park is basically what we call the quarter deck of the navy. it is the ceremonial parade ground for the navy yard and all of the navy. you will see a lot of ceremonies that happen here. sometimes they live stream them and everything.
there's a lot of his horrible -- historical pieces that surround this park but we will mostly talk about this one right here. as you can he, the anchor from the uss enterprise, which is one of three aircraft carriers that was actually built before world war ii and survived the entire war. she was the most decorated aircraft carrier -- the most decorated naval ship from world , and saw a great length of service. the anchor is here, her bell is at the naval academy that they , ring during navy football games, and her builder's plaque is in the museum. if you have a chance to pop in, .ou can check that out there is one point in the south pacific where she was the only aircraft carrier left in the pacific, because we lost the lexington, the hornet, the wasp,
and the yorktown, and she was it. you who know your world war ii history, the pacific was really a carrier war. carriers, the people who had the most would be the victors. at one point after losing the hornet and wasp and she was the only one left, somebody on her light deck on a banner that said enterprise versus japan. that was really what it was at that point in time. there is a lot of history surrounding this anchor, even though it is a big hunk of metal just think of what this piece , witnessed here. some other things that surround the park here, some of the other housing. first off you can see the latrobe gate but also the tingey house, the commandant's house, which is right across the parade deck over there.
and a little funny anecdote about that. when tingey died, he for some reason left the house in his will to his children because he loved the house so much and thought that he really earned the house, which i'm not sure if you can will government property to your children, but he tried to, and of course the federal government didn't really honor those wishes. some other things that surround this area the buildings that you , see really on either side of you, when ships came to the navy yard to get re-outfitted or to get repaired, the crews could not stay aboard the ship as they were being worked on. so they are placed in housing surrounding the field here. the enlisted actually stayed in this building located behind you, officers stayed in the surrounding buildings over here. and another building that i like to point out to people, if you
take a look up there it's kind , of the oddly shaped building with the large bay windows at the top. that is the optical building, before radar. they used rangefinders above -- a board ships to get the range of other ships when they were firing their big guns towards those ships to calibrate those guns. they actually did the calibrations up there. the big bay windows would slide open, and they would have the rangefinders set up on the upper deck there, and they used certain points around washington, d.c. to calibrate the rangefinders. there were certain points that really don't move. first off, they use the u.s. capitol. second was the washington monument, and third was the masonic temple in alexandria. so those were used as the fixed points, so you have those calibrated.
today, i believe it is a big conference room up there? that was built in the early 1900's, so 1903. i'm sorry, 1918 through 1919 is when they were calibrating the rangefinders up there. but it was probably built 1915, 1916 before they started calibrating everything up there. anyone else? all right. so, again, just a lot of history surrounding this area. oh, how many of you have been to the marine corps museum? i see some hands raised. originally the marine corps museum was located in that building right there. they realized they needed a bigger facility, and they moved it to quantico. so as that museum was being built, they shut down this one and moved everything down there. got everything else out of storage. today across the street, the naval history and heritage
command is based out of that building right across the way. so the navy museum falls under the naval history and heritage commission. -- command. if we do not have any other questions, we will head to our next stop, which is a bit of a hike but i promise you there is some good stuff there. all right. let's head on up. we're going to go through this holding here and just out the other side to the william iii. today it is a coffee shop but it , has a different history and -- than just coffee. let's head on through. 1822, commodore john rogers designs and builds the
first marine build railway. now, a lot of people get different ideas when they think of marine whale ray -- railway it's basically a winch with -- railway. it's basically a winch with tracks with a palette, where the ship comes up and on top of the palette, i get sucked into the palette -- and gets hooked into the palette and is pulled up and out of the water so they can work on the hull, and winches back down into the water. so this railway was actually --, oh god. the first one was built here in 1822. the one you see today here was built in the 1880's, 1890's. -- william iii,
as you can see, and espresso bar or coffee shop, it really was the wench house for the marine railway. as you can see, out over there, you can see the tracks for it and everything too, the chef -- ships would be winched up and out of the water for. they were able to save the machinery there for the nice glass windows so everybody could put it out. but you will find remnants of the history of the navy yard like this throughout the yard itself. you will see other items like this as we go through the rest of the tour. but it is almost like a ghost of the past that is sitting there. for those of you who walk by this every day, now you know what it is exactly. so we are actually going to head inside the building, and take a left, and look at the models that are there. that will show you what the navy yard looked like at the very beginning and what it looked like in its heyday.
if you would follow me. so i always love you people in here because this really shows you what the navy yard look like -- looked like in the very beginning. if you look at this model here, this is what it looked like after the british -- after they had to burn the yard, and this is what it looked like as they started to rebuild it. as you can see by the outline you see with the white dashes, that is what the navy yard is kind of like today, or when it was in its heyday, but you can see latrobe gate, tingey house, the farmhouse, the optical tower would be in this area here, the winch house area or marine railway where they first started lifting ships up and out of the water, and really this is what it was like when they were
getting to the true shipbuilding facilities. let's take a look at this model over here. this is what it looked like in the 1960's. and, as you can see, a lot of changes really happened. let's take a look at this model over here. they filled in a lot of the land and everything, but you can still see a lot of the remnants. you have latrobe gate right there, the tingey house. there's that optical tower i was talking about. and then where are we at today? in this building. we just passed through it, you see the winch house is in this area here. this is when the navy yard was actually not known as navy yard. during the 1890's, the navy yard's mission changes, which seems to happen throughout its history. it always changes. before the 1890's, there were foundries as the country making -- across the country making -- foruns were the navy,
the navy, but their procedure to look at how good the guns were, basically spot checking the guns to make sure they were made correctly, they had so many variations from all the different foundries. the navy was getting fed up, so they thought maybe we should make our own guns. we need a facility where we can make our own guns. it's in the 1890's to about 1960 where the washington navy yard becomes known as a naval gun factory. this is where all the battleship guns are made, from 12 to 14 to 16 inch guns, 5 inch guns, 40 millimeter antiaircraft guns, all the guns for the navy that are mounted aboard a ship are made here. and so that way they can keep an eye on quality control that is
coming out of their factories. >> here at the gun factory, great factories and shops. a forge, warehouses and foundries. overhead runways. numerous supply yards, peers, iers, roads, rail lines as well as development and , testing laboratories. the naval gun factory is a prototype laboratory for new and improved -- or the navy of tomorrow. as a prototype laboratory, the first working models of new guns are built for test. there's a factory for new and improved weapons. the gun factory is not only ms -- a mass producer of hundred thatweapons, but weapons require extreme technical skill and know-how in many different engineering yields. >> it's in the 1960's we realize we don't need battleship units anymore because the mission is changing, so we start losing some of these buildings, giving them back to the cities.
we are more of a lid just takes sticszti sticks -- facility now. that's when our mission changed. it becomes known as the washington navy yard again. we'll talk about the model basin which is today known as the old work gallery, and the history behind that place to. we are going to head out the door's right over there, and stop outside of the canada. the building you see behind you here, the taylor building, it was during the 1890's that a lot of missions were changing within the navy. how many of you have heard of the uss maine? it was blown up and have on a harbor. -- in havana harbor. do any of you know who designed the maine? it was a british design. we bought the rights to the design of that ship. well, it was during that time that we started realizing it didn't make sense to buy rights for designs from other countries
. we did pretty well at designing our own ships before, so why not continue doing that? so facilities were built here in the navy yard to help again with ship and hull design. this was one of those first buildings. building, or the , and iship model basin have a small photo to show you what it looked like on the inside. it was a very long basin, a tub, basically with tracks on either , side and an arm that goes across it and they would design holds -- hulls on small models, hook them up to the bar that goes across, and dragged them through the basin. it worked. it worked really well for a good amount of time, but let's take a
look at my navy yard history map here. this is the taylor model basin. as you can see in this area here, what is it built on top of? this is the original shoreline. reclaimed land. so they filled in the anacostia river. that fill over time, the train tracks on either side of basin were so heavy, and the water was so heavy in that recent that -- in that basin that whenever they would drag the ship model through, the tracks would shift the weight because of how it was not on solid bedrock. throwing off all their regulations, they realized they needed a new facility. later the abandoned this building and moved to a new facility in carter rock, maryland. this is where they are still at
today. >> the taylor model basin, situated 12 miles northwest of washington, is the largest and most complete model basin in the world. thomas: this is the father of that facility right here. today, it's our cold war gallery, but also the offices of the underwater archaeology ranch of the naval history and heritage command, which those of you who don't know, the navy is in charge of their downed aircraft and shipwrecks around the world and they are the ones who go on survey those sites and dive on them and if people bring up artifacts illegally, go and get them, with other groups too. this is their headquarters building, right there. again, there is that vestiges of the past, the past is all around and us reminding us of where the navy came and where we are at where the navy came from and
where we are at today. let's check out one of the oldest things here in the navy yard and we will cross the street and look at this white building right here. [inaudible] thomas: this is building number one, it is the commandant's office for the navy yard, built-in 1838. this building has seen a lot of history. it's building number one because it was one of the first buildings built here at the navy yard. you look at the model that's in there of the navy yard when tingey was basically still , don't, you -- still the commandant, you can see how on that model and everything. if you notice, if you start looking at the building numbers around the yard, a don't really match up. they are haphazardly numbered
over the place. they are numbered in the timeline they were built. that commandant's name, we will talk about him in a bit. at the time of the civil war, he was leading some officers of a new york regiment live in the house, so he came down and lived in his office is here. name wasandant's dolgrin. we will talk about him in a bit. abraham lincoln would come and visit him at his offices or quarters. they would sit on the back porch and smoke cigars and drink and do other things we will talk about, mostly what they called champagne experiments. why don't we head to the back of this building, and talk about
the canons there and those champagne experiments? there's a story that goes with all these guns that i'm about to tell you. this gun right here is what they call a peacemaker. not the revolver. this one was actually developed by commodore robert stockton, u.s. navy, and a swedish engineer by the name of john erickson. the name may sound familiar for those of you who know your civil war history. we will get into that in a little bit. this gun was actually made in 1840's, years before the american civil war. it was supposed to be a revolutionary gun, and it was supposed to go on a special whichalled uss princeton, had more revolutionary designs on it, and a special type of screw propeller, a special type of engine, and it had this new special gun.
it was made here at the navy yard, and the two work together to build the ship and the gun and get it ready for service. and to showcase what was being done with this gun and the ship. erickson and stockton invited presidenty 28, 1844, john tyler and 500 government officials and dignitaries to go on to the princeton and basically take some cruises up and down the potomac and anacostia, firing this canon off. there were two that were made. there was the original peacemaker, and this one. there's a reason why this one is still in existence and the original is not. after a couple firings, including by the president who fired the cannon and everything, the president actually went below deck with his female
companion, a miss julia gardner -- do not worry, he was single at the time so it was all in the up and up, the firings continued, and one of those firings, the cannon exploded, killing several people, including the secretary of state, the secretary of the navy and four others, including ms. gardner's father. it is not a good day for the president. he was luckily below deck. stockton was cleared of all wrongdoing, and all the blame went on to his partner, fed upon, who got se with the navy and said, i will never work with them again, i and went up to new york. this gun was never fired again, the other one was trashed to who knows where. there was also somebody here at
the navy yard who was aboard the ship and it was the commandant of the navy yard who was observing everything. his name was franklin buchanan. he was the commandant of the navy yard up until the civil war. again, there's a tie between all of these guns. let's flash forward to the civil war. franklin buchanan, a marylander, when states start seceding from the union, he believes that maryland is going to secede from the union. so, he turns in his commission, gets out of the navy, and says i'm going with maryland when they secede. the president at the time, abraham lincoln, says maryland is not going to secede from the union. to keep that from happening, he incarcerates all the politicians, turns off the guns at fort mchenry into the city, and has fortifications built on rural hill in baltimore with the guns pointed on the city. maryland does not secede from the union.
buchanan realizes that they're not going to succeed from the union and goes back to the secretary of the navy and says, i was just kidding. i would like my commission back. the secretary of the navy says, no. [laughter] you want to go south, go south. he does that, and he joins the confederate navy. that opens up the position here for the commandant of the yard, for dahlgren, john dahlgren. he is what we call the father of naval ordinance. you make some of the best cannons in the navy at that time, and does a lot of experiments we will talk about in a few minutes. buchanan goes south. it's when he's in the south, that he is down that norfolk and finds there is this new ship built called the virginia. the virginia is what we call one of the first ironclads.
it was originally designed to ram other ships to sink them. it was a very armored ship. it was made from the wreckage of the uss merrimack, which was in norfolk to get our engine -- to get her engine repaired. the yard workers torched her. the confederates raised her up with her engine and are made her -- and armored her. what they didn't realize is the engine needed to be repaired. she can only do 2 or 3 knots. she was a very slow and in lumbering ship. spies for the union here that -- hear that this ship is being built. the realize they need an armored ship, and they need someone to design it, and they hear this eccentric guy in new york city is designing this ship called the monitor. and his name, the designer who swears he will never work with
the navy again, erickson. erickson is designing a ship called the monitor. it takes several people, including the president, to convince him to work with the navy again. the they get it built in time. area towed to the norfolk on the james river when virginia sets sail. the first day it goes down, sinks two union ships and grounds another one before the tide falls low enough that they have to go back upriver to norfolk. the next day they come back down when the tide is high enough, and they want to go and finish off that other union ship. when what should appear? a small,or, which is ironclad ship with a revolving turret. it's very maneuverable, and those guns could fire wherever they needed to go. you didn't have to turn the entire ship to fire those cannons. that day, the fight ends in a draw. the very first battle of the ironclad.
when that battle ends, other countries around the world hear about this battle and stop production of all their wooden ships because they realize that they have been really left behind by the united states and their shipbuilding capabilities. there is your tie in to the monitor and buchanan. buchanan is actually the skipper or the captain of the virginia for the first day of battle. he's wounded in the leg by a union sharpshooter from the shore. he did something really stupid. he went on deck and started shooting at people on shore. they shot back and hit him in the leg. he wasn't in command of the virginia during the second day of the battle. what happens to the virginia? she goes back up the river. union forces make their way up the peninsula and are about to take up the way when the
confederates blow her up. buchanan is out of a job. what happens to the monitor? she is brought back to the navy yard. coal andl her up with al they are telling her to what i believe is south carolina when she gets caught in the storm, cap sizes and sinks. her wreck was later recovered and parts of her are on this display in norfolk. if you ask us later on, we might bring it out for you. buchanan is out of a job. he goes down south again and there is another ironclad being built called the tennessee. these guns are from the tennessee. the tennessee takes part in the battle of mobile bay, going up against the admiral by the name circuit --
you will hear just a little bit about him. he was important during the civil war. when the tennessee was eventually captured -- there is your tie in between the peacemaker, the tennessee, the commandant of the yard by the name of buchanan, and an eccentric swedish engineer by the name of erickson. there's your very long story that ties all of this together. any questions so far? [inaudible] thomas: the champagne experiments. thank you for bringing that up. the champagne experiments, it hlgren, the dalhgren commandant of the yard here. he would experiment with canon. you will see some of the test
and it little bit of what he was shooting at you if his guns would breakthrough some of the steel from ironclad. president lincoln was an ordinance nut. he loved cannons that he loved firearms. it was a newly designed rifle that basically he was shooting at a log pile to see how this gun would work, so he was an ordinance nut, so we knew the dahlgren was experimenting with canon, so they would come down here, smoke cigars, drink champagne and fire cannons into the anacostia. dahlgren was also asked limiting -- experimenting with rockets and one of those experiments, they were firing the rockets and lincoln wanted to set off one of the rockets. dahlgren said, here you go and here's how you do it. lincoln goes up with the secretary of state, seward. they are standing right by it, they set it up and it explodes
on the path. in dahlgren's own words, i thought i killed the president because he disappeared into a cloud of smoke and fire. along with the secretary of state. a few seconds later, who should come out of the smoke coughing and laughing, lincoln and seward. lincoln said something to the extent of, well, i guess i that didn't work, let's load up another. it was something that happened right in this area here. all this history happens here in the washington navy yard. it is on lincoln's last day of life that he comes to the navy yard and visits dahlgren in the offices, but he also visits a ship that's actually at our next step that -- stop that we will talk about. there's your answer for the champagne experiments. we are going to cross the street, and if you will follow me -- >> when was the first design
that could penetrate an ironclad hull? thomas: during the civil war. in fact, we have some of those test plates you will see today. so, this area here, we not only talk about the building i work at, but also what happens in this area you are standing in. it's the national museum of the united states navy. it is my museum, where i am the director of education. and, when it was the naval gun factory, it was the breech mechanism factory for the yard. the breech mechanism was basically for breech loading cannons, so back in the canon. you load your cannon in with the powder and you close the breach and lock it down. it's the gun you're able to close. the gun barrels would be brought in through the front door, a
breech mechanism would be attached to the back and they would exit out the back. there's also a small forge in there and an anchor shop, so a lot of stuff happened in that building. the next time you go inside, take a look at the cranes that are still over your heads when you go through the exhibit. what happens in this area here? during the time of the civil war, this area where you are standing, was actually part of the anacostia river. location --is again, lincoln visited building number one but it was in this location that there was an ironclad kite appear, a -- tied up here, a monitor-style ironclad. the montauk, one of the sailors aboard her was the son of a
friend of lincoln that lincoln wanted to visit. he came to see one of the sailors and tour the montauk. he invited those sailors to visit him at ford's theater that evening. some of those sailors did go to ford's theatre and witness the assassination of abraham lincoln. the montauk is also famous for other reasons, too. after the assassination, and during the time they are rounding up all the lincoln conspirators, the people who took part in conspiracy to assassinate lincoln, the conspirators are brought here to the navy yard and are imprisoned aboard uss montauk. and in fact, the photos that were taken of the conspirators, if you look, there's all that iron in the background, that's the turret of the uss montauk. photographer photographed them on the montauk. the only one who's not imprisoned here was mary surratt. for those of you familiar
lincoln history, she ran the boarding house, where all the conspirators met. montauk is also famous for when john wilkes booth, the assassins, was killed, his body was brought back here to the navy yard. it was autopsied on the montauk, which is one of the reasons why we believe the navy has one of booth's spurs. it's in the navy collection, and that's probably why. his body was brought back here to the navy yard. there is also happier history that happens here. it is out in the docks in that area, the ones that are not there anymore, it is charles lindbergh after he makes his trip across the atlantic, where he is brought back by a u.s. navy ship, who deposits him here at the navy yard right in that
area there, where the parking lot is today just on the other side of the fence. if you're ever walking along the river, that's where charles lindbergh comes back. there's a little bit of a solemn history, too. the very first body for the tomb of the unknown soldier, from world war i, is brought back here to the navy yard aboard the uss olympia. she was a ship from the spanish-american war. she was the flagship that battle of manila bay. she is still in service during world war i and she brings back the remains of the first soldier from the tomb of the unknown. they are brought here to the navy yard, brought out to latrobe gate, and then on to the white house and then on to arlington national cemetery. again, the monitor also comes back here. and, also, most people don't know this, the navy yard was kind of the ceremonial gateways
to the world for diplomats coming into the nation's capital. it is in the 1860's that the first diplomats and ambassadors from japan are actually brought here to the navy yard and then, onto their embassy they just established. their photo was actually taken here in the navy yard, which we have a photo of here, and the yard's commandant at that time is standing in the photo, and his name is franklin buchanan. this is just before the civil war touches off. it's a very famous photo of them. a lot of history happens here in this area. also, the u.s. navy's dive school was first in the anacostia river. which was probably a miserable place to train for diving.
the navy's for submarine, the uss holland, was tested for the first time out in the anacostia river. a lot of history happens in this one area. we also have a lot of historic items on display, just on the other side in willard park which is our next stop. is everyone ready to go see it? all right. let's go to go look. -- let's go take a look. the pressure sphere you see here is a titanium pressure sphere for submergence vehicles. it is still in use with the navy today and they static massachusetts. the name may sound familiar because it is the one that dr. robert ballard took of the -- to down to the titanic in 1986. she also really does a lot of
work for the navy. when the pressure spheres are used over a certain amount of time, you don't want to use them too much because each dive you do puts wear and tear on it. these are replaced over time, and so this one was used a lot by the navy and then it was retired and replaced. it was brought here. that's why it's on display. that titanium really protects them at great depth. the propeller blade you see behind you is thus their propeller blade from uss maine, which was sunk in havana harbor on february 15, 1898, during the time they believed it was a spanish mine that sank her. that's actually not the case. she was told by the secretary of the navy, the commander of the maine was told -- he sent the savannah harbor to help protect american interests in cuba at that time. the captain of the maine was
told to be fully stocked with coal and ready to go at a moments notice in case of any shots that are fired. well, they were loaded with a special coal that was known to burn very quickly and very hot, so the could get steam up very quickly for their engines, well, that coal was also known to self combust. so, liked on fire without warning. -- light on fire without warning. now, ship designs at that time too. they realize armor is very important, and you really need to protect your ship's magazines, the ammunition lockers, and they said, we need an extra buffer. i know what will work, the coal bunkers around the ammunition. filled with fuel that can self combust. and that's what happens. it's super heats the ammunition and boom. and, that's really actually what sinks the maine. it is not until studies that
were done until the 1980's, 1990's that that actually comes out to be the main cause. at that time they thought it was a spanish mine, and that gets us into the spanish-american war. on more interesting things around the yard here, we are actually going to walk over here. you will see some iron plates that are in this area, those are the test plates from dahlgren, from when he was testing his dahlgren gun. you can see that some of them have been punched through by his guns. if you look at shots like this here, most people say, that didn't do too much damage. actually, for a confederate ironclad, yes they have iron on them, but what's underneath that holding the iron in place? would sheeting -- wood sheeting.
a hit like that would cause the wood inside to explode and send shards and splinters throughout the gun decks and any open space in that area. hits like that are very devastating, along with hits where they do penetrate and go through. again, this is a piece of history that you can walk up and touch. these are the test plates that admiral dahlgren was firing at in the washington navy yard. it was also during the civil war that some of the residents around the navy yard were complaining about dahlgren because he was firing these canons too much. that is why the dahlgren facility across the river and down the river was created so he could get out of the basically presidential area of washington, d.c. with his cannons. gun,d us is a 16 inch which became the primary gun for the united states navy at the end of world war i and into world war ii.
it is a massive gun, as you can see, and the tracks it's on, the railroad car as you can see there, that's how they would transport these guns around the navy yard. so, the railroad tracks are again still underneath the pavement, too, but this is how they would bring the guns around the yard, until they were ready to be put on a ship. and you can see the diameter of the board here, just to see how wide the shell would be. if you want to see the height of a shell, we have some of the test rounds for the 16 inch gun. these were test rounds from the battleship new jersey. and again, they are test rounds because they don't have the tips on them and they are basically solid shot. they had all different types of
shots that would sometimes explode when they were hit, and it depended on the firing mission they were assigned. some other things we have here, let's head to that big hunk of steel you see over there. this armored plate here is actually from the shipyards, that built the japanese super battleship yamato. at the end of the war, the navy went to the shipbuilding silly went to the shipbuilding -- went to the shipbuilding and found this deal and found some of the yard workers who said, this is the thickest armor placed aboard battleship yamato. who here knows what sank yamato? bombers. basically navy torpedo planes and bombers. and, the navy wanted to see if our large 16 inch guns could penetrate this armor.
it did. as you can see. what they won't really tell you is that the muzzle of the 16 inch gun was a few inches away from the armor when the fired round through it. looking at the numbers that were done, they said even at a distance it might have actually penetrated because of the type of propellants they were using. the type of gun that the yamato had, they had some of the largest battleship guns in the world at that time, the 18 inch gun. the 18 inch gun fired those 18 inch shells that are located around the corner, and that will be our next stop you can check out and see and stand next to those shells. they may be bigger than some of you here. let's go around the corner over here. these are the 18 inch shells
to would have fired. i think they are a little bit bigger than you. -- round that they fired. i will also point out this right here. this is a u.s. navy railroad gun. it is a 14 inch battleship gun on a railroad car. during world war i, the allies had some pretty good artillery, but the germans had railroad artillery that could fire a greater distance than what the allies had. the allies had to ask the navy if we could basically develop a railroad gun that could fire a battleship type shell. well here at the navy yard, they , designed it. from the first design, from when it first fired in france, it was only 230 days. which is a very, very quick turnaround time.
the gun barrels were made in the yard, the trains themselves were made in philadelphia. they were made, brought in here, and assembled. they were brought to france. these were some of the guns that fired the last shots of world war i on november 11, 1918. the crews of these guns are u.s. navy personnel. they had five of these guns throughout france, and had a massive train attached to it that had bunk houses for the crews, cooking facilities, and munitions storage, construction material, also aircraft that would fly up and above and spot to tell the guns where the shells were landing, too. they were devastatingly effective. for the crews themselves, there was no uniform regulations for
the navy personnel on these guns. there are photos of them wearing their whites, there were dress blues -- not their dress blues, their navy blues. there are wearing army uniforms. as long as your rank was on your sleeve, you could wear whatever you wanted. i always joked with people at the museum that it was -- that they did whatever they wanted. as long as they got the mission done, they were good to go. this is the last one in existence, and it is on display here at the navy yard. we also have, as you can see, the screw that is right there is off of the u.s.s. south dakota. that is some of her thinnest and thickest armor right next to each other. we are actually going to walk past that on our way to our next stop. follow me.
so, the submarine sale that you see over there is off the uss vallejo. the lead ship and that class -- in that class is a submarine for world war ii. a lot of you are too young to know this movie called "operation petticoat." anyone hear of it? there are a few hands raised. basically -- it is a funny movie, it is a comedy, and it is all about submarine service in the philippines during the start of world war ii. there is a submarine that only has its base layer painted on, making the submarine look pink, which is part of a true story. it is before the fall of the philippines. during that movie, the vallejo was painted pink and was known as the pink submarine for the movie "operation petticoat."
when the vallejo was retired in the 1950's, sorry, the the sail 1960's, was cut off and moved here as a memorial for mariners in world war ii. and, the rest of her was sunk as a target off the coast of florida. that is why that sail is here at the navy yard. now, for those of you who may have seen the advertisement for this walking tour, there was a mention of the leg in the navy yard. our next stop, we will talk about that. it ties in with admiral dahlgren too. let's head on down here and check out a parking garage. all right. we are going to stand here. you do not have to stand in the sun if you don't want to, stick to the shade if you want.
so i will talk about this , parking garage. not just a parking garage, but what was here before the parking garage. we are standing at the side of what was in the dahlgren foundry. it is where admiral dahlgren was making his cannons. testing all of his guns, it was a hot place to work because they had the foundries going, pouring steel into the casts to make those cannons. we are not here to talk about admiral dahlgren, we are here to talk about his son, colonel dahlgren. he was serving in the union army at the time of the civil war through the battle of gettysburg and after the battle of gettysburg the union army is , chasing robert e. lee back down south. they clash in skirmishes outside the town of hagerstown, maryland. it is there that rick dahlgren loses his leg.
he gets shot in the leg, and due to the severity of the injury, they have to amputate it. for some reason, the leg is brought to the navy yard, is encased in a lead case, and is placed in the wall of the foundry with a plaque over it which reads, "within this wall is deposited the leg of colonel dahlgren, usv, wounded july 6, 1863, while skirmishing in the streets of hagerstown with the rebels after the battle of gettysburg." it is in the wall. ulrich dahlgren is killed later on in the civil war. he actually receives a prosthetic leg, joins the cavalry, because he can't be marching anymore, so he is on horseback, and takes part in a raid on richmond in 1864.
he was killed in the raid outside richmond near the county march, 1864n 2 during a raid to try and free union soldiers. there is a scandal that comes out because on his body, papers are found that basically detail a plan that dahlgren's main mission is to go into richmond and killed the confederate president along with his cabinet, along with any confederate generals including robert e. lee that they happen to run into. it is a whole scandal that goes on both sides during the civil war. in the north, the papers were denounced as a forgery designed to weaken the union's more -- a war effort, and in the south, they said he is a murderer, an assassin, he should never have been sent on a mission like this. and the fight goes back and forth. even admiral dahlgren, who later
sees copies of the papers say, it does not look like his handwriting. so we may never know. there is also a story with how admiral dahlgren gets his son's body back. there is elizabeth van loon, a spy for the union based in richmond, and somehow she is able to steal the body in using her network of spies, getting it through union lines back up north, where he is able to be buried up here. the leg is another mystery. after the civil war, the body is continuing to be used, and in the 1880's the building is torn down. the plaque is removed, and there is no mention of the leg after that. another foundry goes up, and somebody says, maybe you should put the plaque backup. they put at the plaque back up
on that building. in the 1920's, a new building comes up in its place, and the plaque is put back. no mention of where the leg is at. and again, recently, the building goals down and a -- goes down and a parking garage goes up, and someone said to put the plaque up. you can see on the base of the wall, the plaque is on the wall. again nobody knows exactly where , that leg is at. it could possibly be somewhere here in the navy yard, maybe a few feet under where we are standing now, or somebody found the case and went, ugh, and tossed it. as we walked past we will go up , the street a little bit. take a look at the dahlgren leg plaque and we will head on our way. you can see the photo of dahlgren, too. his leg was stolen by some confederates when his body was found, and they cut off one of his fingers to take one of his
rings, too. his body was dragged around and was desecrated before the spy was able to steal the body back. so, it is in this area that we talk about the loft. we cannot get too close, but if you take a look down there, you can see that beam that is sticking out of the building there. that is where the loft is located at. it is right over there. the sail loft is the headquarters for the u.s. navy band. it was in 1916 that the 16 piece band from the battleship uss kansas was ordered here to the washington navy yard to augment a 17 piece band from the presidential yacht, mayflower. the mayflower was permanently docked here for whenever the president wanted to go on excursions up and down the
potomac to wine and dine different politicians or dignitaries. they would take the mayflower out and have the navy band on it. to make that band larger, they took the band off the uss kansas and made them bigger and they were permanently stationed them here at the navy yard. and they needed a place to practice. in the place where the commandant told them to practice was by the coal pile. he said it is a perfect open space for you, go to the coal pile and you can practice there. the band members said that does , not suit us. they started asking around the navy yard and finding an open place for them to hold their practices and they ran into workers from the sail loft. unlike what its name really says they never made sails up there. they worked with campus but they never made sails.
they mostly made canvas covers that would go over ships, but they never made sails. but there is a big open space up , there and the band asked, do -- would you mind if we practice in this open space? you have plenty of room and you could enjoy the music. and the people said that is not , a bad idea. in the band kind of took over the sail loft. it is now their headquarters today. in fact, their concerts are held up there. there is different functions that were held up there. in fact, some inaugural parties were held in the sail loft, too, but today, it is their main practice area, along with recording studios and all sorts of other stuff happening in there, too. but that is the story behind the sail loft and the navy band. we actually have a just two more stops, one will take us inside a
building where we can see the remnants of the navy yard's past. are you guys ready? we will head down the street here, past the food trucks, into the building. so, this is building 22. this is the admiral gooding center, where there are offices up top, shops down below. there is a cafeteria. i always tell people, this is the building that gives a great reminder of what the navy yard came from and where we are today. we repurposed a lot of what was really used here at the navy yard. a lot of those buildings. just looking around here, it looks like a modern office building. but even in this room, there are little whispers of the past in here.
looking at some of the frames above your head, all of the ironwork and everything. the bricks that surround you here, too. this doorway used to be a heck of a lot bigger, as you can tell by the brickwork up above the door. you can see the archway. most people do not know what exactly happened here in this building, so we are going to head into the other portion near the cafeteria area where we can see even more remnants of what happened here in the yard, and i will tell you what happened in this building here. so, just in here, take a look above your heads. you can see the two different cranes thatfferent are above you. this is where those large 16 inch guns were made. it was in this building where they had a foundry. i have this photo here to show you what the interior of this building looked like with the
guns in there, you can see the two cranes over your head in the photo. cranes see the the two above you. they were on two different levels, but they ended up putting them all on one to showcase and have that reminder in the navy yard of where the past came from. you can see also the photos that are up there, too, to show where we came from, just to remind the yard workers of the history here at the yard, the rich and deep history of the work that went on here, and the events that happened throughout our time frame, from 1798 until today. so, we are actually going to head back to the museum. it is there that if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. but we are going to walk down the entire length of the outside of the museum so you can see how long the building was and still is today.
that is basically our walking tour of the navy yard. i hope you all enjoyed your day. if you are interested in learning more about the navy history we have this wonderful , museum here. as you can see it is a long , museum that you can head all the way to the back at, it covers the history of the united states navy. we have some great artifacts on display at a programs that happen all the time at the navy yard in the museum. just go to our website or follow us on facebook, and we always have all of our events listed from lectures to tours to events like this today. again, thank you for coming in today i hope you enjoyed this. [applause]
announcer: this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on a lectures in history, university of kansas professor on omaha beach and the 1944 d-day landing in normandy, france during world war ii. >> said normandy invasion, normandy was selected because it was poorly defended in 1943. , theyt, at omaha beach had a couple of battalions. that is when it was selected. a year letter when ronald is put in charge of defense, a lot of the forces we talked about have been moved forward. announcer: on railamerica, a america, ay -- reel 1967 monthly film series.
>> attracting public servants to washington. the month of june would see two major appointments. first secretary of commerce and thurgood marshall as associate justice of the supreme court. announcer: sunday at 6:30, george washington university history professor discusses a cold war discussion in china to influence african and asian countries. >> during the 1960's, the rivalry intensified and this is an important point where i think too many american policymakers, chinese activities and asia and africa start to become as or more worrisome than soviet activities. announcer: at 9:00, a historian talks about confederate colonel. >> a couple of different times, generally complained -- general
lee complaint distort that he was fighting into many small groups. this decentralized way that he operated did not make sense and he needed to mass his forces and pick one of big target. that went against everything mosby was doing. his effectiveness was the fact he could have 3, 4, 5, 6 patrols out in any given night. announcer: for our complete schedule, go to www.c-span.org. >> on afterwards, nebraska senator explored how to encourage adolescents and young adults to become independent and engaged citizens in this book "the vanishing american adult." he is interviewed by steven, founder and president of the millennial action project. >> by and large, students who will graduate from college are
going to change jobs three times, not just jobs, change industries three times in their first decade. that is no. all of the unsettling, scary stuff that produced progressivism was about the idea that job disruption created all of this unsettling ripples into human capital. a lot of what people panicked about now is what we will experience at warp speed for evermore. we will have 40, 45 and 50 euros getinterrupted -- year old interrupted and we will have to create a civilization of lifelong learners. no other civilization has ever done that. >> watch after worse at 9:00 p.m. on sunday. -- afterwords at 9:00 p.m.. >> we look at eugene's unique history. come into museum of natural and cultural history were will hear from dr. dennis