This Week in the Civil War - 615

Jul 17, 2013

One of the strangest battles of the American Civil War period occurred on July 16, 1863 near Japan in the Straits of Shimonoseki. 

The U.S.S. Wyoming, commanded by Captain David McDougal, was searching for the Confederate raider Alabama, when the Wyoming visited Yokohama and learned that the Choshu clan was determined to expel all foreigners from Japan.  In fact, Japanese ships in June had already attacked an American merchant ship.  McDougal took the Wyoming in the Straits and attacked the Japanese fleet and shore batteries. 

In a short but fierce battle, the Wyoming triumphed, despite suffering minimal damage, with five dead and six wounded.  Later an international squadron would force the Choshu clan to revoke its expulsion order.  However, McDougal had won the United States’ first naval battle with the Japanese.