Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Defense of Fayetteville Arsenal-- Part 3: Not Enough Men To Defend

On February 22, 1865, Frederick Childs wrote Bragg asking what he should do.  Childs feared a Union advance up the Cape Fear River and Sherman was getting closer.

Bragg responded:  "the enemy's superior force will, I fear, enable him to send a detachment against you, which can only be met with your resources."  In other words, you'll get no help.

On February 23, Childs sent a message to Bragg saying that  he had, at most, 250 men to stop an enemy attack, the others of his 500-man force were on duty in other parts of the state..  However, he might be able to scrounge up another 100 or 200 reinforcements at the last minute.

Childs chose to evacuate the arsenal.  Sherman captured Fayetteville on March 1.

--Old Secesh

Defense of Fayetteville and the Arsenal-- Part 2: Earthworks and More Companies

Lt.Col. Ferederick L. Childs appealed to the planters of the Fayetteville area to supply 50 to 75 slaves to build earthworks and he directed their construction along the main roads to Fayetteville.

In September 1863, he received authorization to raise Companies C, D and E for the purpose of local defense.  In 1864, the battalion was further expanded by Co. F, which was a mounted unit (so he had his cavalry).  Then came Co. G which was detailed for light duty.

With these additional companies the 2nd Battalion, or "Arsenal Guards" as they were known, had seven companies with about 500 men.

However, now, in February 1865, Col. Childs was being threatened by two superior Union armies, Schofield from Wilmington and Sherman coming north from South Carolina.

Five hundred men just wasn't going to be enough.

--Old Secesh

Monday, August 13, 2018

MCCWRT Meeting Tuesday: Panel Discussion August 14

This Tuesday, August 14, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table will have its monthly meeting at the Woodstock Public Library in Woodstock, Illinois.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and goes to 9.  This month's topic is a Panel Discussion.  Not quite sure what that is, but imagine  you bring something up and folks will talk about it.  I'm thinking about what we think about the attacks on the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy.

I know the members of the Sons of Union veterans of the Civil War that I have talked to do not agree with these attacks.  It will be interesting to see what a Civil War Round Table thinks.

Anyway, a group of the people attending will be gathering for dinner at 5:30 at Three Brothers Restaurant on Illinois Highway 47.  All welcome there as well.

SCV and UDC:  Hate Groups or Historical Groups.  --Old Secesh

Defense of Fayetteville and the Arsenal-- Part 1: Wilmington Evacuation Puts Fayetteville a Major Target

From Civil War North Carolina by Wade Sokolosky.

Braxton Bragg's withdrawal from Wilmington, N.C. on Feb. 21, 1865, made Fayetteville an even bigger target with the link between the two cities with the Cape Fear River.

Bragg was well aware of the straits Fayetteville was in and advised Lt.Col.  Frederick L. Childs, in command at the arsenal to evacuate his "most valuable stores, especially ammunition for small arms." and procure wagons to transport them to the nearest rail depot.  They would be needed for the defense of North Carolina.

Childs had worried about a Union attack since he assumed command at the arsenal in 1863.  At first, he feared an attack by cavalry from Union-held New Bern.  When he first arrived, he noticed there were no prepared defensive works to protect the city.  Also, his force at the arsenal had no cavalry to warn him of approaching enemy forces.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Mr. "Murder By Temporary Insanity" Dan Sickles-- Part 2

"Still, Sickles' lawyers felt they needed more and argued that he was so upset that 'his mind had become diseased.'  When the judge instructed the jury before deliberations, he validated the defense's novel argument by telling them they could consider the question of insanity at the moment the crime was committed.

"The jury acquitted Sickles in just 70 minutes."

Was he temporarily insane at Gettysburg?

The Devil Made Me Do It!!  --Old InsaneSesh

Friday, August 10, 2018

Dan Sickles and 'Murder Temporary Insanity'-- Part 1: Killed the Son of Francis Scott Key

From the July 1, 2018, Chicago Tribune  "10 things you might not know about EXCUSES" by Mark Jacobson and Stephan Benzkofer.

What with Roseanne Barr's excuse for the tweet, let's go back to the Civil War and our favorite political general, Dan Sickles, who used it before the Civil War started.

"It may come as no surprise that the first person in the U.S. to successfully plead not guilty to murder because of temporary insanity was a U.S. congressman.

"In 1858, Dan Sickles, who would go on to play a notorious role for the North at Gettysburg, discovered his wife was having an affair with Philip Barton Key, the Washington, D.C., district attorney and son of Francis Scott Key.

"Purportedly in an unthinkable rage, Sickles went looking the next day for Key, found him in Lafayette Square across the street from the White House and killed him in broad daylight.  Public sentiment was strong for Sickles, seeing that the murder of a wife's lover as being justified, so his chances at acquittal looked good."

And What Did He Plead?  --Old Secsane

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Fayetteville Arsenal-- Part 7: 10,000 Rifles and 900,000 Rounds of Ammunition

From Waymarking.  From a Civil War Trails marker.

The U.S. Arsenal at Fayetteville, N.C. was constructed between 1838 and 1853, but the facility lacked equipment until 1857.  Before it could be used, the Civil War began and it was seized by state militia.  In June 1861, the state turned it over to the Confederacy.

Workers converted 36,000 flintlock muskets to percussion cap weapons and installed machinery captured at Harpers Ferry, in present-day West Virginia.  The arsenal produced about 10,000 rifles and assembled a few pistol carbines.

But its greatest contribution to the Confederacy was the more than 900,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, signal rockets and friction primers assembled by women workers.

--Old Secesh

The Fayetteville Arsenal-- Part 6: Not Much Remains

From Wikipedia.

Besides the leveling of the Fayetteville Arsenal near the end of the Civil War, even more of the site was destroyed by the construction of a road that went in in 1988.

One  partial frame outbuilding remains and a historical marker..  Remnants of the U.S. Arsenal can be seen at the Museum of the Cape Fear Complex.

The foundations of buildings located along the back wall of the arsenal as well as two towers can be seen in a park located behind the museum.

The Fayetteville Arsenal was listed on the NRHP in 1983.

The site  is going to be turned into the North Carolina Civil War and Reconstruction Museum.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Col. Frederick L. Childs, Cmdr. of the Fayetteville Arsenal

According to Civil War Net, he was a West Point graduate who later served in the Confederate Army.

The Class of 1855 West Point site:  Frederick L. Childs:  #1685.  Born Missouri, appointed at large.  He was #9 in the Class of 1855 which had 38 members.  Captain of Artillery March 11, 1861.

Served under Confederate Gen. Whiting preparing the defenses of the North Carolina coast in the Civil War.  Commanded the Charleston Arsenal July 1861.

Appointed Major Artillery November 1862.  Then at the Augusta Arsenal Feb. 1863.  In charge of the Fayetteville Arsenal from November 19, 1863 to capture of it by Sherman's Army.  Lt. Col.

--Old Secesh

The Fayetteville Arsenal-- Part 5: Rifle Production

From th Civil War North Carolina site by Wade Sokolosky.


Aftr seizure of the Fayetteville Arsenal in 1861, North Carolina used it for the manufacture of infantry ammunition and accoutrements.  When the captured machinery from the Harpers Ferry Arsenal was moved to Fayetteville, it began the manufacture of rifles.

Throughout the war, the capacity of the Fayetteville Arsenal increased and by 1865 it consisted of several foundries, machine shops and other facilities for the Confederate war effort.

By January 1865, the arsenal was at full capacity, but war time shortages of raw materials and  isolation from the state's main rail lines limited its production.

When Sherman's army arrived in March 1865, Union troops totally destroyed it and today, only portions of the foundations of its walls remain.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Fayetteville Arsenal-- Part 4: Destruction of the Arsenal

Col. Childs' force resisted for a short time but were overwhelmed by Sherman's numbers.  Sherman entered Fayetteville March 11, 1865.  He took over the arsenal which had been stripped of its arms, munitions and useful machinery before the Confederates retreated.

The Harpers Ferry rifle manufacturing machinery was said to have been hidden in the Egypt Coal Mine, near Sanford, North Carolina.

Continuing with his scorched earth policy and because the arsenal had been supplying the enemy with weapons, Sherman ordered the arsenal razed to the ground.  His soldiers used railroad rails as battering rams to knock the buildings down and then set the remains on fire.

As the fire raged, some remaining artillery shells exploded and completed the destruction.

--Old Secesh

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Fayetteville Arsenal-- Part 3: Defending It From Sherman

The principal weapon produced was known as the Fayetteville Rifle.  At its peak, the armory produced 500 rifles a month and various numbers of larger ordnance, cartridges, swords and bayonets.  Over one hundred workmen from the Harpers Ferry Arsenal relocated to Fayetteville with their families.

In the middle war years, young ladies from the area were employed in the making of cartridges and as clerks.

In 1865, as Union General William Sherman began his Carolinas Campaign, it became apparent to the Confederate commander Col. Frederick L. Childs, that Fayetteville was going to be a major target.  When Sherman reached Columbia, S.C., Col. Childs ordered the construction of earthworks for the defense of the Fayetteville area.

Remnants of these earthworks can be seen on the grounds of the Veterans Administration Hospital on Ramsey Street in Fayetteville,.

--Old Secesh

The Fayetteville Arsenal-- Part 2: N.C. Takes Over, Center for Confederate Small Arms

When North Carolina seceded from the Union, Governor Ellis instructed Warren Winslow to bring about, peacefull if possible, of the arsenal.  General Walker Droughon, in command of N.C. militia mobilized the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry (FILI) under the command of Major Wright Huske, and the LaFayette Light Infantry commanded by Lt. Joseph B. Starr.

These and other troops set the Confederates at around 500 troops.on April 22, 1861.  Lt. DeLagnel of the Union forces came out, took a look at the size of the Confederate force and decided it would be fruitless to resist and surrendered.  His troops vacated the arsenal on April 22.

Rifle-making machinery from the arsenal at Harpers Ferry were transferred to the Fayetteville Arsenal in October 1861 and this arsenal became a major supplier of small arms to Confederate troops.

--Old secesh

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Fayetteville Arsenal-- Part 1: Built in 1838

From Wikipedia.

The Fayetteville Arsenal, in North Carolina, was built in 1838 because during the War of 1812, the U.S. government realized that the existing system of distributing of weapons and ammunition was not adequate for the defense of the entire country.

A program was developed so that no part of the country would be too far away from weapons and supplies of war in case there was a threat.

Bladen County U.S. Representative James McKay introduced House Bill #374 to have an arsenal built at Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The cornerstone was laid on April 9, 1838,  It was constructed of brick and stone and at each corner of its massive walls was an octagonal tower.  Entry to the arsenal was through massive iron gates.  Workshops, quarters and other buildings in the arsenal were constructed of brick and wood.

The Wikipedia article has a nice drawing of the Fayetteville Arsenal at the time Sherman arrived in 1865,

--Old Secesh

Friday, August 3, 2018

Digging Up the Fayetteville Arsenal Site

From the July 28, 2019, Fayetteville (NC) Observer "Archaeology  unearth Fayetteville history at Arsenal Park" by Paul Woolverton.

And the public can watch it as it happens.  Some of the items recovered from the site of the old Fayettevillesenal are a smoking pipe, melted glass, various nails, screws, lots of brick, mortar and sandstone.

The Arsenal Park is now part of the Museum of Cape Fear History complex and eventually the North Carolina Civil War and Reconstruction History center will be built on the site which is why the archaeologists are excavating.

The Fayetteville Arsenal was built in the mid-1800s by the U.S. government to make weapons.  Confederates took control in 1861 and constantly expanded the works and made rifles and other weapons of war.  When William Sherman's army marched through in 1865, he had everything at the site knocked down and then set the ruins on fire.

--Old Secesh