Monday, December 31, 2007

New Book on Civil War Ironclads

The Civil War Book News blog reports that there is a new Civil War naval book out. It is "Clad in Iron: the Civil War and the Challenge of British Naval Power " by Howard J. Fuller.

A bit of the blurb about it:

This book addresses misconceptions of what monitors were for. Their ultimate success was not their ability to spearhead attacks on Confederate forts, but rather the "Cold War" deterrence of British military and government leaders from intervening. Fuller points out that this was a success in the Union navy's victory more than the blockade.

In other words, the monitors presence kept the British navy out of the war.

The North "succeeded through a combination of high-tech 'machines' armed with 'monster' guns, intensive coastal fortifications and a new fleet of high-speed Union commerce raiders, the North was able to turn the humiliation of the Trent Affair of late 1861 into a sobering challenge to British naval power and imperial defense worldwide."

I'm not sure about Union coastal defenses and the Union ships were not commerce raiders, but made to pursue Confederate commerce raiders.

Definitely sounds like an interesting book to read.

A New Look at an Old War. --THE Old B-Rer

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my Civil War buddies a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I'm just sittin' here typing away with both fingers on the old keyboard and watching and listening to "A Christmas Story", my favorite all-time seasonal movie, for the second time. I sure like TBS putting on the 24-hour marathon.

A Ho-Ho-Ho to All-All-All. --RoadDog

143rd Anniversary of First Battle of Fort Fisher

Today marks the end of the First Battle of Fort Fisher which was waged Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1864.

This is the battle that got me interested in the Civil War. As I said last month, my dad took me to Fort Fisher and explained that the Civil War was fought between the north and the south. I figured we must have been for the north since we lived in North Carolina and North America. He was very patient and explained that we were actually for the south.

After that, I would read every book on the Civil War I could get my hands on. I also decided that I wanted to be a history teacher. This event sure had an impact on my young life.

From Civil War Naval Chronology: December 24-25

Naval forces under the command of Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter and Army units under Major General Ben Butler launched an unsuccessful attack against Fort Fisher. The fleet commenced a tremendous bombardment on Christmas Eve.

The Confederate defenders were driven from their guns and into bomb proofs, but did manage to get a few shots off. Most of the Union casualties came from the burst of Parrott cannons on board five vessels.

At 10:30 Christmas Day, the bombardment commenced again, that is just about right now as it is 9:25 AM Central Time. The fire was maintained while 2000 US troops landed north of the fort. Some of them advanced to within a few yards of the fort, but it was decided the works were too strong to be carried and withdrew.

By the 27th, the last of the troops were off and transports returned to Hampton Roads. The fleet remained in the area and kept up a sporadic fire on the fort to prevent repairs.

This bombardment was one of the biggest ever in US history. Confederate naval Lt. Aeneas Armstrong wrote, "The whole of the interior of the fort, which consists of sand, merlons, etc., was as one eleven-inch shell bursting. You can now inspect the works and walls on nothing but iron." Meaning, weapon debris was spread so thick, you could walk from one end of the mile long seaface and half mile land face and never step off iron.

A Great Victory for the Confederacy in its Waning Days. --Blockade-Runner

Monday, December 24, 2007

Some More on the USS Hendrick Hudson

The name comes from a Dutch spelling of English explorer Henry Hudson.

The USS Hendrick Hudson was a schooner-rigged steamer: 460 tons, 171 'l, 29'11" beam. 9'6" displacement, 11 k speed, and mounted one cannon.

Her main mission was to shut off blockade running along the many inlets and passes along Florida's west coast.

From Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.

I could find no mention of a USS Reckless, the ship that captured the Florida according to Dale Cox.


Confederate Blockade Runner Florida/USS Hendrick Hudson

Awhile back, I came across Dale Cox's Civil War in Florida website, and he had an entry about a ship that served both sides during the war.

The blockade runner Florida (not to be confused with the Confederate warship by the same name) was built in Greenpoint, NY in 1859 and became a blockade runner.

It was captured April 6, 1862, in St. Andrew's Bay, Florida (near Panama City) by a boat crew from the USS Reckless which secretly slipped into the bay.

It was taken to Philadelphia as a prize of war and bought by the US Navy and commissioned the USS Hendrick Hudson on Dec. 30, 1862. The navy had found that a good way to catch a blockade runner was to use a former blockade runner.

The Hudson patrolled the gulf coast of Florida and captures several blockade runners during her career. In 1864, it rammed and sank the blockade runner Wild Pigeon near Key West, Fl. In 1865, it took part in the Battle of Natural Bridge, Floria on March 6th.

After the war, it was sold and became a commercial vessel again until it sank off Cuba in 1867.

Wikipedia said the Florida was captured by the USS Pursuit while attempting to run into St. Andrew's Bay.

Both Sides Now. --B-Run

An Interesting Person

H.K. Edgerton, 58, of North Carolina, is a southern heritage activist and former NAACP officer. He is planning to march into Midland, Texas, to show his support for Confederate history.

This is a remarkable show of support, but what makes this even more surprising is that Edgerton is a black man.

In 2002, he walked from NC to Austin, Texas carrying a Confederate battle flag.

He marches against "the wholesale and deliberate destruction of the positive aspects of Southern history by self-serving politicians and the media." (Hear that Mitt!!!)

"Southerners overwhelmingly still see themselves as Southerners, regardles of race, and most of them are not fooled by the propaganda."

He has a wbsite at

Dec. 11th Odessa, Tx, American.

It has a list of black Confederates, a big list of slave narratives, and a lot of other items of interest.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Watch Didn't Help

There was some hopeful expectation that the recently opened watch belong to the CSS Hunley's commander, Lt. George Dixon, might give some clues as to what befell that submarine on the fateful night of February 17, 1864. This marked the first-ever successful submarine attack on an enemy ship. The Union blockader Housatonic was sunk, but the Hunley never made it back to Charleston Harbor.

The Hunley's grave was unknown until it was discovered 12 years ago and raised in 2000. Since then, it has been undergoing extensive conservation.

The 118 Karart gold watch did not slowly wind down, but stopped quickly, perhaps a result of rushing water or a concussion. The watch stopped at 8:23 and the Housatonic sank around 9 PM. Was it possibly a concussion.

Perhaps it wasn't even working that night. Perhaps it was just too valuable to leave behind. The time definitely doesn't explain why soldiers on shore reported a blue light 45 minutes after the attack.

Senator Glen McConnell, chairman of the Hunley Commission said, "I don't think it's the smoking gun, it's just smoke."

In the next months, scientists will x-ray valves on the pumping system that are currently encrusted. This might tell whether the Hunley was taking on water. They will also start removing sediment from the hull and might find evidence of a rope that would show that the Hunley had been anchored waiting for the tide to turn.

"Hunley commander's watch no smoking gun" by Bruce Smith, Associated Press December 14th.

Just One More Mystery After Another with the Hunley. --Blockade-Run

The USS Pennsylvania, Ship-of-the-Line

Of course, I've been doing a lot with Pearl Harbor this month. The Battleship Pennsylvania, which was damaged in drydock during the attack, was not the first US ship to bear the name. I was reading about the USS Merrimack which became the CSS Virginia. When the it was burned, several other ships suffered a similar fate. Yet, you usually only hear about the Merrimack. What about the others?

There was another USS Pennsylvania that was launched in 1837 and was destroyed April 20, 1861 to prevent her from falling into enemy hands when the Confederates captured Gosport Naval Yard.

A ship-of-the-line was the capital ship of navies back in the early 1800s.. This Pennsylvania mounted 120 guns on three decks. Construction began in 1821, but it wasn't completed until 1837 because of tight budgets.

The Pennsylvania was launched on November 29, 1837. In 1838, its crew was transferred to the USS Columbia. It was then laid up in ordinary until 1842 when it became a receiving ship for the Norfolk Naval Yard. I always thought a receiving ship was a place where visitors came aboard, but as it turns out, a receiving ship was used to house new sailors before assignment.

A receiving ship was also a good thing to prevent "unwilling recruits" from leaving as many couldn't swim.

So, this USS Pennsylvania did not achieve a whole lot of glory before her demise.

I'll discuss the other vessels in the future.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the info.

And, Now You Know. --B-Run

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Confederate Cow Cavalry-- Part Two

I did some more research on the Confederate Cow Cavalry and found an article by Martha Sue Skinner called "A History of Florida Confederate Cavalry.

She said the cattle in western Florida were wild and had descended from those brought over by the Spanish explorers. In 1863, Florida became a main supply depot for beef destined for Confederate armies., but frequent Federal incursions in the Tampa Bay area threatened the enterprise and Florida authorities decided to form a special unit to fight the Federals and their Confederate deserter allies.

This unit became known as the First Battalion Florida Special cavalry and had 900 men.

Not only did they protect the cattle, but they were also involved in cattle drives as far north as Savannah and Charleston.

Now You Know the Rest of the Story. --RoadDog

Confederate "Cow Cavalry"?

I must admit that I had never heard of anything called cow cavalry before reading this article. Did they ride into battle astride bovines? However, there really was such a group.

On November 17th, a memorial to the cow cavalry who helped supply Confederate armies with beef was dedicated in Plant City, Florida. The plaque shows a Confederate soldier with a rifle in front of a horse and cattle.

According to the article in Tampa Bay Online, the cow cavalry protected the many cows in and around western Florida from Union raiders.

This was paid for by the Plant City Daughters of the Confederacy chapter.

The only black Plant City commissioner, Mary Mathis objected at a Nov. 13th meeting "this is a Confederate soldier on city property."

There were lots of replies and interesting comments to the article.

The East Hillsborough Historical Society wants a companion piece to the plaque, but now must seek city approval. This is at the old Plant City High School which is owned now by the city. The commissioners say that the historical society should have sought permission before building the first one.

Too Bad This Has to Become a Racial Thing. --Blockade-Run

SCV Reward Catches Teenagers Who Defaced Confederate Monument in Alabama

The Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was livid over the damage done to the Confederate Memorial monument in Montgomery, Alabama, an issued a reward for $1000 for information leading to the arrest of the culprits. See Nov.16th blog entry.

It paid off. Three 17-year-of white juvenile males have been arrested in connection with applying black paint to the statues at the monument.

A lot of the repairs to the monument have been completed with a $3,500 cost so far.

Way to Go, SCV!!! --B-Runner

USS Santiago de Cuba

While researching events of the Civil War on December 7th for the Pearl Harbor tie-in, I came across the name of the USS Santiago de Cuba and looked it up on wikipedia, a great way to find the history of most US Naval ships. Also pictures.

The Santiago de Cuba was a wooden sidewheel steamer built in 1861 and purchased by the Union Navy in the build-up for the blockade. It was commissioned in November 1861.

It was 1,567 tons, 229 feet long, 38 foot beam, mounted ten cannons, and had a crew of 114 enlisted men and officers.

On December 3, 1861, it captured the British schooner Victoria off Point Isabel, Texas, but released her for want of evidence suggesting a blockade runner.

The USS Santiago de Cuba took part in the efforts against Fort Fisher and took the wounded back to Norfolk, Virginia at the battle's conclusion.


Some More on Robert Smalls

This is a follow up to the December 5th and 6th entries on Robert Smalls.

On December 1, 1863, the USS Planter was caught in a Confederate crossfire and the ship's captain (Smalls was the pilot) wanted to surrender. Smalls argued that he and the other black sailors would not be treated as prisoners-of-war (probably a correct assumption). The commander decided to go ahead and surrender. Smalls took command and the Planter escaped. As a result, Smalls became the first black man to command a vessel in the US Navy.

Robert Smalls was born a slave in 1839 and died in 1916.

I was wondering why the ship would be called the Major General Robert Smalls when Smalls was involved with the sea and the navy.

From his website:

1870 commissioned Lt. Col. in SC state militia
1871- promted to Brigadier General
1873 attained rank of Major General

His mother was named Lydia and father was an unidentified white man.

The US Major General Robert Smalls is one of eight ships in the class which are actually in the Army, and not the Navy. They are designed to carry up to 2,000 tons cargo. The Smalls was launched in 2004, but had the formal dedication during the annual Army-Navy game at Annapolis, Md. The event was attended by a numbers of his descendants and supporters.

This Was One Interesting Man Who Rose Far Above What Might Have Been Expected. --B-Runner

GAR Hall, Aurora, Illinois Receives Funds

I am happy to report that the GAR Hall in Aurora at 23 E Downer Place, ranked number 9 in recent voting for American Express' Partners in Preservation contest and, as a result, received over $50,000 for the window restoration.

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was and organization of former veterans of the Union Army during the Civil War. At one time, there were over 400,000 members. US Highway 6 is also called the Grand Army of the Republic Highway in their honor.

The building was constructed in 1878. Funding for its construction came from the citizens of Aurora and it also housed Aurora's first free public library at one time.

Over its 60 years of operation, some 700 Civil War veterans were members from 70 Illinois regiments.

By 1939, membership was dwindling because of advanced age and the GAR Memorial Association was formed to carry on. The last member, Daniel Wodge, died in 1947 at age 106.

It is built in a Gothic Revival style with locally-mined limestone and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The $55,000 grant from American Express will be used to restore the original stained glass windows. The Association originally requested $94,000, but is happy with anything. In the contest, only the top vote-getter got its full request.

The contest raised community awareness. The building had been closed a few years ago because of safety concerns.

Great News, the city of Aurora has committed $3 million to the project for the GAR. The funds will be used to stabilize the structure, build a basement, and renovate the first floor.

Always Great to Hear News Like This. --B-Runner

Monday, December 17, 2007

Quotes from "Gods and Generals"

While looking at the imdb site for the movie "Gods and Generals" where Robert Duvall starred in the role of Robert E. Lee, I came across some quotes of interest.

### Robert E. Lee at Fredericksburg viewing the slaughter of Union troops: "It is well that war is so terrible or we should grow too fond of it."

### On Jackson's wounding at Chancellorsville: "He's lost his left arm. I've lost my right."

### A conversation between Generals Jackson and John Bell Hood:

Jackson: "Tell me, general, do you expect to live till the end of the war?"

Hood: Oh, I do not know, but...I'm inclined to think I will. I expect to be wounded. And you, general?"

Jackson: "I do not expect to live to see the end of the war. Nor, can I say that without victory I would desire to do so."

I have heard the first two quotes by Lee, but I am not familiar with Jackson and Hood's conversation.

You'd just have to wonder if the outcome at Gettysburg might have been different if Jackson had been there. General Hood lost both an arm and a leg in the fighting.

One Great Movie. --Blockade-Runner

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Where is Abe?

It is believed that two new photos of the nation's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, have been discovered. This has Lincoln fans buzzing as there are only 125 known photographs of him.

Enlargements were made of two Alexander Gardner photographs of the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863. The one shown in the Dec. 15th Chicago Tribune shows a profile of Lincoln on horseback making his way through the crowd to deliver the famous speech.

I'd say it definitely could be him.

The two photos were delivered at the recent Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg, Pa., where Lincoln scholars and fans gather each year to discuss new works and discoveries. Not every one is convinced that it is Lincoln.

You can see the photos at

Can There Ever Be Too Much Lincoln? --RoadDog

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fort McAllister Reenactment

The December 13th Savannah Morning News reports that a reenactment took place at Fort McAllister in Richmond Hill, Ga. This is also where my sister and family live. I was unable to determine the date, but imagine it was last weekend.

One hundred men, women, and children recreated the battle and there were about 400 onlookers.

The original battle took place December 13, 1864 and it was the last battle before General Sherman captured Savannah.

The fort was built to protect the Ogeechee River, a backdoor to Savannah and the original battle only took 15 minutes.

That Was One Fast Battle. --Block-Head

Corvettes and Fort Fisher

Talk about two of my favorite things in the world. This January 5th, the Cape Fear Corvette Club is planning a cruise from Jeff Gordon Chevrolet, I imagine in Wilmington, NC, to Fort Fisher where they'll tour the museum and mounds.

Then, there will be a lunch meeting at Mike's Sea Food in Carolina Beach.

Boy, would I like to be there for this event.

One of these days, I just Gotta Get a Vette. --B-Runner

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Robert Duvall--Robert E. Lee Part 2

Of interest, Robert Duvall played the role of Robert E. Lee, in the 2003 movie "Gods and Generals" about the rise of Stonewall Jackson. With makeup, he looked quite a bit like Lee. And imagine getting to play the part of a direct ancestor.

In wikipedia, there is one person who believes that Duvall is not related to Lee. The RE Lee site at Stratford has a family lineage and neither Robert Duvall nor his mother appears on it.

While on the subject of his role in "Apocalypse Now," a few more Col. Kilgore quotes:

"If I say it's safe to surf this beach, Captain, then it's safe to surf this beach."

Kilgore--"Smell that? You smell that?"
Lance- "What?"
Kilgore--"Napalm,son. Nothing in the world smells like that."

"Someday, this war's gonna end..." as he walks away unhappily.

On the use of Wagner during attacks,-- "It scares the s___ out of the slopes."

Even though this didn't involve Duvall, it is my second favorite quote after "I love the smell..."--

Captain Willard-- "Hey soldier, do you know who's in command here?"
Soldier-- "Ain't you?"

Maybe Duvall Is, and Maybe He Isn't. --B-Runner

Monday, December 10, 2007

So, You REALLY Want to See that Civil War Battlefield

Instead of just picking up a guide at the tourist center or renting a pair of headphones, why not hire your own personal tour guide. The December 9th Everett, Washington Herald ran an AP article "Guides customize Civil War battlefield tours" by David Dishneau.

You can hire a guide for as little as $50 for an ultimate 2 hour private tour at Gettysburg or Antietam. There are 155 Gettysburg guides licensed by the National Park Service, the only ones allowed to give private tours.

For those of you interested in getting even more involved with the Civil War, there will be a six-day tour of Civil War sites led by scholars including James McPherson who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1988 "Battle Cry of Freedom." Cost is $950, excluding hotels.

Sounds Like an Idea to Me. --B-R

Robert Duvall--Robert E. Lee

When the name Robert Duvall comes to mind, I immediately think of crazy Lt.-Col. Bil Kilgore's Air Cav helicopters streaking in over the water, loudspeakers blaring Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries", machine guns blazing as the unfortunate Viet Cong village gets clobbered, all so his surfer could ride some perfect waves.

Then, there's that classic line, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning.... It smells like victory." All this while a bewildered Martin Sheen stared at him.

The UK Times Online had a write up on Duvall and said that his father, William Howard Duvall was an admiral in the US Navy and that he is a DIRECT DESCENDANT of Robert E. Lee. I do not know the hows or whys of this, but I definitely didn't know this tidbit.

Perhaps he should have been wearing a JEB Stuart plumed Confederate hat instead of the US cavalry one in "Apocalypse Now."

Confederates in the Attic. --B-Runner

Saturday, December 8, 2007

General John McAllister Schofield

John Schofield was born September 29, 1831.

While a major and Chief of Staff for General Nathaniel Lyons at the Battle of Wilson's Creek close to Springfield, Missouri, he received a Congressional Medal of Honor for leading a regiment against the Confederates. However, he did not receive it until 1892. A total of five Union soldiers received the MOH at Wilson's Creek which is also called the Battle of oak Hills and sometimes referred to as the Bull Run of the West.

As a general, he took part in the Atlanta Campaign with General Sherman, then, as commander of the Army of the Ohio, seriously damaged Hood's Army of the Tennessee at the Battle of Franklin, and took part in the victory at Nashville.

He then moved his corps by rail and water to fort Fisher, NC, in 17 days. He led the Union forces in the campaign against Wilmington, NC, occupying it on February 22, 1865. He then joined Sherman at Goldsboro, NC.

After the war, he was interim Secretary of War when President Johnson was able to remove nemesis Edwin M. Stanton from that post. He served until John Rawlings could be confirmed.

As stated yesterday, General Schofield went to Hawaii and determined that Pearl Harbor would make a strategic harbor for the navy. Then, in1908, Schofield Barracks Army Base was established and named in his honor,

From 1876 to 1881, Schofield was Superintendent of the US Military Academy at West Point. From 1888 to 1895 he was commanding general of the US Army. Even today, cadets have to memorize a long quotation by him.

He diedMarch 4, 1906 in St. Augustine, Florida, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Friday, December 7, 2007

December 7th, 1941, a Day That Shall Live in Infamy

On December 7th, 66 years ago, Japanese forces suddenly attacked US forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, inflicting great damage and many casualties. We must always know that we have to be prepared to protect our freedom.

It is the veterans, both past and present, that stand up to our foes. We can not thank them enough for their efforts and sacrifices.

While I was still teaching, I spent a couple days around this time covering the events at Pearl Harbor. Today, I helped out at the Fox Lake, Illinois American Legion Post 703 as we hosted 71 vets from the North Chicago Veterans Hospital. They were treated to a full turkey dinner, gifts, and karaoke. I don't remember when I've seen people enjoy themselves more.

While doing some Pearl Harbor research, I found out that there is a Civil War connection. One of the objects of the Japanese attack was Schofield Barracks, an army base by Wheeler Field in the central part of Oahu,

It was named after Union General John McAllister Schofield who received a Congressional Medal of Honor at the Battle of Wilson's Creek in Missouri on August 10, 1861 as a major. He rose through the ranks to major general.

In 1872, he visited Hawaii at the behest of the Secretary of War William Belknap and recommended the establishment of a naval base at Pearl Harbor. Schofield Barracks was established in 1908.

I also found out that he had a connection with Fort Fisher, but that is another story.

Hats Off to Our Valiant Members of the Armed Forces, Both Past and Present. --Blockade-Runner

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Robert Smalls-- a Remarkable Man

Further information on yesterday's account of the new army vessel, USS Major General Robert Smalls.

The Planter was an armed Confederate military transport. On May 12, 1862, while three white officers were ashore, Robert Smalls and several other black crew members took the ship and went over to a nearby ship where Smalls' family and relatives of the other crew members were hiding.

They then took the ship and sailed past the Confederate forts guarding Charleston Harbor to the Union blockading fleet and hoisted a white flag in surrender.

Afterwards, Smalls' knowledge of Charleston's defenses provided valuable intelligence to Union operations.

Smalls also was involved in the effort to get Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to permit blacks to serve in the Union Army. This led to the first black regiment formed at Port Royal, SC, the 1st SC Volunteers.

Robert Smalls served as a pilot onboard the USS Keokuk, an experimental monitor, that sank after being struck by 90 projectiles in the April 7, 1863 attack on Charleston.


The Confederate Battle Flag

Of all the symbols in the United States, this has to be the one under the most attack by different groups. Many see it as a symbol of slavery and man's inhumanity to man. Some equate it with the Nazi Swastika.

Others, see it as a symbol of their heritage. A symbol of the little guy fighting the giants in order to retain their lifestyle and independence.

I belong to the Sons of Confederate Veterans and one of the major goals of that organization is to defend the flag.

A book has been written about this. It is called "The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem" by John M. Coski.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Army Ship Named for Black Civil War Hero

And you thought ships were in the Navy? Evidently not so.

The Major General Robert Smalls, a 314 foot-long US Army vessel was at Baltimore's Inner Harbor for Saturday's 108th Army-Navy football game. But, even its presence could not save the plebes from Navy's midshipmen.

The Robert Smalls is a logistics support vessel named after a 23 year-old slave working as a pilot on a Confederate steamer. He took over the ship in 1862 while the crew was ashore. He took the vessel and 15 other slaves and his family and surrendered to the first Union ship.

After the war, he became a major general in the SC militia and was a five-time Congressman.

Everybody Knows There are No Ships in the Army, Or Do They? --Blockade-R

Some More on Custer and Monroe, Mi

Custer got married Elizabeth on Feb. 9, 1864. She remained his biggest fan and pusher until her death at age 92.

The Battle of Trevalian Station humiliated Custer. He had his division trains captured and lost his personal baggage. Union casualties were about 1000, with 102 killed, 470 wounded, and 435 missing or captured.

The Monroe Museum is in an old post office which was built on the site of the Custer home. It houses one of the largest collections of 18th and 19th century artifacts in southeast Michigan.

On September 23rd, the museum opened a WWII exhibit in conjunction with Ken Burns' "The War" PBS miniseries.

The second floor of the museum houses one of the largest George Armstrong Custer collections in the world.

Custer was born in Ohio, but attended school in Monroe.

Now You Know Some More. --Blockade-Head

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Some More on Admiral Worden

Lt. Worden was appointed commander of the USS Monitor on January 16, 1862, and reported to Greenpoint in Brooklyn, NY, where he supervised its completion. The ship was placed in commission on February 25th and made an aborted attempt to sail to Hampton Roads to battle the Virginia. A second sailing arrived on March 8th, the day before the battle. Worden definitely didn't have much time to prepare his crew for the battle.

After Worden was injured at the pilot house, he turned command over to Samuel D. Green.

Upon recovery, Worden was put in command of the new monitor, the USS Montauk in December 1862 and led it on the attack on Fort McAllister . He was promoted to captain and sank the Confederate privateer Rattlesnake (CSS Nashville). In April 1863, the Montauk took part in the attack on Charleston, SC.

He married Olivia Toffey of Pauling.

The 165 room Mizzentop Hotel in Pauling was completed in 1881 and operated for 50 years. The beautiful views of the Harlem Valley and Catskill Mountains moved Worden to give it the name Mizzentop because it is one of the highest points on a ship.

In 1998, it became the Mizzentop Day School.

Three destroyers and a light cruiser were named after Worden:

DD-16- 1903-1919
DD-288- 1920-1930
DD-353- 1935-1943-- at Pearl Harbor, but received no damage. Engaged a Japanese submarine three hours after the attack. Sunk off the Aleutian Islands in 1943.
DLG/CG-18- cruiser 1963-1993

Admiral Worden Honored, Commander of USS Monitor

On October 20th, there was a grave site ceremony honor the commander of the USS Monitor during its battle with the CSS Virginia, John Worden.

It was held by the Quaker Hill and Pauling, NY, historical societies and the Admiral Worden Camp 150 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. This camp is based out of Peerskill,NY, and is composed of descendants of those who served aboard the USS Monitor.

Worden is buried at the Pauling Cemetery on Route 22 across from the Lutheran church.

Lt. Worden commanded the USS Monitor during its historic four hour battle with the CSS Virginia on March 9, 1862. He received serious eye injury when a shell from the Virginia hit the pilot box where he was commanding. He bore scars from it the rest of his life.

He later commanded the USS Montauk (a Monitor) and the USS Pensacola. He was superintendent of the US Naval Academy for five years and later attained the rank of rear admiral before dying of pneumonia in 1897.

Worden was born and grew up in Westchester, NY, but was a lifelong visitor to Pauling. He was the first to sign the Pauling Mizzentop Hotel's guest book and gave the hotel its nautical name.

Careful Where You Look During a Battle. --B-R

Monday, December 3, 2007

Custer Lost It, You Can See It

General George Armstrong Custer last saw it at what is considered to be the largest all-cavalry battle of the war at Trevalian Station in June 1864. He never saw it again because it was captured. No doubt, his wife wasn't too happy.

The brigadier general's uniform he wore at his wedding to Elizabeth Bacon in Monroe, Michigan, is back and on display at the Monroe County Historical Museum. Along with it are several other seldom-seen Custer items.

The Battle at Trevalin Station is sometimes called Custer's First Stand because he was also surrounded, but this time by Confederates.

Also included in the display is a lock of Lincoln's hair, a Tiffany sabre, and several Lincoln-signed documents.

Nov. 8th Monroe News "Rare Custer items displayed."

Here Comes the Groom. --Block-Head

Getting "Hooked" on the Civil War Again?

Since I have been doing this blog, I must admit that I am getting more interested in the Civil War.

Since 2002, I have been very hooked on old roads and particularly Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway.

But, I have been even doing some research, mostly on Lt. Benjamin H. Porter, but other aspects of the war as well. I haven't looked into my set of the ORN in years, but now the dust is flying.

Getting Hooked Again. --Blockade-Runner

Who "Made" Abe Declare Thanksgiving?

It turns out, her name was Sarah Josepha Hale who led the effort to gave Thanksgiving declared a national holiday. She also wrote the lyrics for "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and was involved in a myriad of other feminist causes.

She led a very interesting life when the opportunities for women were very limited from 1788 to the latter part of the 1800s.

To find out more, look at the November 3rd entry at:

This is One Interesting Lady. --B-R