The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wil King Memorial Site

In the last entry, I read about the Wil King Memorial Site and was wondering about it. Did a search and found out.

This is dedicated to Wilbur King III who died at a young age after displaying outstanding service, dedication and leadership in his quest to preserve Lenoir County's Civil War battlefields. He spend long hours exploring and diving in the Neuse River looking for the cannons of long-gone Camp Poole. In addition, he initiated the first official mapping of the battlefields.

The Historical Preservation Group has erected an impressive memorial in his honor.

Dr. Lonnie Blizzard has written an extensive account of the battle. You can see it and a other information at .

To go direct to a picture of the Wil King Memorial and read about him go to

Again, I Am Impressed. --Da Runner

First Battle of Kinston-- Part 2


On Dec. 14th Union artillery opened fire and Federal forces advanced causing the outnumbered Confederates to fall back across the bridge which was then set afire. About 400 Confederates on the right flank didn't get the word to fall back and found themselves stranded and were either captured or killed.

Union forces put out the fire and entered Kinston where they spent the night raiding homes for food and valuables. They left on the 15th and headed for Goldsboro.

Much of the battlefield has since been paved over, but the Battlefields Commission is working to preserve what remains. There are about seven Civil War Trails located around Kinston, probably one for every battle name in the second battle.

Many of the original defensive works remain in nearby woods. The Historical Preservation Group leases a parcel of land where the Wil King Memorial Site now is located. They have another 100 acres along Measley Road where a battle re-enactment was held in March of 2006 which attracted 6,000 to 6,500 people.

Blizzard said, "You preserve what you can, and you tell the story and interpret that and do the best you can."

Congratulations to Kinston for Doing Such a Great Job with Its Heritage. --The Old Blockade-Runner

It Was 2,000 Confederates Vs 12,000 Federals-- First Batle of Kinston

There sure was lots and lots of Civil War stuff going on around Kinston and Lenoir County this past December. Here's another story.

From the December 13, 2007, Kinston Free Press. A memorial service was held for the First battle of Kinston, not Wyse Fork, where 2000 Confederates fought more of a delaying fight against an overwhelming Union force of 12,000.

Local historian Dr. Lonnie Blizzard has spent many years studying the battle.

This first Battle of Kinston was fought in connection with Union General Foster's campaign to destroy the Goldsboro railroad bridge and sever the Wilmington & Weldon RR. Kinston was the front-line defense to protect NC's interior from Federal incursions.

A force of 2000 Confederates under Gen. Nathan Evans defended earthworks located at Southwest Creek at Woodington. The overpowered Confederate repeatedly fell back and dug in until they reached the inner defense line along present-day US-70. According to Blizzard, "General Evans never said he was retreating. He just pulled back and made another stand."

Part 2 coming.

Battle of Wyse Fork-- Battle of Many, Many Names

In the last post, the one man said his ancestor had fought at the Battle of Wyse Fork which lasted four days. That's a pretty long time for a battle to be waged. Plus, I have to admit, I had never heard of it.

Time for some research.

This battle may very-well hold the record for the battle with the most names.

In addition to Wyse Fork, it is also called Wilcox's Bridge, Wise's Fork, Second Battle of Kinston, Second Southwest Creek, and Kelly's Mill Pond. About 20,000 troops were involved (Union 12,000, Confederate 8,500) and estimated casualties were 1,101 for the North and 1,500 for the South. That's a pretty big battle.

It's Preservation Priority is II.4 (Class D)-- whatever this means.

Sure Didn't Know This. -- Old Blockade-R'er

Friday, February 22, 2008

Confederate Monument Rededicated in Kinston, NC

The Dec. 16, 2007, Kinston Free Press reported that the 1924 Confederate monument that was presented by the United Daughters of the Confederacy was rededicated Dec. 15th on the hill at the Kinston-Lenoir County Visitors and Information Center.

Said Charles Broadway of Kinston, "It is nice to see the Confederate soldier once again recognized. We are here to honor the soldier for what he fought for." His great-great-grandfather fought at the Battle of Wyse Fork which ended March 10, 1865 after 4 days of fighting. Jesse Broadway was a private in the 67th NC.

Worth Mason of Beaufort said his ancestors were in the 10th NC, 1st F & G at both the First and Second Battles of Kinston.

The monument now stands about 400 yards north of Confederate defensive works which are still visible. Originally, it was on Queen Street, then in the late 1930s, it was moved to Queen Street and Highland Avenue. In the mid 70s, it was moved to the CSS Neuse Memorial Park at Vernon Avenue. This past July, the much-traveled monument was moved to its current site at US-70 E and US-258 S.

Hopefully, This Will Be the Last Time it is Moved. --Old B-Runner.

Two More Civil War Trails Markers in Lenoir County

The Dec. 17, 2007 Kinston Free Press claims that Lenoir County has the largest number of Civil War markers in the state of NC. Two more were erected to mark the first Battle of Kinston.

Mitch Bowman, Executive Director of the Civil War Trails program spoke at the dedication. Civil War Trail markers have a distinctive bugle and include maps, graphics and text describing local events at the exact spot they took place or close by.

One is at the Visitors and Information Center and one is at Harriet's Chapel which played a key role in the First Battle of Kinston.

The state covers 80% of the cost and locals 20%.

The Visitors Center is at the intersection of US-70 East and US-258 South.

Nothing Like a Little "History on a Stick." --B-R'er

Early Abraham Lincoln in Illinois-- Lincoln's Duel

According to the December 16, 2007 Belleville, Il. News Democrat, Abraham Lincoln visited Belleville three times, twice in 1840 and once in 1856.

The Lincoln Log, which is on the internet, has a day-by-day chronology of Lincoln's life.

On April 11, 1840, he was there for a third term as state legislator and 300 people turned out for his speech. He returned in August to whip up support for William Henry Harrison's presidential bid.

Lincoln's Duel

There is a story about a duel between Lincoln and Illinois State Auditor James Shields. Lincoln had been writing letters to the Sangamon Journal blasting Shields. Shields found out about it and demanded satisfaction-- a duel. It was decided to use large cavalry swords.

On September 22, 1842, the every one rowed out to an island in the Mississippi River since duelling was illegal in Illinois. Lincoln and Shields went out to a field. No other people accompanied them.

Lincoln, at 6'4" cut off a branch way above Shields' head who realized Lincoln's long reach would decide the duel and called it off.

The two then played a trick on the crowd and put a shirt on a log and one woman reportedly fainted.

From then on, Shields and Lincoln were civil toward one another. During the Civil War, Shields became a Union brigadier general.

Oh, That Abe!! --Old Blockade-Runner

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mystery of Who is in Grave No. 4824 Solved

Let's just say the South finally won one.

The Feb. 14th Petersburg Progress-Index reported on the outcome of a mock-trial held at the historic Dinwiddie Court House.

For the last several years there has been controversy as to whether the occupant of Grave # 4824 was Union Sgt. J. Richie of Co. H, 14th NY, US, or Sgt. Ivy Ritchie of Co. H, 14th NC, CS.

The Ivy Ritchie Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in North Carolina, claimed that he was incorrectly buried among the 4,110 boys in blue at the Poplar Grove National Cemetery because of a clerical error. They wanted his body moved out of there but that was refused. Instead, a marker will be placed at the grave indication who he actually was.

The SCV camp, the largest in NC, produced records showing Ivy Ritchie actually existed and that he fought at Appomattox Courthouse where the body was found, and that he was the last soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia to lose his life.

His brother Marvel Ritchie identified his older brother's body. However, in Marvel's writing, the "I"s and "J"s look alike. Also, there wasn't even a Co. H in the 14th NY.

Both sides pleaded their cases before a panel of three judges who ruled with the SCV.

But Now, he Still Has to be With the Yankees. You'd Figure 143 years Was Enough. --The Old Blockade-Runner

Who Was the USS G. W. Rodgers Named After?

It was named for George Washington Rodgers who was born Oct. 20, 1822. Before the Civil War, he served as an officer in several different squadrons operating in foreign waters.

In 1861, he was commandant of the midshipmen at the US Naval Academy at Anapolis when it was moved to Rhode Island for the duration of the war. Annapolis was deemed to be too close to Confederate territory.

In July, 1862 he was promoted to commander and took command of the USS Catskill, a single-turreted US monitor in 1863.

He commanded her during the furious July 10, 1863, naval bombardment of Morris Island, SC, in which Confederate fire struck his ship more than 60 times and pierced the deck in several places.

In an attack on Fort Wagner on July 20th, a Confederate shell struck the top of the pilot house killing Rodgers instantly. He was the only officer to lose his life on board a monitor due to Confederate gunfire.

USS Shark

While doing an entry on another blog about two cannons from the USS Shark, which sank in 1846, washing ashore last weekend at Cannon Beach, Oregon, I looked up USS Shark in wikipedia.

There was a Civil War USS Shark, so here goes.

The Second USS Shark was originally a Confederate blockade running schooner named tthe Shark, Hey, Blockade Running, I Like That!!! It was captured by the US Navy and eventually renamed the USS George W. Rodgers.

Initially, it was intended to be used as part of the Great Stone Fleet which was sunk off Charleston Harbor, SC, to seal it, but it was decided to retain it for picket duty.

It was originally captured by the USS South Carolina while trying to run the blockade by Galveston, Texas. on July 4, 1861. It was later sold to a private owner and later chartered by the US Navy under a civilian master. From 1862-1863 it served as a dispatch ship for the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

The US Navy took it over in 1863 to be sunk off Charleston Harbor, but plans changed. It was sold in 1865.

I Can Defuse that Civil War Shell-- NOT

What was it that mother used to say, "Don't go into the water right after eating. Don't make faces at your sister or it will stick. And Don't mess around with any Civil War shells you find."

Well, Samuel L. White did not pay attention, and he is dead because of it. The Feb. 20th NY Times reports that his body was found in his backyard after an explosion in the Richmond, Virginia area.

A large piece of ordnance flew through the front porch of a house a quarter mile away and 20-30 nearby homes were evacuated.

Mr. White was a Civil War dealer who claims to have cleaned and disarmed about 500 artillery projectiles. His website

A sampling of what he offered:

Confederate 12 pound ball for $275
24 pound solid shot projectile from the Petersburg area
Confederate artillery fuses for $65 to $195 each.

It's That 501st One You Gotta Watch Out For. --Da Old B-R'er

Ship Island Lighthouse

Hurricane Katrina also destroyed the Fourth Order Fresnel lens at the Ship Island Lighthouse which is currently being rebuilt. Ship Island is located twelve miles off the Mississippi Gulf coast.

Some History:

1852-- lighthouse completed and put into service

Jan. 1861-- Confederate forces seized island and all facilities on it

Sep. 1861-- island retaken by Federal forces and became hq for the Gulf Blockading Squadron. Confederate forces burned the interior of the lighthouse and removed the Frensel lens before departing.

Nov. 1862-- lighthouse repaired and returned to service

1886-- old tower and keeper's dwelling condemned and new ones built

1901-- old tower had fallen into the Gulf of Mexico

That Should Shed Some Light on the Subject. --Old Blockade-Runner

Running the Blockade-- Olustee-- 145th Gettysburg Re-enactment-- US Colored Troops-- Gen.Paxton, CSA

Running the Blockade Some Civil War items I've come across of late.

1. Battle of Olustee Re-enactment-- Crowds described as huge attended the re-enactment of the Battle of Olustee, Florida by more than 2000 re-enactors.

2. 145th Anniversary Battle of Gettysburg-- The re-enactment will be held July 4-6. Already, 100 cannon and 400 mounted cavalry have signed up to attend. On the Thursday before, Jeb Stuart's ride from Union Mills to Hanover will be recreated.

Between 10,000 and 15,000 reenactors are expected for the three days of the event which is held every five years. The battle will be recreated at the Redding Farm north of Gettysburg.

It will cost you $57 to attend all three days. Lower field bleachers cost an extra $30 for the three days and Grandstand tickets are an extra $39.

One feature thius year will be a huge commemorative artiller barrage

3. Descendants of US Colored Troops-- The Wilmington, NC, Cameron Art Museum is looking for descendants of the Civil War US Colored Troops for the February 22-24th Living History Weekend. More than 200,000 black soldiers served in the Union Army and more than 20 were awarded the Medal of Honor for their service.

4. General E.F. Paxton, Stonewall Brigade-- The Feb. 18th Rockbridge, Va, Weekly reports that members of the Stonewall Brigade attended the quarterly program of the Paxton House Historical Society program on Jan. 29th. They were in Confederate attire.

The Paxton House is where Confederate Brigadier General Elisha Franklin "Bull" Paxton lived while growing up before moving to Lexington after marriage. He became a lawyer there and friend of Stonewall Jackson.

He was appointed by Jackson to lead the Stonewall brigade after Jackson became a corps commander.

Unfortunately, Gen. Paxton was killed May 3, 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville while leading his command. There is a marker commemorating him on the battlefield.

Just Some News. --The Old B-Rer

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Battle of Tranter's Creek-- Part 3

I looked up Tranter's Creek in John G. Barrett's "The Civil War in North Carolina" and found information on pages 125-126.

In it, Barrett says it was somewhat larger than a skirmish. When Union commander Colonel E. E. Potter at Washington, NC, received word in late May that Col. Singletary and the 44th NC had taken position at Pactolus, 12 miles away, he became fearful that an attack would be made on Washington because the Confederate officer "was a reckless man who would not likely be restrained by prudential considerations." What he meant by this is anybody's guess.

He sent the 24th Massachusetts under Lt. Col. F. A. Osborn to confront the Confederates. After a march in hot conditions on June 5th, the Union forces arrived at "Myers or Crime's Mill" over Tranter's Creek. The mill consisted of three buildings, about thirty feet apart. The bridge ran through these buildings.

A barricade had been built on the opposite side and Col. Singletary and his 400 men poured a steady fire into the Federals. Unable to force the bridge, Col. Osborn called up his artillery, shelling the Carolinians and killing Singletary. After his death, the Confederates withdrew. The Union forces loaded their dead and returned to Washington.

Barrett included a picture of the battle from Harper's Weekly.

Definitely More Than I Ever Thought I'd Know About this Battle. Da Ol' Coot

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Battle of Tranter's Creek, NC-- June 5, 1862

The article didn't have much on the battle so I went to Wikipedia and found the folowing information:

On June 5th, the Union commander at Washinton, NC, ordered a reconnaissance in force. The 24th Massachusetts advanced to a bridge over Tranter's Creek where they were met by the 44th NC under Lt. Col. Singletary.

They were unable to cross it and commenced firing artillery at the mill buildings. After Singletary was killed, his forces retreated, but the Union forces returned to Washington.

Casualties on both sides were estimated at 40. About 1500 soldiers were involved on both sides.

Not a Really Big Battle, but of Interest to Tarheels Like Me. --Old B'R'er

Battle of Tranter's Creek, NC

The Dec. 19, 2007, Greenville Daily Reflector had an article about the placement of a historical marker for the June 5, 1862 Battle of Tranter's Creek.

Mickey Harns, the president of the Pitt County Civil War Trails Council said it was one of the most significant battles in the state and part of General Burnside's expedition.

The 1500 soldiers involved was by far the largest fight in Pitt and Beaufort counties.

Lt. Col. George B. Singletory, a lawyer from Pitt County was killed.

The marker is placed just inside the Beaufort County line on US-264 near the Shutter Factory and Paint Productions, Inc. and cost $1500. The cost was shared by the Pitt County Civil War Trails Council and the Washington, NC, Visitors Bureau.

There are four Civil War markers in Beaufort County, with the other three being in Washington, NC.

There are also four in Pitt County at Black Jack, Grifton, Falkland, and Greenville.

All of these have been paid for by private donations.

The Civil war Trails Program began in Richmond, Va., 13 years ago and has expanded to NC, W. Va, and Maryland. So far, 750 sites have been marked with 200 in NC.

Let the Folks Know with History ion a Stick. --RoadDog

Some More on Confederate Fort Huger

1. The fort was built by some 1000 slaves and free blacks in 1861. It took ten months to build and was captured 10 months later. I'm not sure if this means it was captured about the same time as they completed the fort or not.

2. I wasn't able to find much information about the fort on the internet or in books.

3. Perhaps the fort was named after Thomas B. Huger, CSN who had served in the US Navy for 20 years before the war. He commanded a battery at Morris Island in Charleston Harbor, SC, in 1861 and was on the CSS McRae in New Orleans' defense. He was motrally wounded on April 24,1862.

4. There was also a Confederate general by the same name.

Who Was the Fort Named After. --B-R'er

Old Confederate Fort to Become a Park

The December 13th, 2007, Daily Press of Virginia reports that on a densely-wooded bluff at the very northern tip of Isle of Wight County there sits a largely-forgotten old Confederate fort. It was built to protect Richmond from Union incursions along the James River and was the scene of action during the Peninsular Campaign.

Fort Huger (pronounced Hu-gee, U-ghay, u-Gee, or even Hugger depending upon who you ask) was assaulted by Union vessels May 8, 1862 and withstood three more attacks before being captured after its cannons spiked. Some say that the USS Monitor took part in the attack. It's captured opened the James River for 50 miles.

For many years, it overlooked the US Maritime Ghost Fleet (Liberty Ships?).

It was thought that Fort Huger had been lost to the James River, but the development of the 155 lot Lawnes Point Subdivision rediscovered the fort in 2004. In exchange for a go-ahead to build, the developer donated the fort's property to the county which spent nearly a million dollars on the development of the park.

The fort's original construction involved the use of both free black and slave labor and started in August 1861. Fourteen interpretive signs have been placed inside the park. Its remoteness has caused the fort to be remarkably preserved, something that can not be said for much of the area around Richmond.

There are the remains of the shell house where ammunition was stored. There are also the remnants of the shot furnace where projectiles were heated to set fire to Union ships on contact and bombproofs where the garrison would stay during bombardments.

Great to Hear This Bit of Preservation. --The Old Blockade-Runner

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Living History Event at Fort Anderson this Weekend

It seems that a lot of Civil War activity has been going on around Wilmington, NC, of late.

This weekend, a part of the Battle of Fort Anderson is being re-enacted. This was a battle that occurred as the Union Army continued its drive against Wilmington after the fall of Fort Fisher January 15, 1865.

Visitors can learn a lot about Fort Anderson at the Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Museum, but this weekend, they can also relive those events 143 years ago with musket fire, cannons, and campgrounds.

Leland Smith and Chris Fonvielle, authir of Fort Anderson: The Battle of Wilmington have compiled a list of three things you don't know about Fort Anderson.

1. Fort Anderson's main weapons-- were not its cannons, which were fairly antiquated. The main river thing the fort protected were the underwater torpedoes which were more like today's mines.

2. If you truly want to understand Fort Fisher-- go to Fort Anderson. The site is almost fully intact whereas Fort Fisher is almost 80% gone thanks to the ocean. Fort Fisher's Col. Lamb had much to do with the design of both forts.

3. The First Battle of the Bands-- Chris Fonvielle, while researching his book found a report in a New York paper that the band of the 104th Ohio began playing patriotic songs during the night before the assault. The band of the 25th SC regiment replied in kind.

I Live Just Too Far Away. --B-R'er

Friday, February 15, 2008

Confederate Shell on USS Georgia

The 560 foot long submarine USS Georgia has just completed a billion dollar, two-year overhaul to change it from a ballistic missile sub to a guided missile one. There will be a week's worth of return to duty ceremonies ending March 28th. The Georgia is the only commissioned US ship named for a state that is actually homeported in the same state it is named for.

The very first warship with the name Georgia was a Confederate ironclad and the current USS Georgia carries a shell from the Confederate vessel.

The very first USS Georgia BB-15 was a battleship from 1906-1920 and was part of Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet that sailed around trhe world to show America's coming of age from 1906-1909.

US Ship with a Confederate Shell. How Interesting. --Old B-r'er

Big Sand Fort-- More People-- Oregon Visit

News of Fort Fisher, NC.

1. Attendance at Fort Fisher State Park was up 37% in 2007. It is the beach by the Fort Fisher State Historic Site. Hopefully, some of those new people also took the time to visit the fort's museum and site. And Not just to change or use the bathroom.

The thought is that the current drought led to the increase or possibly gas porices made people seek out free places more. Either way, it's good to see this increase.

2. Bloggers from Oregon Visited and were impressed. They even saw a red fox slink across the road. They also had pictures and visited the USS North Carolina. I believe they were impressed with the Wilmington area.

Love That Old Fort. --Da Old Blockade-Runner

Monday, February 11, 2008

"I Was Born on Groundhog Day and Have Been Trying to Hibernate Ever Since."-- Robert Harrill, the Fort Fisher Hermit

The February 2nd Wilmington Star News ran an article to observe the Feb. 2, 1893, birthday of Fort Fisher, North Carolina's famous hermit, Robert E. Harrill.

He is buried in the 217 year-old Newton Graveyard, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 because of efforts by the families of many early Wilmington captains and pilots who are buried there. The cemetery is located off River Road. I'll have to check it out the next time I'm in Wilmington.

His granite stone reads "Robert E. Harrill The Fort Fisher Hermit. He Made People Think. Feb. 2, 1893-June 4, 1976." His death is surrounded by a lot of mystery.

He lived for many years in an old WWII bunker at Fort Fisher and had a hard life with a bad marriage and a son who committed suicide. His grave is outlined in shells.

He even has a blog:

I was fortunate enough to get to see him holding court several times in my youth. I don't ever remember seeing less than eight to twenty people listening to his stories. He was quite the tourist attraction. There was also the ever-present tip collectin box.

"Fort Fisher Hermit not forgotten, buried in 217 year old Newton Graveyard" by Amy Hotz.

Quite the Character. --Blockade-Runner

Running the Blockade-- Rebel Flags at Polling Place in Delaware!!-- Trial Set for Alabama Vandals-- Battle of Velverde Reenactment-- New SCV Camp

Running the Blockade-- The Civil War Today

1. Voter Bothered by Rebel Flag at Delaware Polling Place-- A voter in last Tuesday's New Hampshire primary was offended by a Confederate flag hanging from a truck bay at the Roxana Volunteer Fire Co.'s Station 2 in Sussex County. It was taken down after the complaint was registered. Only the US, Delaware, and polling place flags are allowed to be flown at voting sites in Delaware.

2. Trial for three Teenagers Set in Alabama-- An April 10th trial date has been set for the three Alabama teenagers accused of defacing the Confederate monument of the capitol grounds in Montgomery. They will be charged with first degree criminal mischief. They are all 17, so their names have not been released because of their age.

Montgomery attorney Richard Keith considers it as a teenage prank saying they were good kids from good families. Community service, restitution, and an apology are in order.

I can go with that punishment, but also think they should also have to take a course in Confederate history or perhaps have to attend a Civil War reenactment with Confederates. The boys, who are white, need a refresher on their heritage.

3. Battle of Velverde, NM Reenactment-- In February, 1862, 2,600 Texans invaded the Rio Grande Valley in NM. They captured Union Fort Craig on Feb. 16th and the Battle of Velverde was fought Feb. 21st. This Feb. 23rd, there will be a reenactment of the battle.

4. New SCV Camp in Kentucky-- The Confederation grows stronger as 15 men attended the organizational meeting at the Princeton, Ky, Public Library on Jan. 31st.

It was attended by Dr. Tom Hiter, the Sons of Confederate Veterans Kentucky Division commander.

At one time, Caldwell County, where Princeton is located, had a United Confederate Veterans chapter called the Jim Perace Camp. Its original banner was displayed at the event.

Still Running that Blockade. --The Old B-R'er.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Don't Think This Guy Much Likes Confederates

Let's file this under The War Goes On.

Dave Kampf in an entry dated January 31st at wrote that he had recently had an article published in the Daily Colonial about "Treason Highway." which is his name for the Jefferson Davis Highway.

He says, "The thought of having to drive my car over his highway rather than his decrepid corpse is enough to make me want to vomit."

"The Jefferson Davis Highway should be renamed immediately and not by the federal government, which already has renamed it US-1, but by the State of Virginia and the District of Columbia, both of whom preserve the original name on street signs. Until then, I shall refer to it only as the Treason Highway. I hope you do too, lest we forget the ugliness of Jefferson Davis and the brutality, racism, and sedition that composes his legacy."

He said he had received some feedback from people who did not agree with him. Imagine that?

One thing, the US government changed the names of all pre-1928 to numbers as part of an effort to alleviate confusion with the rise in automobiles. There is a similar controversy out in Oregon over a Jefferson Davis Highway in that state.

Perhaps We Ought to Take Dave Off the Invite List for Next Year's Lee-Jackson Dinner. --The Old Blockade-Runner

Big Fort Fisher/Wilmington Re-enactment Planned

The Jan. 30th Wilmington Cape Fear Coast website gave information about the 143rd anniversary Battle of Forks Road, an important skirmish that preceded the fall of Wilmington, NC, to Union forces.

The re-enactment will be held February 22-24th and is part of the third annual Civil War Living History Weekend sponsored by the Cameron Art Museum.

The actual battle took place on Feb. 20, 1865 when Confederate General Robert Hoke made a last stand to stop the Union advance on Wilmington. This advance consisted largely of black troops, referred to back then as US Colored Troops.

Living history will be re-enacted. There will be lectures and the Fourth Annual US Colored Troops Symposium. Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr, a UNCW history professor and author will discuss the fall of Wilmington and the Battle of Forks Road.

Professor William B. Gould, IV, of Stanford Law School will present his book Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Soldier, a rare diary written by Gould's great-grandfather. This is the only-known diary of a black soldier who was formerly a slave.

Looks Like a Very Interesting Day if You Live in the Area. --The Old B-R'er.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Where's Sam?

Everyone knows Sam is buried somewhere in Frankfort, Illinois, but just exactly where is a big question. The remains might be in Vern Harvey's yard, it might be under a strip mall, or perhaps someone planting bushes at one of the many new subdivisions might come across some old horse bones. But, any way, the whereabouts of General Sherman's horse Sam has become somewhat of a topic of discussion in this village of 16,500 about 20 miles southwest of Chicago.

Hey, it might even be under the Lincoln Highway, present-day US-30.

What is known is that Sam "retired" from service sometime around 1870 and lived out his years on a farm in Frankfort.

Vern Harvey thinks Sam's final resting place just might be at his 1870s era farm. It is thought that Sam died around 1874. The problem is that most of the farm's original 400 acres have been sold to development.

His final resting place may be a mystery, but his life is well-known. According to the article, Sam was "a dark-chestnut-colored, half-thoroughbred bay, the animal stood about five feet four inches from hoof to withers, weighed about 1000 pounds and was famed for its strength."

"Sherman acquired the horse after the Battle of Shiloh, when his previous mount was shot. Over the war's course, Sam was wounded several times but was said to be 'as calm and steady as his master, evening during the chaos of battle."

It is believed that Sam carried Sherman on his infamous March to the Sea and the Carolinas campaigns at the end of the war.

Sam was later sent to live out his days at the farm of William Sanger, a friend of Sherman's.

In the following years after his arrival, Sam was a regular presence in the village. The Sanger grandchildren often rode him to town.

On his death in 1874, he was buried near a grove of oak trees near the Sanger home.

Over the years, Sam's memory faded and was all but forgotten until 2004 when a group of local
organizations commissioned a metal sculpture of Sam, Sherman, and two Sanger grandchildren and placed it near downtown.

January 31, 2008 Chicago Tribune "The mystery trailing Gen. Sherman's horse" byColleen Mastony.

Running the Blockade--The Drunk Driver-- Lee/Jackson Dinner--Monitor Launch-- Cavalry Re-enactment

Running the Blockade-- Civil War News

1. The Drunk Driver Showed no Respect to Confederate Dead-- The Jan. 28th Fredericksburg, Texas, Free Lance Star reports that a man was charged with drunk driving after crashing into the wall of the city's Confederate cemetery. Casey Theodore Kearns lost control of his vehicle at 1 am and knocked down an eight foot stretch and causing $10,000 in damage. Wonder what he was doing at that late time?

This is the tenth time in the last 24 years the cemetery has been hit. Community service should be tospend hours cleaning the cemetery.

2. Savannah Lee-Jackson Dinner-- The Jan. 28th Savannah Morning News reported that 150 attended the annual Lee-Jackson dinner hosted by the Camp Davis 2703 Guyton SCV camp.

3. USS Monitor Launch Anniversary-- On January 30, 1862, the launching of the USS Monitor, the first turreted vessel in naval history, occurred. Considering the momentous battle with the CSS Virginia took place just a little over a month later, it came just in the knick of time.

4. Cavalry Re-enactment in Hanover, Pa.-- From the Jan. 25th Evening Sun serving Gettysburg and Hanover, Pa.-- Sharon Dheppard is proceeding with plans to bring more than 200 cavalry re-enactors to her property in July in a recreatin of JEB Stuart's ride to gettysburg.

Plans call for them to leave Union Mills at 9 am and travel as much of the original route as possible.

The article didn't mention which side would be making the ride, but I imagine it would be Confederate.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dire Straits for Alabama Confederate Flags

The February 5th Montgomery, Alabama, Advertiser reports that the Alabama Department of Archives currently has more than 90, mostly Confederate flags and most in serious need of repair.

"Many of these flags are in need of repair because of bullet holes, burn marks from cannon shot, the bloody men who carried them, and over 140 years' worth of age and handling," said Bob Bradley, the chief curator.

Fourteen have been restored. On Monday, a $6,000 donation was made by the Alabama Division SCV which has over 2000 members. This will cover preservation work on one flag.

I certainly hope that they intend to leave the bullet holes, burns, and blood. Those are hard-earned badges of honor. The way the curator put it was a bit confusing.

Save Those Old Flags. --The Old B-Runner

Running the Blockade-- 27th US Colored Troops-- CW Auction-- Sauk Valley, Wi-- Union Soldiers in Key West--

Some recent tidbits of Civil War News.

1. New Blog- 27th US Colored Troops-- I came across a new blog that may prove to be of interest. Kelly D. Selby has one for the 27th US Colored Troops who took part in both battles of Fort Fisher. There are also some links to other Colored Troops sites.

2. In Case You Haven't Spent All Your Dough Filling Up Your Gas Tank-- Looks like some neat Civil War to be auctioned off in Atlanta by Gallery 63 on February 10. It is the collection of an individual who spent the better part of his life amassing it.

a silk Confederate battle flag framed and very-well preserved
a rare and original Frank Wesson rifle before he teamed up with Smith for you-know-what
1807 Harper's ferry flintlock pistol-one of only 50 known to exist
OK, it's not Civil War... but. also, a signed pencil sketch by old "American Gothic" himself, Grant Wood.

3. Wonder If This Will be a Union or Confederate Soldier-- Sauk City, Wisconsin, a short distance from Madison, is looking into building a Civil War monument.

Many Wisconsin regiments gathered here before marching to Madison where they boarded trains to take them to war.

There are four proposals. Estimates are from $25,000 to $75,000. All money will come from private donations and fundraising.

4. Yankees in the Keys...And After Mardi Gras!!!!-- I imagine the good folks in Key West are presently recovering from yesterday's Mardi Gras celebrations, but they'd better hurry up because this weekend, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Site will be hosting a re-enactment. Noisy battles will be staged in schooners and their will be a trial for blockade running. This old b-r'er better not step out of Sloppy Joe's. I don't want to be escorted out to Fort Jefferson.

Supposedly, the port of Key West and Fort Taylor were the only ones to remain in Union hands throughout the Civil War. However, I thought Pensacola and forts there stayed under Union control as well.

Laying Low and Watching for Blockaders. --The Old Blockade-Runner