The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fort Fisher in the News

Of all the Civil War sites, none is more important to me than Fort Fisher, NC. This is where I got interested in the Civil War and, from there, history in general.

1. Carolina Beach Today Blog has recently featured an aeriel view of the remains of the fort and period photos as well as a short history of it.

Also, a good site when you get those beach yearnings.

2. The Visit North Carolina site reports that if you want to see the cannons of Fort Fisher fired, you'd better get there soon as the guns go silent September 9th. Right now, you will see folks in period attire doing the duty.

Da Fort, Da Fort. --The Old B-R

Brother Vs. Brother, Lethal Gas and Greek Fire, Prison Camps in Maryland

The August 27th Hometown Annapolis website had a review on Richard P. Cox's new book "Civil War Maryland: Stories from the Old State Line" which consistes of 16 essays.

One deals with Maryland being both a Confederate and Union state with troops fighting on both sides.

Another essay deals with Franklin Buchanan, a native of Maryland and first superintendent of the US Naval Academy. He was commanding the CSS Virginia when it attacked and shelled the USS Congress, even though he knew his brother McKean Buchanan was the ship's paymaster.

Another one was on inventor Richard Sears McCulloch, who invented a lethal gas and Greek Fire for the Confederacy. Liquid fire could ignaite without a spark or detonation and it was proposed to use it on the floor of the US House of representatives.

Also, there was a Camp Parole near US-50 in Annapolis, where Confederate soldiers were pardoned in the early part of the war. Of interest, one general equalled 46 privates and a captain was 6 privates.

Thgen, there was the prison camp at Point Lookout, eswtablished 1863, where many Confederates died.

Sounds Like an Interesting Book. -Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cantrells in 7th Confederate Cavalry Battalion

Continuing with Confederate veteran William Cantrell, whose former wife just died this month.

After French's Battalion was exchanged and released from prison, much of it became the 7th Confederate Cavalry Battalion. This was also called Prentice's Battalion.

There were eight Cantrells listed on the roster at one time or another. This is what it said for William. He was in Co. B, previously Co. C, 5th VSL and Co. A French's Battalion Virginia Infantry.

Became a POW at Piketon, Kentucky April 15, 1863. He was paroled and exchanged.

At the time of entering service, he was 16, 5'4", dark eyes, fair hair, fair complexion. The 1860 Wise County, Virginia census listed him at age 13.


Possibly, some of these might have been kinfolk.

ABRAHAM C. CANTRELL-- 24 in 1860 census. The rest of his information was the same as William. In addition, it says that he was captured again at Gladeville, Virginia, July 7, 1863and sent to Camp Chase then to Camp Douglas in Chicago on August 24, 1863. There is no record of his death or release from there.

ABRAHAM CANTRELL-- everything the same as ABRAHAM C. Perhaps same person.

JAMES CANTRELL-- reside Wise County


JOHN CANTRELL-- perhaps same person as the other JOHN.



Very likely, WILLIAM CANTRELL was at Second Gladevile Raid where some of the 7th was captured. Reports say the Union captured 18 officers and 99 enlisted men there.

Digging a Bit Deeper. --Old B-R'er

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Second Battle of the CSS Hunley

The August 23rd Charleston (SC) Post and Courier reports that Clive Cussler has dropped his court case over who found the Hunley. He says that by nature he isn't litigious.It was against Edward Lee Spence who claims he found it years earlier than Cussler did in 1995.

The suit was filed in 2001 to stop Spence from going around and telling everyone that he he had found it first.

Cussler found the Confederate submarine in 1995. Spence says he found it in 1970 while trying to free a fish trap off the side of a friend's boat, but didn't announce it until 1975.

Spence has a countersuit, seeking between $100,000 and $309 million for damages.

There were some interesting comments to the article.

Auger said many knew something was down there. He had fished, anchored and played on it for a long time, but "didn't know what the 'bump' at the bottom really was."

Spence had a lot of comments, calling himself HunleyFinder. It doesn't appear he is interested in giving up.

In 7 posts, he says that he had written three books in 1976, 1985, and 1990 about the discovery. In the last oine, he had a map and an "X" where Cussler found the Hunley.

Further, he says that in 1976 the wreck was nominated for the National register of Historic Places using his 1970 discovery and a 1974 map of the location that he provided.

There is a Wikipedia entry on Spence that is an interesting read.

My big question is why Spence didn't push his find more than he did? The Hunley's location has been a big question ever since it sank. However, with copies of the books on the subject as Spence claims, it shouldn't be too hard to prove or disprove his efforts.

Who Found It, That is the Question. --Old B-R'er

Stonewall Jackson College Loan Questioned

According to WSFA 12 News, black lawmakers are questioning a Confederate college loan program set up back in 1955 with a $20,000 appropriation by the Alabama legislature.

Each year, the Stonewall Jackson memorial Fund awards a $1000 loan was to a student attending college. This year, it was raised to $2000.

State Representative Alvin Holmes says the state shouldn't be spending money on any Confederate leader who fought to maintain slavery.

So, Will This Attack on Any and All Things Confederate Ever Cease? --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bushnell's Role with the USS Monitor

I came across an entry in the Connecticut Travel Blog about the Allis-Bushnell home in Madison which was built around 1785. It was once the home of Cornelius Scranton Bushnell who was a railroad wxwcutive andshipbuilder. It said he had a lot to do with the USS Monitor.

I've never heard of him or this connection. Unfortunately, the blog entry onlt talked about the Monitor and said nothing about his connection.

Using good old Wikipedia, I found out what it was. At the outbreak of the war, Bushnell was in DC and volunteered to serve with a militia unit to protect the capital.

When word reached of the Confederates converting the Merrimack into an ironclad, Washington got into a tizzy. Bushnell and a group of others came up with a design that later became the ironclad USS Galena. Concerned about the vessel's stability, Bushnell visited Catain John Ericsson who was working on his own design. Upon seeing the low-slung ironclad with a revolving turret, Bushnell was so impressed he returned to DC and pitched it to the Navy and within a short eight days it was accepted.

Work on the vessel was rushed, and, as we know, it got to Hampton Roads just in time to save the day.

Good Thing for the Union. --Old B-R

Friday, August 22, 2008

Civil War Stamps-- Part 2

Continuing with the brochure.

As I mentioned, this series features every Civil War stamp ever issued, including the entire Centennial series and a special 20-stamp issue from 1995. Each stamp is in mint condition.

There was a 3 cent 1749 Washington and Lee University stamp. Probably a bicentennial as the first date was 1749 but last date was covered.

Also, a 4 cent Lee-Jackson stamp with a picture of Stratford Hall, Lee's birthplace.

A 4 cent Fort Sumter 1861-1961 centennial stamp.

A 5 cent Appomattox Civil War Centennial 1865-1965 stamp with a shadow of a soldier with stacked rifles and the words "WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE..." Considering the amount of hatred displayed in battles, the aftermath of the war was suprisingly peaceful as far as the soldiers on both sides.

The "Stonewall" Jackson 32 cent stamp was issued June 29, 1995 in Gettysburg, Pa. Of interest, and something I didn't know, at the First Battle of Bull Run he was wearing his blue US Army uniform. Gray was not the standardized Confederate uniform in the early months of the war.

So, you get the Civil War stamps along with a history of US postal increases with this set.

What Will Postage Increase to Next? When Will It Break the Dollar Mark? --Old B-Runner

Civil War Stamps Collection

I received an interesting brochure from the US Post Office concerning a Civil War stamp collection. It featues a notebook in which you can place pages as you get them. Each page has a Mort Kunstler print, a blurb, and an authentic stamp.

Being retired and cutting back, I'm not buying it, but sure would like to do so. Anyway, I enjoyed reading the brochure and looking at the prints and stamps.

There was a 3 cent Final Encampment of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic), the main Union veterans group. There was also a 3 cent Final Reunion- United Confederate Veterans issued May 30, 1951 at Norfolk, Virginia. Interestingly enough, both the UCV and GAR featured the same picture of a young man and old man. Only the GAR one was in red and the insignia on the cap was GAR. The UCV was gray and either UCV or CSA on the insignia. I couldn't tell. The final GAR Encampment must have been around the same time as the UCV one. Only the GAR called their annual get-togethers encampments and the UCV had reunions.

Imagine, 3 CENT postage back in 1951!!!

There was also a 3 cent Sherman-Grant-Sheridan stamp issued Feb. 18, 1937 at Washington, DC. So the price of a stamp stayed the same from 1931 to 1951.

So, Who Sends Letters Anymore? --Da B-R'er

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pikeville, Kentucky

This Cantrell research just keeps getting bigger.

Pileville and Pike County, Kentucky.

Pikeville, population 6,295, has been named as one of the top 100 small towns in which to live. Both the town and county are named for Zebulon Pike.

Col. James A. Garfield was commissioned a brigadier general here in January 1862.. He later became president.

This is the center for the Hatfield-McCoy feud.

Pike County is the very eastern-most county in the state.

Don'tShoot,Mr.Hatfield. --Old B-Runner

Skirmish at Pikeville, Ky-- Camp Chase, Ohio

Still following up on Cantrell's Confederate Service.


There is not much about this fight. I had never heard of it. It definitely wasn't a major battle.

Union forces in eastern Kentucky learned that Major French had a camp at Pikeville and was in the process of raising a unit so they decided to have a pre-emptive strike. They attacked April 15, 1863, and after an hour's skirmish, captured 17 officers, 70 men, 30 horses, 40 guns, and destroyed French's camp. And that was about it. Obviously, this was a training camp where the unit was being raised. With 40 guns for 70 men, I'd have to say they weren't even armed yet. Information from Jeffrey C. Weaver.

CAMP CHASE, OHIO-- Wikipedia

Cantrell and French's Battalion were sent to Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio. Like many other Union training camps, it was turned into a Confederate prisoner camp later in the war.

It is estimated that at least 150,000 Union troops trained here and 25,000 Confederates were held. There are more than 2000 Confederates buried on the site. Captured soldiers from Morgan's Raid were also held on the site.

Wikipedia mentioned that four future presidents passed through the camp: Andrew Johnson, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, and William McKinly. I'm not sure about what Andrew Johnson had to do with it.

More Stuff I Didn'tKnow. --Da Runner

French's Battalion-- Virginia State Line

In doing some more research on William Cantrell, I came across this information.


There is a 54 page booklet on French's Battalion written by Jeffrey C. Weaver. A review of it had this:

It was a short-lived Confederate unit led by Wise, County, Virginia lawyer James Milton French. He recruited mostly from the remanants of the Virginia State Line. The unit last just two months before almost being captured en masse at Pikeville, Ky, in April 1863.

They were sent to Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, and after exchange, most joined Clarence Prentice's 7th Battalion Confederate Cavalry.


I'd never heard of them. They were approved by the Virginia legislature on May 15, 1862 and were to include men not available for military duty. That would mean too old, too young, or infirm. Probably why Cantrell was able to get into the military at age 16. The State Line was transferred to Confederate service March 31, 1863 and at this time Major French of the 63rd Virginia received permission to raise a regiment from the State Line.

Many of his troops came from western Virginia and eastern Kentucky.

Information from Jeffrey C. Weaver.

So, Now You Know. --B-R'er

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

William Cantrell, CSA

William Cantrell's widow just died at age 93. This made the news all over the place.

A short history of his service follows.

He served in Co. A, French's Battalion of the Virginia infantry ( didn't say what regiment). He enlisted at age 16 in Pikeville, Ky, and was captured the same year and sent to prison in Ohio where he was later exchanged. After the war, he moved to Arkansas.

In a 2004 interview, Maudie White Hopkins said he recalled how lice infested his sock supports and "ate a trail around his legs."

And, then, at age 86, he married a 19 year-old girl.

Confederate Widow Dies

I picked up today's copy of the Chicago Tribune and was shocked to read of the death of a Confederate widow. I had thought the last one died several years ago.



She had a very hard life in the Ozarks and, during the Depression, was working for William Cantrell, 86, when he asked her to marry him if she would take care of him in his old age. In return, he would give her his home and she would receive his pension. She was 19 at the time.

These were hard times and this was a way out for her.

For a long time, she kept it secret for fear that people would think less of her, but when another widow in Alabama claimed to be the last Confederate widow, she decided to come forward.

Baxter County records show that they were married in Januray 1934. Cantrell supported her with his Confederate pension which she described as $25 every two or three months. She also received his home after his death three years later.

She was married a total of four times and had three children from her second marriage.

I talked about young girls marrying old men for their pensions to my classes back when the last widow died and they were shocked. I tried to explain the the hard times that would make a teenage girl marry a much older man like this.

A member of the Daughters of the Confederacy said that there are other Confederate widows still living, but they don't want any publicity.

Another Civil War Connection. Not-So-Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Book Review on William Cushing, USN

One of the true characters and adventuresome souls on the Union side during the Civil War was the brother of Alonzo Cushing who won a medal of honor and lost his life at Gettysburg. That would be William Cushing.

The H Net did a book review on the 2004 "Cushing Civil War Seal" by Brassey's Military Profiles. I'm not sure who wrote it, but the reviewer was impressed with it overall, other than calling him a Civil War Seal.

Cushing had more courage than most naval personnel even though he came from Wisconsin and did not have a seafaring background. He was appointed to the US Naval Academy in 1857, but was forced to resign before graduation. However, the Union's need for officers at the outbreak of the war gave him his commission.

He had a flair for special operations, the most famous of which was the sinking of the Confederate ram Albemarle October 27, 1864. He also participated in the naval land attack on Fort Fisher, NC, on January 15, 1865.

The book mentioned that his impetuosity sometimes bordered on insubordination.

One of the Great Union Naval Officers. --B-Runner

Monday, August 18, 2008

USS Saginaw

Came across an article in the August 16th Honolulu Advertiser about the wreck 1837 British whaling ship that was located near Kure Atoll in the Hawaiian Islands. The expedition that is going out to explore the site is also going to look at the wreck of the USS Saginaw which was a Union ship on the west coast during the Civil War and sank in 1870. The shipwreck was located in 2003.

The USS Saginaw was the first ship built at the Navy's New Mare Island Shipyard near San Francisco, so probably the first US ship constructed on the west coast. The Navy bought the site in 1853 and Commander David Farragut was in charge. It was launched in 1859 and joined the East Indian Squadron with thegoal of protecting American interests and citizens as well as stopping piracy.

In 1862, it was decommissioned in Hong Kong and taken back to Mare Island for refitting. The Saginaw's Civil War duty with the Pacific Squadron was to prevent Confederate activity. In 1863, the ship sailed to the Puget Sound when word reached that Confederate privateers were being outfitted in British Columbia, but this proved unfounded. In 1864, the Saginaw visited Mexican ports and Central America.


On October 29, 1870. the Saginaw hit a reef at the isolated Kure Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and was battered to pieces. The crew made it to shore, but were stranded except for the ship's gig. A party of five decided to go for help in Honolulu and covered 1500 miles in 31 days, but unfortunately were upset and tossed into the ocean at Kauai. Only one survived, but got word to authorities and help was on its way for the other survivors. The original ship's gig is on display at the Saginaw Historical Museum.

The USS Saginaw was a sidewheel steamer, 155 feet long, 4 foot 5 inches draft, and carried a crew of 50 and four cannons.

Sounds Like the Stuff for a Hollywood Movie. This Pacific Voyage is Right Up There With That of Captain Bligh. --Old B-R'er

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Running the Blockade: Civil War Grave Vandalized-- St. Augustine in the War-- Davis Statue

Some New News About an Old War.

1. CIVIL WAR GRAVE VANDALIZED-- June 13th Virginia Pilot-- Took place in Southampton County, Virginia. The grave of Confederate Major Joseph Ezra Gillette was opened by individuals probably in pursuit of artifacts. A member of the local SCV found it.

It is thought the vandals were looking for a sword which could bring as much as $200,000. The sheriff's department is offering a $1000 reward which has been matched by the SCV.

2. ST. AUGUSTINE IN THE WAR-- Florida's Civil War historian Dale Cox is doing a series of blog entries at His first two are about the water battery at Castillo San Marcos, called Fort Marion during the war.

The east moat was filled in and the guns mounted en-barbette. These 20 cannons had been seized by state forces Jan. 7, 1861.

Mr. Cox says the water battery is in good condition and the remains of the gun mounts can still be seen. The Union Navy reoccupied St. Augustine in 1862.

3. DAVIS STATUE-- The Sons of Confederate Veterans has offered to donate a $100,000 statue of Jefferson Davis to the American Civil War Center in Richmond, Virginia, at the site of the old Tredigar Ironworks. This is in honor of Davis' 200th birthday being celebrated this year.

There is some question as to whether the museum will accept. Big surprise, but the NAACP is against it.

Take the Statue!! --Old B-Runner

Friday, August 15, 2008

USS Monitor and CSS Virginia Artifacts

The USS Monitor Center at the Mariner's Museum in Virginia is featuring cut-away interior views of the ship and its adversary as well as a commemorative anchor made of iron salvaged from the Virginia in 1929.

There is also an oil can that has been raised from the Monitor. It probably at one time contained whale oil, which was a major 19th century lubricant.

There is also a ten-foot long deck plate which was placed over the original plates to strengthen the deck. It was problably put on during a refitting at the Washington Naval Yard. This is one item that you are even encouraged to touch.

The USS Monitor Center is a 65,500 square foot, $30 million complex that open in March 2007. Admission is $12.50.

Touch a Piece of History. --Old B-Run.

Ring My Bell

Sorry Anita Ward. Didn't mean to horn in on you song, EVEN if it WAS DISCO.

The National Museum of the US Navy in Washington, DC, has received the ship's bell of the USS Merrimack from private collector Adrian Piersall. It is not known if the bell were aboard the CSS Virginia, the ship built on the Merrimack's hull, during its famous fight with the USS Monitor.

It appears to have fire damage and a large dent, perhaps caused by a large timber falling on the heated bell when the merrimack was set fire.

The Grand Army of the Republic got it after the war and had it on exhibition until the 1920s when it passed into the hands of private collectors.

Ding Dong, the Bell is Back. --B-R

A Coupla Items of Interest

I highly recommend the Civil War daily Calendar for 2009. My sister-in-law got me the 2008 one and most days there is a new tidbit of interest.

Two recent ones:

CIVIL WAR VOCABULARY-- A shell is a hollow projectile, shot from a cannon. Filled with powder and lit by a fuse when fired. Shells exploded when the fuse burned down to the level of the powder. Depending upon the length of the fuse, artillermen could decide when they wanted the shell to burst. Then, you'd best duck.

DID YOU KNOW?-- During the Civil War, Henry Ward Beecher (as in Mr. "Battle Hymn of the Republic") traveled to England to get support for the Northern cause. Addressing a loud, pro-Southern crowd in Manchester, he was asked "Why didn't you whip the Confederates in sixty days, as you said you would?" He allegedly replied, "We found we had Americans to fight instead of Englishmen."

Good One Henry!! --Old B-Runner

Running the Blockade: Congrats Chuck-- Tampa Flag Meeting-- Landmark Confederate Apparel Case-- Water Witch on TV

Some New News About an Old War.

1. CONGRATS CHUCK-- The July 27th Shreveport (La) Times reports that Charles "Chuck" McMichael, 51, was elected by acclimation to lead the Sons of Confederate veterans at the 113th National reunion held in North Carolina. It is the largest Confederate heritage organization with over 30,000 members.

He will begin serving a two year term and is a high school history andcivics teacher for twenty years. He joined the SCV in 1994 and has held many offices and is a member of the Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor Camp #1308.

The SCV attempts to ensure that the Southern perspective is shown, especially in the upcoming 150 year observation of the war. This is an increasingly difficult job these days so he has his work cut out for him.

TAMPA FLAG MEETING-- Well, that huge Confederate flag near Tampa, Florida, has certainly stirred up considerable controversy. The July 27th St. Petersburg Times reports that a meeting was held between backers and opponents of the flag. Unfortunately,there was not much of an attendance and no compromise was reached. The flag will still fly and the opponents will still do everything they can to bring it down.

Marion Lambert bought a .3 acre site for the Confederate monument and was incharge of the project. He praised the Civil Rights Movement and said that the Jim Crow laws were wrong.

Michelle Williams, an opposition leader, responded that the SCV had erected the monument legally, but will continue her efforts to bring the flag down.

Want to start a fight, hoist a Confederate battle flag.

LANDMARK CONFEDERATE APPAREL CASE-- Is being held in the Knoxville, tennessee federal Court. Tommy DeFoe, a graduated senior from Anderson County High School, is suing the Board of Education over their 26-year-long ban on Confedewrate symbols on clothing. A 4-5 day trial is expected.

This is a major case indeed.

WATER WITCH ON TV-- The Archaeology Channel is running a show on the finding of the USS and CSS Water Witch which was recently located in Georgia.

Let's Legalize the Flag. --Old. B-R'er

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Union Color Bearer at Fort Fisher, NC

Sgt. Peter J. Keck of Co. E, 115th New York Infabtry was one of the first to each the fort's paparpets and plant the flag on them Jan. 15, 1865. He planted it on the first traverse on the Cape Fear River side. Evidently, he was in competition with the color bearer of the 13th Indiana to see who could get up there first.

He was wounded early in the fight, but continued until the Confederate surrender. It is surprising that this didn't get him nominated for a Medal of Honor.

Keck also fought in Florida and other engagements of the Army of the James.

115th NEW YORK

Was recruited from upstate New York in the Mohawk Valley. During both attacks on Fort Fisher, they were in Col. Louis Bell's Third brigade XXIV Corps. In the first attack, they were commanded by Major Ezra Walrath and by Lt. Col. Nathan J. Johnson in the second.

During the Wilmington Campaign, they were in the XXIV Corps, 2nd Division under Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames. They were still in the 3rd Brigade, but Col. Bell had been killed in the second attack on the fort.

The 115th is credited with participating in the Advance on Wilmington and the Sugar Loaf Batteries on Feb. 20th and the attack on Fort Anderson on Feb. 19th.

They also made a forced march to the Northeast Cape Fear River where they captured a pontoon bridge.

Why No Medal of Honor for Keck? --Old B-Runner

Ever Hear of Camp Reliance, SC, or Was It Fort Reliance?

I'd never heard of it, but came across an interesting article in the August 14th SC Now about efforts being made in Florence to make sure that its site remains undeveloped.

During the Civil War, there was a fear that Union gunboats would ascend the Pee Dee River and destroy the plantations producing rice. Confederate General William W. Hardee (and I didn't know that Florence, SC was named after his daughter) found a suitable area along the river to place obstructions and artillery.

The site selection wasn't too popular as it was believed that the river was so shallow here that any Union ships coming up it wouldn't be able to mount cannons. The editorial referred to it as Fort Finger, probably after J. F. Finger of Florence who was foreman of the carpenters.

Local planters who had their slaves work on the fortifications were paid $1 a day. If a horse was supplied, the planter got $5

Archaeologists haven't found any military items yet other than the remains of trenches and magazine pits. The obstructions were rafts chained together and they are long gone.

Sounds Like It Was More of a Fort If Artillery was Mounted. --Old B-Runner

Running the Blockade: Watch Where You Swim-- Jefferson Davis Tourism Up

Some new news about an old war.

1. WATCH WHERE YOU SWIM-- Or, perhaps where you step. The August 13th Farragut (Tn) Press reports that David Sink found a Civil War artillery shell in the North Fork Turkey Creek.

He took it up on land and decided he should call 911. A bomb squad came out and determined that it was still live and exploded it after evacuations were made.

2. JEFFERSON DAVIS TOURISM UP-- The August 13th Canadian Press reports that tourism at Jefferson Davis sites is up this summer, despite the high gas prices. Most likely this is due to the increasing hoopla surrounding the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday next year.

This year, of course, is Davis' 200th birthday. Plus, the fact that his postwar home Beauvoir finally opened after being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Lincoln's Kentucky sites report a n 18.1% increase, to 105,000 for the first six months compared to 89,000 for the similar period last year.

Davis' Fairview birthplace and monument is up12% and 30% for June 9his birthday is June 3rd). Over 4000 visitors came that month.

Even Davis' capture site in Georgia is up from the usual 12000 to 15000 visitors to 20,000.

Beauvoir had 4000 people come by on June 3rd.

Who Says No One Cares Any More. --Old B-R'er

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Some More on the Fort Morgan Shell

As mentioned in an earlier "Running the Blockade," June 26th, a shell was found earlier this summer at Fort Morgan, guarding the entrance to Mobile Bay. This past February, I walked the fort's papapets after driving for what seemed to be forever to get there. It was a chilly and windy day so I was walking rather fast. Perhaps I might even have stood on this very shell. I could see the headlines now, "Dazed man Blown Up at Fort morgan."

From the June 23rd Press-Register.

A ninety pound shell fired at Fort Morgan was found buried after 144 years in the sand of the east wall. It had been underfoot of soldiers and tourists (including the old B-Runner) for all these years and was pointing north.


On July 4, 1864, four Union ships opened fire on the fort, and three of them, the Hartford, Richmond and Brooklyn carriued guns capable of firing it. Six weeks later came the siege and passing Fort Morgan by the Union fleet. There were 100-pounder Parrots on eleven Union vessels at that time, so it could have been fired by one of them.

It is rusted, but the slots to fit thecannon grooves are still there on the 18 inch long, 6.4 inch diameter shell.

After disarming, it will go back to the fort's museum.

For Gosh Sake, Watch Where You Walk on a Civil War Battlefield. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More on Morris Island


Associated Press on Aug. 4th reports that work has begun on the Morris Island Lighthouse, which now sits 300 yards offshore, even though it was originally built on land.

A cofferdam has been built around the base so that repairs on the foundation can begin. It was built in 1876 and taken out of service in 1962. Worms have been eating at the base, and there is fear that it might collapse in a hurricane.

The Save the Light organization has raised $4,500,000 from federal,state, and local sources for the job.

Let's Hope They Can Save It and Not Have a Repeat of the Loss of Fort Wagner. --Old B-R'er

Morris Island Bought

The city of Charleston, SC has bought Morris Island for $3 million and will be preserving for all-time the site of the famous attack by the 54th Massachusetts, an all-black regiment on Fort Wagner.

This attack was shown in the movie "Glory."

The city bought it before the island could be given over to developers who were planning to build multimillion dollar mansions on it for the rich folk.

The city is now going to decide what they will be doing with it.

The Civil War Preservation Trust is involved with raising $100,000 to nhelp in the effort.

Unfortunately, the actual site of the fort is now under water as is the beach the 54th charged along to attack it.

Always Good to Hear About Stuff Like This. --B-Runner

Running the Blockade: Hunley Anniversary-- Stupid Confederates-- No Flag for You

Some New News About an Old War.

1. HUNLEY ANNIVERSARY-- it was on this date back in 2000, that the CSS Hunley was raised from its watery grave in Charleston Harbor.

2. STUPID CONFEDERATES-- a southerner calling himself Cotton Mouth who has a blog about Life, Politics, and Mississippi is not too pleased with the Confederate flag near Tampa and worries that the stupid Confederate folks in Mississippi don't do the same. He was not too nice inn his descriptions of the SCV.

3. NO FLAG FOR YOU-- The "Soup Nazi" on Seinfeld might decide that you weren't to get any of his delicious soup, well, now we hyave a guy in Arkansas who has decided that no Confederate flag wil be flown tomorrow at the 100th anniversary observation of the Confederate soldier statue at Bentonville Square.

John Scott, the bSuperintendent of the Pea Ridge National Military Park, has decided not to fly it because it is not liked by some folks.

Hey, it's a statue of a Confederate soldier. I think it would be appropriate.

Some People Just Don't Understand. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bikers Working on Confederate Cemetery

The July 28th Helena (Ar) Daily Word had an article about ABATE's continuing efforts to to restore and preserve the Confederate cemetery in that town. ABATE stands for Arkansas Bikers Aimed Toward Education.

They have been clearing brush, building road signs and installing concrete benches at the site as well as raising funds for future projects.

A battle took place by Helena on July 4, 1863, in which a larger Confederate force attacked the Union defenders to relieve pressure on Vicksburg, which, unfortunately, capitulated on hat day. Helena was being used as a supply base for the Union Vicksburg operations.

The article mentioned that there were seven Confederate generals hailing from Helena, including Patrick Cleburne, who is buried at the cemetery.

A Tip of the Kepi to ABATE. --B-R'er

Running the Blockade: --Lincoln Flag Lowering-- Rabid Fox at Fisher-- Augusta Confederate Monument

Some New News About an Old War.

1. LINCOLN FLAG-LOWERING-- Not many people know about this, but if you're in Springfield, Illinois, on a Tuesday night during the summer, you should make your way out to the Lincoln Tomb for the flag-lowering ceremony which is performed by a Union unit.

In the last years, folks from ten countries and 48 states have attended it. Usually about 400 people show up for the event that starts at 7 pm. One lucky person gets to take the flag home.

We saw it three years ago and were impressed, but alas, no flag.

2. RABID FOX AT FISHER-- A woman was bitten by a rabid fox while bird watching at the Fort Fisher Air Force Base Recreation Area this past week, the 93rd case of rabies found in New Hanover County since the disease's return in the 1990s.

So, if you're walking around Fort Fisher, don't pet any foxes you come across.

3. AUGUSTA CONFEDERATE MONUMENT-- The Waymarkers have listed the Confederate Monument in Augusta, Georgia. It is located in the median of Broad Street and was built in 1878, featuring a likeness of Augusta Private Berry Denson.

Here Foxey, Foxey. --Old B-Runner

Da Sore Thumb

Not a lot of posting last month from me due to an extremely sore thumb that landed me in a hospital for several days and then there was lots of follow up care including visiting nurses, antibiotic deliveries, hydrotherapy treatments back at the hospital on a daily basis, my regular doctor appointments, the infectuous disease doctor, and doctor who operated on my thumb (I had two operations).

I'll tell you that cellulitis is NASTY, and not something you want to get or take likely. I was told I could have lost my thumb, hand, and/0r arm. Evidently, I had a thistle embed itself in my thumb while working in the yard and then bacteria got under the skin. The thumb at one time was double its size and oozing all sorts of colored liquids. Pretty nasty.

Then, on top of it, they put a picc in my left arm for the antibiotics. This pretty-well cost me the use of my left hand. My right hand was already messed up with the thumb. As a result, I was very helpless.

It's getting better now, so I will try to continue on this subject of my great interest.

Dadburn Cellulitis!!! --Old B-Runner

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Civil War "Holy Grail" Found? Or Was It?

The August 1st Centre Daily Times reports that the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum in Philadelphia has made quite a discovery as it prepares to shut down for its move to the former First Bank of the United States, which functioned as the central financial institution of the young republic until the early 1800s.

The museum is going through its collection and re-evaluating what it wants to keep and discard. It is believed that they have discovered one of three original documents of Lee's surrender that was originally considered to be a photocopy.

The day after the surrender on April 9, 1865, Union and Confederate officers met to work out the terms of the surrender and three documents were made. Union General John Gibbon was in charge of it and kept one which he later donated to the Maryland Historical Society. Another copy was sent to Grant's headquarters and is now in the National Archives. What the museum thinks it has is the long lost Confederate copy.


The National Park Service, however,thinks it might be a souvenir copy made at the same time. However, the museum's copy, upon closer examination, clearly shows pen marks.

The problem that led the museum to believe it was a photocopy was that someone back in the early 1900s had tried to preserve it and their efforts made it look like the document dated from the 1920s or 30s.

It was originally donated by one of the museum's founders, Bruce Ford, in the early 1900s. How he came into possession of it is not known.

Civil War collectors consider this as the Holy Grail and it is

I found out from another source that you can see the head of Old Baldy, General Meade's horse on display at the museum. But you'd better hurry as the museum shuts down soon.

A Real Sleuth Story. --Old B-Runner