The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Big Red" Found?

October 2nd Charleston (SC) Post and Courier.

The Citadel University in Charleston believes it has located the original "Big Red", its Civil War flag that flew over its cadets on Morris Island when they fired upon the Star of the West which many consider as the actual opening shots of the Civil War, not the April 12, 1861 firing on Fort Sumter.

It was found in an Iowa museum to which it was donated by Willard Baker, a Union veteran in 1919. It has been in a storage closet ever since. The State Historical Society of Iowa owns it and now discussion are under way for its return.

Baker said he had gotten it in Mobile, Alabama, at the end of the war, but never gave the actual story. He had been in a unit involved in the capture of Fort Blakely near Alabama.

Captain James Culpepper, an 1854 Citadel graduate, and his battery were at Blakely. He was a student of Major Peter F. Stevens, who had been the Citadel's superintendent during the Star of the West incident.

In 1861, Hugh Vincent's family had designed the 10 by 7 foot flag and presented it to Stevens between January 1st and 4th, 1861 to be used by the Citadel cadets. It is likely that Culpepper had it at Fort Blakely.

Its location became known when a woman posted information about it on the internet in 2004 and a Citadel alumnus saw it.

Hope They Get It Back. --B-R'er

Hotz and the Hermit

Amy Hotz's December 28th column in the Wilmington (NC) Star-News "A Hermit's Walk at Fort Fisher."

This last Sunday, Star-News reporter Amy Hotz decided to take a walk. She said she decided against Carolina Beach State Park because a police investigation was going on involving a death that took place there recently. So, she drove a bit farther to the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area where she is still upset that people now have to drive on the beach.

So, she walked the Basin Trail. After eight-tenths of a mile she reached the World War II bunker that used to house the Fort Fisher Hermit, Robert E. Harrill.

She looked into the bunker and remembered a story told by her dad. One winter day he had taken Harrill for a ride to the Hardee's and bought him a meal. They had a normal, polite conversation during the meal. However, her dad emphasized that he had to roll the windows down despite the cold because of the Hermit's bad smell.

I remember my Dad taking my brother and me to see the Hermit several times. That old guy really scared me, but his stories were interesting. Plus, he always had something sitting out to collect donations which he often checked.

Quite a Character, That Old Man. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Staten Island Ferry Goes to Civil War

From Dec. 27th "Staten Island ferry goes to war: The Civil War-era tale of the USS Westfield" by Maura Yates.

A 10,000 pound Dahlgren cannon and other items have been salvaged from the bottom of a Galveston, Texas shipping channel that is going to be deepened. It originally was on the USS Westfield which was a ferry operating by New York City, but purchased by the US Navy in 1861. It participated at the 1862 Battle of New Orleans where it towed a Confederate fire raft away from the fleet.

After that, it served as the flagship of the Union fleet at Galveston. At the January 1, 1863, Battle of Galveston, it was attacked by two Confederate ships and appeared to be on the verge of being captured. The ship's captain, William Renshaw, ordered it blown up. But unfortunately for him, the fuse went off too soon, killing him and thirteen other sailors.

The cannon and five cannon balls were recovered. The Dahlgren will now go through 2-3 years of chemical and electrolyte treatment to preserve it.

Patricia Salmon, author of "The Staten Island Ferry: a History" said the ferries were well-suited for Naval needs along the rivers and waters of the Confederacy. Their shallow draft, sturdiness, and open decks were great for hauling heavy equipment and mounting guns. Plus the open floor plans were good for transporting supplies and caring for wounded soldiers.

After the Westfield joined the Union Navy, a second Westfield ferry was acquired and put into service in 1862. In 1871, a boiler exploded, killing 66 and injuring 200.

The Ship Gives Up a Final Treasure Before Destruction. --Old B-Runner

Monday, December 28, 2009

Confederate Sailor Aboard the CSS Chattahoochee

Dale Cox's Civil War in Florida blog had an entry about Confederate sailor Lorenzo Coonrod who served aboard the CSS Chattahoochee. The Chattahoochee was commissioned January 1, 1863 at the Confederate Naval Yard at Saffold, Georgia, after taking eighteen months to build. It was the most powerful Confederate vessel to operate in Florida waters

Lt. Catesby ap R. Jones was the commander. He and several officers and men had been aboard the CSS Virginia in its famous battle against the USS Monitor in 1862.

Lorenzo Coonrod had been drafted into the Confederate Army but transferred to the Navy. The Chattahoochee took its maiden voyage on the Apalachicola River in January 1863. Coonrod was aboard when the terrible boiler explosion occurred at Blountstown May 27, 1863, during a hurricane, but Lorenzo was uninjured. Eighteen others, however, died.

He was later assigned to the squadron at Savannah, but became ill and spent most of the last year off duty. After the war, he lived in Jackson County and was one of three known former Chattahoochee crew members buried there.

I recommend Mr. Cox's blog which has much information on a state that is usually overlooked.

Confederate Brown Water Navy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Last Civil War Survivor Dies 50 Years Ago.

The December 26th Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner had an article about the last Civil War veteran, Walt Williams dying December 19, 1959. He was a Confederate and the last of 4 million Blue and Gray veterans, dying at age 117.

This is especially interesting as we are now down to the last two World War I survivors and there are still possibly some Confederate widows out there.

He was cited by the President, Army and Congress cited the old gentleman who had become the last survivor when "General" John Salling died March 16, 1959 at age 112.

Toward the end, Williams was blind and deaf and unconscious of what was happening around him. He approached his end with dignity. He had once commented on the death of another Civil War survivor, "That's one road we're all going to have to travel."

He was born November b14, 1842 in Mississippi, but had moved to Texas after the war.

The Last of the Gray. --Old B-Runner

Blockade-Runner Discovered in Florida-- Part 2

Continued from December 24th.

Finally, on September 19, 1863, the Union vessels were able to approach the port, they found the steamer and an onshore cotton warehouse ablaze, set by retreating Confederates. Better to destroy the vessel than turn it over to Union forces.

The steamer was described as being over 200 feet long and apparently English-made.

What the Union lost that day has turned into a major find for today's archaeologists.

Amateur diver and archaeologist Matt Mattson found the wreck in 1991, but was unable to determine if it was the steamer from 1863.

Nicole Tumbleson, outreach coordinator for the Florida Public Archaeological Network, returned to the site earlier this year to document and map Civil War-era artifacts in the Bayport area. Using a metal detector, a 70 foot long debris field was found.

Besides the pipe, "pieces of machinery, iron hull plates, charred wood, ceramic fragments of a sink and brass hinges that might have allowed the sink to be folded against the steamer's bulkhead when not in use."

Marine archaeologist Billy Morris says they are about 83% sure this is the vessel they were looking for. Unfortunately, the name of the ship is lost to history.

They are being vague about its location to prevent looting, but they were "so close to the pier that fishermen were practically looking over their shoulders" complete secrecy is impossible.

Another Piece of the Past Found. --Old B-Runner

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Civil War Christmas

According to Wikipedia, Christmas was celebrated both by the Confederate and Union states although it did not become an official holiday until five years after the war ended by order of President Grant who saw it as a means to reunite the two sections.

FIRST CHRISTMAS: December 25, 1861-- the Lincolns hosted an evening Christmas party after he had spend most of the day trying to legitimize the capture of Confederate agents Slidell and Mason in the Trent Affair to Great Britain and France.

SECOND CHRISTMAS: December 25, 1862-- Lincoln visited injured soldiers in various hospitals around Washington.

THIRD CHRISTMAS: December 25, 1863-- many injured soldiers received gifts "From Tad Lincoln" of clothes and books in Washington hospitals.


Of course, December 25, 1864, a huge bombardment was directed by 64 Union ships at Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Around 10,000 shells were fired at the earthern fort. Union troops were landed on a beach north of the fort, but withdrew after it was determined the fort was too strong to attack.

A Civil War Christmas. --Old Blockade-Runner

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blockade-Runner Discovered in Florida-- Part 1

The November 21st had an article by Dan DeWitt "Florida archaeological divers believe they've found Civil War-era steamer off Bayport."

Divers found something old and metallic. Then another found a piece of steam pipe, meaning that this was a steel-hulled steamer, one that they had been looking for. That pipe was about nine inches in diameter, about what you'd find in a side-wheeler steamship.

As Union Naval forces successfully sealed off the major Confederate ports, blockade-running turned more and more to backwater harbors such as Bayport. Every so often these harbors would be raided like the fight that took place off Bayport in April 1863. Five months later, another attack was led on Bayport by Union Lt.-Commander A. A. Semmes, a cousin to Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes.

They lingered off Bayport for a week, hoping for a tide high enough to allow a steamer they had seen to leave or for them to cross and attack.

To Be Continued. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Butler's Folly at Fort Fisher

It was on this date, December 23, 1864, as a prelude to the first attack, that the powder ship USS Louisiana was towed by the USS Wilderness in close to shore at Fort Fisher, protecting Wilmington, NC, with the intention of blowing up with such force as to knock the fort's earthen walls down.

This was Union General Benjamin Butler, commander of the strike force, idea. Some 215 tons of gunpowder was placed aboard along with an elaborate system of fuses and detonation system.

The ship blew up at 1:40 AM Christmas Eve. The force of the explosion rattled the ships about 12 miles out to sea as well as the fort, but did no dame and came to be called "Butler's Folly."

The First Battle of Fort Fisher. --B-Runner

What's Beneath Fortress Monroe?

From the October 2nd Newport News (Va) Daily Press.

The military is turning Fortress Monroe over to civilians in 2011. Before doing so, the grounds have to be thoroughly checked for potentially hazardous materials. They expect to find everything from Civil War artillery shells to cans of Miller Lite.

The fort was built in the 1800s, but military structures predate it by 200 years, back to when Captain John Smith built Fort Algemoume in 1609 at the site to protect Jamestown. Earlier this past summer, a probe found about 3,000 unknown metal objects that needed to be investigated. The search will also cover areas outside the fort.

What's in an Old Fort. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Civil War's Forgotten Fort

It was standing at the time, but no action took place there unless the Union garrison was partying at Sloppy Joe's on Duvall Street. Well, maybe Sloppy Joe's wasn't there at the time.

The fort in question was none other than Fort Zachary Taylor which has one of the best beaches in the Keys, even if locals won't tell you about it. Lots of recreational activities as well as a park.

In all the times I've been to Key West, and even the few I remember, I don't think I was ever there.

It was once nicknamed Fort Forgotten in keeping with the theme. Named for a president who spent very little time in office before dying, construction started in 1845 and it was still incomplete when the war started, but served as base of operations for the Union's blockade, the East Gulf Blockading Squadron if I remember correctly.

It was also occupied by troops during the Spanish-American War and both world wars. After 1945, it was abandoned and fell into disrepair until restoration efforts began in 1968. Currently, a Friends of Fort Zachary Taylor are involved in making the fort less forgotten.

Excavations have found one of the larger numbers of Civil War era cannons anywhere. In 1971, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

From November 25th Keys Voices.

Fort Zachary Who? --Old B-Runner

Talking About the CSS Georgia

A recent entry on Craig Swann's To the Sound of Guns blog about Civil War battlefields and markers was about a cannon recovered from the CSS Georgia and the ship itself.

Mike Stroud of Bluffton, SC, went to Fort Jackson outside Savannah, Georgia to take pictures of the CSS Georgia's cannon. The ship was sunk by Confederates right off the fort when Sherman was about to occupy the city.

A 24-pounder Howitzer has been recovered from the Georgia. It likely was mounted over the forward spar deck and used for close quarter action. Mike got lots of close up shots of it.


That pretty well describes the history of the CSS Georgia. It was built with money raised by the Ladies Gunboat Association of Savannah and launched in May 1862. The ship was a part of the Savannah River Squadron.

It had the capability of carrying ten cannons: four on each broadside and one fore and one aft. The ship was severely underpowered and essentially served as a floating battery, moored by Fort Jackson. The cause was the use of railroad iron being used instead of rolled iron which caused the vessel to be too heavy.

It was scuttled December 10, 1864.

Also recovered from the ship is a 32-pounder rifled and banded Navy gun. Three other guns are still in the wreck: a 6-pounder cannon, VIII-inch Navy shell gun and another banded 32-pounder.

For some good pictures:

Looking Forward to These Being Recovered. Maybe put one in the CSS Neuse II in Kinston, NC. --Old B-Runner

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Blue and the Gray

The October 1st Nashville Tennessean reported that the son of a Union soldier who fought at Franklin and the son of a Confederate soldier who fought at Gettysburg will meet at the October 10th funeral of a Union soldier.

Harold Becker, 91, of Rockford, Michigan, whose father Charles Conrad Becker fought at Franklin with the 128th Indiana and Jim F. Brown, Sr., 97, of Knoxville, whose father was in the 8th Georgia, will be at the ceremony honoring the unknown Union soldier.

Part of a skeleton was found along with a bullet, brass buttons and a glass bead were accidentally unearthed by a construction crew at the site of the Battle of Franklin which was fought November 39, 1864.

The service will be at St. Paul's Episcopalian Church October 10th and the burial service at Rest Haven Cemetery in Franklin.

The Blue and the Gray Together. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And, Speaking of the Battle of Galveston

A little while back I was wondering about the progress of work on the USS Westfield which was blown up at the Battle of Galveston during the Civil War.

I came across a report by TV News station KBTZ about the Dahlgren cannon which has been brought to the surface and is now being preserved.

There was also an interesting video along with the story at

Texas A & M's Riverside campus has one of the foremost facilities to pereserve objects brought up from the sea called the Conservation Research Center.

On December 10th, they showed off their latest project, the five ton Dahlgren cannon raised from the wreck of the USS Westfield, which was blown up January 1, 1863. Now, 146 years later, it is once again above water.

Some 1201 of these cannons were made during the war and the recovery of this one brings the number remaining to 50.

Technically, the cannon still belongs to the US Navy, so it will be up to them to determine the gun's final destination.

Always Great to recover Something from the Sea. --B-Runner

Battle of Galveston Observed

Especially of interest because of the work on the sunken USS Westfield and raising of the Dahlgren cannon in the last months.

The Galveston Historical Foundation will be offering tours both on land and sea to commemorate the upcoming anniversary of the Battle of Galveston which occurred January 1, 1863.

Galveston had been held by Union forces since October 1862, but a joint Confederate land and sea attack this date took it back and Galveston remained under Confederate control for the rest of the war.

A Confederate fleet, including ships protected by bales of cotton called cottonclads attacked the 8 ship Union fleet, driving it off with the loss of the Harriet Land and destruction of the Westfield. Union losses in the battle were 150 casualties. Confederates 26 killed and 117 wounded.

Tours will include walking, a cemetery, driving and harbor ones.

The tours will be held January 8th to 10th.

Probably Warmer Than Here in Illinois As Well. --Old B-Runner

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chicago's Lincoln Park Not Always a Park

In 2008, WBBM 2, CBS, reported on what Lincon Park was before it became a place to visit the history museum, go to the zoo, and rest and play.

In the 1850s, it was a 57 acre cemetery in which eventually 2000 cholera victims and 4000 Confederates and 30,000 others were buried. Today, only the Couch family tomb remains of the cemetery. The rest have been removed, but a lot weren't.

Six historical markers were installed in May 2008 to give the story.

It was called the Old City Cemetery. The Confederate soldiers died at Camp Douglas and were buried at Potters Field east of the deeded lots. This is where the poor and indigent were interred. Of the 57 acres, only bodies in 12 were exhumed.

So now, when you're walking around or playing on the grounds of the park, there is a good chance that human remains might be a short distance below your feet.

I Didn't Know That. --Old B-R

Delaware Confederates

The May 11, 2008, DelawareOnline.

William Bruce Martin, a native of New Castle, Delaware, was just 17 when he fought for the Confederacy. He was a descendant of Declaration of Independence signer George Reed. He was one of 257 cadets from the Virginia Military Academy who fought at the Battle of New Market in 1864.

he was recognized by the Delaware Grays, the state's camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans which has about 35 members across the state. It took a year to pin down his service record and his name is the 67th on the list the group is compiling of the estimated 2000 from the state who served in the Confederacy.

They're All Over the Place. --Old B-R'er

Monitors Sold Turn of the Century

That would be after 1900.

1900 USS Natuckett

1901 USS Catskill

1902 USS Mahopac March 25th At Fort Fisher. Hit eight times seconnd attack.
USS Manhattan March 24th

1903 USS Onondaga

1904 USS Montauk April 14th
USS Nahant April 16th
USS Sangamon April 16th
USS Lehigh April 14th

1908 USS Canonicus at Fort Fisher

Again, too bad no one had the foresight to preserve one of these revolutionary ships.

Come On Guys, Save Something!!! --Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Other Monitors Sold in 1874

It appears that the US Navy was hell-bent to get rid of its ships nine years after the war was over.

Other monitors sold in 1874:

USS Agamenticus-- double turret
USS Chino-- Casco Class-- single turret, never saw action in war
USS Cohoes-- sold July 1874-- Casco Class-- single turret-- under construction when war ended.

USS Etlah-- sold September 12th-- never commissioned
USS Koka-- sold October 1874--Casco Class-- launched May 1865, broken up 1874 for use in the building of USS Amphitrite. Hull of this ship scrapped 1952.

USS Monadnock-- double turret monitor-- saw action both battles of Fort Fisher. Struck 5 times second battle. 1874 the wooden hull broken up in a program to rebuild Civil War era monitors into modern ones. Rebuilt completely, but still called the USS Monadnock. Served in Spanish-American War.

USS Tunxis-- Casco Class
USS Umpqua-- Casco Class

Again, Too Bad They Were Sold. At Least One Should Have Been Kept. --Old B-Runner

Interesting 18th North Carolina Story

While stationed in South Carolina, Corporal William H. McLaurin, standing corporal of the guard along a coastal stream, received word about Yankees assembling nearby.

They could not be seen, but their splashing could be heard as they came ashore.

Tension among the troops were increasing and preparation for battle under way until it was discovered that the noise came from porpoises splashing along the banks.

Something Mighty Fishy Here. --Old B-R

Way Back Then

If you're like me, you are interested in how people approached the Civil War in the years after it was fought.

The December 16th Chattanoogan reported that the reprint of Charles W. Norwood's 1895
Vade-Mecum Guide to the Battled of Chattanooga and Chickamauga is once again available.

Chickamauga was the very first US Civil War military park, established in 1890, so this was only five years later.

It was written by C, W, Norwood, 1st Sgt and Quartermaster of the Union Army who said he had spent much time checking on the book's accuracy.

Much effort was put into this reprint. Mary Helm bought the missing map fron the book at her own expense. Polly Stratton spend 200 hours checking every letter of every word to make sure of accuracy.

You can buy it for $12.95 from the library at 1001 Broad Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37402.

From December 15th Civil War Interactice.

This Would Be of Interest, Especially as Compared to a New Guide. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Civil War Era Wreck Found in Lake Ontario

The December 15th reported that two divers discovered the wreck of a Civil War-era schooner, the C. Reeve, this past summer. It is off the southern shore of Lake Ontario, west of Rochester.

The 119 foot long, twin masted schooner was built in 1853 and sits mostly upright on the lake's bottom with the main mast still erect.

At the time of the sinking, it was carrying 13,500 bushels of corn from Chicago to Oswego, when, on November 22, 1862, it collided with the schooner Exchange, a Lake Erie-bound schooner loaded with salt.

The C. Reeve sank rapidly, but the crew was saved.

There was no mention as to whether the Exchange sank or not.

It will be interesting to see what they bring up from the wreck.

Always Great to Find Something Lost. --B-Runner

Other Casualties in Hill's Division at Chancellorsville

Brig. Gen Henry Heth (wounded)
Brig. Gen Dorsey Pender (wounded)
Brig. Gen Samuel McGowan (wounded)

Two colonels mortally wounded and three others wounded

One lt. col killed and four wounded

Two majors killed

One captain killed, one mortally wounded

Hard Fighting for Hill's Division of Jackson's Corps. --Old B-R

Chancellorsville Rough on Lane's Brigade

The 18th North Carolina was in Brigadier General James Lane's Brigade at the Battle of Chancellorsville as a part of A. P. Hill's Light Division and Jackson's Second Army Corps.

The battle was quite hard on the brigade's officer corps.

7th NC
Col. Edward G. Haywood (wounded)
Lt. Col. Junius Hill (killed)
Major William L. Davidson (wounded)

18th NC
Col. Thomas J. Purdie (killed)
Lt. Col. Forney George (wounded)

33rd NC
Col. Clark M. Avery (wounded)

37th NC
Col. William M. Barbour (wounded)

Every colonel was put out of service.

War is Hell. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Battle Flag of the 18th North Carolina-- Part 2

The battleflag has the names of the following engagements written in white:

Cedar Run, Mechanicksville, Hanover, Manassas, Cold Harbor, Frazier's Farm, Ox Hill, Harper's Ferry are on the front.

On the back: Manassas Junction, Sharpsburg, Shephedstown, Malvern Hill.

Of interest, in early 1863, the five North Carolina regiments of the Branch-Lane Brigade received new battle flags which had battle honors painted in white instead of the usual blue or black. They were also on both sides.

Forward the Flag!! --Blockade-R

Battle Flag of 18th North Carolina Infantry-- Part 1

On May 3, 1863, the day that Col. Purdie died, the flag of the 18th North Carolina was captured by the 7th New Jersey at the Battle of Chancellorsville. It is currently on display at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

At the Battle of Chancellorsville, the 18th lost 34 killed, 99 wounded and 21 missing.

The NC Museum of History had this press release June 18, 2008 which also included pictures of the front and back of the 18th's flag.

It was captured May 3, 1863, when the regiments color-bearer, Corporal Owen J. Eakins of New Hanover County was killed.

Its existence was not known until Dr. Tom Walsh, a New Jersey college professor wrote the museum a letter. He had gotten it in the 1970s and it is believed it had several owners before that.

He loaned it to the museum which conserved it and put it on display in 1993. He then offered to donate part of the value of it and the museum paid the remainder of it. It is currently on display in "A Call to Arms: North Carolina Military History Gallery."

Fly That Flag!! --Old B-Runner

Colonel Purdie's Burial

The commander of the 18th North Carolina, Colonel Purdie was shot dead the day after Jackson was wounded. By coincidence, he was buried the same day that Jackson died from pneumonia brought on by his accidental wounding back on May 3, 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Mrs. Elizabeth Ellis Robeson wrote in her diary May 11, 1863, "I hear today that Col. Purdie was killed in battle last Sunday, 3rd of May. I spent the day with Mrs. Purdie, she is in great trouble. I deeply sympathize with her family. 9th-the Col's remains were brought up by the Hurt and were interred on Sunday the 10th- a large congregation attended...."

A Brave Leader. --B-R

Monday, December 14, 2009

General Jackson's Wounding

I have been writing about the 18th North Carolina, Colonel Purdie and John Decatur Barry lately, and a lot of that was tied up with the wounding of General Jackson, so I decided to go into some detail on the event.

According to Wikipedia, as Jackson and his staff were returning to camp on May 2, 1863, they passed in front of the 18th North Carolina, who mistook them for Union cavalry in the darkness. They challenged with, "Halt! Who goes there?". Before the reply could be evaluated, shots rang out.

The staff frantically tried to identify themselves when Major Barry replied, "It's a damned Yankee trick! Fire!" A second volley and Jackson received three wounds, two to his left arm and one to his right hand.

Several other staff members were killed as were some horses. Darkness and confusion prevented General Jackson from getting immediate care. Dr, Hunter McGuire amputated Jackson's left arm, and he was taken to a local plantation where he died on May 10th of complications from pneumonia.

A Sad Time for the South. --Old B-Runner

18th North Carolina Infantry-- Part 2

On Saturday's entry, I began telling about the 18th NC Infantry regiment.

The regiment was then sent to South Carolina on March 14, 1862, and returned to Wilmington, then Kinston, NC. At a reorganization, Robert Cowan was elected colonel and Thomas Purdie Lt.-Colonel.

It was Purdie that gave the order to fire at the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863 that resulted in the wounding of General Jackson.

The following day, May 3rd, Colonel Purdie was shot in the head and died on the spot. After the battle, First Sergeant Evander Roberson escorted Purdie's remains to Wilmington and then up the Cape Fear River on the steamer A. P. Hurt to his home in Bladen County near Tarheel. He was buried in the family cemetery on the same day Jackson died, May 10, 1863.

The steamer A. P. Hurt was a steel hull, 118 foot long, 6 foot draft, sidewheel ship.

Don't Shoot. --B-Runner

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Selling Off the Monitors

Quite a few old US monitors were sold at an auction held in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 12, 1874.

USS Winnebago which later became the Maneo Capoc in the Peruvian Navy

USS Yuma-- sold to Theodore Allen of New Orleans

USS Chickasaw-- converted to a railroad ferry and later side wheel propulsion

USS Klamath-- never commissioned, sold to be broken up

USS Kickapoo

USS Yazoo-- sold September 5, 1875

Should Have Kept One. --Old B-Runner

8th and 18th North Carolina-- Part 1

The 8th North Carolina Regiment was formed at Camp Wyatt near Carolina Beach, north of what became Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina.

It consisted of men from Wilmington as well as Robeson, New Hanover, Bladen, Columbus and Richmond counties.

John Decatur's Company I was also called the Wilmington Rifle Guard.


The 8th NC was redesignated as the 18th North Carolina at Camp Wyatt and elected as officers Col. James D. Ratliff, Lt.Col. O. P. Mears and Major George Tate.

In early October, the regiment with the exception of Co. K, was moved to Confederate Point and helped construct Fort Fisher. In November, it was ordered to Port Royal.

Company K manned a battery at Zeke's Island off the southern point of Fort Fisher.

The History of a Regiment. --Blockade-R

One Really Big Fort-- Fort Rosecrans-- Part 3

Construction of the fort involved the use of many Negroes as well as a lot of blasting. Land and materials were often taken without permission. Wood was taken from homes which were pulled down indiscriminately.

One local person wrote of one homeowner complaining to a Federal officer about the destruction of his home and was told "he is a d-d 'secesh' and ought not to have a house. Not to mention taking his outhouse,"

Confederates did one time threaten the fort in October 1863, but decided not to attack because of its strength.

After the war, the fort remained basically the same until the town started to grow. Stones River national Battlefield was established in 1932 and a small portion of the fort was included in it. Of 14,000 feet of earthworks, only 3,00 remain.

Of the four interior forts, only Redoubt Brannon remains.

On October 31, 1994, Fortress Rosecrans was dedicated and opened to visitors.

Supply Base of Fort? --B-R'er

One Really Big Fort-- Fort Rosecrans, Tn.-- Part 2

Back on December 8th, I had an entry on Fort Rosecrans located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I was interested in the history of the fort and delved deeper into it. I found an article called "Building Fort Rosecrans was 'Un-Civil'" by Shirley Farris Jones.

The fort was built on the outskirts of the town and remained in Union control for the rest of the war. It was built because Union General Rosecrans intended to press the Confederates back to Chattanooga and his supply base at Louisville was too far away, so he determined to make one closer at what became Fort Rosecrans, which he named after himself.

Construction began in January 1863 and continued until June. The fort, actually more of a heavily protected base, had a perimeter of three and a half miles. It included part of the Nashville Turnpike, the railroad and Stones River since transportation was to be of utmost importance.

There were numerous gaps in the walls as it was more of a series of semi-independent earthworks rather than one continual walled fortress. Inside were hospitals, warehouses, saw mills and interior forts.

Old Rosy Fort. More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cooperating on Civil War Site in South Carolina

In an article by Edward Fennell, it appears that the city of Charleston, South Carolina and town of James Island might be on the verge of putting aside differences because of the Civil War.

For the past 16 years, ever since the people of James Island voted to become their own municipality, Charleston has been appealing and winning in its efforts to prevent it.

James Island incorporated in 1993, only to have Charleston sue to have it overthrown and win in court. Again, this repeated in 2004, and in 2006, James Island incorporated gain. The case is still in the courts.

However, James Island is very much a part of the Civil War. The town of James Island is negotiating with Charleston to buy a triangular-shaped lot on Fort Johnson Road for an interpretive park with markers, maps and monuments pertaining to the Civil War.

The lot is located next to small, densely-wooded area containing the remains of Redoubt No. 3, an earthen wall and gorge built by Confederates and owned by the South Carolina Battlefield Trust.

The first shot of the Civil War was fired at Fort Sumter from a spot near here.

Here's Hoping James Island Gets It. --Old B-Runner.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Orleans' Forts Jackson and St. Philip in Bad Shape

The September 28th Advocate had an article "Historical forts threatened" by Sandy Davis.

The Union fleet bombarded these two forts for seven days and finally on April 24, 1862 ran past them and broke the chain barrier protecting New Orleans. Some historians refer to it as the night the war was lost. Within a few days, the Confederates surrendered the city to Admiral Farragut.

Today, these forts are being considered for national park status and that can't come to soon as both are in danger of deteriorating to the point of no return. There is a bill going nowhere in Congress right now.

These forts housed soldiers until after World War I. They have battled the elements continuously, especially rough have been the hurricanes and Katrina along with brush, vines and even snakes.

The 1820s Fort Jackson is crumbling and falling. Fort St. Philip is even older, built in 1741 by the French and is deteriorating even faster. Plus, it has been under private ownership since the 1920s when both were sold.

Fort Jackson was sold in 1929 to Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Harvey in 1927, but they donated it to Plaquemines Parish in 1962. Fort St. Philip was sold to John and Joseph Vela in 1929 and is owned by five people today. Efforts have been made to restore it but have failed.

Let's Hope Something gets Done Before Both Are Lost Forever. --Old B-Runner

The Sad Story of General John Barry of North Carolina-- Part 2

Major Barry was the one who ordered the regiment to continue firing on Jackson's group, convinced that it was federal cavalry in the front.

He was promoted to colonel May 27, 1863, to rank from May 3rd. The regiment fought in the Overland Campaign where he took over the brigade command when after Col. James H. Lane was wounded. Barry was promoted to the temporary rank of brigadier general, but was wounded a month later at Cold Harbor, but the rank was never confirmed by the Confederate Congress.

He returned to duty in February 1865.

After the war, he only lived a short time, but was the editor of a Wilmington, NC, newspaper.

He died March 24, 1867 at the age of 29. Friends and family hold that he died "from a broken heart" for his role in the wounding of Jackson.

He is buried in Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery.

A Sad Story. --Old B-R'er

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Sad Story of General John Decatur Barry of North Carolina-- Part 1

I came across the name of John Decatur Barry, a native of North Carolina, was born June 21, 1839, in Wilmington, NC. He had just graduated from the University of North Carolina when the war broke out and he enlisted in the 8th NC Infantry as a private in Co. I, April 15, 1861, 3 days after Sumter was fired upon.

On November 14, 1861, the regiment was redesignated as the 18th NC. When it was reorganized in April 1862, Barry was elected captain. The regiment participated in the Seven Days Battles, 2nd Manassas, and Sharpsburg. Barry was promoted to Major in November.

At the Battle of Chancellorsville, it was the 18th NC that fired upon General Thomas Jackson. The regiment's commander, Col. Thomas J. Purdie was killed and the Lt. Col., Forney George was wounded and Barry took command.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Remains of USS Westfield Being Explored

Divers and archaeologists have been working in the Texas City Ship Canal this past month in an attempt to recover items and especially a 10,000 pound cannon from the USS Westfield which was sunk in the Battle of Galveston in 1863.

Divers have been hindered by bad weather, strong currents and ship traffic.

However, it is now or never, because what remains of the wreck will be destroyed by the deepening of the channel by the US Army Corps of Engineers in a $71 million project that will deepen it to 40-45 feet to enable today's larger ships to use it.

As part of the project, $3 million has been set aside for preservation efforts.


It was a former Staten Island ferry bought from Cornelius Vanderbilt. It was armed with a 100-pdr. Parrott, 9-inch Dahlgren, and six 8-inch Dahlgren cannons. It served as the flagship of the Union fleet inder Cmdr. William B. Renshay.

On January 1, 1863, Confederates attacked Union troops and two Confederate cottonclad ships went after the fleet. The Westfield ran aground and was blown up to prevent capture.

However, the charge ignited too soon, killing Rensay and 13 sailors who were leaving the ship. Confederates removed all the cannons except the 9-inch Dahlgren.

Divers are attempting to remove it and ten other large items that have been located. These will be sent to the Conservation Research Lab at College Station, Texas.

Then a dredge will scoop the bottom and dump the contents into containers which will then be sifted and categorized.

Something from the Past Recovered. --Old B-R

Largest Civil War Earthen Fort in Tennessee

It was the largest built during the war, but was not intended for defense as much as it was a supply depot.

The Nov. 22nd Murfreesboro (Tn) Post had an article about Fort Rosecrans which was built shortly after the battle of Stones River, Tennessee. The supply base contained inside the walls covered 200 acres and was the scene of much activity throughout the war.

After the war. most of its land reverted to agricultural use, but the west wall and one redoubt survived and acquired by the city. It was transferred to the National Park Service in 1993 and became a part of the Stones River National Battlefield.
Back on November 28th, I wrote about the R. L. Hamilton Civil War Collection that I was fortunate to view in Goldsboro, NC. It will eventually be exhibited by the Old Waynesborough Historical Site in that town. But until then, it is housed in a highly secure facility.

Some of the items of interest.

A full set of original Photographic History of the Civil War.

An 1862 Fayetteville Armory Type II Rifle valued at $30,000.

1862 Richmond Rifle Musket Conversion from 1857 valued at $20,000.

An 1840 Musket Remington Maynard conversion.

1842 Harpers Ferry musket (1852 conversion).

1864 Richmond musket

A powder horn collection, 14 rifles and about the same number of swords, including one from the Medieval times.

Two display cases with items picked up from the Averasboro Battlefield including several rings and wedding bands. Another display case has old silverware including some with pearl handles.

It will be a great thing when these things are brought out for public viewing.

A Great Treat for Me. --Old B-Runner

Monday, December 7, 2009

Captain Joseph Fry, CSN

The Nov. 29th Confederate Soldier's, Sailor's Roster's and Unit History 1861-1865 Blog mentioned Captain Joseph Fry, CSN, born June 14, 1826 and died November 7, 1973 in the Virginius Affair trying to liberate Cuba. He was captured and executed by Spanish authorities.

He had been on the CSS Morgan at the Battle of Mobile Bay.

A 587 page book by Jeanie Mort Walker titled "Life of Captain Joseph Fry, the Cuban Martyr" was written. He also served in the lower Mississippi.

Never Heard of Him. --Old B-R'er

Pearl Harbor Day

I am a big Civil War Buff, but ever since junior high, I have also been interested in Pearl Harbor. That interest has now expanded to World War II in general, especially he naval and homefront aspects.

Today marks the 68th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, a day that will remain in history. I do not see that the "Tora, Tora, Tora" or "Pearl Harbor" movies are being shown, however.

This is one of those "Defining Moments" in American History.

I have four blogs altogether, and one is dedicated to history,

It started off as history in general but probably 80% or more of the entries are on World War II, with a lot on Pearl Harbor. Hit the Pearl Harbor label for lots of stories.

The Day of Infamy. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Some More on the USS Restless

I also came across mention of boats from the USS Flag and USS Restless capturing the British-built blockade runner Anglia at Bulls Bay, SC, on October 27, 1862. The Anglia was a 473 ton iron sidewheel steamer built in England in 1847.

The ship had twice sailed through the blockade, once on July 30, 1862, from Nassau and again from the same place September 21st. I would have to believe that it was getting ready to run the blockade again when it was taken.

It was taken as a prize and sold to private owners and renamed the Admiral DuPont in January 1863. It continued service until January 8, 1865, when it was sunk in a collision.

Mean Old Restless, Picking on My Boats Like That. --Old Blockade-Runner

USS Restless

I went to good old Wikipedia to find out more about this ship I had written about in the previous entry.

The Restless was a sailing barque acquired by the US Navy during the war. It was 265 tons, 108.8 feet long and had a 27.8 foot beam, carrying four 32-pdrs.

After commissioning, it joined the blockade off Charleston, SC, and soon acquired the reputation of quite a blockade-running hunter. On Feb. 13, 1862, boats from the Restless destroyed the sloop Edisto and schooners Wandoo, Elizabeth and Theodore Stormy, all carrying rice.

By the end of March, it had also captured 5 other blockade-runners. Two of the schooners were kept as prizes. One sloop and two other schooners were destroyed.

On May 2, 1862, it captured the schooner Flash.

In 1863, it was assigned to the Eastern Gulf Blockading Squadron and captured two more schooners. At the end of the war, the Restless was sold.

No Friend of My B-Rs. --Old B-Runner

Going After That Salt

The Civil War Interactive Blog runs a section called This Day in the Civil War. For December 2nd, they had an account on an attack on a Confederate saltworks on the Florida coast.

It took place on December 2, 1863, which was on a Wednesday.

Ships on the East Gulf Blockading Squadron were charged with being on the lookout for smugglers, blockade-runners and saltworks.

A regular industry started up along the coasts of the Southern states during the conflict to provide the much needed supplies of salt.

Seawater was scooped up into kettles where the water was boiled until it evaporated, leaving the salt behind. Other times, shallow pans were filled and sunlight evaporated the water.

The USS Restless, Acting Master William R. Browne, came upon a rather large saltworks at Lake Ocala, Florida, producing 130 bushels of salt a day. Browne ordered the boilers destroyed along with two flatboats and six ox carts. All the salt was returned to the sea and 17 prisoners taken.

Want Some Salt with that Steak? --Old B-Runner

Friday, December 4, 2009

CSS Appomattox Found-- Part 2

After the Battle of Elizabeth City, the Appomattox was trying to escape, but was too wide to get through the Dismal Swamp Canal, so it was set afire.

The ship was located a good distance from where they thought it would be. The wreck was actually discovered, but there was no definite identification.

A final dive was taken in November and a final report made.

This report will be sent to the Museum of Albemarle where it will be posted along side a display of the Appomattox.

Skeeters Bit Me. --B-Runner

CSS Appomattox Found-- Part 1

The Nov. 15th Daily Advance by Kristin Pitts.

"Long quest, a little luck led to the Appomattox's discovery." Phillip Marlowe had been looking for it a long time. He had even thought he had found it six times earlier. The ship was deep min the mud of the Pasquotank River. near South Mills.

The Appomattox was a steamboat with a single propeller, 85 feet long and 20.5 foot beam.

Friction primers, used to fire cannons during the Civil War were found so they knew it was a gunboat. The big discovery was a silver plated spoon which had what looked to be J. Kuritt inscribed upon it. A list of the crew members was on hand, but no one by that name was on it..

But, a J. Skerritt was.

More to Come. --Old B-R'er

A Semi-Victory for Us

The Dec. 3rd Chicago had an article about what the Florida SCV claims to be a major victory. A district court judge refused to throw out a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. This was filed last January after two years of inaction by the Florida legislature.

John Adams, Chairman of the Confederate Heritage Plate Committee said that they had followed all the rules for application to the tee. Other forces, read it as PC and NAACP have worked against it.

There was a picture of the license plate and I wouldn't mind having one.

Well, it is a victory now, but I wouldn't hold my breath. The NAACP is much more powerful than the SCV, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Hoping for a License Plate, Even if Useless here in Illinois. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How to Run a Blockade

The December 3rd Civil War Interactive Blog ran an entry about Union Admiral John Dahlgren describing how he ran a successful blockade off Charleston, SC, despite its maze of waterways, islands, canals and marshes.

Writing on December 3rd, 1863, he had at his disposal, four Monitor-class vessels assigned to his duty station.

On any night, two were operational. One operated far up the channel of the harbor and kept an eye on forts Sumter and Moultrie. The ship also kept an eye on shipping coming in or going out. They were charged to defend against Confederate torpedo boats, picket boats and floating mines.

The second monitor was posted farther out to keep an eye on the first ship and provide aid if necessary.

He added that one other important thing they had to do was "taking care at the same time not to get aground, and also to change the position when the weather appears to be unsafe."

Now You Know How They Did It. --Old B-R

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The R. L. Hamilton Collection

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to be able to visit a small, but very interesting collection of Civil War era rifles, swords and other artifacts at a highly secure storage area in Goldsboro.

Mr. Hamilton has been collecting for years, but at an advanced age was looking for a place that would display it instead of selling it off. He wants future generations to be able to see these weapons. He has turned the collection over to Old Waynesborough Historical Commission which is storing them until an adequate display area can be obtained.

Even better, not only was I allowed to look at the items, but, as long as I put on gloves, I could handle them. I've never been able to pick up a Civil War rifle until now.

I'll give a partial list of what I saw next entry.

Was That Ever Neat. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Missed It

The Nov. 22nd ENC Today had an article about Civil War Naval and Marine re-enactment that took place at the CSS Neuse State Historical Site on the 21st. It showed life in both the military and civilian life during the war and commemorated the CSS Neuse and Battle of Wyse Fork, the second largest land action during the war.

Andrew Duppstadt, who authors an excellent blog on the Civil War Navy was there portraying a Confederate Marine.

Sadly, I did not know about it and even sadder, I was just about 30 miles away from Kinston in Goldsboro, North Carolina while it was happening.

Sure Wish I Had Known. --Old B-R'er

Confederate Camp Wyatt

This training camp was located about two miles north of Fort Fisher and also had a hospital and commissary according to North American forts.

The November 2009 issue of Our State had the Our State Quiz about North Carolina Military Camps. One of the questions was about this camp.

It was located in New Hanover County, about where Kure Beach is today. It was named for the first Confederate to be killed in battle, Henry Lawson Wyatt, at Bethel Church June 10, 1861.

See the earlier entry from this month on Wyatt (see Nov. 18th).

My Kingdom for a Camp. --B-Runner

Beery's Wilmington, NC Shipyard

The two entries yesterday talked about Benjamin Beery's Confederate money and the one dollar that returned home. He made his fortune on his shipyard and I wasn't able to find out too much about it.

Historical Marker Database had an entry on a marker located in Wilmington, Evidently he operated it with some of his brothers. The shipyard was located across the Cape Fear River from Wilmington on Eagles Island. The ironclad CSS North Carolina was built here in 1862. Mention was also made of some blockade runners constructed there as well.

Another shipbuilder in Wilmington was the J. L. Cassidey & Sons who built the ironclad CSS Raleigh in their shipyard as the foot of Church Street in the city. The iron for both of the ships came from Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond.

Both shipyards were burned in February 1865 when Wilmington was evacuated.

That's As Much As I Could Find. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Save Your Confederate Money-- Part 2

Benjamin Beery's Confederate money went to family members after his death in 1907, but in 1997, one of them made it back to the house on Nun Street in Wilmington. Dennis Madsen and Charles Penington, current owners of the home, now called the Verandas Bed & Breakfast, hosted a 93rd birthday party for Beery's last surviving granddaughter, Marilyn Pierce who gave it to them as a memento.

It is now prominently displayed in the dining room with a short explanation.


The Confederacy produced seven issues of currency. The first dollars were issued from Montgomery, Alabama, but after Virginia joined the Confederacy, the capital was moved to Richmond where the other six issues were made. Except for the 50 cent issue, all CSA notes were hand-signed and numbered to thwart counterfeiters.


Verandas Bed & Breakfast
202 Nun Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
(910) 251-2212

A Dollar Comes Home. --Old B-R

Save Your Confederate Money-- Part 1

An interesting article in the November issue of Our State, the magazine of the state of North Carolina about a one dollar Confederate dollar bill that has found its way home.

It had been handed down through generations and at one time belonged to one of the richest men in Wilmington, NC. Captain Benjamin Beery carried a roll of Confederate money in his pocket, no doubt hoping that one day it would be worth something again after he had lost all his wealth supporting that doomed nation.

Before and during the war, he amassed a fortune as a ship builder and a blockade runner. His Wilmington shipyard produced the first ironclad built in the state as well as many other types of ships for the war effort.

At the age of 30, in 1853, he built the largest house in Wilmington at the time, 8,500 square feet on Nun Street. His family left Wilmington during the war and moved to Laurinburg and never returned."A Confederate Dollar Comes Home" by Susan Hance.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lighthouse Ruins Found at Fort Fisher-- Part 2

Col. Lamb, commandant of Fort Fisher, decided the remaining thirty feet was too much of a target for Union ships and ordered it torn down in 1863. There is a record of a 21-year-old private being killed by the falling lighthouse.

The wood frame lighthouse keeper's home served as Fisher's headquarters until it was destroyed during the first battle in December 1864. In 1962, state archaeologist Stanley South excavated the site of the house, but not the lighthouse.

A painting by Captain George Tait of the 40th North Carolina showed the lighthouse as standing close to the house, but since he was an amateur artist, no one was sure how close it really was.

In July and August, the Fort Fisher site received permission from North Carolina Office of State Archaeology to build a walkway and interpretive signage around the monument. This requires "compliant archaeology" to make sure nothing historically damaged by digging pits.


Tuesday, November 17th, they struck something about 20 feet away from South's previous dig. The remains of a three foot thick circular wall was found. It had brick outer and inner walls with coquina between them. The outer wall also was covered with white stucco.

Quite a few artifacts were found. Remnants of the battles, mostly shell fragments, grape shot and cannister were also found.

These were found two feet down. After recording everything, the earth was pushed back in.

Always Great to Find Something Lost for All That Time. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lighthouse Ruins Found at Fort Fisher-- Part 1

November 21st Wilmington Star-News "Fort Fisher dig uncovers pre-Civil War lighthouse" by Amy Hotz. For some reason, Amy Hotz always gets these really interesting articles.

Even though this was a land site, members of the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology team found the remains of a lighthouse on what today is called Battle Acre, but which was the site of Fort Fisher's headquarters during the Civil War.

It is located near the current Confederate Monument and at one time stood 40 feet tall. It no longer was standing at the time of the battles, but the former lighthouse keeper's wood frame house served as Fisher's headquarters.

It was built in 1816 after the federal government purchased an acre of land. A keeper's house was also built as was a boat ramp from which to bring supplies and fuel for the lamp.

It was remodeled some time after 1836 when there was a fire. The structure was damaged enough that workers left the top ten feet off.

We'll Leave the Light On. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Henry Lawson Wyatt-- First Confederate Killed in War

There is a statue of Henry Lawson Wyatt on the grounds of the Capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina. He became the first Confederate soldier to be killed in the war when he was shot at the June 10, 1861, Battle of Bethel near present-day Hampton, Virginia.

His death became the first part of the state's famous Civil War motto: "First at Bethel, Farthest at Gettysburg and Last at Appomattox.

This statue is going to be copies for exhibition at a museum in South Dakota that features the works of sculptor Gutzon Borglum, better known for his work on Mount Rushmore. Wyatt's statue was dedicated June 10, 1912. Borglum also did one of the state's Governor Charles B. Aycock, dedicated in 1924.

The site of Big Bethel essentially no longer exists as it is underwater in a reservoir.

First at Bethel. --Blockade-Runner

Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama

One of the few Southern cemeteries to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places with 8,000 burials. Dates back to 1833.

On April 26, 1878, the Confederate Soldiers memorial was dedicated. In 1879, live oak and magnolia trees were planted and the name of the cemetery changed from West Selma to Live Oak.

Famous People Buried Here:

WILLIAM RUFUS KING-- founder of Selma, US senator and vice president.

COLONEL N.R.H. DAWSON, US Commissioner of Education and his wife, ELODIE TODD DAWSON, sister of MARY TODD LINCOLN.

EDMUND WINSTON PETTUS-- Confederate general who later became US senator for whom the famous bridge is named.

JOHN TYLER MORGAN-- Confederate general who later became US senator.

WILLIAM HARDEE-- Confederate general

CATESBY AP JONES-- Commander of CSS Virginia and Confederate Ordnance Works in Selma.

REVEREND ARTHUR SMALL-- Presbyterian minister who died at the Battle of Selma.

Have to Check This Place Out Some Time. --Old B-R

William L. Bradford, CSN

In Civil War Talk, a member wrote of a William L. Bradford, an Annapolis graduate who resigned from the Union Navy, joined the Confederate and at one time was assigned to Battery Buchanan at Fort Fisher in late 1864.

He had been executive officer on the CSS Tennessee and captured earlier in 1864.

The only other information I found on him is that he is buried in Barranquilla, Colombia, in South America. is looking for a picture of his grave. They mentioned that he served on the CSS Ivy, CSS Selma and CSS Tennessee, was at battery Buchanan, the James River Squadron and the disaster at Sailor's Creek, April 6, 1865 which prompted Lee to surrender a few days later.

You also have to wonder why he was buried in Colombia.

I saw that there was a Bradford in command of the Mississippi Battery of Coit's Battalion. Perhaps that was him.

Never Heard of Him Before. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Site of Civil War Battle Near Joplin Dedicated-- Part 3-- Sherwood, Mo. and the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry


Sherwood could be considered a lost city. It was the third largest city in Jasper County in 1863 with a population of 250. Nearby Joplin did not even exist at the time.

Nothing at all remains of Sherwood other than old records and the Sherwood Cemetery which is overgrown. It does contain the grave of Katherine Sallinger, a first cousin of Abraham Lincoln.


The 54th Massachusetts is often given credit as being the first black regiment, but the 1st Kansas was formed before it. All the members of the 1st Kansas had been former slaves. By the time the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry was mustered in, 13 days before the 54th, members had already been at the skirmish at Mound Island, Missouri, three months earlier in Oct. 28, 1862, in which ten were killed.

After Rader Farm, the 1st was involved in two actions in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), July 2nd at Cabin Creek and July 17, 1863 at Honey Springs.

Sure Never Heard of It. --B-R'er

Site of Civil War Battle Near Joplin Dedicated- Part 2

This could be called the Battle of Rader Farm, but was more along the lines of a skirmish because of numbers involved. It definitely had racial overtones. It took place May 18, 1813, when a group of black soldiers was ambushed and killed by Confederate guerrillas while foraging.

The site was purchased thanks to a $25,000 donation from Joplin attorneys Edward and Alison Hershewe. It will be turned into a county park and is in time for the sesquicentennial of the war.


Forty members of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry were on a foraging expedition from a Union camp at Baxter Springs, Kansas, and had just begun gathering corn at the Rader Farm near Sherwood, Mo., when they were attacked by a group of about 70 Southern sympathizrs.

Fifteen blacks were shot and killed on the spot and most of the white escorts escaped, but three were chased down and killed.

Union forces from Baxter Springs arriving the next day found the bodies mutilated. The commander ordered the bodies placed in the Rader house and burned. A Southern sympathizer found nearby was killed and placed in the fire as well. The commander then ordered all communities and homes within five miles destroyed. The town of Sherwood, Jasper County's third largest community was one of these and was destroyed and never rebuilt.

There wasn't even a town of Joplin at the time.

A Little-Known Tale of brutality in the War. --Old B-Runner

Admiral "Fighting Bob" Evans at Fort Fisher

In my history blog, I came across a picture of the Great White Fleet in Venezuela. It was either that fleet that made its first stop in that country, or a naval squadron sent to show the flag.

Found out it was commanded by Rear Admiral Robley "Fighting Bob" Evans commanded it.

As a lieutenant, Evans had participated in the Naval Column attack on Fort Fisher and had been wounded four times on Jan. 15, 1865. Back on board ship, it was determined by the surgeon that his foot would have to come off, at which point he threatened to shoot anyone he caught trying to amputate his foot.

Outcome: the foot stayed on and no one got shot.

The Doctor is Not Always Right. --B-Runner

Monday, November 16, 2009

Charles Pattison Bolles, CSA

The first artillery batteries at Fort Fisher were supervised by Charles Pattison Bolles. These batteries retained his name. Gen. W.H.C. Whiting was Bolles' brother-in-law. Both of these men were involved with engineering and based out of Wilmington before the war.

Before the war, Bolles was involved with the US Coast Survey for Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia. He resigned immediately after Fort Sumter and brought all his maps to the Confederacy, greatly enraging his former bosses.

He used them and his knowledge to begin the defenses of Wilmington.

He is buried in Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery. Born May 13, 1823 and died December 19. 1909. According to Find-a-Grave, he also constructed a large battery on Oak Island, south of Fort Caswell.

He was transferred to the Fayetteville Arsenal and while there produced bolts for the English Whitworth guns which had arrived without ammunition or projectiles.

One of the Little-Knowns of the War. --B-R'er

Not having to do with Bolles, but I wanted to enter this before I forget. There was a Camp Wyatt training facility north of Fort Fisher.

Bald Head Island's Fort Holmes-- Part 2

The fifth battery was the largest and called Battery Holmes which also had a bombproof magazine and was at the southernmost point of the island.

Construction began in September 1863 and continued into 1864. It guarded the east side of Old Inlet (Fort Caswell was on the west). The flagstaff was located on the Bald Head Promontory.

It was mostly destroyed when the Confederates evacuated after the fall of Fort Fisher.


It was named for Confederate General T. H. Holmes who graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1829 and was a career soldier. Before the war, he commanded Fort Columbus on Governor's Island in New York Harbor.

He resigned his commission after secession and became a colonel in the Confederate Army and commanded coastal defenses in the Department of North Carolina, later becoming a brigadier and major general.

I was unable to find any mention as to how much of Fort Holmes is still standing.

The Fort on the Island. --Old B-Runner

Bald Head Island's Fort Holmes-- Part 1

The remains of Fort Holmes are located on a very exclusive island called Bald Head at the mouth of the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, NC. I doubt that poor folk like us would even be allowed to visit.

The September 22nd Wilmington Star-News reports that beach nourishment is needed on the island to rebuild the beaches. Over 150 feet of beach has been lost. It is expected to cost $17 million and will involve 2 million cubic ponds of material and take four months.

Cars are not allowed and folks get around on modified golf carts.

The lighthouse is called "Old Baldy and is the oldest standing lighthouse in the country, built in 1817. During the American Revolution a British Fort Gregg was on the island. During the Civil War, the Confederates built Fort Holmes to protect the mouth of the river.

At one time, Bald Head Island was really an island, but since Hurricane Floyd in 1999, shoals have connected it.

Confederate Fort Holmes stretches from the lighthouse to the southwest tip of the island. It was made of earth reinforced with palmetto and oak logs. Guns were mounted in four batteries on the east side.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Site of Civil War Fight Near Joplin Dedicated-- Part 1

The Nov. 12th Joplin (Mo) Globe reports that a little-known Civil War site near that city has been dedicated at the intersection of Peace and Fountain roads north of town. (I might have driven by it when I got lost following Route 66 from Carthage to Joplin and got hopelessly lost because of poor signage.)

I didn't know about it, but, according to the article, neither do many in Joplin. The five acre county park is the first of a series of steps being taken to bring back the knowledge of this little-known engagement.

Five acres have been purchased at what used to be the Rader farm near a town that used to be called Sherwood, but is no longer in existence because of this battle.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oregon's Civil War Graves Project

From the Lebanon (Or) Express

Hundreds of Union veterans are buried in Oregon's cemeteries, many unfortunately in unmarked graves. This hopefully will change soon because the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, receiving help from the Lebanon Genealogists, have intentions to identify and mark every grave.

Thousands of Union veterans came to Oregon after the war as well as many ex-Confederates.

Union General Thomas Thorpe is buried at Crystal Lake Cemetery in Corvallis. His marker just read "Old Soldier." There is also the grave of a Confederate soldier Jeremy Bell who became Thorpe's prisoner at the Battle of Cedar Creek in 1864. They became good friends and both ended up moving to Oregon.

The Oregon Chapter of the SUVCW is completing a complete registry of graves, which will include the state's last living veteran of the war, James W. Smith who is buried in Lebanon FOOF cemetery. He was in the 1st Oregon Cavalry and died in 1951. He presently also is in an unmarked grave.

Important Work for the Sons on Both Sides. --B-R

Camp Parapet, New Orleans

I'll have to put this one in the list of Confederate forts I didn't know about.

The Nov. 12th New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the Third Annual Camp Parapet Day will be tomorrow and visitors will be allowed a rare visit into the Civil War magazine.

It was part of the Confederate fortifications built in 1861 to protect the city, and these specifically to guard the northern approach along the Mississippi River. The zig-zag earthen embankments run from the river to Lake Pontchartrain, roughly parallel to the current Causeway Boulevard about a mile upriver from the city's present day boundary.

It didn't helped the Confederacy at all as the city was taken from the south, but after occupation, Union troops manned and expanded the works.

One I Didn't Know About. --B-R'er

New York's Civil War Defenses

The Castle Williams I mentioned yesterday as a US fort design that looked liked a castle, hence the name, was one of several fortifications making up New York City's Inner Harbor Defenses.

On the same island as Castle Williams, Governor's Island, there was also Fort Columbus which was renamed Fort Jay and South Battery.

Castle Clinton was on the south end of Manhattan Island in what is known as Battery Park.

Fort Wood was on Liberty Island and today forms the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Fort Gibson was on Ellis Island.

Don't Go There If You're a Confederate Ship. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 12, 2009

40th Regiment North Carolina State Troops

Also known as the 3rd Artillery, was organized Nov. 1863, at Bald Head on Smith's Island, NC from heavy artillery companies organized in the two previous years.

It consisted of 1,152 men from Lenoir, Beaufort, Pamlico, Richmond, Robeson,Wayne, Wilson, Edgecombe, Greene, New Hanover, Bladen, Anson, and Chatham counties. It was staffed by Colonel John J. Hedrick, Lt.Col George Tait and Major William A. Holland.

They were attached to the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia and detachments served at forts Holmes, Caswell, Anderson, and Fisher.

After the fall of Wilmington in 1865, they were converted to infantry and assigned to Hagood's Brigade, fought at Bentonville and surrendered with the Army of Tennessee at Bennett Place April 26th.

USMC in the Civil War

Some more from the birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

On November 10, 1775, Captain Samuel Nichols was authorized by Congress to form two battalions of Continental Marines.

During the Civil War, the Marines played a moderate role, mostly blockade duty. About half of the officer corps resigned and started the Confederate States Marine Corps.

A Battalion of Marines was hastily formed and took part at the First Battle of Bull Run, but performed poorly, taking part in the panic run back to Washington DC with the rest of the Army.

Marines also participated in the Naval Column attack on Fort Fisher, NC.

It's a Marine Thing. --Blockade-R

Running the Blockade: Woodstock Civil War Monument-- Racial Slurs on Confederate Monument-- No More "From Dixie with Love"

Running the Blockade-- Some New News About an Old War.

1. WOODSTOCK CIVIL WAR MONUMENT-- The Nov. 11th Woodstock (Il) Independent had an article about the rededication of the monument in the town square on the 3rd. I was able to attend it.

2. RACIAL SLURS ON CONFEDERATE MONUMENT-- The Nov. 9th WJBF News out of Augusta, Georgia, reports that someone painted racial slurs at the base of the Confederate Monument downtown. "Black Power," "Cracker Killer" and "I Hate Whites" were taken off before daylight however. I guess with some, the war is not over.

3. NO MORE "FROM DIXIE WITH LOVE"-- ABC 24 reported that University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones has asked the school band not to play "From Dixie With Love" at football games anymore because some people had started a "The South Will Rise Again" chant after its conclusion.

It had happened before and Jones warned the people not to do it or else,

This song takes part of the songs "Dixie" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Too Bad This Has to Happen. --B-Runner

Two Other Castle Forts

A postscript to the Castle Pinckney article in the National Parks Traveler noted that two other US castle forts were built and still remain in New York Harbor. They were part of the New York harbor Defense system and completed about the same time.

Castle Williams was completed in 1811 on Governor's Island, a strategic location between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. It can be visited at Governor's island National Monument.

The other castle fort was also completed in 1811 and is at nearby Castle Clinton National Monument in lower Manhattan's Battery Park.

My Kingdom for a Castle. --Old B-R

Charleston's Castle Pinckney-- Part 3-- Forgotten and Unwanted

After the Civil War, the Federal government had little use for the old fort other than as a lighthouse and depot. The guns were left in place (some are still there) and, in general, it was left to decay. By 1890, it was so bad, the fort was sealed, filled with sand and prepared for use as a lighthouse foundation.

In 1897, there was a proposal to use it as a nursing home for Union veterans, but that never came to be. No weapons were added during the Spanish-American War or World War I as happened at so many old coastal fortifications. (In Charleston Harbor, guns were added at Fort Sumter.)

The US Army Corps of Engineers did use it as a base for harbor improvement projects.

On October 15, 1924, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the Castle Pinckney National Monument and placed it under War Department administration and in 1933 it was transferred to the National Park Service.


The NPS didn't have any plans for it and in 1951, Congress abolished the status and it was transferred to the US Army Corps of Engineers, but they didn't want it and declared it surplus property. A Congressional mandate turned it over to dispose of it.

Today, it is owned by the South Carolina State Ports Authority. In 1969, they had sold it to the Sons of Confederate Veterans who intended to restore the fort, erect a museum and build an up-scale restaurant, but that fell through.

In 1970, it was listed on the National register of Historic Places, but not much has been done since then.

Today, it's still there, and boat guides talk about it. You can't land on the island without permission and very few have been on it.

Sad to See a Historical Structure Go By the Way Like This. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Great Naval Site

While looking up the USS Fort Fisher, I came across a site which had pictures and thumbnail sketches on 25 Union ships that participated in the attacks on Fort Fisher. Even more interesting to me was the part about what eventually happened to the ships.

Of the five ironclads at Fort Fisher, these are the the postwar dispositions:

USS New Ironsides-- destroyed by fire in 1866.

USS Monadnock-- completely rebuilt into a new warship in 1874.

USS Canonicus-- last monitor, scrapped in 1908.

USS Saugus-- sold 1891.

USS Mahopac-- sold 1902.

Well Worth a Look. --RoadDog

Wreck of the CSS Appomattox Found-- Part 2

According to Wikipedia, the Appomattox was a small propeller-driven steamer which fought at the Battle of Roanoke Island and was burned on February 10, 1862, near Elizabeth City, NC.

It mounted two guns: a bow 32-pdr and a stern howitzer. It was 120 tons, 86 feet long and had a 20.5 foot beam and was part of the Confederate "Mosquito Fleet" tasked with defending the coast and sounds of North Carolina.

According to the November 10th Virginia-Pilot, on February10, 1862, Union ships commanded by Captain Stephen Rowan sailed to the mouth of the Pasquotank River with plans to attack Elizabeth City. This caused the Confederates to sink the Appomattox.

To date, the propeller and shaft have been found and not many artifacts in the charred wood.

The Army Corps of Engineers might have removed the vessel's bow section while clearing the river in the 1890s.

Great News. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wreck of the CSS Appomattox Found-- Part 1

After a ten year search and the discovery of a wreck in the Pasquotank River was found in 2007, the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Branch has reported that he ship is the CSS Appomattox. This is based on the discovery of a spoon with the name J Skeritt inscribed on a silver plated spoon in the wreck.

It is known that he was on loan to the Appomattox from the ironclad CSS Virginia. The four member dive team discovered the wreck in August of 2007. It was part of a fleet of small steamers put together to protect the coast of North Carolina dubbed the "Mosquito Fleet."

It was set on fire in 1862 by Confederates to prevent capture.

Always Great to Find Something That Was Lost. --Old B-Runner

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cape Lookout Lighthouse-- Part 3

At the beginning of the Civil War, theConfederate Lighthouse Service went to all lighthouses, removed the lenses, and took them to interior places for safety. This included the first order lens at Cape Lookout.

Raphael Semmes, later admiral of the Confederate Navy, was at one time commander of the lighthouse service.

After Federal forces took control of the lighthouse, a temporary third order lens was installed in March 1863. The original lens was found in Raleigh but had been damaged so was sent to StatenIsland Lighthouse Depot for repair. It was reinstalled in 1868.

Until 1885, whale oil was the primary fuel.

We'll Leave the Light On. --B-R'er

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Woodstock Square Civil War Monument-- Part 1

From the November 4th Northwest Herald "Enthusiasts rededicate Woodstock Civil War monument, launch funding drive" by Diana Sroka.

The Women's Relief Corps, an auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic raised the $3,000 needed for the statue and monument over a ten year period by selling items like food and quilts at county fairs and other events. The Grand Army of the Republic, or GAR, was comprised of Union veterans of the war.

The Woodstock Infantry, a support group for the Woodstock, Illinois National Guard unit, plans to raise the $10,000 to clean and repair the monument. At first, I didn't think it needed much in the way of repairs, but upon closer inspection, it surely does need it.

The Women's Relief Corps began planning for the monument in 1897, and it was dedicated November 3, 1909, so this marked the 100th anniversary of it. It was unveiled before a crowd of 3,000 at the time, including veterans and widows of veterans. There was a lot of enthusiasm at the time.

Tuesday's rededication drew about 25 people, but I didn't think there was much in the way of publicity. I wouldn't have known about it except for my wife Liz finding out about it. None of my web searches had anything about it.

Keeping in Touch With History. --Old B-Runner

USS Ivy and USS Red Rover

Thursday, I wrote about Michael Huskey, USN, not receiving his Medal of Honor in 1864 because he had died. I did some more research on the ships he was involved with. Besides the USS Carondolet, which he served on, there was the USS Ivy which he helped save under very adverse conditions, then, it said he died on the Hospital Ship Pinkney.

Good old Wikipedia said the USS Ivy was a tugboat originally built for the Army, but transferred to the Navy for use as a tugboat, dispatch boat and often Admiral Porter's flagship.

I couldn't find anything about a USS Pinkney, but most likely he died aboard he USS Red Rover, a former Confederate ship launched at Cape Girardeau, Missouri in 1859 and captured after the fall of Island No. 10 in 1862. It became the US Navy's first hospital ship and cared for sick and wounded on western waters. A Ninian Pinkney was fleet surgeon in charge of the vessel and that was probably where the confusion of the ship's name emanated.

And, the Rest of the Story. --Old B-Runner

Friday, November 6, 2009

Congratulations to Chris Fonvielle

Wilmington (NC) Star-News November 5th by Ben Steelman.

Chris E. Fonvielle was selected by the Society of Cincinnati's George Washington Distinguished Professor of North Carolina
award and will be receiving a $6,000 stipend for research on his upcoming book on the Revolutionary War's February 17, 1775 Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in North Carolina.

He is a Wilmington native with a BA in anthropology from University of North Carolina Wilmington, an MA from East Carolina University and Ph.D from the University of South Carolina and currently an Assistant Professor of History at UNCW.

At one time, he also ran the Blockade Runner Museum in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. He probably has the most knowledge of Wilmington and Fort Fisher than anyone.

He has written three books on the Civil War in the Wilmington area:

The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope
Fort Anderson: The Battle of Wilmington
and co-authored Louis Froelich: Arms Maker of the Confederacy with John H. McAdam

The Society of Cincinnati was founded in 1783 and is the oldest patriotic organization in the US composed of descendants of officers from the Continental Army and Navy.

I have his first two books.

This Guy Knows His Stuff. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sherman Goes to the Monitor

I follow the Sherman's Lagoon comic strip in the Chicago Tribune. This past week Sherman, a great white shark, and his friend took a trip to the wreck of the USS Monitor because the friend, a fish, was studying the Civil War.

One problem, though, was that they had the Monitor located off the coast of South Carolina. They are very shocked to find the wreck is a retirement home for fish.

Today's strip balloons:

FIRST PANEL-- The friend: "I can't believe this famous Civil War shipwreck is now a retirement home for fish,"

SECOND PANEL-- The friend: "I mean, come on. The Monitor is a major historical landmark." Sherman, "Yeah."

THIRD PANEL-- The friend: "And they made it into a retirement home?"

FOURTH PANEL-- Sherman: "Should've at least become a casino."

Friend: "It's like talking to soup."

Well, It IS a Marine Sanctuary. --B-Runner

Fort Hood Tragedy

A gunman killed seven and wounded fifteen at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas today. Killeen is half way between Austin and Waco and is named for Confederate general John Bell Hood who commanded Hood's Texas Brigade. It is base to the 53,168 members of the 1st Cavalry and 4th Infantry divisions and refers to itself as the Home of America's Armored Corps.

It opened during World War II as Camp Hood because of a need for wide open spaces to test tank destroyers to be used against the German Blitzkrieg. It became permanent during the Korean War and the name was changed to Fort Hood.

Mass killings have come to Killeen before. In 1991, a killer drove a pickup truck into a Luby's Restaurant and opened fire, killing 23 and wounding 20 before killing himself. This remained the worst mass killing in US history until Virginia Tech.

In the last two years, three servicemen at Fort Hood were killed in separate incidents.

Sad News.

Michael Huskey-- Medal of Honor Winner-- Part 2

The November 2nd Lockport Union-Sun & Observer also wrote that the USS Carondolet fought in more naval engagements than any US ship until World War II. Fireman Huskey volunteered to put out fires on the deck of the USS Ivy and did so under Confederate fire and with animals and snakes dropping from the trees onto the deck.

Michael Huskey was described as being 5 foot 7 inches tall and an Irish immigrant. He died on or about October 28, 1864, of illness aboard the hospital ship Pinkney and is probably one of 8,000 unknown soldiers buried at the Memphis Cemetery.

The USS Ivy was a screw tug originally built by the Army but transferred to the Navy where it served as a tugboat and dispatch boat. On occasion, it also served as Admiral Porter's flagship. From Wikipedia.

No Longer So Unknown. --B-R

Michael Huskey-- Medal of Honor Winner-- Part 1

Efforts spearheaded by US Senator Charles E. Schumer are underway in New York state to have Michael Huskey's unclaimed Medal of Honor found and given to Niagara County for display.

He received it for gallant actions in March 1863 during the Steele's Bayou/Deer Creek Expedition, part of US Grant's attempts to get around Vicksburg's defenses. This involved sending a naval force into bayous and tight waters which ended in defeat.

On November 3rd, a Navy honor guard held a ceremony at the Niagara County legislative session. Senator Schumer wants the Navy and National Archives to search for it so it can be pit on display at the Niagara County Courthouse. I'm sure that if they can't find it, they would be happy to get a new one issued.

Michael Huskey is the 14th known Niagara County resident to receive a Medal of Honor. However, he died in 1864 before receiving it. He helped save the ironclad USS Carondolet and, according to the citation, volunteered to go to the aid of the tugboat USS Ivy which was on fire and under heavy Confederate fire and for "general meritorious conduct during this hazardous mission."

He was a fireman, US Navy who enlisted in NY, NY. By General Order No.:32, 16 April 1864. Only, he died before he could receive it.

Nov. 4th Lockport Union-Sun & Journal "Medal of Honor: Michael Huskey memorialized at Legislative session" by Bill Wolcott.

Here's Hoping They Are Able to Find the Original. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Charleston's Castle Pinckney-- Part 2

I've often seen pictures of it and its location on maps, but never knew much about it. It always looked like a formidable fortification, but yet, I never read about it in war accounts.

Some repairs were made and a lighthouse was added in 1855. The fort also served as the city's arsenal.

On December 20, 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union and on the 27th a small group of militia "stormed" Castle Pinckney, using ladders to climb over the parapet and "captured the two Union soldiers, some women and children and about 36 mechanics and laborers. No shots were fired, but it was the first seizure of federal property.

After Fort Sumter was attacked, the Castle became a prison, holding 154 Union troops captured at the First Battle of Bull Run. I saw one picture where they were guarded by young Confederate cadets

During the war, it was heavily bombarded twice in 1863 and once in 1864, but remained in Confederate hands until Charleston fell and it was reoccupied by Union troops February 18, 1865.

After the War to the Present Next. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Charleston's Castle Pinckney

A little-known fort in Charleston Harbor, vastly overshadowed by Forts Moultrie, Sumter and Wagner.

From October 13th National Parks Traveler.

The NPS acquired Castle Pinckney in 1933, but were glad to turn it back over to South Carolina in the 1950s. It has no glorious past and is very expensive to maintain.

In 1791, George Washington visited Charleston and saw the little Shutes Folly island strategically located and ordered a fort built there. It was named Fort Pinckney after Charles tesworth Pinckney, a local planter, Revolutionary War general and signer of the US Constitution.

A log fort was built on Shutes Folly in 1804, but was immediately destroyed by a hurricane. A brick masonry fort was completed in 1810 featuring multiple tiers of enclosed and casemated gun positions.

It became known as Castle Pinckney for its resemblance to a castle.

It played no role in the War of 1812 and was demoted to "secondary line of defense" in 1826. The next year, construction on Fort Sumter began and Castle Pinckneys importance essentially ceased. It was lightly garrisoned until 1836 and then not at all until 1860.

When is a Castle Not a Fort? --B-R'er

Cape Lookout Lighthouse-- Part 2

The Friends of Cape Lookout National Seashore said that the construction of the lighthouse was under the supervision of (and probably designed by) William Henry Chase Whiting, Corps of Engineers US Army.

An original drawing of the lighthouse has been found and is noted "Drawn under the direction of Lieut. Wm. H. C. Whiting, Corps Engr."

It is undated, but known that Whiting was promoted to captain in late 1858.

So the Lighthouse is a Whiting House. --Old B-Runner

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

The US Department of the Interior has given $487,000 to repair the spiral staircase inside the lighthouse so people with the gumption can climb to the top again. Not me.

The lighthouse is known for its distinctive black and white diamonds. Yesterday marked the 150th anniversary of its first lighting, November 1, 1859.

The first lighthouse was built in 1812, but it was found to be too short. Of great interest to me, it was designed and built by W. H. C. Whiting of the US Army Corps of Engineers. He is also connected with the construction and defense of North Carolina's Fort Fisher.

After the war, it served as the model of the Hatteras, Bodie Island and Currituck Beach lighthouses. And, I always thought Cape Hatteras was built first.

Definitely Not Climbing to the Top, Even If Whiting Did Build It. --Old B-Runner

Some More on the Woodstock Square Rededication

The Woodstock Library, on its Flickr Photo stream, has an early black and white photograph of the monument on their website saying that it was erected in 1909 by the Grand Army of the Republic and that Zoia Monuments mounted the statue on the base with symbols of the four branches: Army, Cavalry, Navy and Marines on the sides. Evidently, this company still exists.

It was also featured in the movie "Groundhog Day" where the snowball fight took place.

Don Peasley said that it originally cost $30,000 and was funded by the Woodstock Women's Relief Corps with money collected over a twelve year period..

The Woodstock Chamber of Commerce offered a Christmas ornament of it in 2004.

Looking Forward to This Event and Will Be Representing the Camp Douglas Sons of Confederate Veterans. --Old B-Runner

Rededication in Woodstock, Illinois

Tomorrow, I am driving out to Woodstock, Illinois, for the rededication of the Civil War monument honoring soldiers from McHenry County who died in the Civil War. This will mark the 100th anniversary of the first dedication back on November 3, 1909.

Chad Miller, commander of the Woodstock Infantry is leading an effort to raise funds for repairs to the ornamental fencing, anchor and facings of the monument.

It was built by Antonio Zoia, and his grandson, Jim Zoia and his son Tony will be in charge of the monument's restoration.

The names of 330 McHenry County soldiers who died in the war were added in 2000 through the efforts of Jim Clegg who did a lot of research. More than 100 of them died from disease.

Four marble slabs surround the monument listing the names of 16 McHenry communities which sent troops to the war.

From the Northwest Herald. Don Peasley's column.

Civil War Close to Home (About 18 Miles). --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Confederate Naval Yard-- Richmond, Va.

This past week, the good folks at HMdb, Historical Marker database spotlighted a marker located in Richmond.

The Naval yard began in 1862 on both banks of the James River and served as the base, construction site and headquarters of the James River Squadron. At one time it was commanded by Admiral Raphael Semmes. Ships built and based there included the CSS Virginia II and others.

Here also, the CSS Navy fashioned a prototype of an artillery mounted railroad car that Lee used at Savage Station June 29, 1862.

On April 3, 1865, Confederate troops burned the yard and destroyed the vessels during the evacuation of Richmond.

After the Civil War, Trigg Shipyards continued military shipbuilding in Richmond.

Another River Shipyard. --Old B-Runner

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fort Harrison-- Richmond, Va.

The September 14th Macon (Ga) Telegraph had an article about Richmond's Fort Harrison by Chuck Meyers.

Fort Harrison and its four sister forts (Johnson, Gilmer, Hoke and Gregg) are part of the National Park Service's Richmond National Battlefield Park.

It was built in 1862 and named for Lt. William Harrison, a Confederate engineer, and designed to protect the strategically important Chaffin's Bluff on the James River. An engagement occurred at it September 29, 1864 involving Union General Butler's forces called the Battle of Chaffin's Farm.


The actions took place on both Sept. 29 and Sept. 30, 1864 and were a part of the Siege of Petersburg.

On September 29th, 2,500 troops from Union General Benjamin Butler's Army of the James attack and overwhelmed the 200 Confederates under Major Richard Cornelius Taylor and captured the fort.

Union General Hiram Burnham of Maine was killed in the assault and the fort renamed in his honor.

Realizing the fort's importance, the next day, Robert E. Lee ordered a counter attack which failed and the fort remained in Union hands for the rest of the war.

In 1930, a preservation society called the Richmond Parks Corporation built a log cabin at the fort and that remains today as the visitors center.

The fort is in great shape and well worth a visit.

From Wikipedia.

So, old gen. Ben. did have some fort success, certainly not against the one in North Carolina.

The Big Boom Theory. --B-R'er

Fort Fisher's 150-pdr Armstrong Gun-- Part 5-- Empire Complicity and the Scamp

Definitely gathered that the writer wasn't happy about Britain's open aid to the Confederacy, then, there was the scamp.

Continuing with the article on the front page of the February 11, 1865 Harper's Weekly. No author was cited for it. Nice engraving of the gun, however.

"The gun is bronzed and mounted on a mahogany carriage, highly varnished. The whole piece is finished in the finest style. It was fired a very few times during the action. During the confusion attending the occupation of the works by the Union troops some mischievous person stole the sights. (The Scamp!)

The Armstrong guns are manufactured exclusively under the auspices of the British Government, and Admiral Porter, in his official report, states this fact as if it were conclusive proof of the British Government or someone high in authority, had presented the gun to the Confederate Government."

Alright, Who Stole the Sight? --Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fort Fisher's Major James Reilly-- Part 3

His military stone was dedicated October 24th at Oakdale Cemetery. On it are listed battles he took part in: Yorktown, Peninsula Campaign, Manassas, South Mountain. Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Washington, NC, Suffolk Campaign, Gettysburg, and 1st and 2nd Battles of Fort Fisher.

The memorial service was attended by his great granddaugthers Mary Scott Betham and Mary Alice Crowley of Wilmington, and Catherine Reilly Steele of Gatlinburg, Tn. Also, two reenactors portraying his battery, one from NC and the other from Maine were there.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Civil War Burials in St. Louis

Persons of interest buried in St. Louis, Missouri. These two cemeteries are adjacent to each other. Bellefontaine was established in 1849. Calvary was established in 1857 and is a Roman Catholic cemetery.


James Eads-- bridge architect and ironclad builder
Sterling Price-- Confederate general
Don Carlos Buell-- Union general
John McNeal-- Union general involved in Palmyra Massacre
Francis E. Brownell-- Medal of Honor for killing James Jackson May 24, 1861, who had just shot Col. Elmer Ellsworth
Thomas Hart Benton-- US Senator involved in Manifest Destiny

Others of Interest buried in Bellefontaine. This is just a very short list of famous people buried there. Check out the site on Wikipedia

William S. Burroughs-- inventor
William S. Burroughs-- writer
Adolphus Busch-- beer
William Clark-- explorer as in Lewis and Clark


William Tecumseh Sherman
Daniel M. Frost-- CS General
Dred Scott

Others of interest:
Tennessee Williams

Some Graves to Visit the Next Time on Route 66. --Old B-R

Fort Fisher's Major James Reilly-- Part 2

James Reilly was an ordnance sergeant in the US Army when he surrendered Fort Johnson and was the sole defender.

He resigned from the US Army and joined the 10th NC Artillery, Co. D, which became known as Reilly's Battery and served in the Army of Northern Virginia until 1863 when he was promoted to major and transferred to Fort Fisher where he became second in command under Col. William Lamb. It was he who surrendered Fort Fisher after Col. Lamb and Gen. Whiting were wounded. So, Reilly had the misfortune to have to surrender two forts in the Wilmington area.

After the war, he returned to Wilmington, NC, and lived there the rest of his life operating the Wilmington and Brunswick Ferry. He died in 1894 and is buried at Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington.

An Interesting Story. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fort Fisher's Major James Reilly-- Part 1

One of those many, many heroes of the Civil War who are not known to the general public.

Dozens of people gathered at Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery this last weekend to dedicate a new marker for Major James Reilly who surrendered Fort Fisher, was imprisoned in Maryland (probably Point Lookout). Even though offered a higher position with higher pay, he refused and remained in prison. From Wild Geese Today.

He had the nickname of "Old Tarantula" and was born in Ireland in 1823. After serving in the British Army, and crossed the Atlantic to the United States and joined the He served in the Seminole Indian War and was severely wounded in the Mexican War.


On January 7, 1861, while the sole military person at Fort Johnson in Smithville, NC, now Southport, he surrendered Fort Johnson to a large force of North Carolina militia

Continued. --Old B-Runner

Monday, October 26, 2009

Running the Blockade: At Fort Fisher-- Getting That Cannon Bug-- Lincoln Signed It-- Explosions in Savannah--

Running the Blockade: Some New News About an Old War.

1. AT FORT FISHER-- Mr. and Mrs. Frank R. Shaw made a $103,000 endowment to the St. Andrews Scottish Heritage Center. They told of their ancestry, and their grandfather, John W. Shaw was captured at Fort Fisher and imprisoned at Elmira Prison in New York.

2. GETTING THAT CANNON BUG-- You say you've always wanted to fire a cannon. Well, now is your chance. Vicksburg National Military Park is looking for volunteers to dress as Civil War soldiers and fire the park's 12-pounder Napoleon cannon.

3. LINCOLN SIGNED IT-- The October 20th Fox 28 TV in South Bend, Indiana, says that a rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln is on display at the Center for History in South Bend. It is on loan from Indiana University. It was printed a year after the original and signed by Lincoln to be sold at a charity auction.

4. EXPLOSIONS IN SAVANNAH-- The October 20th Savannah Now reported that the explosions heard in town the night before were from the movie "Conspirator" which is being filmed there. Savannah is standing in for Washington, DC. Robert Redford is directing it and it is about the trial of Mary Suratt. The explosions were fireworks celebrating the end of the Civil War.

Now, You Know. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Scout Restores Cannons In Illinois

Danny Daniels, a Boy Scout in Oregon, Illinois has spent 35 hours removing rust from a pair of Civil War cannons at the Ogle County courthouse. He did this as part of the requirements for attaining Eagle Scout status, the highest a Boy Scout can get.

The Ogle County courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in 1891. The cannons were placed there between 1898 and 1900. One is a Columbiad cast in 1846 in Boston. The other is a Parrot cannon, cast in 1864,

There is also a Soldiers Monument designed by famed Illinois sculptor Lorado Taft 19 1911 and dedicated in 1916 to those who served from Ogle County in the War of 1812, Mexican War and Civil War. World War I veterans were added later.

Always good to see the youth of America getting involved with history such as this.

From Ogle County News.

Congratulations Danny. --Old B-R

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some More Info on General Hawley

He moved from North Carolina to Connecticut at age 11 because his father, a preacher, was transferred there. He lived the rest of his life in that state. He was a staunch abolitionist, lawyer, and journalist.

In 1861, he helped Col. Alfred H. Terry raise the 7th Connecticut and became the lt. colonel of the unit, eventually its commander.eral Joseph Hawley

He was involved in actions along the seacoast and was at Charleston in 1863 and involved with the Battle of Fort Wagner.

He was Connecticut's governor from 1866 to 1867, US Representative from 1872-1875 and again 1879-1881 and US Senator from 1881 to 1905, dying two weeks after leaving that seat.

He is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut.

I Had Never Heard of Him, But This Was an Important Man, Especially If You Live in Connecticut. --Old B-Runner