The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Remembering the Old Days Along the Cape Fear-- Part 2

This is his grandpa's story.

"Grandpa Joe Clemmons, shortly after he turned 17 in the spring of 1862, along with his brothers and close friends, was persuaded by Captain Galloway to join the Coast Guard Company headquartered at Fort Caswell and Fort Johnson. The company was armed with a new Armstrong rifled cannon."

Much war materiel was brought in by the blockade-runners. "Since the cannoneers were born in Brunswick County and had worked the forest and rivers from early childhood, they could live off the land and when not needed at the inlets, were sent on scavenging parties into Green Swamp to kill wild cattle, deer, and wild pigs for the fort."

I have left out parts which you can look up.

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

Remembering the Old Days Along the Cape Fear

Susie Carson has a column in the Wilmington Star News called "A Bit of History" and ran a three part series back in Jan-Feb 2007 on the memories of Stephen "Jack" Clemmons, who listened to his dad and friends recounting the tales of the old days while growing up.

Mr. Clemmons grew up in the thirties, before TV and even before the radio had much to offer. Every evening, his dad and friends would get together "with a bottle of country elixir or some wine and talk about the old days....often the talk would drift to tales about the Civil War."

Most had relatives who fought in "The War of Northern Aggression. For some reason, I soaked up the stories, and these stories stayed with me for a lifetime."

One man's father was Capt. Galloway whose men protected the entrance to Cape Fear, Lockwood's Folly River and the southern shoreline of Brunswick County. They were not regular soldiers.

More to Come. --Old Blockade-R

Camp Douglas Lee-Jackson Dinner-- Part 2

A Dr. Shay from Iowa visited. He is currently writing a book on northern prisons for Confederates. Everyone is reminded about the Illinois Division SCV convention taking place this April at the Hilton in downtown Springfield ( a little bit of the South in Lincoln Land) and the ceremony the following weekend at Chicago's Oakwood Cemetery to honor the 6000 plus Confederates who died at Camp Douglas.

The SCV National Convention takes place this year at the historic Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Certificates of Appreciation were given to the Belle Boyd Order of the Confederate Rose and to the Second Kentucky Co. D Rifles for their outstanding help to our camp.

Three new members were sworn in, all candidates for the Military Order of the Stars and Bars for their relationship to General Turner Ashby and General Robert E. Lee.

We had an excellent meal as usual.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Strontium Found at Fort Fisher

The Jan. 27th Wilmington Star News reports that soil samples taken at the Fort Fisher Historic Site have revealed the presence of strontium, but not in dangerous levels. Strontium was used during WW II for tracer shells.

The area south of the present Fort Fisher Air Force Recreational Area was part of a firing range during the war. Parts of old bombs, shells and antiaircraft bullets have been found over the years.

This is part of an ongoing study being made of former military posts.

Don't Go Lying in the Dirt. --B-R'er

Running the Blockade: Flag Flap-- Fort Fisher Ferry

Some New News About an Old War.

1. FLAG FLAP-- That huge 30 X 60 foot Confederate flag that has drawn so much comment flying near Tampa, Florida, is returning to the news while it will be flying tall and proud this weekend for the Super Bowl.

2. FORT FISHER FERRY-- The Fort Fisher-Southport Ferry, which has been closed for the past two months for ramp work, is scheduled to reopen February 1st.

Now, You Know. --Old B-Runner

Monday, January 26, 2009

Camp Douglas SCV Lee-Jackson Dinner-- Jan. 17, 2009

Everyone met in the bar area to toast our gallant generals on their birthdays. As usual, half the fun was looking at other patrons' faces when they saw all those Confederate uniforms, as well as 1860s civilians. There were lots of double takes. "What, are we being invaded? I thought the war was over."

We had a much bigger room at the Radisson in Northbrook, Illinois, from the past two years, when getting around our wonderful ladies in those big hoop skirts was difficult. Again, we were entertained by the Battlefield balladeers, consisting of a man on banjo and harmonica, woman on violin and another keeping rhythm and singing. They played all those great Civil War songs.

Illinois Division Commander Jim Barr welcomed every one and also showed us the brand new Illinois SCV division flag which is the battle flag with an outline of Illinois on it. Pretty impressive. He also reported that the national SCV headquarters at Elm Springs is going to have a new building constructed next to the old plantation house. All offices will be moved their upon completion. We also got an update on the law suit in Florida regarding SCV license plates.

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

Robert E. Lee on Fort Fisher

Came across a letter from Robert E. Lee to Jefferson Davis where he reported on the situation at Fort Fisher as reported to him by Braxton Bragg. It was dated Jan. 15, 1865.

"General Bragg telegraphed at 8 p.m. yesterday from Sugar Loaf that the enemy succeeded on the night of the 13th in extending a line across the Peninsula between him & Fort Fisher. That upon close examination he thought it too strong to attack with his inferior forces. Fisher has been reinforced with sufficient veterans to make it safe & that the width of the river is such that the enemy cannot control it even with artillery of which he has as yet landed none. Bombardment of Fisher on the 14th light. Weather continues fine & sea smooth. I have telegraphed a reply to concentrate his forces & endeavor to dislodge him. That he will land his cannons & besiege Fisher. He gives no estimate of strength of enemy, & makes no call for reinforcements."

So, Lee wanted Bragg to move upon the Union forces, but that was never to happen. Plus, 350 more troops, even veterans, was not much against close to 6000 federal troops. About the only reason I can think of for Bragg's inactivity was fear of the Union Naval guns. Otherwise, the Union troops would be caught between two Confederate forces, one heavily fortified.

Bragg Should Have Done Something. --Old B-R

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Running the Blockade: Water Witch Bible-- Three Suspended

Some New News About an Old War.

1. WATER WITCH BIBLE-- According to CW Naval and Marine Forum member Bruce Smith, a man donated a Bible from the USS/CSS Water Witch to the Port Columbus National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia. This is where a full-sized replica of the vessel will be dedicated April 4-5th this year.

Inside, it has a hand-written "Mess No. 1" and a handwritten explanation of the capture of the ship by "seamen of the Savannah Squadron of the Confederate Navy--June 1864." That is quite a find.

2. THREE SUSPENDED-- The Jan. 15 reports that three students have been suspended from the Marysville-Pilchunk High School (Wa) for displaying a Confederate flag.

There have been problems from one Confederate flag incident back in October and another last week. Problems with the flag date back to 2004 when it was banned from school for fear of student safety.

The three students were called in for a discussion and immediately suspended.

Another reason to remain vigilant.

Now, You Know. --Old B-Runner

Friday, January 23, 2009

Union Soldier's Remains Found at Antietam

Earlier this month, a hiker at Antietam found bone fragments and a metal NY button near a groundhog hole on the Antietam battlefield. The soldier probably was in one of the 24 New York regiments engaged at the battle. His identity will probably never be known, however.

Five years after the battle, a major effort was made to recover bodies, and those were buried in nearby cemeteries. This one was overlooked until the groundhog encountered it.

These are not the first remains found at the battlefield. In 1989, four were found in a shallow grave.

The War Goes On. --Old B-R

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What About Fort Fisher?

Sure haven't seen much in the news or blogs about the Fort Fisher anniversary commemoration held on the 17th other than in the CW Navy blog. I'm surprised the Wilmington paper and TV stations had nothing, unless it got buried in all the inauguration hoopla.

I'd like to know about the Timothy O'Sullivan show especially. Seeing those pictures 3-D would have been something.

I understand next year the emphasis will be on the USCT's role in the battle.

Give the Fort a Break. --Old B-R'er

Monday, January 19, 2009

H.L. Hunley Mysteries Continue-- Part 2

Both Union ships and Confederates along the shore mentioned seeing a blue light signalling an end of the mission. A lantern with thick lenses that would have sifted the light spectrum was found which might have appeared blue from a distance.

The USS Canadaigua rushed to aid the stricken Housatonic and it is thought the blue light might have been from it. Perhaps this ship also might have grazed the Hunley, disabling it so it couldn't surface. Inspection of the hull might just answer this question.

It is known that the Hunley would have to wait for the incoming tide to return to base. Perhaps Dixon miscalculated the oxygen supply and blacked out. A grappling hook was found near the wreck. Perhaps it was used as an anchor. If evidence of a rope is found, this might prove it.

Dixon's watch stopped at 8:23 PM. Even though Civil War time varied widely, it is known that the Housatonic was attacked about 20 minutes later. Maybe it had run down and Dixon hadn't noticed this close to the attack.

There is a theory the the concussion from the explosion knocked the crew out. Also, the Hunley might have miscalculated distance and surfaced too close to the Housatonic and causing the crew to be unable to replenish oxygen.

Monterey, Ca. Jan. 15, 2009, by Bruce Smith, AP.

Hoping a Lot of Mysteries Will Be Solved. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, January 17, 2009

H.L. Hunley Mysteries Continue

This story was from way out west, in Monterey, California and dated Jan. 15, 2009.

As work continues on the Confederate submarine, it is hoped that mysteries surround it will be solved.

They have already discovered that the overall design is different from what was expected and that there were 8, not 9 crew members. The interior of the vessel has been excavated and now they can turn to the exterior, which is being soaked in chemicals to remove all those salts from the years it was on the sea floor.

Already, it has been discovered that there is no glass in the conning tower window. Perhaps it was shot out by rifle fire from the Housatonic. However, no glass has been found inside the Hunley not do the remains of Lt. George Dixon show any skull injuries that might indicate a bullet wound.

The crew's remains were found at duty stations suggesting that there was no emergency and the bilge pump controls were not set to pump water out.

More to Come. --Old Blockade-R

Grand Junction, Colorado, Cemetery Mystery

The Feb. 3, 2008, Grand Junction (CO) Sentinel had an article by Gary Harmon about the 12 unknown Civil War veterans buried in the Orchard Mesa Cemetery.

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) John A. Logan Post 21 in Grand Junction split in 1910, but merged again in 1921 to become Logan again.

In 1925, three headstones arrived for the 12 unknowns. As far as records, Books A and B have been lost and only Book C remains.

Grand Junction was founded in 1882, but as many as 300 veterans from both sides made it home. According to Gary Parrott of the SUVCW, Legion of the West Camp 7,(he is also head of the local SCV) there was also a Confederate group in early Grand Junction history.

They have determined that at least five veterans were buried soon after the town was settled and the headstones set most likely on Decoration Day, now called Memorial Day.

US Highway 50 also passes through town and is called the Grand Army of the Republic Highway.

It Would be Interesting to Know Why the GAR Split UP Back in 1910. --B-Runner

Alamance County, NC

The Feb. 6, 2008 Time-News had an article about Alamance County's role in the Civil War.

The county was more industrialized than most in the South because of the fast-growing textile industry and railroads.

Charles Irons, an Elon University professor has found that 1,420 men served in the Confederate military and that the early enlistees tended to be wealthy and from slave-holding families. However, poorer ones entered service after 1862 when the Confederacy started a draft.

According to Irons, "It is very clear that men in Alamance County fought because they had to, not in general because they wanted to."

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Goldsboro, NC, Connection

The Nov. 19, 2008 "North Carolina Minute" column by J.C. Knowles, was about several people connected with the Civil War, Goldsboro, and Fort Fisher.

He started with a review of Emily Weil's book "Goldsboro at the end of the Civil War."

The city was an important rail destination and staging area in the Confederacy's final days.

He also wrote about Confederate Major General James G. Martin, who was a West Point 1840 graduate and lost an arm in the Mexican War and led Confederate troops.

Hiram Louis Grant was from Woonsocket, RI, and enlisted in 1861 in the 6th Connecticut. By 1963, he was a major and took part in the attack on Fort Wagner, Charleston, SC, and was badly wounded, receiving a Medal of Honor for his bravery. Upon release from the hospital, he was assigned to the 10th Corps and fought in Virginia and in the assault at Fort Fisher. Later, he became provost marshal of Wilmington and Goldsboro before being discharged in 1866. He later became very involved in NC education.

William Turner Faircloth was a Goldsboro lawyer who became a first lieutenant in Confederate service. In 1963, he was at Camp Wyatt in New Hanover County and spent 30 days building and defending Fort Fisher before being sent to Virginia. After the war, he returned to Goldsboro and continued his law career, becoming the state chief justice later.

Great Columns for North Carolinians. --Old B-R'er

Fort Fisher-- Jan. 16, 1865

From NC historic sites.

1 AM-- Gen. Bragg writes Lee, Jefferson Davis, and NC governor Zebulon Vance: "I am mortified at having to report the unexpected capture of Fort Fisher, with most of its garrison, about 10 o'clock to-night. Particulars not known."

Davis is stunned, and replies, "The intelligence is sad as it was unexpected. Can you retake the fort?"

First daylight reveals the carnage of the day before. The fort's main magazine blows up, killing 200.

In the afternoon, Lincoln's Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, en route to Washington, DC, makes an unexpected stop at the fort and Gen. Terry presents him with the garrison flag.

Of course, Bragg made no effort to help the fort as it was falling and no attemp afterward.

Sad Day for the Confederacy. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, January 15, 2009

144th Anniversary of the Fall of Fort Fisher

Sad events these 144 years ago by the North Carolina coast as Fort Fisher fell after a huge bombardment and a combined attack by Union soldiers, sailors and marines.

A total of 51 sailors, soldiers and marines were awarded Medals of Honor for the actions this day. You can see a complete list in the Wikipedia entry for the Second Battle of Fort Fisher (as it is called).

Later tonight, a group of New York soldiers found a spot to rest on the sand and grass above the fort's magazine. About dawn, two drunked US sailors with torches stumble into the magazine, causing an explosion that resulted in the killing or wounding of 104, according to one source. Another claimed 200 from both sides.

Not counting this explosion, of the attacking 10,000 Union force, there were 1,338 casualties. Of the 1500 Confederates, 500 were killed or wounded and the rest captured.


By noon, the fleet had destroyed all but two 8-inch Columbiads along the land face of the fort.

Federal troops of Adelbert Ames' division, about 4,200 strong, move into position north of the fort. Curtis' brigade is near Battery Holland, while Galusha Pennypacker and Louis Bell's are near Craig's Landing. Gen. Alfred Terry, in over-all charge, establishes a command post at Battery Holland.

Portions of Hagood's Confederate 11th and 25th SC disembark at Battery Buchanan and make a force march under heavy fire from the fleet to the fort.

Porter's 2,261 sailors and marines come ashore.

At 3:25 PM, the Naval bombardment suddenly ends. The naval contingent, under Fleet Captain K.R. Reese attacks without coordinating with the Army. At the same time, Gen. Curtis gives the order for his troops to commence their attack.

See for an hour-by-hour account.

And the Rest, As They Say, Is History. --Old B-Runner

A Coupla Blogs of Interest, Well, Three

I found an excellent USS Monitor Center blog while looking at the TOCWOC (The Order of Civil War Obsessively Compulsed) blog of Brett Schuelte. Lots of pictures and keeps you up-to-date on what is going on the preservation of the turret and other items. They've done a laser scan of the starboard XI-inch Dahlgreen gun.


For an under reported aspect of the war. Most recently a two-part entry on Confederate spy Rose O'Neal Greenhow who drowned near Fort Fisher when the blockade-runner she was coming in on, the Condor was chased by a Union gunboat and ran aground. She boarded a lifeboat which capsized in the heavy surf on September 30, 1864,

There are also entries on Sarah Edmonds and Elizabeth Van Lew.

Dig a Little Deeper. --B-R'er

Confederate States Marine Corps

Last year came across a great blog if you are a fan of the USMC and all things Corps., and that would be Noah Belew's Semper Fidelis Noah blog.

Back in February, he had an entry on the Confederate States Marine Corps, which essentially was a carbon copy of the USMC. Noah refers to it as the Second American Marine Corps. He goes into detail on its history and mission which was to "provide detachments for all warships and commerce raiders, guard naval yards as well as shore batteries.

He mentioned some of the shore batteries CS Marines were stationed at, including Fort Fisher. (which, by the way, fell today back in 1865). Many of the officers were formerly officers in the USMC, including the commandant, Col. Lloyd H. Beall.

Not many records remain as they were kept by him and burned in a fire. He passed away on the Marine Corps birthday, Nov. 10, 1887.

Well worth a read at or

Also, check it out for any and all things Marine Corps.

The Few, The Proud.... --Old Blockade-R

Happenings Last Year-- USS Alligator

Going back through some old stuff.

Most CW buffs have heard lots and lots about the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley, but few know that the North had one as well.

The Jan. 14, 2008, North Attleboro (Ma) Sun Chronicle had an article about Chuck Veit, president of the Navy and Marine Living History Association who received a $4,999 grant to update and distribute posters of the Union Navy's 1862 submarine called the Alligator which was largely forgotten until five years ago.

It was built by the French inventor Brutus de Villeroi who immigrated to the US.

The 47-foot-long, oar-propelled Alligator got its name from what it looked like. Its first mission was to destroy a bridge on the Appomattox and James rivers, but they were too shallow for a complete submerge and there was a fear that Confederates would capture it so the mission was aborted.

It sank in 1863 off Cape Hatteras while being towed for an attack on Charleston.

See which has a whole page on the Alligator Project.

Wouldn't that be something to find this wreck and possibly recover it. The direct predecessor of today's nuclear subs. Had the Alligator reached Charleston, we might have had the first battle of the submarines.

Just Thinking. --B-Runner

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Guns From CSS Alabama Had Charleston Connection

The Charleston Post and Courier reports that the two 32-pdr cannons recovered from the wreck of the CSS Alabama off France and being restored in North Charleston have a definite connection to the city.

Noted blockade-runner businessman George Alfred Trenholm's company advanced money for the Alabama which had six guns of that size. They also paid the rest of the money in five monthly payments of $25,000.

Trenholm also bought the ship Bahama which took Captain Semmes and his crew to the Alabama off England.

Trenholm also offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who could destroy the USS New Ironsides or USS Wabash which were blockading Charleston. There was also $50,000 for anyone who could sink a monitor.

Sounds Like a Raiding Thing to Me. --Old B-R'er

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Running the Blockade: Hunley on the Road-- Groundbreaking-- Fort Fisher Anniversary-- 54th Massachusetts--

Some New News About an Old War.

1. HUNLEY ON THE ROAD-- The Civil War News reports that a mobile H.L. Hunley exhibit has been seen at over 150 schools and Civil War-related events, traveling over 100,000 miles and seen by 250,000 people according to owner John Dangerfield.

It was made for the 1999 Turner Network Television movie of the Hunley and this full-size prop was donated to the Friends of the Hunley.

It is the same size as the original, 40 feet long, 4 feet high, and 3 and a half feet wide. The entire right side is open, however.

Thank you Mr. Dangerfield for doing all that you do.

2. GROUNDBREAKING-- For the Resaca Battlefield State Historic Site in Georgia took place October 27, 2008. Visitors will learn about the battle, the first major one in the Atlanta Campaign. At the groundbreaking, musket fire was heard on the site for the first time in 144 years. The battle took place May 13-15, 1864. Always great to have another CW site.

3. FORT FISHER ANNIVERSARY-- We are right in the middle of the 144th anniversary of the Second Battle of Fort Fisher, NC. This was the battle that got me interested in history and the Civil War. This Saturday, there will be an observance of it at the state site featuring the photography of Timothy O'Sullivan who took pictures of the fort after the battle. Sure wish i could be there. NO SNOW!!!

4. 54TH MASSACHUSETTS-- The Jan. 11th Springfield (Mass) Republican reports that members of the 54th Massachusetts Regt. have been invited to the inaugural festivities in Washington, DC, next week. One of the re-enactors, Ronald J. Brace, 70, of Springfield, great uncle Peter Brace was a member of the original group, the first black regiment raised in the North and who suffered 120 dead at the Battle of Fort Wagner July 18, 1863. It was led by Col. Robert Gould, 25, the son of a staunch Boston abolitionist family. Glad to see them getting their due.

Now, You Know. --B-Runner

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Home, Sweet Home"

The Dec. 28, 2008, Murfreesboro Post had an article by Mike West about this song that was popular both among Confederate and Union troops. "Home, Sweet Home" was also a particular favorite of Abraham Lincoln.

On the night of Dec. 30, 1862, right before the Battle of Stones River, there was a "Battle of the Bands" between the Union Army of the Cumberland and Confederate Army of Tennessee. Both groups, around 83,000 men, were encamped and awaiting dawn to commence the battle. "No Man's Land" between the forces was anywhere from 300 to 700 yards.

The bands on both sides began playing, easily heard by the other side at that distance. The Confederate "Bonnie Blue Flag" was answered by the Union "Yankee Doodle." "Dixie" brought the reply "Hail Columbia" and so forth.

Finally, one band played "Home, Sweet Home" and was joined by all bands, regardless of side.

A Little Nicety Before the Bloodbath. --Old B-Runner

Running the Blockade: No SCV Snow-- Funny Story-- Fort Fisher Survivors Association

Some New News About an Old War.

1. NO SCV SNOW-- I was busy clearing snow off the driveway this morning, so didn't make it down to Des Plaines for the Camp Douglas SCV meeting. Hopefully next time unless I've given up the winter fight and headed southward to the warmth.

2. FUNNY STORY-- In the Civil War Talk Forum by Eric Jacobson-- In 1902, General Longstreet was visiting West Point and saw Joe Wheeler dressed in a blue uniform of the US Army. He said, "Joe, I hope that Almighty God takes me before he does you, for I want to be within the gates of hell to hear Jubal Early cuss you out in the blue uniform."

During the years following the war, Longstreet had become a Republican Congressman and Fighting Joe Wheeler had joined the US Army. Jubal Early had heaped lots of abuse on Longstreet for "losing Gettysburg" and being a turncoat. Evidently, Old Jube was well-known for his cussing.

3. FORT FISHER SURVIVORS ASSOCIATION-- The Back Then Column in the Wilmington Star News went to Dec. 25, 1908. The executive committee of the Fort Fisher Survivors Association composed of Wm. Lamb, N.M. Curtiss, Jas. A. Smith, H.C. McQueen and R.W. Price, have called a special meeting of the group in Washington, DC, to bring before Congress a call to create a national park at the Civil War battle site. Lamb was the Confederate commander of Fort Fisher, and Curtiss was in charge of part of the Union soldiers attacking it. "My old friend, the enemy," as Lamb referred to him. I don't know who the others were, nor had I ever heard of the association.

Now, You Know. --Blockade-R

USS South Carolina-- Part 2

I had an entry about this ship and all the blockade-runners it captured back on Jan. 1st. This is a follow up from Wikipedia.

The USS South Carolina was launched in 1860 and commissioned 22 May 1861. It was 217 feet long, 33.6 feet at beam and had a crew of 115. It carried four 8-inch guns, and one 32-pdr.

On Dec. 11, it captured one ship. In March 1862 it went to Boston for repairs, then joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and the blockade off Charleston. It participated in the destruction of two more vessels.

Decommissioned in 1866, it was sold and became the Juniata in merchant service until at least 1893 when it vanished from records.

Friday, January 9, 2009

USS Louisianas, Specifically the One Blown Up Off Fort Fisher

There was one US Navy ship that was blown up to destroy a fort. Well, that was the plan any way.

There have been four US Navy ships by the name of the Louisiana, and one Confederate one. The newest is the SSBN-743 USS Louisiana, the 18th and last Trident submarine launched in 1996. The first was a sloop built Dec. 1812 that operated in the War of 1812 and helped protect New Orleans.

The second USS Louisiana is the one we're interested in which and was a side wheel steamer commissioned in 1861. It joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and helped defend Washing, NC, in Dec. 1862. It was blown up off Fort Fisher on Christmas Eve, 1864, in an attempt to knock the fort's earthen walls down.

It was 295 tons, 143 feet long. 27 feet beam, carried a crew of 85 and armed with an 18 inch Dahlgren smoothbore, 1 32-pdr, and 1 12-pdr D. rifle..

In 1994, a state underwater archaeologist and students from East Carolina University conducted a survey of wrecks off Fort Fisher and found many, but no trace of the Louisiana. Not surprising since it was loaded with gunpowder when ignited.

The third USS Louisiana was BB-19, a battleship that was commissioned in 1906.

Talk About a Show, --B-R'er

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Great Videos of Fort Fisher

The Jan. 6th Carolina Beach Today blog had a recap of the doings at the 144th Forth Fisher Anniversary celebration coming up this Jan. 17th. I reported on it a few days ago.

However, whatreally makes this interesting is the You Tube videos featured at the bottom of the entry. The first one shows the firing of two field pieces by the River Road and the 32-pounder on Shepherd's Battery, but if you look at the bottom of this one at the other like-videos, there are some more excellent ones to see.

The longer ones do a great job with the history of the fort and one is even on blockade running and Confederate ironclads at Wilmington..

Check It Out. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, January 4, 2009

144th Anniversary of Fort Fisher Celebration

Plans are afoot for the upcoming anniversary of the largest land-sea battle of the Civil War later this month. "Fort Fisher Then and Now" will take place January 17, 2009 from 10 AM to 4 PM. The fort will be examined through the lens of Civil War photography.

There will be a special 3-D showing of famous Fort Fisher photographs along with some that have recently been discovered. President of the Center for Civil War Photography and author Bob Zeller will present it. People will don 3-D glasses to experience the images the way Timothy O'Sullivan intended them to be seen on stereoscopic cameras. These shows will be at 1 PM and 3PM and tickets are required.

Other activities at the site include well-plate photography and demonstrations by costumed interpreters explaining large-scale O'Sullivan photographs around the fort.

The Huckleberry Brothers and John Golden will provide period music. A new temporary exhibit of O'Sullivan's Civil War photography will also open.

There will be demonstrations throughout the day. Muskets and field artillery will be fired and the 32-pounder cannon at Shepherd's Battery will top off the day with a parting shot. That is one big cannon.


Sure Would Like to Be There, But Maybe Next Year. --B-Runner

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Matthew Maury Got a Break in 2008

The Feb. 7, 2008, Fredericksburg (Va) Free Lance Star reported that the Salem, Massachusetts Marine Society, after 146 years, has done an about-face on its long-held shun of Matthew Maury because of his Confederate service.

The organization, founded in 1766. list of former and current members reads like a who's who of American maritime history. But, recently the APVA (Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities) found Maury's portrait upside-down and facing the wall with a plaque branding him as a traitor.

The self-taught genius revolutionized ocean travel with his exhaustive study of oceanographic and meteorological data has been restored to his honors by the organization.

It Was About Time. --Old B-Runner

Friday, January 2, 2009

The CSS Nashville

A few months ago, the good folks at the Historical Marker Database had a spotlight on the life and times of the CSS Nashville, which was sunk near Fort McAllister in Richmond Hill, near Savannah.

It was launched September 22, 1853. The US Mail Steamship Nashville entered Charleston Harbor, SC, April 12, 1861 as the war commenced and was "purchased by the Confederate Navy for $100,000, the first commissioned vessel in Confederate service and the first to fly the flag.

She entered Southampton, England, Nov. 21, 1861, after capturing and burning the Union ship Harvey Birch. After capturing another ship, its name was changed to Thomas A. Wragg, and it became a blockade-runner.

Later, the Nashville was renamed as the Privateer Rattlesnake. On Feb. 28, 1863, the Rattlesnake was trapped in the Ogeechee River by a sandbar at low tide by the USS Montauk, a monitor, and sunk.

The wreck lies 1200 yards from the fort where a marker is located. Salvaged 1960machinery from it is located next to it.

A Life on the High Seas. --B-R

Running the Blockade: Naval Symposium-- Cannonball Detonated-- Lucky Black-Eyed Peas-- Alabama's Cannons

Some New News About an Old War.

1. NAVAL SYMPOSIUM-- I see that the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia is holding their first-ever symposium Jan. 10th. The topic is "From Manassas to Casio: Civil War Ironclads in Construction and Combat." The Manassas and Casio were names of ironclads. Sounds like a good one, but considering that's the wife's birthday, I don't think I'd better attend.

2. CANNONBALL DETONATED-- The Jan. 1st Winston-Salem (NC) Journal reports that a Civil War era cannonball was detonated on Dec. 31st. The Davidson County Historical Museum had received it as a donation and it was determined to still be charged. Police took it to their firing range where it was detonated by the Greensboro Police bomb squad. Best be careful with those desk paper weights.

3. LUCKY BLACK-EYED PEAS-- KAMR in Amarillo, Texas reports that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day to bring luck (actually, I was told a dollar for every one you eat) dates back to the Civil War. Union forces burned all crops they could find, but not the black-eyed peas, which they mistook for weeds. This kept a lot of southerners from starving so is now considered to be lucky. Uh-oh, I forgot to eat any. Not a good way to start the new year.

4. ALABAMA'S CANNONS-- The Jan. 2, 2009, Charlotte Observer reports that two cannons from the Confederate Raider CSS Alabama are being preserved at the same South Carolina lab where the Hunley is located. The wreck was found in 1984 and eight years later, two 32 inch cannons were retrieved from the wreck. The hardened sediment on the guns was scraped away and they are now soaking in chemicals.

The Navy may allow one to be displayed at the planned Hunley Museum.

Now, You Know. --Old B-Runner

Candle Light Tour Held at Fort Barrancas

This past Jan. 14th, a candle light tour was held at Fort Barrancas, one of the forts built to protect Pensacola Harbor. It was constructed from 1839-1844 and is still intact with 30,000 visitors a year and part of the Gulf Islands national seashore. Nearby Fort Pickens was built between 1829 and 1834. Fort McRae 1835-1839and the Advanced Redoubt 1845-1859 round out Pensacola's fortifications. However, funds ran out for this last one and it was never finished. All of the forts were abandoned by the US military after WW II.

There were two Civil War bombardments: Nov. 22nd-23rd, 1861, and Jan. 1, 1862. The first one involved two US Naval ships and 5000 Union shells fired at Fort McRae. The Jan. 1st one was more of an accident. After celebrating the New Year, a Confederate soldier fired at Fort Pickens, sparking a bombardment.

A Little-Known Arena of the War. --B-R

Thursday, January 1, 2009

USS South Carolina

While doing some research elsewhere, I came across the name of the USS South Carolina, a ship I'd never heard of during the Civil War.

It established the blockade at Galveston, Texas July 2, 1861. This port must have been a hive of activity, because in a short time, the ship racked up quite a list of captures from July 4-12th.

On July 5th, she captured SIX vessels!!!
July 5-- 2
July 6-- 1
July 7-- 1
July 9-- 1
July 12-- 1

After that, the captures dropped significantly. Word must have gotten around. However, the crew must have been loving all that prize money.

On August 3rs, she engaged Confederate batteries at Galveston.

On September 11th, it captured a ship with a cargo of coffee. On October 4th, two ships were captured off Southwest Pass with 5,000 stand of arms. On October 6th, another capture was added to the long list.

Some Mighty Rich Guys. --B-R'er

A Reason to Rally Around the Flag

Just rtying to catch up on some stories I didn't get around to covering in 2008. Now that it is 2009, it seems like the thing to do.

I really get burned when I come across a story like this.

The Feb. 4, 2008 North Texas Daily reports that the Confederate statue in Denton Square is a 5 and a half foot tall soldier on top of an eight foot archway and was erected and dedicated by the UDC June 13, 1918.

Recently, a group of people havestarted a petition against it calling it a symbol of racism. They have threatened to boycott the surrounding stores if it is not taken down.

According to Addley Fannon, "The petition is a joke illustrated with blatant ignorance and supported only by the ultra-politically correct atmosphere that has turned America into, as pundits put it, 'the land of the free and home of the easily offended."

There were few slaves in North Texas. Confederate soldiers from the area were not defending slavery, but protecting their homes. and way of life.

The petitioners also complain about the two drinking fountains on each side of the arch that they say represent the Jim Crow era. One was for "Coloreds" and the other for "Whites." The arch was erected during this time and neither fountain works any more.

My own belief is that I cam maybe understand attacks on the flag, but not the soldiers who fought under it. Plus, the fountains should have the original signs returned to be used as a historical feature. This was a definite wrong and should never be forgotten.

File Under Things That Get You Mad. --B-Runner

Hunley Talk

The Jan. 24, 2008 Statesboro Herald reports that the Ogeechee Rifles Camp #941 SCV held their 7th annual Lee-Jackson Dinner this past January with 125 in attendance. Compatriots Terry Paltray and Raymond Todd were recognized for their efforts to secure a site and their efforts to place three 50 foot flagpoles flanked by two cannons off the Ash Branch Road which will be very visible from I-16.

Keynote speaker, Fred Tetor, from Mt. Pleasant, SC, has been very involved with the Confederate submarine Hunley for about seven years. It is his contention that the compass aboard the Hunley was useless and a big reason for the vessel's loss. Once the wreck of the Hunley was found, the US Navy claimed it as an enemy ship of war, and as such, rightfully their prize. South Carolina claimed it was acting as a privateer and not a Confederate vessel. (I never see it referred to as the CSS Hunley.)

A compromise was reached where the US Navy can veto any restoration it deems incorrect, but the state of South Carolina is the owner of the submarine and all artifacts therein.

The City of North Charleston, SC, was awarded the right to hold both the Hunley and Dr. Perry's Collection of Confederate Memorabilia.

Always Interested in the Hunley. --Old B-R'er

Third Year of This Blog

Today marks the beginning of the third year, and end of the first full year with this blog. The very first blog entry was November 1, 2007. I started it because I was finding that I was entering more and more Civil War stuff on my Down Da Road blog which is primarily about my life.

I've always been a Civil War buff since age 7. It is a big reason why I ended up as a social studies/history teacher for 33 years. However, I must admit that my following of it somewhat lagged over the years. However, I found that it was coming back and decided I should have a blog devoted to ALCW (All Things Civil War).

My main interests in the war are Fort Fisher, naval, and anything coastal. I'm also a member of the Camp Douglas Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans here in Illinois.

In 2007, I had 55 postings and 376 last year. On all my blogs, I try to average one a day. This is my 432nd post.

My other blogs are: about me. about old roads like Route 66. about history and a lot of WW II.

Will I make 365 posts this year?

Only Time Will Tell. -Old B-Runner