The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Drayton vs. Drayton

Today's HMdb, Historical Marker database wrote about the meeting of two brothers from South Carolina in battle today. Thomas Drayton, brigadier general CSA and Commodore Percival Drayton, on the USS Pocahontas met in battle Nov. 7, 1861 at the Battle of Fort Walker, SC.

Percival was appointed a midshipman in 1827 and brother Thomas graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1828.

At the outbreak of hostilities, they met and shook hands before joining forces with the different sides.

Like They Say, It Was Brother vs. Brother. --Old B'R

Who Shot General Jackson?

From Fall 2008 Douglas Dispatch of Camp Douglas 1507 Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

(Camp Douglas was an infamous Confederate prison in Chicago during the war.)

As most know, "Stonewall" Jackson died as a result of friendly fire after being wounded at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863, bu unknown members of the 18th NC. He died May 10th.

The order to fire was given by Major John D. Barry and Jackson was struck by three bullets. Barry died two years after the war at age 27 and his family always believed it was a result of depression and guilt as a consequence of giving the order to fire.

War, Not a Good Solution. --Old B-R'er

Lee-Jackson Dinner-- Camp Douglas

Continuing with Norman Stevens interesting talk on Lexington, Virginia, Lee, and Jackson.

In the 1850s, Lexington was the Athens of the South with its two institutions, VMI and Washington College. You received a classical education at Washington and a scientific one at VMI.

Stevens received his BA from the Virginia Military Institute, MA and PhD from Connecticut.

Some Other News

GOOD NEWS; Camp Douglas member Mike Triplett has taken it upon himself to establish a new Sons of Confederate Veterans camp in the Peoria, Illinois, area. Best of luck, Mike. At present, there are no Illinois Division camps in that area.

THE CHALLENGE IS ON-- Camp Douglas has long been the undisputed largest camp in the Illinois Division. However, Camp 1962 in Belleville, Illinois, now has 41 full SCV members and 13 associate members. Guess we'd better get to some serious recruiting.

Confederately. --Old B-R

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Last Frying Pan Shoals Light?

During the Civil War, Frying Pan Shoals, off Cape Fear River, NC, was a major hazard for both blockade runners and Union blockaders. From 1866, there had been a lightship anchored there. Before the Civil War, the Baldhead Lighthouse warned ships of the dangerous shoals.

In 1966, the lightship was replaced by a steel oil drilling platform known as a Texas Tower standing on four steel legs. It was built in Louisiana and brought by barge to Frying Pan Shoals.

The sub floor has 5,000 square feet of living space: bedrooms, kitchen, office, storage area, recreational facilities and bathroom.

It has now been replaced by a buoy. Of course, with GPS, the need of a light is no longer needed. The old tower is now up for bid, originally starting at $10,000, but today I see it is still going and the high bid is at $295,000. The US General Services Administration is conducting it.

I have read that it is in a great area for diving.

Hey, Wanna Buy a Light Tower Out in the Middle of Nowhere.

A Blockade-Runner That Didn't Make It to the Confederacy

The Iona II was built in Glasgow in 1863 and used as a River Clyde ferry. It's twenty-foot paddle wheels and twin oscillating engines supposedly could give the ship a top speed of24 knots, one of the fastest vessels around.

After a year's operation, it was bought by the Confederate government and fitted out to run the blockade. Unfortunately, it was lost on its way to the southern states on Jan. 19,1864, when it encountered a bad storm and sank east of Lundy Island, Britain. It reportedly was heavily salvaged at the time.

In 1976, it was rediscovered by John Shaw and sits upright where a large part of its hull is buried.

One That Didn't Get Home. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Battle of Aiken, South Carolina

This past weekend marked the 16th Battle and 15th reenactment of the Battle of Aiken. Local news reports said that as many as 13,000 came out to see the action of nearly 800 soldiers, 20 cavalrymen and more than a dozen cannons.

Again, Confederates kept Union forces from capturing Aiken. Author and playwright David Chauters played Lee. Said an organizer, "Hopefully people took home a little bit of history with them."

After Sherman took Savannah, he prepared to march his army through South Carolina, predicting dire consequences. "The devil himself couldn't restrain my men in that state." His cavalry commander,Judson Kilpatrick, reportedly purchased $5,000 worth of matches for the invasion.

On Feb. 11, 1865, after looting Barnwell, SC, he set fire to it and sarcastically renamed it "Burn-Well." He was heading for Aiken when, on Feb. 11th, Confederate cavalry under Joseph Wheeler scored one of the final Confederate victories, possibly saving Aiken and Augusta from the torch.

Sounds Like Quite a Show. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Running the Blockade: Hinton's History-- CSA Galleries Closing

Some New News About an Old War. The Civil War, that is.

1. HINTON'S HISTORY-- Back in January, Darby Hinton was filming an episode on Fort Fisher, NC. His father is a native of Wilmington and Darby enjoys the area, but has not been back since the 1965 Azalea Festival..

Darby Hinton played the role of Israel Boone in the old Daniel Boone TV series and currently does a weekly program on a family on a mission to learn more about historic sites and events of the world.

Very handy that this was also the weekend of the Civil War re-enactment and anniversary celebration at the fort. WECT-6 TV, Wilmington, NC.

2. CSA GALLERIES CLOSING-- the South Carolina Senate leader, Glenn McConnell and his brother Sam are closing their store in North Charleston, SC, which they have operated for 20 years. They specialized in Confederate collectibles, but, there is a chance that they will continue selling items on the internet.

Some items are now at 50% off, but I did not see any great prices on their website.

Could this have something to do with pc?

Now, You Know. --Old B-Runner

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Civil War in Columbus, Ohio

From the Feb. 18th "As It Were" column by Ed Lentz.

One hundred and sixty regiments of infantry, cavalry, and artillery were raised in Ohio during the war, causing Lincoln to remark "Ohio has saved the Union."

Volunteers first came to Columbus and were housed in local schools, churches, and even the rotunda of the newly-completed statehouse. It soon became apparent that a more organized situation was needed.

North of downtown was Goodale Park, which had been donated to the city by Lincoln Goodale in 1851. The trees were cut down and Camp Jackson established, but it soon became overcrowded.

In the fall of 1862, Camp Chase, named for former Ohio governor and now Lincoln cabinet member Salmon P. Chase, was established west of the city along West Broad Street. It ran from Broad Street to Sullivan Avenue, encompassing several thousand acres.

It soon became a prisoner of war camp designed for 2000. But by 1864, more than 10,000 occupied its grounds. More than 2,300 died from the harsh climate and disease.


COLUMBUS BARRACKS which operated until the 1880s.

FORT HAYS-- northeast of downtown. Today, mostly owned and operated by the Columbus City Schools. Only the Shot Tower remains from the Civil War era.

TOD BARRACKS-- north of downtown. Officers' residences and administrative facility in 1863. Torn down in the early 1900s.
A historical marker near the Columbus Convention Center marks the site.

18TH US INFANTRY-- Trained federal troops (not state volunteers) by High Street and Hudson, 1861-1866. Some structures survived into the 20th century.

WALLACE CAMP-- Nearby the 18th Infantry. Run by Lew Wallace, author of "Ben Hur."

And You Didn't Think There Was Any Civil War Stuff in Columbus. --Old B-R'er

Camp Douglas Lee-Jackson Dinner-- Part 3

We had an excellent presentation by Norman S. Stevens who is currently executive director of the Kankakee County Historical Museum and is author of ten books.

He said that Lexington, Virginia is the Val halla of the Confederacy. Lee, one of his sons, Jackson, and other Confederate officers are buried there. He said that there was a fire in the Presbyterian church in Lexington, but Jackson's pew was not hurt. Stevens graduated from Virginia Military Institute and he said that no classes are held on Lee's birthday.

Lee's greatest moment came not on a battlefield, but happened when he received a letter from Washington University to accept its presidency. Lee had received lots of other offers and was under pressure to write his memoirs, but yet, rode, unescorted to Lexington where he found a nearly bankrupt and broken down college. He said that for the last 4 and a half years, he had overseen the death of the youth of the south and would now spend the rest of his life seeing to their education.

Later, when the Federal government required Southern officers to take a second oath of allegiance, many former soldiers were thinking about refusing, but Lee took his second oath and then it was ok.


Mr. Stevens said his father got him interested in history. On road trips, he made it a point to stop at all roadside markers.

Went, Stevens first went to VMI, he stayed in room 425 which was made out of Jackson's former lecture hall. Then, he lived in Room 324, which was Jackson's room from 1851 to 1852. Jackson spent 1851 to 1861 in Lexington.

Continued. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, February 22, 2009

John W. Jones-- Part 2

The John W. Jones House/Museum is located at 1250 Davis Street, Elmira, NY, in an area known as "Slabtown" that was settled by slaves in the 1840s and 1850s.

He became an agent on the Underground Railroad in 1851 after making an arrangement with a local railroad for a "Freedom Baggage Car. He usually handled groups of escaped slaves in parties of 6-10, but sometimes as many as 30.

He buried 2,973 Confederate soldiers and did such a great job at listing them that today, only 7 are listed as unknown. The federal government made the burial site a national cemetery Dec. 7, 1877.

As an escaped slave working on the Underground Railroad, it is amazing that he would be able to show so much respect for the Confederate soldiers.

A Man Who Should Be Respected. --Old. B-Runner

John W. Jones-- Underground Railroad

By Salle E. Richards, "An Unforgettable Family" Feb. 11, 2008, Elmira Star-Gazette..

John W. Jones was a former slave who buried Confederate soldiers who died at the infamous Elmira Prison Camp. Lucy Brown, 80, has spent the last ten years trying to preserve his home.

John Jones was born into slavery in 1817 in Leesburg, Virginia, and escaped with five others when he was 27.

After a month, he made it to Elmira where he learned to read and write and became a sexton at the First Baptist Church and a station master on the Underground Railroad and was credited with helping 800 slaves escape to Canada.

During the Civil War, he helped bury some of the more than 3000 Confederate prisoners who died at the prison camp. He always made sure each soldier was buried with respect and kept careful records so that families could later locate their loved ones.

His house was slated for demolition in the mid-1990s when Ms. Brown started trying to save it.

A Former Slave Forgiving Confederates. That is Quite the Story. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tennessee Now in Civil War Trails Program

The Feb. 18, 2008 Bristol (Tn) Herald Courier reported that Tennessee had joined the Civil War trails Program (an excellent idea), when the Battle of Blountville, Tennessee, was marked. The battle had a five-hour artillery barrage of the town September 22, 1863, in which two civilians were killed.

Half the town was burned. About 3,000 Union troops from Knoxville accompanied the artillery which fired from the Blountville Cemetery. The first shell hit the county courthouse and destroyed it. Three major businesses, 4 hotels, and 11 private residences were destroyed. The home of Confederate officer Matthew Haynes survived, but still has a cannonball lodged in a wall.

While the courthouse was being rebuilt, they found a pile of pre-Revolutionary War Spanish gold beneath the rubble.


A recent study shows that Civil War tourism can be big business. Tennessee's 60 battle sites attract 5 million visitors a year. There were a total of 2,931 military engagements in the state between 1861 and 1865.

The Civil War Trails Program expects to attract even more. A total of four markers (sometimes called History on a Stick) are planned for the Battle of Blountville. They cost $1,100 to erect and another $200 a year in maintenance.

Civil War Trails Program--Good for History. --Old Blockade-R

More on the Blockade Runner Georgiana

Harry Ridgeway, the Civil War Relicman has several artillery shells from the Georgiana for sale.

One was a Britten bolt, 2.9-inches in diameter and 6 -inches long with salt water damage to the outer shin.

There is also another with a star-shaped interior for superior fragmentation with a lead-sleeved time fuse. Sounds like quite a nasty bit of ordnance.

The Georgiana sank March 19, 1863, while attempting to run the blockade into Charleston. After its propeller and rudder were damaged by Union fire, the captain ran the vessel aground, scuttled it, and the crew escaped.

Dr. E. Lee Spence believes that the ship's owner, George Albert Trenholm, who ran a blockade-running firm and owned the Georgiana, was the person Margaret Mitchell based her Rhett Butler on of Gone With the Wind fame.

Today, the boiler is five feet below the surface and covered with sea life. Large sections of the hull are still intact. On the starboard side, parts protrude nine feet above the sand.

Maffitt's Channel, where the Georgiana sank, is considered the second main entrance to Charleston Harbor. The Union's Stone Fleet was sunk there in January of 1862.

More Than I Ever Knew About a Ship I Didn't Know About. --B-Runner

Jefferson Davis Swearing In

Last year, WLOX, ABC TV in Bolixi, Ms, reported that the 200th birthday of Jefferson Davis was celebrated at the birthplace of the Confederacy, in Montgomery, Alabama. Davis' great-great grandson recreated the swearing in of Davis. This was the first of many events planned throughout the year.

Said Bertram Hayes-Davis, president of the Davis Family Association, "I stand here representing a family that is very proud of their ancestor."

Hayes-Davis stood on the bronze star atop the capitol steps where Davis took the oath of office Feb. 18, 1861, and put his hand on the same Bible which was held by Leonadis Milton Leathers, III, of Athens, Georgia, whose great-great grandfather, Georgia Governor Howard Cobb, held it on that auspicious occasion.

A Great Way to Recreate History. --Old B-R

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ships Sunk by the Georgiana: Norseman, Constance Ducimer, Mary Bowers

While on the subject of the blockade runner Georgiana, I saw that it's wreck had been responsible for sinking three other blockade runners.

NORSEMAN-- a three-masted, 49-197 ton screw blockade running steamer carrying a cargo of cotton and possibly gold. On May 19, 1863, it hit the Georgiana and sank in 8-12 feet of water in Maffitt's Channel off Long island (now Isle of Pines) near 39th Street. Any gold that was aboard was probably salvaged due to the shallow depth.

CONSTANCE DUCIMER-- A 140 ton, sidewheel blockade runner, 201.4 feet long and 20.5 beam carrying 29 crew coming in from Nova Scotia, possibly carrying gold. Hit the Georgiana October 6, 1864, and sank in 15-35 feet of water. The wreck has been located, but probably no treasure on it.

MARY BOWERS-- 226 feet side wheel steamer. Sank after hitting the Georgiana. A Federal boarding party removed the ship's bell and other items. The forward end of the starboard boiler is aligned with the starboard of the Georgiana. The Bowers' port boiler has rolled into the sand and is largely buried. The remains of the ship away from the Georgiana are relatively in tact. The sides of the forward cargo hold are still standing up from the bottom. The ship is heavily sanded in and about 18 feet deep.

The Blockade-Runner Georgiana, Sinker of Blockade Runners. --Old B-R'er

Another Museum of Interest-- National Civil War Naval Museum

Last year, Andrew Duppstadt in his Civil War Navy blog, went to this fine institution.

He said they have mock ups of the casemate of the CSS Ablemarle, USS Monitor turret, and the interior of the USS Hartford.

Among other items of interest are the sword carried by Confederate Surgeon Daniel Conrad in the Underwriter expedition and the personal flag of Union Admiral David D. Porter.

If I recall, the place is also making a full-size replica of a Civil War ship that was in both the Union and Confederate navies which will be open in April.

Thanks, Andrew. --Old B-R

South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum

Founded in 1891, it is the oldest museum in the Columbia area.

Among the Civil War items it has is a letter from Union General Judson Kilpatrick calling SC the "hellhole of secession" and vowing that vile things would happen to the state as the commander of Sherman's cavalry.

Also, the battle flags of nine SC regiments and what's left of the flag of the Union's 2nd SC Infantry composed of freed SC slaves.

Items from other wars, the flag of the Palmetto regiment of the Mexican War which helped capture the Mexican capital, artifacts from the USS Columbia, a WW II light cruiser which fought in the Pacific.

In 2002, the museum reopened in a 17,000 square foot area in the old Columbia Mills Building next to the State Museum. It has items from the revolutionary War right up to the War in Iraq.

Sounds Like a Good Place to Visit. --B-R

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Remembering the Old Days on the Cape Fear River-- Part 4-- Fort Fisher

Continued from Feb. 17th.

Captain Galloway "sent a runner to find the men and they began to show up late on the evening of Jan. 15. Some of them went to the last battery where they had been before. His company was about 140 men strong so could be placed anywhere."

Union forces, this time landed five miles north of the Fort Fisher, out of range of the guns. "It was almost 10 o'clock that evening before they fought their way to the last battery where Grandpa Joe and his buddies were manning cannons and rifles."

His grandfather felt it "was heavily barricaded and they felt they could hold the invaders off. Finally, he heard them beating at the door with battering rams. Some gunners were still working on reinforcing the tunnel door with heavy timbers. The next thing he knew, someone came through the door followed by more figures as the Union troops came pouring through."

"In the dim light of pine tar torches, Grandpa said he could only see figures and he began to shoot his rifle, but his gun jammed and he didn't have time to reload before they were fighting hand-to-hand."

"Using the butt of his gun, he began to swing it as a club, but was soon over powered. Some have said that Grandpa Joe was the last man to surrender inside the fort."

He was taken prisoner and sent to New York where he was put on a train and sent to Elmira, NY where he remained until the end of the war when he made his way home with other survivors of his company, part of the way courtesy of Union trains and walking the rest of the way.

Very interesting account of the final battle for Fort Fisher. A bit confusing and with what I expect some incorrect times and situations. Was the last battery Fort Buchanan? Or perhaps the end of the fort's main sea defenses? Not surprising as this was oral history and many years after the war.

Good Story. --Old B-R'er

Blockade Runner Georgiana

While looking up stuff on the USS Wissahickon, I came across information that it and the USS America ran the blockade runner Georgiana ashore by Charleston Harbor. I'd also never heard of the Georgiana, so looked it up.

The Georgiana was a 580-ton, 205.6 feet long, 25.2 beam, brig-rigged steamer built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1862. In 1863, it ran the blockade into Charleston harbor with 140 crew, 18 cannons, 10,000 Enfield rifles, and $90,000 in gold.

It was to be converted into a Confederate warship and under the command of Br. Commander A.B. Davidson.

It flashed the Confederate flag in Maffit's Channel and was attacked by the USS Wissahickon and USS America early on the morning of March 19, 1863 and run aground. The gold was supposedly removed. Union troops boarded it and removed some of the cargo. Attempts to refloat her failed and the ship was burned.

Later, the blockade-runners Norseman, Mary Bowers, and Constance Decimer ran into the submerged hull and sank.

Further salvage occurred in the 1870s and more recently artifacts have been recovered from it.

Never Heard of It. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On the Subject of Submarines-- Hunley Crewmembers

The H.L. Hunley sank on Feb. 17, 1864. Yesterday marked the 145th anniversary of its successful attack on the Housatonic and demise.

The Where Are famous People Buried blog had a short bit on two of the Hunley's crew members.

SEAMAN LUMPKIN-- Only his last name is known, but a recently discovered Confederate States Navy pay roster from October 3, 1863, lists a C. Lumpkins. Also, a hand-written note by William Alexander, one of the Hunley's builders, states that Lumpkin was on board the submarine.

SEAMAN AUGUSTUS MILLER-- Also a crewman and perhaps the most elusive. Few details known about him. He stood 5'8", about the average height for a Civil War era man, but he was one of the shortest on the crew. From Europe.

These men and the others met their death Feb. 17, 1864.

The USS Alligator, the US Navy's First Submarine

Again, you hear a lot about the Confederacy's Hunley submarine, but very little about this one.

According to Wikipedia, it was 30 feet long and 6 or 8 feet in diameter. It's construction was supervised by Brutus DeVilleroi. Originally powered by oars, but in July 1862, the Navy replaced them with a hand crank.

The vessel was launched May 1862 and accepted into service in June. It was to be used against a bridge at Swift Creek, a tributary of the Appomattox River, and also to clear obstructions at Fort Darling on the James River, but it never happened.

The Union sinker of ships, Thomas O. Selfridge was given command and a naval crew assigned to it. After tests, Selfridge declared it a complete failure.

In April 1863, it was being towed to Charleston by the USS Sumpter, but sank off Cape Hatteras.


That would have been something if the Alligator had engaged the Hunley. The first battle of the submarines.


The hunt for the Alligator "The US Navy's First Submarine" has a website at A search was made in 2005 for several days, but the submarine wasn't found. They'll be back to look.

Here a Sub, there a Sub. --B-Runner

Running the Blockade: Battle of Forks Road-- USS Seneca-- Davis to Beauvoir

Some New News About an Old War.

1. BATTLE OF FORKS ROAD-- This weekend, the Battle of Forks Road, outside Wilmington, NC, will have an re-enactment marking the 144th anniversary of the battle. After the fall of Fort Fisher, January 15, 1865, Confederate forces fought a series of delaying battles as Federal forces approached Wilmington.

Confederate forces under Gen. Robert F. Hoke, fought one final battle here, before the city was captured. The battle will be recreated on the actual battlefield, the grounds of the Cameron Art Museum. There will also be artillery and firearm demonstrations and a talk by noted expert Chris Fonville.

2. USS SENECA-- Was a 90-Day Gunboat, so-named because of the amount of time to build them. These ships were built and hurriedly part in both attacks on Fort Fisher and on February 17th, the attack on Fort Anderson on the Cape Fear River.

3. DAVIS TO BEAUVOIR-- The February 11th Clarion (Ms) Ledger reports that the life-size bronze statue of Jefferson Davis may be placed at his final home, Beauvoir in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was originally going to the American Civil War Center at Richmond, but pc politics stopped that. Plans for putting it at the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson also fell through.

The statue shows Davis with his son Joe and the black boy, Joe Lumber, who was adopted by the Davis family.

Now You Know. --Old B-R

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Remembering the Old Days on the Cape Fear River-- Part 3-- Battle of Fort Fisher

Back on Jan. 28th, I started recounting some of a column that appeared back in February of 2008 in Brunswick's "A Bit of History."


By the fall of 1864, rumors of an attack on Fort Fisher began spreading. This is an account of the first battle.

"The fort's gunners had the beach zeroed in; it was pure murder and the Union troops were taking heavy casualties from the hail of gunfire coming from the fort."

"After the Union withdrawal, Captain Galloway told his men that there was no need to go back to their guns at Lockwood's Folly Inlet because no blockade runners were coming in with so many federal ships offshore."

The fort was in bad shape, "Many in the fort had come down with dysentery because of spoiled meat. Captain Galloway formed a hunting party to go to Green Swamp, hoping to get back in time with fresh meat and some supplies like flour and cornmeal from the residents of Brunswick County."

Of course, these were stories told by old men and then written down as remembered. Union sailors and marines were on the beach in the second attack. I hadn't heard of dysentery in the fort after the first attack.

A New Story On Fort Fisher. --Blockade-R

USS Wissahickon

I'd never heard of the USS Wissahickon before, especially as an ironclad. I am somewhat familiar with many of the Union ironclads names, but not this one, so I went to good old Wipkipedia for some more information.

It turns out that the Wissahickon was not an ironclad, but a 691-ton Unadilla Class screw steamer gunboat built in Philadelphia and commissioned in November, 1861. It took part in the campaign to capture New Orleans that year, in the bombardment of Grand Gulf, and made two runs past Vicksburg.

Later, it was transferred to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and took parts in bombardments of Fort McAllister three times in 1862 and 1863 and participated in the destruction of the Rattlesnake/CSS Nashville on February 28, 1863, along with the Monitor USS Montauk, USS Seneca and USS Dawn.

It mounted an 11-inch Dahlgren gun, a 20-pdr. and 2 X 24 pdrs. It was 158.4 feet long and had a 28-foot beam.

A Ship By Another Name. --Old B-Runner

Naval Attacks on Fort McAllister, Georgia

The good folks at HMdb, Historical Marker data base recently featured the historical marker at Fort McAllister detailing times the fort came under naval attack.

July 1st and 29th, 1862, and Nov. 19th-- by ironclad Wissahickon and two escorts. The Wissahickon was hit below the waterline and withdrew after firing seventeen 11-inch and 25 other shells. The escorts fired forty-nine 100-pdr and forty-two other shells.

JANUARY 27, 1863-- Monitor Montauk fired sixty-one 15-inch and thirty-five 11-inch shells (first time 15-inch shells had been used against a land battery)

FEBRUARY 1, 1863-- shelled fort for five hours

FEBRUARY 28th-- destroyed blockade runner Rattlesnake, former CSS Nashville

MARCH 3, 1863 Monitors Passaic, Patapsco, and Nahant under Captain P. Drayton engaged fort for eight hours.

I had never heard of an ironclad by the name Wissahickon.

Watch Out for Those Shells. --Old B-Runner

Monday, February 16, 2009

Civil War Cannonball Found in South Carolina

The Feb. 13th State of South Carolina reports that a six pound unarmed cannonball was found recently in the Broad River and turned over to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum which plans to stabilize it from corrosion.

It was likely fired by Confederates as Sherman's army approached Columbia in 1865. This provides further evidence that the Civil War era River Road bridge was located north of the current bridge. It is known that Wiggins Battery of Arkansas Artillery burned the bridge and fire at the abutment on the west side of the river.

This action slowed Sherman's troops, who built a pontoon bridge and crossed the river February 17, 1865.

The finder and circumstances of its discovery were not revealed.

And the War Goes On. --Old B-R

Blockade Runner Robert E. Lee

From Wikipedia. On February 13th, I had an entry about this ship.

The Robert E. Lee later served as the USS Fort Donelson and later as the Concepcion in the Chilean navy.

It was built on the River Clyde, Scotland in 1862 and bought by the Confederate government for 32,000 pounds. After many successful runs through the blockade, it was captured Nov. 9, 1863, by the USS James Adger and condemned in Boston and acquired by the US Navy and commissioned June 29, 1864 as the USS Fort Donelson.

It joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and participated in both attacks on Fort Fisher.

In 1866, it was purchased by the Chilean Navy and sold by them in 1868.

The ship had a speed of 13.5 knots, weighed 900 tons, 283 feet long with 20 foot beam and carried seven guns as a blockader.

Someone Catch That Blockade-Runner. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Great Story

Today, at the Camp Douglas Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp meeting at the Silver Stallion in Des Plaines, Illinois, our newest members drove in from Rockford, the Kings. They are related to General Turner Ashby and were officially made members at the Lee-Jackson dinner back in Monday.

Both the father and son were there as was the wife. Very pleasant folks. Of course, I figured that the men joined because of the father and was much surprised to find out that they joined because of the son, Jacques, who is his in his teens. To find someone that age who is interested in history and heritage to that degree is not something you'd expect in today's generation.

A Welcome Addition to the Camp. --Blockade-R

USS Virginia

While on the subject of the Arcadia, the USS Virginia is given credit for destroying it.

According to Wikipedia, the USS Virginia was launched in Scotland as the Pet and became a blockade runner before being captured off Mexico by the USS Wachusetts and USS Sonoma January 18, 1863.

It was purchased by the US Navy after condemnation and renamed the USS Virginia. It spent most of its career operating along the Texas coast. Until the remainder of the war, it either captured or destroyed eleven blockade runners, making a nice sum of money for its crew.

In February, 1865, it helped destroy the Arcadia and was decommissioned July 17, 1865, and sold. It was eventually turned into a barge.

The History of a Ship. --Old B-Runner

The Blockade Runner Arcadia

Back on February 8th, I wrote about the blockade runner Arcadia being "rediscovered." I found a column about it by Murray Montgomery in the Lone Star Diary, who said surf fishing was very good by the Arcadia's wreck.

It was destroyed the USS Virginia of the Union Navy and was 211 feet long, 31 feet at the beam, and a side wheel steamer.

In the late 1960s, early 1970s, Wendell E. Pierce and Frank Hole examined the site and recovered artifacts that are now housed at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It was at this time that the site was designated a state archaeological landmark.

As of 1984, the remains of a hand dug canal was still visible near San Luis Pass which was built to allow blockade runners to avoid the Union ships. This is not far from the wreck.

Now Where Did I Put That Ship? --Old B-R'er

Friday, February 13, 2009

Blockade Runner Giraffe/Robert E. Lee

J.C. Knowles, in his excellent "North Carolina Minute" column in the Feb. 11th Topsail Advertiser wrote about the blockade runner Giraffe, which was later renamed the Robert E. Lee.

It was owned by the Confederate government and under the command of Captain Wilkerson. The ship cost $160,000 in gold and during its career, transported 7,000 bales of cotton, worth $2 million in gold.

The Lee ran the blockade 21 times before its capture in 1863.

A Nassau merchant wrote that a ship ran the blockade twice, it would have paid for itself, and "After that the Yankees can have it."

The Navy records show that 1,504 blockade runners were captured or destroyed during the war.

Blockade Running, a Little-Known Aspect of the War. --Old Blockade-Runner

Running the Blockade: Alligator-- Beach Bomb-- New DUVCW Chapter

Some New News About an Old War.

1. ALLIGATOR-- There is a 50-minute DVD out about the "Hunt for the USS Alligator," the US Navy's first submarine which sunk in bad weather off the coast of North Carolina. Everyone's heard so much about the Confederate Hunley, but not much about the Union's counterpart.

2. BEACH BOMB-- The Feb. 11th Virginian Pilot reports that the FBI and Virginia Beach police bomb squad removed three pieces of live ammunition from the home of a Civil War collector. The Beach Bomb Squad took a cannonball to a safe location and detonated it. A mortar shell and grenade were turned over to the US Navy for disposal. Remember, don't play with that old Civil War ammunition.

3. NEW DUVCW CHAPTER-- The Feb. 11th Lansing (Mi) State Journal reports that the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War has a new chapter for the Greater Lansing area, the Anne Etheridge Tent #59.

They will be officially organized March 28th at the Turner Dodge House.

The DUVCW claims to be the largest and oldest of all Civil War organizations based on lineal groups. Local groups are organized into Tents.

Congratulations, but I thought the Daughters of the Confederacy were larger.

Now, You Know. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, February 12, 2009

And, Speaking of the USS Patapsco...

The January 24th Charleston (SC) Post and Courier reported that the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina received a $28,000 grant to map the many Civil War wrecks in and around Charleston Harbor.

This is a part of the American Battlefield Protection Program and they plan to look at blockade runners, ironclads, some Confederate defenses now underwater, and torpedoes.

Some wrecks to be looked at are the 677-ton Monitor Keokuk which is buried in the sand off Morris Island, the side-wheel blockade runner Mary Bowers by Isle of Pines, and the Monitor Patapsco which I wrote about yesterday.

A total of 31 wrecks are in Charleston, many well-known, but few with up-to-date GPS coordinates. Some are now on land and others covered by beaches.

Where Did We lose That Ship? --Old B-Runner

Some Lincoln Stuff on His Birthday

This would seem like a good day to write about Abraham Lincoln.

The Feb. 11th Topeka (Ks) Capital-Journal reports that a privately-owned "Lincoln Flag" will be on display for the duration of the Presidential Lecture Series at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

The 34-star National Flag is called the Lincoln flag because he was the only president in office during the time it flew from 1862 to 1863. Lincoln also would not allow any of the stars for the southern states to be removed.

The Feb. 11th Lebanon (Oh) Western Star reports that Miami University student Lydia Smith discovered a rare Lincoln fingerprint while doing transcribing of an October 5, 1863, letter from Lincoln for a class project. While doing it, she noticed a smudge.

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a project of the Illinois Historical Preservation Agency and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum reviewed the letter and confirmed it as the real thing. This is the second Lincoln fingerprint in the university's holdings.

The papers group has a website This is a long-term project dedicated to identifying, imaging, and publishing all the documents written y Lincoln in his whole lifetime.

Big Happy 200. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

USS Patapsco

The Jan. 18, 2009, HMdb, Historical Marker database focused on Fort Moultrie, Charleston, SC, which has the grave of Seminole chief Osceola who died at the fort Jan. 30, 1838.

There is also a marker for USS Monitor Patapsco which was sunk in Charleston Harbor Jan. 15, 1865, (the same day Fort Fisher, NC, fell) after hitting a Confederate mine. Sixty-two members of the 105 officers and enlisted died. Five are buried on the fort's grounds.

The Patapsco was a Passaic-class monitor, commissioned Jan. 2, 1863 and joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, taking part in the shelling of Fort McAllister and Fort Sumter. Its armament consisted of 1 x 15 inch smoothbore and 1 X 8 inch Parrot rifle. It was 241 feet long and had a 46 foot beam.

On the evening it sank, it was providing support for scout and picket boats clearing the harbor of obstructions and torpedoes.

And, I'd never Heard of This Ship Before. --B-R

Fort Walton Beach, Florida's Name

We were just down enjoying the winter weather in Florida's Panhandle this past week, and even though we didn't get all the way west to Fort Walton Beach as we had intended (Panama City Beach waylaid us).

It was interesting to see how this town got its name in Dale Cox's Civil War Florida blog.

It got its name from a Civil War fort established by the Walton Guards in 1861 and occupied until 1862. On April 1, 1862, it was attacked by Union troops who had marched over from Fort Pickens, Pensacola who found out there had been a fight between the fort's occupants and the crew of a Union naval blockader.

The Guards were driven off, but General Braxton Bragg sent a 16-pdr cannon to help defend against future attacks. When the Walton Guards left the fort in the summer of that year, they buried the cannon in a shell mound.

It has since been dug up and is on display at Fort Walton Beach;s Heritage Park, which occupies the site of the old Confederate fort..

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

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Running the Blockade: Re-Enactor Indicted-- SCV Suit

Some New News About an Old War.

1. RE-ENACTOR INDICTED-- The Jan. 17th Hampton Roads Online reports that a grand jury in Isle of Wight, Virginia, has a Confederate re-enactor for shooting Thomas R. Lord, Sr., 72, in the shoulder. Lord was portraying a northern soldier during the filming of "The Civil War Overland Campaign Web Series Project" on September 27, 2008. The southern soldier voluntarily turned himself in to authorities. Probably apologized for shooting the "Yankee."

2. SCV SUIT-- the Florida Division of the SCV is filing suit in the US District Court to force the state of Florida to approve license plates with a Confederate flag on them. The SCV group spent years completing the preliminary requirements like the $60,000 application fee, marketing strategies, and collecting the names of 30,000 people who said they would purchase it. The bill was killed in the house of representatives.

Careful, Florida, the Guy from Virginia Just Might Pay a Visit. --Old B-R'er

Arcadia "Found" Again

The Texas General Land Office, while looking for underwater damage debris from Hurricane Ike, 'Rediscovered" the wreck of the 738 ton blockade runner Arcadia which was sunk in 1865.

Archaeologists and locals have known about it a long time and some items, including a toilet are on display in the Brazzoria County Historical Museum. Until 1961, the smoke stacks were still visible until Hurricane Carla destroyed them. Locals even called the area "The Boilers" and was known for good fishing.

The 211-foot long ship was on its maiden voyage as a blockade runner when it ran aground and was abandoned by its crew Feb. 6, 1865.

It was named a Texas Archaeological Landmark in the 1960s. Even though people already knew about the wreck, this is the first time a complete sonar imaging has been done which should aid in future work at the site.

From the Jan. 29th Facts of Brazorria County.

Wonderin' What a Civil War Toilet Looks Like. ---Old B-R

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Running the Blockade: Want a Cannon?-- Ferry Reopens-- No "C" Flags Here

Some New News about an Old War.

1. WANT A CANNON-- The South Bent Tribune, Indiana, reports that an American Legion post in Niles is closing and something needs to be done with their cannon that dates to the Civil War.

2. FERRY REOPENS-- The Fort Fisher-Southport NC ferry reopened Monday, Feb. 2nd. It had been close3d for two months for repairs. Sure makes it easier to get across the Cape Fear River without going all the way through Wilmington, quite a long drive.

3. NO "C" FLAGS HERE-- The United Daughters of the Confederacy have been accustomed to flying Confederate flags downtown in honor of Lee's birthday on Jan. 19th. However, this year, they were not allowed to because of President Obama's inauguration. Come on guys!!!

Just Some Stuff. --Old B-R

Good News Out of South Carolina

How's this for an interesting story in these days of anti-Confederate everything? I see that the South Carolina Senate has passed a resolution to make all counties in the state observe Confederate Memorial Day by giving employees a paid holiday.

And, one of the senators pushing it is black, Robert Ford, from Charleston. He maintains that observing it will help both blacks and whites understand each other's heritage better.

Currently, only ten of the state's 46 counties recognize it. The bill now goes to the senate judiciary committee. It will be interesting to see when the opposition comes about.

Of course, with all the economic problems every where these days, I don't know about how the counties will be able to financially pay workers for another day off.

Here's Hoping, and a Tip of the Hat to Mr. Ford. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, February 1, 2009

On the Road with the Rebels

While driving down south to get out of all this global warming, I was happy to see a few items of Confedimpotance.

First, south of Franklin, Tennessee, on I-65, I saw an interstate sign with a Confederate flag with Elm Springs SCV on it.

In Alabama, I saw one interstate sign with Confederate Memorial Park at another exit, then, best of all, between Birmingham and Montgomery, there was a bog old flagpole with battle flag flying tall and proud with a sign out front proclaiming Alabama Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

OK, so it's not exactly pc, and I don't mean personal computer.

Way to Go, Compatriots. --Old B-Runner