The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Civil War at Folly Island, SC

Nice beach, referred to as "The Edge of America" , but not so pleasant of a place to be during the Civil War. The word folly is said to come from an old English word meaning an area of thick "foliate."

Folly Beach is a barrier island, about 6 miles long and a half mile wide.

During the war, it was a temporary home for some 20,000 Union soldiers. Local legend holds that property here was considerably cheaper because it had been "tainted" by the Yankees during their occupation. And then, in some places down south, if you order your meat "Shermanized" it is well done.

It's a Southern Thing.

Who Says the War is Over. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cradle of the Confederacy

Here I sit again, in the Cradle of the Confederacy, Charleston, SC, well, actually, North Charleston, but close enough.

We were here this past Wednesday and Thursday and left for Bluffton, SC, by Hilton Head for the weekend.

Thursday, we visited Fort Moultrie and saw American coastal defenses spanning from 1776 to just after World War II. That is an extremely interesting historical epoch in itself. Planning on taking a boat ride out to Fort Sumter tomorrow. Would have liked to see the H. L. Hunley submarine, but didn't get here early enough today.

Thinking about getting a room out at Folly Beach, SC, and doing the BEACH THING. This is by Morris Island, where Fort Wagner was, where the 54th Massachusetts made their valiant attack.

Went up that way Thursday, but it appears to me in the rich boys' lair.

Fighting the War One State at a Time. --B-R

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Civil War Sites in Missouri

We're "On the Road" right now and are coming back from Independence, Missouri.

While in Independence, I saw several references to the First and Second Battles of Independence and must admit, I was a bit confused about what part the town might have played in the American Revolution, then had an "Oh!" moment.

Passed a marker, but too fast and far to read. I don't know anything about these battles other than one involving 15,000 troops, so I'll have to find out about it.

Of course, Independence is also where the "Buck Stopped."

Yesterday, on I-70, I saw an exit sign for a Confederate Memorial and the Battle of Lexington (there they go again trying to confuse me with that independence stuff.

It's a Civil War Thing. --Old B-R

Monday, March 23, 2009

Black North Carolina Regiments

The March 22nd WNCT of Greenville, NC, reported that a black group from the Kinston Cultural Heritage Museum, dressed in Civil War soldier and civilian attire, laid a wreath at the Civil War Trails marker at Greenville Common honoring the three regiments of black soldiers raised in the state during the war.

Most were escaped slaves from eastern North Carolina.

Leader Malcolm Beech said, "The kids need to know that their ancestors were strong and courageous and that they fought for their freedom. They didn't wait for someone to come and free them."

They have also told the story to kids at two Kinston charter schools.

Former slaves enlisting to fight for the Union also risked horrible treatment if they were ever captured by Confederate forces.

Some Very Valiant Men. --Old B-R

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jekyll Island

Back on March 10th, I had an entry about the fall of Jekyll Island, Georgia, now, I see that the good folks from HMdb have featured the marker for the Confederate battery, saying that it had one 42-pdr, four 32-pdrs en barbette along with casemates, a hot shot furnace, and magazines. It was made out of palmetto logs, heavy timbers, sandbags, and railroad irons and constructed to protect Brunswick.

Is the CSS Neuse Worth It?

On March 10th WNCT in Greenville, NC, ran a piece on whether or not the proposed indoor museum for the remains of the Confederate ironclad CSS Neuse is worth it considering the state's $2 billion budgetary shortfall. At least $9.3 million is slated for the project, which is very necessary due to the ravages of the weather on the hull remains which have taken place ever since the ship was raised from the Neuse River back in 1963.

Budget watchdogs call it a waste of money as being just a tourist thing.

Supporters of the museum say it will help revitalize downtown Kinston, referring to the Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia, where the remains of the only other Confederate gunboat are located. Last year, it had 25,000 paid admissions and brought in $400,000 from the admissions and gift shop.

Well, being somewhat of a Civil War and history enthusiast, I tend to side with these folks, but can see the monetary situation.

I Say, Save That Old Boat. --B-Runner

Saturday, March 21, 2009


The March 19th Old Salt Blog had an entry about the Georgiana which I wrote about three times back in February. The 19th was the anniversary of the ship being sunk on its maiden voyage through the blockade back in 1863 while carrying a cargo of munitions, medicine, and merchandise worth $1 million.

During the chase, at times, the Georgiana's crew were so close to the blockaders that they could hear orders on the Union ships. Badly damaged, the Georgiana was run aground and scuttled. Union forces set fire to it resulting in a fire and explosions that went on for three days.

It says that 102 years later, teenage E. Lee Spence found it again.

And, I'd Never Heard of It Until February. --Da BR

Not the Most, But Pretty Bad

The March 21st Winston-Salem (NC) Journal reports that three Civil War sites in North Carolina are at risk, but none with the endangered level.

YADKIN RIVER BRIDGE-- April 12, 1865-- threatened by the Hig Rock Raceway. Also on At Risk list last year.

MORRISVILLE-- April 14, 1865-- Western Wake County (by Raleigh)-- last assault by Sherman's troops-- problem with population-growth and development.

AVERASBORO-- March 16, 1865-- 20 miles from Fayetteville-- planned expansion of Fort Bragg.

Save It Before It's Gone. --Old B-R

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Congratulations Georgia Senate

In these days of increasing Confederate-bashing (it's a slave thing, you know), it is refreshing to see southern politicians rising above it.

The Georgia Senate has ok'd April as being Confederate Heritage and History month, AND, by a 48-2 vote.

Georgia governments, schools, businesses, and citizens are encouraged to participate in programs.

Finally!! --Old B-R

CSS Peedee

From the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.

Since I was writing a few days ago about the guns from the Peedee being located and raised this spring, I realized I didn't know much about the vessel. As a matter of fact, I'd never heard of it before.

The Peedee was a twin screw, ScSlp: length 170 feet, beam 26 feet, dph 10 feet, speed 9 knots, 91 crew, armament: one 7-inch rifle, one 6.4-in rifle, one 9-in smoothbore.

A wooden gunboat built at Mars Bluff near Marion Courthouse on the Great Pee Dee River. Designed by Acting Naval Constructor John L. Porter, CSN, in late 1862. Lt. Edward J. Means, CSN, commander of the naval yard, supervised the construction.

One engine came from the Naval Ironworks in Richmond, Va, and the other is rumored to have come through the blockade from Britain.

It was intended to have a battery of four 32-pdr broadside and two 9-in pivots.


Not much is known about the vessel. Reports have it being completed and commissioned April 20, 1864 with Lt. O. F. Johnston, CSN, in command. It was destroyed 110 miles upriver from Georgetown after the evacuation of Charleston on February 18, 1865.

I have to wonder if any part of the ship itself remains?

I see that one website offers a model of the Peedee for sale at $7.

You Learn Something Every Day. --Blockade-R

CWPT's Top Ten Most-Endangered Civil War Sites

Actor Richard Dreyfuss announced the Civil War Preservation Trust's top ten endangered sites.

They are:

Fort Gaines, Alabama
Cedar Creek, Virginia
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Monocacy, Maryland
New Market Heights, Virginia
Port Gibson, Mississippi
Sabine Pass, Texas
South Mountain, Maryland
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Wilderness, Virginia

I'll be telling the particulars on each in the near future, but Wilderness is because of a proposed Wal Mart.

Let the Public Know. --Old B-Runner

Fort Gaines on CWPT Most-Endangered List

WKRG-CBS News 5 of Mobile-Pensacola reports that Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island at the entrance to Mobile Bay has been included on the Civil War Preservation Trust's annual top ten most-endangered list.

This threat comes more from the Gulf of Mexico as a result of human dredging in the Gulf. Four hundred feet of Dauphin Island shoreline has been lost so far and there is the resultant loss of the established dune system.

Fort Gaines played a significant role in the Battle of Mobile Bay along with Fort Morgan, located across the entrance.

Any Kind of List Like This is Good, Bringing the Plight to Public Awareness. --B-R

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ferry Boats-- Navy Boats-- Ferry Boats

According to the March 18th Brooklyn Daily Eagle, back in the last half of the 19th century, the Commodore Perry and Commodore Barney which operated ferry service between Brooklyn and Manhattan had been the Union Navy during the Civil War patrolling Carolina waters searching for blockade runners.

They were painted black, fitted with cannons and sheathed in metal.

Actually, I believe their use came from being double-enders which could change direction without turning, a very handy thing to be able to do in the narrow and shallow rivers.

Both ships operated until the 1890s.

Chased by a Ferry Boat. --B-R

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

CSS PeeDee Cannons to Be Raised-- Part 2

The Mars Bluff Navy Yard was established in 1862 and the CSS PeeDee, a gunboat was constructed there. The ship was launched in January 1865, but its career was cut short by Sherman's advance when it was scuttled March 15, 1865 to prevent capture.

The cannons, two Confederate Rifled Brooks and one captured Union Dahlgren were thrown into the river, where they have remained.

The USC people will be working with those from East Carolina University and Francis Marion University. The cannons will be preserved at FMU and then exhibited at the Florence County Museum.

The cannons were first located by the CSS PeeDee Research and Recovery Team in 1996 according to an article comment. Not only did they find the cannons, but also recovered numerous objects such as artillery shells, shot, cannister, and medicine bottles. These are now on display at the Myrtle Beach Indoor Shooting Range.

Looking Forward to Seeing Those Cannons. --B-R

Monday, March 16, 2009

CSS Peedee Cannons to be Raised

SCNow reports that University of South Carolina archaeologists are planning to raise three cannons that have been located at the old Confederate Mars Bluff Navy Yard on the east side of the Pee Dee River in Marion County.

A survey using remote sensing technology and a magnetometer will be conducted April 30th and the 4 and a half, 7, and 7 ton cannons will be raised between late May and mid June.

Money for the operation is from a $200,000 grant from the Drs Bruce and Lee Foundation in Florence, South Carolina.

The Mars Bluff Navy Yard was one of seven yards built inland by the Confederate government to build gunboats and support vessels. The major reason for this was for protection from Union vessels.

The Mars Bluff site also had close proximity to railroads and abundant lumber.

Always Great to Get Something Back That was Lost. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bayonets and Generals

Again, from the 2008 Daily Civil War Calendar.


Question, Did the long range firepower of rifles render bayonets obsolete?

There were few bayonet-induced casualties, but a bayonet charge had a deep psychological impact on men. The order to "fix bayonets" and attack gave troops a monetary surge of confidence and frightened those on the receiving end.


How many generals served on both sides?

That is those non-militia who were properly nominated and appointed.

Union: 550
Confederacy: 400

Give Them the Bayonet. --Old B-Runner

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pennsylvania Now Onboard

The March 12th Travel News Gazette wrote about the dedication of two Civil War Trails markers in Gettysburg. One is at the entrance to the park marking the end of the invasion and beginning of the retreat and the other is outside the Cashtown Inn (which served as the headquarters of General A. P. Hill).

Other markers are still planned for Adams County.

The Civil War Trails Program is now in six states: NC, Tennessee, Virginia, W. Va,Md, and now Pennsylvania.

For more information on this excellent program:

Bringing the Smaller Civil War to the Masses. --Blockade-R

Butternut and Red

From the 2008 Civil War Daily calendar.

BUTTERNUT-- Many Confederate soldiers wore uniforms that were dyed yellowish-brown, or butternut. They used copperas and walnut hulls. Confederates were sometimes called "Butternuts." Hey, you do what you can. I was unable to find out exactly copperas was or is. Something perhaps to do with iron or copper. There is a Copperas Cove, Texas.

RED, AS IN RED RIVER CAMPAIGN-- Aeries of battles fought along the Red River, in Louisiana. Union forces under the command of General Nathaniel Banks, numbering 30,000, initiated the action. Confederate forces were estimated at between 6,000 and 12,000 under Lt. general Richard Taylor.

Poor planning and mismanagement characterized the Union effort and it was a failure. It is regarded as one of the most brilliant Confederate accomplishments of the war.

This is one campaign that I know very little.

Little-Known Aspects of the War. --B-Runner

Three Lincoln Items on Other Blog

There are three blog entries about Abraham Lincoln on my today's Cooter's History Thing Blog at

One was about the photograph was was just recently discovered of Lincoln in front of the White House shortly before his assassination, or, was it Lincoln?

It was found in a photo album owned by the general and in the current possession of the general's great-great grandson, Ulysses S. Grant, VI, who lives in Springfield, Missouri and runs a construction business. He sold the photo to a Lincoln photograph collector in New York City named Keya Morgan for $50,000. Times must be hard in the construction business. You think?

The second one was about the rumored existence of a message in Lincoln's pocket watch which, upon opening this last week, was true.

Then I wrote about visiting a traveling Lincoln exhibit and hearing the actual sounds Lincoln would have heard from a clock in his Springfield law office and one of Mary Todd Lincoln's music boxes.

After all, it IS the old guy's 200th anniversary of his birth.

It's a Lincoln Thing. You Wouldn't Understand. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Memorial Service for John Wesley Colquett, CSA

From the Dec. 6, 2007 Andalusia (Al) Star-News by Curtis Thomasson.

A memorial service for Confederate veteran John Wesley Colquett was held Nov. 15th at his grave at Friendship Baptist Church. A new grave marker was places as more than 100 descendants and the Covington Rifle Camp SCV, UDC, and re-enactors looked on.

Eighteen other Confederate veterans are buried in the cemetery.

Jon Wesley Colquett, his great, great great grandson, unveiled the new marker. His great, great, great, great grandsons Trey and Walt Spurlin placed a small Confederate flag by the headstone.

John Colquett was born April 22, 1846, in Monticello, Pike County, Alabama. In 1862, he joined Co. H, 53rd Alabama Partisan Rangers and served until the end of the war. He was at the battles of Thompson's Station, Brentwood, Chicamauga, Dalton and Atlanta, then fought Sherman through Georgia and the Carolinas, surrendering with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station, NC, April 26, 1865.

His brother Calvin Charle Colquett, 16 years older, served in the same unit and was appointed lieutenant in July 1863 and was badly wounded the following year.

Another brother, Albert Bethen Colquett was only 15 when he enlisted in 1863. A third brother, David Franklin Colquett served in Co. K, 25th Alabama and died of disease May 18, 1862 and is buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Aberdeen, Mississippi.

One Alabama Family's Defense of Their Country. --Blockade-R

Blockade Runner Found

The March 9th Yahoo News, from AP, reports that contractors searching for debris from Hurricane Ike near Galveston, Texas, discovered via sonar scan the remains of what possibly is the blockade runner Carolina or Caroline, which was sunk in 1864 running out of the city with a load of cotton.

It was detected, pursued, and ran aground in shallow water between Galveston and San Luis Pass. Her crew set her afire to prevent the Union ships from salvaging. It was probably buried under sank until Hurricane Ike scoured the bottom.

Divers will investigate this spring or summer when the Gulf waters are more calm. The investigation has also found two previously-charted Civil War shipwrecks, the Will-o-the-Wisp and Arcadia.

The new blockade runner's wreck is not being revealed so that looters can't get at it.

I also wrote about the Arcadia Feb. 8 and 14th.


San Luis Pass is a strait at the southwest end of Galveston Island connecting West Bay with the Gulf of Mexico.

I looked up Carolina and Carolina blockade runners and discovered that a ship called the Caroline was built in 1859 and seized by Confederate at New Orleans in 1862 and turned into a blockade runner. On Oct. 29, 1862, it was captured while attempting to run the blockade at Mobile.

The US Navy bought it and recommissioned her the USS Arizona. On February 27, 1965, it was accidentally destroyed by fire. So, this isn't the one.

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

Running the Blockade: Fort Jefferson-- Davis Off-- The Lincoln Penny

Some New News About an Old War-- the CivilWar.

1. FORT JEFFERSON-- The national Park Service has begun a six year much-needed renovation of the six-sided Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas, Florida, about 68 miles west of Key West and only accessible by plane or boat.

The fort was never completely finished and never fired a shot in anger and is called the "Gibraltar of the Gulf of Mexico."

During the Civil War, it served as a Union prison, one of the best-known prisoners was Dr. Samuel Mudd who treated John Wilkes Booth's foot after Lincoln's assassination.

2. DAVIS OFF-- The March 9th Montgomery (Al) Advertiser reports that Jefferson Davis' name was removed from an intersection in Selma and replaced with the name J.L. Chestnut, Jr, a black lawyer who died at age 77 last year. He had led an attempt to have Davis' name replaced for many years.

For the last 30 years, Davis' name has been on the same pole as that of Martin Luther King, Jr, a unique situation that has led to the signs being stolen many times.

Others will continue the fight to have the names of former Confederates (referred to as terrorists by certain folks) removed and replaced with those of Civil Rights activists. Terrorists? Oh, well.

3. THE LINCOLN PENNY-- I read that the new Lincoln penny is out, though I haven't seen any yet. One more thing that I'll "HAVE" to collect I suppose.

Now, You Know. "Terrorists?" --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jekyll Island, Georgia Falls Without a Shot-- March 10, 1862

A fleet of three Union ships led the USS Mohican captured two Confederate batteries guarding Jekyll Island, Georgia, this date in 1862. A Marine detachment led by Lt. Henry Miller landed and hoisted the flag.

The battery was established in 1861 and consisted of one 42-pdr. and four 32 pdrs en barbette, each with 60 rounds.

In February, 1862, General Robert E. Lee, had requested that the batteries be dismantles since the island's inhabitants had all moved inland. So, by the time the Union Navy arrived, the battery was abandoned. Today, there is nothing left of the battery, but a historic marker is on the spot.

For a short history of the USS Mohican, see December 19, 2008.

From Jekyll Island Blog.

Just Another Little-Known Engagement. Old B-Runner

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wilmington During the War

WECT TV in Wilmington, NC, reports that a Wilmington man has donated 150 years worth of letters going back 3 generations to the New Hanover Public Library. After being inventoried and preserved, they will be put on display.

The family wrote of leaving "Old Town Plantation" as Federal forces moved up the river. One wrote of hearing the Union bombardment of Fort Fisher. They were a wealthy family who lived along the Cape Fear River.

A Real Slice of Local History. --Old B-R'er

USS Cumberland

The remains of the USS Cumberland, which was sunk by the CSS Virginia March 8, 1862, are still in the James River right near the Nameless Grave marker. Close by are also the remains of Union batteries that were protecting Camp Butler.

Salvage of the Cumberland started almost immediately and continued into the 1900s.

The USS Cumberland was laid down in 1824 and wasn't launched until 1842. From 1855-1857 it was completely rebuilt. When Confederate forces took over the Gosport naval yard at the beginning of the war, it was towed out and later participated in the attacks on the Confederate forts at Cape Hatteras.

On March 8th, the Virginia rammed the Cumberland, causing it to sink, however, the Confederate ship lost its ram, two guns, and suffered internal damage. Congress later recognized that the Cumberland did more damage to the Virginia than the Monitor.

The Cumberland was rumored to have been carrying $40,000 in gold, which enticed many salvors. Over the years, a lot of salvage has been done illegally on the wreck.

In 1909, part of the anchor was recovered and sent to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia. Many other artifacts are at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum in Norfolk, Va..

In 1981 NUMA held discussions with local oystermen whose dredges had picked up artifacts over the years from the wreck. It is now known that there are two wrecks, the other being that of the CSS Florida.

No Fair, Iron Vs. Wood. --B-R

Anniversary of the Famous Battle Between the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia

Today marks the 147th anniversary of the battle that set naval architecture on a new course in history.

The USS Monitor clashed with the CSS Virginia which was returning to "mop up" the wooden ships of the Union navy at Hampton Roads, Virginia. The day before, the Virginia had decimated the fleet with little damage to itself. The wooden sides of the federal matches were no match for the ironclad Confederate ship.

During the night, the hurriedly-constructed Monitor arrived at the battle scene and took position between the rest of the fleet and the Virginia.

The battle was largely inconclusive, with the Virginia eventually leaving the scene and retiring to her berth.

Other naval powers immediately canceled all orders for wooden ships and began the construction of ironclad ones. The Monitor's turret was especially copied. The idea of potting large calibre guns in a revolving turret so they could be fired in almost any direction revolutionized naval architecture into the 1940s.

Quite an Engagement. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Nameless Grave-- First Battle of Hampton Roads

The March 3rd Historical Marker Data Base was about Longfellow's "A Nameless Grave" which he must have seen at Newport News, Virginia. It is on a marker placed there by the American Legion in 1965 in honor of 252 American sailors, five Confederate and 247 Union, who gave their lives to defend a cause they believed in on March 8, 1862. It is located at Christopher Newport Park and right by the wreck of the USS Cumberland and CSS Florida.

Two were from the CSS Virginia, three from the Confederate gunboats Raleigh and Beaufort, 127 from the SS Cumberland, 120 from the USS Congress, three from the USS Minnesota, and three from the Union steam tender Whitehall.

The following day, the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia had the first clash of the ironclads with no fatalities.

A Salute to the Unknown. We May Not Know Your Name, But You Are Honored for Your Gallantry. Longfellow Put It Well. --Old B-Runner

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "A Nameless Grave"

Came across an Historical Marker database entry for a plaque regarding this poem in Newport News, Virginia.

This is an excellent poem for the fallen, especially those that are listed as unknown.

I'm not sure when he made it, but it might have been in a collection of poems called "Masque of Pandora and Other Poems" published in 1875.


"A soldier of the Union mustered out,"
Is the inscription on an unknown grave
At Newport News, beside the salt-sea wave,
Nameless and dateless, the sentinel or scout
Shot down in skirmish, or disastrous rout
Of battle, when the loud artillery drave
Its iron wedges through the ranks of the brave
And doomed battalions, storming the redoubt.

Thou unknown hero sleeping by the sea
In thy forgotten grave! with secret shame
I feel my pulse beat, my forehead burn,
When i remember thou hast given for me
All that thou hadst, thy life, thy very name,

Quite a selection of poetry; the last part especially. Definitely puts into words my feelings whenever I see the graves of the unknown, especially military.

Well-Done Longfellow. --Old B-Runner

Friday, March 6, 2009

Army Medals of Honor at Fort Fisher

Two Army officers were among those receiving Medals of Honor at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher.

GALUSHA PENNYPACKER-- Colonel, 97th Pennsylvania. Issued 17 August 1891-- led the charge across a traverse and planted the colors. Seriously wounded.

NEWTON MARTIN CURTIS-- Brigadier General-- Issued 28 November 1891-- first man to pass through the stockade fence, personally led each assault, wounded four times.

I wonder what transpired for both to be issued Medals of Honor that long after the event, and, in the same year.

Curtis is especially interesting. You don't see generals leading charges that often. After the war, he became really good friends with the fort's commander, Col. William Lamb, who referred to him as "My friend, the enemy."

Mighty Gallant Men. --Old B-Runner

Great Site

Came across a great site the other day called Civil War Traveler. If you're a Civil War buff and traveling, this is something you'd have to check out before going, or as the credit card company says, "Don't leave home without it."

One section deals with Civil War events. We're heading for Georgia and South Carolina toward the end of this month for a family wedding, but I checked out those two states for events. Unfortunately, there were none listed, but there might have been.

This site has pod casts, driving tours, maps, and places to see broken down by states.

Well Worth Checking Out. --B-Runner

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No More Rebels Here...Well, At Least the Mascot

The February 20th Colorado Independent reported that Denver's South High School has picked a new mascot. The Confederate soldier is gone and has been replaced with a griffin. The 84-year-old school's new name is based on a protective gargoyle on the building.

South's teams will continue to be called Rebels, however, after urging from alumni. For $15,000, the Rebel insignia around school will be changed. South High School is now 70% minority.

In other Colorado high school news, one student group at Boulder High School wanted to change the name of that school to the Barack Obama High School, but after much protest, dropped it.

Is the War Over? --B-R'er

South Captures Grant

Or so the Jan. 18, 2009 Chicago Tribune headline read. In the Chicagoland section, there was a picture of Grant in uniform with his family.

Megan Twohey wrote that the University of Virginia had the Thomas Jefferson papers, Columbia had those of Alexander Hamilton, and Southern Illinois University HAD the US Grant ones. But not any more.

After a year-long conflict with the Carbondale school, the US Grant Association, which owns the material relocated the 100 file cabinets to Mississippi State University. The first president of this institution was former Confederate General Stephen D. Lee.

Soldiers from Mississippi battled Grant's forces in Corinth, Port Gibson, and Vicksburg.

Score One for the Old Confederacy. --B-Runner

Running the Blockade: Not on His Day-- Not Yet-- Not Now

Some New News About an Old War. The Civil War.

1. NOT ON HIS DAY-- Feb. 27th NBC 13 News reported on protesters in Anniston, Alabama holding a rally to demand Anniston's mayor, Gene Robinson, to resign for his support of having Robert E. Lee's birthday observance to coincide with that of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The protesters were members of the Anniston-based New Alabama Voters league. The mayor said he wasn't going to resign.

Wonder what this is all about?

2. NOT YET-- at the outbreak of the Civil War, about 100 Lake County, Illinois, men enlisted and departed from Waukegan for Springfield. They arrived expecting to join under the three-month enlistment program, but were told that was no longer in effect. They departed for Waukegan. Most later joined other Illinois regiments.

If at first you don't succed....

3. NOT NOW-- From blog. ANDREW JACKSON SMITH, b. Sept 3, 1843, died March 4, 1932, a corporal in the 55th Massachusetts, for action at Honey Hills, SC, was issued a Medal of Honor---136 years later in 2000 by President Clinton. The 55th's color sergeant was killed and Smith forwarded the colors. Better late than ever, I guess.

Now, You Know. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

USS Wyalusing Medals of Honor-- Part 2

A short bit of information on the five Wyalusing sailors awarded Medals of Honor.

ALEXANDER CRAWFORD-- born 1842, died March 17, 1886. Buried Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

JOHN LAFFERTY-- 1842 to Nov. 13, 19003. Buried Mount Moriah Cemetery Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of only 24 to ever win TWO Medals of Honor. The second one was aboard the USS Alaska off the coast of Peru, September 14, 1881, when he hauled the fires from the boiler after the rupture of a stop-valve which could have caused an explosion. Wikipedia, however, in its description of the USS Alaska did not mention the incident. His tombstone is listed as John Laverty, the name he used when he re-enlisted.

BENJAMIN Lloyd-- Coal Heaver-- Born in England 1839.

JOHN H. Lloyd-- born 1831 in New York, NY-- Coxswain.

Charles H. Baldwin-- Coal Heaver-- 1839 to January 22, 1891. Buried Christ church Cemetery, Price Georg's County, Maryland. The destroyer USS Baldwin (DD-624) was named after him.

An Interesting Story. --Blockade-R

USS Wyalusing Medals of Honor

Yesterday, I found out a first attempt in May to sink the Confederate ram Albemarle in 1864, before William Cushing was successful in October. I'd never heard of this incident, so did some research on it.

The USS Wyalusing was commissioned Feb. 8, 1864 and joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in Albemarle Sound ten days after the CSS Albemarle had attacked the fleet, ramming two blockaders and chased them off, enabling Confederates to recapture Plymouth, North Carolina, on April 19, 1864.

The ship carried 154 crew and was 205 feet long, 35 feet beam mounting 14 guns.

On May 5th, the Wyalusing took part in a battle with the Albemarle. Over the next five months, efforts were made to sink the Confederate ironclad.


The first originated with five sailors aboard the Wyasuling. On the 26th of May, they rowed up the Middle River with two 100-pound torpedoes. They landed and took the two torpedoes across the swampland that separates the Middle River from the Roanoke River on stretchers. They got to a point just above where the Albemarle was moored in Plymouth.

Coxswain John W. Lloyd and Coal Heaver Charles H. Baldwin swam the torpedoes across the river with a towline attached to them. The torpedoes were then joined together with a bridle and Baldwin guided them down the river toward the ram, hoping to place the bridle across her bow with the torpedoes making contact with the hull on either side.


He was then to swim clear before Lloyd detonated them with electricity. Unfortunately for them, a Confederate sentry caught sight of Baldwin and under a hail of musket fire, he was able to make his escape just a few yards from his target.

Three sailors returned to the Wyalusing on the 28th and the other two were rescued by the USS Commodore Hull and returned the following day.

All five were awarded Medals of Honor December 31, 1864.

A True Tale of Bravery. --B-Runner

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An Earlier Attack on the Albemarle

I had never heard of this attack, but, while researching the Medals of Honor for Cushing's attack in October, I found the names of five naval men who also received Medals of Honor for an earlier attack on the formidable ironclad back in May 25, 1864.

They were Alexander Crawford, Charles H. Baldwin, Benjamin Lloyd, John W. Lloyd (were these two related?), and John Lafferty.

Obviously, this one did not succeed. I'll do some more research on it.

Always Finding Out New Stuff. --Old B-R

Medals of Honor for Sinking the Albemarle

I came across a blog about where famous people are buried. The author does it by date of death. Among those dying today, March 3rd, was one Henry Wilkes, born 1845, died March 3, 1888, a Landsman in the US Navy. He served aboard the US picket bot No.1 in action against the CSS Albemarle ironclad October 27, 1864.

This launch sank the Confederate ship and was destroyed in the ensuing action with many of the crew, including Wilkes, captured.

I looked up Medal of Honor recipients and found he was not the only one who received one. In addition, Lorenzo Denny, Daniel D. George, Richard Hamilton, Bernard Harley, Edward Houghton, and Robert H. King received them.

A Brilliant Operation Against Great Odds. --Old B-R

Monday, March 2, 2009

Finally getting his Grave Marker-- Part 1

I don't know what happened to the original entry, but I am redoing it.

This appeared in the March 15, 2008, Alleghenny Times (Pa) by Bob Bauder.

Ninety years ago, Harriet Key tried to get a gravestone for her husband, but evidently was unable so his final resting place was unmarked from 1920, until now. Thanks to the efforts of Ron Ciani and Pat Riley this is not going to continue.

Jonah Key, a member of the 4th US Colored Troops, was disabled by a Confederate bullet in 1864 and was in an unmarked grave in Freedom's Oak Grove Cemetery when these two came upon his grave and after a ten year research on his life, are close to getting the situation righted.

"This man put his life on the line for his country in the face of slavery and prejudice. Can you imagine what the Confederates would have done if they had captured him?" said Ron Ciani.

Bill Muns, director of the Beaver County Veterans Affairs said he can get a marker, but it will be up to Ciani and Riley to place it as he has no funds for it.

Great Story to Finally Honor a Hero. --Old B-Runner

4th US Colored Troops

Jonah Key was wounded at what is called the Second Battle of Petersburg, the attempt by Union forces to take the town while it was lightly guarded. It was a failure and this ended up with the ten month siege of Petersburg.

Union forces might have captured it with ease at first, but delays enabled Lee to get reinforcements there.

Fighting lasted from June 15th to June 18th. Of 62,000 Union troops engaged, there were 8,150 casualties, including Mr. Key.

His regiment, the 4th US Colored, participated in both attacks on Fort Fisher and the Wilmington Campaign and were at Goldsboro, NC in March.

They participated in many engagements during their term of service. At Chaffin's Farm, three members received the Medal of Honor.

A Gallant Regiment. --Old B-R

Finally Getting His Grave Marker-- Part 2

This story takes place in Pennsylvania.

Ciani found a GAR marker at an unmarked grave in the cemetery with the number 150 on it. he researched and was able to find out information on Jonah Key.

he was born in Frederick County, Md around 1838 and lived there until 1860. On Augusat 4, 1863, he enlisted in the US Army at age 25, in Co. F, 4th US Colored Troops.

The 1850 and 1860 US Census reports him as a free man working as a laborer and blacksmith. Ciani and Riley think that Jonah Key's father may have been a slave freed by Francis Scott Key of Star-Spangled Banner fame.

Key married Virginia Dick in 1861 and had two children. He served at the battles of Bermuda Hundred, Fort Converse and Petersburg. He was wounded June 15, 1864 in the left hand, shattering the bone and causing the hand to become useless. He was discharged April 1, 1865, moved to Pittsburgh and worked as a laborer. His first wife died in 1892 and he remarried. In 1920, he was living in New Brighton and died of heart failure at the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Dayton, Ohio, on April 12, 1920.

A Brave Soldier Who deserves a Tombstone. --B-R'er

Who Gave the Order?

Back on Feb. 27th, I wrote about General Jackson being shot at Chancellorsville by men commanded by Major. John Decatur Barry. here's a followup on the story.

He was born in Wilmington, NC, on June 21, 1839 and went to the University of North Carolina. He enlisted at the outbreak of the war in Co. I, 18th NC and in April 1862, was elected captain of his company and later wounded at the Battle of Frayser's Farm.

After Antietam, he was promoted to major, and it was he who gave the order for his men to fire at what they thought to be Union cavalry at Chancellorsville, but ended up being General Stonewall Jackson and his staff. Jackson lost his arm and later died from complications of the wound.

Even so, Barry was promoted to colonel and commanded the 18th NC at Pickett's Charge July 3, 1863. The 18th also participated in the Overland Campaign. When Gen. Lane was wounded at Cold Harbor, June 2, 1864, Barry was promoted to brigadier general, but was wounded bu a sniper at Deep Bottom, resulting in the loss of two fingers. The generalship was rescinded with the wound and Lane's return to action, and Barry was given a command of a department in North Carolina.

He only survived the war by two years. With his heath in bad shape because of the war, Barry edited a Wilmington newspaper before dying at age 27 in 1867. Friends said he died of a broken heart for having given the order to fire at Jackson. He is buried at Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery.

I'll have to look up his grave the next time I'm there. Many of Fort Fisher's defenders, including Gen. Whiting, are buried there.

A Hard War for Everyone Concerned. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Said I Wasn't Going to Do It Any More

Well, I broke down. I have a fairly big library of Civil War books and I said to myself after I retired from teaching about three years ago that I wasn't going to buy any more, or at LEAST until I read what i had.

I broke down and did it.

This past month, I bought two more Civil War books at Half-Price Books in Arlington Heights. My excuse is that both were $5 apiece and both were on the naval aspects of the war. That's my excuse, anyway.

Both were by Jack D. Coombe and dealing with naval actions in the west, along the Mississippi River and Gulf Coasts.

"Thunder Along the Mississippi: The River battles That Split the Confederacy" dealt with the river ironclads, actions at fort Henry and Donelson, capture New Orleans, Vicksburg, and Red River. This was hardbound---for $5. Good Deal.

"Gunfire Around the Gulf:The Last Major Naval Campaigns of the Civil War" deals with the attack on New Orleans, Galveston, and Mobile. Since we went around the forts at Mobile in 2008, I'm especially interested in this one.

I'll be an expert on actions in these waters by the time I finish these two books, IF I FINISH THESE TWO BOOKS!!!

Set Me Down and Start Me to Reading. --Old B-Runner