Thursday, June 25, 2009

Getting Fired Up at Fort Fisher

I'm so close, but won't be able to see this. The June 24th Wilmington (NC) Star-News reports that a special program will be held this Saturday, the 27th, at Fort Fisher.

The public will be able to experience how the fort's defenders lived in the "Garrison Life" program. Cannons will be fired and uniformed re-enactors will offer demonstrations.

At 2 PM, local author Chris Fonvielle will talk about his new book "Louis Froelich: Arms-Maker to the Confederacy."

The huge cannon atop Shephard's Battery will be fired at two-hour intervals.

Sure wish I could go, but I'll be back in Goldsboro getting ready to return home.

Oh, Well. Next Time. --B-R'er

Runnig the Blockade: Another Attack on Our Heritage-- Case of the Mistaken Flag

Some New News About an Old War.

1. ANOTHER ATTACK ON OUR HERITAGE-- I see that the local NAACP group in Monroe, NC, (pop. 26,000) has taken it upon themselves to attack the local high school's mascot, "The Rebel." They are attempting to have it changed after nearly 50 years use, and you know the reason why.

Again, to me it would seem that this group has many more pressing items to address than this.

2. CASE OF THE MISTAKEN FLAG-- The June 20th Dickinson (ND)Press reported about a local man flying two flags in his yard, one a Nazi SS flag and the other which the paper called a yellow Confederate flag with the words "Don't Tread on Me."

Well, that "Tread" flag is from the American Revolution, but calling it Confederate and flying alongside a Nazi flag is enough to get some folks quite upset.

Like we need more ammunition for those who constantly attack our heritage. Please be more careful.

Now, You Know. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Update on the Mars Bluff Confederate Naval Yard

The June 23rd SC-Now had an update on the recent Mars Bluff Confederate Naval Yard in Marion County, South Carolina.

An extensive archaeological search was made of the area, including the Pee Dee River a few months ago. Two of the Brooke rifled cannons thrown overboard from the CSS Pee Dee were found in the river and they plan to return in October to look for the third one.

Presently, plans call for raising all three in early spring 2010.

I Would Have Liked to Have Found Out More About the Naval Yard. --Old B-Runner

More Old Stuff: Pompeii, King Tut, a Mosque, Pyramids, Mosquitoes, and a Sphinx

Well, the Romans and Egyptians probably had civil wars of one sort or another. That's my story, anyway.

Boarded the Royal Princess at Civitavecchio, on the coast and cruised to Sorrento, across from Naples and from there took a tour to Pompeii, the ancient Roman city buried in the ashes and lava of Mount Vesuvius. It's sad to think that in order to really see how people lived, it took a calamity like this to see it. The same for shipwrecks.

We then toured the Amalfi Coast, one of the most beautiful areas in the world. When you see those Mediterranean cities perched on the side of a mountain leading down to the Mediterranean, this is it.

We then had two days of cruising until we arrived at Alexandria, Egypt, June 18th. We then took a van to Cairo and saw the King Tut exhibit at the Egyptian Museum, the mosque that President Obama recently visited, and, of course, the pyramids and the sphinx.

The last two places, we encountered the Egyptian mosquitoes, the name our tour guide called those people of his country who are extremely intent upon sell stuff to tourists. They are a real experience.


Thursday night, June 19th, the engine room of the Royal Princess caught fire. Fortunately, the crew was able to contain it and we didn't have to abandon ship, but that was it for the rest of our cruise. We didn't get to go to the Holy Land or Athens.

For more details on the fire, see my travel blog at

Now, We Think of the Civil War as Being Old, But This Is Real Old. --B-R

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Update on USS Monitor's Condition

"Just dropped in to see what condition the Monitor's condition was in." Sorry about that, Kenny.

The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is having scuba divers using the most current technologies to evaluate the current condition of the USS Monitor, located in 230 feet of water, 16 miles off Cape Hatteras, NC. The ship sunk New Year's Eve 1862.

They will survey and study visible portions of the ship, using non-invasive techniques.

The ship was designated the USS Monitor National Marine Sanctuary January 30, 1975. The study is scheduled to be completed June 28th.

The last I heard, the wreck was rapidly deteriorating. Sure glad that the turret was at least recovered.

Go Monitor!! --Old B-R

Almost Home--Interrupted Cruise-- Fire Aboard Royal Princess

Well, I sure got to see some old, old history, dating back to 4000 years ago. I saw a lot and missed a lot, because of a fire that broke out aboard the cruise ship my family was on, the Royal Princess.

Flew into Rome, arriving June 11th, and after a nap to catch up on lost sleep (I can't sleep on a plane), we walked around Rome, seeing such sites as the Spanish Stairs, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and had a dinner outside at the beautiful Piazza Navarone.

June 12th, we went to the Vatican Museum, and saw the Sistine Chapel in the morning and took an open bus tour around Rome in the afternoon, seeing the Capitoline Hill, Coliseum, Forum, and few remaining remnants of of the empire.

June 13th, my cousin and his wife visited the Castillo de San Angelo, the fortress of Rome built on the Emperor Hadrian's grave, in the morning, then caught a bus to Civittavecchio, the port of Rome,m where we boarded the Royal Princess for our Holy Land cruise.There are sure some magnificent views of Rome from the top of San Angelo.

More Old Stuff to Come, and a Fire.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And Speaking of History...

I am going to get a BIG dose of it, and a very OLD one at that for the next two and a half weeks as my family goes on a cruise around the Mediterranean, stopping in Rome, Alexandria, Cairo, Jerusalem, and Athens, along with a lot of other places in between.

Now, talk about o-l-d!!

We think of the Civil War as being old, starting 148 years ago. How about the pyramids, Greek city states, and Alexander the Great?

Gettin' My Old On. --Old B-Runner

A Real Brothers War

From an article in the Toledo (Oh) Blade, by Jennifer Feehan.

"Opposing flags go on brothers' grave markers."

In Fremont, Ohio's Oakwood Cemetery, there were a lot of US flags flying this past Memorial Day. However, there was a Confederate flag on the grave of John G. Emst. And nearby, there was a US flag on the grave of his older brother George W. Emst.

The family lived in Fremont, but before the war, moved to Indiana in 1854 where they operated a dry goods store. Then, later, the parents and John relocated to Mobile, Alabama. George remained in Indiana.

In 1862, George enlisted in the 26th Indiana and was at a camp in Mobile from March 17th to April 12th. John was in Mobile at the time as a member of the 21st Alabama.

Both men later married and had children. George lived from 1839 to 1924. John from 1842 to 1923. According to a newspaper article from 1923, George and 11 other Union veterans were at the service for John.

Unfortunately, there is no mention how John ended up back in Ohio.

A Real Brothers War. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, June 7, 2009

No Marchee with Flagee

The Dec. 15th Dayton (Oh) Daily News, reports that a Kentucky Sons of Congfederate Veterans group was denid the right to march in the Ironton-Lawrence County memorial Day Parade, which has been held every year since shortly after the Civil War ended, 1868.

The problem revolves around the flying of the Confederate battle flag, big surprise there.

I have to wonder if they have been marching in the parade before. If they have, the fact that some people are enraged by the flag should not have anything to do with it.

One More attack on My heritage. --Old B-R

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Most Endangered-- Part 3: Gettysburg and Monocacy

The Civil War Preservation Trust's Most-Endangered Battlefields List, continued


THREAT: Many historical significant sites are still outside boundaries of the military park. A Comfort Suites Motel under construction on Cemetery Hill adjacent to Evergreen Cemetery.

Gettysburg Country Club, site of Confederate attacks on McPherson Ridge, has gone bankrupt. Who knows what will be built there.


Officials in Frederick County are considering having a waste-to-energy facility built near Worthington Farm near the Monocacy River. The proposed 350-foot smokestack will be easily viewed from the whole battlefield. The site will be only a few hundred yards from from the park.

Saving Old Battlefields, One at a Time. --B-Runner

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fort Ocracoke

The June 4th My Civil War Travels Blog, was about little-known Fort Ocracoke on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

I was on small Beacon Island (since washed away) and was the last of possibly four forts built there. It was also known as Fort Morgan. Evidently, soldiers from the fort were sent to defend Fort Hstteras during the attack on it and, after Hatteras's fall, Fort Ocracoke was destroyed.

It was described as an octagonal fort consisting of sand in barrels covered over with earth. It mounted four 8-inch cannons and 14 long 32-pounders.

The fort's remains were discovered in August, 1998, by an underwater archaeological team.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Never Heard of This Fort. Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Most Endangered: Cedar Creek and Fort Gaines

CEDAR CREEK, Virginia-- Oct. 19, 1864

THREAT: Limestone mining operations. Heavy machinery and slag heaps visible from battlefield. In 2008, another 394-acres close-by acres rezoned for mining. Also, it is in the proposed path of high-voltage transmission lines along with 15 other battlefields in Md, Va, W. Va, and Pa.

FORT GAINES, Alabama-- August 5-8, 1864

On Dauphin Island by mouth of Mobile Bay, constructed in mid 1800s.

THREAT: Each years, waves reclaim an average of ten feet of land-- 400 feet have been lost. Loss of established dune system hurting and the Gulf of Mexico may eventually bisect the island, cutting the fort off from the rest of it.

A 2007 US Geological Survey concludes that dredging techniques in the Gulf have significantly impacted and hastened the loss of the island.

Save Those Old Battlefields. --Blockade-R

Most-Endangered Civil War Battlefields

The Civil War (excuse them) Preservation Trust has released its 2009: History Under Siege most-endangered battlefields list.

They are:

Cedar Creek, Va.-- Oct. 19, 1864
Fort Gaines, Ala.-- Aug. 5-8, 1864
Gettysburg, Pa.-- July 1-3, 1863
Monocacy, Md.-- July 9, 1864
New Market Heights, Va.-- Sept. 29, 1864
Port Gibson, Ms.-- May 1, 1863
Sabine Pass, Tx.-- Sept. 8, 1863
South Mountain, Md.-- Sept. 14, 1862
Spring Hill, Tn.-- Nov. 29, 1864
Wilderness, Va.-- May 5-7, 1864

More on the Threats to Come. --Old B-R'er

So, What Do You Call the War?

A bunch of my friends in the SCV get all bent out of shape when I refer to the late unpleasantness as the Civil War. That is sure to bring about a quick rebuke.

In the Civil War Talk Forum, a great place for Civil War (excuse me) buffs to go, Scribe found a list of "Other Names for the Civil War (again, excuse me). He got it from the "Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War" (excuse them), edited by Patricia L. Fans. He had some great comments. These are mine

1. THE WAR FOR CONSTITUTIONAL LIBERTY-- Boring, just ask ant student studying state mandated US Consititution tests.

2. WAR FOR SOUTHERN INDEPENDENCE-- If I had to pick another name besides you-know-what, this would be it.

3. SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION-- Didn't involve all of America

4. WAR FOR STATES' RIGHTS-- to an extent

5. MR. LINCOLN'S WAR-- Getting a bit personal now. The poor guy sort of inherited it.



8. WAR OF THE SOUTHERN PLANTERS-- I once had Plantar's faschitis. That sure wasn't much fun.

9. WAR OF THE REBELLION-- Sure are a lot of books by that title in one series.

10. THE SECOND WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE-- A Possibility, but it failed.

Wait, There's 19 More. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Top Ten Worst American Civil War Generals

The May 24th Top Tenz web site had a list of the ten worst Civil War generals. After the name, they listed why. I'm just going to list the names.

10. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, US
9. William S. Rosecrans, US
8. Don Carlos Buell. US
7. Gideon Pillow, CS
6. Nathaniel Prentiss Banks, US
5. Franz Sigel, US
4. Braxton Bragg, CS
3. Ambrose Everett Burnside, US
2. George Brinton McClellan, US
1. Benjamin Franklin Butler, US.

Of course, this list is one man's opinion. However, I'd have to say that the ones listed certainly had major defects when it came to command.

Number one was quite involved in the first attack on Fort Fisher. His failure there ended his military career.

And These Guys Commanded Soldiers? --Old B-R'er

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

General Order 91 of 1864?

Medal of Honor winner Louis/Lewis Shepard transferred from the Union Army to Union Navy under General Order 91 of 1864. I have not been able to find any reference to it, but imagine it is was set up to increase manpower in the US Navy.

Fort Fisher Medal of Honor Winner Gets Memorial-- Part 2

According to Wikipedia, Louis C. Shepard/Lewis Carpet Shepard enlisted in the Union Army for three months in April, 1861. He was in the 19th Ohio, and fought at the Battle of Rich Mountain in what is today West Virginia.

After the expiration of his term, Private Shepard re-enlisted in the 11th Independent Battery of New York Light Artillery in September. On August 26, 1862, he was captured at Second Bull Run. Later, paroled and exchanged, he rejoined the unit and was at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Mine Run.

He petitioned to join the US Navy under General Order 91 of 1864. A navy clerical error resulted in his first name being listed as Louis. He served on the USS Allegheny, USS Wabash, USS Commodore Perry, and the USS Constellation (still afloat as a museum ship in Baltimore.

Shepard was 23 in the action at Fort Fisher. In April 2005, Ohio Congressman Steven C. LaTourette, managed to get a resolution passed to honor him.

He is buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Port Clinton, Ohio. The memorial, however, is in Ashtabula.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fort Fisher Medal of Honor Winner Gets a Memorial

The May 26th Ashtabula (Ohio) Star Beacon had an article by Carl E. Feather about Ordinary Seaman Louis Shepard, who was born in Ashtabula September 2, 1841, and whose actions at Fort Fisher, NC, on January 15, 1865, got him a Medal of Honor.

The fort was captured after a six-hour battle in which at least 30 Medals of Honor were given. Shepard served on the USS Wabash and advanced with the Naval Column armed with just revolvers and cutlasses in the attack on the fort's northeast salient. Shepard, according to the Medal, reached the angle of the fort and was one of only a few who entered it. He only withdrew when the column retreated.

The memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day at Veterans Park on Main Street.

Shepard died April 27, 1919, at the age of 77.

Some Mighty Hard Fighting at Fisher. --Old B-Runner