The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The R. L. Hamilton Collection

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

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

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

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

Was That Ever Neat. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Missed It

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

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

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

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

Confederate Camp Wyatt

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

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

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

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

My Kingdom for a Camp. --B-Runner

Beery's Wilmington, NC Shipyard

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Save Your Confederate Money-- Part 2

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

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


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


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

A Dollar Comes Home. --Old B-R

Save Your Confederate Money-- Part 1

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

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

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

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

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lighthouse Ruins Found at Fort Fisher-- Part 2

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lighthouse Ruins Found at Fort Fisher-- Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Henry Lawson Wyatt-- First Confederate Killed in War

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

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

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

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

First at Bethel. --Blockade-Runner

Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama

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

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

Famous People Buried Here:

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

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

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

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

WILLIAM HARDEE-- Confederate general

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

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

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

William L. Bradford, CSN

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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


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

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


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

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

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

Site of Civil War Battle Near Joplin Dedicated- Part 2

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Admiral "Fighting Bob" Evans at Fort Fisher

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

Charles Pattison Bolles, CSA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bald Head Island's Fort Holmes-- Part 2

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Bald Head Island's Fort Holmes-- Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, November 14, 2009

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

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

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

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

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oregon's Civil War Graves Project

From the Lebanon (Or) Express

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

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

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

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

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

Camp Parapet, New Orleans

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

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

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

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

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

New York's Civil War Defenses

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

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

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

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

Fort Gibson was on Ellis Island.

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

40th Regiment North Carolina State Troops

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

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

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

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

USMC in the Civil War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Other Castle Forts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Great Naval Site

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

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

USS New Ironsides-- destroyed by fire in 1866.

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

USS Canonicus-- last monitor, scrapped in 1908.

USS Saugus-- sold 1891.

USS Mahopac-- sold 1902.

Well Worth a Look. --RoadDog

Wreck of the CSS Appomattox Found-- Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

Great News. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wreck of the CSS Appomattox Found-- Part 1

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cape Lookout Lighthouse-- Part 3

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

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

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

Until 1885, whale oil was the primary fuel.

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

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Woodstock Square Civil War Monument-- Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

USS Ivy and USS Red Rover

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 6, 2009

Congratulations to Chris Fonvielle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have his first two books.

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

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sherman Goes to the Monitor

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

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

Today's strip balloons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fort Hood Tragedy

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

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

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

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

Sad News.

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

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

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

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

No Longer So Unknown. --B-R

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Charleston's Castle Pinckney-- Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Charleston's Castle Pinckney

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

From October 13th National Parks Traveler.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cape Lookout Lighthouse-- Part 2

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

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

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

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

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

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

Some More on the Woodstock Square Rededication

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

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

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

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

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

Rededication in Woodstock, Illinois

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

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

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

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

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

From the Northwest Herald. Don Peasley's column.

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