The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Unlucky Civil War Soldier Honored

May 19, 2009, Lexington (Ky) Herald-Leader.

Union Sgt. Lucien Wheatley certainly had the knack of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. First, he was captured at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863, then ended up spending 18 months at Andersonville Prison in Georgia.

He survived this, but at the end of the war, he was being transported back north on board the ill-fated Sultana when it exploded and sank near Memphis. His body was never found.

His family was prominent in Kentucky horse racing and they erected a small marker for him at the Old Episcopal Burying Ground on Third Street in Lexington. It was later shattered.

However, he was honored Sunday, along with other Sultana victims by the local chapter of the Sons of Union veterans of the Civil War who replaced the marker, had speeches, played taps on the bugle and fired rifles.


More than 1700 deaths occurred on the Sultana (we'll never know how many because the vessel was so overloaded with weak former prisoners). It is considered the worst-ever US maritime disaster., more than US citizens on the Titanic.

The Sultana was registered to carry 376 passengers, but was overloaded because Union officers received kickbacks and about 2,300 boarded at Vicksburg. The captain had failed to repair a leaky boiler. Three of four boilers exploded leading to the disaster.

It received little press coverage because it occurred in April and there had been the surrender of Lee and Lincoln assassination.

An Event That Needs to Be Remembered. --Old B-Runner

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Blockade-Runner That Killed a Guy-- Earlier This Month

From the Jan. 26th Houston Chronicle. "Permanently mark Confederate warship"

Well, technically, a blockade-runner was not a warship.

Just beneath the surface of the Navidad River in Texas, about three miles from Lolita and two miles from the confluence of the Navidad and Lavaca rivers, is the wreck of a ship sunk by the Confederates to hinder Union boats during the Civil War.

Unfortunately, that ship is still there and poses a dangerous obstacle to boating traffic. This past January 1st, it claimed the life of David Martin who died when his 14-foot aluminum boat struck it.

The wreck is on the National Register of Historic Places and the belief is that it should either be destroyed or permanently marked. The wreck is that of the Mary Summers, an ironclad steamer built in England in 1833 that was once a slave ship, but bought by the Confederacy for use to run the blockade.

So far, attempts at marking the ship have been futile as buoys have either been stolen or washed away.

The paper says that wrecks along the Texas coast are not unusual. There are some in the Sabine River that are not marked, but are above the waterline so can be seen.

Hoping They Can get the Wreck Marked. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Naval Happenings Today All Those Years Ago

From today's Civil War Interactive Newswire's This Date in History.


Flag Officer Andrew Foote and US Grant contact General Halleck saying they are sure they can take Fort Henry with four gunboats and troops which they have. Halleck says the river is flooding and there is a need to wait for the roads to dry out before attacking.


The US Army steamship Western Metropolis captures the British Blockade-Runner Rosita carrying a cargo of liquor and cigars off the southern coast of Florida near Key West. Just the thing for the Confederate war effort. but big bucks would have been made had the Roasita succeeded.


One of the South's last chances, the CSS Stonewall was built in France for the Confederacy, but US interference caused it to be sold to Denmark for use in a war. It ended early, and the Danes refused to pay for it and the French sold it to the Confederacy.

On Jan. 24th, it rendezvoused with the CSS City of Richmond in France ans was fully provisioned with crew, armaments and supplies, but was short on coal. This date, it left port under sail.

Naval History, That's for Me. --Old B-Runner

The Strange Story of a Monitor-- Sunk Before Commissioning-- Part 2

There was the big fear that a Confederate ship might slip into the bay past the forts guarding it under the cover of darkness or fog. Once past the forts on Alcatraz Island and Fort Point and out of their range, the city would be at the Confederate's mercy unless an ironclad were there to challenge it.

Around 200 cannons were installed around the entrance of the bay at Fort Point, Alcatraz and Angel island.

The now-sunken Aguila had 25 feet of stern above water and the bow under 38 feet at high tide. And, the Camanche was still inside.

It took a year and a half to get the monitor out, reassemble it, and test its seaworthiness before it was commissioned after the Civil war was over and the threat no longer existed.

It remained on station for a year before decommissioning. After that, it spent most of its time anchored in the Napa River near the Navy Yard until it was sold in 1899 to J. P. Bereovich & Livingston for $6,581.25 and converted to a coal barge.

A sad end for a war ship.

I also found that the double-turreted monitor USS Monadnock, which participated in the attacks on Fort Fisher, made the perilous voyage around the tip of South America after the war to become the second ironclad available for San Francisco's protection.

An Interesting Story. --Old B-R

The Strange Story of a Monitor-- Sunk Before Commissioning-- Part 1

A very interesting story I was not familiar with in Nilda Rego's days Gone By column in the January 3, 2010, Contra Costa (Ca) Times. It concerns a Union monitor that was built in New Jersey, shipped to San Francisco in pieces and sunk in the ship carrying it.

I also messed up on the spelling of the USS Camanche, spelling it like the Indian tribe, Comanche, and not finding anything in the searches as a result.

On November 3, 1863, the people of San Francisco were overjoyed as the ship Aguila entered the bay carrying the pieces of the second-generation monitor USS Camanche in its hold, the first ironclad on the Pacific Coast.

Always fearing an attack by Confederate raiders or privateers, the citizens had constantly petitioned Washington, DC, for one. Now it was here. Instead of the two 12-inch guns on the USS Monitor, the Passaic-class Camanche mounted two 15-inch cannons.

It had been built in New Jersey, dismantles, and on May 30, 1863, had begun its five and a half month voyage to California.

Six days after arrival, a severe gale blew in and sank the Aguila, with the Camanche still in its hold.

And the Story Continues. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Robert Smalls, Civil War Hero

A brief history of Robert Smalls from the Jan. 26th Beaufort Gazette.

Smalls was born a slave in Beaufort April 5, 1839. During the Civil War, he was the pilot of the CSS Planter operating in Charleston Harbor. On May 13, 1862, Smalls and the black crew took over control of the ship and sailed out of the heavily fortified Charleston Harbor to the Union blockading fleet and turned the vessel over.

The crew and especially Smalls became immediate heroes in the north and even met President Lincoln. Smalls was given command of the USS Planter.

After the war, he returned to South Carolina and entered politics, serving as a state representative from 1868-1870 ans state senator 1870-1874. From 1874 to 1886 he served off and on in the US House of Representatives.

In 1889 he was appointed Collector of Customs at Beaufort. He died February 22, 1915.

Quite a Life. --B-R

Robert Small Elected to SC Hall of Fame: What's the NAACP to Do?

January 26th Beaufort (SC) Gazette.

Civil War hero and Beaufort native Robert Smalls will be joining the South Carolina Hall of Fame almost 150 years after he and a group of other slaves seized the Confederate steamer CSS Planter in Charleston Harbor and sailed it out to surrender to the Union blockading fleet.

Former South Carolina Governor Richard Riley will also be joining the hall of fame.

The ceremony will be February 9th at the Myrtle Beach, SC, Convention Center.


This is where the problem comes in. The NAACP has fought a long battle to have the Confederate flag removed from state capitol grounds. They succeeded in getting it down from the dome, but still are incensed that it flies on the grounds.

To show their displeasure, they have called for a boycott of all conventions and business with South Carolina.

Since Robert Smalls was a black man, you would have to figure they would attend the event. But, it is happening at a convention site in the state they boycott.

It will be interesting to see what they do.

Attend or Boycott. I Say Attend. The Man's Courage and Bravery Would Make It Imperative to Do So. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Answers to Fort Fisher Quiz

These are the answers to the questions I posted Jan 14-16th. I also note the ones I missed and why.

1. Rhode Island
2. About one mile
3. 10-inch Columbiad **Missed. I guessed the 150-pdr. Armstrong gun. Had I known it was just an 8-inch bore, I would have gone with the Columbiad. What's bigger? Ten inches or 150 pounds?

4. USS Louisiana
5. lighthouse
6. Fort Anderson-- I took a big guess on this one. But the question and time frame would have made this an option.

7. Fort St. Philip-- **Missed. I had no idea.
8. True
9. C No one knows but also accepted Gen. George Burgwyn Anderson which was my guess.

10. barracks **Missed. I knew they had discovered a gun platform at the dig but hadn't read anything about the barracks. I had to go with platform although her clue of building bothered me.
11. Robert F. Hoke
12. True

13. Sugar Loaf
14. USS Niphon-- **Missed A complete guess on my part of the USS Santiago de Cuba.
15. E

16. Did not count this because of a printing error. Should have been E All of the Above.
17. Kate
18. CSS North Carolina **Missed I didn't think he commanded the CSS Albemarle.

19. at sea
20. eaten by worms
21. wounding of Jackson at the Battle of Chancellorsville

22. not related **Missed Who knew?
23. Lincoln Memorial
24. Rose O'Neal Greenhow
25. United Daughters of the Confederacy **Missed I guessed Thalian Hall, but had no idea.

Better Luck Next Time. --Old B-Runner

Fort Fisher Quiz

Back on January 14th, 15th and 16th I wrote down the questions Amy Hotz had written to test our knowledge of Civil War Wilmington, NC, and Fort Fisher in honor of the 145th anniversary commemoration that was held Jan 15th to 17th.

I did not look up any answers and figured that I had gotten between 17 and 21 of them correct as I had to really guess on some of them. I ended up with 18 correct.
The ones I thought I might have missed turned out to be the ones I did miss.

Most people missed number 3 and 9. Several only missed one question and their entries drawn at random. Joe George of Wilmington won the three books.

Rebel Gibraltar: Fort Fisher and Wilmington, C.S.A. by James L. Walker
Fort Anderson: The Battle for Wilmington by Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr.
The Wilmington Campaign: The Last Rays of Departing Hope by Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr.

Oh well, I had the two Fonvielle books already.

Guess I Should Have Looked Up Some Stuff. --Old B-Runner.

Monday, January 25, 2010

General Cleburne Statue

December 28, 2008, Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A 700 pound bronze statue of Major General Patrick Cleburne is still in a warehouse under plastic wrap. It is hoped that its erection in Ringgold, Georgia, will help bring tourism and money.

The paper reports that most people in the area had never heard of him.

It almost wasn't completed because the organizations who wanted it couldn't come up with enough money to pay the sculptor.

general Cleburne was at Ringgold on November 27, 1863 when Confederates retreating in disorder from Chattanooga came through. Cleburne and about 4,100 of his troops fought off 12,000 Union troops and allowed the main Confederate body to pass through.

He was killed at the Battle of Franklin in November 1864 at the age of 36. Until recently, he was not well known, but a book about him is spreading the word.

$50,000 SHORT

The Ringgold people were $50,000 short and sculptor Ron Tanison, who makes Civil War statues across the country, warned that the project would be scrapped if he was not paid in full.

The Ringgold telephone Company stepped in with the needed funds.

The organizers realize that putting up a statue in today's anti-Confederate sentiment might cause some controversy because of the slavery issue. Earlier this year, Ringgold's small black community objected to the Confederate flag flying over the depot and it was taken down.

I see that the dedication ceremony did occur October 29, 2009, so next time through, I will stop and view this statue that almost wasn't.

The Stonewall of the West. --B-Runner

USS Canonicus at Fort Fisher

In the second Battle of Fort Fisher, the US flag on the monitor Canonicus had to be replaced. Quartermaster Daniel Dickinson went out on the deck and replaced it while under fire from the guns of the fort. For this action, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

his action is mentioned in the book "Deeds of Valor: Vol. 2" page 79. A painting of him doing this exists.

There are photographs and paintings at

The ship was hit four times in the first attack and 36 in the second. During the second fight, the Canonicus is credited with knocking out two of Fisher's guns.

Brave Man. --B-R'er

The Civil War Arrives in Australia

January 25th Sydney Morning Herald.

One hundred and forty-five years ago today, the Civil War arrived in Australia when the CSS Shenandoah arrived in Port Melbourne (today Melbourne) for repairs. There was no colonial navy stationed in that port to prevent them.

Many in town were sympathetic to the Confederate cause and the captain and crew soon found themselves the toast of town with balls and dinners in their honor.

US consul William Blanchard was livid and tried to get local authorities to intervene when he got word that the repairs were just a ruse to recruit crew, a strict violation of British neutrality.

The Shenandoah departed February 19th with 45 new crew members aboard. Then it raided the Indian Ocean and captured or destroyed 29 American ships. Unfortunately, the war had ended when 25 were attacked, technically acts of piracy.

Commanders of captured ships tried to convince Lt. James Waddell that the war was over, but he wouldn't believe them. When he finally became convinced it was over, he surrendered his vessel to the British government.

because of the recruitment, the British had to pay the US $15.5 million.

However, this incident, as well as fears of French and Russian ships operating off Australia's southern coast led to the establishment of a colonial naval detachment at Melbourne although today no evidence of naval operations exists in the city.

War Cometh. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Running the Blockade: Yankee Leaning?-- Chaplains-- Boys Will Be Boys-- NAACP

Some new news about an old war.

1. YANKEE LEANING?-- Jan. 22nd Wilmington Star News. A reader wanted to know how come the photographs run in the paper of the 145th Anniversary activities of Fort Fisher all were of Union re-enactors. The reader felt perhaps the paper was leaning toward the Yankees. Si Cantrell replied that he definitely had Confederate ties, but that the photographer mostly got pictures of the Union soldiers because they were more active at the time.

2. CHAPLAINS-- The Jan. 20th Liberty University newspaper reports that the grand opening of the National Civil War Chaplain's Museum on campus will be Jan. 23rd. It's role is to educate the public about the role played by chaplains, priests, rabbis and religious organizations during the war. It is also a place of research. It is located in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Long overdue.

3. BOYS WILL BE BOYS-- Jan. 7th NY Times. A Virginia jury has found both re-enactors not guilty of assault after both filed charges against each other. They were portraying cavalry officers at the Battle of Stanardsville when the Union re-enactor knocked the Confederate's cap off who then fired his pistol directly at the Union guy. It was, of course, a blank, but even then.

Boys and their guns.

4. NAACP-- Hard to believe that the NAACP has announced that they were going to continue their attacks on the Confederate flag at the South Carolina Capitol grounds. You'd have to think that they have much bigger issues to deal with than that flag.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

John H. Winslow, USN-- Hero of the Kearsarge

I came across an interesting blog about people buried in Boston's Forest Hills Cemetery. One of those is noted Civil War Navy man, John H. Winslow, who commanded the USS Kearsarge in its battle against the CSS Alabama.

Winslow was born in Wilmington, NC, but had New England ancestry. He entered the Navy in 1827 and fought in the Mexican War. In 1863, he took command of the USS Kearsarge and in 1864 was involved in the famous one hour twenty minute fight with the Confederate Raider Alabama off Cherbourg, France.

Of the 370 projectiles fired at the Kearsarge, only 28 struck. One 100-pdr shell exploded in the smokestack and another shell struck and became lodged in the sternpost and was allowed to remain there for the rest the ship's career. Only three men on the Kearsarge was injured. It fired 173 shells at the Alabama.

Because of the victory, Winslow was promoted to commodore and he became a rear admiral in 1870.

He died in Roxbury soon after retirement while living on Kearsarge Street, so named after his ship. His coffin was draped with the ship's battle flag. The Winslow family plot is on Orange Path and a huge boulder on it is from Mount Kearsarge, New Hampshire.

From Forest Hills Educational Trust,

A Real Hero. --Old B-Runner

Goodbye to the USS Fort Fisher

I came across some photos on Flickr by Daver6 taken earlier this month of the USS Fort Fisher LSD-40 tied up at Pier 80 in Benicia, California. He mentioned that it was soon to be towed to Texas for breaking up.

A person commented that it had already been towed out, so looks like it will soon be gone.

Too bad, it would have made a nice ship to have been tied up near Fort Fisher.

Support From the Sea to the Shore. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hunley Marker

The good folks at HMDB were out to Magnolia Cemetery in North Charlesron, SC, and took pictures of the marker dedicated to the crew of the H. L. Hunley submarine who died when the ship sank October 15, 1863, in a test run. This is not the crew who died during the successful attack on the USS Housatonic the next year.

The crew:

Horace L. Hunley (the inventor)
Joseph Patterson
Charles McHugh
John Marshall
Robert Brockbank
Tomas W. Park
Henry Beard
Charles L. Sprague

It is located in North Charleston, not too far from where the Hunley is now located.

Another marker inside the cemetery honors fallen South Carolinian Confederate generals:

Bernard Bee
Adley H. Gladden
J. B. Villepigue
Micah Jenkins
Abner Perrin
Maxcy Gregg
J. J. Pettigrew
Major General W. H. T. Walker

Cemetery of Honors. --Old B-Runner

Tricky Yankees

Civil War Interactive Newswire, your place to find out what is going on today in the Civil War also has a This Day in History where they tackle an event of this date back then. They also come up with great headlines. Yesterday's:



I think they must use a thesaurus a lot.

During the war, a fire burned on top of Fort Fisher's "Mound" to signal when it was safe for blockade-runners to come in. Union forces, now occupying the fort, continued the tradition and it paid off.

Two blockade-runners, the Stag and the Charlotte ran through the Union fleet and were celebrating their success in the Cape Fear River when Union troops boarded and confiscated the ships and cargo.

I could just imagine the look on the captain's face of each vessel.

Dadburn, Sneaky Yankees. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

John Newland Maffitt

Today's Civil War Interactive Newswire had a This Date in History on a Union newspaper reporter's take on Confederate Lt. John Newland Maffitt, commander of the raider CSS Florida, while it was in Havana Harbor.

The Headline was:
Confederate Commander Causes Correspondent Crabbiness

Tuesday, January 20, 1863

After an interview with Maffitt, the correspondent wrote:

"Captain Maffitt is no ordinary character. He is vigorous, energetic, bold, quick and dashing, and the sooner he is caught and hung the better it will be for the interests of our commercial community.

"Nobody, unless informed, would have imagined the small, black-eyed, poetic-looking gentleman, with his romantic appearance, to be a second Semmes, probably in time to be a more celebrated and more dangerous pirate."

If I were Maffitt, I don't think I'd talk with this guy any more. But, being compared to Rafael Semmes is quite an honor.

Wilmington's Pride and Joy. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some More on Fort Fisher Casualties and Rounds Expended.

Still using the excellent Thomas' Legion website. Great source for North Carolina Civil War history and an interesting story in itself.

Until his death in 1909, Colonel Lamb constantly tried to have his and Whiting's fort preserved, but failed. In the 1920s, a marker was erected and in the 30s, attempts were made at slowing down the erosion that was threatening the fort. During World War II, a military base and air strip were established at Fort Fisher, destroying several of the land face mounds.


The fort's garrison numbered 425 On December 20, 1864. A CS Navy detachment of 28 arrived Dec. 21st and another 443 soldiers came to the defense December 23rd.

Among those captured in the first attack were 82 regulars from Co. A, 42nd NC who were captured at battery Anderson, south of Sugar Loaf. The 117th NY captured the 224 reserves.

On Dec. 25th, approximately 118 rounds of grapeshot, canister and shells were fired from the fort at the Union boats and soldiers.

General Butler reported an additional two Union soldiers killed.

On Dec. 24th and 25th, the Union Navy fired 20,271 rounds, weighing some 1,275,299 pounds at Fort Fisher.

So, Now You Know. --Old B-Runner

First Battle of Fort Fisher Casualties and Rounds Expended

From Thomas' Legion website

Confederate Casualties

First Day: 23 wounded-- 672 rounds fired
Second day: 3 killed, 35 wounded-- 718 rounds fired

HOKE's Division: 5 killed, 16 wounded and 307 missing (224 were Reserves)

US Army Casualties

11 wounded, one captured from 142nd NY. One man drowned during re-embarkation.

US Navy Casualties

20 killed and 63 wounded.

The Facts, Nothing But the Facts, Ma am. --B-R

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fort Fisher Questions-- Part 4

The last of Amy Hotz's 25 questions in the Wilmington Star News on Wilmington during the Civil War.

18. Name the Blockade Runner that brought yellow fever to Wilmington in 1862.

19. Wilmingtonian and blockade-runner captain John Newland Maffitt did not command which ship: a) Albemarle, b) North Carolina, c) Owl, d) Lillian, e) Florida.

20. The ironclad CSS North Carolina met its fate how: a) ran aground and broke into pieces, b) shot by Federal blockaders, c) eaten by worms, d) taken apart for iron.

21. Confederate Brigadier General John D. Barry is buried in Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery. What Civil War blunder is he best known for?

22. How was Wilmongtonian and Confederate States Attorney General George Davis related to Confederate President Jefferson Davis?

23. The Confederate Memorial at Third and Dock streets was designed by Wilmingtonian Henry bacon who also designed the George Davis statue a block away. What Washington, DC landmark is Bacon best known for designing?

24. A Confederate spy is buried at Oakdale Cemetery. Who?

25. The Cape Fear Museum of History and Science is the oldest history museum in North Carolina. What organization originally founded the museum?

See January 26th for answers.

Again, I Think I Had Between 17 and 21 Correct. --Old B-Runner

Fort Fisher Medal of Honor, Finally-- Bruce Anderson

Private Bruce Anderson of Co. K, 142nd NY received his at Fort Fisher January 15, 1865. He entered service at Ephratah, NY. He was born in Mexico, Oswego County New York June 9, 1845. However, the Medal of Honor wasn't issued until December 28, 1914.

He died in 1922 and is buried at Green Hill Cemetery in Amsterdam, New York.

He voluntarily advanced to the head of the attacking column and cut down the palisades under heavy enemy fire. He and 12 other men were recommended for Medsals of Honor by General Adelbert Ames, who himself had won one at the First Battle of Bull Run. Ames was also the last surviving general who served in the war when he died in 1933. Unfortunately, the paper work on all 13 was lost and they didn't receive the medals.

Getting What is Deserved

Forty-nine years later, Anderson hired a lawyer with the intention to get his Medal of Honor. Private Zachariah C. Neahr had gotten his decades earlier. Anderson got the Army Adjutant General to launch an investigation which uncovered the letter from Ames.

It was found that three men on the list were still alive besides Anderson: Alaric Chapin, George Merrill and Dewitt C. Hotchkiss and all were recognized with the medal. However, poor Hotchkiss was overlooked again and never received his.

After the Civil War, Anderson moved to Illinois for awhile, but returned to New York. When he died in 1922, he was one of the last Civil War medal of Honor winners living.

Wikipedia has him listed as a black man, one of only 25 blacks awarded a Medal of Honor during the Civil War.. I am not sure why a black man would be serving in a white regiment?

Fair's Fair. --Old B-Runner

USS Monitor Propeller

From July 1998 Sea Technology.

On June 5th, divers recovered the Monitor's propeller along with the propeller well cover and a deck plate. It was necessary to cut through nine inches of solid iron to get the propeller and eleven feet of shaft weighing 3 tons. The propeller is about 9 feet in diameter.

It was designed by Swedish-American engineer John Ericsson and experts say it is one of finest-surviving examples of naval power improvement in screw propulsion.

The Monitor's wreck is 230 feet deep about 16 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. It sank in a storm December 31, 1862. A full size replica of the Monitor is now at the Mariner's Museum in Virginia.

The anchor was recovered in 1983.

I always have to wonder why no effort was made to save examples of Civil War ships back in the 1800s, and it is especially sad that there were still monitors and other ships afloat into the early 1900s.

At least some of the ships have full-size replicas like the Monitor, CSS Neuse in NC and USS/CSS Water Witch in Georgia.

Oh, Well. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Famed Fort Fisher Falls Frankly

How's That Civil War Interactive?

Unfortunately, on this date 145 years ago, Fort Fisher had already been captured, surrendering to overwhelming numbers around 9:45 PM.

Bragg's choice to take command of the fort, General Colquitt, about ran over himself quitting the fort to avoid capture. A wounded Colonel Lamb had turned command of the fort over to Major James Reilly at 4:30 PM. Major Reilly surrendered the fort to General Terry, setting off a massive fireworks and rocket display from the fleet.

Around 1 AM today, the 16th, Bragg sends telegrams to Robert E. Lee, Governor Vance and President Davis, "I am mortified at having to report the unexpected capture of Fort Fisher, with most of its garrison, at about 10 o'clock to-night. Particulars not known."

Well, What Did He Expect? --B-R'er

Fort Fisher Questions-- Part 3

11. What was the name of the Confederate commander at the Battle of Five Forks Road?

12. True or False. US Colored Troops led the charge at the Battle of Five Forks Road.

13. Name the Confederate encampment that was located in what is now Carolina Beach State Park?

14. Name the Union warship that ran the blockade-runner Condor aground near New Inlet?

15. Blockade-Runners were known to carry: a) rifles, b) medicine, c) cotton, d) blankets, e) all of these.

16. In addition to Wilmington, blockade-runners also frequented ports of: a) Bermuda, b) England, c) Bahamas, d) B and C, e) A and B.

17. John Newland Maffitt was born: a) at sea, b) in Ireland, c) North Carolina,, d) New York.

I had to guess on 11, 12 and 14.

See January 26th for answers.

Eight More to Go. --Old B-Runner

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fort Fisher Finally Falls, Fighting Fiercely

From the Civil War Interactive Newswire.


Confederates "wreak havoc on the Naval landing party, killing many officers and repulsing the attack, only to find Union flags on the western salient of the fort. Then commencing some severe hand-to-hand fighting.

Union Naval officer Thomas O. Selfridge (the sinker of ships) is able to breach the parapet on the sea face, but was forced to retreat with the rest of the Naval column.

The Beginning of the End. --B-R'er

The Big Day Arrives for Fort Fisher-- Part 2

Continuing with today's events according to the Fort Fisher North Carolina Historic Sites website.

2 PM

General Terry making final preparations for the attack.

Sharpshooters from the 13th Indiana, armed with Spencer repeating rifles, sent forward to provide fire support for Curtis's advance line of skirmishers who are now 175 yards from the western salient of the fort.

Curtis's brigade is another 125 yards behind them. Pennypacker and Bells brigades fall in behind Battery Holland.

2:30 PM

Hagood's men arrive at the fort. Of the 1000 Bragg sent, only 350 made it ashore and to the fort. Confederate defenders now number 1,900.

3:25 PM

Flagship Malvern is first, then the rest of the fleet release an ear-splitting blast from their steam whistles, signalling the beginning of the attack. Naval bombardment subsides along the land front of the fort.

Confederate Col. Lamb begins deploying troops, sending 250 to the western salient and 500 to the Northeast Bastion. Hagood's men held in reserve to support the troops at the western salient if needed.

The Fighting Begins!! --Old B-Runner

Fort Fisher Questions-- Part 2

6. Hours before Abraham Lincoln was shot, he boarded the monitor USS Montauk and talked with the sailors. After the assassination, John Wilkes Booth's body was carried on board for autopsy. What southeastern NC fort did the Montauk fire on just two months before?

7. What was Fort Anderson's original Civil War name?

8. True or False: During the Battle of Fort Anderson, a "Battle of the Bands" took place between Union and Confederates.

9. Who was Fort Andersin named for: a) Brig. General Joseph Reid Anderson, b) Brig. Gen. George Burgwyn Anderson, Major Robert Anderson of Fort Sumter, d) No one really knows for sure.

10. In May 2009, volunteers, students and archaeologists excavated the remains of a structure at Fort Anderson. What was it?

I see I was right about my guess on #6.

See January 26th for answers.

How You Doin'? --Blockade-R

The Big Day Arrives for Fort Fisher

A sad day for the Confederacy today, as Fort Fisher was captured by Union forces after a three day bombardment and attacks by both Naval forces on land and the US Army.

From Fort Fisher North Carolina Historic Site. This has just about anything you could want on the fort.

A telegraph message from Confederate President Jefferson Davis to General Braxton Bragg, commanding the defense of Wilmington, North Carolina. "We are trustfully looking to your operations; may Divine favor crown your efforts." No favor came, but, after all, it WAS Braxton Bragg.


Reinforcements from Hoke's division, Hagood's 11th and 25th SC, 350 men, arrive at Battery Buchanan.


Every gun on the land front except two 8-inch Columbiads were disabled.
Hagood's men come under horrific fire as they make their way north across the two miles to Fort Fisher.

General Terry again makes his headquarters at Battery Holland, about 500 yards north of Fort Fisher. Adelbert Ames's division of 4,200 men move into position. Curtis's brigade is in the front and near Battery Holland. The brigades of Galusha Pennypacker and Louis Bell are near Craig's Landing.

Admiral Porter's Naval contingent, 2,261 sailors and marines, comes ashore.

More to Come. Old B-Runner

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fort Fisher Questions-- Part 1

This part of Amy Hotz's 25 Fort Fisher questions from the January 9, 2010, Wilmington (NC) Star News. These are very specific questions. As I said, without looking anything up, I think I got between 17 and 21 correct.

1. The commander of Fort Fisher during its two battles was Col. William Lamb. His wife, Daisy, lived in a small house near the fort until an attack was apparent, then she went across the river to Orton Plantation. Which state was she originally from?

2. Fort Fisher's land face was about 1/3 mile long. About how long was its sea face?

3. What was the largest caliber cannon at Fort Fisher?

4. What was the name of the Union ship that was loaded with powder and exploded near Fort Fisher during the first attack?

5. In November 2009, archaeologists excavated the remains of a building at Fort Fisher. What was it?

See January 26th for answers.

Twenty More to Go. --B-R'er

Fort Fisher Fighting Furious

An understatement by the Civil War Interactive Newswire. Probably the heaviest naval bombardment of land fortifications up until that time and very likely up until World War II.

The second day of the bombardment as the Navy was firing an average of 100 shells a minute. The Confederates had 300 dead and were unable to bury them because of the hellfire released on them. Only one gun on the half-mile wide land-face still operational. The Army protects itself against Bragg and make preparations to move forward.

According to the Fort Fisher North Carolina Historical Sites web site:

January 14, 1865

8 am-- Terry's troops finish entrenchments stretching all the way across the peninsula from the ocean to the Cape Fear River that they had commenced at 2 am.

Bragg probes Union's northern line with Hoke's troops, but Hoke determines it is too strong to attack.

1:30 pm-- Whiting, at Fort Fisher, telegraphs Bragg that the enemy should never have been allowed to entrench and if allowed to stay, Fort Fisher will fall. He had told Bragg this many times, but will hold Fisher as long as possible.

Bragg also said he would reinforce Fisher with part of Hoke's division in numbers enough to make the fort "impregnable against assault."

Late afternoon-- Terry and chief engineer Cyrus Comstock arrive at Battery Holland. Terry and brigade commander N. Martin Curtis reconnoiter and determine the time has come to attack.

Admiral Porter happy about this and says marines and sailors will be landed to assist in the attack.

Nightfall-- Most of Fort Fisher's land face is shattered.

What Got Me Intereted in the Civil War. --Old B-Runner

Lots of Naval Stuff This Day in Civil War History

Once again using the Civil War Interactive Newswire and those great same-letter headlines. Today's three dates are all items I'm greatly interested in.


COUTHOUY'S CONFOUNDED COLUMBIA CATASTROPHE-- I have been reading about this in the ORN where the USS Columbia ran aground off Masonboro Inlet and all efforts to get her off failed. High winds and seas made rescue of the crew difficult and it was set on fire. Some of the crew was rescued, but the rest got ashore but had to surrender to Confederates.

This research started as a result of Esrom Morse's sword which is in possession of Frank Mroczka. See Jan. 5th entry.


SHERRILL SECURES SALT SABOTEURS-- Throughout the war, Florida was a major source for salt and cattle for the Confederacy and it became the Union Navy's object to mess it up as much as possible. This date, the USS Roebuck under Acting master Sherrill pursued the British sloop "Young Racer" loaded with salt at Jupiter Inlet and caught up to it. The Racer's crew set it on fire



I'll cover this in more detail next post.

Naval War for Me. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One Prolific Author Turns to Civil War Navy

The Jan. 12th Greenville (Tn) Sun reports that Myron J. "Jack" Smith, director of Tusculum College's Thomas J. Garland Library has now written EIGHTY books since 1972 (I must have graded several million quizzes and tests, reports, and homework in that time). An impressive number and especially on his last three books that deal with that subject near and dear to my heart, the Navy in the Civil War. And, even better, these new books are about the little-known tinclads, timberclads and Le Roy Fitch.

His latest effort is "Tinclads in the Civil War: Union Light-Draught Gunboat Operations on Western waters, 1862-1865."

Slow and heavy ironclads were ineffective on western rivers (the Brown Water Navy), so steamboats were outfitted with thin armor and guns and carried the main load of activity. They were often attacked from the river banks and provided convoy protection for merchant ships, enforced revenue measures (not exactly sure what this means), towed ships, ran dispatches and performed other fleet support services.

However, at $55, that is a bit too much for me to spend these days of retirement.

The other two books in the series:

"Le Roy Fitch: The Civil War career of a Union River Boat Commander" 2007.

"The Timberclads in the Civil War: The Lexington, Conestoga, and Tyler in Western Waters" 2008

Congratulations Mr. Smith. --Old B-Runner

Amy Hotz's Civil War Quiz on Fort Fisher and Wilmington

The January 9, 2010, Wilmington Star News had a 25-question quiz it was suggested you take before heading out to the 145th Anniversary Commemoration of the Second battle of Fort Fisher this weekend.

A nice photo of part of the Fort Fisher parapet and dunes taken shortly after the battle by Timothy O'Sullivan accompanied the article.

I took it and submitted my answers and believe I probably got between 17 and 20 right. I had to guess on some of them. Entries by Jan. 15th might win three books on the Civil War in the Wilmington area. I don't expect to win as many others know way more than I do plus some will look up the answers. (I have two of the books anyway.)

You can view the article and quiz at:

Or, search Amy Hotz Fort Fisher Quiz.

Hurt My Head Thinking So Much. --B-R'er

Running the Blockade: Hall Found-- NC Parks-- 145th Anniiversary

Some New News About an Old War.

1. HALL FOUND-- The Jan. 11, 2010, Tribune Live reports that the foundation of a GAR Hall was found at Armstrong Farms near Clinton, Pennsylvania. The James Harvey Post No. 514 organized November 25, 1886, and used it as a meeting room. The site has been plaqued.

Two Civil War uniforms were also found in a nearby farm.

2. NC PARKS-- The Jan. 11th Wilmington Star news "It's Hotz Outside" had a picture of Amy Hotz in front of the Fort Fisher Hermit's bunker. She also said 2009 was a banner year for visitation to North Carolina Parks across the whole state, with 14.16 million visitors, breaking a record set in 2007. This was a 5% jump. Jockey Ridge in the Outer Banks had the most with 1.4 million. Carolina Beach State Park and Fort Fisher State Park also had big increases. These are right by two important Confederate fortifications.

3. 145TH ANNIVERSARY-- The Jan. 12th Wilmington Star News reporting on the 145th anniversary of the fall of Fort Fisher being held this weekend, said that some of the things that would be covered were the explosion of the USS Louisiana.

Also, the story of Union officer Galusha Pennnypacker who led his unit in an attack on the fort, planted

The use of United States Colored Troops in the Fort Fisher and Wilmington Campaigns as well as their recruitment, the role they played and post-war arguments for citizenship will also be areas of discussion.

Sure Wish I Could Be At the Fort Fisher Anniversary Commemoration. --Old B-R'er

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Civil War Naval These Days-- CW Interactive Newswire

The last two days, Civil War Interactive Newswire has had naval items for some of their This Date in History lists. Ya Just Gotta Love Their Headlines.



The USS Iron Age ran aground at Lockwood's Folly Inlet near the NC/SC border and was destroyed by shore batteries on Jan. 10th. Today, two other blockaders were lost at the same inlet. They chased a blockade-runner too close to shore, ran aground and were burned.

I looked it up, but couldn't find two other blockaders being destroyed at the inlet. But, found enough to make an interesting entry at a later date.

JANUARY 12, 1865


The largest US fleet ever assembled to that time, assembled fron Beaufort, SC, (or was it Beaufort, NC?). Plans called for a naval bombardment and then an attack by 10,000 soldiers, sailors and Marines.

The ironclad CSS Columbia was hurriedly launched from Charleston, but immediately ran aground and work to get it off continued until February. CW Interactive said it was to go to the aid of Fort Fisher.

Love Those Headlines. --Old B-Runner

Friday, January 8, 2010

Before It gets Too Late: Naval This Day in History

Back to January 6, 2010 in the Civil War Interactive's This Day in History.


Foote Failing to Find Forces

Back in 1861, Admiral Foote was complaining about a lack of ships, especially gun boats. Now, he had the ships, but not enough crews and asked the government for 1000 sailors and got 500. and was told to get the rest from the Army.

He wrote Halleck in Washington and Grant in St. Louis. Grant told him he could have all the Union soldiers he was holding prisoner in the stockade Foote wanted.


British Boat Bagged By Blockaders

A British ship was captured this date trying to run the blockade at Mobile. This was a very fast way for investors to make money. Union crews also shared the wealth when a blockade runner was captured.


Bumbling Butler Belatedly Booted

Gen. Butler's military career not very successful. He was reviled by the South with the order out to shoot on sight. His last two missions had been failures: the James River Canal and First Attack on Fort Fisher. This date, Grant wrote Lincoln asking to have Butler removed from command of the Army of the James.

Good Old "Beast Butler." --Good Old "B-Runner."

Now Here's a Civil War Naval Fanatic

The October 16,2009 Paper Modeling Forum had an entry from a ct ertz who said he was in the process of making models of the entire ironclad fleet of the Confederacy. He was hard at work on the CSS Georgia at the time.

He mentioned ships that he had built or were available:

CSS Wilmington
CSS Huntsville
CSS Palmetto State
CSS Tuscaloosa
CSS Virginia II
CSS Fredericksburg
CSS Missouri
Norris Gunboat 1861
Deck mounted Brooke Gun
Fort mounted Brooke pivot gun

In his "shipyard" working on

1/72scale detailed CSS Palmetto State
CSS Chatahoochee
CSS Stonewall
US 1814 row galley
CSS Squib
CSS Chicora
CSS Savanna
CSS Jackson
CSS Arkansas
Confederate keg torpedo (mine)

Sure Like to see Some of These. --Old B-Runner

This Date in Civil War History-- Fort Fisher

From Civil War Interactive. A great source for anything going on with the old war. I especially like their headlines for the This Day in History section where they always beginning each word with the same letter. That has to take a while to figure out.


Fort Fisher Fleet Forming Fast (What'd I Tell You)

Butler had been replaced with the much more capable general terry and plans for the next attack were underway fast. A big fleet consisting of half warships and half transports had left Beaufort and today were at their rendezvous point off Beaufort, NC. Several ships were tardy arriving from mechanical problems. The rendezvous had been arranged because of the possibility of bad weather this time of the year, but such was not the case as good weather was holding.

The Garrison Could Have Used a Good Storm. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Where Was Wilmington's Camp Burgwyn and Who Was It Named After?

The Wilmington (NC) Star-News runs an excellent column every so often called My People are asked to send in questions about the Wilmington and reporters get on the case and find the information. This would be a good idea for any newspaper.

On Dec. 9, 2009, the question was "Where Was Camp Burgwyn?"

It was a Confederate camp off the Old New Bern Road near today's Princess Place Drive near 23rd Street.

The spelling is often confused between Burgwin and Burgwyn which might be for the Burgwin family of Wilmington, or Captain John Henry King Burgwyn, a Mexican War veteran who died of wounds fighting Indians in New Mexico. His family plantation, The hermitage, was located near Castle Hayne.

Wilmington Civil War expert and UNCW professor Chris Fonvielle believes most likely it was named for Colonel Henry King Burgwyn of Northampton, NC, cousin of the Wilmington Burgwins. He is known as the "Boy Colonel" of the Confederacy and was killed July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg at age 21, while commanding the 26th North Carolina.

He was the youngest colonel in the Army of Northern Virginia and perhaps the whole Confederacy.

Commander of the Wilmington defenses, Gen. William H. C. Whiting, was prone to naming military installations after Confederates who died in battle.

Fort Anderson, down river from Wilmington and part of the Cape Fear River Defenses, was named for Brigadier General George Burgwin Anderson who died of wounds at Antietam.

So, Now You Know the Rest of the Story. --Blockade-R

Grand Army of the Republic's Theodore Augustus Penland

A little more information on Mr. Penland, who sounds like he was quite a character.

From the Find-a-Grave website.

Mr. Penland died September 13, 1950 at Vancouver, Clark County in Washington state.

He had two wives during his long life, both named Elizabeth, and ten children and 50 descendants at the time of his death. He was also the last commander and survivor of the GAR's Department of Oregon. All through life, he preached the virtues of "living carefully."

On September 1, 1950, he flew by plane from Portland to Los Angeles for a meeting of three organizations affiliated with the GAR and returned on the 8th, apparently in good spirits. However, five days later he died at the Veteran's Hospital in Vancouver.

His grave can be found at the Portland Memorial Funeral Home and Mausoleum in Portland. It is on the third floor Harding Section West, Tier 6.

HMdb reports that there is a plaque at the Vancouver Veteran's Affairs Medical Center for a memorial rose garden dedicated to him by the Daughters of Union veterans and Woman's Relief Corps. The plaque is at the base of the site's flagpole, but the rose garden couldn't be found.

Quite a Guy. My hat's Off to Him. --Old B-Runner

A Look Back at the Grand Army of the Republic-- Part 3

A really good article with lots of interesting information on these gallant old organization. Thanks for writing it Mike West. I have passed it along to a road and a Civil War forum that I belong to.

Two other of Theodore Penland's brothers were captured and died at Andersonville where they are buried. The Civil War had to be a rough one on Mrs. Penland who made ultimate sacrifices, a husband and two sons.


And, young Theodore did just that. In 1868, he essentially walked from Indiana to California, then lived briefly in Cheyenne, Wyoming, then to Sacramento and Nevada. he worked in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and then for the Union Pacific Railroad through 1869 when the Golden Spike was driven at Promontory Point, Utah.

He returned briefly to Indiana and then was off again to Michigan, Los Angeles, San Diego and finally Portland, Oregon. This man did his wandering!!

He later traveled by train and even by plane. He even took a boat to Australia and New Zealand.

It is too bad he didn't write a book of his experiences. Talk about growing with your country.

He was commander of the Department of Oregon from 1935 to his death and became leader of the national organization in 1941. He had membership in 32 patriotic orders as well.

He talked extensively on his experiences which included seeing President Lincoln. Gifted vocally, he often sang at encampments and even talked and sang on the radio.

Not Finished Yet. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Look Back at the Grand Army of the Republic-- Part 2

Again, a very interesting article in the January 3, 2010, Murfreesboro (Tn) Post.

In 1890, the GAR boasted 490,000 members in every state and several foreign countries. Each year between 1866 and 1949, a "National Encampment" was held, the last one being at Indianapolis where the few remaining veterans voted to retain all existing officers in place until the organization's dissolution.

Theodore Augustus Penland was the final commander. After the death of the last member, Albert Woolson, in 1956, the GAR was dissolved.

Penland was born January 23, 1849, in Elkhart County, Indiana, and was living in Portland, Oregon, when he died in 1950 at the age of 101.

There were eight other survivors at the time: Joseph Clovese, Hiram Randall Gale, Lansing A. Wilcox, Douglas T. Story, Israel Adam Broadsword, William Allen Magee, James Albert Hard and Albert Woolson.


Penland saw limited military and no combat after entering the Army at the age of 16 in 1865. he served in Co. A, 152nd Indiana. He did do guard duty along the Potomac River and was discharged a few months later.

His father, John Penland, died of wounds received at the Battle of Stones River. He had enlisted as a private in Co. K, 57th Indiana on October 15, 1862, and was wounded at Stones River Dec. 31, 1862, when he was grazed in the stomach by a cannon ball.

He was left for dead, but managed to walk back to the field hospital holding his guts. Unfortunately, it was a mortal wound and he died January 4, 1863 at the age of 45 and is buried at the Stones River National Cemetery in grave 1444 Section D.

Not Finished Yet. --Old B-Runner

Running the Blockade: Magee Closing?-- Galveston--

Running the Blockade-- New News About an old war.

1. MAGEE CLOSING?-- News out of Alabama reports that the site referred to as "The Last Appomattox" where Lt. general Richard Taylor, son of US President Zachary Taylor, surrendered the last organized group of Confederates east of the Mississippi River, might be in operation just until the end of this month.

It marked the end of operations around Mobile, Alabama and is located near the intersection of US-45 and Ala-158.

Jan. 5, 2010, Mobile (Al) Press-Register

2. GALVESTON-- The city is having tours to commemorate the anniversary of the recapture of Galveston by Confederates on January 1, 1863, this weekend.

Some interesting facts about the battle:

** It lasted three hours and Confederates took the city back from Union forces who had held it for three months.

** The last major Confederate port and the only one recaptured.

** It was an almost simultaneous land and water attack.

** There was a wading charge of 500 soldiers near the wharf.

** Galveston Confederate papers were printing in Houston at the time. The telegraph lines were still operational and accounts of the battle were coming in as they were happening, essentially live news coverage.

So, Now You Know. --Old B-R

Man Dies After Running Into Blockade-Runner

Lots of accounts yesterday out of Texas about the upcoming funeral services for David Martin, 62, who was out fishing when his 14-foot aluminum boat struck the wreck of the Confederate blockade-runner Mary Summers in the Navidad River near Victoria.

His death has been ruled an accidental drowning. He hit it Jan 1st, but his body wasn't found until the 3rd.

A low tide had exposed about a foot of the Summers and it has been struck before. Unfortunately, efforts to mark it have failed. The ship is a recognized archaeological site by the National Register of Places.

It was built in England in 1833 and used as a slave ship at one time before being purchased by the Confederate government.


Pretty much every source I looked at referred to the Summers as being an ironclad which usually refers to a warship sheathed in iron. It might have been a steel or iron-plated blockade-runner.

I have not found any mention of the Mary Summers anywhere else, but will continue looking.

When Fishing, Watch Out for Those Sunken Blockade-Runners. --Old B-R

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Look Back at the Grand Army of the Republic-- Part 1

The Jan. 4th Civil War Interactive alerted me to a Jan. 3rd article in the Murfreesboro (Tn) Post titled "Grand Army of the Republic connected to Stones River" by Mike West. The Battle of Stones River is located by the town.

At one time, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was one of the more powerful organizations in the country. It was made up of former soldiers in the Union Armies during the Civil War.

It was established by Dr. Benjamin F. Stephensen of Decatur, Illinois, on April 6, 1866. It was a fraternal organization, but operated with military traditions as well. At the state level, it was divided into Departments with local organization called Posts.

From 1868-1908, no Republican was nominated for president without the GAR endorsement. In 1868, General Order #11, May 30 was designated as a memorial day for Union veterans and called Decoration Day, but now called Memorial Day.

They were also very active in soldier pensions and retirement homes which became Old Soldiers Homes in the late 19th Century which have since evolved into the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

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

Esrom Morse and USS Columbia

There was an article in the Jan. 3, 2010, Scranton Times-Tribune about Civil War collector Frank Mroczka's book on that subject.

It mentions that he has the sword of Esrom Morse, a Union Naval officer who helped save the lives of 45 shipmates on the USS Columbia.

I looked it up, but couldn't find much.

There was a 50-gun 1836 frigate named the USS Columbia that was scuttled and burned April 21, 1861, to prevent capture by Confederates at Norfolk Navy Yard. But this is unlikely the one in question.

There was another USS Columbia, a 503 ton, 168 foot long, 25 foot beam blockade-runner captured by the USS Santiago de Cuba running the blockade off Florida. It was purchased by the Navy at Key West in November, 1862, and outfitted as a naval ship at the New York Navy Yard and commissioned in December under the command of Acting Volunteer Lt. J. P. Couthouy.

It was sent to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Wilmington, NC, where it ran aground off Masonboro Inlet and became a wreck January 14, 1863, a very short Naval career. It's commander and 40 men were captured by Confederates.

I came across no mention of Esrom Morse. I'll do some research.

Interesting Story. --Old B-R

Fort Fisher's 145th Anniversary

Fort Fisher State Historic Park will be celebrating the 145th anniversary of the fall of the Civil War's Fort Fisher this January 15th-17th.


There will be a panel discussion "Black Men Bearing Freedom: US Colored Troops and Their Impact on North Carolina" at the University of North Carolina Wilmington Fisher Student Center.


Dr. Richard Reid, author of "Freedom for Themselves: North Carolina's Black Soldiers in the Civil War
" will give a talk at Fort Fisher.

About 300 re-enactors, including US Colored Troops will recreate the battle. USCT participated to a great degree in the attack.

There will be lantern tours and a night-time firing of the 32-pounder rifled and banded cannon at Shepard's Battery. There will be a $5 charge for adults on the 30-minute night time tour. Tours are 30 minutes long and will leave every 30 minutes starting at 7 PM.

All daytime activities are free and there will be artillery and infantry demonstrations as well as Confederate and Union camps on the fort grounds.

Sure Wish I Could Be There, But, Alas, I Live Too Far Away. --Old B-Runner

Monday, January 4, 2010

Further Fort Fisher Fighting Flares

You've got to love the way the guys at the Civil War Interactive blog title their headlines on the daily events of that long ago war.

For today's date, they had the above headline.

The first attack on Fisher over Christmas 1864 had been an "unmitigated disaster in the hands of Gen. Benjamin Butler" who had been removed January 3rd and replaced by Gen. Alfred terry who began planning today with Admiral David D. Porter for another assault.

Even though Porter was technically in command of only the Naval forces, Terry deferred to him because of his experience at the fort.

Porter's plans for the second attack called for an army assault along the fort's land face while a second assault took place seaward by a force of sailors and Marines armed with pistols and cutlasses who were to attack in the same manner as if boarding an enemy ship.

And, So It Begins. --B-R'er

34th Illinois and Kennesaw Mountain

Back in October I was writing about the discovery of Mark carr's bones at the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield.

He was a member of the 34th Illinois, called the Red River Rifles and organized at camp Butler in Springfield, Illinois. Participated in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Stones River, Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta and the March to the Sea.

During the war, they lost 11 officers, 129 enlisted killed in action or died from wounds. Two officers and 119 more enlisted died from diseases.


The state of Illinois purchased a small tract of land near Dead Angle in 1898. Almost 500 men from Illinois died here. In 1911, the Illinois Monument was dedicated. The War department took it over in 1917, and in the next 21 years expanded the site to 2,800+ acres. In the 1930s, a CCC camp was established near Pigeon Hill and many improvements were made to the battlefield.

John Stocking, "The Unsung Hero of the Monitor"

The Dec. 30, 2009, entry of the Civil War Gazette had a carte de visite portrait of Boatswain's Mate John Stocking, called "the Unsung hero of the Monitor." I'd never heard of him.

He was on board the USS Monitor during its famous battle with the CSS Virginia in March and was also there when the Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, December 31, 1862.

In the stormy seas, he volunteered to go onto the unprotected deck and cut the heavy hawser that connected the ship with the USS Rhode Island. He was swept overboard and drowned and never seen again making him one of the 16 officers and men who died that night.

A Might Brave Man. --Old B-R

Saving Tennessee's Mossy Creek battlefield

Nov. 26, 2008 Knox

Called the second battle of Mossy Creek and that is saving it from development which has almost obliterated the field.

Union Captain E. J. Cannon killed by a bullet in sight of the home he hadn't seen in two years.

Eight thousand Union and Confederate troops fought a four day running battle over Christmas 1863. The old Andrew Jackson Highway runs through the middle of where Union Captain Eli Lilly's artillery spent 3 hours fighting off Confederate assaults where Carson-Newman College ballplayers round third base. There is a park on the hill where the battery fell back.

A National Guard Armory, a trucking center and Wal Mart are also on the battlefield.

A historical corridor is planned in Knoxville which will include Fort Higley and Fort Stanley in South Knoxville. Preservationists have bought the house in Russellville which james Longstreet used as winter quarters during the 1863-1864 campaign.

Let's Hope At least Some of the Battlefield Will Be Preserved. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Running the Blockade: Blackeyed Peas-- Oakwood Cemetery--

Running the Blockade-- New News About an old war.

1. BLACK EYED PEAS-- Southern legend has it that eating black eyed peas on New Years Day will bring you fortune and good times. I even once heard that you'd get a buck for every one you ate. Just to be safe, I ate a LOT of them and had a stomach ache.

The legend also says that Union soldiers didn't destroy the plants as they were thought to be weeds. This enabled a lot of Southerners to survive.

2. OAKWOOD CEMETERY-- There was a ceremony at this cemetery in Wilmington, NC. Andrew Duppstadt was on the cannon crew from Fort Fisher, one of three artillery pieces there.

Many Confederates are buried in the cemetery including General Whiting, Confederate spy Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Captain John Newland Maffitt and Captain Joseph Price, the third and final commander of the CSS Neuse.

3. ALL 218 CONFEDERATE SHIPS-- The Southern Sentinel Blog reports that it will be taking the next two years to make entries on each of the 218 ships that served in the Confederate Navy.

Looking Forward to the List. --Old B-Runner


The Cape Fear's Sugar Loaf

This is a name that comes up when any talk turns to Fort Fisher and the Civil War in North Carolina.

On the December 16, 2008 Wilmington Star-News had an article by Amy Hotz "Sugar Loaf a Sweet Hike."

Lower Cape Fear Tradition says Indians had "drunken frolics" on top of the 25 foot high Sugar Loaf Hill. Today, it is part of the Carolina Beach State Park and liquor is definitely not allowed, but you can do your walking on a three mile hiking trail.

Erosion has claimed some of it and it has a typical North Carolina pine forest.

Barbados planter William Holton gave it its name because of the powdery, sugar white sand while exploring the area in 1663.

Five thousand Confederates occupied a camp here during the Civil War and General Braxton Bragg was roundly condemned for not launching an attack on Union forces on the beach in both battles of Fort Fisher.

Twenty-five years after the Civil War a pier was constructed here where a Wilmington streamer unloaded passengers who then took rail cars to the beach.

Want Some Sugar in Your Tea? --Old B-Runner

State of the Blog

At some point in the next 3-4 months, I should pass the 1000 entry mark. That is a LOT of entries when you also consider the research for these items. Since the blog began in 2007, my register says there have been 899 entries with this being $900.

I am thinking of changing the name to "Running the Blockade" since quite a bit of the emphasis is on the Naval aspects of the war. Plus, I definitely have Southern leanings, but am interested in both sides. Of course, that depends upon whether or not I can figure out how to change the name.

Last month I had 49 entries and 464 for the year. In 2008 there were 376 and a whole 55 the first year in 2007.

This was my third blog, growing out of my Down Da Road I Go one when I saw that more and more entries were about the Civil War, a long-time favorite of mine.

Other blogs: about history in general, especially World War II. about music and my life. about old roads, preservation and my travels.

Spending Way Too much Time On These Darn Blogs, But Enjoying It. --Old B-Runner