Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Last Stand at Wilmington, NC

Compliments of the good folks at HMDB on March 15th. They scour all things historical and on a stick or marker.

This involved a marker for the Forks Road engagement February 21-22, 1865 and was an attempt by Confederate General Robert F. Hoke to make a stand on the east side of the Cape Fear River. His division along with General Thomas Clingman's brigade and the Wilmington Horse Artillery repulsed Union Col. Elias Wright's brigade of US Colored Troops including the 5th USCT.

The Confederates inflicted 50 casualties and caused the Federals to retreat a short distance where they returned fire for 34 hours. Hoke withdrew on the 22nd and Wilmington was captured later that day.

Nearing the End of the War. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 27, 2010

145th Anniversary Battle of Bentonville, Good, But...Part 5

I did a little research on the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in Norh Carolina.  The George Thomas Camp of the SUV is based out of Pennsylvania.

There are four camps, as they call their different chapters, same as what we call them in the Sons of Confederate Veterans. These men were either from the Major General Thomas H. Ruger Camp #1 which appears to be based out of Fayetteville, or the Major General John A. Logan Camp #4.

Always great to talk with these people who are interested in the same thing as we of southern heritage, worthy successors to the Grand Army of the Republic.

I have to wonder how many of the Union re-enactors are members of the SUV since so many of the Confederate re-enactors are members of the SC.

All Great Organizations. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 25, 2010

145th Anniversary Battle of Bentonville, Good, But...Part 4


Strangely enough, we always have Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) representation at the Civil War re-enactments in Lake Villa and Wauconda, Illinois, in the form of my Camp Douglas Camp (representing the Chicagoland area). However, even being in the north, I have never seen our counterpart organization, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW).

At Bentonville, it was the other way around. The SUVCW was present, but no SCV. You'd have to think that being in a hot bed of Confederation, we'd have a big representation (and considering that Union re-enactors were outnumbered almost 2-1).

I believe they were from Camp George Thomas. I told them I knew how it was operating behind enemy lines and talked quite a bit with one member who had done extensive research on a Union officer who had returned to North Carolina after the war and become quite an important citizen of Fayetteville. I wish I could remember what the name of the man was.

I think there was some sort of a problem between the state and the SCV over the General Joseph Johnston statue which I will write about later.

The Battle. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

145th Anniversary Battle of Bentonville, Good, But...Part 3

The line to buy tickets was long so decided to wait on that. There apparently were just two vendors on site and one had long lines. The other, a more limited selection, but only a few in line. Pop was reasonable at $1 as was water. An elephant ear was $3.

The other food vendor had hot dogs for $2 and hamburgers for $3, also quite reasonable, but again, the lines were too long.

Watched part of a talk in a tent and then talked with some folks at a booth from Kinston and congratulated them on the outstanding job that city is doing with its Civil War heritage including the two battles fought there and the CSS Neuse, a Confederate ironclad. The actual hull of the ship is in a covered structure and an exact replica of it, called the CSS Neuse II, is also on display at a downtown corner.

Not only that, but they have an excellent Civil War visitors center on US-70, and, of course, that non-Cvil War Carolina bbq at King's.

Meeting the SUV Next. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

145th Anniversary Battle of Bentonville, Good, But... Part 2

One thing I was especially happy to see were the large number of Boy and Cub Scouts in attendance along with many adult scoutmasters and the like. One sutler said that there were 3,000 of them signed up for the event.

For the Civil War to maintain its vitality, it is necessary for the younger generations to become interested in it and this was a great way to do just that.

Getting to see the re-enactors in full uniform with weapons and drilling gives a better taste of the war than any book could do. And, of course, Boy Scouts are one of the great American organizations of all time.

Not only were scouts there, but many young kids and parents as well. Also bodes well for the Civil War's future. Events such as this, along with the upcoming 150th anniversary and its increased awareness just may do the trick.

I know this person was just ten when we had the centennial observance. Although, I had already been interested in it since age seven, the media play made for even more immersion.

I just hope the long lines and problems viewing the re-enactment that I encountered did not prove too major of a negative experience.

Get 'Em Interested at a Young Age. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 20, 2010

145th Anniversary Battle of Bentonville, Good, But...

I'd have to say that the North Carolina Bentonville Battlefield Historic Site has a good thing going, but definitely needs to improve several aspects of the re-enactment.

My brother and I drove the 24 miles from Goldsboro on one of the narrowest roads I can ever remember being on.

Parking was free and I thought we'd have to pay the $10 before entering the area, but didn't have to.

We immediately saw a long line of Confederate soldiers, more than I had ever seen at Lake Villa and Wauconda in Illinois. I'm not sure why they were mustered as the battle still didn't begin for another four hours.

Then we had a sutlers area where you could satisfy most any Civil War fanatic or re-enactors' fondest desires. There were easily twenty there, many more than at the Illinois sites.

I especially liked one place that had all sorts of flags, books and Civil War art. Not wanting to have to carry the stuff the rest of the afternoon, I was hoping they would still be there when we left.

Next door was a sutler who had small North Carolina state flags from the war with the date the state entered the Union and when it seceded (or possibly joined the Confederacy).

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Friday, March 19, 2010

Battle of Bentonville Re-Enactment Tomorrow

One of the main reasons I came down to North Carolina at this time (and so soon after the trip to Florida), is the mega reenactment for the 145th anniversary of the largest battle fought in the state, the Battle of Bentonville which will be tomorrow and Sunday.

My brother Bob and are going out there tomorrow.

Checking out the website,, I see that it opens at 9 am. At 10"30, Chris Fonvielle will be giving a talk which I hope to see. The last time I saw him, he was running the Blockade Runner Museum in Carolina Beach (where the town hall is today) and he had more knowledge on Fort Fisher and the blockade than anyone I've ever met. he has since written several books on the Wilmington area during the Civil War.

There will be about 3,500 reenactors on hand and a battle between 3 and 4 pm. I have seen reenactments with between 300 and 350 people, but never this many.

We're Going to the Battle to See the Elephant (But as Spectators). --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lincoln's Wilmington Connection

From the Cape Fear Civil War Round Table.

The designer of the Lincoln Memorial (1914-1922) in Washington, DC, architect Henry Bacon, grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was born in Illinois, but at an early age, his father was assigned to navigational improvements along the Cape Fear River.

One of his projects was what is now called "The Rocks" which were built to close off New Inlet, the favorite run for blockade runners during the Civil War. I have often fished and gone crabbing along it as well as chase sand fiddlers into their burrows here. My parents walked the whole thing out to the island at least once.

As an adult, Bacon was based out of New York City, but always kept his ties with Wilmington.

He designed the Confederate Memorial on Third and Dock streets and the 1901 Donald McRae home on Third.

After his death in 1924, he was buried in Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery.

He was born in Watseka, Illinois on Nov. 26, 1866 and graduated from the University of Illinois. I have driven through this town near the Indiana border several times.

The seated Lincoln statue in the Memorial, however, was created by Daniel Chester French.

Quite a Life. --Old B-Runner

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shorpy's Whitworth Gun

The March 9th Shorpy old picture site featured a picture taken in April 1865 of Union soldiers guarding a captured Confederate Whitworth gun with its breech open.

A sign on it said "Richmond Arsenal 1864."

This is a very good photograph of a weapon way ahead of its time. One that had an amazing distance that it could fire a shell, around 4 to 5 miles.

Several readers commented on it. Rip Tragle said it was a 2.75 inch Whitworth Rifle imported from England bu both the Union and Confederacy. (I thought just the Confederacy). It was designed by Sir Joseph Whitworth and fired elongated 12-pound shells up to 2,800 yards.

Two were used by an Alabama battery at Gettysburg, where even during the horrendous bombardment preceding Pickett's Charge, their shrill whine could be heard distinctly.

They were very accurate but has serious problems in their breech mechanisms. Their great distance was hurt by lack of artillery spotting at the time.

One Wondrous Weapon. --Old B-Runner

Serving in Mr. Lincoln's Navy-- Part 3

I took a quick look at Amazon and saw that Mr. Ringle's book can be bought new for $24.50 with free shipping. Used copies start at $13.95.

Other information:

** First hospital ship, the Red Rover

** 20% of Navy made up of blacks

** 35% of Admiral Farragut's USS Hartford crew were foreign born

** Port Royal, SC, considered to be best spot for liberty

** Larger ships even had libraries

Everything You'd Want to Know About the Navy...and More. --Old B-Runner

Serving in Mr. Lincoln's Navy-- Part 2

Some quotes from the men who served.

A crewman aboard the USS Hartford at the Battle of New Orleans:

"The noise and roar at the time was terrible and cannot be described, but to help the imagination there were two hundred guns and mortars of the largest caliber in full blast; double this by the explosion of shells then add to this the hissing and crashing through the air, and shipping, confine this in a half mile square, it may give some idea of the noise and uproar that has taken place."

A surgeon aboard the USS Cumberland in its battle with the CSS Virginia:

"The sanded deck is red and slippery with the blood and wounded and dying; they are dragged amidships. There is no time to take them below. delirium seizes the crew; they strip to their trousers; tie handkerchiefs around their heads, kick off their shoes, fight and yell like demons; load and fire at will."

Definitely not places for the faint of heart.

Looks Like I'll Have to Check This Book Out. --B-Runner

Serving in Mr. Lincoln's Navy-- Part 1

From the book "Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy" by Dennis J. Ringle, reviewed by Bill Doughty. With a title like this, obviously the main emphasis is going to be on the life of the regular sailors.

Some interesting facts from the review:

** Minimum age was 12 and this rating would be "Boy"

** 1864 monthly wage: Boy $10, Ordinary Seaman $16, Coal Heaver $20, Coxswain $25, Quartermaster/Gunner's Mate $25, and Yeoman $35.

** Sailors had to deal with roaches, rats, lice, fog, flies and mosquitoes

** Weapons: battle axes, pikes, cutlasses, Ames 1843 smoothbore pistol

More to Come. --B-R'er

The "Lincoln Flag" Takes a Trip

From the Feb. 19th Pocono (Pa) Record "Famed Lincoln flag takes a commemorative trip" by Jessica Cohen.

The flag at Ford's Theater which was used to cushion Abraham Lincoln's head after the shooting hung for years on a shower rod on the second floor of the Milford Library where the Pike County Historical Society housed their relics.

Presently, it is at The Columns, a 1904 neo-classical mansion on Broad Street, but now it is encased and protected from sunlight.

Last week, police escorted to Jersey City, NJ for the Lincoln Association's annual dinner.


It was donated to the historical society in 1954 by V. Paul Struthers, whose mother, Jeannie Gourlay Struthers, had acted in the play "Our American Cousin" that night in 1865. Her father Thomas was also in the play and had accompanied when Lincoln was moved across the street to the Peterson House. "According to accounts of the event, to avoid putting Lincoln's head on the floor, someone had taken a flag from the railing near Lincoln's seat and rested his head on it."

Experts have verified the authenticity of it. There are also blood stains as one might expect.

Jeanine Gourley lived most of her life in Milford. Her sons also gave three of her costumes, two of which she likely wore on the night of the assassination. One of them was when she was a poor milk maid, which Lincoln would have seen. She did not have the chance to wear the second one, when she became rich after inheritance.

Both are in bad shape as they were props and made to be altered. A $10,000 figure is thought to be the cost of repairing the dresses.

I Never Heard of This Flag Before. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Gen. Buford's Relative Honored

March 10th Galena (Il) Gazette. Civil War Interactive Newswire.

The great grand nephew of Civil War Major General John Buford, a hero for the Union at Gettysburg was honored March 13th.

James Raymond Lewis, a World War II and Korean War veteran died October 31, 2009 and his remains interred at the Buford-Hanley plot at Chippinock Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois.

General Buford was born in Kentucky, but grew up in Rock Island. He attended Knox College for a year before being accepted into West Point where he graduated 16th in his class.

At the onset of the war, he had to decide which side to fought for since his wife's family owned slaves. In December 1863, he was dying of typhoid fever and Abraham Lincoln promoted him to major general. He died December 13, 1863.

He is buried at West Point alongside Alonzo Cushing who was killed at Gettysburg and is receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously. In 1865, a 25-foot obelisk was erected over his grave.

Quite the Hero. --Old B-Runner

Friday, March 12, 2010

Colonel James Gregory Hodges, CSA

He was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, December 25, 1828. His father was General John Hodges.

He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and became a doctor and later mayor of Portsmouth from 1856 to 1857. The 3rd Virginia Volunteers organized in 1856 and he was elected colonel.

At the onset of the Civil War, he was assigned to the 14th Virginia and in May 1861 took command of Junction Island.

He was at Antietam and was considered an officer who was always in the thick of the fighting and was greatly admired by his regiment.

At Gettysburg, the 14th lost not only Hodges, but Major Poore and Adjutant John S. Jenkins. Hodges sword was given to Adjutant J. F. Crocker of the 9th Virginia by Col. Andrew Cowan of Cowan's battery.

An effort was made to find the place of the Hodges' burial and the spot where he was killed was identified. General H. J. Hunt, chief of the Union Army's artillery, while looking for the body of his friend, Confederate General Garnett, found a long line of Confederate dead along the stone wall and recognized Hodges whom he had known before the war. His body was near the current monument of the 93rd Pennsylvania.

In 1903, Senator John W. Daniel and Captain D. S. Cook of the 80th New York told how Col. Hodges died at the stone fence within less than 150 feet of the Federal line.

His sword and scabbard were destroyed by a shot and his sword belt taken. The wall is at the foot of what became known as the Bloody Angle.

More to Come. --Old B-R

Confederate Pistols Offered at Auction

Back in December, the Rock Island Auction Company (Illinois) offered a Colt Model 1851 percussion revolver that had belonged to Confederate Col. James Gregory Hodges who was killed in Pickett's charge at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

They also offered a rare Confederate Augusta Machine Works percussion pistol inscribed to H. Canning of the CSS Shenandoah.

I was unable to find out if the Hodges pistol sold, but the H. Canning one went for $31,625. I was unable to find any information on H. Canning, but did find quite a bit on Col. Hodges.

Way Out of Mt League. --Old B-Runner

Railway Cannons

The first railway gun (meaning it was mounted on a railroad car and could be pulled from one site to another) used in action during the Civil War was a 32-pdr. Brooke naval rifle mounted on a flatcar and shielded by a sloping casemate of railroad iron (what else?) ala Confederate ironclad style.

On June 29, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee had it pushed by locomotive and was used in the Battle of Savages Station.

Union forces had at least one, the 13-inch siege mortar called the Dictator which was used at Petersburg.

From Southern

Keep Those Cannons A-Rolling. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Running the Blockade: Oops!-- Tourism-- Blog

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

1. OOPS!-- The March 8th Billing, Montana Gazette reports that high school teacher and superintendent Dwain Haggard definitely made an oops. Haggard, a former reenactor, was showing students his black powder muzzle loader when it fired and a bullet lodged in the classroom map, making a nice hole in the "o" of North America.

He immediately reported the incident to the school board and talked to the parents of students in the room.

2. TOURISM-- The March 7th Wilmington (NC)Star News reports that New Hanover County (in which Wilmington is located) ranked #8 in the state for tourism and tourists spent $422 million there in 2008. Next door counties Brunswick was #9 and Pender was #46.

All reported a down turn in spending in 2009.

3. BLOG-- I came across a blog of particular interest to me the other day. It is called the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial Blog. Lately, it has had a lot of entries on the anniversary of the battle between the Monitor and Merrimac.

Another entry of interest was January 24th's about why the Navy in the war is so disregarded.

Well worth a look at

Can't Get Enough Navy Blogs for the War. --B-R'er

Tampa's Orange Grove Hotel

The Historical Marker Database (HMdb) had an entry about a famous hotel in Tampa, Florida, that no longer exists, but which had a Civil War connection.

The Orange Grove Hotel was built right before the war in 1859 by Captain William Brinton Hooker on the northwest corner of Madison and East streets. The captain moved to Hillsborough County in 1843 and became Florida's premier "Cattle King," eventually with a herd of over 10,000 head. he got the rank of captain during the Seminole Wars.

Hookers Point is named after him.

During the Civil War, the hotel served as Confederate headquarters for the area.

In 1866, the three-story, 33 room wood frame building became the Orange Grove Hotel. It was Tampa's social center for many years before being torn down in 1945.

Many important visitors to Tampa stayed there, including Gen. William T. Sherman.

A Night at the Old Inn. --Old B-Runner

Kinston, NC's Civil War Heritage

As I start on the next 1000 blog entries today.

Few cities could be called more interested in their Civil War heritage than Kinston, North Carolina. Not satisfied with the excellent job they are currently doing, the city has hired the Kentucky firm of Mudpuppy and Waterdog, Inc. to devise a comprehensive plan for the areas tourism in regards to the war.

Works has been done on two battle sites in the community as well as the ironclad CSS Neuse where visitors can see part of the original's hull as well as a full-size replica of the ship.

The firm has been touring sites and interviewing civic leaders, locals and experts.

Tonight, a meeting is being held in the town library to get more input from citizens.

One of the two battles was Union General John Foster's Raid in December 1862, south of the Neuse River where the outnumbered Confederates under General Nathan Evans slowed the Union advance before being pushed back. Union forces occupied Kinston the next day.

Keep Up the Great Work, Kinston. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Big 1000th Blog Entry!!

What started November 10, 2007, reaches the 1000th post with this one. That's a lot of two-fingered typing. Although, I must admit that I am a very fast two-fingered typist.

As I said yesterday, this started as an outgrowth of my Down Da Road I Go blog when I noticed more and more posts concerning the Civil War, which has always been a favorite topic of mine, although one that was lagging until I started this and got hooked again. I'm not sure that I should be too happy about it, but, that's the way it goes.

I posted four entries that first day, the first being about an attack on the Confederate battle flag and the second about Union Naval Lt. Benjamin H. Porter who was killed in the attack on Fort Fisher. There was also one on the 232nd birthday of the USMC and the last on the CSMC.

These continue to be my major topics of interest today.

Doing a count of labels, I see that 30 are on blockade-running, 22 on the blockade, 21 on Confederate ships, 24 on forts, 13 on monitors, 56 US ships, 64 on Wilmington and 131 on Fort Fisher.

Anything naval, coastal, riverine, warships, forts, North Carolina, Fort Fisher, Wilmington is of special interest.

I definitely need to find something else to do, but probably won't. I enjoy doing the research too much.

Will There Be Another 1000? --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Time to Start Thinking About the 2011 Motor Tour

While on the Missouri Route 66 Motor Tour last September, I got to talking with Kip who said he was already thinking about making the 2011 one in that state about Civil War activity in honor of its 150th anniversary which starts next year.

That got me to thinking about doing one for the Route 66 Association of Illinois. Today, I looked up Grand Army of the Republic posts along the route and got a list. I also know of two Civil War Medal of Honor winners buried by Joliet and Dwight.

Plus, Jenny Hodgers, aka Albert Cashier is buried not too far off the road in Saunemin. She was one of several women who fought in the Union Army by passing themselves off as men.

Unfortunately, there won't be too much Confederate stuff other than the Confederates buried at the Camp Butler National Cemetery and the marker there.

Of course, the horrific Confederate prisoner of war Camp Douglas was in Chicago, but we usually don't go into that Route 66 city.

Just Thinking About It Right Now. --Old B-R

Some Facts About This Blog-- Part 1

My first blog was my RoadDog's Roadlog, devoted to travels on the road. My niece Andrea helped me get it started while visiting there. When I returned home from Nashville, I found I was unable to get into the blog to post and, while experimenting and looking, ended up with a second blog I called Down Da Road. When I was able to get the first one back, I decided to turn Down Da Road into one about myself and other things I am interested in.

That would be music, history, Civil War, and what I'm up to. I started having so many Civil War posts, I decided to spin off a third blog, which became this one.

Saw the Elephant was a Civil War expression used by troops to describe the battle experience. I concentrate on events around Wilmington, North Carolina, Fort Fisher, both Navies, Blockade Running and any land events that catch my interest.

Way Too Much Time Devoted to This Effort. --Old B-Runner

I should mention that it is interesting that the first battle of the ironclads Monitor and CSS Virginia took place on this date in 1862. Kind of fitting that this blog's approaching 1000th entry would occur so close to it since the Navy is a big aspect of it.

Battle of Goldsboro Bridge

The March 7th HMDB, Historical Marker Database featured a marker at the Battle of Goldsboro Bridge, the end of Foster's Raid in North Carolina.

On December 11, 1862, Union General John G. Foster left New Bern with 10,000 infantry, 640 cavalry and 40 cannons with the intention of marching to Goldsboro to destroy the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad bridge over the Neuse River and to provide a demonstration in support of Burnside's advance on Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The W & W Railroad was a major provider of supplies between Wilmington and Richmond.

He arrived at the bridge outside Goldsboro on December 17th and encountered a smaller Confederate force under Generals Thomas L. Clingman, Gustavus Smith and Nathan G. Evans. They soon pushed the Confederates back and set fire to the bridge, after which their cannons bombarded it.

As the Union forces returned to New Bern, the Confederates launched a sharp attack on the rear guard. Confederate losses in the battle were 150 killed, wounded and missing, Union around 100.

The bridge was repaired within weeks.

This marker is one of four on a walking tour.

Goldsboro is my birth place and the home of some of the best barbecue you're going to get anywhere at McCall's, Wilber's and Scott's.

A Small Battle, But a Big One in Eastern North Carolina and Home. --Old B-Runner

Monday, March 8, 2010

Either the 1,000th or 996th Post-- USS Preston-- Snow at Fort Fisher--Problems at Gettysburg?

According to the "Saw the Elephant" dashboard, this is the 1,000th posting. Counting up the yearly and monthly totals, this is the 996th. I'm not sure which to believe, so will have the official marking of way-too-many posts later this week.


RUNNING THE BLOCKADE: Some new news about an old war.

1. USS PRESTON-- Remo in his Naval Warfare Blog recently featured the USS Preston DD-795 which was named after Lt. Samuel W. Preston, USN, who was killed at Fort Fisher, NC, Jan. 15, 1865, while participating in the naval brigades attack on the northeast salient.

It is the sixth ship in the navy to be named after him and 4th destroyer, along with DD-19, DD-327 and DD-379.

2. SNOW AT FORT FISHER-- The February 13th Carolina Beach Today blog featured pictures of Fort Fisher with snow on it. I've never seen snow at the fort.

3. PROBLEMS AT GETTYSBURG?-- The March 3rd York (Pa.) Daily Record reported that a Maryland company had bought the 120 acre Gettysburg Country Club. They plan on changing its use, but won't say to what. It is located within the Gettysburg National Military Park boundaries. L

Here's Hoping for the Best. Snow at Fort Fisher, Who Would Have Believed It, But, After All, This is Uncle Al's Global Warming. --Old B-Runner

Tampa's Fort Brooke

Last week, I was writing about Tapa's Oaklawn Cemetery being shelled by the USS Sagamore while it was attacking Fort Brooke, which also played a role when Tampa was attacked by a naval expedition Oct-16-18, 1863 and a landing party caused three blockade-runners: the Scottish Chief, Kate Dale and A. B. Noyes to be destroyed. I wrote about this in three entries from October 20-25, 2008. The Union ships were te USS Adela and USS Tahoma.

In this battle, the bloc

Fort Brooke was located on the east bank of the Hillsborough River at its mouth on Tampa Bay. It is no longer there, being the present location of the Tampa Convention Center. The cemetery of the fort was relocated to Oaklawn.

In 1823, Colonels George Mercer Brooke and James Gasden were ordered to establish a military presence in the new Florida Territory and started a wood log fort at the site in 1824.

Besides the engagement with the Sagamore and the 1863 battle, the fort and town of Tampa was captured by Union forces May 6, 1864.

A Little-Known Part of the Civil War. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, March 6, 2010

CSS Neuse-- Part 2

A Short History of the CSS Neuse.

1861-1864-- constructed
March 1865-- participated in the Battle of Southwest Creek
March 1865-- sunk by crew to prevent capture
1963-- hull recovered from the Neuse River. My grandfather took me over to see it.
2002-- local efforts for a CSS Neuse II begin
2005-- construction completed
2008-- I got to see the outside of it
2010-- a new president of the foundation begins a capitalization campaign

The article mentioned that the CSS Neuse is the only replica of a Civil War ironclad in existence, but the Mariner's Museum in Norfolk, Virginia has a replica of the USS Monitor. I think it is too bad that the US government made no effort to keep any of the old ironclads. Some of the monitors were still afloat into the early 1900s.

Quite an Impressive Sight. --Old B-R'er

CSS Neuse II-- Part 1

From March 3rd

The CSS Neuse II has a new president, John Nix, who wants to use the ship to help Kinston, North Carolina's tourism. This full-sized replica of the original is definitely an impressive sight to see in downtown Kinston. Up to 5,000 visit the ship annually, and many more view it. At present, it is only open on the weekends.

The ship history goes back to 2002 when Alton Stapleford and the late Ted Sampley spearheaded efforts to make the 158-foot-long ironclad reality.

It is still a project in progress and now most of the interior work is completed. Soon, two replica cannons will be mounted inside the ship. However, they have had problems with exterior fiberglass which has cracked and allowed leakage to get inside.

Presently, the foundation is working on a pier structure to resemble what it was tied up to in the nearby Neuse River. Plans also call for a cannon to be mounted outside the ship.

Hoping to Visit It and Go Inside This Month When I Go back to North Carolina for the Bentonville 145th Reenactment. --Old B-Runner

Tampa's Oaklawn Cemetery-- Part 2

Members of Tampa's pioneer families are buried at the cemetery along with 13 Tampa mayors and one governor of Florida. The fact that most graves were designated with wooden markers explains why there are so many mass burials from Fort Brooke and Yellow Fever epidemic.

A walking tour is offered.

One interesting story belongs to J. T. MAGBEE, one of Tampa's first lawyers, a member of the Florida State Constitutional Convention, Florida state senator, early newspaper editor and a circuit court judge.

he was also known as a "scalawag" because he quickly sided with northern carpetbaggers after the Civil War. One time, locals took advantage of his propensity for strong drink which caused him to pass out cold in the street. They poured a mixture of molasses and cornbread on the passed out judge's body. Local night-roaming pigs found the mixture to their liking and they ate it as well as the poor judge's clothes causing quite an incident.

JOHN P. WALL was a mayor of Tampa and a surgeon in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He moved to Tampa in 1869 where his wife and daughter died from Yellow Fever. he then began a lifelong campaign to eradicate the disease. He was one of the first to determine the disease came from mosquitoes.

Interesting People. --Old B-R

Alonzo Cushing to Receive Posthumous Medal of Honor

Long overdue, but a very deserved honor by a famous family of Union military folks. Alonzo Cushing's actions and death on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg earned him this honor, thanks to the unending efforts of local Delafield historian Margaret Zerwekh who started working on the project seven years ago.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh notified US Senator Russ Feingold of the honor this past week. The Congressional Medal of Honor was established in 1862 as the Civil War intensified. Of the 3,448 recipients so far, 618 have been given posthumously.

Alonzo was born Jan. 19, 1842 in Delafield, Wisconsin, outside of Milwaukee but ws raised in Fredonia, New York. He had a brother named William who was quite famous for his actions in the Navy. Another brother Howard, survived the war and became a famous frontiersman. His fourth brother Milton was a Navy paymaster.

However, they should now also give one to his brother William Cushing who definitely deserves one for his actions in the war.

From Civil War Interactive Newswire and the March 3rd Living Lake Country (Wi).

A Well deserved honor. --Old B-Runner

Friday, March 5, 2010

USS Sagamore

A little Wikipedia information on the USS Sagamore. Its armament was listed as 1X20 pdr., 2X24 pdr. guns, and 1X12 pdr. It was commissioned December 7, 1861 (80 years before you-know-what) and served in the East Gulf Blockading squadron in the waters off Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.

Ordnance always contuses me a bit, so I'm not sure if one of its guns might have fired the 8-inch shell mentioned at the cemetery.

After the action at Tampa, which wasn't mentioned in the Wikepedia article, the Sagamore destroyed a Confederate salt works at St. Andrews Bay by today's Panama City on September 11, 1862. Three months later, it captured the British blockade-runner By George (great name) December 1, 1862 by Indian River, Florida.

Later, the ship captured or destroyed five other blockade-runners.

On July 28, 1863, it shelled New Smyrna, Florida, on the east coast. One of its targets was Stone Wharf, which still stands. It also operated on the Suwanee River.

Never Heard of the Ship Before. --Old B-R

Tampa's Oaklawn Cemetery

HMdb also mentions some other markers in the cemetery that are of interest.

One is for the Confederate States Soldiers and sailors that are interred there.

Another is for the 102 unknown soldiers and settlers relocated there from the old US Army cemetery at Fort Brooke March 24, 1981. This probably would have been before construction of the Tampa Convention Center which was built on the fort's site.

Another marker is on the spot where victims of the 1853, 1858, 1867, 1871 and 1887-1888 Yellow Fever Epidemics are buried.

Tampa was just a struggling community of about 500 when the cemetery was established in 1850. It was designated as a public burial ground for whites, blacks, slaves, rich and poor.

The first markers erected were wooden and decayed so that now, many bodies are unmarked. This is why there are so many mass burials of unmarked people.

Not Just Any Cemetery. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, March 4, 2010

USS Sagamore Shells a Florida Cemetery

The HMdb, Historical Marker Data Base, recently had an account of a cemetery in Tampa in which a shell from the USS Sagamore landed during a bombardment of the city June 30-July 1, 1862.

An 8-inch shell landed in Oaklawn Cemetery, founded 1850, and a marker is in it today to commemorate the event. Tampa was just a very small town during the Civil War and several small skirmishes, usually of a naval nature, took place.

On July 2, 1862, the Confederate commander of Fort Brooke, John W. Pearson, wrote of the USS Sagamore's attempt to reoccupy Tampa. One of the shells landed in the cemetery, which he noted a being quite a bit north of the fort.

There was mention in the article that Pearson might have moved some of his supplies to a nearby area.

There was no mention as to whether the shell was recovered, but I imagine it was.

Just a Little Bit of Minor History. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ole Miss Admiral Ackbars?

Is this Star Wars character to be the new mascot of the University of Mississippi? The old one, Col. Reb was kicked out in 2003 as being, well, too Confederate. You know, pol in. So students are deciding what they want the new one to be. Admiral Ackbar is a character from Star Wars and evidently has the backing of some folks.


My choice would be the Ole Miss Blutos, after that wonderful character in "Animal House." Hey, he always was going around in a sweatshirt with the word "college" on the front. And, you would have a built-in dance to do at athletic events, "Do the Bluto."

Just Seems to Me If You're Going to Get Stewpid, Go All the Way. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fort Sumter Cannons in Portland, Oregon

The March 2nd Cyclotram blog had pictures and a report about two Civil War cannons in Portland's Lowndale Square by a statue of a Spanish-American War soldier. These are small howitzers that were reportedly used by both Confederate and Union soldiers, so one points south and the other north.

They were brought to Portland compliments of Col. Henry Dosch. The plaque has Fort Sumter incorrectly spelled Sumpter (I always have to stop and think about this spelling myself when I write it).

It reads "Howitzers used in defense of Fort Sumpter 1861."

Cyclotram says this is the ONLY Civil War memorial in Portland.

Thanks, Cyclotram. --Old B-R'er

The Real Fort Walton, Florida

On our way leaving Destin, Florida, we stopped in Fort Walton Beach and took video and pictures of the cannon and Indian Mound downtown.

The cannon was from Fort Walton, hence the name of the town and beach, which was built during the Civil War and occupied by a small garrison.

The gun is pointing out to the Gulf of Mexico and was recovered from the ruins of the fort.

You can find out more about the fort in Dale Cox's excellent

And You Thought Beaches Were Just for Spring Breakin'. --Old B-Runner