Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saving More of Bentonville Battlefield-- Part 2

The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) has already saved 906 acres so this new 240 acres will bring the total to 1,146. Plus, the State of North Carolina has saved 334 acres. According to CWPT, this total makes Bentonville one of the best preserved battlefields in the nation.

Back on March 19-21, 1865, Confederate General Joseph "Old Joe" Johnston fought Union General William "Billy" Tecumseh Sherman in one last attempt to stop US progress across the Carolinas.

In addition, the purchase will set in motion an 18-month CWPT "North Carolina Legacy Campaign which will have a total of 455 acres saved at Bentonville and Wyse Fork Battlefield in Kinston.

In the Legacy Campaign there are thirteen different properties under contract or working on contract with a total cost of $2,206,700.

Bentonville is rated a Priority I.I, Class A by Congress which means it is one of the eleven most important pieces of hallowed ground in America that need to be urgently preserved.

Not Through Yet. --Old B-Runner

Friday, July 30, 2010

Saving More of Bentonville Battlefield

I belong to the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) where I put my money where my mouth is. I pay my dues and every so often donate extra money to battlefield acquisition, especially if it involves my birth state of North Carolina. I figure that if you are a Civil War buff, you should not only write, research and read about the war, you should actively support efforts to save as much as you can while you still can.

At the end of June, the CWPT's President James Lighthizer sent a letter informing us of the Trust's latest project to save 240 acres of Bentonville Battlefield. These acres are in four separate parcels. And, even better, every dollar I donate will be matched by a grant the Trust has arranged so its doubling my bucks.

My donation won't be a lot, $50 to be exact, but every little bit helps.

Maybe they can purchase some acres where they can have the 150th anniversary re-enactment in a place where visitors can ACTUALLY SEE IT.

This Fifty Bucks Is For You, Bentonville. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How the North Won the Civil War

From the July 29th New Deal 2.0 Blog "How to Win Wars" by Wallace C. Turbeville.

During the Civil War, the Confederacy generally had the better military leaders (Bragg excluded) and Union soldiers had marginally better rifles, but these were not decisive.

The real advantage was the North's economy which produces overwhelming numbers of weapons. It's road and rail networks provided incomparable logistical capability.

Employment opportunities and prospects for freedom attracted hordes of emigrants and former slaves, swelling the Union Army ranks.

Northern shipyards provided the numbers of vessels needed to blockade the Southern ports and shoreline.

Grant and Sherman did not defeat the Confederate Armies with clever tactics, but rather headlong assaults, with no regard for casualties.

I definitely would have to agree with this short, but insightful list of reasons.

It Was the Economy, Stupid. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

USS Nantucket

The USS Nantucket was a 1,875-ton Passaic-class coastal monitor built in Boston and commissioned February 26, 1863. It was 200 feet long, 46 feet wide, manned by a crew of 75 and a top speed of 7 knots. The single turret mounted one 15-inch and one 11-inch Dahlgren smoothbore cannons.

It served in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron off the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia. On April 7, 1863, it participated in the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor and sustained 51 hits. The Nantucket also participated in other operations around Charleston.

After the war, the Nantucket was in ordinary reserve for ten years and then was briefly recommissioned in 1882 and 1884 when it patrolled the northeast coast of New York and then was sent to New York and reserve again.

In 1895, it was transferred to the North Carolina Naval Militia. It was recommissioned for the Spanish-American War and stationed in Port Royal, SC, and sold for scrapping in 1900.

The Story of a Monitor. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tinclads in the Civil War

Back in January, I came across a book review in the Greenville (Tn) Sun about a new book by Myron J. "Jack" Smith "Tinclads in the Civil War-- Union Light-Draught Gunboat Operations on Western Waters, 1862-1865."

Smith is director of Tusculum College's Thomas J. Garland Library and quite a prolific author, having now written eighty books since 1972.

Slow and heavy ironclads proved ineffective at patrolling the narrow and shallow rivers in western theater of operations. It was found that steamboats fitted with thin armor filled the need. They could easily operate in shallow water and the Confederates launched many operations against them resulting in many ship-to-shore fights.

Though they were often attacked from the banks, they provided convoy protection for merchant ships, enforced revenue measures, towed vessels, delivered dispatches and provided other vital fleet services.

This is actually the third book in a series.

The first was "Le Roy Fitch: The Civil War Career of a Union River Boat Commander" from 2007.

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

The Old Brown Water Navy. --Old B-Runner

Monday, July 26, 2010

Albert Woolson-- Last Surviving Union Veteran and Demise of the GAR

Although Woolson never saw combat himself, he was the son of a Union soldier who died at Shiloh.

Woolson died at age 106 in 1956, having outlived Albert Hard of the 37th New York by three years, who was the last-surviving combat veteran.

All property of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was deeded to the Sons of Union veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). GAR records were given to the Library of Congress. Badges, flags and the official seal were sent to the Smithsonian.

Until its dissolution, the GAR was headquartered in one half of the Chicago Main Library, built in 1893, on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Randolph streets.

The building is now the Harold Washington Library Chicago Cultural Center, but the original GAR meeting hall is preserved. There is a frieze around the room with the names of major Civil War battles as well as artifacts.

Quite an Impressive Place. --B-R'er

Sea Bags and Ditty Bags in the US Navy

Information from Steve Hesson in the Civil War Navy and Marine Yahoo e-Mail Group.


The seabags that were issued to sailors were usually 36 inches tall, 12 inches across and usually made of heavy canvas and closed with a single draw string.

Everything a sailor owned were to be stowed in the bag. I am really sure I couldn't get all my stuff into that amount of space.


They were a smaller version of the sea bag standing 12 inches tall and 8 inches across. This is where sailors stored their personal items like tooth brush, comb, shaving kit and sewing gear.

So, a Sailor's Life for Me? --Old B-Runner

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Two Real Sons of the Confederacy-- Part 2

H.V. Booth's father was 74 when he was born and sixteen when he entered Confederate service. His father was born in 1847 and had four other brothers fighting for the South and one was killed in Virginia.

He entered service in 1863 and was a guard at Andersonville where he got a fever. There was no medicine to treat it so he was sent home to recover. When he got better, he returned, but on the way found out the war was over so turned around and went back home.

His father died at age 87 in 1934.

H.V. said he had ten half brothers and sisters as his father was married before.

James Brown's father was twenty when he enlisted in 1861 and served all four years of the war. When James was born, his father was 71.

There were a lot of instances of young girls in their teens marrying the sixty and older gentlemen, especially during the Depression since these guys got pensions which made them attractive to these poor girls.

I remember talking about this to my classes back in the early 2000s when the last Confederate widow died, or so we thought, but since then have found that there are several Confederate and Union widows still alive until 2005

See Maudie Hopkins in Wikipedia.

Those Old Guys!! --B-R'er

Two Real Sons of the Confederacy-- Part 1

This week, the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization is having its annual convention in Anderson, South Carolina. This organization is made up of direct descendants of Confederate military personnel who took up the charge to defend their good name as they passed on into history.

Two REAL SONS attended the convention and there was an article in the Anderson (SC) Independent Mail by Liz Carey "Two real sons of the Confederacy recognized." Not only was their text, but a 4-minute video of them.

Having real sons means the old veterans were still having kids into their declining years.

H.V. Booth, 93, is from Elberton, Georgia and James Brown, 98, hails from Loudon, Tennessee. Brown said there are about 100 real sons left on both sides with about 30 Confederate. This means the Union veterans were also having kids into their old age. (And this before all these marital aids you can't watch TV without seeing these days. Must have been a different sort of man.

I sure would like to talk to these two men.

Well Worth Checking Out. --Old B-Runner

Friday, July 23, 2010

Battle of Mesilla

Here is a Civil War battle I'd never heard of before, and actually there were two battles at Mesilla, a town in the southern part of New Mexico along the Mexican border. Back then it was part of the Arizona Territory.

From the July 23rd Las Cruces (NM) Sun-News "Dedication of sign depicting the historic Civil War Battle of Mesilla" by S. derrickson Moore.

From August 1, 1861, to July 1862, Mesilla was the capital of the Arizona Territory Confederate States of America as a result of the first battle when a small force under Confederate Lt.-Col. John Robert Baylor defeated another small force under Union Major Isaac Lynde in fighting between June 24-27, 1861.

The New Mexico Sons of Confederate Veterans has paid for the sign which will be dedicated tomorrow, July 24th.

On June 24, 1861, Baylor and about 300 men were at Mesilla when Lynde and about 380 soldiers approached the town and demanded they surrender. Upon refusal, shots were exchanged and an inept attack made by the Union force. A few days later, Lynde returned to Fort Fillmore (near Mesilla) which he later abandoned when he found out Baylor had sent for reinforcements.

He then retreated to San Augustin Pass and surrendered.

Losses at the first battle were small and disputed. Confederate: 2 killed, 7 wounded. Union: 3-13 killed, 6 wounded.

On August 1, 1861, Baylor proclaimed the Arizona Territory of the Confederate States of America and made himself governor.

There was a second Battle of Mesilla outside of town on June 1, 1862 which was a Union victory. Confederate forces withdrew back into the town.

A Little-Known Aspect of the War. --Old B-Runner

Galena's Blakely Gun-- Part 4

During the action at Fort Sumter, the Blakely gun was commanded by Captain J.P. Thomas of the Citadel Academy. He later became commandant 1882-1885.

General P.G.T. Beauregard wrote Walker, "We have a remarkable rifled cannon, 12-pdr., superior to any other here. Others ought to be ordered."

The plaque on the gun saying it was a gift was a major identifying aspect of the gun. It is no longer on the gun, but its original location is easy to see. It was a gift specifically from Charles K. Prioleau of John Fraser & Co. of London. This company was very involved in blockade-running.

There was even an article and picture of the Galena Blakely in the May 18, 1861, Harpers Weekly. This is kind of surprising since this was a northern newspaper.

Not much is known about this cannon from Fort Sumter to near the end of the war. O would imagine it did participate in the defense of Charleston during the time.

When Charleston was evacuated, the gun was taken by Confederate forces as far as Cheraw, SC, where elements of Sherman's 17th Army Corps caught up with it. On March 3, 1865, there was skirmishing before Confederate forces withdrew across the Big Peedee River (US-52 goes through Cheraw).

And the Story Continues. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Galena's Blakely Gun-- Part 2

South Carolina Governor F.W. Pickens wrote Confederate Secretary of War L.P. Walker on April 9, 1861 about the Blakely's arrival in Charleston: "...a fine rifled cannon from improvement upon Armstrong, steel rolls and coils with an elevation of seven and one-half degrees to a mile. It throws a shell or twelve-pound shot with the accuracy of a dueling pistol and with only one and a half pounds of powder."

He went on to say he hoped to have it in position at one of Charleston's fortifications by nightfall.

The "Point Battery" at Cummings Point on Morris Island mounted the gun. During the battle, it "consistently hurled twelve-pound iron projectiles to breach the walls of the fortress, 1250 yards distant. The gun fired only eleven shot and nineteen shells...due to limited ammunition, but it has been noted that the bolts from the rifle penetrated the fort walls as deeply as 11-inches."

Quite the impressive first outing for the cannon. Lack of ammunition was also a problem with the Fort Fisher 100-pdr. Armstrong cannon. Was the Blakely or Armstrong a better cannon? I'd always heard that the Armstrongs were the best there was.

Not Finished Yet. --B-R'er

Galena's Blakely Gun-- Part 1

I looked it up and found two really fine articles on what bis called the "Galena Blakely." I had no idea it had so much history. I'll have to go back the next time we're out in Galena, probably near the end of August for our 37th anniversary.

I'll have a whole new appreciation for it.

The first article is from Civil War Talk website under Famous Weapons.

It is a 12-pdr. Blakely Rifle with an 84-inch long steel tube and "may be one of the most historical, and most frequently misidentified Blakely's in the United States."

*** It is believed to have been used in the bombardment of Fort Sumter April 12, 1861.

*** It is also believed to be the first rifled cannon to be used in combat on the American continent.

*** And, it is believed to be the only rifled cannon to be used in that opening battle of the Civil War.

It was designed by British Captain Theophilus Alexander Blakely who designed a variety of his guns. When his government opted not to use his cannons, he sold quite a few to the Confederacy.

More Galena Blakely Coming. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Civil War on the Mississippi River Trip 2010-- Part 6

Back in Galena's Grant Park. Walked a ways over to the other Civil War gun, a 3.67 inch Blakely rifled cannon which was present in Charleston, SC, when Fort Sumter was fired upon to start the war.

It is inscribed "Presented to the sovereign State of South Carolina by a citizen residing abroad in commemoration of the 20th of December, 1860." This referred to when the state seceded.

The gun was found abandoned by retreating Confederates in Cheraw, SC, after Charleston was abandoned. It was shipped to the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois where it remained until a veteran of the 45th Illinois remembered the gun's capture.

On April 29, 1896, it was placed in the park. on the celebration of US Grant's birthday. It was restored in 1998.

I Don't Know Much About Blakely Guns So Will Do Some Research. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Civil War on the Mississippi River Trip 2010-- Part 5

Civil War Cannons and Soldiers' Monument Ogle County Courthouse.

Followed Il-2 into Oregon, Illinois, where we saw two Civil War era cannons in front of the Ogle County courthouse (built in 1891) along with a Soldiers' Monument. The two cannons were placed some time between 1898 and 1900. Both were considered surplus guns at the time.

The cannon on the north is a six and a half inch 1864 Parrott Naval Rifle weighing 9,722 pounds. The one to the north is an 1846 Columbiad made in Boston.

The Soldiers' memorial was built in 1911 by Lorado Taft and honors war dead from Ogle County from the War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War and World War I.

No Battles, But Plenty of Memorials in Illinois. --Old B-Runner

Monday, July 19, 2010

Civil War on the Mississippi River Trip 2010-- Part 4

Still in Grant Park in Galena and looking at the Soldier's Monument. It is inscribed "To the Soldiers of Jo Davies County Who Served in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1865."

Soldiers have their names on all four sides, along with two battles: Wilderness, Chickamauga; Shiloh, Ft. Donelson; Stone River, Appomattox; Chattanooga, Vicksburg.

There was also a US Grant monument that had the battles he fought in during the Mexican War and Civil War.

Getting a Lot of Civil War, Even Though This Far North. --Old B-R'er

Civil War on the Mississippi River Trip 2010-- Part 3

Back to Grant Park in Galena. I had scoped it out earlier on Saturday when I had driven into Galena looking for the street rods. Like I said, I had never been to the park before.

The Napoleon is a 12-Pounder field gun Model 1857 bronze smoothbore made in 1862 at Miles Greenwood's "Eagle Foundry" in Cincinnati, Ohio. I get this information from a plaque mounted by the cannon.

Forty percent of the artillery batteries in both Union and Confederate armies consisted of these guns.

It was presented to Galena by the US War Department and arrived in April 1865, and, in May, it was fired in honor of the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. It was on display at the Galena Fairgrounds until 1882 when it was moved to the "Soldier's Monument" lot on the west side of the river.

In 1891, Grant Park was created and both the cannon and the monument were moved there. The cannon was restored in 2000 and remounted.

I'm sure I read somewhere that it was captured by the Confederates then recaptured by Union forces, but there was nothing about it on the plaque.

A Cannon is a Cannon is a Cannon. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Civil War on the Mississippi River Trip 2010-- Part 2

Yesterday, I went to Grant Park in Galena where I saw the two Civil War cannons I wrote about last year. They are part of four pieces of artillery at the park, all of which were captured during the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I. That means captured from the Confederacy, Spain and Germany.

Two of them are Confederate cannons. One is a bronze 12-pdr. Napoleon made in 1862 in Cincinnati, but captured by Confederates then recaptured.

The other one is a Blakely rifled gun given to South Carolina by a citizen living in Britain in honor of the state's secession from the Union. It took part in the opening action of the war with the firing on Fort Sumter and was captured by Union forces near Cheraw, SC, near the end of the war.

The Civil War Up Nawth. --Old B-Runner

Friday, July 16, 2010

Civil War on Mississippi River Trip-- July 2010

Cruising through Illinois right now, not actually a hotbed of Civil War history, although there are many memorials to Union soldiers.

Yesterday, in Oregon, I saw a different kind of Union soldier statue at the Ogle County Courthouse. Actually, it was two Union soldiers made out of concrete by noted sculptor Lorado Taft who made the more famous Blackhawk statue up the Rock River from town.

In addition, there is a plaque with the names of soldiers who served from Ogle County during the war.

Directly out front of the courthouse door are two cannons that were placed there by the local GAR post around 1900. GAR, of course, stands for Grand Army of the Republic, the organization offormer Union veterans formed after the war. Southern soldiers had the UCV United Confederate Veterans.

The plaques on the cannons did not say if they were Civil War cannons or not, but they may well have been.

Real Pretty Courthouse. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The First Hunley Crew

Before the Hunley sank the second time, it also went down August 29, 1863. By this time, the Confederate Navy had taken over the submarine and it was under the command of Lt. John A. Payne, who had come over from the CSS Chicora, a Confederate ironclad in Charleston Harbor.

It sank off the wharf of Fort Johnson. Four men escaped this tragedy and five drowned.

Survivor Charles Hasker reported that Payne accidentally stepped on a lever controlling the dive planes during a test run and the submarine submerged with its hatches still open.

It was, of course, raised. Three crew members escaped and five drowned.


Michael Caine
Nicholas Davis
Frank Doyle
Charles Hasker (survived)
John Kelly
Lt. John A. Payne (survived)
Absolum Williams
William Robinson (survived)

I Don't Think I'd Volunteer for Duty on That Ship. --Old B-R'er

It's Cannon Time at Fort Fisher Saturday

A tip of the hat to the good folks at Fort Fisher State Historical Site in Kure Beach, NC, who are putting on activities geared toward young people this Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Uniformed staff and volunteers will be firing the fort's 12-pounder bronze Napoleon cannon at 11:45 and 3:45. This is part of the "Load, Ready, Fire!!" program.

Throughout the days, kids between the ages of 4 and 13 will be invited to join the "Junior Reserves" which will get them a certificate and patch after the complete an activity book. Here's an idea I've seen done at some Civil War re-enactments, how about teaching them a drill. The kids enjoyed it and the adults as well.

There were warnings about the loud noise from the cannon firing. No kidding in this department. They're noisy, smokey, and then there's that gush of pressure that sweeps over.

The site offers a variety of experiences to visitors including a guided tour around the remaining part of the fort, a 32-pdr garrison cannon replica that fires and some very interesting trees.

Inside the center are exhibits, a movie, a fiber-optic map of the Second Battle of Fort Fisher and artifacts from the blockade-runner Modern Greece.

Looks like a good time at the old fort this weekend.

Hey, the Modern Greece Is One of My Boats! --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Second Hunley Crew Burial Site

Once again, the good folks at HMDB, Historical Marker Database, were good enough to find another marker of particulat interest to us Navy buffs. From October 15, 2009

This one is in North Charleston, South Carolina.

"Here rests the crew of the Confederate Submarine Hunley who died October 15, 1863 when making a practice dive in the harbor."

And then a list of names:

Horace L. Hunley
Robert Brockbank
Joseph Patterson
Thomas W. Park
Charles McHugh
Henry Beard
John Marshall
Charles L. Sprague

Horace Hunley was, of course, the inventor of the Hunley. He was not supposed to be on the crew, but at the last minute decided to take command. He received a full military honors burial in Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery where Lt. Dixon is now buried. He was the commander of the Hunley when it sank the USS Housatonic and then itself disappeared for over a hundred years.

I also read that 32 had lost their lives on the Hunley.

Quite an Innovative Piece of Technology, But Probably More Deadly to Its Own Side. --B-R'er

So, What Was a Civil War Sailor's WQSB?

From Steve Hesson in the Civil War Naval and Marine Yahoo e-mail group.

The jobs and position of a sailor were determined by his Watch, Quarter and Station Bill (WQSB).


hen the sailor first reported to his ship, he is assigned a number. If he was the 56th to report, he is #56.This number and his name then would be stenciled on each piece of his clothing.

This was not commonly done on smaller vessels of the Navy. The sailor's WQSB covered everything.

And I'd Never heard of the WQSB. I wonder if the Confederate Navy had a similar system.

My WQSB Would Have to Be 66. --Old B-Runner

Fort Fisher Recreation Area Gets New Superintendent

Matt Windsor has taken over as the new superintendent of the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area according to the North Carolina Division of Parks and recreation.

He is chief of operations in charge of staffing, training, law enforcement, visitor services, natural resource protection and environmental education. That is quite a few hats to wear.

Windsor graduated from North Carolina State in 1997 with a degree in parks, recreation and tourism management.

Since 1998, he has a ranger at Hanging Rock and Fort Macon and a science teacher in Forsyth County.

The Fort Fisher State Recreation Area covers 1,547 acres and seven miles of ocean shore. In 2006, 623,849 visitors came to it.

This is by the Fort Fisher State Historic Site which is run by a different department.

Welcome Aboard. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pennsylvanians at Fort Fisher

From the Dec. 24th Civil War Rifles Blog.

Admiral David Dixon Porter was a native of Chester, Pennsylvania as was Galusha Pennypacker, of the Army. However, Wikipedia has Pennypacker being born in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Porter commanded the Union fleet in both attacks on Fort Fisher as well as the Wilmington Campaign.

Galusha Pennypacker distinguished himself at the Second Battle. General in charge, Alfred Terry referred to Pennypacker as the "Real Hero of Fort Fisher" although argument could also be made for Newton Curtis. Like Curtis, Pennypacker was wounded numerous times leading the assaults on the traverses and also received a Medal of Honor.

Terry thought Pennypacker would not survive the wounds and promised he would make him a general if he lived. On February 18, 1865, Pennypacker was appointed brigadier general of volunteers at age 20, the youngest general-ever to this day.

Heroes, to Be Sure. --Old B-Runner

Monday, July 12, 2010

CSS Alabama Cannon at Museum of Mobile-- Part 1

From the June 17th Suite 101 by Kathy Warnes.

This year marks the 146th anniversary of the sinking of the raider CSS Alabama. A black, ten-foot long, two and a half ton cannon from the vessel has been unveiled at the Museum of Mobile in Alabama. It is one of three of the six total cannons of that size that have been recovered from the wreck.

It is slated to be the central exhibit in a 700 square foot room dedicated to the CSS Alabama that will open later this summer.

One of the other two cannons is at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, and the other is in Charleston, SC.

French and American divers recovered it in 2003. Since then, it has been at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston, SC, being preserved.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Fort Fisher Armstrong Cannon

From the good folks at Historical Marker Database.

From a plaque at the Fort fisher, NC, Museum.

"The most effective gun in the fort" wrote Col. William Lamb about the 150-pounder Armstrong gun mounted at Purdie Battery midway along the sea front of the fort. (I wonder if it was named after Col. Purdie who was killed at Chancellorsville leading the 18th NC in a charge, the day after his men wounded General Jackson and who I've written about recently?)

It was manufactured by Sir William Armstrong & Co. in England and featured a rifled tube and weighed 16,000 pounds which could hurl a shell up to five miles. However, the gun's effectiveness was greatly reduced because there was not an adequate supply of shells causing it to be rarely fired.

After the fall of the fort, it became a trophy of war and today can be seen at West Point's Monument Point.

According to the Battle of Averasboro Museum, the battery was named for Col. Thomas Purdie.

Quite a Weapon. B-R'er

So, What Did Lincoln Sound Like?

It looks like Lincoln, moves like Lincoln and quotes like Lincoln, but historians say it doesn't sound like Lincoln.

They're talking about the the animatronic Mr. Lincoln that made its premier at the 1964 World's Fair in New York. For years it gave speeches at Disneyland's Main Street Opera House, "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln."

The voice of Lincoln was an audio recording of actor Royal Dano which, according to historians, does not sound like Lincoln. Of course, Lincoln died long before audio recordings were possible, but most contemporaries say he had a relatively high tenor voice.

According to historian Ronald C. White, if Lincoln became nervous, it would almost become a falsetto.

A new Mr. Lincoln show opened in December 2009.

And I always he though he had a slow, deep voice. If this is right, it sure blows my idea of the president.

There is a long article on Wikipedia about it called "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln."

Go Ahead, Mess With My Mind. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Grant Comes Home to Galena

One of the great little old towns anywhere in the US is located in northwestern Illinois, and called Galena, "The Town That Time Forgot." Lots of old buildings and great scenery and the only town General and President U.S. Grant called home.

Lots of things to do there as well. In two weeks, we're thinking about going out there to enjoy the Antique Town Rods Run and Car Show. We went to Galena for our honeymoon back in 1973.

The Galena Gazette reports that the US Grant Association will be holding their 2011 conference in Galena for the first time since it was formed in 1962.

Back in May 2008, five people from Galena went to the Grant Association's conference and pitched for them to hold it there and again they returned to St. Louis this year and their efforts finally paid off.

The 2011 conference will be held May 6-8th with the historic 1850s DeSoto House Hotel hosting. Grant had his campaign headquarters there during his first campaign for president in 1868.

Just Something Else to See and Do in Galena. --B-R'er

Have Your Confederate Ram and Wings, Too-- Wings Over the Neuse

Thanks to the Civil War Interactive Newswire for tipping me off to this story in the July 5th ENC Today "Tickets on sale for the 2nd annual Wings over the Neuse."

For the second year in a row, the CSS Neuse Foundation will be raising funds to honor a member on August 13th. The foundation runs the CSS Neuse II, the full-sized replica of the Confederate ironclad sunk at Kinston, North Carolina near the end of the war.

Last year, the late Ted Sampley was honored with the proceeds of the chicken wings sale. He died in 2009 and had started the effort to build the ship. The event raised $6,800 and a granite memorial was built an unveiled in May during the BBQ Festival on the Neuse.

This year's proceeds are going to be used to build a reflection memorial garden in honor of master shipbuilder Alton Stapleford who either built every part of the Neuse II or supervised it.

Plates of five wings will cost $5 each and include all the fixins'.

Come on down and honor the man who built the ship. For those of you with Civil War interests, Kinston is one town that has fully embraced its heritage in that conflict. Where else you gonna see a full-sized Confederate ram replica and then, what is left of the real one?

Not Sure If I Like My BBQ or CW Better. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Casco Class Monitors-- USS Casco

Casco Class Monitors:

Casco, Chimo, Cohoes, Etlah, Klamath, Koka, Modoc, Napa, Naubuc, Nausett, Shawnee, Shiloh, Squando, Suncook, Tunxis, Umpqua, Wassuc, Waxsaw, Yazoo, Yuma.


The Casco was launched in May 1864 by the Atlantic Works in Boston at a cost of $500,000. Commissioned December 4, 1864 and decommissioned June 10, 1865. After that, it was renamed Hero for awhile before the name was changed back to Casco.

After the problems with its seaworthiness were discovered, it was refitted with a spar torpedo in June, 1864.

It was 1,175 tons, carried a crew of 69 officers and men and only mounted one 11-inch Dahlgren gun on the deck after the turret was removed.

About its only service was removal of mines in the James River, Virginia.

The Casco was broken up in 1875.

A fairly Undistinguished Career. --Old B-R

Casco Class Monitors

From Wikipedia.

These were a light draft monitor built for operation in shallow areas like along the Mississippi River. It was the largest and by far, most ambitious monitor-building program undertaken during the war.

Problems, delays and bureaucratic meddling plagued the Casco. During sea trials, the ship proved particularly unseaworthy which caused a public scandal.

After the success of the first Monitor, the Navy was enthusiastic and ordered several classes to be built. The Casco Class was specifically designed to operate in shallow bays, rivers and inlets.

Draft was not to exceed six feet and they were to have a very low freeboard. The Monitor's designer, John Ericsson worked on the design of this class. Each was to be 225 feet long with a single revolving turret mounting twin 11-inch guns. In addition, the upper deck was to be armored, and twin screws would provide an eight knot cruising speed.

They had armored hulls built around a large wooden raft for buoyancy. The design was intentionally kept simple so that they could be built in private shipyards with a 40-day target to completion.

Those Monitors Were a Real Problem for the Confederacy. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Colonel Purdie's Uniform at Averasboro Battlefield

From the Averasboro Battlefield site.

On May 21, 2001, the Averasboro Battlefield Commission was presented a uniform worn by Colonel Thomas James Purdie while a junior officer in Confederate service. His nephew Thomas James Purdie made the presentation on behalf of the Purdie family.

The uniform was made by the Purdie family and had been in many different locations over the years, but now has a permanent home at Averasboro Battlefield in North Carolina.

It consists of a frock, trousers, vest and is accompanied by a medicine chest, valise, sword and a canteen with a bullet hole in it. The last item probably has an interesting story to go with it.

Colonel Purdie was in command of the 18th North Carolina regiment may 2, 1863, when General Jackson was wounded. The next day, he was killed in battle.

The uniform was at the Purdie home from 1861 to 1863, then to the North Carolina Museum of History. Then to Dunn and then Bladen County. In 1976, it was loaned to the Bladen County Historical Society where it remained until the 1990s. During this time it was not cared for.

The Purdie family has been in Harnet County for many years. Family members at the presentation: Thomas James Purdie, John Wesley Purdie, John Alexander Purdie, David Boyce Purdie, Elaine Pudie and Alice Purdie.

The article also has a picture of Col. Purdie, a picture of the uniform and a short history of him.

The Story of a Uniform. --B-R'er

The 18th North Carolina at Chancellorsville-- The Wounding of Stonewall Jackson-- Part 2

Back on June 28th, I picked up on a story I started back in December. I'm continuing.

"Lane's ambulance corps was in our immediate rear and was called into use. A blanket was placed over General Jackson to keep his wounding from being known, as he was carried to the rear.

"About a half an hour after the wounding of Jackson, another firing took place along the line and A. P. Hill, who had gone back on foot to look for something that was left where Jackson was wounded, was hit in the calf of his leg. Hill was much displeased, and was reproving us for the firing at noise, etc.."

Wikipedia mentions that Hill was temporarily put in command of Jackson's corps after the wounding, but was then wounded himself. That wound was minor.

You'd think General Hill would have known better to go out in front of the lines, especially in front of the 18th, by the time of his wounding. I imagine there might have been a few expletives in what Hill had top say.

Don't Go Wandering Around in Front of the Lines!! --Old B-Runner

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Civil War Story to Celebrate Memorial Day

From the Warwick (RI) Beacon "Civil War stories as we celebrate Memorial Day" by Russell J. Moore.

William Blade, Jr. served in the Korean War, but he well remembers his grandfather, James Blade, who served in the Civil War. His grandfather died in 1938 at age 96 when William was just nine years old.

But, he remembers his grandfather as one tough old son of a gun, but who was very close-mouthed about the Civil War.

James Blade was born in England in 1842, and came to he United States in 1852. He enlisted in a Rhode Island infantry regiment for money at age 19 in place of a man who had been drafted. He was sent to guard Washington, DC. The regiment returned three months later without having fought in a battle.

Later, in 1962, he joined the Navy and served on the USS Yankee which mostly delivered supplies, evacuated troops, did reconnaissance and captured blockade-runners. In 1864, he got an honorable discharge and enlisted in the Rhode Island artillery and participated in 19 battles.

There are no medical records to substantiate it, but James claimed he was wounded twice: once by a bayonet and once by a saber.

His future wife,Catherine Whelan had brothers who died fighting for the Confederacy.

So, this man served in the infantry, navy and artillery.

Quite a Career. --B-R'er

Running the Blockade: Kearsarge Model-- Fort Fisher Shell

Some New News About an Old War.

Got some money laying around?

1. KEARSARGE MODEL-- Got $400? Amazon has a 35-inch long model of the the ship that sank the CSS Alabama for cheap compared to other Civil War models, a cool $400. It is 1:100 inch scale.

2. FORT FISHER SHELL-- On eBay, a medium-sized portion of an exploded artillery shell with a verbal history that it was dug up at Fort Fisher in the 1950s. It weighs just over five pounds.

the owner bought a box of shell fragments from Rebel Relics, described as a reputable dealer. The number 52 is painted on it, possibly the date it was dug.

The seller also goes on to say that Fort Fisher artifacts are hard to find and expensive. Bidding starts at 99 cents.

Hey, I'd Like One of These. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago

There was a short article in today's Chicago Tribune about a wonderful place for books in Chicago called the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop.

I've been in the place a few times, but a long time ago back when I used to visit the city before it got too expensive. I think it used to be on Chestnut Street on the North Side, but now the address reads 357 W. Chicago Avenue. The web side is, but I wasn't able to get it to come up.

Book Places "Abraham Lincoln Book Shop" by Robert Duffer.

Along with all the books primarily centered on Lincoln, US presidents and the Civil War, you can see a Norman Rockwell print of "a hunky Lincoln holding an ax in one hand and a book in another."

There is a Salvador Dali print next to Lincoln cigars and never-minted pennies. Of special interest is a bed from the Lincoln home in Springfield makes it feel like a museum in a book store. There are rifles, swords, charcoal drawings along with letters from soldiers and even one from Stonewall Jackson in the field.

The store was started by Ralph G. Newman who also started The Civil War Round Table of Chicago in 1940, the very first of some 200 round tables throughout the United States and the world.

Definitely a Place to Visit When in Chicago (But, Beware the 10% sales Tax). --Old B-Runner

Friday, July 2, 2010

USS Monadnock

The USS Monadnock took part in both battles of Fort Fisher, using its four 15-inch guns to batter the fort.

It was the first of a two-ship class of 3295 ton double turret Monitors built at the Boston navy Yard and commissioned in 1864.

After Fort Fisher, it went to Charleston and took part in the final operations at that place and then served a short stint on the James River before going to Havana, Cuba. to keep an eye on the Confederate ironclad Stonewall.

In October 1865, it was refitted for a voyage to California where it appears a structures were added to the top of the turrets and the free board raised. This was the longest cruise by any monitor up until that time.

In 1874, the Monadnock's wooden hull was broken up as part of a program to modernize Civil War monitors into modern ones. It essentially became a whole new ship but kept the name Monadnock.

It was launched in 1885 and commissioned in 1895 and took part in the Spanish-American War. It was sold in 1923.

The History of a Monitor. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Confederate States Lighthouse Bureau

The Confederate States Lighthouse Bureau was organized in March 1861. It was responsible for all lighthouses, lightships, buoys and other navigational aids, administration, repairs and illumination. It took over from the United States Lighthouse Bureau and was essentially the same.

There really wasn't much to do as by July 1861, most lights had been extinguished so as not to aid Union naval forces. Many of the lenses and equipment were moved inland

The CSLB even had their own flag, but no record or picture of it exists.

It was formed March 6, 1861 with Raphael Semmes as the officer in charge with instructions to report to the secretary of the Treasury on a yearly basis. Act 51 divided the Confederate seacoast into no more than five districts, each to be run by a lieutenant.

The bureau's papers are in the National Archives in Washington, DC.

Never heard of This Group before. --Old B-Runner

Cook and Brothers Armory, Athens, Georgia

The building still stands in Athens at East Broad Street. The exterior is rock coursed in the bottom story and brick on the second. It also has a stair tower and is quite an interestingly designed building.

The operation was originally in New Orleans, but was forced to move after the fall of that city to Federal forces in 1862. They first moved to Vicksburg and then to Athens where they were plagued by a lack of skilled labor.

They contracted with the Confederate government to make Enfield rifles in the summer and fall of 1862. They projected to make 600 rifles a month, but never met that quota because of the labor problem. All in all,, they made between 3,800 and 4,000 weapons. Production ceased in 1864 when they were not reimbursed. Their labor force became the 23rd Battalion Georgia.

The property stood empty until 1870 when it became involved in the textile industry.

Sometimes, Your Best-Laid Plans Just Don't Work Out. -- B-R'er

How Much is That Civil War Object in the Window?-- Part 2

From the Paul Fraser Collectibles site

Along with the two Confederate naval pennants I wrote about June 29th, Fraser also offered a Gatling gun in their June 26-17 auction. It went for $280,000, even though it was not an item from the Civil War having been made in 1976 in Hartford, Connecticut.

It has ten musket-length 32 inch round partly hexagonal bright steel barrels. Even before bidding began, it already had a $90,000 pre-auction bid.

It does have a history as it was featured in the May 10, 1876 opening of the centennial exposition presided over by President U.S. grant and the inventor, R. J. Gatling was at the event as well.

Pre-sale estimate ranged from $175,000 to $250,000.

Neat, But i Sure Can't Afford Something Like That. --Old B-Runner