Friday, August 27, 2010

Fort Fisher Coquina Rock

Coquina stone exists along the east coast of Florida and all the way as far north as Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Coquina is incompletely consolidated sedimentary rock. It kind of looks like a Rice Krispy's bar.

The walls of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Fl., are built of this substance.

Where available, coquina is sometimes used as a paving material since it is usually not very well cemented and easily breaks down into components like shell or coral fragments and can be used for gravel and crushed harder rocks.

There is a FlickR photo of coquina rocks at Fort Fisher and the recently discovered Fort Fisher lighthouse had a ring of coquina between an outer and inner brick walls.

I'm not sure, but I believe coquina rock was removed from an offshore reef to build a foundation for US-421 and that caused the ocean to come in and cover so much of the fort.

Mother Nature at the Fort. --B-R'er

Hawaii's Civil War Veterans Honored

When you think of the Civil War, Hawaii is not a name that naturally comes to mind, but there were some Hawaiian-born veterans who fought for both the Confederacy and Union.

A big thanks to the Civil War Interactive Newswire for alerting me to this. From August 26th KGNB (Hawaii) news "Hawaii's Civil War Veterans honored at Punchbowl" by Lisa Kubok.

At a service August 26th a bronze plaque honoring Civil War veterans was dedicated at the overlook of the Punchbowl National Cemetery. Two descendants of the veterans attended the ceremony.

One hundred and ten Hawaiian-born veterans have been documented, including some Native Hawaiians. This has been a difficult project undertaken by the Hawaii Civil War Round Table, especially with native Hawaiians whose last names were often entered on the rolls incorrectly and in some cases even made up..

A 21 gun salute was fired by Civil War re-enactors.

Hawaii, Civil War Destination. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blockade-Runner Advance

From the Confederate Soldiers, Sailors, Rosters and Unit Histories 1861-1865 blog.

On February 1st, the blockade-runner Advance ran the blockade from Wilmington to Nassau. From July 1863 to September 1864, it ran the blockade 18 times before being captured.

Its commander was Lt. Thomas M. Crossan and Chief Engineer James MaGleen.

Crossan is buried at the Somerville Family Cemetery in Warrenton in Warren County, North Carolina. He also commanded the North Carolina ship Winslow.

The Advance, Now THERE Was a Blockade-Runner. --B-R'er

John Laird Sons: Blockade Runners

In 1864, the sidewheel, steel-hulled, purpose-built blockade-runner Wren was built by Laird Sons for Fraser, Trenholm & Company. It made three successful round trip voyages between Havana and Galveston.

In 1864, the purpose-built, steel-hulled, sidewheel blockade-runner Lark was built for Fraser, Trenholm & Company. It made four successful round trip runs between Havana and Galveston. One rare occurrence was fighting off a Federal boarding party.

On May 24, 1865, carrying the Denbigh's crew, the Lark ran out of Galveston and became the last blockade-runner to clear a Confederate port.

Another purpose-built, steel-hulled, sidewheel steamer, the Penguin was built in 1865 for Fraser, Trenholm & Co., but was unfinished when the war ended.

Purpose-built would mean that the ship was built specifically to run the blockade off the Confederate coast.`

You can go to an excellent site on a blockade-runner at Denbigh Project.

Thanks Laird Sons. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mapping Out Fort Fisher's Future

From the August 23rd Wilmington Star News.

Two public forums will be held today and tomorrow to discuss the planning process for the future of the fort according to the Fort Fisher State Historic Site public information officer, Si Lawrence.

The first one tonight at 6:30 pm, will be in the auditorium of the New Hanover County Arboretum. Tomorrow it will be at the police training room at the Carolina Beach Municipal Building at 6:30 pm.

Charles Page, the president of Cool Springs Center, will moderate the discussion.

I would like to see more of the fortification returned to its 1865 appearance like the Sheppard Battery. Plus, I would like to see the recreation of the Armstrong Gun placed on its carriage. I would also like to see a recreation of the Mound Battery near where its original location was.

My Favorite Civil War Fort. --Old B-Runner

John Laird Sons & Co.

Laird, Son & Company were noted British shipbuilders known for their structurally sound and sometimes innovative vessels. From 1829 to 1947 over 1,100 ships were launched into the Mersey River from their facilities at Birkenhead near in Liverpool.

One of these ships was the steamer Denbigh built in 1860 which became a famous blockade-runner and the CSS Alabama.

In 1863, Laird Sons were building iron hulled, armored warships that were intended for the Confederacy, but never delivered. They were known as the so-called Laird Rams. Their construction caused an international dispute which was only resolved when the British Navy seized them and put them into service as the HMS Wivern and HMS Scorpion (originally the CSS Mississippi and CSS North Carolina respectively).

They both featured twin turrets and telescoping funnels along with 3 to 4.5 inch side armor. They were superior to anything the US Navy had at the time. Both remained in service with the Royal Navy into the 20th century.

Sure Could've Used These Two Ships. --B-R'er

Tampa's Egmont Key

Egmont Key is an island off the entrance to Tampa Bay, Florida.

A new lighthouse was constructed in 1858 to replace the one completed in 1848 that was immediately put out of commission by the Great Hurricane of 1848 and another one in 1852. The new tower was 87 feet high with an Argard kerosene lamp and Fixed Frensel lens.

Confederate troops occupied Egmont Keyat the beginning of the Civil War, but took the lens with them when they were forced to leave the island.

The Union Navy used Egmont Key as a base for their Gulf Coast Blockade. Union troops raided Tampa at one time in a futile search for the lens.

And, I'd Never Heard of It. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to Missouri and Route 66 for the Civil War, This Time Grant-- Part 1

From the August 22nd St. Louis Post-Dispatch "A Look Back: Ulysses Grant's marriage was aquiet affair."

One fiddler provided the entertainment and there was a table with refreshments at the back of the room. Hardly a big deal for a man who would go on to command all the Union Armies in the Civil War and then serve two terms at president.

The Rev. John H. Linn married Julia Dent and Lt. Ulysses S. Grant in her family residence at 701 South Fourth Street in St. Louis on a hot August 22, 1848. The marriage only warranted 3 lines in the local newspaper, despite the fact Julia's father was a man of considerable means as a successful farmer.

Grant was 26 and had just returned from the Mexican War. One of his groomsmen was James Longstreet, a fellow officer and Julia's cousin. Longstreet would go on to become a general in the Confederate Army and an adversary of Grant.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Monday, August 23, 2010

USS Port Royal

From Wikipedia

The USS Port Royal a 209 foot-long, 805 ton steamboat, was commissioned April 26, 1863 and served with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron until the spring of 1863 when it was operating off the Florida Panhandle coast.

While with NABS it participated in the bombardment of Darling Bluff in Virginia and the attack on Kinston, NC.

On April 20, 1863, a landing party raided Apalachicola, Florida and captured cotton and ordinance. On May 24, 1863, another expedition from the Port Royal went up the Apalachicola River and captured the blockade-runner Fancy with a load of cotton, burned a ship repair facility and destroyed a barge.

From Florida Civil War author Dale Cox's December 16, 2009, Civil War Florida Blog.

Forty-one officers and men from the USS Port Royal boarded small boats under the command of Acting Master Edgar Van Slyck, May 23, 1863, and proceeded up the Apalachicola River to capture the sloop Fashion which was reportedly taking on cotton and intending to run the blockade.

They rowed an estimated 45 miles up the river and slipped past the Confederate Fort Gadsden at night, but didn't find the Fashion. However, returning downstream, they did find and capture the vessel without resistance. and took it downstream. They fired a shot at Fort Gadsden but received no return fire.

This set the CSS Chattahoochee off in pursuit which is when the boiler explosion took place.

An Interesting and Little Part of the War. --B-R'er

Some More Missouri Civil War Route 66 Stuff

From the August 22nd Joplin (Mo) Globe.

The Lee and Grant special traveling exhibit will be at the Powers Museum in Carthage, Missouri, from September 1st to October 20th. A visit will help increase your knowledge of these two bigger-than-life Civil War generals.

Included in the exhibit are two full-size military tent replicas. In one, you will find Grant's binoculars and the other Lee's Bible and glasses. Letters and other artifacts from both are also shown.

Several other experiences are planned during the exhibit's stay, including a short stop during the Missouri Route 66 Association's 2010 Motor Tour along the historic route across the state.

I came across another site that listed some of the items that are at the exhibit. Along with photographs, paintings, sculpture and prints there are also pieces of clothing and personal possessions and documents written by the two men.

There is Grant's handwritten terms of surrender to lee dated April 8, 1865.
A Dec. 29, 1862, deed of emancipation (freeing of a slave) signed by Lee.
And Lee's signed copy of his father's Funeral Oration to General Washington. "First in the hearts...."

So, While Checking Out the Battle of Carthage, You Can Get a Double Dose of Civil War. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Battle of Carthage, Missouri

One of those little-known battles of the war. From the June 29th Carthage (Mo) Press.

The Vangilder family announced they wouldn't be running the ceremony to commemorate the battle in 2010. So Steve Cottrell and the Battle of Carthage Sesquicentennial Ad-Hoc Committee is pushing for the 149th anniversary ceremony to take place July 15th at the state park east of Centennial Avenue at 6 pm.

The Battle of Carthage was fought July 5, 1861 and involved more than 7,000 troops, arguably the first major action of the war. The Union force consisted of 1,100 mostly German-Americans from St.Louis and were up against the Missouri State Guard, about 6,000, but 2,00 of whom were unarmed.

The Federals camped July 4 and 5, 1861, in the park that is now the Battle of Carthage State Historical Site. On July 5th, they marched through Carthage, which then had a population of 350, then north along a road that roughly paralleled the current Civil War Road.

Near the end of Civil War Road, near Baseline Road, they encountered the State Guard and a running battle ensued for the rest of the day. The Union force under Col. Franz Sigel retreated and fought a delaying battle that continued through Carthage where rounds were exchanged in the square.

Union artillery set up on the bluff overlooking the camp they had been at the night before delayed the Confederate advance long enough to allow Federals to retreat over night.

According to Vangilder research, this was the first time two true armies had opposed each other on American soil since the War of 1812 and it predated Bull Run.

I'll have to check it out the next time I'm cruising Route 66.

File Under Battles I Didn't Know. --B-R'er

Georgia Confederate Prison Discovered

This has really been in the news a lot this past week.

August 16th CNN "Major archaeological find at Civil War prison."

The exact stockade location and many personal artifacts of Union prisoners has been found at Millen Prison. Georgia. Camp Lawton replaced Andersonville Prison in the fall of 1864. Students from Georgia Southern began looking for it earlier this year near Millen, Georgia, in the southeastern part of the state.

Camp Lawton was only open for six weeks and even in that short time got the reputation of being "foul and fetid." Between 725 and 1330 died in the 42 acre enclosure which reached 10,000 prisoners before it was closed when Sherman's troops approached.

One prisoner, Private Robert Knox, painted watercolors of it and kept a 5,000 page journal.

When Sherman's soldiers arrived, they found an empty prison and a freshly-dug area and a board reading "650 buried here." Outraged, much of the stockade was burned along with camp buildings. Then, a depot and hotel in Millen met the same fate.

Always great When New Civil War Things Are Discovered. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Much is That Civil War Item in the Window?

From July Paul Fraser Collectibles. "Confederate Lieutenant's Colt Pistol Could Go for 15,000 Pounds."

The revolver of the CSS Alabama's 5th Lieutenant Arthur Sinclair is expected to get between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds at auction July 28th. Arthur Sinclair (1837-1925) was born in Norfolk, Virginia and served on the CSS Alabama from 1862-1864.

He served in the US Navy under his father starting at age 13. Among the places he served were the Mediterranean and Brazil stations and he was also with Commodore Perry when that officer went to Japan 1852-1855.

The Alabama was sunk June 19, 1864, after an hour battle with the USS Kearsarge. The majority of the crew were captured, but Semmes and Sinclair were rescued by the private yacht Deerhound, whose owner, John Lancaster, had toured the Alabama the day before the battle.

Sinclair must have been injured as he was granted a leave of absence to recuperate. Later he was posted to the CSS Texas just before the end of the war. This vessel was being completed on the River Clyde.

It is not known for sure, but thought that this pistol may have been gifted to John Lancaster in thanks for the rescue.

Sinclair returned to the US after the war and became a merchant in Baltimore and published the book "Two Years on the Alabama" in 1895. he died in Baltimore in 1925.

Although the Alabama never anchored in a southern port, its cruises did $6 million in damage to Union shipping. After the war, the US sued Britain and won the case.

I Never Heard of Sinclair Before. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fort Johnston, North Carolina, in the Civil War

Originally built in 1744 to protect the Cape Fear River from Spanish attack, what is left of it stands today at present-day Southport (originally the town of Smithville) about twenty miles south of Wilmington.

I will have its pre and post Civil War history on my history blog, tomorrow.

This is from the May 10th Wilmington Star-News' MyReporter column where they delve into the history behind readers' questions. This one was by Amy Hotz.

Of all the forts protecting Wilmington during the war, I know the least about this one.

On January 9, 1861, local residents marched on Fort Anderson and demanded its surrender. Ordinance sergeant James Reilly, was the only soldier there and handed the fort over with no resistance.

Governor John Ellis ordered them to return the fort two days later and it was given back to Reilly.

On April 16, 1861, after Fort Sumter, Fort Johnston was occupied once again. Like before, the good sergeant James Reilly surrendered it. Only this time, Reilly resigned from the US Army and joined the Confederate one.

This same James Reilly, now a major, surrendered Fort Fisher to Union forces January 15, 1865. He was buried at Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery.

During the war, Fort Johnston served as a hub for recruiting and assisted blockade-runners. It was occasionally called Fort Branch or Fort Pender, but most still referred to it as Johnston, named for the British colonial governor Gabriel Johnston who had it built.

From "A History of Fort Johnston on the Lower Cape Fear" by Wilson Angley.

So That Reilly. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

North Carolina Historian Counting State Battle Deaths-- Part 2

Josh Howard, a research historian with the Office of Archives and History, wants to correct this situation in time for the Civil War Sesquicentennial starting next year. He is preparing the North Carolina Civil War Death Study which will be part of a state Civil War Atlas published by UNC during the five-year commemoration.

He will be challenging the long-held state boast that North Carolina sacrificed the most men of any Confederate state in the cause of Southern Independence.

Ever since 1866, the number of war deaths used by all states has been based on a federal study by General James B. Fry. He and his clerks examined Union and captured Confederate muster rolls as well as regimental reports to determine those lost from fighting, diseases, accidents and those who died in prison.

Using Fry's numbers, North Carolina's total comes to 40,275, more than twice that of the second highest number posted by South Carolina which had 17,612.

Howard calls Fry's numbers "incorrect and misguided."

Some interesting information he has found:

** About 2000 North Carolina blacks and whites died in Union service.

** No North Carolina women died in military action during the war.

** No blacks died serving the state in Confederate service.

It is a great effort on Mr. Howard's part to accomplish this death roll. He is to be commended. I know I wouldn't want to go through that many accounts.

A Project Long Overdue. --Old B-Runner

Monday, August 16, 2010

North Carolina Historian Counting State's Battle Deaths-- Part 1

From the August 9th Greensboro (NC) News-Record "Researcher counts NC's death toll in Civil War" by Donald W. Patterson.

As of August 6th, Josh Howard had a total of 29,418 confirmed North Carolina deaths and expects that when he finished the count later this year, that number could be as high as 36,000.

Among that number is Major Laban Odell, a teacher from Randolph County, who had a premonition of his death before the Battle of Chancellorsville, "Tomorrow morning when we go forward, I shall be killed," he told his friend, Captain Frank Siler. "Tell Mary to raise our dear Johnnie right and meet me in Heaven."

As Siler left the battlefield the next day, he found Odell shot and dying. Odell's last words, "I told you so; do as I requested."

For almost 150 years, North Carolina has claimed that the state's death toll was 40,000, but that number can't be substantiated.

To Be Continued. --B-R'er

Major Accident on the CSS Chattahoochee

On May 27, 1863, while raising steam at Blountstown, Florida, an early hurricane swept in and hit the area and the Chattahoochee. A malfunctioning gauge and cold water entered an already hot boiler and vaporized immediately. It exploded through the pipes.

Sixteen men were scalded to death and many others were badly injured.

The remaining crew immediately sank the Chattahoochee to keep the magazine from exploding.

It was raised a few months later and towed to Columbus, Georgia, for repairs. On April 1865, it was burned to prevent capture and remained where it was for a hundred years until it was discovered during the search for the CSS Jackson.

An Accident the Confederate Navy Just Didn't Need. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, August 14, 2010

CSS Chattahoochee

From Dale Cox's Jan. 10, 2010 Explore Southern History Blog.

A section of the stern of this wooden Confederate warship is now at the National Civil War Museum in Columbus, Georgia. The rest is still in the Chattahoochee River. It was commissioned Jan. 1, 1863, at the Confederate Naval Yard in Early County, Georgia and under the command of Lt. Catesby ap R. Jones who had commanded the CSS Virginia in its fight with the USS Monitor.

He brought a lot of the officers and men from the Virginia to his new command.

The Chattahoochee's armament: one 32-pdr. rifle, a 9-inch gun, four 32-pdr smoothbores. It had three retractable masts and two independently-operating steam-powered propulsion systems to navigate sharp river bends.

It was by far the most powerful warship operating in the in the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint river systems.

Not Much to look at Today, But Mighty Powerful in Its Day. --B-R'er

Alaric Chapin gets His Medal of Honor

From the Oregon Magazine article "Storming the Ramparts." This is the stories of two Union veterans, one in the Navy and the other in the Army, whose lives came together at Fort Fisher (but they never met) and who lived out their lives in Oregon.

Alaric Chapin, US Army, got his Medal of Honor for his service January 15, 1865. He was 17 at the time and in Co. G of the 142nd New York when he volunteered for a very dangerous mission to make openings in the palisades of the fort which would bring them close to the Confederate defenders and under fire. His best friend, Jimmy Spring also volunteered. He was also young after having lied about his age in order to serve.

They crawled along the ground for 300 yards until they reached the palisades unobserved. They used axes on lashing ropes and shovels and battering rams to loosen and topple posts until they had cut an opening in those wooden walls.

Jimmy Spring was shot in the head during this time and died instantly.

Chapin was mustered out June 7, 1865, eleven days shy of his birthday.

Capture My Fort!! --Old B-Runner

Friday, August 13, 2010

General Curtis and the 142nd New York Infantry Regiment

The 142nd New York Volunteer Infantry had 20 killed and wounded in the first attack on Fort Fisher and 79 killed and wounded in the second. They also participated at the Battle of Fort Fisher and Wilmington Campaign.

This was originally Col. Newton Martin Curtis' regiment, but commanded by Lt. Col. Albert M. Barney at the battles. Curtis still had the rank of colonel while commanding the brigade at Fisher.

Curtis had entered Union service in 1861 as captain of Co. G, 16th New York Infantry Regiment. He was made Lt. Col. of the 142nd NY October 17, 1862 and colonel January 21, 1863. He was appointed Brigadier General of United States Volunteers dating back to January 15, 1865, for his heroism at Fort Fisher. He was then breveted to major general March 13, 1865.

Curtis also received a Medal of Honor for his action at Fort Fisher.

After the war, Curtis was the Grand Army of the Republic's commander of the Department of New York.

He died January 8, 1910 at age 75. He is buried at Ogdensburg, New York, beside his wife and three daughters.

The Hero of Fort Fisher. --B-R'er

Running the Blockade: Roll Alabama-- A North Carolina Thing

Running the Blockade-- some new news about an old war.

1. ROLL ALABAMA-- I came across a great song with video on youtube. It is titled an illustrated sea shanty of the Confederate Navy by David Longshore set to music by Hardtack & Harmony "Pride of the Confederate Navy, 2006."

Well worth a watch.

2. A NORTH CAROLINA THING-- Andrew Duppstadt, in his Civil War Navy, the History Profession, and Other Historical Musings blog on blogspot says that he and a total of sixteen people will be on board the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial Saturday from 9 am to 6 and will be show displays about the North Carolina ships that were in the Civil War.

The USS North Carolina was an 1824 ship-of-the-line that did duty as a receiving ship for new recruits in New York Harbor. The CSS North Carolina was an ironclad built in Wilmington that served its whole career on the Cape Fear River as a floating artillery platform (as Duppstadt says).

The US and CS Marines will also be represented there. They expect about 1500 visitors during the day.

See my entry from August 12th for more information.

New News About Old Stuff. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ed the Bear Visits the Monitor Turret

From the Jan. 14th Virginia Daily Press.

Ed, a cuddly stuffed bear, in a customized plastic bubble with weights, paid a visit to the turret of the USS Monitor, six feet deep in a fresh water tank. Ed is currently on a tour of all fourteen national marine sanctuaries. He is a creation of Steve Savage who blogs about Ed's trips.

Said the Monitor's project manager, David Krop, "Technically, this is the first bear to explore the USS Monitor's turret" which is 20 feet in diameter and 9 feet high. It will remain in fresh water for fifteen years to prevent further corrosion.

The turret was recovered in 2002 from the Monitor's wreck which is now classified as a marine sanctuary.

I'm sure glad they were able to recover at least the turret and would have liked it even better had they recovered the whole ship. Unfortunately, it has deteriorated to the point that is not possible. Too bad someone back in the late 1800s didn't have the foresight to save at least one monitor as well as some of the Civil War ships that were still around.

We'll Take What We Can Get. --Old B-R

USS Monitor Montauk

From Wikipedia. A nice photograph of the USS Montauk tied up beside the monitor USS Lehigh around 1902 in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

It was commissioned December 14, 1862 under Cmdr. John L. Worden, former captain of the USS Monitor in its fight against the CSS Virginia. Its primary Civil War actions were with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron off Charleston and Savannah.

It arrived at Port Royal January 19, 1863 and was sent right away to attack Fort McAllister, protecting an approach to Savannah. In action Jan. 27, 1863, the Montauk was hit by Confederate fire 13 or 14 times but had no damage. A second attack was launched against the fort February 1st and the Montauk was hit 48 times and again, no damage.

On February 28, 1863, the Montauk destroyed the privateer Rattlesnake which had been the Cinfederate raider CSS Nashville and also had been a blockade runner.

It also took part in the April attacks on Fort Sumter and other Charleston Harbor defenses.

In February 1865, it was transferred to the Cape Fear River and took part in the fighting there. Later, it served as a floating prison for the Lincoln assassination conspirators and the autopsy on John Wilkes Booth was done aboard the vessel.

The Montauk was decommissioned in 1865 and spent the rest of its career in the Philadelphia Navy Yard with the brief time when it protected Portland, Maine, during the Spanish-American War.

Quite an Active Monitor. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dedication of New Confederate Monument

From the August 5th Smith Mountain Eagle (Wirtz, Va.) "Franklin County Confederate dead honored Saturday August 7th in Rocky Mount.

The new Confederate monument will be dedicated this Saturday. It replaces one that was destroyed by a reckless motorist who crashed his vehicle into it. The keynote speaker will be Dr. James I. Robertson of Virginia Tech. This new one was put in place June 13th to replace the 1913 original destroyed back in June 2007.

The cost was covered by insurance and donations.

During the Civil War, Franklin County sent 2,500 men to serve in Confederate forces. At least 300 didn't return and many others who did suffered the rest of their lives from wounds, diseases and lost limbs.

A total of sixteen companies were raised.

Great to Have It Replaced. --B-R'er

Some More North Carolina Second Saturday

Every second Saturday during summer, the North Carolina State Historic Sites all have functions that illuminate other aspects of history. I already wrote about events at the Civil War-related sites on August 5th, but today I came across an article in the August 11th Wilmington (NC) Star-News about what is going to happen August 14th at the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial.

Most people don't know it, but there were actually two warships during the Civil War with the name North Carolina, one on the Union side and the other Confederate. The USS North Carolina was an old ship-of-the-line that served as a receiving ship in New York City. The CSS North Carolina was an ironclad built in Wilmington to break the blockade.

The Carolina Living History Guild will have displays about both ships on board the battleship. Other displays and programs will be on steam engineering, ironclad ship construction, navigation, small arms of the US and CS navies, naval ordinance, uniforms and arts of sailors.

All-in-all, a very good deal with no extra charge other than admission to the ship.

Wish I Could Be There. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Does the Confederate Flag Mean?

From Yahoo Answers.

Came across this interesting write-up while surfing the net.

During the first half of the 1900s, the Confederate flag was popular. This is a far cry from the attacks we have on it these days. Back when I was young, flying it did not make some people think of you as a Nazi or terrorist.

During World War II, some military units with Southern nicknames or made up mostly of men from the former Confederate states actually made the flag their unofficial symbol.

The USS Columbia CL-56 flew the flag throughout the war in the South Pacific in honor of its namesake, South Carolina's capital city.

Some units even carried the banner into battle.

After the Battle of Okinawa, the Confederate flag was raised over Shuri Castle by Marines of the "Rebel Company," Co. A of the 5th Marine Regiment. It was visible for miles. It was taken down three days later under orders of General Simon B. Buckner, Jr (son of Confederate General Simon Buckner) who said it was inappropriate as "Americans from all over are involved in this battle."

It was replaced with the 48-star US flag.

Afterwards, black soldiers filed complaints so that after that, the use was rare.

However, the Confederate flag was still hoisted on battlefields in Korea, Vietnam and even in the Middle East.

Still Proud of the Flag. --Old B-R'er

The Battle of Mobile Bay-- Part 2

The anniversary of the battle of Mobile Bay, where Admiral Farragut's fleet passed by Forts Morgan and Gaines and into Mobile Bay, Alabama, was last Thursday, August 5th. That was 1864, 146 years ago.

The successful passage and capture of the Confederate ironclad CSS Tennessee, however, did not mark the end of fighting in Mobile Bay. The fort's still remained in Confederate hands and had to be captured.

Fort Gaines soon surrendered. On August 9th, Union troops landed at Navy Cove to the east of Fort Morgan, cutting the fort off from relief and then began pushing entrenchments westward. By August 20th, they were within 200 yards of Morgan. After a major bombardment on August 22nd, the fort surrendered.

Fort Morgan had been designed to withstand a siege for two weeks, which was how long the fort's engineers expected it would take a relief column to arrive and drive off any attackers.

There was, however, to be no relief, plus, those engineers could never have guessed how much more powerful cannons and ships would be by the 1860s.

Another Confederate Fort Falls. --B-R'er

Fort Fisher Welcomes the Eagle

August 6th Wilmington Star-News by Amy Hotz.

On August 5th, the 295-foot long USCGC WIX-327 square-rigged tall ship Eagle made its way along the Cape Fear River past the western battlement of Fort Fisher where the 32-pounder cannon at Sheppard's Battery fired a welcoming shot.

The ship was visiting Wilmington where it was docked last weekend and public tours given. The tours were free, but you had to have tickets which had to be picked up advance.

The Eagle is a barque and is based in New London, Ct, where it is a training vessel for Coast Guard cadets and other officer candidates.

The ship was built in Germany in 1936 and has a history there before the US acquired it at the end of World War II as part of reparations. I will write more about it in my Cooter's History Thing blog in the next several days.

I imagine the fort's garrison saw quite a few rigged ships and steamers sailing past it during the fort's days as protector of the port of Wilmington. A bit of a trip back into time.

This Would Have been a Neat Thing to See. --Old B-Runner

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Battle of Mobile Bay-- Part 1

From the August 8th Baldwin County (Al) Press Register "Southern Soapbox: Battle of Mobile Bay more than trivia" by Guy Busby.

This time of the year, it's hot, but imagine how hot it was in Mobile Bay 146 years ago, especially when you had men in wool uniforms digging trenches and earthworks and hauling heavy cannons and equipment. And, this was before we had such a thing as a heat index indicating how hot it feels besides what it says on the thermometer.

Then there were other men in wool uniforms toiling away in iron ships where temperatures could reach 130 degrees plus.

For three years, Union ships and Confederate forts had stood off each other with three miles in between. This was the effective range of cannons at the time

This all ended August 5, 1864 when the Union fleet attacked.

A Hot Time in the Old Fort Tonight. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Civil War Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home Residents 1887-1911

I came across and interesting Illinois database: Soldiers and Sailors' Home Residents 1887-1911. AFTER THEIR NAME IS THEIR COUNTY-- DATE ADMITTED--NUMBER-- COMPANY-- UNIT

HATCH, JOSIAH H.-- Cook, Feb. 11, 1904, 6638, F, 51st Illinois

HATCH, LAMINA-- Adams, Oct. 14, 1915, 812
HATCH, MELLVILLE-- Adams, Oct. 14, 1915, 10730, 9th Mass Battery

HATCH, THEODORE H.-- Tazewell, July 27, 1911, 9533, E and D, 47th Illinois
HATCH, WILLIAM P.-- Dekalb, March 28, 1888, 728, C, 4th Illinois Cavalry

HATCHER, PAWHATTON, E.-- May 7, 1895, 3078, I, 99th Illinois
HATCHER, WILLIAM P.-- Pike, Jan. 17, 1906, 7373, E, 28th Illinois

HATCHET, ANNA-- Christian, July 7, 1911, 428
HATCHET, ARCHIBALD-- Christian, July 7, 1911, 9502, H, 14th Illinois

HATCHET, BERRY B.-- Morgan, June 8, 1901, 5574, I, 20th Illinois
HATCHETT, WILLIAM-- Macon, August 29, 1903, 6447, A, 8th Illinois

These were just the letters Hat and covered the whole state in various Old Soldiers Homes.

Evidently, they allowed husband and wife both to be allowed into the homes. See Lamina and Mellville Hatch and Anna and Archibald Hatchet. Women had three digit identifying numbers while veterans had the four digit.

An Overlooked Civil War Veteran Aspect. --B-R'er

News From Wilmington, NC

From July 26th WECT 6 News.

The Cape fear Museum of History in Wilmington is preparing two flags and a uniform to be shipped to Minnesota for conservation work thanks to a $27,000 grant.

One is a 34-star US flag and the other is a Confederate Second National flag. Also, the uniform of Confederate General W.H.C. Whiting will be shipped out as well. It is expected that the uniform will require six months for its preservation.

Yesterday, August 6th, the 32-pounder at Fort Fisher fired a welcoming shot as the Coast Guard tall ship Eagle made its way past on its trip up the Cape Fear River to Wilmington where tours will be given this weekend.

The ship was launched in Germany in 1936 and took part in World War II until the United States received it as war reparation in 1945.

The ship sailing on the Cape Fear must have been a trip back to the 1700s and 1800s when this sort of vessel commonly plied the waters.

Sure Would Have Liked to See the Eagle. --Old B-Runner

Friday, August 6, 2010

No Answers Yet in Hunley Sinking

From the August 6th Sun News of South Carolina "South Carolina scientists to rotate 23-ton Confederate sub" by Bruce Smith, AP.

In North Charleston, people working on the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley will be carefully rotating the vessel to an upright position early next year. This will expose a section of hull that has not been seen as of yet.

When it was found, the submarine was on its side and has been left in that position.

Scientists still do not know why it sank after successfully sinking the USS Housatonic.


I see that a replica of the Hunley will be at the Battle of Brimfield this weekend in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Quite a Ship. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Second Saturday Coming in North Carolina

From the July 28th North Carolina and the Civil War Blog by Michael Hardy. All North Carolina State Historic Sites are running programs this August 14th that present history with a different perspective.

There will be 100 free exhibitions at all 37 state museums.

Of special interest to me are the things going on at some of the Civil War sites.

BENTONVILLE-- how community dances were important during the war as diversions for civilians and soldiers. There will be a community picnic along with dancing and demonstrations. A 19th century band will provide the music.

FORT FISHER-- Local artists and vendors will explore the world of 1865 period-style crafts. Goods will be available for sale.

BENNETT PLACE-- will have Civil War authors, including Michael Hardy.

CSS NEUSE-- people will be able to explore metal-making of the period with a blacksmith and tinsmith.

An interesting attempt on the part of the state to make history more involved for regular folk.

The State is to Be Commended for This Effort. --B-R'er

The Russians Are Coming

During the Civil War, the Russian Czar sent both his Pacific Fleet and Atlantic Fleet to visit United States ports on the east and west coasts to show his support of the Union's war effort and to let France and England know exactly where Russia stood in the conflict.

While the Pacific Fleet was at San Francisco in 1863, a fire broke out in the city and only the help given by Russian sailors contained it. However, six of them died.

In June, the first Russian surface ship since the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, the Crusier Varyag, visited San Francisco in part to honor those sailors.

I made three blog entries on it in my Cooter's History Thing Blog on July 22nd, July 24th and July 27th.

The Russian Bear Visits. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

CSS Alabama Cannon at the Museum of Mobile-- Part 3

In 1993, the CSS Alabama Association was formed and received exclusive permission to investigate the remains and recover objects. In the 1990s over 200 artifacts were brought to the surface.

Most were turned over to the US Navy for restoration. There have been no dives since 2005 because of lack of funding.

The remains of an Alabama sailor encrusted on the bottom of one of the cannons were discovered in 2003. While sinking, the cannon evidently came off its carriage and crushed the poor crewman. The remains were sent to the US Army Central Identification Center in Hawaii where DNA samples were taken with the hope of finding descendants.

His bones were buried July 28, 2007, in the Confederate Rest section of Mobile, Alabama's Magnolia Cemetery where it rests with approximately 1,100 Confederate soldiers.

The Alabama's commander, Raphael Semmes, spent the last years of his life in Mobile and is buried at the Catholic Cemetery.

The Museum believes the cannon being brought to Mobile is proper even though the ship never went there. After all, the name is Alabama and Semmes did spend the last years of his life in the city and is buried there.

Something To See Our Next Gulf Trip During the Winter. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

CSS Alabama Cannon at Museum of Mobile-- Part 2

Back on July 12th, I posted the first part of the story from Kathy Warnes of Suite 101 from June 17th.

It's about time I get back to it.

The original gun carriage had completely rotted away. Mobile's Public Buildings department built a replacement using the original plans for the carriage dated May 1862.

Cruising from 1862 to 1864, the Alabama claimed more than sixty prizes valued at more than $6 million. Then came the battle with the USS Kearsarge that resulted in the sinking of the Confederate cruiser.

On October 30, 1984, the French mine hunter ship Circe discovered the wreck in 200 feet of water off the coast of Cherbourg. It is in French waters, but the US laid claim to it as a spoil of war. In 1989, the two countries signed an agreement that the ship was important to the heritage of both countries and that cooperation would be the name of the game.

More to Come. Hopefully Not So Late. --Old B-Runner

Saving More of Bentonville Battlefield-- Part 4

In the newsletter, there was a quote from Private R.J. Heath of the 34th Illinois who was at the battle.

"I was there [Bentonville] with a regiment that had faced Beauregard at Shiloh and Bragg at Stones River; that had participated in nearly every battle of the Army of the Cumberland...but for desperate valor on the part of the rebels, and for a desperate resistance...of our own men we saw nothing in four years of army life to compare with...Bentonville."

He was not alone. In hundreds of letters, diaries and reports, men on both sides testified to the extreme ferocity of the three-day 1865 battle:

"...we heard the bullets whistling their death song..."

" one continuous peal of heavy thunder..."

"...all agree it was one of the hottest places we were ever in..."

By this late date, under the circumstances with Confederate forces retreating everywhere in the face of huge numbers of Federals sweeping across what was left of the Confederacy and Lee in a death lock with Grant at Petersburg, it is a wonder that the southerners would have put up such a courageous resistance.

Quite the Battle Even If It Is Sort of Unknown. --B-R'er

Civil War Cannon at the Bottom of the River

An interesting story about the town of Escatawba, Mississippi, considering raising its town cannon from the depths of the Escatawba River in the July 25th

It was from Joanne Anderson's Sampling Our History column "Civil War cannon believed to be at the bottom of river."

A piece of Moss Point's history, a civil war cannon, is believed to be at the bottom of the Escatawba River at the city's downtown.

Dr. Chris Williams is leading an effort to recover it. The cannon's role in the Civil War has long been forgotten, but its post-war career is known. The cannon was a six-pounder, capable of firing a six-pound shell almost a mile.

After the war, it was fired to celebrate special occasions. However, it was notoriously temperamental and on more than one instance, people were injured. The April 6, 1894 Pascagoula Democrat Star wrote that two teenagers were injured when the gun fired prematurely. William Walters suffered a broken arm and Lacele Vice lost an eye.

The angered townsfolk then proceeded to throw the cannon into the Dog River, now called the Escatawba River. It was pushed in off a wharf on Front Street.

The river was 30 feet deep at the time and it probably sank another 8 to 10 feet into the silt.

They figure they will need to use a magnetometer survey to locate it which will cost $8,000, but the approximate area of its site is known. Then, they will need equipment to raise it and, of course, conserve it.

I could just see Yosmite Sam throwing his hat down and kicking that cannon.

Raising Cannon Down in Mississippi. Dadburn Cannon!! --Old B-Runner

Monday, August 2, 2010

Saving More of Bentonville Battlefield-- Part 3

You can visit the CWPT's website at for more information.

They have a special four pages of maps for the purchase. The first day map, showing the first day of fighting, shows that the CWPT is saving part of the land on which the "Last Grand Charge of the Army of the Tennessee" occurred.

On the second day map, it shows the CWPT's attempt to save surviving remnants of earthworks.

Then, the third day map shows land the organization wants to acquire where Gen Johnston had to flee on foot, narrowly missing being captured by Federal forces.

The cost for the 240 acres comes out to about $3,152 an acre.

Here's Hoping Enough Money Will Be Raised for These 240 Acres as Well As the Legacy Campaign. --Old B-Runner