The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thomas L. Wragg, CSN and Army

I came across the mention of the book "A Confederate Chronicle: The Life of Civil War Survivor" by Pamela Chase Hain, University of Missouri Press.

It concerns Confederate veteran Thomas L. Wragg who served in both the Confederate Army and Navy. he was also captured and held prisoner. Ms. Hain uses his letters to tell the story.

Wragg was wealthy when he left home at age 18 to join the Army and fought at the Battle of Bull Run.

In 1862, he joined the Navy and trained on the CSS Georgia before transferring to the ironclad CSS Atlanta. When that ship was captured, he became a prisoner and was sent to Fort Warren Prison in Boston.

Sounds Like a Very Interesting War Experience. --B-R'er

Letters Provide Look at the "Crewel War"-- Part 2

Back on June 21st, I had an entry on 291 letters that Wade Ewing of Grand Haven, Michigan, had donated to the Michigan Archives that his great grandfather Henry Mckendree Ewing had written during the Civil War.

OCTOBER 26, 1864-- Ewing was afraid his brother-in-law had been killed or captured by Confederates at Petersburg.

"This fight was a perfect failure to our army.. you will learn al the particulars of the moovement by the papers better than I can write. O I do wish the crewel war was over. I do not think we will ever whip the Rebs by fighting untill they are entirely extengwished and there will many union oldier fall before that is don for there is lots of johneys left yet and they can and do fight as Savage as the yank keys does."

The letters are valued at $30,000 and Wade Ewing was worried that some future relative might sell them to a private collector.

State archivist Mark Harvey said, "It's a credit to him that in an era of Antique Road Show and eBay, his concern was not monetary..."

Every letter will be scanned and put on the internet.

A Real Slice of the War Up Close and Personal. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Civil War Relics and Their History-- Part 1

From the Pilot article I entered earlier today.

Other items on display at the Clayton-Blair History Museum near Fayetteville, NC.


It was the first standard issue military weapon with a rifled barrel for better range and accuracy with the newly created minie ball. It also used the new Maynard tape primer caps that replaced metal percussion caps.

Only 7,300 were produced from 1857 to early 1961 and only at the Harpers Ferry Armory.


The Harpers Ferry Rifle became the model for the famous Fayetteville Arsenal Rifle. Some 8,700 were made from 1862 to 1864. Am 1863 rifle is also on display.


A soldier-marked, Confederate-made cartridge box and shoulder sling of Jeremiah L. Moore, 7th NC State Troops. He was from Iredell County and wounded in the leg and captured July 3rd, the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg. He died of the wound in 1864. The box and sling were taken on the battlefield and after 105 years of storage and display at a Massachusetts museum, given to the Clayton-Blair Museum in 2006. (I imagine an individual had it before the other museum got it.)

More to Come. --B-R'er

Battle of Monroe's Crossroads

I came across an article in the September 19th Southern Pines (NC) Pilot "Civil War Skirmishes and Soldier Identified Relics at 41st Malcolm Blue Festival" by Paul Brill.

The festival, held this past weekend featured historical crafts and farm skills as well as a Civil War re-enactment.

At the nearby Clayton Blair Museum there is a display on the little-known (well to me at least) battle of Monroe's Crossroads (also called the Battle of Fayetteville Road) that took place March 10, 1865, during the Carolinas Campaign as Sherman's Army moved up through South Carolina and into North Carolina near the end of the Confederacy.

General Jordan's cavalry camped at the old Bethesda Church on the Malcolm Blue farm on March 9, 1865. The battle took place the following day when Confederate cavalry under generals Wheeler and Hampton attacked Union horsemen under General Kilpatrick about eight miles from the farm on the present day Fort Bragg Military Reservation.

The Union cavalry was part of General Sherman's Army on their way to Fayetteville, NC, to destroy the arsenal there.

Union forces were 4,438 and suffered 550 casualties. Out of 5,800 Confederates, 90 were casualties.

One of the Confederate objectives was to capture the hated General Kilpatrick and they almost did. He was in a cabin near the Monroe farmhouse with his mistress and barely managed to escape in his nightshirt and hide in a nearby swamp until his forces rallied. Definitely a commander who believed in leading by example.

Confederates initially overran the Union camp, but were driven out.

However, this attack slowed the Union advance up enough so that Confederate forces were able to finish an orderly retreat across the Cape Fear River near Fayetteville.

Never Heard of It. --Old B-Runner

I just hit the Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and see that I had two entries on it back in 2008. So, I guess I did know something about it. My excuse, I forgot.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Confederate Burial Ground in Chicago?-- Part 2


The 6,000 Confederate dead buried at Oak Woods Cemetery were victims at Chicago's notorious Camp Douglas, on the grounds of former Illinois senator Stephen Douglas' estate. He also ran for president.

Earlier in the war, it was used as a training base for Illinois troops, then as a prison for captured Confederates. Conditions were so bad that the prison got the name "Eighty Acres of Hell because of rampant disease and cruelty.

After the war, the federal government bought two acres in the cemetery for burial of the Confederate dead. By the 1890s, ex-Confederate soldiers in Chicago and in Georgia raised funds for the monument and it was dedicated in 1895.

It sat there for the next 115 years with nothing being done to it. The new Abraham Lincoln national Cemetery near Joliet, Illinois, has stewardship over the Confederate Mound which is federally-owned. Work begins this month and is expected to be finished by January.

Good News for the Confederate Dead and Their Relatives. --B-R'er

A Confederate Burial Ground in Chicago?-- Part 1

Yes there is one...and it is a BIG ONE with 6,000 burials, but not individual graves, just one mass burial. The 6000 Southerners buried there lost their lives at Chicago's infamous Camp Douglas Prison in a two year time frame.

It is called the Confederate Mound at Oak Woods Cemetery, a private 180 acre site located at 67th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.

The Confederate Mound is one of the most spectacular monuments in Chicago, but most people don't know about it. The Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp Douglas Camp holds a memorial service every April at the site.

The mound area consists of two acres with a 46 foot Georgia granite monument on top of it and that is topped by the bronze statue of a Confederate soldier. The names of the 6000 are on bronze plaques at the base. Cannons with stacked cannonballs guard the perimeter.

From Lee Bey's Chicago-- Beyond the Boat Tours.

Confederate Dead in Chicago. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Running the Blockade: No Respect-- Big Flag-- Big Success

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

1. NO RESPECT-- Ewe Jus Cain't Spel-- There was recently a road sign put up by the Georgia Department of Transportation that read:


A GDOT spokesman says there was no excuse for the word Tennessee and even worse, the department used to be called the Department of Highways.

The sign will be quickly replaced with a kerrect won.

2. BIG FLAG-- The Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is dedicating a huge 30 by 50 foot Confederate flag on a 120 foot flagpole off I-75 near Tifton, Georgia. It is part of their "Flags Across Georgia" project.

Reckon that will stir up some hornets in somebody's bonnet.

3. BIG SUCCESS-- Andrew Duppstadt in his August 18th Civil War Navy, the History Profession, and Other Historical Musings blog reported that his Carolina Living History Guild's Saturday on board the battleship USS North Carolina in Wilmington was a big success. They had a big turnout of the guild with 14 members and close to 1,600 visitors that day, August 14th on the Second Saturday effort of the North Carolina Historical Sites department.

I wrote about this August 11th, August 13th and September 1st.

Not all 1600 visitors were there for the exhibit on the USS North Carolina ship-of-the-line or CSS North Carolina, but they all had to walk past them.

Mr. Duppstadt including several great photos. Check it out.

Now, You Know. --B-R'er

USS Dale

Yesterday, I wrote about Rear Admiral Thomas O. Selfridge, Sr, being in command of the USS Dale during the Mexican War and of his being wounded badly at Guaymas, Mexico.

I also found out that the vessel served during the Civil War, so looked it up in good old Wikipedia.

It was a 117-foot long sailing sloop with a 32-foor beam. It carried a complement of 150 officers and men and mounted 14 X 32-pounders and 2 X 12-pounders.

It was built and launched at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and originally commissioned in 1839, decommissioned in 1859, recommissioned 1861, decommissioned 1865, recommissioned 1867, renamed Oriole in 1904, transferred to the Coast Guard in 1906, returned to the Navy in 1921 and then sold as a hulk.

Quite a long career for a ship I'd never heard of before.

During the Mexican War, the Dale captured several Mexican privateers and merchantmen. Landing parties from the Dales captured and raised the US flag over the Mexican towns of Guaymas and Mullego.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, the Dale captured two schooners on its way to join the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Port Royal, South Carolina where it served as a store and guard ship.

It was transferred to Key West and arrived December 10, 1862, and served as an ordnance store ship until the end of the war.

It then was a training ship at the US Naval Academy until 1884 then as a receiving ship at Washington Navy Yard to 1894. While at Norfolk 22 January 1886, landsmen Joseph H. Davis rescued a fellow seaman from drowning and received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The Dale was transferred to the Maryland Navy Militia in 1895 and later renamed the Oriole in 1904. In 1906, it was transferred to the Coast Guard where it served as a dormitory barracks ship. In 1921, it was returned to the Navy and sold as a hulk the same year.

Quite a Varied Career. --Old B-Runner

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thomas O. Selfridge, Sr.

The father of Thomas O' Selfridge, Jr., April 24, 1804 to October 15, 1902.

Eventually reached the rank of Rear-Admiral, US Navy. During his career, he served in The Mexican and Civil Wars along with the East India, Mediterranean and Pacific squadrons.

Commanding the sloop USS Dale in May, 1847, took part in the capture of Mazatlan and Guaymas, Mexico.

He was badly wounded at Guaymas and an invalid in 1848. Assigned to Boston Navy Yard until 1861.

Commanded the USS Mississippi, the flagship of the Gulf Squadron at the blockades of Mobile, Alabama and the passes of the Mississippi River until the old wound forced him to relinquish command in 1862 and served ashore the rest of the war. He retired in 1866.

Father of T. O. Selfridge, Jr., who was at Fort Fisher and had the misfortune to have three ships sink while he was aboard or in command.

So That's How Selfridge, Jr. Was a "Golden Boy." --B-R'er

Why Be a Civil War Re-enactor?-- Part 2

Continuing from the 22nd. Lake County Journal reporter Colin Selbo interviewed Erik Schultz.


Born in Pennsylvania so had Gettysburg (including field trips there). Plus, grew up around the Centennial of the war, but quite young. "I still remember getting the National Geographics with all the little pictures of the battlefields and all the little maps with figures and stuff like that.


Living in Texas and saw ad for re-enactment group in a newsletter. Gave a call, went to an event and said, "'Boy, this looks cool.' I have been doing it ever since."


You have to be a history buff and especially Civil War buff. You can read about it, but can't get the experience through words: sound of gunfire, horses going clippity-clop, cannons firing and the music. "It gives you a chance to really get an appreciation for the history....And then, of course, you are surrounded by people that share a common appreciation for it as well."

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Interesting Conference on the Civil War from a Black Perspective

This weekend, a conference will take place at the historically black Norfolk State University in Virginia. Of interest, the state's governor, Bob McDonnell, will speak at it, just a few months after the big to-do about his declaring April Confederate History Month with no mention of slavery.

There will be quite a creditable list of speakers:

Slavery, Freedom, and the Union Navy-- James McPherson (I would especially like to see this one with my interest in all things naval about the war.)

How, When, Where and Why Emancipation Happened-- David Blight
The Role of the Underground Railroad as a Cause of the Civil War-- Spencer Crew
The Myth of Black Confederates-- Bruce Levine (another one of interest)
The Quest for Black Rights in the Midst of War-- Edna Medford
African American Soldiers and the Struggle for Equality-- Ira Berlin

And, there will be other speakers as well.

The conference is called Race, Slavery and the Civil War: The Tough Stuff of American History and Memory. Definitely one that I would like to attend.

Mighty Interesting Conference. --B-R'er

Why Be a Civil War Re-enactor?

From an interview in the September 16-22nd Lake County Journal.

This past Saturday, I was immersed up to my eyeballs with Civil War re-enactors at the 8th annual Lake Villa, Illinois Civil War Days. Re-enactors are a special breed who are really gung-ho about all things dealing with the war. I mean, I'm interested in the war and have a good-sized library to show for it along with membership in the SCV and Civil War Preservation Trust. Also, I have been to many sites connected with the war.

But, re-enactors? These guys (and gals) take it to another level.

The Lake County Journal had an interview with Erik Schultz of Hainesville, Illinois. A whole page was devoted to the event and Erik.

The Schultz Lowdown:

FAVORITE CIVIL WAR CHARACTER-- Braxton Bragg or Ben Butler (I'd sure like to know why he chose these two less than stellar folk?)
RECOMMENDED CIVIL WAR BOOK-- "Hardtack and Coffee" by John D. Billings

Not Finished Yet. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ghosts at Fort Fisher?


Both Confederate commanders at Fort Fisher, NC, Colonel Lamb and General Whiting, were wounded in the second battle and both died of the injuries. (Well actually, Whiting died a month later of complications and Lamb lived into the 1900s.)

Ghost sightings began three years after the 1865 battle at a reunion. Three Confederate veterans were walking around and "saw a figure of a man wearing an officer's uniform raise his sword, calling them to follow. As they got closer, they recognized him as General Whiting and as they started to realize what was happening the apparition disappeared."

Other paranormal activity at the fort: An apparition has been seen in the woods (perhaps a Confederate sentinel standing guard?) Footsteps have been heard on the wooden walkways. Locked doors have been opened. The sound of gunshots and cannons have been heard.

I have been to Fort Fisher many times, but have never seen or heard anything out of the ordinary, but, who knows. And, it isn't even Halloween yet.

Like, BOO!!!-- Old B-Runner

Monday, September 20, 2010

Susie King Taylor: Remarkable Woman

Here is the story about a woman who, despite huge odds, overcame them.


Nurse, educator, domestic

She was born a slave on the Isle of Wight off the coast of Georgia and was taught to read and write by white school children and slave neighbors. She used her skills to endorse counterfeit passes for other slaves.

During the Civil War, she became free when her uncle took her to Saint Catherine Island, South Carolina, which was under Union control. Her talent soon became evident and at age 14, she was teaching black children to read and write by day and adults at night.

In 1862, she joined the 33rd United States Colored Troops under Lt. Col. C.T. Trowbridge where she served as a nurse, laundress, teacher and cook. She later married Sgt. Edward King of the regiment.

After the war, she wrote a book "Reminiscences of My Life with the 33rd United States Colored Troops, Late 1st S.C. Volunteers."

The story of a remarkable woman.

I'm Impressed. --B-R'er

Running the Blockade: So!!-- Bentonville in Michigan?

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

1. SO!!-- Certain folks are making a big deal about the photo of South Carolina Senator Glenn McConnel who was in a photo dressed as a Confederate officer standing next to two Gullah/Geechee re-enactors dressed in what is regarded as slave attire.

I'm willing to bet the two re-enactors weren't slaves in real life and they were recreating an aspect of 19th century life along the southern coasts.

But, yet, some people are too easily offended and make too big of a deal about things even when they should be tending to even bigger problems.

Oh, well. Time to get over it.

2. BENTONVILLE IN MICHIGAN-- The September 20th Central Michigan Life site had an article about the 6th Annual Mid-Michigan Civil War Muster held at Deerfield Park this past Saturday and Sunday where they recreated the North Carolina Battle of Bentonville.

Besides soldiers, there were people there playing the roles of big-name Civil War participants as well as lesser-known. One woman was playing the role of Susie King Taylor, the first black field nurse in the war.

I'd never heard of her, so did some more research which I will write about in the next entry.

Now, You Know. --Old B-Runner

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fort Mitchel, Hilton Head Island, SC-- Part 2

I have seen it named with a double "l" at the end of Mitchell and a single "l." Most likely it is a single "l" because that is how the Union commander's name for whom it was named in 1863 spelled it.

An estimated 50,000 people go to the site each year. To get there, you have to obtain a pass at the gate of Hilton Head Plantation which is a private community. The pass is only good to visit the fort and the Old Port Pub. There are two cannons on site, one a 24-pdr. howitzer.

The Plantation is asking for a grant of $55,000, about $20,000 of which will go to improve walkways and signage.

Hilton Head Island was the headquarters of the Department of the South, and important because of its proximity to Port Royal. Soldiers from Rhode Island and New Hampshire, mostly gunners, manned the fort which was named for General Ormsby Mitchel, who died of yellow fever in 1862.

A settlement named Mitchelville was nearby and was the first planned community for freed slaves.

Still Never Heard of It. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fort Mitchell, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina-- Part 1

From the February 8th Hilton Head Island Packet "As 150th anniversary of the CivilWar approaches, area history buffs hope Fort Mitchell gets its due" by Laura Nahimias.

Fort Mitchell was a Union battery located at the northwest end of Hilton Head Island. The island was captured by Union forces the after the 1861 largest amphibious assault by American forces until World War II. (I'm not sure, but I thought Fort Fisher was in 1864 and 1865.)

The remains of it are inside the present day Hilton Head Plantation and is a series of 15 foot high mounds shored up by palmetto logs. Its cannons are pointed across Skull Creek toward what today is Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Around 1,000 freed slaves built it. One of the cannons was discovered in 1973 during preparations to build the Old Fort Pub restaurant.

Another fort, Fort Howell, is near Beach City Road.

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

Running the Blockade: Lake Villa-- Civil War Flag Found

Some New News about an Old War.

1. LAKE VILLA-- This Saturday, I will be at the 8th annual Lake Villa (Illinois) Civil War Days re-enactment running from 10 am to 5 pm September 18th and 10 am to 4 pm Sunday. Along with camps, a press conference with Lincoln and generals from both sides, there will be a 30-45-minute battle both days.

I'll be at the SCV tent.

2. CIVIL WAR FLAG FOUND-- The VFW Post 1503 of Dale City, Virginia, found a big surprise among the 215 torn and soiled US flags that had been turned in for proper disposal.

Ed Tatum, a Civil War re-enactor found a "different flag" with white stripes faded yellow, at least 17 hand-sewn patches and a blue field with 35 stars. This was the US flag from 1863 when West Virginia became a state to 1865.

Good thing Ed was sorting. Someone else might not have known and the flag would have been burned. They don't know who gave it to them or its history.

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's in Those Sailor Seabags?

By Steve Hesson om the Civil War Navy and Marine Forum on Yahoo Groups.

Sailors packed their belongings into a seabag. The average sailor had four or five sets of blue uniforms and a set of whites for mustering.

There was also about the same number of underclothes and socks; a good hat and a couple working hats; a jacket and a pair or two of shoes.

Personal items like a shaving kit, sewing kit and mess gear were stored in the mess kit when the sailor arrived on the ship.

Always Wondered What Went in Those Bags. --B-R'er

USS Monitor News

From the Jan. 2010 The Civil War Round Table Newsletter.

The USS Monitor's two gun carriages were recently turned right side up for the first time since December 31, 1862.

On November 9th and 10th, a heavy crane lifted one carriage a day from conservation tanks at the Batten Conservation Laboratory Complex at the Mariner's Museum's USS Monitor Center.

The carriages were attached to a special A Frame cradle and rotated.

The carriages were pulled up in the turret in 2002. Both mounted XI-inch Dahlgren shell guns. Everything else in the turret was left in its upside-down state.

It sure will be interesting when they get around to the cannons. Supposedly the ship's cat was placed in the barrel of one when it went a bit crazy when it saw the water entering the turret.


Earlier this year eBay had a three page handwritten letter by ship designer John Ericsson who designed the Monitor. The current bid at the time was $112.99. Bidding has closed and I'm not sure how much it ended up going for.

I'm Glad At Least They Were Able to Save the Turret. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Johnny Clem-- Johnny Shiloh-- Part 2

During the course of the war, John Clem was wounded twice and taken prisoner, but stayed with the Army throughout the conflict. Eventually, he became enlisted as a regular soldier and served as a courier.

After the warm he tried to enroll at West Point, but did not have enough education. He appealed to his old commander, President Grant, who granted Clem a 2nd Lieutenant commission in the Regular Army on December 18, 1871. In 1903, he became a colonel and assistant quartermaster general.

In 1916, he retired as a major general, the last officer who fought in the Civil War still serving.

He died in 1937 on San Antonio, Texas, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Quite a Young and Old Soldier. --B-R'er

Monday, September 13, 2010

Johnny Shiloh-- John Lincoln Clem

From the September 9rh Hawaii Reporter.


From Newark, Ohio and in May 1861, ran away ro join the Union Army at age nine. He was rejected by the 3rd Ohio who "weren't enlisting infants." he was told the same thing by the 22nd Michigan, but tagged along with them anyway as a drummer boy. Even though he was not enrolled as a regular soldier, he performed various duties around camp. The officers of the 22nd chopped in $13 a month to pay him, the same as regular soldiers were getting.

In 1862, he was at the Battle of Shiloh where his drum was smashed by an artillery shell and he became a hero and earned the nickname Johnny Shiloh.

During the Union retreat at Chickamauga, a Confederate officer charged the cannon Johnny Clem was riding with and yelled, "Surrender you damned little Yankee!" just before Clem killed him. Because of his courage, Johnny Clem received yet another name, "The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga."

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Some More on the Blockade-Runner Advance

After the Advance was captured by the Santiago de Cuba September 10, 1864, it was condemned and purchased by the US Navy. Now called the USS Advance, the 902 ton sidewheel steamer mounted five cannons.

It had originally been built in Greenock, Scotland for use as a River Clyde packet.

The USS Advance took part in both attacks of its former protector, Fort Fisher in 1864 and January 1865. After the war, its name was changed to the USS Frolic.

Run That Blockade. --B-R'er

Thomas Crossan, Commander of Blockade-Runner Advance

Thomas Crossan was an officer in the Confederate North Carolina Navy during the war. He later went to England and purchased the steamer Lord Clyde under orders from North Carolina Governor Vance and renamed the ship the Advance and began running the blockade. Its cargoes were property of the state of North Carolina and not the Confederacy.

The Advance ran the blockade 18 times (I'm not sure of this meant round trips or each way). It made the Wilmington-Bermuda so often and regularly, it was almost like Crossan had a time table.

One time the Advance made a daring dash through he Union blockading fleet in broad daylight, something few blockade-runners would attempt.

The Advance was finally captured by the USS Santiago de Cuba, partly because the ship had to resort to burning low quality coal.

A Famous Blockade-Runner. --Old B-Runner

Friday, September 10, 2010

CSS Winslow

Sidewheel steamer, 207 tons, 1 32-pounder, 1 6-pounder brass rifle.

Also known as the Warren Winslow, formerly the riverboat steamer J.E. Coffee of Norfolk, Virginia.

Purchased by North Carolina after the state seceded May 20, 1861. Lieutenant T. M. Crossan commanded it. Cruised off Cape Hatteras Inlet, NC and took several prizes, including the steamer Itasca.

When North Carolina joined the Confederacy in July, North Carolina's fleet was turned over to the government and became part of the Confederate Navy.

It carried Captain S. Barron, commander of forts Hatteras and Clark and was under fire there may 28-29, 1861. After the fall of the forts, the Winslow carried wounded and refugees up the Neuse River to Goldsboro.

On November 7, 1861, it struck a sunken hull near Ocracoke Inlet and sank. After efforts to refloat ot failed, it was set afire by its crew.

A Lottle-Known Confederate Ship. --B-R'er

Naval Burials in Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery

JOHN N. Maffitt

EUGENE ANDERSON MOFFIRR-- served on the CSS Arkansas.

JAMES SPRUNT-- Served on blockade-runners and wrote the book "Chronicles of the Cape Fear. Helped Emma Maffitt write a book on her husband.

MARSDEN BELLAMY-- assistant paymaster on the CSS Richmond.

COMMANDER JOSEPH PRICE-- served on the CSS Georgia. Commanded CSS Sampson and CSS Neuse.

ROSE O'NEAL GREENHOW-- Confederate spy. Drowned on the blockade-runner Condor.

BENJAMIN W. BEERY-- Builder of the CSS North Carolina. Grave in Section b, lOT 53.

JAMES CASSIDY-- Builder of the CSS Raleigh. Buried Section B, Lot 21.

A Lot of Navy Here. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Edenton, NC Cannons Spiked by Yankees

Thanks to HMdb for this one.

There are three Revolutionary War cannons mounted by the town of Edenton, North Carolina's waterfront. They were brought in France to be used for the town's defense.

However, they never saw action in that war. They were later mounted on their current spot in 1861 to be used against invading Union forces, but Confederates withdrew from the town without using them. A plaque at the spots says the three cannons were "spiked and trunnions broken off by Federal Fleet 1862.

They were remounted in 1928.

I came across mention that other revolutionary War cannons are in the town and used as lamp posts and other useful features.

Edentom escaped major destruction at the hands of Union forces when it fell with "barely a shor fired."

Federal General Burnside made the capture and/or destruction of the vital Wilmington and Weldon Railroad a major objective. The small Confederate "Mosquito Fleet" was forced off Elizabeth City which was captured. Then Edenton fell soon afterwards. When Plymouth was captured, the Federals had essentially complete control of Albemarle Sound.

Dadburn Yankees Shenanigans. --B-R'er

The Strange Case of Paoli, Indiana-- Part 1

The main object of this trip was to drive part of US Highway 150 (US-150) from Vincennes, Indiana, to its eastern terminus in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, by I-75. US-150 runs across central Illinois going west to its western terminus by the Quad-Cities. I-74 has replaced it in the state.

The drive from Loogootee, Indiana (how's that for a name?) to Hardinsburg, Indiana, was particularly scenic. About half way through it is the town of Paoli, which I found was named after the son of the governor of North Carolina (an interesting story in itself). Paoli is also the county seat of Orange County (not a name you'd expect in Indiana). I'll write about this in my history blog:

There is a beautiful town square (actually a town circle) with a striking courthouse in the center with a pair of Civil War-looking cannons. I parked and investigated. Both cannons were on concrete stands with plaques reading "1908. Presented by the government to Williamson post No. 364 GAR and by the post to Orange County In memory of its soldiers of 1861-1865." GAR stands for the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization that developed for Union veterans after the war.

Doing some research today, I found out that Paoli was actually occupied for a short time by Confederates during the war, one of their farthest north forays.

I'll have more on this later.

Paoli, Orange County. Why Would This be in Indiana? Old B-Runners Want to Know. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Camp Lawton Found

From Ron Pavey's August 25th The Outsider Blog.

Federal authorities had already cordoned off the site of Camp Lawton in Magnolia Springs State Park before the announcement of its location was made public. There is more than a mile of steel fence in place with barbed wire on top. Armed guards patrol the site day and night and they are backed up by motion detectors and hidden cameras.

I guess this is the government's way of say "Seriously, Keep Out!!" The park itself is still open, just stay out of certain areas.

Part of the reason for the secrecy of the project were the stories of of gold being on the site and even the possibility of human remains

What makes this site so special is that it has been undisturbed since the war and most all of the relics and artifacts are located near the surface.

These are a treasure hunters dream and there was a great fear that they would descend on the site like locusts so all the secrecy and security was put in place.

On October 10, some of the artifacts will be put on display at Georgia Southern University's Museum. I just found out that this is the college my nephew Alex went to.

I Look Forward to Seeing the Artifacts. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wilmington's "The Rocks"

During the Civil War, there were two entrances to the Cape Fear River, Old Inlet and New Inlet, that made it extremely hard to blockade. As such, Wilmington became a favorite port for blockade-runners, most of which used New Inlet.

New Inlet was formed by a hurricane earlier in the 19th century. The Confederacy built the huge Fort Fisher to protect New Inlet and keep the blockaders well off shore. Battery Buchanan was built right at New Inlet for further defense.

However, after the war, the existence of New Inlet started causing the Cape Fear River to get too shallow for deep water ships, so the Army Corps of Engineers decided to block it.

Henry Bacon, Sr., a civil engineer, was chosen to lead the job and brought south from Watseka, Illinois, to the Wilmington Office of US Engineer Department. The project was named the New Inlet Dam and Swash Defense Dam. Because of its appearance. it became known as "The Rocks," a name that is still used.

A Rocky Affair. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vincennes, Indiana's Civil War Memorial-- Part 2

Over 2000 men entered Union ranks from Vincennes and Knox County and were formed into companies that served in the 14th, 21st (1st Heavy Artillery), 25th, 33rd, 51st, 65th, 80th, 120th and 143rd Indiana Infantry Regiments.

In addition, twelve blacks from Vincennes and Knox County joined the 55th Massachusetts.

The Knox County Council gave $50,000 to build the almost 90 foot high memorial which was dedicated October 8, 1914. The five bronze statues were sculpted by Rudolph Schwarz who also designed the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Indianapolis.

The memorial had fallen into disrepair and was in really bad shape after being struck by lightning in 2004. Some $250,000 was raised for repairs and it was rededicated July 4, 2008.

The area around it is also dedicated to local men who fought in other wars, including the only one listed from the Spanish-American War, Charles D. McCoy. There are lists from every war between the Civil War and the Gulf War.

One Impressive Memorial. --B-R'er

Vincenne, Indiana's Civil War Memorial-- Part 1

On my trip to North Carolina, I stopped in Vincennes to spend the night August 28th. The next day, I took a ride around town and looked at all the historical sites, including the George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes University (Indiana's oldest college), the Indiana Territorial Capital State Memorial, Grouseland (William Henry Harrison's home while governor and the French House.

By the county courthouse, I found one of the more impressive Civil War Memorials I've seen.

It lists the battles of Shiloh, Wilderness, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Atlanta, Perryville, Mobile Bay and Antietam (obviously battles troops from in and around Vincennes participated in. Along the top are statues of infantry, cavalry, artillery and a sailor. Then, there is a spire towering over it with what appears to be a statue of an officer.

The 14th Indiana was at Gettysburg where they have a memorial.

It is called the Knox County Veterans Memorial and was built in 1914 and restored in 2008.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CSS North Carolina and USS North Carolina-- Part 2

The Carolina Living History Guild had displays about the two other North Carolinas, but I guess to get a true idea of what the ships looked like you'd have to go to Kinston, NC, to see what the CSS North Carolina looked like and Boston, Massachusetts, to get an idea about the USS North Carolina. Those two vessels would be the CSS Neuse II (a full size replica of a Confederate ironclad) and the USS Constitution.

The USS Constitution is a frigate about half the size of the ship-of-the-line vessels, but its decks would be similar.

The article went on to say the Guild had displays about steam engineering, ironclad construction, navigation, small arms of the US and CS Navies, naval ordnance (artillery), uniforms and the "arts of a sailor."

The differences between the two ships and the advance of naval technology would also be discussed.

The Carolina Living History Guild is an organization dedicated to educating the public about the history of the United States spanning the French and Indian War, American Revolution, War of 1812 to the Civil War with particular emphasis on naval and maritime matters.

One member, Andrew Duppstadt, has a blog about the Civil War Navy that I follow. Always an interesting story.

Maybe Next Year. --Old B-Runner

CSS North Carolina and USS North Carolina-- Part 1

Back on August 11th and 13th, I wrote about the North Carolina State Historic Sites having the last of their summer Second Saturday events at sites across the state. I was particularly interested in the one being held at the Battleship North Carolina Memorial in Wilmington, NC as it was going to concentrate on two previous warships with the North Carolina name, one an 1824 ship-of-the-line, the most powerful vessel of its time and the other a Confederate ironclad ram from the Civil War.

The August 6th Goldsboro (NC) News Argus had an article "Blue and Gray Navies to tell story of two N.C. battleships." Across the top was a nice photo of members of the Carolina Living History Guild who the article said were to portray Union sailors at the event.

They were shown in naval uniforms. The members were Chris Grimes, Gary Riggs, Ken Sewell, Andrew Duppstadt and Morris Bass.

The event was free with admission to the battleship and went from 9 am to 6 pm.

Sure Would Have Liked to Have Been There. --B-R'er

North Carolina Trip 2010-- Part 1

When I'm on the road, I always like to check out any Civil War sites that I pass along the way. When I'm in northern states, that usually involves memorials on courthouse squares.

AUGUST 28th-- Saturday

I passed by the Union monument on the Terre Haute, Indiana's court house, but was on the south side so didn't get a good look at it. Part of this trip's road objective was to drive along US-150 as much as possible. In Terre Haute, it is aligned with US-41, part of the old Dixie Highway as far as Vincennes.

AUGUST 29th-- Sunday

Vincennes is one US city with lots and lots of history, dating back to colonial days, the revolutionary War and the Old Northwest territory. In addition, there is a beautiful bridge across the Wabash River and on the other side (in Illinois) there is a monument with a bas relief showing Abraham Lincoln and his family as this is the site where the family moved into Illinois for the first time. Of course, the bridge wasn't there at the time so they either ferried across the river or forded it.

Vincenne's Civil War Monument Up Next. --Old B-Runner