Saturday, February 26, 2011

Across the South, An Enduring Conflict-- Part 3

Back to the Feb. 17th USA Today.

The event in question, the commemoration of the the only president the Confederacy ever had, brought a lot of negative reaction, but at least this time the NAACP was content not to try to disrupt it.

Even the USA Today's seven pictures on it had three that were a slam on the South and Confederacy.

The firing on Fort Sumter is a month and a half away, but already events have been divisive.

** Charleston's Secession Ball to commemorate SC's secession drew protesters.

** Last year, Virginia's Gov. Bob McDonnell, was "forced" to apologize for not mentioning slavery in proclaiming April Confederate History Month.

** A big to-do was made about the erroneous mention in Virginia textbooks that thousands of blacks fought for the Confederacy.

** Plus, the SCV Mississippi Division has caught grief for proposing that Bedford Forrest be honored with a specialty license plate.

One Hundred and Fifty Years On, and It's Still Not Over. --Old B-R'er

Across the South, an Enduring Conflict-- Part 3

The organization that I belong to, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, have taken the brunt of attacks from those folks intent on denying us our right to commemorate the sacrifices and bravery of our ancestors who stood up against unbelievable odds to start a new country, much as their forefathers had done back in 1776.

As such, I feel like those who fought for the gray back 150 years ago. It seems that we are under attack on all fronts and compared to some really horrible groups from other episodes of history. Sure, slavery is indefensible by today's standards and was a major anchor preventing the South's full development, not to mention how the rich plantation owners somehow convinced the majority of Southerners who didn't own slaves that secession would be the only answer.

You just have to wonder if there were some other reason they fought.

Wonderin'. --Old B-Runner

Friday, February 25, 2011

That's Part of the Problem-- Part 2

Then, the guy came back up to the bar boasting that his song was "real country." It was a good song, but he wouldn't say who did it. He still wanted it louder.

Liz said that it was already loud enough, to which he replied, "You're a Yankee, aren't you? I don't like Yankees here in my country."

Liz bristled at that. She is proud to be from the north, but doesn't like it when a southerner calls her that in a derisive manner.

And then, here I am a charter member of the Illinois Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and of the first camp to reestablish the Confederation in the state, Camp Douglas, named after the infamous prison that held Confederates in Chicago.

He is probably one of those "idgits" that wave the Confederate flag at blacks which causes us so much of a problem these days.

Not One of My Guys. --Old B-R'er

USS Tecumseh Honored

From Feb. 24th Fox10 TV, Mobile. Alabama.

The USS Farragut, an Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer, will make a stop at historic Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay to lay a wreath March 4th at the site where the monitor Tecumseh sank in action during the Battle of Mobile Bay Aug. 5, 1864.

The fated ship struck a Confederate torpedo (mine) and sank quickly becoming the final resting place of many of its crew.

The Farragut is on its way to Mobile to become the 2011 Mardi Gras ship.

An Honor. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, February 24, 2011

That's Part of the Problem-- Part 1

Last night, Liz and I had an encounter with a big reason why some people in the north and of a certain race don't like anything Confederate. He was just in from Alabam' and ready to party.

We were in Donovan's Reef, across the motel in Panama City Beach, Florida, (which my nephew refers to as the Redneck Riviera) when a person who could best be described as one came in, a real big burly, slightly pre-inebriated fellow.

He immediately began ordering shots and then demanded the bartender turn up the jukebox as he wanted to play some real country songs and he wanted them loud and proud. She refused because of a local noise ordinance.

I went over and put on the Zak Brown Band's "Chicken-fried" which evidently wasn't "country" enough for him. He grabbed a mitt full of dollars, headed over and proceeded to bump (at additional cost) my next song and put on his songs (which weren't bad). The other one I had played was none other than David Allan Coe's (and go ahead and tell me he isn't real country) "You Never Even Call Me By My Name" or in other words, "The Perfect Country and Western Song."

I have no idea how a fellow of this sort can not consider DAC or that song, "not country enough."

Let's Talk About Giving Us a Bad Name.

Wait, He's Not Through Yet. --Old B-Runner

Across the South, an Enduring Conflict-- Part 1

From the Feb. 17th USA Today by Rick Hamson.

The article was about the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, specifically the re-enactment of the swearing in of Jefferson Davis that took place in Montgomery, Alabama, on the 18th. But a big part of the article was about the Civil Rights efforts that too part in the city.

For example, the parade through the city started near where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in 1955, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott. It also went up the avenue where King and his followers completed the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights mrch in 19654. It also passed the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where King was pastor.

It also came close to the bus station where Freedom Riders were beaten by a white mob.

Mark Potok of the Civil Rights group Southern Poverty Law Center called the re-enactment as "particularly ugly. This is a racist event, celebrating a government that stood on the foundation of slavery. Bernard Simelton of the Alabama NAACP likens it to "celebrating the Holocaust." (I'll need Mr. Simelton's proof of Confederate gas chambers and concentration camps for that one.)

This intro to the article and quotations kind of sets the tone for the rest of the story. In other words, those of us who are proud of our heritage are not going to get a fair shake.

Again, as I said in yesterday's entry, let everyone observe the 150th anniversary as they see fit. And, I will respect and be interested in what they have to say.

Proud of My Heritage, Even If Some Don't Like It. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

As It Should Be

The re-enactment of 150th anniversary of the swearing in of Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama, came and went with little fanfare and disturbance...which is as it should be.

The way I look at the sesquicentennial of the Civil War is that everyone should be able to commemorate it in their own way and at their own cost and effort. If you don't like one group (as is the case with NAACP not liking the SCV (Sons of Confederate Veterans), then ignore it.

I am sure hoping that blacks do have some commemorations planned as I would sure like to find out more about their heritage from the war, particularly the USCT and sailors.

It would also be great if the press did not automatically side with the NAACP's racist views of the war and position.

Let This Be a Learning Experience. --Old B-R'er

Friday, February 18, 2011

Big Doings in Montgomery Tomorrow

We spent last night in Prattville, Alabama, just outside the state's capital, Montgomery. I see in yesterday's USA Today, that the re-enactment of Jefferson Davis' swearing in as president of the Confederacy is going to be held tomorrow.

Too bad, I would have liked to have been at it, but doubt that I will be willing to drive the 150 miles or so back from Panama City Beach to attend it.

Of course, anything Confederate as far as commemorating the 150th annivesary of the war is being massively attacked by certain groups comparing the South to Nazis for the slavery issue.

It is too bad when one group decides to deny another group its heritage, but that is exactly what we're having in the US. I certainly don't deny that group any of their heritage and am always impressed at their ability to overcome such a negative way to live all those years, but that was 146 years ago.

When PC is Not Good. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Naval Officer Voting

From the Nov. 8, 2010, Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial.

Union Naval officer William Cushing won the week three voting over Samuel P. Lee, Charles Wilkes and John Winslow.

The voting for week 4 pitted Andrew H. Foote against Winfield Scott (Army, but had the Anaconda Plan), Silas Stringham and Richard W. Mead (whom I've never heard of).

I've been enjoying this voting. gets you to thinking.

Go Cushing!! --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Two Brothers, Two Flags, One Battle-- Part 3

There were two brothers at the Battle of Port Royal, one on each side.

The older one was Brigadier General Thomas F. Drayton, 1828 West Point graduate and close friend of Jefferson Davis (who graduated the same year) now commander of forts Walker and Beauregard.

The younger brother, Commodore Percival Drayton, was commander of the USS Pochahontas, one of the ships attacking the forts. He also survived the war, dying in August 1865 and is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

There is a marker in Beaufort County, SC near the gated community of Port Royal Plantation that reads:

"To honor the memory of two gallant gentlemen of South Carolina, Thomas Fenwick Drayton, Brig. General, CSA and his brother Commordore Percival Drayton, Captain of the USS Hartford, and later the first Chief of Naval Operations.

The two brothers met at the outbreak of hostilities, shook hands, but each went the ways his conscious directed. Thomas elected to defend his State. Percival, to follow his flag.

On November 7, 1861 the brothers met in battle. Coomdore Percival Drayton, on the gunboat Pochahontas, attacked Fort Walker, in which General Thomas Drayton was in command."

Truly a War of Brother Against Brother. --Old B-R'er

The Civil War Goes High Tech in Wauconda-- Part 1

From the Feb. 3-9th Lake County (Il) Journal.

I'm going to have to check out the new exhibit in the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois, called "Civil War High Tech."

It is set to explore the war in a new light, focusing on new technology in it as opposed to battles and generals. Of course, this also coincides with the sesquicentennial of the war, the 150th anniversary.

It began Feb. 5th, and explores the revolutionary ideas in technology that changed the war, but that also become a staple in today's society.

Director of Cultural resources, Katherine Hamilton-Smith, said, "In its day, the advances that came out of the Civil War were many, not just associated with weaponry and firearms...[like] photography...and types of communication."

She continued, "It was mostly the North, the Union, that had the industrial capacity ti advance technology...[which] really enabled the Union to defeat the South."

A Place to Go Next Month. --Old B-Runner

Monday, February 14, 2011

Two Brothers, Two Flags, One Battle-- Part 2

Continuing with the story about the Drayton brothers at the Battle of Port Royal.

The prevailing military opinion at the time was that naval forces could not beat land forces and absolutely no one expected that the two forts would be attacked simultaneously. Admiral DuPont believed that by using a large fleet with the flexibility of steam power could take the forts.

The original attack was supposed to be November 1, 1861, but bad weather stopped it. A Cape Hatteras storm scattered the fleet and sank several transport ships. Cape Hatteras had been taken three months earlier.

Commencing on the morning of November 7th, from 9:30 to 1:15, the forts were bombarded. Then, Confederate forces were spied retreating from Fort Walker (upon occupying the fort it was discovered that only three of the cannons capable of firing at the fleet were still operational). Union losses were 31 killed and wounded. Confederate losses were 66.

Shortly later, Fort Beauregard was abandoned and the Union had a secure coaling and supply station located between Charleston and Savannah. Both forts were low on ammunition as well.

The Drayton Connection Next. --Old B-Runner

USS Ethan Allen

The USS Ethan Allen, mentioned in the previous post was a sailing bark launched in 1859 and acquired by the US Navy in 1861. It weighed 556 tons, was 153 feet long and had a beam of 35 feet, mounting six 32-pounder cannons with a crew of 90.

It first saw service patrolling the Gulf of Mexico until March of 1863, capturing six blockade-runners and destroying many extensive saltworks along the west coast of Florida.

From June to October 1863, the Ethan Allen cruised off the New England coast watching for Confederate cruisers.

In November, it joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron based out of Hilton Head, South Carolina and patrolled the Carolina coast, resulting in the destruction of the Vaught saltworks.

The ship was also used as practice for junior officers before being decommissioned and sold in 1865.

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

The Grand Strand's Ties to the Civil War-- Part 5

Continued from Jan. 26th.

Taking a closer look at the saltworks at Singleton Swash belonging to the Vaught family during the war, Acting Master Pennell, commanding the USS Ethan Allen, destroyed the works April 23, 1864.

In his report, he said:

"...we found the works much more extensive than I expected, they being partly concealed from the ship by a high sand ridge. There were four separate works, each containing four large pans, the water being raised from the beach by horse power,. leading onto a cistern large enough to contain 100,000 gallons, built of rimber planked and caulked on the inside.

There were 12 pans ready for setting, also timber and materials for extending the works to double its size.

There were about 30 buildings, three of them large warehouses built of heavy logs, containing about 2,000 bushels of salt, a large quantity of rice, corn and bacon.

One of the warehouses was constructed as a blockhouse, with loopholes on all sides."

Quite the Operation. And You Thought the Grand Strand Is Just Suds and Beer. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, February 12, 2011

USS Yantic-- Part 2

At the First Battle of Fort Fisher, the Yantic;s 100-pdr, Parrott rifle burst, mortally wounding six. The ship's commander pulled the ship out of bombardment line without authorization. It was ordered back and continued.

The next day, December 25, 1864, Christmas Day, the Yantic helped protect the landing of General Butler's troops north of the fort.

At the Second Battle of Fort Fisher, the Yantic provided a landing party for the Naval Column where two men were killed in the assault and one later died from wounds sustained in it.

The next month, the ship also participated inthe attack on Fort Anderson up the Cape Fear River from Fort Fisher.

From 1865 to 1882, the Yantic showed the US colors along the eastern US seaboard, the West Indies, South America and the Far East.

In 1898, the ship was loaned to the Michigan Naval Militia for a training ship until 1917, when it moved to Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois. From 1921 to 1926, the ship operated out of Cleveland.

The ship began showing her age and suddenly sank at dock at the foot of Townsend Avenue in Detroit on Oct. 22, 1929. The hull is buried in a filled-in boatslip in Gabriel Richard Park along the city's river walk.

That's a 65-Year-Long Career. --Old B-Runner

USS Yantic-- Part 1

Yesterday, I wrote about this ship supposedly being a presidential yacht for Lincoln, but I have seen no further mention of it being one. However, it led a long and colorful Naval life so I went deeper into it, thanks to Wikipedia.

The ship was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and commissioned Aug. 12, 1864. It was classified as gunboat and remained that until reclassified as the IX-32 (auxiliary ship) in 1921. It sank suddenly in 1929 and was struck from Naval rolls on May 9, 1930.

During the Civil War, the 179 foot-long ship had a beam of 30 feet and a crew of 154. Its armament consisted of 1 X 100-pdr. Parrott rifle, a 1 X 30-pdr Parrott rifle, 2 X 9-inch smoorhbore Dahlgren guns, 2 X 24-pdr howitzers and 1X 12-pdr. gun.

One of its first jobs was to search for the elusive Confederate raider CSS Tallahassee off the New England coast, but the Yantic was unsuccessful in it. It then joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and took part in both battles of Fort Fisher.

More to Come. Old B-R'er

Two Brothers, Two Flags, One Battle-- Part 1

From the Nov. 7, 2010, Washington Times "Two brothers, two flags and one battle in Port Royal" by Martha Blotz.

There are not a lot of Americans who know about the Battle of Port Royal in South Carolina, but this had a huge impact on the wealthy Drayton family from the state who had sons fighting on both the Confederate and Union sides.

One brother was in the Confederate Army and the other in the Union Navy. They were separated in war and even so in death on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.

The Confederates had forts on either side of the entrance to the bay. Fort Walker was on the south side near Hilton Head and mounted 23 guns and had 255 men. Fort Beauregard guarded the north with 19 guns and 150 soldiers.

On November 7, 1861, the forts were attacked by a Union fleet of 75 ships under the command of Admiral Samuel DuPont. Several thousand Marines and 12,000 soldiers also accompanied the expedition.

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

Abe's Yacht?-- USS Yantic

From the September 3, 2010, Abe's Blog Cabin "The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Yacht That Wasn't" by B. Nash.

Some sources have the ship as being Lincoln's yacht, but it is doubtful that the president ever knew anything about it.

It was commissioned into Naval service in August 1864 and participated in the Battle of Fort Fisher and the Battle of Fort Anderson, both in North Carolina. Several sailors were casualties.

After the war, the ship sailed all over the world and during World War I was used as a training ship. In October 1929 it sank alongside a dock in Detroit and today the hull is buried in what is now a Detroit park.

The ship's anchor is in front of the vacant Detroit Naval Armory in that city.

The Remains of a Real Civil War Fort. --B-R'er

New Civil War Navy Book

And, it looked interesting until I saw the price!! Ouch.

The Civil War Navy 150 blog also today announced a new book that is out and the whole thing deals with the navy. right after my main Civil War interest.

It is edited by Spencer C. Tucker and includes 450 references in two volumes along with a chronology.

Definitely a book I would like to look at, but at $177 on Amazon (plus FREE shipping), that is a bit more expensive than I care to go. But I sure would like to look at it.

Too Expensive for My Blood. --Old B-Runner

Best Civil War Naval Commander Voting

I went to the http:civilwarnavy150.blogspot.com site today.

Voting continues into the semi-final round and is set up in brackets.

There are seven days left to vote if you're interested.

UNION NAVY:

D. D. Porter-- 83%
William Cushing-- 17% (I voted for him.)

Both of these men were at Fort Fisher. Dixon commanded the fleet during both attacks. Cushing was in the naval attacking column and went on various expeditions in the area.

CONFEDERATE NAVY:

Raphael Semmes-- 75% (Probably because of his mustache.)
Matthew Maury-- 25% (I voted for him.)

Kind of a Neat Idea to get Folks Stirred Up for the 150th. --Old B-R'er

Lee Has Hard Time Getting Out of Texas

From the Feb. 1, 2011, Texas Tribune.

At the time of Texas's secession, February 1, 1861, US Army Colonel Robert E. Lee was stationed at Fort Mason (in Mason County) as commander of the US Second Cavalry.

With war approaching, he was ordered back to Washington, DC, and departed the fort on Feb. 13th only to be waylaid in nearby San Antonio and practically held a prisoner.

He donned civilian attire and had to continually remind the Texans that he was also a Virginian. He eventually was allowed to continue his journey, despite being provoked by Texans trying to get him to take an oath of allegiance to the South.

War Fever, Indeed. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cape Fear Museum Sends Flags to Minnesota

From the July 23, 2010, WWAY News, Wilmington, MC.

The Cape Fear Museum has sent another Confederate flag away for preservation in Minnesota after carefully being wrapped and packed. Another one had already been sent.

One of then was a Confederate National flag that was made by local Wilmington women and flew over Fort Fisher until it was captured in 1865 and sent North.

Both were extremely fragile.

A Confederate commander's uniform was also sent there.

It is expected that all three will be back and on display by November 2012.

And It Flew Over the Fort! --Old B-Runner

Who Was the Greatest Union Naval Officer?

The Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial site has been running a vote on who readers consider to be the greatest-ever Union Naval officer.

In the first round of voting from October 10, 2010, you picked from:

John Worden
David G. Farragut
David Dixon Porter
Louis Goldsborough

I voted for Porter as he was at Fort Fisher.

The second round, October 17, 2010:

Samuel P. Lee
William Cushing
Charles Wilkens
John Winslow

I voted for Cushing as he was at Fort Fisher also.

Makes You Think. --Old B-R'er

Battle of Fort Myers-- Part 1

The battle took place near the end of the war, February 25, 1865, and is sometimes called the Southernmost Battle of the war.

The fort had been built in 1850 for use during the Seminole Wars, but had been abandoned after they ended.

In 1863, Union troops reoccupied it, planning to use it as a base for raids north of the Caloosahatchie River to take livestock which were abundant. This meat was used to supply the Confederate Army of the Tennessee. It is estimated that by 1865, close to 4,000 head of cattle had been captured.

Escaped slaves and Union sympathizers also came to the fort. At one point, there was an estimated 400 on the fort's grounds.

Fort Myers was garrisoned mostly by the 2nd Florida Cavalry, made up mostly of refugees. A company of the 110th New York and another from the 2nd US Colored Troops, both from Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West were also on hand.

The "Cow Cavalry" to the Rescue. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Battle of Fort Myers, Florida

Since I was in Cape Coral, Florida, from the 3rd to yesterday, I got to wondering if the city of Ft. Myers got its name from a fort. It figures it would. It did. AND...there was a Civil War battle, of sorts, fought there.

The battle is sometimes also called the Civil War's Southernmost Battle.

I had never heard of a Battle of Ft. Myers. I knew that quite a bit of small-time blockade running took place along Florida's west coast, also, I was aware of this part of Florida, extending to Tampa, supplied quite a large number of cattle to Confederate forces and was so important of a food source, that an actual Confederate force called the "Cow Cavalry" was organized to protect them from Union raids.

This is what I already knew.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Let That Flag Fly

After the lousy blizzard we had Tuesday and Wednesday, it was sure good to have recovery time here in South Florida, Cape Coral.

Driving around, near one major intersection, I saw a large flagpole with a big US flag with a Confederate Naval Jack under it, then a Florida one.

I'm sure it must upset some folk, but it sure is a good thing to see and does my heart good to see my heritage flapping in the breeze like that.

Hooray for the Stars and Bars!! --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CSS Neuse II Waterproofs Deck

From the October 26, 2010, ENC Today.

The CSS Neuse II Foundation has coated the 158-foot full-size replica with Hydro Stop, a sealant used on NASA's Crawler, the machine that transports the shuttles to the launching pad. A $9,400 Sea Trac grant and in-kind donations funded it. This new coating is good for ten years.

Since completion of the replica, there have been problems with leaks onthe deck and around the casemate. Builder Alton Stapleford originally covered the deck in fiberglass, but it expands and contracts and spider cracks form.

John Nix, president of the foundation is applying for another grant from Sea Trac to finish a dock on the port side of the ship to allow spectators to view it. They also want matching funds for the $3,400 marker for Stapleford and shipyard landscaping.

They are also looking into the construction of a small building next to the ship to serve as a general store to sell items.

So, That's What a Confederate Ironclad Looks Like. --Old B-Runner

Texas Secedes 150 years Ago

From the Feb. 1st Texas Tribune.

Delegates to the convention in San Antonio signed the paper, but it did not become official until the people of Texas ratified it, thanks to the efforts of Governor Sam Houston, who deeply opposed the move and did everything in his power to derail it.

Sam Houston was not only the governor of the state, but also had been the former president of the Republic of Texas when it stood as its own nation. He had fought for years to blunt the secession movement. Even after the delegate vote, Texas did not officially secede until Feb 23rd when about two-thirds of Texas voters ratified it.

Ever obstinate, Houston refused to sign his oath to the Confederacy and lost his governorship.

Houston died in 1863, one year after his son, Sam, Jr. was wounded and captured at the Battle of Shiloh.

The Confederacy Grows. --Old B-Runner

Fort Fisher-Dug Artifacts

From the Southport Times.

The Southport Times memorabilia Collection acquired seven artifacts dug up at Fort Fisher on Jan. 12, 2011, from a person in Ohio.

DESCRIPTION:

"These items were found and dug out of the ground at Fort Fisher, North Carolina, in the 1990s. Included in the display are what appears to be a somewhat modern .45 caliber shell casing, a shot or musket ball, two blasting caps, two stone carved bullets and some kind of small metal rod. Some of the items may date back to the Civil War."

These items are displayed in a shadow case.

Of course, it is very illegal to dig up anything on the state grounds at Fort Fisher.

The .45 caliber shell might be from the fort's use during World War II.

The Southport Times newspaper is doing a fine job collecting area memorabilia and also has a growing postcard collection.

Keep Up the Good Work. --Old B-Runner