Saturday, July 30, 2011

Richard Kidder Meade's Personal Effects Lead Auction-- Part 2

High interest was also shown for a Confederate Army of Northern Virginia battle flag which was possibly given to his family after his death or acquired by him during his service. The hand-loomed natural dyed wool flag went for $84,000. Pre-auction estimates had it going for between $5,000 to $10,000.

A fragment of Fort Sumter's garrison flag from the attack on April 12, 1861, went for $3,200 and Meade family archives consisting of letters, books and paintings sold for $9,000.

A Lot of Money for Old Stuff. --Old B-Runner

Friday, July 29, 2011

And, Speaking of the Blockade, Lincoln Gets Permission

On July 24, 1861, Congress passed an act to allow President to take in vessels for the US Navy and appoint officers for them as needed. Thus confirming what Lincoln had been actively doing for several months, but without Congressional approval.

Never let it be said that not legally being able to do so would stop the president.

The scope of the blockade required a much larger navy.

Would Lincoln Do Something Illegal? --Old B-R'er

A Lot of Privateer Action 150 Years Ago

JULY 25, 1861--

The Confederate privateer Mariner, Capt. W. B. Berry, Captured schooner Nathaniel Chase off Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina.

Confederate privateer Gordon captured brig William McGlivery off Cape Hatteras with a cargo of molasses.

Confederate privateer Dixie captured schooner Mary Alice off the coast of Florida. The Mary Alice was recaptured by the USS Wabash off Charleston, SC, on August 3, 1861.


JULY 28, 1861--

Privateer Gordon captured the Protector off Cape Hatteras.

USS St. Lawrence sank Confederate privateer Petrel off Charleston.


JULY 31, 1861--

The Dixie captured bark Glenn and took it to Beaufort, NC.

Pirates or Confederate Warships? --Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Richard Kidder Meade's Personal Effects Lead Auction-- Part 1

From the July 25th Auction Central News.

Four lots consigned by the last remaining descendants of Confederate Civil War officer Richard Kidder Meade were the most personal offered at the recent Brunck Auction House July 16-17.

Richard Kidder Meade (1835-1862) was a US Army lieutenant at Fort Sumter when the war began April 12, 1861, and surrendered with the garrison on the 14th. Two weeks later, the native Virginian resigned his commission and joined the Confederate Army.

The West Point graduate was assigned to the Wilmington, NC, defenses at Fort Fisher until early 1862 when he was promoted to major and assigned to Lee's staff. Unfortunately, Meade died of typhoid fever July 31, 1862.

Included in the lots was a hand-written condolence letter from Lee to Meade's mother reading in part, "The untimely death of your gallant Son...a noble young patriot." The one page, signed letter dated August 9, 1862, sold for $15,600 (estimated to bring in $4,000 to $8,000) including the 20% buyer's premium.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Civil War Naval and Homefront Songs-- Part 2

You can go to the Smithsonian site and listen to the songs.

I am not sure how many of these songs would be Homefront ones and hope homefront only in that people besides sailors would sing them. Most folks are very familiar with the songs sung in the armies, but this opens a whole new venue of Civil War music.

Judging by the names of the songs, I would say there is quite the Irish influence. The only song on the list that I recognize is #10, "All for Me Grog" which I used to play a lot when I deejayed around St. Patrick's Day and is a grand drinking song.

Congratulations to the Smithsonian. --Old B-Runner

Civil War Naval and Homefront Songs-- Part 1

From the April 22 Smithsonian.

Smithsonian Folkways Records has released a new collection of music "Civil War Songs: From the Union and Confederate Navies, and the Home Front."

This collection includes 13 tunes sailors sang on ships, in port or belted out in taverns.

A 40 page booklet accompanies the 13 track, 38-minute-long CD.

SONGS:

1. Ten Thousand Miles Away
2. The Ballad of O Bruedair/Out on the Ocean
3. The Saucy Ward
4. Captain Coulston
5. Granuaile
6. Get Up Jack John, Sit Down/Miss Thornton's
7. The Flying Cloud
8. Larry Maher's Big Five-Gallon Jar
9. Bold McCarthy (The City of Baltimore)
10. All for Me Grog/Parnell's March
11. Castle Gardens (Sixty Years Ago)
12. The Lowlands Low
13. The River Lea

Hoisting Up 'Dem Landlubbers. --Old B-R'er

Confederate Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory-- Part 2

Mallory was born in 1812 in Trinidad and his family settled in Key West around 1823 (the reason the town has the famous Mallory Square where the Sunset Celebration takes place).

To take in more money after his father died, his mother opened her home for Key West's first, and for many years, only, boarding house. She sacrificed much to send Stephen to boarding schools in Mobile and Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where he studied until the money ran out and he then returned to Key West.

In 1833, he was appointed customs inspector for Key West by President Jackson. Later, he participated in the 1835-1837 Seminole War. In 1840, Mallory was admitted to the bar and had much success in his maritime law practice, an excellent choice for a Key West.

From 1837 to 1845, he was also a Monroe County judge.

There is a definitive book about him, "Confederate Navy Chief: Stephan R. Mallory" by Rev. Joseph T. Durkin, SJ, printed first in 1952.

Quite the Life. --Old B-Runner

Monday, July 25, 2011

Confederate Secretary of the Navy, Stephen Russell Mallory-- Part 1

From the March 8, 2011, Ft. Lauderdale (Fl) Examiner, by Timothy Lunney.

In March 1861, newly appointed Confederate Secretary of the Navy, Stephen Mallory was tasked with the job of creating a functioning navy out of next to nothing. Not only did he have to build one, but it was to be immediately pitted against a pre-existing and much more powerful US Navy.

As if that was not bad enough, nearly all ships, shipyards, ship chandlers (provide supplies for ships), steel mills, foundries and armories were in the north.

However, the ambitious, small-in-stature, Irish-American from Key West proved to be remarkably up to the task.

Before the war he had served as Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Naval Affairs and was the US Senator from Florida from 1851 to his resignation January 21, 1861, when the state seceded.

His wife, Angela Sylvania Moreno, was from Pensacola, Florida. She and her husband spent most of the war apart while she stayed with her children in Pensacola with her extended family.

More to Come. --Old B-R'er

Sorry to Lose the Long Recall Blog

Today, I found out that a blog I looked at on a regular basis, the Long Recall-- The Civil War in Real Time, had ceased publication this past Friday.

The group of people who made it used newspapers from the era to put the story of the war and events leading up to it together. I have used their work quite a bit in this blog.

They are stopping because of the massive amount of time they were having to put in on the project and I can believe it. Even though there will be no new entries, they are keeping what they have already done on line for research, and there sure is a lot of it.

Thanks Folks for a Great Blog. It Will be Missed. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Steamer Star of the South

On the 19th, I wrote about the steamer Star of the South arriving at Fort Pickens and found the name of interest since that was who the Union forces were fighting. I also had to wonder whether this ship had anything to do with the steamer Star of the West which made the unsuccessful attempt to bring provisions to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor back in January.

I found an article in a New York paper regarding the US steam transport Star of the South, Captain Woodhull, arriving in New York City's harbor on July 19, 1861.

It had left Pensacola on July 11th and Key west on July 14th.

The article listed ships on station at the two places:

PENSACOLA:

USS Vincennes, sloop-of-war
Maria Wood, schooner
Young Eagle, ship
Evelyn, bark
C.F. O'Brien, brig

KEY WEST:

USS Santiago de Cuba, steamer
USS Quaker City
USS Pomona
USS St. Lawrence
USS Pursuit

Also, the prize steamer Adela, captured by the Quaker City and a prize schooner loaded with cotton, taken by the steamer Pomona. These two ships were captured blockade-runners.

Just a look at the Blockade. --Old B-R'er

Alabama Still Taxing for Confederate Veterans-- Part 1

From July 20th AP by Jay Reeves.

And, you thought all those old guys were dead. They are and have been for a long time, but if you're living in Alabama, you're still paying for them, sort of. The last of Alabama's some 60,000 Confederate veterans died generations ago, yet citizens are still paying a property tax to support the neediest of those long-ago soldiers.

And, this in a state controlled by Republicans who stand in total opposition to taxation.

The tax once funded the Alabama Confederate Soldiers Home which closed 72 years ago. The tax (well part of it anyway) now goes for the upkeep of Confederate memorial Park, located on the grounds of the Home.

The tax also once brought in millions of dollars for Confederate pensions. These days, lawmakers slice it up and send the monies elsewhere, which they have been doing ever since these men and their wives started dying off.

You have to wonder when those who hate the South's heritage are going to jump on this situation.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tomorrow Marks the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run

Or do you call it the Battle of Manassas as do so many of my SCV friends? Union forces named battles usually after a nearby body of water and Confederates named battles after towns.

This was the first really big battle of the war and ended up as a Confederate victory. But, both sides realized the other was ready to fight and go the distance as a result of it.

There is some fear that the heat wave gripping the country might have an adverse effect on the commemoration.

In honor of the event, Stonewall Jaclson's belt buckle and a rifle belonging to Col. John Mosby will be on special display at the Manassas National Battlefield Park. A West Virginia couple bought them at auction two years ago and they have lent the artifacts to the museum.

Of course, Confederate General Thomas Jackson earned his Stonewall name at the battle. A Mexican officer originally owned the belt buckle which has the symbol of Mexico, an eagle devouring a snake. It was Jackson's trophy from the Mexican War.

Col. John Singleton Mosby's shotgun is labeled "My first cavalry gun" and he went on to earn the nickname "Gray Ghost of the Confederacy.

The Conflict Now Begins in Earnest. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Operations of USS Niagara on Gulf Coast, June 1861-- Part 2

'We have been experimenting; trying the range of our guns and find that by increasing the charge of powder from 14 to 19 pounds we can accommodate the navy yard from our present position..." (I imagine that means hit the former US naval yard, now in Confederate possession."

On June 24th, the Vanderbilt, eight days out of New York City arrived carrying Wilson's Zouaves, an easy voyage, but six members of the group died.

That same day, the HMS Jason arrived on its "cruise of observation. (Probably seeing if the blockade of Pensacola was established and maintained. The HMS Jason was a wooden screw corvette launched in 1854 and later broken up in 1877.)

On the 24th, the Illinois arrived "with 'messengers of death.'" I'm not sure what this was about.

The Cahawba was arriving as well.

In the previous post,I wrote about a schooner the Niagara had captured off Mobile. On June 5th, the ship captured the schooner Aid in a cutting out expedition.

So, That's the Way It Was Off Pensacola Back Then. --Old B-Runner

Monday, July 18, 2011

Operations of the USS Niagara on Gulf Coast, June 1861-- Part 1

From the July 15th Long Recall, the Civil War Blog as it happened in the newspapers. I look at this every day.

This was a letter from the US steam frigate Niagara off Fort Pickens, Florida, written June 25, 1861.

Not much happening off Mobile so left that station to the USS St. Louis to blockade on the night of June 11th and arrived at Fort Pickens on the 12th. They took the prize schooner "taken from the Mobileans right under the nose of Fort Morgan"

On the new station at Pensacola, the ship took on 100 new men from the US transport South Carolina and had begun training them in gunnery and other shipboard duties. Quite a bit of gunnery practice.

On the 15th, the USS Sabine left for Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The Niagara's crew also helped land guns and munitions at Fort Pickens from the steamers Star of the South and Thomas Swain. All these new guns were rifled.

Receiving news of Rebel activity from deserters and they were erecting batteries at various points opposite Pickens.

This letter gives a good idea what blockade duty was like. It wasn't all just sitting there and waiting to catch sight of a blockade-runner.

Life on Blockade Duty. --Old B-R'er

Point Peter on the Cape Fear River-- Part 2: the PI Name

Reading on about this site in North Carolina, where the Cape Fear River and the Northeast Cape Fear River join, I came across another name for the place. This one definitely could be considered politically incorrect these days.

Prior to 1780, it was also known as "Negro Head Point" or "Negroe Head Point." There was a Negro Head Point Road that extended northward into present-day Pender County. During the Revolutionary War, Highland Scottish forces used this road on their way to Cross Creek as they headed for the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in 1776.

It is not known for sure how the name Negro Head Point came into use. Some say the severed heads of one or more slaves suspected of plotting rebellion were placed here on poles in the river.

From Colonial times to early in the 1800s, a ferry ran from Wilmington to the point.

A Bit of Cape Fear Lore. --Old B-Runer

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Point Peter on the Cape Fear River-- Part 1

Yesterday, I posted about the 1888 boat review on the Cape Fear River in which over twenty steamships with flags flying and bunting cruised by Wilmington, NC, blowing their steam whistles and so forth. It must have been quite a sight.

The boats started from a place on the Cape Fear River called Point Peter which I had never before heard of. I did some research and once again the MyReporter column in the Wilmington Star News came to my aid.

Point Peter is the land at the fork where the Cape Fear and Northeast Cape Fear rivers flow together north of Wilmington. It is believed the name came from Peter Mallet, a local planter and Revolutionary War leader. It has always served as a terminal for river traffic from Fayetteville.

River traffic during the Civil War would have passed it.

So, That's Point Peter., But There's More. --Old B-Runner

Friday, July 15, 2011

The US Capitol Takes a Beating...By Union Troops-- Part 2

The Capitol Building had become sort of a half-way house for troops arriving in DC. As one regiment would get its orders and move out, another would move in.

US Capitol Doorkeeper Isaac Bassett was extremely angered when he found the regiment of New York City's Fire Zouaves (recruited from the fire department) using their bayonets to destroy a desk in the Senate chamber that they believed to have been used by Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president.

They further rigged ropes from the cornices of the unfinished dome and passed time swinging back and forth over the Rotunda.

Troops quartered in both chambers spent time conducting mock debates and shout obscenities at each other from the galleries.

Smoke from bakeries in the building got into the Library of Congress, located in the Capitol's west front and caused soot in the stacks.

Boys Will Be Boys. --Old B-Runner

The US Capitol Takes a Beating...By Union Troops-- Part 1

From the July 10th new York Times Opinionator "The US Capitol at War" by Guy Gugliotta.

Thomas U. Walter, the architect in charge of building the new Senate and House wings and the cast iron dome on the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, was appalled when he returned to his job in early July 1861. The place was a shambles, and not from Rebel fire, but loyal Union troops.

Congress was not in session and the building was empty and had been procured by the Army and had become temporary barracks for some of the influx of troops rushing to the city's defense.

Bread was being baked in the basement, greasy slabs of bacon dumped in committee rooms, furniture broken up and dark hallways turned into latrines.

Walter wrote his wife, "The smell is awful. The building is like one grand water closet (the term for bathrooms when located inside back then)-- every hole and corner is defiled."

And, in the Capitol!! Have Some Respect. --Old B-Runner

Boat Parade, Wilmington, NC, 1888-- Part3

From the July 14, 1888, Wilmington Morning Star as covered in the Cape Fear River Steamers blog.

The marine parade started at Point Peter and proceeded down the Cape Fear River midstream. When the lead boat got opposite of Market Dock, at a signal from the Marco, each boat was to give a long blast of steam whistle once they were opposite the Creosote Works.

The flotilla proceeded downriver to Black Buoy, opposite the Dram Tree, round the buoy and return. Upon reaching the Compress, there were to be two blasts of steam whistles and then proceed to dock.

All steamers were to have full flags and bunting from stem to stern.

Must have been Something to See. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Boat Parade, Wilmington NC, 1888-- Part 2

Continuing with the order of appearance of the twenty-plus ships to take art in the Grand Marine Review off Wilmington July 22, 1888.

LISBON-- Capt. Black
DELTA-- Capt. Sherman
EASTON-- Capt. Kinyon
ITALIAN-- Capt. J.T. Harper
BLANCHE-- Capt. Jacobs

PASSPORT-- Capt. Snell
MURCHISON-- Capt. Smith
HURT-- Capt. Robeson
SYLVAN GROVE-- Capt. J.W. Harper (related to the Italian's captain?)
QUEEN OF ST. JOHN-- Capt. Paddison

USS COLFAX-- Was respectively invited to join the parade.

The steamer Marco, Capt. E.D. Williams acted as the starting boat and made sure that the line was kept in order.

Must have been quite a sight.

Steamboats Ahoy. --Old B-R'er

Blockade of Wilminington Initiated This Day 150 Years Ago

According to the US Naval Chronology, July 14, 1861, the USS Daylight, Cmdr. Samuel Lockwood, initiated the blockade of the port of Wilmington, NC, by taking station off the coast and notifying the city.

In another source, I found the date for initiation listed at August 14th.

It was one of the last major Confederates to be blockaded, largely because of the late date of North Carolina's secession.

The USS Daylight was built for civilian use in 1859 and was called the Daylight. The US Navy acquired the Daylight in May of 1851 and commissioned it in June. The ship weighed 682 tons, was 170 feet long with a beam of 30.6 and 13 foot draught. Power was provided by a steam engine with screw propeller and top speed of 5 knots.

The crew numbered 57 and mounted four 32-pounder guns.

So, It Begins. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Boat Parade, Wilmington, NC, 1888-- Part 1

During the war, Wilmington was the destination of many ships running the blockade, but there was also a lot of commerce going up and down the Cape Fear River between the city and Fayetteville.

I came across an entry in the Cape Fear River Steamers blog containing an article from the July 22, 1888, Wilmington Morning Star in regards to a marine parade to take place on the river. You have to wonder how many of these ships were plying the river during the war and whether or not their captains were involved as well.

The line up was announced in the paper:

VERTNER-- Capt. Morgan
IDA LOUISE-- Capt. Evans
OKLAHOMA-- Capt. Steward
NARASSA-- Capt. Thornton
BOSS-- Capt. Manning

LOUISE-- Capt. Sellers
BESSIE-- Capt. Crapon
PET-- Capt. Taft
CRAIGHILL-- Capt. J.H. Williams
ENTERPRISE-- Capt. Ware

ACME-- Capt. Taylor

More to Come. --Old B-R'er

Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill-- Part 4

Continuing with some of the interesting people in the graves at this cemetery.

WILLIAM SMOOT-- in 1861, at the age of 16, he and his entire class at Virginia Military Institute joined the Confederate Army. He served the entire war and was furloughed at Richmond in 1865 and then walked back to his family home in Northern Virginia where he found his entire family had been displaced to Maryland.

As he began walking up the lane in front of his family's new house, his mother, working in the garden, saw an unkempt, emaciated man walking toward her and ran to the house. William reportedly shouted, "Mother, don't you know me." She ran out, looked him over and asked, "But where are your boots?" His reply, "I ate them before I left Richmond."

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July Second Saturday at Fort Fisher

From the July 9th WWAY 3 ABC News, Wilmington, NC.

The monthly Second Saturday program at Fort Fisher concentrated on Civil War authors of both fiction and non-fiction, who set up at the Fort Fisher Visitors Center to discuss their books and sign copies.

Jack Travis has written a book on Confederate Major James Reilly who he describes as the greatest battery leader of the war. Major Reilly was in the US Army and surrendered Fort Johnston to Confederates after North Carolina seceded and then joined the Confederate Army and was at Fort Fisher during the battles. It was he who surrendered the fort after the commanders, William Lamb and W.H.C. Whiting, were wounded.

The next Second Saturday is August 13th.

Sure Would Like to Go to One of These Interesting Events, But Too Far Away. --Old B-R'er

Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill-- Part 3

The cemetery also has the Henderson family plot.

GENERAL ARCHIBALD HENDERSON, the 5th Commandant of the USMC. Near his grave is that of his son OCTAVIUS who enetered Confederate service from VMI. He was seriously wounded at the Battle of Second Manassas where his VMI ring was shot off. It was returned to him 32 years later.

JAMES BERRET, was the mayor of Washington, DC, in 1861 when Congress passed a law for all public officials to take the Oath of Allegiance. Berret refused, saying he had already taken one when he became mayor.

The Army arrested him for complicity and he was jailed in New York. His house was thoroughly searched and nothing was found showing connections to the Confederacy, causing him to be released. Berret returned to DC and resigned.

William Smoot and David Herold Coming Up. --Old B-Runner

Monday, July 11, 2011

Off-Subject: Second Sutler Store Day

Definitely a bit off-topic as they didn't have convenience stores back in the 1860s, or at least none with Big Gulps and Slurpees.

Soldiers on both sides had Sutler stores at their camps and could buy little things that made their life better. These were convenient.

Today, while writing out some checks, I noticed the numbers 7-11 coming up. Hey, that's the home of the Big Gulp and Slurpee!! And, this year its double since it is 7-11-11.

Kind of snuck up on me.

And...four days ago we had another celebration that got by me (and betting you as well) 7-7-11.

Hey, all month, it's 7-11.

Let me be the First to Wish You a Happy Convenience Store Day. --Old B-R'er

The Problem with Masonary Forts: You'd Think I Would Be Able to Spell Masonry

Here I am at 60, and I just came across a word I have been spelling incorrectly all these years. I would have sworn it was spelled masonary. And I have a deep interest in the pre-and-post Civil War masonry forts along the US coast. But a spell-check of the last post about Fort Monroe shows the word is spelled masonry.

It's like the scotch and clipper ship called the Cutty Sark which I was sure was spelled Cutty Shark. And then there was Niagra Falls, as I would spell it. And I was sure of it. I even went to the place twice and it was still Niagra, until one of my students said that I had misspelled it in some lesson I was teaching. We got into a discussion about it and I looked it up...and the student was the teacher's master.

I must learn to eat grasshopper.

So, education is an ongoing thing.

Congradulations!!


Well, that was how I spelled that word on the Great Sign of the Wheeling Northbrook Holiday Inn in Illinois until somebody pulled over off River Road and said I hadn't spelled it correctly. Supposed to be "Congratulations!" As in "T" not "D."

Learn Something Every Day, I always Say. --Old B-Runner

Fort Monroe Becomes Mighty Important to the Union

From the April 15th Daily Press (Va.)

Fort (also called Fortress) Monroe was the United States' largest-ever masonry fort, covering some 63 acres. Its deep-water wharf at Old Point Comfort was just a day's steam by boat from Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York City, Charleston and Savannah; a very strategic place.

When Virginia seceded on April 17th, two regiments of Massachusetts arrived, pushing the fort's garrison to 320. They began preparing the fort for war and retraining its guns at the land instead of sea as an attack by Confederate forces was expected at any time.

And now, after all these years, the federal government is preparing to turn the fort over to the State of Virginia as a historical site.

Real Big Fort never held by the Confederates. --Old B-R'er

Fought the Civil War...and Lost Again-- Part 1

Another battle, another loss. Kind of feel like the White Sox when they play the Twins or the Twins when they play the Yankees. Yankees! Right here at Tara?

Not sure if we (meaning the Southrons) lost on the battlefield re-enactment, but I sure did get "lost" in the parking lot.

Took US-12 to Bonner Road and then Fairfield Road to the Lake County Lakewood Forest Preserve. Free parking in a field and I was able to save the $8 admission because of my membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) as I was going to be manning the recruitment tent.


CONFEDERATE VETERAN AND HALLOWED GROUND MAGAZINES

I brought along some old Confederate Veteran and Hallowed Ground magazines. Confederate Veteran is the magazine of the SCV, continuing the magazine used by our father organization, the United Confederate Veterans, made up of real Johnny Rebs. We give these magazines to men who wander over and look to be interested. Let's them get a better idea of what the whole organization is about.

The Hallowed Ground Magazine is the mouthpiece of the Civil War Preservation Trust and a magazine every Civil War enthusiast should subscribe to by belonging to the organization. It does not favor either side and is only interested in preserving and saving land made hallow by the sacrifices of Americans all those years ago.

Back in spring, the magazine ran articles on Fort Sumter that have to be the best short history I've ever read of the engagement. Mighty interesting.

A New Camp? More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Heading Out for the Civil War

Shortly,I will be driving south to Wauconda, Illinois, for the annual Civil War Days Re-enactment.

My Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp will have a recruitment tent set up which I will man when I'm not ambulating over the grounds at the Lake County Discovery Museum on the Forest Preserve grounds.

Just reading the publicity about the event I found out about tents and lodging used by soldiers.

CAMPAIGN TENTS were the two-man variety and used when operating on the campaign trail.

GARRISON TENTS were pitched when troops were staying put for several weeks or longer. They were often the Wedge A-Frame tents that slept 4-6 or the larger Sibley tents that resembled tee pees and slept 14-16.

WINTER ENCAMPMENT QUARTERS were often log cabins with all sorts of soldier luxuries.

There will also be am 1863 Summer Agricultural Fair and a Confederate Council of War.

Looking Forward to It. --Old B-Runner

Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill-- Part 2

At the cemetery, you will also find the grave of Matthew Brady, noted Civil War photographer.


WASHINGTON ARSENAL EXPLOSION

There is a monument to the victims of the June 17, 1864, Washington Arsenal explosion where 22 of 28 women died and the six survivors were severely burned. Sixteen are buried under the monument. The funeral procession was led by Abraham Lincoln.


HUMPHRYS FAMILY

The graves of Joshua and his son Samuel are here as well. Both were renowned ship designers and builders. Among Samuel's sons were Andrew, who commanded Union troops and later the II Corps. His son Joseph was in the US Navy until 1853 when he resigned and settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and later served in the CS Navy. They are buried near each other.

More to Come. --Old B-R'er

Those Rascally Confeds: Steamer St. Nicholas Seized

From the Huly 3rd Long Recall Blog.

According to Baltimore papers, the steamer St. Nicholas left that city Friday, June 28th, with about 50 secessionists on board. most disguised as mechanics and going to points along the Maryland shore of the Potomac River.

Among them was a Captain Hollis, late of the USS Susquehannock, who was disguised, by some accounts, as a woman. He/she retired to a state room immediately after boarding the ship.

After leaving Point Lookout, Hollis threw off his disguise and with the other secessionists, seized control of the steamer and immediately put across to Coney River on the Virginia side where the passengers were put ashore.

Hollis then took the ship on a "piratical cruise" of the Rappahannock River where he captured three other vessels with cargoes of coffee, ice and coal and took them all to Fredericksburg.

Confederate papers report that Col. Thomas and his Zouaves were the ones who captured the ship and then turned it over to Hollis. According to these papers, the operation was "bold and masterly."

What You Going to Do? --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Get Your Civil War Trading Cards at the Park

From the July 4th WHTM 27 ABC News.

In an attempt to get kids interested in the Civil War, Gettysburg National Military Park and other battlefields are giving away Civil War trading cards to kids when they attend programs.

Once collected, they can present them at locations and get a backpack. The article didn't mention how many you needed to get the backpack or if they had to be from one park.

Unfortunately, the program is for kids and not adults.

Gettysburg offers eight different ones and there are others at other battlefields.

Back during the centennial, I collected those gory Civil War trading cards. I'm wondering if these will be gory as well. Probably not.

Hey, I Want Those Cards Too. No Fair!! --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill-- Part 1

From the Washington Times American Civil War Blog by Steve Hammond.

This cemetery opened in 1807 and today the 35+ acres has over 55,000 burials.

Some interesting folks permanently residing there are as follows:

ELBRIDGE GERRY-- signer of Declaration of Independence, vice president and the person for whom the term gerrymander was named.
JOHN PHILIP SOUSA-- the march master

J. EDGAR HOOVER
DAVID HEROLD-- Lincoln assassination conspirator
ARCHIBALD HENDERSON-- longest-serving Marine Corps Commandant
700 Civil War veterans: 600 Union, 100 Confederate

There are also 185 cenotaphs which are empty tombs built to honor members of Congress.

One belongs to Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina who co-authored the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. In 1856, Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gave a speech severely derogatory toward Butler. Two days later, his nephew, Representative Preston Brooks of SC, caned Sumner.. His cenotaph is 100 feet away.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Col. Sewall Fremont: USMA Class of 1841

Back in March, I wrote about this man who was put in command of the coast defense around Wilmington, NC, back in the early stages of the war. He graduated from the USMA at West Point in 1841 and served in the Army. First, he was a 2nd Lt. at Fort Columbus in New York, then served in the Florida War, Second Seminole War and the Mexican War along with other assignments during his 12 year career.

He resigned and became a civilian engineer for NC river improvements before joining the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad before the war. The town of Fremont in Wayne County, NC, is named for him. It was a station on the W &W Railroad. My brother and I attended their Daffodil Festival in the spring.

At the time, I had no idea of the connection between the town and the man.

Some other notable cadets from the West Point Class of 1841 who made a name for themselves in the Civil War:

Josiah Gorgas
Thomas J. Rodman
Nathaniel Lyon
John F. Reynolds
Robert Garnett
Richard Garnett
Don Carlos Buell

Just Some Stuff I Didn't Know. --Old B-R'er

Wilmington, NC, at Onset of War

From the April 12th WWAY 3 ABC News, Wilmington, NC.

Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor was less than 200 miles down the coast from Wilmington on that fateful day that Fort Sumter was fired on. Still is.

The attack brought mixed emotions to the towns citizens according to local historian Chris Fonvielle.

In 1861, Wilmington was a very cosmopolitan city and was evenly split between Unionists and secessionists.

After the attack, President Lincoln called for 75,000 troops which changed the attitude of both Wilmington and North Carolina Unionists to side with their secessionist brethren.

They could and would not fight their fellow Southerners.

Choose Your Side. --Old B-Runner

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrating the 4th of July, 1861-Style

From the July 4th Long Recall Blog.

These are articles from era newspapers.

From the July 4th Philadelphia Inquirer.

July 4, 1861, the 85th anniversary of the United States "will be celebrated to-day in a manner worthy of the occasion." However, the City Council will not be giving money to help defray costs as it has in the past.

A Military Display by the Home Guard and Reserve Brigade was to take place in the morning and there was to be a parade by the Ellsworth Cadets (probably named for the slain hero Col. Elmer Ellsworth).

At Camden, the military fired salutes at daybreak and would have a parade.

There was no mention of fire works.


FIREWORKS

However, perhaps in New York City, I couldn't be sure, there was to be a "Grand Union Fireworks Display" at the corner of Arch and 21st streets on the night of the 4th.

Accommodations for 20,000 to view it were available and Beck's Band was to be on hand.

Tickets were either 5 cents or 25 cents (I couldn't make out the newsprint).

In addition, there was to be "Thirteen Tableaux of FIRE, Including Yankee Doodle Routing the Rebels and P_no Temple, in which the figure of Washington ____ ____ of the Army, amid showers of solver." Blanks where I couldn't make out the word.

So, even with war at hand, people in the North were still going to observe the celebration.

I wonder if they also had celebrations in the South.

By the Rockets Red Glare and All. --Old B-R'er

Looking for the Cumberland and Florida-- Part 2

Continued from July 1st.

The last survey was in 2007 and since then, the sites have been subject to several research expeditions as well as illegal artifact hunting.

Many artifacts from both ships, including guns, cannon parts, glassware and a belt buckle are on display at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum in Norfolk, Virginia.

The raider CSS Florida captured almost 40 merchant ships during its career and was involved in an international dispute between the United States and Brazil over whether its seizure in Brazilian waters was illegal. Its sinking was under controversial reasons as well.

Both sites are protected under federal law, but there has never been a survey of the Florida before.

The NOAA is also surveying World War II Battle of the Atlantic wrecks off the North Carolina shore at this time as well.

Always Interested in Sunken Ships. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fifty Ways the Civil War Changed American Life-- Part 3

CULTURAL LEGACY


The war influenced our holidays and play.


16. Juneteenth holiday
17. Memorial Day
18. Thomas Nast popularized our image of Santa Claus

19. Some 65,000 books have been written about the war
20. Films such as Gone With the Wind, Glory, Cold Mountain
21. More than 70 National Park Service Civil War Sites (not to mention all the state ones)

22. Centennial toys: Civil War Trading Cards and blue and gray toy soldiers (Oh Yeah!!)

And It Had a Little Bit of an Impact on Me. --Old B-R'er

Fifty Ways the Civil War Changed American Life-- Part 2

From the June 2011 AARP Magazine. Continued from June 23rd.


MEDICAL ADVANCES

The Civil War set the stage for modern medicine (and prices?) as it provided thousands of poorly-trained physicians a vast training ground.

11. Modern hospital organization
12. Embalming techniques
13. Safer surgical techniques

14. Improved anesthesia
15. Organized ambulance and nurses' corps

And That's Just Biting the Bullet. --Old B-Runner

Friday, July 1, 2011

Looking for the Cumberland and Florida-- Part 1

From the June 27th Daily Press.

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Navy had a two-day expedition to survey the remains of two famous Civil War ships resting on the bottom of the lower James River in Virginia.

Using sonar technology, data will be retrieved and 3-D maps made of the USS Cumnerland, which was sunk off Newport News Point by the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia during the March 8-9 Battle of Hampton Roads. The Cumberland, a frigate mounting 50 guns, sank with over 120 crew members and is protected by federal law as a war grave.

The same will also be done for the Confederate captured commerce raider CSS Florida which was sunk November 19, 1864, after a collision with a Navy troop ferry.

Sunken Ships Always a Big Interest of Mine. --Old B-Runner