Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chris Fonvielle's New Fort Fisher Book

I bought noted Fort Fisher expert Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr.'s new book, Fort Fisher 1865: The Photographs of T.H. O'Sullivan, at the Fort Fisher Museum last Friday and sure enjoyed my first look through it.

Collecting this many of the photographs taken after the fort had fallen is an accomplishment in itself, but then Fonvielle writes about each photo and shows from which direction it was taken.

Then, from pages 3 to 26, he gives as good of a background of Wilmington, blockade-running, the construction of the fort and the two battles as you'll find anywhere.

It was amazing that serious work on the fort did not really start to occur until Col. William Lamb took command of it July 4, 1862.

Before that, a series of commanders had been in charge and the fort had grown piecemeal and in a disorganized manner. I was familiar with some of the former commanders and engineers such as Charles Pattison Bolles, William Lord DeRosset, W.H.C. Whiting (while a Confederate major) and John J. Hedrick.

However, I have only come to know two others just this past year and both by coincidence.

After attending the Daffodil Festival in Fremont, North Carolina, I wanted to find out a little about its history. It was named for the head of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, Seawell Fremont (it was a station on the railroad). Another source said he was in charge of all coastal defense from New River to the South Carolina line which would include what became Fort Fisher.

Then, this summer, I came across an auction of items owned by Richard Kidder Meade and short note that he had been at Fort Fisher at one point. There was one part of the fort called Battery Meade which he designed.

Mighty Good Book. --Old B-R'er


pete said...

The new book is great - the photos were just amazing. Whiting was up here by me in NYC for a time, at Fort Columbus where he got the dysentery. he was buried at Green-Wood for a time - speaking of which, Green-Wood just had a celebration of all the Civil War veterans buried there - including some Confederate officers. I apologize for the digression, but I'm a big fan of the new book as well.

RoadDog said...

I have written about Greenwood Cemetery. Quite an institution.

Whiting's wife had his body dug up and transferred to Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery.

Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Major O'Riley who surrendered Fort Fisher, John Newland Maffitt and many others connected with the fort are buried there as well.

Glad to get to know someone else who is as interested in the fort as I am.

Let me know if you have a blog or something else like it.

pete said...

RoadDog - just a big student of the area and the campaign. Did some work with the Green-Wood project - great undertaking. On my last trip down there in July, ventured out to Oakdale. No blog for me, but am a big fan of yours. Glad to see Irene didn't do too much damage at Kure Beach.