Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fort Fisher's Beat the Heat Summer Lecture Series ContinuesThe lectures are given at 2 p.m. at the Fort Fisher State Historic Site's E. Gehrig Spencer Theater.

These lectures are put on by the site and the Friends of Fort Fisher.


TOPIC:  Burrington, Dobbs and Tryon:  The Cape Fear's Royal Governors.  These men ruled North Carolina before the American Revolution.

Speaker will be Jack Fryer, historian, author and educator.


TOPIC:  "The Twisted History of North Carolina and the Civil War."

Speaker will be Michael Hardy, Civil War historian and author.

Again, Sure Wish I Could Be There.  Just Watch the Traffic on Saturdays During the Summer.  --Old B-Runner

The Blockade-Runner Condor-- Part 2: Rose O'Neal Greenhow Drowned

More famous than the ship herself was one of her passengers,famous Confederate spy and supporter Rose O'Neal Greenhow, who died in the surf when her small boat overturned while making her escape from the vessel.

Tradition maintains that she was weighed down with vital dispatches to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and $2,000 in gold.

There is a diorama of her death from the old Blockade Runner Museum at the Carolina Beach Town Hall on US-421.  She was buried in Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery.

--Old B-R'er

The Blockade-Runner Condor-- Part 1: Made It Through Blockade, But Ran Aground

From Wide Open Space--  Famous Blockade Runners.

Earlier this summer, the state of North Carolina opened the Condor Dive Site.

The blockade-runner Condor was 270 feet long, with a 24-foot beam and crew of fifty.

It was chased on its maiden voyage by blockaders but arrived under the guns of Fort Fisher safely on 1 October 1864 at Swash Channel Bar at the New Inlet entrance to the Cape Fear River and Wilmington, its destination.

However, it ran aground, possibly while avoiding the wreck of the blockade-runner Night Hawk.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 18, 1862: USNA Open for Navy "Boys"

JULY 18TH, 1862:  Secretary of Navy Welles notified Flag Officers commanding squadrons of a bill authorizing the President to appoint annually three midshipmen to the Naval Academy from the enlisted boys of the Navy.

"They must be of good moral character, able to read and write well, writing from dictation and spelling with correctness, and to perform with accuracy the various operations of the primary rules of  arithmetic, viz, numeration, and the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers."

Each Flag Officers was requested to nominate one candidate from his command "not over 18 years of age."

We Need More Officers.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, July 17, 2017

PCU Minnesota Unveils New Logo and a Werden Connection

From the December 16, 2011, American Navy "PCU Minnesota Officially Unveils New Logo" by Lt.Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg.

To start with, PCU Minnesota is the Pre-Commission Unit and the Minnesota in question is the new nuclear submarine (SSN-783).

This was quite an interesting article to come across in light of what I have been writing about.

More than 100 high school and college students submitted logos to the Pre-Commissioning Unit Minnesota (SSN-783).

Jakob Bartels' design won and received a $1,500 college scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to the submarine's commissioning in Norfolk in late 2013.

His family members have served in the U.S. military.  Including the great uncle of his great grandmother, Mary Werden Whiteside.  Her middle name, Werden, looks very familiar in the last several posts.  We are talking about U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Reed Werden, who, in another coincidence, once served on the steam frigate USS Minnesota and was at the first battle between ironclads, the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia.

I am not sure he was on the Minnesota at the Battle of Hampton Roads, however.

Very Interesting, Though.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, July 14, 2017

Reed Werden, USN-- Part 3: Blockaded the CSS Stonewall in Havana Harbor

He was Fleet Captain in the East Gulf Blockading Squadron from 1864-1865 and commanded the steamer USS Powhatan.  He blockaded the Confederate ram CSS Stonewall in the port of Havana until she was surrendered by Spanish authorities.

Commissioned captain 25 July 1866 and commodore 27 April 1871.  Promotion to rear admiral came 4 February 1875 and later became commander-in-chief of the South Pacific Station 1875-1876.

He was placed on the retired list at his own request.

--Old B-R'er

Reed Werden, USN-- Part 2: Served in NABS and SABS

Reed Werden was on the steam frigate USS Minnesota when the Civil War began and participated in the attacks of the forts at Hatteras Inlet and operations in the North Carolina Sounds in Stringham's fleet.  The USS Stars and Stripes, his former ship, was also there.

He commanded the steamers USS Yankee and USS Stars and Stripes in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron 1861-1862.  While in command of the Stars and Stripes, he led the First Division in the capture of Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

He was commissioned to the rank of commander 16 July 1862, and commanded the USS Conemaugh in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron 1862-1863.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Reed Werden, USN-- Part 1 Commanded the USS Stars and Stripes

From the Hall of North and South Americans.

He was the first commander of the USS Stars and Stripes which I have been writing about.Reed Werden was born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania 28 February 1818 and died at Newport, Rhode Island 13 July 1886.  He was appointed midshipman from Ohio 9 January 1834 and became passed midshipman 16 July 1840.  Commissioned lieutenant 27 February 1847.

Served on the sloop USS Germantown during the Mexican War 1847-1848  where he commanded a detachment from that ship during action againstTuspan and Tampico.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

McHenry County Civil War Round Table Meeting Tonight: Topic Is Show and Tell

It has been a busy three days for me as far as Civil War events are concerned.  And, that is considering that I am all the way up here in Illinois, by the Wisconsin line and about 30 miles west of Lake Michigan.

Sunday, I attended the Civil War Days re-enactment in Wauconda, Illinois, and saw some interesting presentations by people playing the roles of  Abraham Lincoln and Sojourner Truth.  And then I saw the second day of the Battle of Shiloh (which didn't go so well for our boys in gray, you know).

I sat at the Camp Douglas Sons of Confederate Veterans tent and had conversation with members of the 154th Tennessee Re-enactors.

Today I am going to Woodstock, Illinois, for the monthly meeting of the McHenry County Civil War Round Table at the Woodstock Library.  Tonight's topic will be  Show and Tell.  Members will bring items and talk about them, but we have been seriously fore-warned not to bring any weapons.

The meeting starts at 7 in the downstairs meeting room.

Before the meeting, a bunch of us will get together for dinner at Three Brothers Restuarant on Illinois Highway 47.

Getting Me Civil War On.  --Old B-R'er

July 11, 1862: A Congressional Act of Relief for the Cumberland and Congress Dead's Families

JULY 11TH, 1862:  Congress passed an act for the relief of relatives of officers and enlisted men who died on board the USS Congress and Cumberland when the CSS Virginia destroyed those vessels and threatened to break the blockade of Norfolk four months earlier.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, July 10, 2017

New 'Battle' of Charleston's Fort Bull Won

From the July 2, 2017, Charleston (SC) Post & Courier "Winning the 'battle' of Fort Bull:  Civil War site protected from West Ashley waterline path" by Bo Peterson.

Fort Bull consists of earthen berms back in the woods on private land and was in danger of partly being destroyed by the laying of water pipes.  It was dug by Confederate soldiers neat today's Bees Ferry Road and was part of the massive defensive defenses of Charleston, S.C., during the war.

It was designed by General Beauregard and even Robert E. lee had a part in its early design before he took command of the Army of Northern Virginia.  Over 200 defenses were constructed during the war in Charleston County.  Most like Fort Bull were vacant most of the time, but could be easily defended in case of Union attack.

Persons interested in preserving history caused the Charleston Water System, which was laying pipe in the area to swing around the fort's remains.

--Old B-R'er

Friends of Fort Fisher Attend Elmira Prison Dedication in New York

Most of the enlisted men captured at Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865, were sent here and a large number died during their several months of confinement.

Eight members of the Friends of Fort Fisher attended the dedication of one of the camp's restored original building.

I have an entry about it in my Saw the Elephant blog of today.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, July 8, 2017

USS Stars and Stripes-- Part 5: Became the SS Metropolis (Famous Shipwreck)

In 1864, the Stars and Stripes Captured the blockade running steamer Laura off Ochlockonee on 18 January. and attacked an extensive Confederate fishery at Marsh Island 19 and 20 October.

On 3 December, she joined three other gunboats and destroyed saltworks at Rocky Point, in Tampa Bay.

At the end of the war, the Stars and Stripes was decommissioned at Philadelphia 30 June 1865 and sold at auction 10 August 1865, to Thomas Watson & Sons out of New York City.

On 18, 1865, the ship was renamed the Metropolis and was in the merchant service until 31 January 1878, when, while going from Philadelphia to Brazil, she was wrecked on the outer bar at Currituck Beach, North Carolina.  The ship and cargo were a total loss.

During the Civil War, the Stars and Stripes had operated a whole lot in that area of North Carolina.

There is a whole lot to this wreck, which I will go into next.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fort Fisher's Beat the Heat Series Continues: Elmira Prison Camp and the CSS Neuse

From the Powderkeg Magazine of the Friends of Fort Fisher.

A great way to get out of the heat and learn something at the same time.  These presentations are held at the E. Gehroig Spencer Theater at the Fort Fisher Visitors Center at the Fort Fisher State Historic Site in Kure Beach, North Carolina.

They begin on Saturdays at 2 p.m..


Elmira Prisoner of War Camp:  The North's Answer to Andersonville

The speaker will be Richard Triebe, historian and author who has written a book about the prison.

The majority of the enlisted Confederate captured at Fort Fisher were brought here and an alarming number of them died in a few months of imprisonment.


The Final Days of the CSS Neuse - and Beyond.  The speaker will be Andrew Duppstadt of the North Carolina State Historic Sites.

This was the sister ship of the CSS Albemarle.

Again, I Sure Wish I Could Be There For These, But 1200 Miles Is JUST Too Far.  --Old B-Runner

Changing Some of the Content of This Blog

In the last year or so I have been doing a lot of coverage on the chronology of the Naval Civil War which was getting a bit too much.

So what I will be doing now is writing about an event that took place 155 years ago and then going into greater detail on it.  Much of these last several weeks I have been writing about the happenings around the St. Marks River, Florida, during the war which is why I have been writing about the USS Stars and Stripes which operated off that place.

--Old B-R'er