Fort Fisher

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

Friday, July 29, 2016

155 Years Ago:Engaging the Confederates

JULY 29TH, 1861:  The USS Yankee, Commander T.T. Craven, and USS Reliance, Lt. Mygatt, engaged Confederate battery at Marlborough Point, Virginia.

**  Four U.S. steamers engaged Confederate battery at Aquia Creek, Virginia, for three hours.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fort Fisher Summer Lecture Series


"North Carolina as the Last Confederate Capital"

The talk will be given by Michael Hardy,  In the waning days of the Confederacy, April 11 to April 26, North Carolina was the capital of the Confederacy.

Historian and author Michael Hardy will discuss it.

Books will be for sale and can be signed.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

155 Years Ago: CSS Sumter Captures Another Prize

JULY 27TH, 1861:  CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured American bark Joseph Maxwell off Venezuela.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fort Fisher's "Rocks"-- Part 2: Stone Barges Used to Create Jetty

In the late 1800s, however, dredging equipment big enough to handle this project did not exist.  Engineers decided to build a jetty of quarried large rocks to filter the shifting sand across New Inlet.  They began the project in 1865.

Engineers used rocks from a quarry north of Wilmington and manpower, horses, mules were used to load rocks on barges which were then floated down the Cape Fear River where they were sunk and in four years a manmade jetty was created.

I have always understood that this project occurred during the 1870s.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, July 25, 2016

155 Years Ago: Balloon Observation Begins at Fort Monroe

JULY 25TH, 1861:  John LaMountain began balloon reconnaissance ascensions for the Union at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

**  CSS Sumter, Commander Semmes, captured schooner Abby Bradford in the Caribbean Sea and, denied the right to enter Venezuela with Confederate prizes, dispatched her to a Southern port.

**  USS Resolute, Acting Master W. Budd, brought two schooners and one sloop into Washington, D.C..

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Privateers Running Amuck

JULY 25TH, 1861:  Confederate privateer Mariner, Captain W.B. Berry, captured  American schooner Nathaniel Chase off  Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina.

**  Confederate privateer Gordon captured American brig William McGilvery off Cape Hatteras with cargo of molasses.

**  Confederate privateer Dixie captured American schooner Mary Alice off the east coast of Florida.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, July 24, 2016

155 Years Ago: Assistant Sec. of Navy Position Authorized, Lincoln Given Authority to Increase Navy, But He Had Already Been Doing It

JULY 24TH, 1861:  The U.S. Congress approved a bill authorizing the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

**  An Act "to provide for the temporary increase of the Navy" passed by Congress; gave President Lincoln authority to take vessels into the Navy and appoint officers for them, to any extent deemed necessary.

Lincoln had already been doing this since April.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fort Fisher's "Rocks"-- Part 1: A Need for Navigation Safety

From the July 14, 2016, Carolina Weekly News "The Rocks: A 19th Century Civil Engineering Landmark."

Thousands of North Carolinians travel annually past Wilmington, North Carolina, headed for vacation destinations like Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and the Fort Fisher area.  Unless they go beyond these as well as the North Carolina Fort Fisher Aquarium to the Fort Fisher-Southport Ferry, they won't know about the huge civil engineering job that has been built at the terminus of US-421 where they will find what is commonly referred to as "The Rocks."

This is essentially what amounts to as a dam built across and closing what was called New Inlet.

The port of Wilmington was extremely important during the Civil War because of the double entrances to its Cape Fear River which proved to be a haven for blockade runners, especially at what was called New Inlet.  This was the entrance/exit protected by Fort Fisher.

After the war, the American Society of Civil Engineers (the forerunner of the Army Corps of Engineers) recognized a need to keep the Cape fear River channel open and clear of uncharted sandbars and shoals decided to do something about these.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fort Fisher Summer Lecture Series: Fort Fisher's POWs


"After the Battle: The Experience of Fort Fisher's POWs"

Richard Triebe has written a book on it.  I have the book and plan to be there for his presentation and have it autographed.  He will discuss the plight of those captured at Fort Fisher in Northern prisons.  Many of them died in the few short months after the fall of the fort on January 15, 1865, and the end of the war in April.

Copies of his book will be for sale and autographed.

I hope to be there.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, July 21, 2016

155 Years Ago: U.S. Marines at First Bull Run

JULY 21ST, 1861:  The USS Albatross, Commander Prentiss, engaged the CSS Beauort, Lt. R.C. Duvall, in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina.  The Albatross, with heavier guns, forced the Beaufort to withdraw.

**  Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis captured American bark Alvarado in the Atlantic Ocean.

**  U.S. Marines commanded by Major Reynolds took part in the First Battle of Bull Run:  9 marines killed, 19 wounded and 16 missing in action.  Two naval howitzers were lost in the battle.

The Confederates also had a naval battery at the battle.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

155 Years Ago: Cuba Releases CSS Sumter's Prizes

JULY 19TH, 1861:  The Captain-General of Cuba released all the vessels brought into Cuban ports by the CSS Sumter.  See the July 6th entry for names.  This set the precedent for no nation allowing Confederate raiders to bring in captures.

JULY 20TH, 1861:  The USS Mount Vernon, Commander Oliver O. Glisson, seized the sloop Wild Pigeon on the Rappahannock River in Virginia.

**  The USS Albatross, Commander George A. Prentiss, recaptured the Enchantress off Hatteras Inlet.  The Enchantress had been captured by the privateer Jefferson Davis on July 6.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, July 18, 2016

155 Years Ago: Privateers All Over the Place

JULY 28TH, 1861:  The USS Union, Commander J.R. Goldsborough, destroyed former American brig B.T. Martin north of Cape Hatteras, where she had been run aground by Confederates.  The B.T. Martin had previously been captured by the Confederate privateer York.

**  Confederate privateer Gordon captured American schooner Protector off Cape Hatteras.

**  USS St. Lawrence, Captain Purviance, sank Confederate privateer Petrel off Charleston.

Privateers All Over the Place.  --Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: The Merrimack Is Raised-- Part 2

JULY 18TH, 1861:  "It is believed that thus prepared she will be able to contend successfully against the heaviest of the enemy's ships and to drive them from Hampton Roads and the ports of Virginia.

"The cost of the work is estimated by the constructor and engineer in charge at $172,523, and as time is of the first consequence in this enterprise I have not hesitated to commence work and to ask Congress for the necessary appropriation."

Mallory's Going Ahead With Work on the CSS Virginia.  --Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: The Merrimack Is Raised-- Part 1

JULY 18TH, 1861:  Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory reported:  "The frigate Merrimack [later CSS Virginia] has been raised and docked at an expense of $6,000, and the necessary repairs to hull and machinery to place her in her former condition is estimated by experts at $450,000.

"The vessel would then be in the river, and by the blockade of the enemy's fleets and batteries rendered comparatively useless.  It has therefore been determined to shield her completely with 3-inch iron [four inches was used], placed at such angle as to render her ball-proof, to complete her at the earliest moment, to arm her with the heaviest ordnance, and to send her at once against the enemy's fleet."

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fort Fisher to Get a New Visitors Center

From the July 15, 2016, WECT 6 NBC News "New visitors center and Civil War museum to be built at Fort Fisher Historic Site" by Lauren Rautenkranz.

State funding has been approved thanks to the efforts of New Hanover County Representative Ted Davis who was able to get $400,000 set aside to get the project started.  This money will be used in the early stages leading to construction which is expected to cost several million dollars.

The Friends of Fort Fisher will raise a large portion of the money needed for completion.

Last year the site was visited by over 800,000 people, the state;s most-visited historic site.  The current center was built to accommodate about 40,000 a year.

It Does Get Quite Crowded, Especially During the Summer.  --Old B-Runner