Fort Fisher

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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Civil War Quiz in Fayetteville-- Part 2: Who was Sarah Blalock?

A total of 15 contestants took the challenge.  After three rounds, five were eliminated.

The contest had two categories of contestants, above and below the age of 16.  David Bourhenne and Robert Byrd were the two finalists above 16.  T

hey were almost joined by a third participant, 12-year-old Meghan Croteau of Poquson, Virginia, a self-professed history buff and horse-lover who challenged the adults until the question "Who was Sarah Blalock?  (I would have missed this question as well.)  Turns out, Sarah Blalock was a Union sympathizer who dressed as a Confederate soldier to help her husband escape to the North.  (I'd never heard of her before.)

According to Wikipedia, Malinda Blalock is one of the best-known combatants of the war and originally dressed as a Confederate soldier to fight along side her husband in the Confederate Army, but later she and her husband went to the hills and mountains of western North Carolina and fought for the Union as a marauder.

I'll have to do more research on her in my Civil War blog "Saw the Elephant."

Some of the other questions:


Civil War Quiz in Fayetteville-- Part 1: What Was a Bean Boiler?

From the Jan. 29, 2016, Fayetteville (NC) Observer "Civil War Trivia:  Bean boilers to 'Stonewall' Jackson, even a 'Devil's Errand Boy'" by Chick Jacobs.

Last month, I wrote about the 14th annual Civil War Quiz Bowl in Fayetteville, North Carolina, which took place Jan. 28th, but hadn't heard anymore about it.

I looked it up and found this article.

David Bourhenne and Robert Byrd stood toe-to-toe through 11 rounds of sudden death showdown with questions like who were bean boilers, the nationality of Union officer Arthur Fremantle and the battle which gave "Stonewall" Jackson his nickname?

(I knew "Stonewall" got his name at Bull Run.  Arthur Fremantle I knew as an Englishman who toured the Confederacy, but I didn't know him as a Union officer.  I looked him up and he toured the Civil War on both sides and was an Englishman.  Bean Boilers was a term I did not know, but you heat up coffee beans so probably something with that drink.  I looked it up and found it to be a name they sometimes called company cooks during the war.)

David Bourhenne won.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Dahlgren Urges Congress for an "Iron-Cased" Ship

FEBRUARY 11TH, 1861:  Commander Dahlgren urged Congress to approve the building of more gun-sloops and an "iron-cased" ship.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Alexander M. DeBree, CSN-- Part 12: Held Prisoner at Fort Warren

Alexander M. DeBree was held prisoner at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor between December 1861 and February 1862.  He was one of 124 Confederate prisoners held there.

But, if you had to be in a Union prison, this was the one you wanted to be at as it had the reputation for treating its prisoners the most humanely.

Now, this is a bit surprising as he was not in Confederate service before this time.  Why was he held?  What had he done to be put into prison like this?

I am thinking he was probably out on a Navy warship and oversees when the war broke out.  When the ship returned, most likely he refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United states (because of his Southern upbringing) and was summarily dismissed from U.S. navy service and imprisoned.  It was not long after his release that he entered Confederate Navy service.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

In Case You're Wondering: What Is a Trunnion/

From Wikipedia.

Since I have been mentioning trunnions in the last several posts, I decided to look it up to be sure what they were.  It was as I had figured.

A cannon's trunnion is the part that protrudes from the barrel near the rear which rests on the carriage and is used to pivot the cannon up and down.

--Old B-R'er

6.4-Inch Brooke Rifles on CSS Atlanta

From To the Sound of Guns and other sources.

There are also two 6.4-inch Brooke Rifles from the CSS Atlanta at Willard Park in Washington Navy Yard.

#1610 was on the starboard side and #1587 was the port side gun.

Trunnion marks "J.R.A. & Co. //  T.F. and 1862"

J.R.A. stood for Joseph Reid Anderson, owner of T.F. (Tredegar Foundry).

--Old B-R'er

Alexander M. DeBree, CSN-- Part 11: His Cannons on the CSS Atlanta

From the To the Sound of the Guns blog.  "Guns of the CSS Atlanta:  Part 2.

The CSS Atlanta mounted 7-inch Brooke Rifles on its bow and stern.  The bow was #1740 Tredegar and stern #1652.

The trunnions bear stamp "P" for proofed along with the initials of their inspector, Alexander M. DeBree.

When first equipped, the Atlanta had 7-inch Brookes #1641 and #1652.  In May 1863, Cmdr. Richard Page, in command of the Savannah Naval Station called for the replacement of #1641.

The cannons are on display at the Washington Navy Yard in D.C..

--Old B-Runner


Alexander M. DeBree, CSN-- Part 10: Birth and Death

Ancestry,com has Alexander M. DeBree born in 1825 and dying in 1869.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: USS Brooklyn Arrives at Pensacola, Standoff Continues

FEBRUARY 9, 1861:  The USS Brooklyn, Captain Walker, arrived off Pensacola.  Troops were not landed at Fort Pickens in compliance with the order of 29 January, based on an interim agreement with Florida officials in which the status quo would be maintained (i.e., Forts Barrancas and McRee and Navy Yard remained in Confederate hands, while the Union held Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island).

The Brooklyn, Sabine, Macedonian and St. Louis remained off the harbor, but reinforcements were not put ashore at Fort Pickens until 12 April.

Attempting to Diffuse the Situation.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, February 5, 2016

Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, Florida

From Wikipedia.

Used as a burying ground ever since the construction of Fort Barrancas 1839-1844.  In 1838 it was established as a U.S. navy cemetery  Many soldiers and sailors from both sides buried there during the Civil War, either being killed in battle or dying at one of the hospitals.  It became a national cemetery in 1868.

Consists of 94.9 acres with 32,642 interments. It is located on the grounds of Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Two of them or those of Alexander M. DeBree's wife, Charlotte Elizabeth DeBree, and daughter.Charlotte Louisa DeBree.

--Old B-R'er

Alexander M. DeBree, CSN-- Part 9: Charlotte Elizabeth DeBree Grave and Grave of Charlotte Louisa DeBree

From Find-a-Grave for Charlotte Elizabeth DeBree.  Born 1837  Died Oct. 22, 1858, age 21 yrs. 7 months.

The 1860 census for Norfolk in Norfolk County, Virginia lists a John DeBree, 63, born in Pennsylvania as purser in U.S. Navy and Alexander M. DeBree, 35, born in Virginia and lieutenant U.S. Navy.  Also John DeBree, Jr. , age 30, born Virginia, physician.

An Alexander M. DeBree enlisted in the Confederate States Navy May, 8, 1862, and made 1st lieutenant  August 5, 1862.  death records for Norfolk, Virginia, show that an Alexander M. DeBree died there June 1, 1869.

On the gravestone, as far as I could read on the photo, it read "Charlotte Elizabeth DeBree, wife of Alexander M. DeBree, USN."

There is also the name of Charlotte Louisa DeBree, born 1858, died Jan. 16, 1859.  It appears they were both interred in the same plot or near each other.  Mother and daughter died nearly the same time.  I wonder if it was because of disease?  Was Alexander based in Pensacola and at home when they died, or was he away at sea.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Alexander M. DeBree-- Part 8: Charlotte Elizabeth Debree

From Find-a-Grave.I have been unable to find out where Alexander M. DeBree was buried.  Most likely it would be in Norfolk, Virginia, but also possible is that he was buried in Pensacola where his wife and child are buried.

CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH DEBREE  Born 1837  Died October 22, 1858

Gravestone reads that she is the wife of Alexander M. DeBree.

There is also a Charlotte Louisa DeBree, born 1858 and died Jan. 16, 1859 buried in the grave.

I believe this to be his wife and daughter.  Evidently, he was stationed in Pensacola at this time if they are his wife and daughter which I believe them to be.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Alexander M. DeBree, CSN-- Part 7: Father and Brother Births and Deaths

Alexander M. DeBree  1825-1869

Father;  John R. DeBree  1798-1869.

Brother: John DeBree  1830-1911

Apparently, both father and brother also served in Confederate Navy.  Alexander and his father bith died in 1869.

--Old B-R'er

Alexander M. DeBree, CSN-- Part 6:Passed Midshipman Pay and the Bureau

I came across this in a 1852 U.S. Navy pay chart:

"A.M. DeBree, passed midshipman, pay  $511.63, Rations $50,  Travel $44.  Gross Amount $555.83 for Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1852."

A mighty rich man.

Also under the Confederate States Navy:

Bureau of Ordnance & Hydrography in Richmond.

Robert D. Minor 1861
Alexander M. DeBree

I'm guessing this would be from 1861 to 1865 and referring to the head of it?

--Old B-Runner


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Alexander M. DeBree, CSN-- Part 5: Served on USS Pennsylvania and USS Preble Before the War

From the 18 July 1857, Baltimore Sun:  The United States sloops of war Germantown and Preble (practice ship) dropped down from Norfolk, on Wednesday, to the naval anchorage.

"The latter is expected to sail on a practice cruise in a few days.

"Lieut. Alexander M. DeBree has been detached from U.S. receiving ship Pennsylvania, and ordered to the Preble."

So, these are two ships he served on while in the U.S. Navy.  The Pennsylvania was an old ship-of-the-line based at Norfolk and the Preble was being used as a practice ship for the USNA.

--Old B-R'er