Fort Fisher

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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welles' Annual Report for 1865-- Part 5: Cutting Back, But Not Too Much

"In the details of the policy and the measures by which our naval power is now brought down to the dimensions and distributed top the important operations of peace establishment, the country will see with relief and gratitude a large and signal reduction of the national expenditure.  I need hardly to say that this great object is kept constantly and carefully in view by this department.

""Such alleviations of the public burdens is the plain dictate of a wise policy.  Yet true wisdom directs that this policy of retrenchment in the naval branch of the public service must not be carried too far.

"It is still wise--the wisest--economy to cherish the navy, to husband its resources, to invite new supplies of youthful courage and skill to its service, to be amply supplied with all needful facilities and preparations for efficiency, and thus to hold within prompt and easy reach its vast and salutary power for the national defence and self-vindication."

--Old B-R'er

Welles' Annual Report for 1865-- Part 4: Protecting American Commerce

Gideon Welles added:  "In time of peace our naval force should be actively employed visiting every commercial port where American capital is employed, and there are few available points on the globe which American enterprise has not penetrated and reached.  But commerce needs protection, and our squadrons and public vessels in commission must not be inactive.

"One or more of our naval vessels ought annually to display the flag of the Union in every port where our ships may trade.  The commerce and navy of a people have a common identity  and are inseparable companions.

"Wherever our merchant ships may be employed, there should be within convenient proximity a naval force to protect them and make known our national power."

The Secretary concluded his report:  "As peace is being restored among us, the country now puts off the formidable naval armor which it had assumed to vindicate upon a mighty scale  that supremacy of the national law which is the very life of our Union."

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Welles' Annual Report for 1865-- Part 3: Re-establishing the Foreign Squadrons

Secretary Welles went on to report the joint operations leading to the evacuation of Mobile and the capitulation of the Confederacy through the Gulf coast.  "On the 2nd of June, Galveston was surrendered, and the supremacy of the government was once more established on the entire coast, from Maine to and including Texas.

"With only limited means at the command of the department to begin with," he wrote, "the navy became suddenly an immense power."

During the war, the Navy had increased from 42 active commissioned ships to a fleet of nearly 700.  Welles noted that 208 ships had been built or begun during that period, and 418 others, primarily steamers, had been purchased.  The number of men in the service grew from 7,600 at the outset of the war to 51,500 at its close.

"An unrelaxing blockade was maintained for four years from the capes of the Chesapeake to the Rio grande, while a flotilla of gunboats, protecting and aiding the army in its movements, penetrated and patrolled our rivers, through an internal navigation almost continental, from the Potomac to the Mississippi.

"After the capture of Forts Hatteras and Clark, in August, 1861, port after port was wrested from the insurgents, until the flag of the Union was again restored in every harbor along our coast, and the rebellion was eventually wholly suppressed."

Welles continued:  "As soon as our domestic troubles were overcome, the duty of attending to our interests abroad prompted the re-establishing of the foreign squadrons which had been suspended.  The European, Brazil, and the East India squadrons have been organized anew upon as economical a scale as is consistent with their efficiency, the interests of commerce, and a proper regard for our position as a nation.""

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Welles Annual Report for 1865-- Part 2: Capture of Charleston

Farther down the coast, Welles continued:  "...Rear Admiral Dahlgren was engaged with assisting in the transfer of the right wing of the army to Beaufort, S.C., and in the course of General Sherman's march northward that officer and his army were aided by all needful naval operations.

"On the night of the 12th and 13th of February a joint movement was made along the approaches from Bull's Bay to Mount Pleasant, with a view of embarrassing the military commandant at Charleston, blinding him as to the actual military design....  Other less extensive movements than that at Bull's Bay were made about that period....  They were intended simply to attract the attention of the rebels and aiding General Sherman in accomplishing his great purpose of moving toward Richmond....

"The morning of the 18th [of February] revealed the fact that Charleston was evacuated.  Thus, without a final struggle, the original seat of the rebellion, the most invulnerable and best protected city on the coast, whose defenses had cost immense treasure and labor, was abandoned, and the emblem of unity and freedom was again reinstated upon the walls of Sumter."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 28, 2015

December 27, 1865: Welles Annual Report-- Part 1: Fort Fisher's Fall Key to Confederacy's Collapse

DECEMBER 27, 1865:  In his fourth annual report to the President, Secretary Welles summarized naval activity during 1865 and reviewed the contributions of the Navy to the North's war effort.  "The demands upon the naval service," he wrote, "which for four years had been exacting, were relaxed upon the fall of Fort fisher.

"That event, and the possession of Cape Fear river, closed all access to Wilmington, the port of rebel supplies, put an end to illicit traffic with the states in insurrection, and extinguished the last remnants of that broken commerce which foreign adventurers had, notwithstanding constant and severe losses persisted in carrying on by breach of blockade."

--Welles noted that the evacuation of Wilmington "was preliminary to the fall of Richmond and the surrender of rebel armies, which were thenceforward deprived of supplies from abroad."

But while general Lee's soldiers were thus cut off from their source of supplies,  the Union troops were assured full logistic support and freedom of movement because the North dominated the waterways at General Grant's vital base at City Point.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Secretary Welles Has It In for Semmes-- Part 2

Raphael Semmes was released from prison in April 1866 without ever having been brought to trial.

The government considered its legal case against him inadequate as Semmes had never been in actual custody of Union forces when the Alabama was sunk off Cherbourg, France, on 19 June 1864.  he had been rescued by the English yacht Deerhound.

--Old B-R'er

December 27, 1865: Welles Greatly Dislikes Admiral Semmes-- Part 1

From the Civil War Naval Chronology.

Dec. 27, 1865:  Secretary Welles observed in his diary that his orders to arrest Raphael Semmes had been carried out and that the ex-Confederate raider captain was being brought to Washington to stand trial for breaking parole.

"He did not belong in the Rebel region, "wrote Welles, "and has not therefore the poor apology of those who shelter themselves under the action of their States; he was educated and supported by that government which he deserted in disregard of his obligations and his oath; he made it his business to rob and destroy ships and property of his unarmed countrymen engaged in peaceful commerce; when he finally fought and was conquered he practiced a fraud, and in violation of his surrender broke faith, and without ever being exchanged fought against the Union at Richmond."

Semmes definitely had something to worry about once in Washington as Welles definitely had it in for him.  At the end of the diary entry, Welles was referring to the battle between the USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama which resulted in the latter's being sunk.  However, Semmes was not captured at the time and as such had not agreed to a parole.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 25, 2015

Four Major Military Events That Took Place on Christmas Day: Fort Fisher

From the DoDLive by Katie Lange.

These events took place on Christmas Day:

1775--  Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware River and attack on the British at Trenton.  A big victory.

1864--  The First Battle of Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  A Confederate victory, Union loss.

1896--  "Stars and Stripes Forever" written by John Philip Sousa.

1972--  Operation Linebacker II begins against North Vietnam.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 24, 2015

CSS Arctic-- Part 3: Did the USS Arctic Become the CSS Arctic?

I ended up doing a whole lot of research on this ship yesterday.  It's probable history started becoming apparent.

From the Civil War Talk site.

Another person found two references to Civil War ships named Arctic.  One was the CSS Arctic, a floating battery stationed at Wilmington, N.C.  It was destroyed in December 1864 or early 1865 depending upon the source.

The other was the USS Arctic, commissioned by the U.S. Navy and having service with the U.S. Coast Survey.  In 1859, it was transferred to the Lighthouse Board and saw duty as a lightship for twenty years.

Another person said the CSS Arctic was converted from a lightship and mounted three cannons.

It was possibly raised and put back into service again.

He believes the Confederate and Union Arctics were one and the same ship.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CSS Arctic-- Part 2: Union Ship/Confederate Ship?

Another person wrote some information that I have seen in several places concerning the CSS Arctic.

Flt. Btry: 3 guns  (Floating battery)

Built in Wilmington 1863, as ironclad floating battery and additional duty as a receiving ship for Flag Officer Robert F. Pinckney's Naval Forces Station Cape Fear River from 1862-1864 with Lt. C.B. Poindexter, CSN, in command.

Her machinery removed in the latter part of 1862 for ironclad CSS Richmond then completing in Richmond.

With threat of First Attack on Fort Fisher, it was sunk 24 December 1864 to obstruct the Cape Fear River channel.

Another person commented that the Arctic's engine was removed in 1859 and was providing power to a sawmill when the CSS Richmond was commissioned with engines built by Naval Ironworks in Richmond, Virginia.

--These are some conflicting accounts Indeed.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

CSS Arctic-- Part 1: Somewhat of a Mystery Ship

I have been writing about J.J. Ingraham who at least at times was stationed as a boatswain on the CSS Arctic.  There is not a lot written about the CSS Arctic at the Wilmington (N.C.) Naval Station in the Cape Fear River.

Civil War Talk had a thread running on it at one time "CSS Arctic--what do we know?"  Not much.

A person wrote that he knew it was a floating battery with a "nifty" name, but that was about it.

Another commented that it was a receiving ship and at one time 38 Confederate Marines were stationed there after the loss of their ship, the CSS Raleigh.

Wikipedia lists it as an ironclad floating battery, burned in 1865, but had no article on it.

--Old B-R'er

J.J. Ingraham, CSN-- Part 3: Service on the Arctic and Raleigh and What Is a Boatswain?

J.J. Ingraham was listed with the crew of the CSS Arctic of the Wilmington (NC) Naval Station in the June 1862; July 1863; April-Nov. 1864 rosters.  The CSS Arctic was the station's receiving ship evidently.

He was listed as a boatswain.  At one point, the Arctic was under the command of Lt. C.B. Poindexter and W.T. Muse is also listed as commander.

He also appears as a boatswain on the crew list for the CSS Raleigh on Jan., Feb., and March 1862; Jan. to June 1864 rosters.  Lt. Commanding was James W. Alexander.

I had the idea that a boatswain was an enlisted man of high rank and according to Wikipedia, a boatswain is a senior crewman of the deck department and supervises others.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 21, 2015

J.J. Ingraham CSN-- Part 2: Service Aboard CSS Chickamauga.

From "British Ships in the Confederate Navy" by Joseph McKenna.

Officers on the CSS Chickamauga 26 September-15 December 1864.  This was when Lt. John Wilkinson took the ship on a raid from Wilmington up the U.S. east coast and captured several prizes.

John Wilkinson, lt. commanding
W,G. Dozier, lst lt and Executive Officer
F.M. Roby, lt.
Clarence L. Stanton, lt.
Clarence Cary, passed midshipman
D.M. Lee, passed midshipman
I.M. Barien, passed midshipman
J.J. Ingraham, boatswain

The cruise left Wilmington on October 28, 1864, and returned to Wilmington on Nov. 19, 1864.

--Old B-R'er

J.J. Ingraham, CSN-- Part 1: Boatswain

From Confederate States Navy Arthur Wyllie.

J.J. Ingraham was appointed to the USNA from Virgibia and entered CSS Navy Jan. 16, 1864 as boatswain.  One source has him as boatswain of the CSS Arctic in 1863.  Served on the steam gunboat CSS Raleigh and ironclad sloop CSS North Carolina. and Wilmington Station in 1864 and later

Boatswain  Confederate States Navy on Jan. 16, 1864.

Boatswain Provisional Confederate States Navy June 2, 1864.Assigned to the ironclad CSS Raleigh 1863-1864, the CSS Arctic and the CSS Chickamauga and Wilmington Naval Station in 1864.

I was unable to find any mention of him as being in the U.S. Naval Academy.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Captain Duncan Nathaniel Ingraham, CSN-- Part 2: Confederate Service

Captain Ingraham resigned his commission in the USN on 4 February 1861 to enter the CSN with the rank of captain.  He commanded the Charleston Naval Station from 1862 to the city's evacuation in 1865.

He died in Charleston 16 October 1891.

Four ships in the USN have been named in his honor.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Captain Duncan Nathaniel Ingraham-- Part 1: A Distinguished USN Career

From Geni. site.

Born Dec. 6, 1802.  Died 16 October 1891.  USN and CSN.

Native of Charleston, S.C..  Appointed midshipman 18 June 1812 at age ten.   Served during War of 1812 and Mexican War.  Served with distinction.  Commissioned captain 14 December 1853.

While in command of the sloop-of-war USS St. Louis in July 1853 in the Mediterranean, he interfered with the detention by the Austrian consul at Smyrna. Turkey, of Martin Koszta, a Hungarian who had declared in New York of his intention of becoming and American citizen, and who had been seized and confined on the Austrian ship Hussar.

For his role, Duncan Ingraham was voted the thanks of Congress and awarded the Gold medal.

Afterwards, Ingraham served as Chief of Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrographer of the Navy from 1856-1860.

--Old B-R'er

The Ingraham Family in the Confederate Navy

While looking up information about John Ingraham, I came across a lot of other Ingrahams involved in the confederate Navy.

Someone on was looking for information on the Ingraham family of Charleston, S.C. and had a list of names:

Duncan Nathaniel Ingraham:  Captain U.S. and CS navies

Henry Laurens Ingraham:  Lieutenant in U.S. and C.S. navies

John Hazlehurst Ingraham--  Midshipman U.S. Navy and Lieutenant C.S. Navy

George H. Ingraham:  Paymaster's Clerk, C.S. Navy

J.J. Ingraham:  Boatswain C.S. Navy

Sure Hope None of Them Had a Statue Put Up in New Orleans.  The Slavery Thing You Know.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Confederate Officer John Hazelhurst Ingraham-- Part 2: Duty in Charleston

Served on receiving ship CSS Indian Chief in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.  Also on the ironclad CSS Chicora and Huntress in the Charleston Squadron in 1862.  Posted abroad in '63 and'64.  Became 1st lieutenant on January 6, 1864.  Back on the CSS Chicora and later commanded a battery in Charleston Harbor in '64.

Promoted to 1st lieutenant Provisional Navy June 2, 1864.

Assigned to Battery Wood on the James River in October 1864.

--Old B-R'er

Confederate Officer John Hazelhurst Ingraham-- Part 1: Native South Carolinan

From the Crew of the CSS Virginia "The CSS Virginia: Sink Before Surrender."

Born in South Carolina and appointed from there to the U.S. Naval Academy.  Tendered resignation Feb. 10, 1861 and accepted four days later.

Appointed midshipman in Confederate States Navy on April 23, 1861.  Served in the Savannah Station in 1861, made acting master on September 24,1861.

Served on CSS Nashville in 1861-1862.  Promoted to second lieutenant and lieutenant for war February 8, 1862.  He was boarding officer of the Nashville when it captured the Robert Gilfillan on Feb. 26, 1862.

Assigned to the ironclad CSS Virginia March 9, 1862.  This was the day that it engaged the USS Monitor in that famous sea battle.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Confederate Receiving Ship CSS Indian Chief-- Part 5

When Charleston, S.C. was evacuated by the Confederates, along with the other naval vessels, the CSS Indian Chief was burned.

Henry F. River, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in charge of dredging Charleston Harbor and environs from 1926-1948 noted that in 1929, that while dredging Town Creek, they struck a large obstruction.  They returned with the snag boat Wateree and using a clamshell bucket and dynamite, removed the remains of the vessel.

He had no doubt that it was the CSS Indian Chief.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Receiving Ship CSS Indian Chief-- Part 4: Used As a Practice Ship for the Hunley

As I mentioned last week, the Confederate submarine Hunley used the Indian Chief for practice, though it seemed most often the ship towed a fake torpedo instead of having one mounted on a long spar in front of it as it had in the Housatonic attack.

On October 15, 1863, a practice was held with inventor and namesake of the sub H.L. Hunley at the helm.  Thisd time it did not resurface on the other side of the Indian Chief.  Minutes went by, then hours.  The Hunley was found under the Indian Chief three days later.

A short time later, the usual commander of the Hunley, Lt. George E. Dixon was on board the Indian Chief raising anew crew.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 14, 2015

Receiving Ship CSS Indian Chief-- Part 3: In the Torpedo Service

On November 10, 1862, a Confederate Navy paymaster approved a pay voucher of $12.50 to the Mount Pleasant Ferry Company for the transfer of 52 seamen and their baggage to the Indian Chief.  This would be in keeping with its duty as a temporary home for sailors awaiting transfer.

In 1863, the Indian Chief's role expanded when it became an auxiliary to serve as a workshop and assembly platform for Confederate torpedo boats..

On August 24, 1863, Flag Officer J.R. Tucker ordered Lt. Dozier to have "as many boats fitted with torpedoes as you can hoist up to the davits of the Indian Chief and have them ready for service."  It would seem W.G. Dozier was also put in charge of torpedo boat operations as he is mentioned as "commanding special operations."

--Old B-R

Receiving Ship CSS Indian Chief-- Part 2: Picket Boat Headquarters Duty

The CSS Indian Chief became a receiving ship in 1862.  I found no mention of what it was before that.  A Confederate naval veteran after the war claimed he was assigned picket boat duty in Charleston in 1863 and wrote that headquarters was in the "full rig ship Indian Chief."  So, the Indian Chief also served as headquarters for the harbor picket ships.

A "full rig ship" is one with three masts and square-rigged ship.

On October 22, 1862, Lt. W.G. Dozier was relieved of command of the Confederate steamer Huntress and given command of the Indian Chief, replacing Lt. Ingraham.

Lt. Dozier was native South Carolinian and had been in the US Navy before the war and served as lieutenant and acting master of the frigate USS Richmond

As war approached, he resigned his commission and offered his services to his native state and was appointed to coast and harbor police before his transfer to the Confederate Navy.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Some More on Civil War Receiving Ships-- Part 1

From "The Day the Johnboat Went Up to the Mountains: Stories From my Twenty Years in South Carolina Maritime Archaeology" by Carl Naylor.

Civil War Receiving Ships

Receiving ships functioned as barracks for transient sailors, as "boot camps" for training new sailors and headquarters for other functions.  Invariably older vessels, no longer useful as warships and no longer seaworthy became receiving ships.

The next stop generally for these ships was scrapping.

Confederate receiving Ships:

CSS United States at Norfolk

CSS Arctic at Wilmington

CSS Indian Chief at Charleston

CSS  Sampson at Savannah

CSS Dalman at Mobile

CSS St. Philip at New Orleans

--Old B-R'er

Civil War Receiving Ships-- Part 1

In the last post on the CSS Indian Chief in Charleston Harbor, I mentioned that it was a receiving ship.  I, at one time, believed that receiving ships were posted in harbors to receive ships into the the environs, register them and meet foreign dignitaries.  That is not so.

From the U.S. Militaria Forum.

A receiving ship is any vessel serving as a point of induction into the naval service for new recruits.  Naval vessels are not built specifically for this duty.  They are relegated to it, normally at the end of their careers.

After the ship's condition is such that it had best remain in port and/or at anchor, they become receiving ships.

Modifications might include the removal of weaponry and the erecting of housing structures on the main deck.

Usually upon release from receiving duties, the ship is decommissioned or turned over to state naval militias.

Another person commented says a receiving ship was where sailors reported after training and before their permanent assignment and not a place of induction.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 11, 2015

CSS Indian Chief-- Part 2: Connection to the Hunley

In 1864, crowds gathered on Charleston's Cooper River docks to watch the H.L. Hunley make successful dives under the Charleston receiving ship CSS Indian Chief.  The submarine would drag a dummy torpedo, a, empty cannister, at the end of a 100+-foot rope.

The submarine would then dive under it and reappear minutes later on the other side.  Sometimes, the practces were held several times in one day.

However, on October 15, after another such run, the Hunley, this time commanded by inventor Horace L. Hunley, it failed to surface on that other side.

All hands were lost.

--Old B-R'er

The CSS Indian Chief-- Part 1: Receiving Ship in Charleston Harbor

In the last post, I mentioned a Confederate ship named the Indian Chief in connection to Joseph Ridgaway, a crew member of the doomed submarine Hunley..  I didn't know anything about it so did some more research.

The CSS Indian Chief was the receiving ship for Charleston and many naval recruits served on it.  The ship was also involved in mine laying operations and was described as a schooner.  It was burned during the Confederate evacuation of Charleston on February 18, 1865 in Town Creek.

In 1929, its wreck was leveled with dynamite and clamshell dredging..

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Seaman Joseph Ridgaway of the Hunley-- Part 2

His new duties as second in command was to secure the aft hatch, manning the seventh crank operating the aft pump, seacock and flywheel.

He was one of the most experienced seamen on board the Hunley.

His body and those of the others were not found until 1995.

During the Hunley's excavation, his body was found with a slouch hat, pencil and wooden pope.  But the most interesting artifact found on his remains was an id for a Union soldier named Ezra Chamberlin who died at the Battle of Morris Island in 1863.

Best guess as to how it came into Ridgaway's possession was that he picked it up at some point when he was on picker duty at Morris Island. probably while he was assigned to the CSS Indian Chief.  Four other members of the Hunley's crew had also been on that ship.

After the Hunley didn't return from its attack on the Housatonic, a friend of Ridgaway's from the Indian Chief, James Joiner, brought his personal possessions back to his family in Maryland and eventually married one of Ridgaway's four sisters.

Joseph Ridgaway and the other Hunley crew members are buried at Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, S.C..

--Old B-R'er

Seaman Joseph Ridgaway, of the Hunley-- Part 1

From Find-A-Grave.

Seaman Joseph F. Ridgaway.

second in command of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley when it sank the USS Housatonic in 1864.  Born late 1833 to James and Elizabeth Ridgaway of Talbot County, Maryland.  He earned his experienced seaman certificate at age 16.

On August 29, 1862, he joined the Confederate States Navy in Richmond, Virginia.

Eventually he ended up in Charleston, S.C. and served on the CSS Indian Chief and later the submarine H.L. Hunley where he initially only had the duty to operate a crank used in its propulsion.  But, when William Alexander, one of the sub's builders, was transferred back to Mobile in early 1864, Lt. Dixon, its commander, promoted Ridgaway to second in command.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Seaman Joseph Ridgaway, Submarine Hunley

Another Marylander from Talbot County, Maryland, like Admiral Buchanan, was Joseph Ridgaway who was serving on one of his father's merchant ships at the outbreak of the Civil War.

He saw service in the Confederate Navy and in 1864, was second-in-command of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley in its famous attack on and sinking of the USS Housatonic.  He also disappeared with that ship.

--Old B-R'er

Admiral Franklin Buchanan, CSN-- Part 2

Continued from Dec. 1st, 2015.

Franklin Buchanan commanded the CSS Virginia on the first day of battle at Hampton Roads, Virginia, but was wounded and Catesby ap Jones commanded the ship in its battle against the USS Monitor.

He was promoted to admiral and the ranking officer in the Confederate Navy and sent to Mobile to command the fleet there.  he oversaw construction of the ironclad CSS Tennessee and fought Union Admiral Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay.

Fort Fisher's formidable Battery Buchanan was named after him.

After the war, he served briefly as president of the Agricultural College of Maryland and the manager of an insurance company.

Admiral Franklin is described as "a champion of unsurpassed ability and bravery" and "a man of heroic mould, and one whose acts will be the theme of historians, and whose character will be the study and admiration of coming years."

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fort Fisher Celebrating 2015 Holiday Open House Today

From the Fort Fisher site.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015, today, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the free and open to the public open house will e held at the visitor's center at the fort, located at 1610 Fort Fisher Boulevard in South Kure Beach.

It is sponsored by the Fort Fisher Chapter 2325 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the friends of Fort Fisher and their sustaining members.

Seasonal refreshments, decorations and entertainment will be offered all day.  Holiday musical selections will be provided by the Murray Middle School Jazz Band.  Also storyteller and musician John Golden and John Bennett and Masonboro Parlor will be on hand.  The group consists of local musicians who combine lively dance and period music.

In addition, today there will be a 20% discount on all merchandise at the museum store.

--Old B-Runner

Fort Fisher Pillars

From the Oct. 29, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Fort Fisher Pillars."

Two photos and a caption accompanied were included.  These are the two pillars standing on either side of US-421 north of Fort Fisher.  The actually fort, however, does not begin at this point.  The newspaper is not sure, but think the two pillars were erected in 1932 at the same time the Fort Fisher monument was built at Battle Acre by the North Carolina Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The pillars were once surrounded by trees and brush, but now by homes because of the build up.

Two photos accompanied it.  One shows the pillars in the 1930s-1940s.  The other one is current.

Several comments accompanied the article.  One says he will do more research on it, several more eluded to the Confederate Flag controversy.

This article is part of the Star-News Throwback Thursday series.

--Love Those Pillars.  --Old B-R'er


Despite Bill, the "Rocks" Going Nowhere Anytime Soon

From the October 20, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News by Cammie Bellamy.

The North Carolina General Assembly debated the future of the New Inlet Dam for months.  Now there is a provision in the budget for the removal of part of it, though it could stay open for years and possibly never removed.

The dam was built across the much-used by blockade-runners New Inlet to the Cape Fear River and Wilmington after the Civil War.  Fort Fisher was built to guard  New Inlet.

Discussion began in April for its removal of part of it south of Zeke's Island.  The Senate Bill 160 was introduced by Senator Michael Lee, Republican, of New Hanover.  It stalled in committee and ended up as funding for a study on its removal.

Any actual removal could not start until a study is completed.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 7, 2015

Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor-- Part 2: Western Michigan Men There

LOUIS J. HAMMOND JR.--  Hesperia,  US Army Air Corps, died Dec. 19, 1994.

FLOYD HENRY--  Grand Haven, died April 27, 1996.

MAX D. JENSEN--  Hesperia, US Army Air Corps, deceased.

LEO V. JOHNSON--  Norton Shores, Staff Sergeant, US Army Air Corps, 92

Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor-- Part 1: Western Michigan Men at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941

Every year, I observe this date in all my blogs.

From the Dec. 3, 2012, M Live.

Western Michigan Men at Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, WITH DARE OF DEATH:

HARRY BRILL--  Muskegon, died Oct. 1, 1981.

RUSSELL E. BURKHARDT--  Twin Lake, US Army Master Sergeant, died Jan. 18, 1973.

JOHN CATES--  Muskegon, USN, Fireman 1st Class, died July 27, 1980.

JAMES E. FERRO--  Muskegon, nurse at Schofield Barracks, died Oct. 26, 1996.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The End of the CSS Florida-- Part 1

From the November 27, 2015, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) "Civil War raider sinks off Newport news" by Mark St. John Erickson.

The captured CSS Florida, Confederate commerce raider, steamed into Hampton Roads in November 1864.  For two years this ship had savaged the American merchant marine fleet, seizing and burning dozens of them.

The ship's very questionable capture by the Union Navy caused huge foreign diplomatic problems, especially with Brazil, where it was captured.    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, France and Britain denounced the capture in Brazilian waters.

Hampton Roads Naval museum curator Joe Judge said, "As far as the North was concerned, the CSS Florida had been built by a foreign country under the shadiest of circumstances-- skirting international law and a full diplomatic outcry-- then unchivalously preyed upon the weakest of vessels while never standing  up to a Union warship in a fair fight."

The CSS Florida was at sea even before the CSS Alabama.

--Old B-R'er

Irvine Stephens Bulloch-- Part 4

After the war, he was denied amnesty and remained in Liverpool working as a cotton merchant with his half brother, James Bulloch.

In 1869, his sister Mittie and the Roosevelt family toured Europe and a joyous reunion took place.  Teddy Roosevelt, future president, was with his mother Mittie who had filled him with stories of the sea and his uncles.  He later wrote "The Naval War in 1812."

Irvine Bulloch's sword is at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool.  He lived the rest of his life in England, dying at age 58 and is buried at Toxteth Park cemetery in Liverpool.

Quite an Interesting Life.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, December 4, 2015

Irvine Stephens Bulloch-- Part 3: Promoted, But No Country to Serve

Continued from November 21st.

After the loss of the his ship, the CSS Alabama, Irvine Bulloch returned to Liverpool and set out on the ship Laurent on October 1864 to join the CSS Shenandoah as its sailing master.  It was Bulloch who navigated the ship from off San Francisco when they found out for sure that the war was over, to Liverpool where the ship surrendered to English authorities on November 6, 1865.

Once there, he found that he had been promoted to lieutenant, but he now had no country to serve.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Admiral Franklin Buchanan, CSN-- Part 1

From The Star Democrat "Newspeak vs. The 'Talbot Boys' by Philip Carey Foster.

Recounting Marylanders fighting for the Confederacy.

Franklin Buchanan joined the U.S. Navy shortly after the War of 1812 and served as a midshipman on a ship commanded by Commodore Perry.  He volunteered for service in the Mexican War and participated in the capture of Vera Cruz.  Later he served as second in command for Commodore Perry's expedition to Japan and is believed to be the first American officer ever to set foot on Japanese soil.

He became persuaded that the Navy needed a school like the Army had at West Point to properly train officers which led to the establishment of the Naval Academy.   As such, he served as its first superintendent, overseeing the development of both its academic and military aspects.

Maryland was ambivalent about which side it was on at the outbreak of the Civil War, but he resigned after the Baltimore Massacre, but soon afterward tried to recall it.

--Old B-R'er

The Exploits of Confederate John Yates Beall-- Part 2

Beall and his men attempted a raid on the prison at Johnston Island in September 1864 as they commandeered a ferry boat to transport those who they were attempting to rescue.  The raid failed when an informant tipped off Federal authorities.

Not to be denied, Beall decided to instead derail a passenger train carrying other Confederate officers.  That plan also failed  and he was arrested in Niagara, New York.  He was tried, found guilty and sentenced to death.

He had friends, however, in high places.  Six U.S. Senators and ninety-one members of Congress signed an appeal to have the conviction overturned, but President Lincoln did not intervene and Beall was hanged on February 24, 1864.

There is a tale about John Wilkes Booth being a friend of John Yates Beall and that he killed Lincoln partly because of his refusal to intervene but this has never been substantiated.

Beall is buried in the Zion Church Cemetery in Charles Town, West Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Exploits of Confederate John Yates Beall-- Part 1

From the Nov. 15, 2015, Examiner by Bob O'Connor.

John Brown is the most famous person hanged in Charlestown, Virginia.  But, another Charlestown native was hanged during the Civil War.

When the war began, he enlisted in Company G, Bott's Grays, of the 2nd Virginia Infantry which became part of the famed "Stonewall Brigade."  While fighting for them, Beall was wounded and declared unfit for duty.

But, he still wanted to do his part for the Confederacy so he joined the Confederate Navy and operated a privateer vessel on the Great Lakes.  He came up with a plan to free Confederate prisoners being held at Johnston Island Prison in Sandusky Bay in Ohio.  The prison held mostly Confederate officers including 26 generals who had been captured in battle.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, November 28, 2015

CSS Georgia's Parting Shot-- Part 2: Disarming the Shells

They referred to it as inerting the shell gunpowder.

The two men would then look through a 5.5-inch thick bulletproof window atop the plate, and an iPad and GoPro camera to monitor and remotely drill a small hole in each projectile.  This hole allowed them to extract the black powder that comprised the bulk of the shell's explosive.

All this work was called for as they found dry black powder in the majority of the shells.

Next each projectile was run through a series of steps that repeatedly soaked and flushed the black powder using MuniRem solution and high-pressure hot water.This was extremely important.

The MuniRem process is a solution that chemically neutralizes explosives, and was invented by Professor Valentine Nzengung at the University of Georgia.  The process is unique, because not only does it chemically degrade or destroy munitions, but also renders left over waste water and sludge as nonhazardous.

Following the inertion process, the projectiles were sent to Texas A&M's Conservation Research Laboratory for further conservation.

--Old -Runner

Friday, November 27, 2015

CSS Georgia's Parting Shot-- Part 1: Don't Drop It!!

From DVIDS by Jeremy Buddemeier.

Life has gotten better for Ben Redmond and Matt Christianson now that the dangerous part of their job is over.  They, along with engineers and technicians have spent the last two months inerting 170 Dahlgren and 6.4-inch Brooke projectiles that Navy divers recovered from the Confederate ironclad CSS Georgia over the summer.

Although they had been submerged for over 150 years, they were still a threat to blow up.

Matt Christiansen, safety officer of the project, a former Navy ordnance disposa; technician said that the shells definitely could have ignited in a fire or even possibly if they were dropped or struck with a heavy object.

He designed a meticulous, multi-step process to render the shells inert,  First, each one was lightly cleaned to determine best area for drilling, then placed in a specially designed seawater tank.  Then, Christiansen and Redmond would position themselves 20 feet from the tank behind a half-inch thick 4-by-8 foot steel plate.

And, Then.  --Old b-Runner

Monday, November 23, 2015

150 Years Ago: Welles Reestablishes the West India Squadron

DECEMBER 4, 1865:  Secretary Welles announced that the West India Squadron was to be reestablished in that area "where we have so large a trade, and where, owing to the proximity of the islands to our shores, it is essential that we cultivate friendly relations."

Commodore James S. Palmer was designated to command this squadron with the USS Rhode Island serving as his flagship.  The eight additional vessels comprising the squadron were: USS  De Soto, Swatara, Monongahela, Florida, Augusta, Shamrock, Ashuelot,  and Monocacy.

--Old B-R'er

The End of the CSS Shenandoah-- Part 2: Next Object, Find the Wreck

The CSS Shenandoah was put up for auction and purchased by the Sultan of Omar and Zanzibar and renamed Majidi.  Following repairs she went to Zanzibar and was home ported at Stone Harbour. and was originally used as the Sultan's personal yacht for a number of years sailing between ports in Zanzibar and Oman.  Eventually she also began carrying coal, clover and gum as a merchant ship.

In early April 1972, while at anchor in Stone Harbour, a tremendous storm struck the coast of Zanzibar.  More than a hundred ships were blown ashore and the Majidi was one of them.  The ship was refloated, but had heavy damage to her hull and decking.  Pumped dry, it was towed to Bombay by the British Salvage Company.

The ship returned to service in July 1872, she sailed with a German captain and native crew; but after departing Stone Harbour on her first voyage, she vanished.  It was several weeks before the HMS Briton was reported to have recovered several survivors adrift from the ship in the Mozambique Channel.  The captain of the Briton said some of the survivors accused the German captain of deliberately running the Majidi aground and was ordered to allow a German shipbuilding company to offer a replacement vessel.

The wreck of the former cruiser CSS Shenandoah is still out there, on a reef somewhere in the Mozambique Channel.

Maybe Mr. Ballard should start looking for it.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Liverpool's Herculaneum Dock

From Wikipedia.

In the previus post, I maentioned that the CSS Shenandoah was taken to the Herculaneum Dock.

The Herculaneum Dock is at the southern end of the Liverpool dock system on the River Mersey.  It was named after the Herculaneum Pottery Company which occupied the site from 1794-1841.

The dock was built starting in 1864, designed by George Fosbery Lyster and opened in 1866.

During World War II it served as a terminus for the North Atlantic Convoys.

It is no longer a dock.

They were classified as graving docks (and had three of them).  A graving dock is another name for a drydock.

--Old B-R'er

The End of the CSS Shenandoah-- Part 1: Visited by Waddell

From the November/December Confederate Veteran Magazine "The CSS Shenandoah" by Ian Dewar, President of 290 Foundation (BVI), Inc.  I have written about the organization earlier.

The article covered the ship's whole career and had a map of the world showing the Shenandoah's circumnavigation of it.  I will pick up the story of what happened to the ship after its surrender.

The Shenandoah was then towed to the newly completed dock called Herculaneum to await possession by the U.S. government.  The U.S. consul in Liverpool was ordered to find a crew and captain to sail her back to the U.S.  Captain Freeman from the New York area was hired and he found a crew of 55.

The winter of 1865-1866 was particularly bad with storms and after a month at sea, Freeman was forced to return to Liverpool.  He reported the Shenandoah badly needed repairs and managed to find other things to do rather than attempt another voyage.

The Shenandoah remained in Liverpool until the end of 1866 and was often visited by former commander James Waddell, who had elected to remain in Liverpool (with the fear of being executed in the U.S. for piracy).

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, November 21, 2015

150 Years Ago: Maury Updates Confederate Colonization of Mexico

NOVEMBER 27TH, 1865:  By this date Matthew F. Maury could report that "about 40 of our people" had already arrived at New Virginia, the name he proposed for his colony.  He described it as "a garden spot" between Mexico City and Vera Cruz.

Maury didn't leave for England this month as he had originally planned.  It took longer than he anticipated for him to establish the administrative organization for the emigration program and to get it running smoothly.

He did go to England later and events conspired that he would never return to mexico.

--Old B-Runner

150 Years Ago: Former CSS Stonewall Arrives at Washington Naval Yard

NOVEMBER 23RD, 1865:  Since I won't have the Civil War Naval Chronology book with me the next several weeks, I am going ahead with 150 years ago.

The former Confederate ram Stonewall arrived at the Washington Navy Yard under her own power, escorted by the USS Rhode Island and Hornet.  Commander Alexander Murray, commanding the Rhode Island, had taken possession of the ship in Havana after reimbursing Spanish authorities for all expenses incurred during her detention.

The reimbursement totaled $18,000 which included $16,000 which the Governor General of Cuba had given to Captain T,J. Page, CSN, to pay off his officers and crew, and an additional $2,000 for tug services, dock fees and preservation expenses.

The Stonewall was subsequently sold to Japan and used in her naval service.

--Old B-R'er

Irvine Srephens Bulloch-- Part 2: First and Last to Show Colors in English Waters

He was born in Roswell, Georgia and joined the Confederate States Navy as a midshipman and served on the CSS Nashville in 1861 when it went to England then returned to the Confederacy at Beaufort, N.C.and became the blockade-runner Thomas L. Wragg..

As the Nashville, she was the first to show the Confederate flag in English waters (and later Irvine Bulloch was on the last Confederate ship to show the colors in English waters).  She also was the first commerce raider to destroy a Union merchant ship.  (And the Shenandoah was the last to do so.)

Later the ship became the privateer Rattlesnake until she was destroyed  the monitor USS Montauk by Fort McAllister, Georgia in 1863.

However, Bullock left the ship when it got to Beaufort and was later posted to England for foreign service.  He served with distinction on the CSS Alabama and, according to his nephew, Theodore Roosevelt, fired the last two shots from the doomed cruiser in its battle with the USS Kearsarge.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, November 20, 2015

Irvine Stephens Bulloch-- Part 1: Brother of James Bulloch and Teddy Roosevelt's Uncle

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday I posted about Irvine Bulloch being the officer who boarded the British ship Barracouta who retrieved the newspapers that confirmed that the Confederacy was no more.  I'd never heard of him before, but the last name Bulloch was the same as the Confederate purchasing agent in Liverpool, England, who had bought the Alabama and Shenandoah, James Bulloch.  Could they be related?

June 25, 1842-July 14, 1898

Officer in the Confederate States Navy and the youngest officer on the CSS Alabama.  Fired the last shot from the Alabama before the ship sank.

He was the half brother of James Dunwoody Bulloch, so they were.

Also of interest was that Irvine Bulloch was the full brother of socialite Martha Stewart "Mittie" Bulloch, the mother of future U.S. President Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt and paternal grandmother of First Lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

--Old B-R'er

The Final Confederate Surrender-- Part 2: A Ship Without a Country

The CSS Shenandoah was now a ship without a country.  It returned to Liverpool and surrendered, hauling down the Confederate flag for the last time on November 6, 1865.

The ship had been purchased for use as a Confederate raider in that city in October 1864.  It was originally named the Sea King and sailed the tea lanes to Bombay.  It was taken to madeira and converted to a commerce raider under the command of Lt. James Iredel Waddell.

The ship was forced to dock in Australia for repairs on a balky propeller for there weeks before embarking on a devastating attack on the North's whaling fleet in the Pacific and Arctic oceans.  On June 10, 1865, it captured 10 whalers.

Five days before that, it had captured the Susan Abigail and found newspapers aboard reporting the fall of Richmond and Lee's surrender.  Things looked bad for their country, but they also saw an article about President Davis imploring for Southerners to carry on with the fight.  So they did.

During their cruise, they captured or sank 38 vessels, captured more than 1,000 men and caused $1.6 million in damage.

Once they found the end of the Confederacy was confirmed, they began their 130-day journey back to Liverpool where they surrendered.

The ship was turned over to the United States by the British government and eventually sold to the Sultan of Zanzibar and renaned the El Majidi before it sank in the Indian Ocean in October 1872.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Final Confederate Surrender-- Part 1: "Star By Star the Galaxy of Our Flag Had Faded"

From the Nov. 6, 2015, History by Christopher Klein.

On August 2, 1865, the CSS Shenandoah came across a British ship, the bark Barracouta.  Irvine Bulloch, CSN, boarded it and returned with devastating news.  The Confederacy had surrendered, and not recently, but several months earlier.  This was confirmed by newspapers the ship had aboard.

The Shenandoah had been cut off from the outside world as it pillaged the New England whaling fleet in the north Pacific and Arctic oceans.  Some of them had mentioned that the war was over, but that might have just been them trying not to have their ship destroyed.

Now, with it in print, surrender became all too real.

Cornelius Hunt, on the Shenandoah,  sadly wrote:  "Our gallant generals, one after another, had been forced to surrender the armies they had so often led to victory.  State after state had been overrun and occupied by the countless myriads of our enemies.  Star by star the galaxy of our flag had faded, and the Southern Confederacy had ceased to exist."

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Gustavus H. Scott-- Part 4: Fleet Exercise and Retirement

During the Virginius Affair crisis, the United States had ordered that not only the North Atlantic Squadron sail to Key West, Florida, but also the South Atlantic and European squadrons.  All had arrived by 4 February 1874, but by then the crisis was over.

With all those ships gathered in one point, it was decided to hold the first multi-ship, open-ocean tactical exercise in U.S. Navy history.  To avoid problems with who ranked who, Scott was ordered to take his flagship, the USS Worchester on a special cruise to Cuba and the Winward Islands to assess and report on the conditions after the Virginius Affair.

Scott turned over command of the North Atlantic Squadron to Rear Admiral J.R.M. Mullany on 13 June 1874 and retired the same day, having reached mandatory retirement age of 62.

The admiral lived in Washngton, D.C., after that and died 23 March 1882.  He was first buried at Washington's  Oak Hill Cemetery, but in 1896, his remains were exhumed and reburied at Arlington National Cemetery.

--Old B-R'er

Gustavus H. Scott-- Part 3: Postwar Command

Member of the examining board for the admission of volunteer officers to the regular Navy in 1868.  Promoted to commodore 10 February 1869.  Lighthouse inspector 1869-1871.  Promoted to rear admiral 14 February 1873 and given command of the North Atlantic Squadron in May of that year.

He was in command of the North Atlantic Squadron when the Virginius Affair took place in Cuba in November 1873.  The A Spanish warship captured the American sidewheeler SS Virginius which had been hired by Cuban insurrectionists against Spanish rule to bring men and war material to Cuba during the Ten Years' War.

The ship and crew were brought to Santiago de Cuba where they were found guilty of piracy and sentenced to death by firing squad.  Fifty-three were executed before British and American warships arrived and threatened to bombard unless the executions ceased.  They did.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Gustavus H. Scott-- Part 2: Civil War Service

When the Civil War began, although born in Virginia, he refused to resign his commission and commanded the USS Keystone State and searched for the Confederate raider CSS Sumter.  This was his first command.  Later he joined the West Indies Squadron searching for blockade-runners.

Then he commanded the new gunboat, USS Maratanza and took part in McClellan's Peninsula Campaign.  He captured the CSS Teaser 4 July 1862.

From there he joined the blockade off Wilmington, N.C., 25 September 1862 and at one point fired on Fort Caswell.

Promoted to captain, he took command of the USS DeSoto in the East Gulf Blockading Squadron.  From there,he received command of the USS Canandaigua (the ship that rescued the 150-man crew of the USS Housatonic after it was sunk by the submarine Hunley on Feb. 17, 1864).

He served with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron until the end of the war and then commanded the USS Saranac of the Pacific Squadron in its search for the Shenandoah.

--Old B-R'er

USS Saranac's Commander, Gustavus H. Scott-- Part 1: Second Seminole War

From Wikipedia.

I read that Gustavus H. Scott commanded the USS Saranac during its search for the CSS Shenandoah.  It turns out he led a long career in the Navy.


US Navy.  Served in the Second Seminole War and the Civil War, eventually rising to the rank of rear admiral and was once the commander of the North Atlantic squadron.

Born in Virginia 13 June 1812.  Midshipman in 1828 and served on the USS Guerriere in the Pacific Squadron.  he was off Charleston, S.C. during the Nullification Crisis of 1832.  On the USS Vandalia 1835-1836.during the Second Seminole War.

First lieutenant on USS St. Lawrence of the Pacific Squadron 1852-1853.  On the USS Michigan in the Great Lakes 1855-1857 and Lighthouse Inspector 1858-1860.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 16, 2015

USS Suwanee-- Part 2

The Suwanee was launched at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and commissioned 23 January 1865>  It cost $171,000.

Ordered to the Pacific on 17 February 1865 and went to New York City and then cruised the Atlantic coast looking for Confederate commerce raiders.

It passed around South America and steamed up its Pacific coast and arrived at Acapulco where it joined the Pacific Squadron.  It was promptly ordered to look for the Shenandoah.

On 9 July 1868, it was wrecked in Shadwell Passage, Queen Charlotte Sound, British Columbia.

--Old B-R'er

The USS Suwanee, the Second Ship Looking for the Shenandoah-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

i have already written about the USS Saranac, the ship that sent to look for the CSS Shenandoah and may or may not have almost caught the raider in the Atlantic Ocean in the fall of 1865.  The other ship detailed to look for her was the USS Suwanee.

The Suwanee was a third-rate gunboat commissioned late in the war which spent several weeks looking for the CSS Shenandoah.  Like the Saranac, the ship was wrecked off British Columbia, but seven years before in 1868.

It was a double-ender, iron-hulled, sidewheeler built for the U.S. Navy by Reaney, Son & Archbold of Chester, Pennsylvania.  It was 255 feet long and 35-foot beam with a crew of 159.  It mounted ten guns: two 100-pdr. Parrott rifles, four 9-inch Dahlgren smoothbores, two 24-pdr. howitzers and rwo 20-pdr Dahlgren rifles.

--Old B-Runner5

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Last Flag Down" The CSS Shenandoah Surrenders-- Part 2

The flag that the Shenandoah lowered on Nov. 6, 1865 was the so-called "Stainless Banner," the Second National flag which had a mostly white field with the battle flag in the upper left corner.

The Confederate flag, of course, is very divisive in the United States these days.

The Americans were going to recreate the event of the flag lowering on the docks but found they would not be allowed to do so.

However, a roll of honor will be read and greetings from the Waddell and Jefferson Davis families will be read.

Liverpool was quite involved in the war.  An American flag still flies over 10 Rumford Place, which is where James Dunwood Bulloch, banker of the Confederacy, was headquartered. He bought several Locally-built Liverpool ships for his country.

--Old B-R'er

"Last Flag Down": The Final Surrender of the War-- Part 1

From the Nov. 5, 2015, Liverpool (U.K.) Echo "Last Flag Down: the final surrender in the American Civil War happened on the River Mersey.

"The CSS Shenandoah arrived 150 years ago when the flag of the Confederacy was lowered for the last time.

The ship's commander, James Waddell and its crew were all paroled by the British government as all claimed to be American even though 70% of them were British citizens, including several from Liverpool.

James Wells, 71, came from Richmond, Virginia along with thirty other Americans to recreate the lowering of the flag.  They are members of a Confederate organization (SCV I imagine).  Wells has been visiting Liverpool since 2004.

For te past four years he has been endeavoring to recreate this event.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, November 13, 2015

Britain's 290 Foundation

From their site.

On Nov. 7th, I wrote about the 290 Association and its president Ian Dewar as being involved in the ceremony to commemorate the lowering of the Shenandoah's flag.  I'd never heard of them before so did some research.


Their introduction reads in part: "...a charitable enterprise embarked on a voyage of discovery to commemorate those oft-forgotten seamen who served in the navies of the American Civil War.  The foundation borrows its title from Hull #290, a vessel built to the highest standards of British shipbuilding at the John Laird's Shipyard at Birkenhead in the River Mersey.  'Hull #290' would later become known worldwide as the CSS Alabama."

Over 2,600 seamen from great Britain and her empire served on both sides.

Judging from their logo, I'd have to say these gentlemen are more on the Confederate side.  They have a very informative website with lots of information.

--Old B-R'er

The CSS Shenandoah's Ensign

From Wikipedia.

This was the only Confederate flag to circumnavigate the world (even the Alabama didn't do that).  It was the last Confederate flag to be lowered.

And, last week it was once again on display on the 150th anniversary of its "Last Flag Down."

It has been in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, since 1907.

Lt. Dabney (Minor) Scales, CSN, gave the flag to his cousin, Eliza Hull Maury, for safekeeping.  She was the daughter of Richard Launcelot Maury, oldest son of Matthew Fontaine Maury.

Col. Robert Launcelot Maury, CSA, Eliza's brother, brought the flag from England in 1873 and donated it to the museum in 1904.

It measures  88 by 136 inches and is the so-called "Stainless Banner," the Confederacy's Second National Banner.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 12, 2015

In Honor of Veterans-- Part 3: Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery

The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery is in the northwestern area of what was once the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, approximately 50 miles south of Chicago (and on Route 66).

Congressman George Sangmeister, a veteran of the Korean War from Will County, was instrumental in the acquisition of 982 acres of the former Joliet Arsenal and its redevelopment as the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.  He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1988 to 1995.

The Congressman chose the Lincoln national Cemetery for his final resting place and was interned October 2007.

The cemetery's beautiful acreage includes a memorial walk that commemorates soldiers of the 20th century wars on 11 memorials.  An 18-foot granite obelisk, crowned by a bronze eagle with outstretched wings commemorates the 2,403 Americans who died in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.  It was donated by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

--Old B-R'er

In Honor of Veterans Day-- Part 2: Growth of the National Cemetery System

Through the years with succeeding wars, more national cemeteries were needed and were created.

In 1994, the VA conducted a future burial needs assessment that ranked the most according to veteran population.  Based on that report, seven national cemeteries were built between 1992 and 2001.  One of those was the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, created in October 1999, making it the 117th national cemetery within the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.

In total, 17 new millennium cemeteries were constructed between 1997 and 2010, making it the fifth-most significant period of growth for America's national cemeteries and was the largest expansion period for the system in total acreage since the Civil War.

Since 1862, more than 3.8 million burials have taken place in national cemeteries.  The existing 131 national cemeteries.  The existing 131 national cemeteries. 33 soldiers and government lots, and Confederate lots (yes, Confederates are buried in the national cemeteries) including Arlington National Cemetery, contain more than 20,000 acres.  The Confederates are considered to be American soldiers just as those who fought for the Union.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

In Honor of Veterans Day-- Part 1: Lincoln and the National Cemeteries-- Camp Butler

From the Nov. 6, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Rest in peace: Abraham Lincoln National cemetery serves veterans and their families."

According to the U.S. Department of veterans Affairs, the National Cemetery Administration began because of the mounting deaths during the Civil War.  Congress empowered President Abraham Lincoln "to purchase cemetery grounds and cause them to be securely enclosed, to be used as a national cemetery for the soldiers who shall die in the service of the country."

This was the first U.S. legislation to establish and put into motion the concept of a national cemetery to honor the fallen.

There were 14 national cemeteries established in 1862, one of which was Camp Butler National Cemetery located in Sangamon County near Springfield, Illinois.  It occupies a portion of Camp Butler (not named for Union General Benjamin Butler), the second-largest Union military training camp in Illinois during the war.

In addition to the Union soldiers, there are also Confederate soldiers buried there who died while prisoners of the North.  Other wars represented among the burials are the Spanish-American War, the two World Wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

In 1997, Camp Butler National Cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

--Old B-R'er

The CSS Shenandoah's Battle Ensign On Display Nov. 6:: "Last Flag Down"

From the Nov. 4, 2015, Washington Post "Flag from CSS Shenandoah, furled Nov. 6, 1865, on display again 150 years later" by Linda Wheeler.

It is the only Confederate flag to circumnavigate the earth and flew over the ship as it captured and mostly sank 38 Union vessels.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., November 6th, the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, now part of the American Civil War Museum, will display the 7.3-by-11.3-foot flag, known as the "Stainless Banner", the Second National Flag of the Confederacy.

The Shenandoah was purchased in Liverpool in 1864.  It was a square-rigged clipper steamship built originally for the China  tea trade.

Its commander was Lt. James Iredell Waddell of North Carolina, who had been in the U.S. Navy for twenty ears before the war.  The ship was cit off from communications for its Pacific raid on the Union whaling fleet in 1865, and it wasn't until August 3, 1865 that Waddell received irrefutable proof that the war was over (by way of newspapers from another ship).

Knowing that his ship was without a country, Waddell had the guns stowed away and his ship repainted to resemble a merchant vessel and made his way on a long voyage back to Liverpool to surrender.

The flag was brought back to the United States in 1873 and donated to the Museum of the Confederacy in 1907.

The exhibition of the flag will last only for one day and there will be a talk on it given at Brown Bag Lunch on Nov. 20, 2015, at noon.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Surrender of the CSS Shenandoah-- Part 4: "The Anglo-Rebel Pirate Captain"

For a number of years she sailed out of this far off Muslim island kingdom where in 1963, the USS Manley sped from a Southeast African visit to rescue Americans threatened by a Communist infiltrated revolution that destroyed the Muscat monarchy long sustained by British law and order.

The Shenandoah's career ended in 1879 when she ripped her bottom out on an uncharted reef in the Indian Ocean.

Waddell chose to remain in England (wonder why?) rather than return to his homeland where Secretaries Welles and Stanton were publicly calling him the "Anglo-Rebel Pirate Captain."  He finally returned to the United States in 1875 and was employed as a master by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.

--Old B-R'er

The Surrender of the CSS Shenandoah-- Part 3: Luxury Yacht for the Sultan

The CSS Shenandoah was subsequently turned over to the American Minister, Charles Francis Adams, who, after an abortive attempt to send her to the United States, ordered her sold at auction.  She was purchased for $108,632.18 by the Sultan of Zanzibar who intended to convert her into a luxury yacht.

After this proved to be economically unfeasible, the Sultan placed the ex-raider in the Indian Ocean ivory trade under the name Majidi.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Surrender of the CSS Shenandoah-- Part 2: Welles Wants Blood

Gideon Welles wrote: "The close of the career of the Shenandoah on the high seas was notoriously and indisputably that of a pirate, and the piracy was one of the most odious and despicable character.

"It was not the plunder of richly laden barks belonging to 'merchant princes,' who could afford the loss, though they might feel it, but the wanton destruction of the property of individuals seeking a humble subsistence in one of the most laborious and perilous of callings, and who could make no show of resistance to the overwhelming force of the pirate.

"No other description of robbery upon the high seas could have inflicted so much individual distress upon persons so little able to bear it, and so little deserving of it."

In other words, Welles regarded Waddell and crew as pirates and would like to have them hanged.  And, as far as  the whaling ships destroyed, these were mostly owned by those "merchant princes" he spoke of and all were insured by maritime insurance companies who were extremely mad about the claims.

Good Thing Waddell and Crew Made It to Liverpool and Weren't Captured by the United States.  I Think Old Gideon Would Have Hoisted 'Em All.  --Old B-R'er

The Surrender of the CSS Shenandoah-- Part 1: Arrival in Liverpool

As I have written a lot about this past week, uit was 150 years ago that the last belligerent act of the war took place with the surrender of the commerce raider CSS Shenandoah in Liverpoool, England, to British authorities.

Before reaching Liverpool, Waddell had divided the prize money, "captured prior to the surrender of the Southern armies and other money which had been captured after the surrender of the Southern armies.  The former I directed to be divided among the officers and crew according to the law on the subject of prize money, of which I declined to receive the portion which i would be entitled to. and it was divided among the officers and crew with the rest of the money.  That which was captured after the surrender of the Southern armies was surrendered to Paymaster Robert W. Warwick, H.M. ship Donegal."

Secretary Welles bitterly denounced the release of the Confederates in a letter to Secretary of State Seward and urged that demands be made for Waddell and his crew to be delivered to the United States.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Actual End of War Commemorated in Liverpool-- Part 2: "Last Flag Down"

Ian Dewar, president of the 290 Associates said that Waddell feared that if he sailed his ship into an American port or was captured by a Federal ship that he and his crew would be arrested and/or hanged as pirates.

Most of the crew of 26 were from England, Scotland and Wales.

The lowering of the Confederate flag constituted the last act of the war and led to the phrase "Last Flag Down."

Dozens of people from the United States made the trip to be here.  Newlyweds David and Lunelle McAllister, from Tampa, Florida, were there.  They made Liverpool their honeymoon destination to attend the event.  Wearing Confederate uniforms, Gary Lee Hall, 64, and Byron Brady, 61, both from North Carolina were also in attendance.

After the surrender to the Royal Navy, the crew was set free and marched to Liverpool Town Hall in Confederate uniforms to surrender to the mayor.

There is no memorial in Liverpool yet existing to commemorate the event.

--Old B-R'er

Actual End of the War Commemorated Yesterday in Liverpool: The Surrender of the CSS Shenandoah-- Part 1

From the Nov. 6, 2015, Shaghai News "Feature: 150 years on final act of American Civil War commemoration in England."

The end of the Civil War did not take place in the United States, but rather 6,000 kilometers from that country.  It took place when the last warship of the Confederacy surrendered November 6, 1865.  The CSS Shenandoah, proudly flying the Confederate flag arrived on the River Mersey in Liverpool, almost seven months after the surrender of Robert E. Lee.

Today, in Liverpool, combatant descendants from both sides gathered to remember the event.  Wreaths and flowers were laid on the river.

Captain James Iredell Waddell and the crew aboard the Glasgow-built raider had continued attacking and destroying United States ships for many months after the conclusion of the war as they were unaware that it had ended.  Finally they obtained newspapers from a passing British merchant ship reporting the war's end.  they immediately ceased hostilities and sailed for Liverpool.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, November 6, 2015

Was the USS Saranac That Ship That Scared the Shenandoah?

In the last post I mentioned that the Shenandoah had a scare from the USS Saranac as it crossed the Atlantic Ocean for England.  I know that the Saranac was one of the ship's specifically searching for the Shenandoah.  However, I found no mention that this ship had continued into the Atlantic Ocean in its pursuit.

The Shenandoah had disarmed itself and surrendering to an American ship wasn't a good idea because they had captured and destroyed Union ships after the war was over, even though they didn't know it at the time.  They were considered pirates and it is never a good thing to be captured if you are a pirate.

I wonder if anyone knows for sure whether the stranger ship was the Saranac?

--Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: The CSS Shenandoah Surrenders to the English Navy-- Part 1

NOVEMBER 6, 1865:  The CSS Shenandoah, Lt. Waddell, sailed up the Mersey River into Liverpool, 123 days and 23,000 miles from the Aleutians.  This had been a non-stop cruise made primarily under sail.  The raider resorted to steam only on one occasion at night in the mid-South Atlantic to evade the USS Saranac.

The following morning the boiler fires were banked and Waddell proceeded under sail and arrived at his destination without sighting another vessel.  The Shenandoah entered Liverpool harbor with the Confederate flag flying and became the only ship to circumnavigate the globe in the Confederate Navy.

Waddell reported his arrival to the British Foreign Ministry and was officially informed that the war was over.  he thereupon lowered the last official; Confederate flag and turned his ship, himself and crew over to Captain J.G. Paynter, RN, commanding the HMS Donegal.

After a few days confinement to the ship, Waddell and his crew were set at liberty by the English government.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 5, 2015

150 Years Ago: End of the Confederate Navy-- Part 2: "The Flag Was Then Hauled Down"

"I received a pilot after midnight, and when he was informed it was the Shenandoah he explained, 'I was reading a few days ago of your being in the Arctic Ocean."  I asked for the news from America.  His statement corroborated the Barracouta's intelligence.

"I desired the pilot to take the ship into the Mersey that I might communicate with Her Majesty's Government.  On the morning of the 6th of November, 1865, the Shenandoah steamed up the River Mersey in a thick fog under the Confederate flag, and the pilot had orders to anchor her near H.M. ship-of-the-line Donegal, Captain Paynter, R.N.

"Shortly after we anchored a lieutenant from the Donegal visited us to ascertain the name of the vessel and give me official intelligence of the termination of the American war.  He was polite.  The flag was then hauled down."

That's All Folks.  --Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: The End of the Confederate Navy Nears-- Part 1: CSS Shenandoah Nears England

NOVEMBER 5TH, 1865:  The commerce raider CSS Shenandoah is now nearing England.  This is taken from James Waddell's journal.

"The ship (Shenandoah) was continued under sail during the daylight, because if we had gotten up steam it would have been observed, and as each sail was ignorant of the character of the other, it would have directed attention to the steamer, and one of them might have been a Federal cruiser.

"As soon as night received us in her friendly folds steam was applied and we were off for St. George's Channel.  The weather continued calm and beautiful, and I entered the channel on the 5th of November, just 122 days from the Aleutian Islands.

The chronometers had not been rated since we left Melbourne, and we had not seen land since we left the Aleutian Islands, and yet we could not have made a more beautiful landfall; the beacon in St. George's Channel was seen where and at what time looked for."

St. George's Channel is at the southern end of England on the west side and separates it from Ireland.  You have to enter it from the south to get to Liverpool where Waddell intended to turn his ship over to England.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Remove "Silent Sam" from UNC-- Part 2

Private Warren Biggs was rejoined with his wife on April 15, 2000 at Pleasant Grove Church in Bailey, North Carolina after a 137-year separation.  This took place after the family had found his grave in Wilmington.

Dennis Rogers continued that Warren Biggs was buried in Nash County.  The First National Flag of the Confederacy, the Stars and Bars draped his coffin.

Mr. Rogers spends most Saturdays as a volunteer at Fort Anderson and Brunswick Town on the west bank of the Cape Fear River south of Wilmington.  He says the museum doesn't sell the controversial Second Confederate Navy Jack, but that he would resign if they did.

He made some interesting points about "Silent Sam's"  removal.

--Old B-R'er

Southerner Whose Ancester Served At Fort Fisher Wants "Silent Sam" Removed from UNC-- Part 1

From the Oct. 16, 2015, Raleigh (NC) News & Observer "Rogers:  This Southerner says it's time to move "Silent Sam."  Dennis Rogers

Sadly, the Confederate Flag debate comes to this blog.

"I am a proud Southerner whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy.  I am also a proud alumnus of UNC-Chapel Hill.  Keeping the statue where it is now  is a disservice to everyone.  Confession: I am a native-born Southerner and proud of it."

His great-great grandfather, Private Warren Biggs, 10th N.C. Artillery (Heavy) served at Fort Fisher.  He was first assigned as a cook and later served as a provost guard in Wilmington.  He died of disease while on active duty here in 1863.

His family had the remains disinterred and removed them to a nearby church cemetery where his widow, Mahalia, had been buried for decades.  The couple were reunited with full Confederate military honors.  re-enactors from the 10th N.C. Artillery and 26th N.C. Infantry regiments served as honor guard and pall bearers.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

150 Years Ago: U.S. Navy Begins Exchanging Courtesies with England Again

NOVEMBER 3, 1965:  Secretary Welles ordered all naval vessels to resume rendering honors when entering British ports and to begin again exchanging official courtesies with English men of war.

Early in the war, the Navy had been ordered to cease rendering these traditional courtesies to the national flag of any nation that accorded recognition to Confederate belligerency.  This order continued in effect against Great Britain until that nation lifted the last of the restrictions that had been placed on American naval vessels entering British ports or waters.

--Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: Ships Headed for the Pacific Squadron

NOVEMBER 2, 1865:  A special squadron of four vessels commanded by Commodore John Rodgers departed from Hampton Roads for the Pacific via Cape Horn.  These ships consisted of the USS Vanderbilt, Tuscarora, Powhatan and Monadnock and were intended to increase the Pacific squadron to a fourteen ship force.

Even so, this was a small number of ships for the vast responsibilities of the United States already rapidly increasing in this mighty ocean where so much history would be written.

The USS Monadnock was an ironclad double-turreted monitor which had taken part in the attacks on Fort Fisher.  The other three wooden ships had also been at Fort Fisher.

Westward Ho.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, November 2, 2015

150 Years Ago: The U.S. Ram Fleet History-- Part 2

"In November, 1863, the Secretary of War decided upon enlarging the fleet by... what was known as the Mississippi Marine Brigade....

"The fleet was continued in service until August 1864, when the War Department thought the necessity of such an organization no longer existed, and it was mustered out of the service and the boats turned over to the be used as transports."

--Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: Mississippi U.S. Ram Fleet History-- Part 1

NOVEMBER 1, 1865:  James Brooks, formerly of the U.S. Ram Fleet and Mississippi Marine Brigade, wrote a brief sketch of the ram fleet history to Brigadier general L.B. Parsons, Chief of Transportation Department in St. Louis:  "The idea...of destroying the enemy's fleet by the use of rams originated with Colonel Charles Ellet, Jr. ...About the last of March, 1862, the Secretary of War invited him to his office to consult on the subject, and ordered procure the boats and make the necessary alterations...

"It (the ram fleet)...was at Memphis on the morning of 6th June (1862) and participated in the battle....  The result was a great triumph for the rams, and fully came up to the expectations of Colonel Ellet and the Government...."

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Gustavus Halls Scott, Commander of the USS Saranac

From Wikipedia.

Yesterday and earlier in the week, I mentioned that the USS Saranac was commanded by Captain Gustavus H. Scott in its search for the CSS Shenandoah.  Lt. James Waddell of the CSS Shenandoah incorrectly thought the mysterious ship that his ship encountered while returning to England to surrender was the USS Saranac commanded by Capt. Walke.  I have come across nothing saying that the Saranac went to the Atlantic Ocean while searching for the Shenandoah.

Gustavus Halls Scott (1812-1882).  Served in the Second Seminole War and the Civil War and eventually rose the rank of rear admiral and once, after the war, commanded the North Atlantic Squadron.

He was born in Virginia 13 June 1812.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 30, 2015

Enjoying This Blog More

Right now, even though I am more of a fan of the naval aspect of the war, I am enjoying this blog much more as I can still research on events.  My Saw the Elephant Blog Civil War Blog has essentially become one to document the current attack on the Confederacy from all points.

This is not research, not to mention something that increasingly angers me.

--Old B-R'er

The Union's Pacific Squadron

From the Civil War Forum.

Even though the U.S. West Coast was far from the major fighting, there was still the possibility of Confederate commerce raiders attacking or attack from Southern sympathizers from Canada.  A small fleet maintained guard along the Pacific coast.

The Pacific Squadron 1861-1865: Six sloops-of war:

USS Lancaster--  flagship
USS Saranac
USS Wyoming
USS Narragansett
USS Cyane

Also, at end of the war, the USS Suwanee.

The Saranac was commanded at one time by Gustavus H. Scott.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 29, 2015

USS Saranac-- Part 4: Looking for the Shenandoah

From the Official Records Navy.  report of Acting Rear Admiral Pearson, Commanding the Pacific Squadron, August 4, 1865, to Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles.

He had sent the USS Saranac, Captain G. H. Scott, which had been at Acapulco, Mexico, to protect American interests during an uprising against the French, had been ordered to go in pursuit of the CSS Shenandoah, then cruising in the Pacific.

Pearson then ordered the USS Suwanee to also join the search for the Confederate cruiser.

That made two ships dedicated to the search.  Waddell knew Union ships were looking for him and then there was always the possibility that he might be hanged as a pirate if caught.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

USS Saranac-- Part 3: Beware Ripple Rock

The ship was decommissioned and recommissioned several times before being recommissioned in 1857.  In the Civil War, it did duty by California and searched for the CSS Shenandoah at the end of the war.

After the war, it operated off the California coast.

It was wrecked at 8:40 a.m. on June 18, 1875, on the submerged Ripple Rock in the Seymour Narrows of the Discovery Passage.  This rock is just nine feet below the water at low tide (the Saranac drew 17 feet).  Since the Saranac's wreck, at least 20 large ships and 100 smaller ones have fallen victim to it from 1875 to 1958.

This is on the Campbell River.  The Saranac had been collecting natural curiosities for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition when it ran into the rock.  The bow of the ship was then run into Vancouver Island's shore and a hawser tied to a tree on it, but within an hour, the ship had sunk completely from sight.

Lt. Cmdr Sanders, the pilot and 13 men made their way on foot to Victoria.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

USS Saranac-- Part 2: First Commander Was Josiah Tattnall

The ship was 215 feet long,  had a 37.4-foot beam and 17 foot draft, crew of 14  (I think this number is too low) and mounted eleven 8-inch guns.  It was named for the Saranac River ib New York which empties into Lake Champlain.  It is also the name of a War of 1812 ship.

Other USS Saranacs:

USS Saranac.  Minelayer built 1899, acquired by U>S> Navy in 1917 and decommissioned 1919.

USCGC Saranac, #52.  Launched 1930 and leased to the Royal Navy in 1941.  Renamed HMS Banff.

AO-74 fleet oiler 1943-1946.The 1848 USS Saranac was a sidewheel styeam sloop of war.  Its first commander was Capt. Josiah Tattnall in 1850 who later served in the Confederate Navy.  he was a vetran of the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Civil War.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 26, 2015

USS Saranac-- Part 1: Pursuer of the CSS Shenandoah

From Wikipedia.

On Saturday, I wrote about the CSS Shenandoah barely avoiding a mysterious ship which its commander Waddell believed to be the USS Saranac.  I'd never heard of this ship before, so had to do some research.  The Shenandoah at the time was returning to England to surrender to the British instead of doing so to the United Sates where its crew might likely be considered to be pirates as they were destroying Union ships after the war was over even though they didn't know it was over for quite some time.  Surrendering to a U.S. vessel might mean execution as such.

The USS Saranac (1848) was a sloop of war laid down during the Mexican War but that war was over by the time the vessel underwent sea trials.  It was finally commissioned in 1850 and served in both the Atlantic and Pacific.  It was decommissioned and recommissioned many times and patrolled the U.S. West Coast during the Civil War.

It continued service on the West Coast after the war until it was wrecked on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in 1875.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 24, 2015

150 Years Ago: The CSS Shenandoah Spots a Mysterious Sail-- Part 2: Evading Yankee Ships

"The propeller had been lowered to impede her progress (the Shenandoah's), but the favoring night seemed to come on more slowly than I had ever before known it...  There was but one hope, and that was in a drag, two ends of a hawser made fast and the bite thrown overboard would retard in some degree her progress through the water...  When darkness closed between us we could not have been more than three miles distant.

"The Shenandoah's head was turned south and steam was ordered.  At nine o'clock while our sails were being furled the moon rose and the surface presented a little before by the Shenandoah being greatly diminished by that maneuver it would be difficult to find where she lay.

"The Cardiff coal makes a white vapor which could not be seen two hundred yards off, and now the engines were working and the steamer heading east, we had all the advantages to be expected.  It was the first time our ship had been under steam since crossing the line in the Pacific Ocean, indeed the fires were not lighted during a distance of over thirteen thousand miles.

"The Shenandoah was five hundred miles southeast of the Azores, and if there was an American cruiser in that locality on the 25th day of October, 1865, we were probably in sight of each other.  I have been told that the U.S. steamer Saranac, Captain Walke, was probably the vessel."

As he wrote elsewhere, Waddell again felt: "I believe the Divine will directed and protected that ship in all her adventures.

A Really Close Call.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, October 23, 2015

150 Years Ago: CSS Shenandoah Spots a Mysterious Sail-- Part 1

OCTOBER 25TH, 1865:  When the CSS Shenandoah had "nearly run out of the trades and her sails fanning along, a masthead lookout cried sail O!  The cry Sail O! brought many to their feet who were indulging repose, and their anxious glances evinced their state of mind, for if a Federal cruiser was to be found anywhere she would be in that region of ocean..."

The stranger was a steamer, apparently a warship.  If of the U.S. Navy, the Shenandoah had to avoid her, but the courses converged.

"The sun was thirty minutes high and the sky was cloudless.  We could make no change in course of the ship or quantity of sail she carried, for to arouse the suspicions of the sail might expose the Shenandoah to investigation.  Whatever she was she had seen our ship and might be waiting to speak to her.

"The Shenandoah was perceptibly shortening the distance between herself and the sail, and there was danger that she would approach too near during daylight for she could already be seen from our deck."

Wondering What Happened Next.  --Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: Richard Maury Arrives in Mexico

OCTOBER 24TH, 1865:  Commander Maury's oldest son, Richard, and the only member of the family who voiced any enthusiasm for his Mexican plan, arrived in Mexico City with his wife.

He, crippled like his father, would be understudy in directing immigration and would run for office when his father departed for England to see Mrs. Maury.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 22, 2015

CSS Georgia Still Yielding Surprises

From the Sept. 29, 2015, Savannah Morning News by Mary Carr Mayle.

Phase 2--  large artifact recovery has wrapped up and now archaeologists at the CSS Georgia wreck site begin the tedious 12-hour days sifting through globs of mud brought up from the bottom of the Savannah River.

Tedious though it may be, this new Phase 3 has yielded some interesting finds.  Chief among them was the finding of the 9,000 pound Dahlgren cannon on September 15.

Jim Jobling, project manager of the Texas A&M University Conservation Research Laboratory, had been telling others that there should be another Dahlgren gun in the river.  (They knew about one and had brought it up.)

He said there was a big discrepancy in two known manifests of items aboard the Georgia.  The original one listed two Dahlgrens, and a later one dated October 1864 listed just one.  That date was just a few months before the ship was scuttled.  Most people went with the second manifest.  (Of course, it is possible that the second Dahlgren had been removed between the two manifests.)

However, different types of shells were found at the site indicating the possibility of a second Dahlgren being there.

They have also found other items, including an anvil, leather shoes, wrenches and ceramic bottles.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 7: More Notables Serving There

HENRY JACKSON HUNT--  Civil war general, Chief of Artillery of the Army of the Potomac.

JOHN B. MAGRUDER--  Confederate general.

FRANKLIN PIERCE--  14th president of the United States.

WILLIAM S. ROSECRANS--  Union general

ISAAC INGALLS STEVENS--  Union general killed at the Battle of Chantilly

THOMAS W. SHERMAN--  Union general wounded so badly at battle of Port Hudson in 1963, he was not expected to survive.  His hometown newspaper in Newport, Rhode Island, printed an extensive obituary.  He survived though, but had his right leg amputated and served the rest of the war on administrative duty.  After the war commanded Fort Adams for awhile.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 6: Notables Who Served There

Notable persons who served at the fort:

Pierre G.T. Beauregard

Ambrose Burnside

George W. Cullom--  Civil War general and West Point superintendent.  Wrote the Biographical register of Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy.  I am using this for my current blog entries in my War of 1812 Blog Not So Forgotten.

Henry Algeron de Pont--  Medal of Honor winner at Battle of Cedar Creek, Oct. 1864.

Robley D. Evans--  navy rear admiral.  I have already written about him in these blogs.

John G. Foster--  Union general.  Commanded expedition at the 1862 Battle of Goldsborough Brideg.

William Gates.  Served in the War of 1812, Mexican War and Civil War.  (I mentioned him in my War of 1812 blog yesterday.  Long-serving officer, obviously.)

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 19, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 5: Site of Newport Folk Festival

In 1953, the Army transferred Fort Adams to the Navy and in 1965, the fort and surrounding land was given to the state of Rhode island.  President Dwight Eisenhower laved at the former commandants' house (now called the Eisenhower House) during his summer vacations while in office in 1958 and 1960.

Since 1981, the grounds have been the site and host to the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival.

Notable Persons Associated with Fort Adams:

Robert Anderson, commander of Fort Sumter

John G. Bernard--  Civil War general and Superintendent of West Point

Alexander Dallas Bache--  Army Engineer and Superintendent of West Point.  Erected coastal fortifications and led survey of the U.S. coast.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 4: A Spanish-American War Connection

Also, future Admiral Charles Sigsbee, who commanded the USS Maine when it blew up in Havana Harbor, sparking the Spanish-American War, was there.  Sigsbee was also at the Battle of Fort Fisher.

Another Spanish-American War hero, future Captain Charles Vernon Gridley who commanded the cruiser USS Olympia at the Battle of Manila Bay when Admiral Dewey gave the famous order, "You may fire when ready, Gridley," spent time at Fort Adams.

In 1862, Fort Adams was the headquarters and recruit depot for the 15th U.S. Infantry Regiment.

From August to October 1863, it was commanded by Brigadier General Robert Anderson, of Fort Sumter fame.

During World War II, it was part of the Harbor Defenses of Narrangansett Bay and at its peak had 3,000 troops.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 16, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 3: Famous People

Continued from September 16.

During the Mexican War, Fort Adams was commanded by Benjamin Kendrick, brother of President Franklin Pierce.  From 1843 to 1853, it was commanded by Col. Willaim Gala, a War of 1812 veteran.

The garrison was ordered to California and many lost their lives when their ship, the SS San Francisco was wrecked in the North Atlantic December 24, 1853.

During the Civil War, the U.S. Naval Academy was moved to Newport and first located at Fort Adams (along with the USS Constitution),. but later moved to the Atlantic House Hotel (which I have already written about).

Among the future naval officers at Fort Adams was Robley D. Evans.  He was wounded at Fort Fisher and commanded the battleship USS Iowa in the Spanish-American War. Later, he commanded the famous Great White Fleet on the first leg of its world voyage.

--Old B-R'er

Navy Uses Echoscope 3D Real-Time Imaging Sonar on CSS Georgia Salvage

From the August 27, 2015, Masdaq-1 Coda Octopus group, Inc.  "U.S. Navy uses the Echoscope 3D real-time imaging sonar during CSS Georgia salvage."

The Navy divers encountered great difficulty finding objects in the murky Savannah River waters where the CSS Georgia's wreck is located.

"The Echoscope 3D imaging system displays in real-time 3D underwater objects as they are scanned, whether they are static structures or moving objects.  The image supplied can be rotated in all three dimensions and measurements can be taken while viewing the data."

Not exactly sure what all this means, but anything is good if it helps.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Seeing-Eye Dogs" Helping Navy Divers Recover the CSS Georgia-- Part 2

Divers found about sixty rounds for the Dahlgren guns (posing no threat as they have to have a flame to set off).  The Brooke rounds (shaped like bullets) found considerably more dangerous as they are impact sensitive.

There was no loss of life at the Georgia's sinking so, no ghosts.

Historians know that shortly after the war, a businessman contracted with the U.S. government to salvage the wreck as part of an effort to clear the shipping channel.  records indicate that there was a dispute and portions of the wreck may have been dumped back into the river.

Gordon Watts, a longtime diver and owner of Tidewater Atlantic Research is assisting in the recovery effort.  He has had experience in with the USS Monitor and CSS Alabama.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"Seeing-Eye Dogs" Helping Navy Divers Recover CSS Georgia-- Part 1

From the August 21, 2015, CNN  "'Seeing eye dogs' help Navy divers recover Civil War vessel in murky river" by Phil Gast and Matthew Gannon.

The Savannah River's current and suction from propellers of giant container ships are causing problems for divers on the wreck of the Confederate ironclad CSS Georgia.Their dive suits are reminiscent of the ones in Jules Verne's "Twenty Thousand leagues Under the Sea."

The CSS Georgia was somewhat salvaged and destroyed after the war.  Dredging operations in the late 1960s further shattered the ship.  The chain of the large red channel marker attached to the wreck has further caused damage.

The U.S. government has slated $15 million for the ship's complete removal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Navy's New Destroyers Sure Look Like Confederate Ironclads

Every time I see a picture of one of the Navy's new Zumwalt-class destroyers, I am amazed at how much they resemble a Confederate Navy ironclad.

Check them out.

--Old B-R'er

Three Civil War Cannons Pulled from River

From the October 1, 2015, Discovery News by Elizabeth Palermo, Livescience.

It took about 30 minutes to raise each one and the cannons are in surprisingly good shape, "ready to rock and roll," said Jonathan Leader, South Carolina's state archaeologist.

Receding e\waters during a drought several years ago left the 7-inch Brooke rifle exposed and a bit corroded as a result.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 12, 2015

And, Speaking of Commerce Raiders, 150 Years Ago, the CSS Shenandoah

OCTOBER 12-14TH, 1865:  The CSS Shenandoah fell in "with a great many sail but kept a polite distance from them, working her way along under sail through calms and light airs.  In latitude 10 degrees N we took the trades."

Waddell and his ship were returning to England to surrender.  The end of the Confederate Navy was drawing near.  Of course, the ship was avoiding contact and especially any Union ships that might be looking for it.

--Old B-R'er

Talk To be Given on the CSS Florida

From the October 10, 2015, Hudson Times "Thompson to Speak on Confederate Raider Florida on October 14"

John Thompson will speak at the Peninsular Public Library on October 14 at 7:30, in a free talk sponsored by the Cayahoga Valley Civil War Round Table.  This takes place in Ohio.

Confederate commerce raiders devastated northern maritime interests during the war.  Not only was there the loss of cargoes and ships but also those losses sent insurance rates skyrocketing so much so that much commerce was transferred over to foreign flags.

By far, the best known raider was the CSS Alabama, but the CSS Florida did her fair share of damage.  It was commanded by John Newland Maffitt.  This ship seized 22 Union ships and made two of them into raiders who between them seized another 22 Northern ships.

Thompson is an active member of the Kent Civil War Society for 12 years, newsletter editor of the Gen. A.C. Voris Camp, SUV and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

So, If You Live Out Ohio Way.  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 10, 2015

150 Years Ago: CSS Shenandoah Passes the Equator in the Atlantic

OCTOBER 11TH, 1865:  The CSS Shenandoah crossed the equator about midway between South America and Africa as she steered for England.  Capetown, South Africa, had requested the ship stop there, but Waddell had determined that he had to go directly to England to surrender his command.

--Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: Command of Atlantic Squadron Passes to Joseph Lanman

OCTOBER 10, 1865:  Command of the Atlantic Squadron passed from Rear Admiral Radford to Commodore Joseph Lanman.  Radford reported to Washington and assumed command of the Washington Navy Yard.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 9, 2015

CSS Georgia Still Yielding Surprises

From the Sept. 29, 2015, Business in Savannah by Mary Carr Mayle.

Phase 2 of the operation is over.  The article was mostly referring to the Sept. 15 raising of the unknown Dahlgren cannon which i have already written about.

Now it is on to Phase 3, the tedious 12-days of sifting through all the much from the bottom that was also recovered.

--Old B-R'er

Archaeologists Recover Three Cannons From the Pee Dee River-- Part 5: Going to the Florence V.A.

The underwater divers dredged the area around the cannons and put straps around each of the three cannons, located in between 8 and 10 feet of water.  Once out of the river, they were taken a short distance and placed on wooden blocks so mud and silt could be hosed off.

These three cannons constitute the CSS Pee Dee's entire armament.

Eventually they will be displayed at the VA service building which is next to the Florence National Cemetery and just a couple hundred yards from the Florence Stockade site, a Confederate POW camp active for several months before the end of the war.

A video accompanies the article.  the cannons look to be in remarkably good shape and are now 10-26 feet from the river bank.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fort Fisher Closed Because of Flooding

I just read that Fort Fisher State Historic Site in North Carolina was closed on Monday because of all the rain and flooding.

--Old B-R'er

CSS Pee Dee Cannons Underwater Again?

I'm not sure if the cannons recovered recently from the CSS Pee Dee were still on the site by the side of the Pee Dee River in South Carolina, but if they were, they might once again be underwater due to all the rain and flooding in South Carolina in the last week.

----Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Archaeologists Recover Three Cannons From the Pee Dee River-- Part 4: The Cannons

The three cannons on the CSS Pee Dee were each on a pivot and had a full 360 degree of fire.  The ship itself was built for speed and maneuverability to act as a commerce raider and not to duke it out with a Union ship.

The Brooke cannons were for long range and the Dahlgren for short range.  The Dahlgren fired a speical ball with a water resistant cap.  The Brooke's had cannister shot.  Those were also removed.  The guns had been loaded when they were thrown overboard.  These were removed while the cannons were still underwater.

--Old B-R'er

Archaeologists Recover Three Cannons from the Pee Dee River-- Part 3: Great Grandson in Attendance

By 1994 the CSS Pee Dee Research and Recovery Team had seven families supporting it.

The first two were located by diver Bob Butler.  The third cannon was located by property owners Glenn Duffon and Rufus Duffon., who took advantage of low water level one day to venture into the river with a metal detector.

A man named Catesby Jones from Selma, Alabama, was on hand for the cannon retrieval.  The Brooke cannons were cast in Selma and his great grandfather, Catesby ap R Jones, had been in command of the naval foundry there when the Brooke cannons were cast.  More famously, Catesby ap R Jones had commanded the ironclad CSS Virginia ion its famous battle with the USS Monitor in 1862

The Brooke rifle serial numbers were #46 and #53.  The captured Dahlgren gun was serial number #513.  The Dahlgren was forged in Pennsylvania and captured from the USS Smithfield after it was sunk by the CSS Albemarle.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Archaeologists Recover Three Cannons from the Pee Dee River-- Part 2

People began looking for the cannons back in the 1920s.  Other efforts made in the 1950s and 1980s.

In the 1990s, two were found, and the third one, the 6.4-inch Brooke rifle was found in 2012.  With the locations of all three known, a move to recover all three at once got underway.  The CSS Pee Dee Research and Recovery Team was organized to raise money and promote the effort.

Member Ted Gragg related: "In 1992 we were looking seriously for the site of the Pee Dee and whatever we could find, because really and truly it had been lost.

"My daughter was home from the university and I'd taken her and her boyfriend out on a hike and we'd decided to cut out way from the bridge looking for things.  We sat down to rest and uncovered the skiff from the warship.  Then we found the seven-inch ball and one thing led to another.  We contacted the state two months later and showed them the artifacts."

I'm wondering if Ted Gragg is related to the Rod Gragg who wrote the first book on Fort Fisher "Confederate Goliath; Fort Fisher."

--Old B-Runner