Fort Fisher

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Flag of the CSS LeCompt

JUNE 29TH, 1865:  Rear Admiral Thatcher sent the Navy department the Confederate flag flown from the CSS LeCompt captured by the USS Cornubia off Galveston, Texas, on 24 May.

Thatcher wrote: "It is believed to be the last rebel flag on the coast afloat captured from the rebels during the war."

--Old B-R'er

Waddell Describes the Whalers-- Part 1: In and Out Among the Ice Floes

Waddell described the usual whaler of that period:  "The whaling vessels vary from 90 to 100 feet in length with great beam, consequently they can be turned around more easily than vessels of greater length; powerful in construction dull sailers, and sheathed for forty feet from the stern, which is generally shod with iron, they are calculated to resist contact with ice that floats in detached floes or pilot ice some sixteen feet in thickness and in abundance in the Bering Sea and northwards.

"They are equipped with boats much elevated at either end and strongly built.  On the sternpost are fitted collars for lines to pass over when attached to a whale.  These lines are made of white hemp from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches in circumference, varying from 100 to 250 fathoms (600 to 1,500 feet) in length and coiled in large tubs, (made to fit the boats expressly for this purpose) a precautionary measure to secure their easy flight and keep them from being entangles, which might cause the boat to capsize, so rapidly does the whale move when struck by a harpoon, the lance, and a two inch muszzle blunderbus, of short barrel, constructed of iron, and weighing about 40 pounds."

A Whaling We Go.   --Old B-Runner


Monday, June 29, 2015

The Shenandoah's Single Most Successful Day-- Part 2: 38 Ships

Waddell then bonded the ship James Murray and the bark Nile then placed his 336 prisoners on board for passage to San Francisco.  The latter whaler was selected for this mission because her master had died, leaving a widow and two small children on board; "the poor widow had the remains of her husband in board preserved in whiskey".

Waddell stripped the vessels of supplies and recruited nine men.  He noted that their enlistment was "evidence that if they had heard any report of the military failure of the South, they had considered it unreliable".

Waddell put the torch to the ships Hillman, Nassau, Brunswick, Isaac Howland and barks Waverly, Martha, Favorite, Covington and Congress and recorded in his memoirs that "the horizon was illuminated with a fiery glare presenting a picture of indescribably grandeur, while the water was covered with black smoke mingled with flakes of fire."

This field day against American commerce climaxes a very successful cruise in which the Shenandoah captured a total of 38 American vessels valued at $1,361,983.

Lighting the Skies.  --Old B-Runner

Maury Still Working On New Country to Live

JUNE 28TH, 1865:  Matthew F. Maury dined with the Emperor and Empress Charlotte at the Chapultepec Palace in Mexico City.  The Emperor extended the unusual courtesy to Maury of requesting that from then on, unlike others, he "remain seated when the Emperor was in the room".  Empress Charlotte, the daughter of Leopold I of Belgium and first cousin to Queen Victoria, asked for his photograph for her album.

Looking for a New Country.  --Old B-R'er

The Shenandoah's Most Successful Single Day-- Part 1: Eleven Whalers

JUNE 28TH, 1865:  This date marked the most successful single day the CSS Shenandoah enjoyed as a commerce raider during her long cruise that spanned 13 months and 58,000 miles, and during which Waddell often successfully followed his conviction that "nothing is to be gained if risk is not taken."  Near the narrows of the Bering Strait, Lt. Waddell fell in with a rendezvous of eleven American whalers.

The ship Brunswick of New Bedford had been stove in by an ice floe and the others had gathered either to render assistance or to bid on supplies and oil in the event the master decided to abandon ship and offer bargains.  To insure that none escaped, Waddell entered the bay under the American flag and while five boats were quickly being armed and manned, he maneuvered his ship to a position in which the raider's guns commanded the whalers.

A soon as the armed boats were away, he lowered the American flag and ran up the Stars and Bars.  Ten of the whalers immediately surrendered. The single exception was the Favorite of New Haven whose flag remained on the gaff defended by her drunken master flourishing a harpoon gun.

The resistance was short lived as the whaler was boarded without bloodshed.

A Good Day in the Biz.  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, June 27, 2015

All Confederate Vessels On the Roanoke River In N.C. Now Captured

JUNE 27TH, 1865:  Commander Macomb, commanding the Union naval forces in the Albemarle Sound, reported to the commander of the Atlantic Squadron that he had captured all the Confederate naval vessels in the Roanoke River.

He took possession of the sternwheel steamer Cotton Plant, the screw steamer Egypt Mills, the unfinished gunboat Halifax, and one lighter.  he also seized 99 bales of cotton.  The two steamers had been privately owned at one time but had been taken over by the Confederate Navy in the latter stages of the. war.

--Old B-R'er

Maury Meets Maximilian in Mexico City

JUNE 27TH, 1865:  Emperor Maximilian was absent from mexico City when Matthew F. Maury arrived early in the month.  In the last week he arrived and promptly gave him an audience.  After other meetings, he granted Maury a long audience to present his emigration plan in full.  He then had Maury leave a written draft for study.

Hiding Out.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, June 26, 2015

Another Successful Day for the CSS Shenandoah: 6 Whalers in One Day

JUNE 26TH, 1865:  Shortly after midnight the CSS Shenandoah commenced a highly successful day of operations.  At 1"30 a.m. she sailed alongside three becalmed whalers.  In short order Waddell put Nimrod, William C. Nye and Catherine to the torch, ordered their crews into small boats to be towed astern of the Shenandoah and set out in pursuit of three other sails spotted to the northward.

Next, the barks General Pike, Isabella and Gipsey were captured before noon, and, after making a cartel ship out of the General Pike and bonding her, the other two whalers were burned.  "Within forty-eight hours," Waddell wrote, "the Shenandoah had destroyed and ransomed property to the value of $253,000."

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mississippi Squadron Reduced and Naval Stations Closed

JUNE 25TH, 1865:  Secretary Welles ordered the further reduction of the Mississippi Squadron to five ships and directed the abandonment of all the naval stations of the Mississippi Squadron, except the one at Mound City, Illinois.

Saving Money.  --Old B-Runner

CSS Shenandoah Captures and Burns the General Williams

JUNE 23RD, 1865:  The CSS Shenandoah, Lt. Waddell, captured and burned at sea the ship General Williams near St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea.  In this area "several Esquimaux canoes wit natives from the island visited us and our crew struck up a brisk trade with them for furs and walrus tusks" using sign language.

--Old B-R'er

Waddell Describes How He Destroys Prizes: How to Burn a Ship

JUNE 22ND, 1865:  Waddell burned most of the ships he captured in the northern seas.  Earlier in his journal he had discussed their destruction.

According to the freighting for some ships, one could simply "knock a hole in her bottom from inboard below the waterline and the vessels sinks rapidly and finally disappears leaving only a few pieces of plank floating over the great abyss which has closed over her.

"It frequently occurs that to destroy a prize, fire must be resorted to, and there is no escape from that ruthless element.  However much it may be condemned, it is better than to leave a prize disabled and injured as to be formidable enough to endanger the navigation of the ocean.  Fire serves as a beacon to inform the sailor of danger, but it leaves a small portion of the vessel, the floor and the keel to float upon the surface of the water.

"To prepare a vessel for destruction by fire, first remove all living animals, take out all useful equipment which may be wanted, discover what combustibles are in her hold, such as tar, pitch, turpentine, and see to the removal of gunpowder.  All of these things should be thrown into the sea.  Combustibles are then scattered throughout the vessel, bulkheads torn down and piled up in her cabins and forecastle.

"All hatches are opened and all halyards let go that sails may hang loosely and yards counter braced.  Fire is then taken from the galley or cooking stove and deposited in various parts of her hold and about her deck.

"If she is very old she burns like tinder.  The painful duty which sometimes becomes necessary would have been avoided had we been allowed to take our prizes into port for adjudication."

Now You Know How to destoy a Shop.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cushing Receives Honors for His Role in the War

JUNE 23RD, 1865:  Lt.-Cmdr. Cushing received orders to report to the USS Lancaster, flagship of Rear Admiral George F. Pearson, commanding the Pacific Squadron.

Shortly after reporting on board the ship at San Francisco, the people of that city extended to Cushing the freedom of the city in recognition of his courageous and heroic war record.

On five separate occasions he led daring raids and each time was successful in destroying a Confederate ship.  The most famous of these was conducted 27 October 1864, when he sank the CSS Albemarle with a spar torpedo.

He also led one of the assaulting columns of sailors and Marines against the Northeast Bastion of Fort fisher on January 15, 1865.

A True Hero.  --Old B-R'er

The Shenandoah Learns of the Fall of Richmond

JUNE 22ND, 1865:  The CSS Shenandoah, Lt. Waddell, captured the Susan Abigail, recently from San Francisco.  A newspaper was found on board dated April 17, 1865.  It told of the capture of Richmond but also contained President Davis' Danville Proclamation declaring that the war would be continued with renewed vigor.

Moreover, Waddell noted:  "Three of the Susan Abigail's crew joined the Shenandoah, which was good evidence at least that they did not believe the war had ended."

The master of the prize stated that in San Francisco,  "Opinion is divided as to the ultimate result of the war.  For the present the North has the advantage, but how it will all end no one can know, and as to the newspapers they are not reliable."

After burning the Susan Abigail, Waddell continued northward to the Bering Strait, the northern exit to the Arctic Sea.

Over or Not,  Waddell Wants to Know.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Death of Rear Admiral Samuel F. DuPont

JUNE 23RD, 1865:  Rear Admiral Samuel F. DuPont died unexpectedly at age 61 while on a visit to Philadelphia.  he had commanded the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the first two years of the war and had led the naval forces in the important capture of Port Royal by an amphibious assault on 7 November 1861.

The author J.T. Headley wrote of DuPont:  "A gentleman of the old school...whose bearing was that of dignified courtesy to all.  Chivalrous in his own feelings, he was incapable of wounding those of others.  --Insensible to fear, he never shrank from encouraging any danger, while he was absolutely incapable of thrusting himself forward to obtain notoriety."

Unlike Admiral Porter.  --Old B-Runner

Master Braine Heads to Liverpool

JUNE 22ND, 1865:  Upon learning of the final collapse of the Confederacy, Master John C. Braine, CSN, took passage for Liverpool, England, from Kingston, Jamaica.

On several occasions during the war Braine had led naval parties in successful seizures of Federal merchantmen and quite likely would have been prosecuted for piracy had he been apprehended.

The schooner St. Mary's, which he seized in Chesapeake Bay and had sailed to Nassau, was abandoned in Kingston just prior to his booking passage for Liverpool.  Previous to seizing the St. Mary's, he had seized the steamer Chesapeake off Cape Cod (7 December 1863) and the steamer Roanoke off Havana (29 September 1864) while leading Confederate naval parties masquerading as passengers.

This man would be a good topic for a book.

A Really Brainy Decision for Braine.  --Old B-R'er

The CSS Shenandoah Has Another Great Day Chasing and Burning Whalers

JUNE 23RD, 1865:  This day was also June 22nd as the Shenandoah had crossed the International Date Line as noted in the ship's log.  Waddell continued to light the Arctic skies with the flaming hulks of burning American whalers.

He first captured the ship Milo of New Bedford.  It was from this vessel that Waddell first heard rumors that the South had surrendered and the war had ended.  He sought documentary evidence to authenticate the story, but the ship's captain had none, but believed the war was over.  Waddell replied, "...that was not satisfactory...."

Waddell bonded the Milo, took most of its crew to insure against escape, and gave chase to two other whalers in the vicinity.  They entered the ice floe attempting to escape, but he soon cut out the bark Sophia Thornton, placed a prize crew on board with orders to keep company with the Milo, and continued in pursuit of Jerah Swift.

Waddell recorded in his memoirs:  "We chased her for three hours before getting within shelling distance of her, but Captain Williams, who made every effort to save his bark, saw the folly of exposing the crew to a destructive fire and yielded his misfortune with a manly and becoming dignity."

The Shenandoah burned the two barks and transferred all prisoners to the Milo for passage to San Francisco."

Still Ticking.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, June 22, 2015

England and France Declare the Confederacy No Longer a Belligerent, Blockade Soon to Be Lifted

JUNE 22ND, 1865:  Secretary Welles announced to naval forces that France and Great Britain had "withdrawn from the insurgents the character of belligerents."  Meaning they no longer recognized the Confederacy.

He also announced that the blockade of the coast of the United States would soon be lifted and the belligerent right of search abrogated.

--It's Official.  No More CSA.  --Old B-R'er

The CSS Shenandoah ," Sees Blubber," Captures and Burns Two Whalers

JUNE 22ND, 1865:   CSS Shenandoah, Lt. Waddell, cruising off Cape Navarin, found "a current setting to the N.E. and soon after seeing blubber we concluded the whale vessels south of us were cutting out, and steam was ordered.  This calculation was correct."

Within an hour, they sighted two American whalers which were the first spoken since entering the Bering Sea.  Coming up on the two New Bedford whalers in close proximity, he captured and placed a prize crew on board William Thompson and then stood in pursuit of Eurphrates.  After a two hour chase, she was captured, stripped of supplies and burned.  Waddell then returned to the William Thompson and subjected her to the same fate.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Navy Divers Prep to Raise the CSS Georgia-- Part 1

From the May 19, 2015, Military Times "Navy divers prep for mission to raise Civil War ironclad" by Lance M. Bacon.

Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia.

A team of Navy divers spent a week this month preparing for the salvage of the CSS Georgia.  The Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 23 will deploy to Savannah on June 1st to free the ship from the mud at the bottom of the Savannah River.  The project is expected to take about two months.

The recovery is to take place in five groupings:  forward and aft casemate, engine remnants such as boilers, shaft and propeller, four cannons and live ordnance.  A number of projectiles are still under evaluation by on-site archaeologists but most are believed to be lying on the river bottom.

Explosion ordnance disposal divers from Mobile Unit 8 Detachment, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia will handle the projectiles.  The 20-man team is commanded by CWO3 Jason Potts.

Bring 'Er Up.  --Old B-R'er

Confederate Guerrillas Capture Steamer Idaho

JUNE 20TH, 1865:  Lt.Cmdr. John J. Cornwell of the USS Grossbeak reported the capture of the steamer Idaho a few days ago by Southern guerrillas near Greenville, Mississippi.  It was a small trading steamer and loaded with 400 bales of cotton which had belonged to the Confederacy.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, June 19, 2015

Delay in CSS Georgia Recovery

From the June 1, 2015, WTOC, Savannah.

Maritime archaeologists from Memphis have pulled up over 1,000 artifacts from the shipwreck since January.  Work to raise the Georgia's remnants were scheduled to begin June 1st, but are being delayed because even more artifacts are being found.  The Navy divers now hope to start the heavy work in three more weeks.

When the vessel is finally brought up, the area around it will be blocked off, but in July, it is hoped that it will be open to the public.  They hope to be finished in August.

Texas A&M will be restored all artifacts and parts of the ship.

I suppose there will eventually be a display of the ship's remains, hopefully by Old Fort Jackson where the ship is being raised.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Navy Diving Unit Raising CSS Georgia Artifacts-- Part 2

The Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians will also be assisting to check the explosive shells brought up from the Georgia.

Preliminary dives on the ship in 2013 revealed that the wooden hull is completely gone, but the rest of the ship is still there./  Search has shown that the ship was not exactly a pleasant place to serve as several sets of leg irons were found.  Sailors were prone to desert as the ship never saw action and the resulting boredom, not to mention hot sun beating down on its iron sides and, of course, the horrible mosquitoes.

The wreck was discovered in 1968 during channel dredging and was listed on the NRHP in 1987.  A 65-square-foot section of the armor has already been retrieved in 2013.  They know that a huge 73-foot-by-24-foot-wide section is still at the bottom which will require quite a bit of effort to raise.

The government has set aside $14.2 million to raise what is left of the CSS Georgia.

--Old B-IronRunner

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Navy Diving Unit to Raise Artifacts from the CSS Georgia-- Part 1

From the May 27, 2015 Naval History Blog "Year of the Military Diver: MDSU to Continue Raising the CSS Georgia/"

The old saying goes, "The South Will Rise Again."  Well, parts of the Old South anyway as Navy divers are preparing to bring up pieces of the CSS Georgia from the bottom of the Savannah River near that city.  Navy divers from the Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU-2) will be hard at work freeing parts of the ship from the murky, muddy water of the Savannah River channel.

They are working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and will be on site June 1st to July 20th as part of the Savannah Harbor Expansion which will be making the channel deeper, from 42 to 47 feet.  Savannah is a major port for container ships, but would like to be able the even larger ones.  We saw a lot of them going up and down the river when we were there in late April.

They will be bring up the ship's iron armor, steam engine components and all four cannons which went down with the ship.  In addition, preliminary searching have revealed at least 50 projectiles.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

In Search of "Local Character" John Potter-- Part 9: No John, But Found His PBRs

Huc-A-Poos on Tybee Island was packed with customers both outside and inside.  I could see no evidence of air conditioning.  We sat down at the part of the bar that was by the back wall and it no time at all, a bartender was over asking what we'd like.

Seeing some remarkable-looking pizzas on the way in, I asked for a menu and ordered the Omnivore garbage one, well, a slice of it.

I mentioned that we were here because of the article in the Tribune and CSS Georgia.  She said, "Johnny.  I love Johnny."  Sadly, according to the article, John Potter now resides somewhere in North Carolina.  No doubt, he now sits at another dive bar.  Maybe holding court as resident mayor.

I sure would have liked to meet him.

Next, I asked about the "Wanted Poster."  She shrugged and motioned to the wall behind us and said it was somewhere back there.  Easier said than done.  With all the stuff on the wall, it would be like finding that proverbial "needle in a haystack."  I turned around ion the bar stool and started looking but had no luck.  Liz keeps after things longer than I do and after a bit longer said she thought she'd found it.

I walked over to the area she'd indicated and after a bit more searching, found it.  His picture with the words "Tybee Record-- 77 PBRs in one night."  Had he actually consumed 77 PBRs in one night?

Well, like I said, no Johnny, but we did get to see his poster.  And, to make matters worse, when we left Huc-A-Poos to drive to Jacksonville, Florida, we encountered an even worse traffic jam than the one we waited through to get onto Tybee Island.  It was so bad, we ended up "staying on the island" for the night.  Oh well, I can think of worse places to get stuck.

To read the entire story of John Potter and the CSS Georgia photo hoax, click on the Potter John label below.

One Has to Wonder.  --Old B-R'er

CSS Shenandoah Fogged In, Bulloch Writes to Cease Operations

JUNE 16TH, 1865:  For two days, the CSS Shenandoah had sailed northward in fog that fortunately lifted partly just in time to enable her to miss running aground as she passed west of the Aleutians.

Three days later, half way across the world, Commander Bulloch wrote to Lt. Waddell, ordering him to desist from any further destruction of United States property upon the high seas and all offensive operations against U.S. citizens.

Unfortunately, these orders could not be delivered for many weeks even under the best of conditions.  Therefore, American whalers were destined to suffer blows from Waddell's ship for a long while.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, June 15, 2015

In Search of Local Character" John Potter-- Part 8: Pizza At the Hangout

We entered Huc-A-Poos and it is all classic dive bar.  Nothing fancy, nothing carefully planned out.  Just a jumble of stuff everywhere and very reasonable food and drink prices.  No wonder John Potter hung out here.

The place is named Huc-A-poos Bites & Booze and for $4 you can get a huge quarter slice of very unique 16-inch pizzas  One is called the Herbivore with all of their veggies on it.  Another is the Omnivore, the garbage can of pizzas (which I ordered).  Yet another is Shep Surprise, "Where you order whatever  you want.and we will give you whatever we want."

And, there is PBR on tap.  And cheap, too.

There are 378 Reviews in Trip Advisor with 207 excellent, 113 very good, 18 poor and 18 terrible.


Great laid back atmosphere.
My favorite place on earth.
This place is a hoot,
Best pizza in the USA.

No Wonder Potter Hung Out Here.  --Old B-R'er

In Search of "Local Character John Potter-- Part 7 "A Crazy Guy"

Huc-a-Poo's owner, Eric Thomas, says, "Potter's a crazy guy, but added, "He's also a lovable guy."

As to his coming clean about the CSS Georgia photo hoax, he said that after his brother's death by suicide: "I'm not in good health.  I didn't want to drop dead and carry that to my grave..  I didn't intend to hurt or embarrass anybody, because I really love history."

He added:  "But there's still a lesson there: Do your dang homework."  Well, with just a photo of the photo it would not seem likely that anyone could authenticate it.  A picture of the picture accompanied the article and I sure couldn't tell if it was fake or not.

Supposedly the original photo was destroyed when Potter tried to take it out of the frame.  maybe it was, maybe it wasn't.

One More Tale to Tell.  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, June 13, 2015

CSS Shenandoah Still Having Ice Problems

JUNE 14TH, 1865:  Lt. Waddell had worked the CSS Shenandoah free of the dangerous ice field that had provided him a safe breakwater in the icy storm (see 1-13 June) by running out warps "on the floe and grapnels hooked to large blocks of ice....One gathers experience under certain circumstances, and becomes accustomed to certain situations which create anxiety at first."

After meeting increasingly heavy drift ice that flowed to the westward, Waddell became convinced that to continue sailing in that direction would be useless.  "She was therefore run to the eastward and after knocking about till the 14th of June, I left the sea of Okhotsk and entered the North Pacific Ocean by the fifteenth parallel passage of Amphitrite Strait, and steering N.E. with a cracking southwester after us.

"When I gave the course N.E. it was to run the ship midway of the most western of the Aleutian and the most eastern of the Komandorski Islands, because currents about the islands are irregular in direction as well as in force.  In a few hours after leaving Amphitrite Strait the wind hauled more to the south then east of south, producting a condensation of the atmosphere which closed around the Shenandoah an impenetrable mist."

No Fun and Games on the Shenandoah.  --Old B-R'er

Steamer Sonora Arrives At Tampico, Mexico

JUNE 12TH, 1865:  The steamer Sonora arrived in Tampico, Mexico, after running the blockade from Matagorda Bay, Texas.  Although originally loaded with 300 bales of cotton, disbanded Confederate troops had seized all but 38 bales.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, June 12, 2015

Steamship Admiral DuPont-- Part 3: Now Working for the North

After it was condemned and sold, it was renamed for the admiral and then for the next three years carrying troops and government supplies along the Atlantic coast.  I was unable to determine if the Admiral DuPont was owned by the Federal government or privately owned and chartered to the government.

On June 8, 1865, it was carrying troops from New York City to Fort Monroe in Virginia when it collided with the British sailing ship Stundaconda off Cape May and sank.  Captain Simon Peppers and all but 20 men survived.  I have come across about three different spellings of the Stundaconda.  Most likely, the actual name of the ship appears to be the Satacona.

It happened at night and the Stundaconda was ailing from Philadelphia to St. John, New Brunswick, when it struck the Admiral DuPont broadside.  The Admiral DuPont sank in ten minutes.

The wreck lies in about 150 feet of water about 32 miles from Cape May., New Jersey.

--Old B-R'er

Steamship SS Admiral DuPont-- Part 2; Blockade-Running Career

FromShips 3 "Civil War Era Steamship Admiral DuPont" by James Donahue.

The ship was named in honor of naval officer Samuel Francis Du Pont, commander of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.  He commanded the squadron that captured the 190-foot long iron-hulled passenger and cargo ship Anglia which was used as a blockade-runner.

It was launched in West Ham, England, in 1847 and bought by the Confederacy and converted into a blockade-runner in 1861.  In 1862, it made a round trip from Nassau to Charleston then back.  It was captured on its second trip through the blockade at Bull's Bay, near Charleston.

Caught.  --  Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Steamship SS Admiral DuPont-- Part 1: Previously the Anglia

Yesterday i mentioned that the SS Satacona had run aground in Nantucket two days after it had had a collision with the SS Admiral DuPont off Cape May on June 8, 1865.There were U.S. troops on it and the Admiral DuPont so these fortunate ones had twice the chance of being ion a shipwreck.  What a way to go home.

I decided to delve deeper into the story as it appeared to be of interest.

From the Department of Navy Civilian Ships site.

The Admiral DuPont steamship 1847-1865.  Properly called the Admiral Du Pont and was previously named the Anglia.

--Old B-R'er

Washuington Duke's Long Walk Home-- Part 8

From Wikipedia.

Washington Duke was in his early 40s during the Civil War and remained out of it until Confederate conscription was raised to 45, and Duke, 43, went to war.  He sent his children to the Roney home in Alamance County, except for Brodie who accompanied him into service.

Again, there is some question as to whether Duke was in the Navy or Army.

At some point,Duke decided to sell all his farm belongings and covert everything to tobacco by the end of 1863.

He was in the military only briefly and captured by U.S. forces and later imprisoned in Richmond, Virginia.  At the end of the war, he was released and shipped to New Bern where he embarked on his 135 mile walk home.

There is a website at A Soldier's Walk Home by Philip Brown.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Satacona Grounded at Nantucket This Date 150 Years Ago

From the June 6, 2015, Yesterday's Island, Today's Nantucket "Civil War Shipwreck" by Amy Geness.

This article certainly cost me some interesting time researching the story further.

Today marks the 150th anniversary, June 10, 1865, of the grounding of the SS Satacona in thick fog near the head of Hither Creek, Nantucket Island.  It was carrying returning Union soldiers.

This got me very interested.  I just recently came across the sinking and deaths of nearly 500 aboard the SS General Lyon, also carrying returning Union soldiers.  This was another shipwreck that I had not known.  And, of course, there was also the much better known Sultana Disaster.

Then, the story got better, because it said that for some of these soldiers, this was their second shipwreck in two days.  Their troopship, the Admiral DuPont had collided with the Satacona and sunk off Cape May, New Jersey on June 8th.

The article continued saying that the soldiers marched through town after the grounding and boarded a steamship preparing to go to the mainland.  Citizens scrambled to provide food and clothing to the troops.

This is a Story That Needs Further Research.  --Old B-Runner

Waskington Duke's Long Walk Home-- Part 7

From the May 15, 2015, Clinton (NC) News-Star "Civil War reenactor to pass through Clayton on 'walk home'.

The Johnston County veterans and American Legion Post 71 in Clayton will join Phillip Brown on part of his 160-mile walk across eastern North Carolina.  His walk started May 11th in New Bern.  He is scheduled to arrive about 4 p.m. Monday in Clayton.

From Clayton, he will continue on through to Raleigh and then to the Duke Homestead in Durham.

--Old Walker

Washington Duke's Long Walk Home-- Part 6: The North Carolina Railroad

In 1865, Washington Duke would have most likely traveled from New Bern to his home in Durham by the route of the North Carolina Railroad which passed through Kinston, Goldsboro, Raleigh and Durham on its way to Greensboro.

From the North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR) site.

In 1848, the N.C. legislature passed a railroad bill calling for an east-west railroad to connect the coastal plains with the Piedmont to open the state for economic and industrial development.

1849:  The NCRR chartered a 223-mile corridor between Charlotte and Goldsboro.  Goldsboro was also on the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad.

1851:  Groundbreaking.

1856:  A train ran the entire length between Charlotte and Goldsboro.

1861-1865:  The NCRR was an important Confederate supply line.  Goods brought in through the blockade at Wilmington could be shipped from Goldsboro westward to Raleigh and the Charlotte Navy Yard.

But increased traffic and reduced maintenance led to a poor road and rolling stock conditions.

April 1865:  Several NCRR structures, bridges and miles of track were destroyed during the final weeks of the war.

A map of North Carolina Civil War Railroads shows one going westward from New Bern to kinston and then through to Goldsboro and on to Raleigh and Durham.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

CSS Ajax Arrives in Liverpool

JUNE 9TH, 1865:  The CSS Ajax, Lt. Low, arrived at Liverpool, England, from Bermuda.  The Ajax had been detained at Bermuda by the British government after Low had made an unsuccessful attempt to arm his ship under the guise of taking a shipment of guns to Havana.

The vessel was released after news had reached Bermuda that the American war had ended with the surrender oft the Confederacy.

Upon his arrival in Liverpool, Low turned his ship over to local port authorities  The former lieutenant on the CSS Alabama chose to remain in England rather than return to his homeland.  He established his residence in Liverpool where he subsequently became a prosperous shipping and cotton mill executive.

Years later, he was presented with the Alabama's pennant by a Frenchman who had witnessed the ship's battle with the USS Kearsarge from a yacht and had salvaged her pennant.

Today, the pennant, seventy-five feet in length and bearing twenty-seven white stars on a blue field, with a red and white tail, is in the possession of John Low's grandson.

--Old B-R'er

East and West Gulf Squadrons Combined, North and South Atlantic Squadrons Also Combined

JUNE 9TH, 1865:  Secretary Welles ordered that the East Gulf and West Gulf squadrons be combined and redesignated as the Gulf Squadron.  He directed Rear Admiral H.K. Thatcher to relieve Rear Admiral C.K. Stribling and assume command of the new squadron with headquarters at Pensacola.

Welles also directed the North and South Atlantic squadrons be combined and redesignated the Atlantic Squadron.  At the same time he ordered Rear Admiral Dahlgren to return to Washington and Rear Admiral William Radford to assume command of the new squadron.

Dahlgren recorded in his diary under the date 17 June:  "And so ends a command of two years of one of the largest fleets ever assembled under American colors-- as many as 96 at one time."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, June 8, 2015

In Search of the "Local Character", John Potter-- Part 6

John Potter made the fake photo of the CSS Georgia as teenager after he made a short 8 mm movie about the ship and then decided to try his skill at special effects and made the photo.  He used a 2-foot model of the ship and took a photo of it and then another one of his brother with a fishing pole, coat and straw hat at a marsh.  He joined the two together and used dirt and glue to age the photo.  Next, he put it in a gilded frame.

He then took a picture of it and claimed he had seen it at a garage sale and had taken a picture of it.  He sent a picture of it to Savannah historical groups.  Then, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to raise what remains of the Georgia, interest in the ship blossomed and, of course, there was the only known photo of it (as supplied by one John Potter).

He still has the gilded frame, but it now holds a picture of his deceased pug, Puggy Van Dug.

Very Sneaky, Johnny.  --Old B-R'er

In Search of the "Local Character," John Potter-- Part 5: "77 PBRs in One Night"

Continued from May.  To catch up on all of the entries, go to Potter John in the labels.

John Potter now admits that he made the fake photo of the CSS Georgia which is in the process of being raised near Savannah.

From the April 16, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Civil War photo said to be a fake" by Mitch Weiss and Russ Bynum, AP.

Potter, now 50, lives alone in a cluttered one-story house in North Carolina.  He once owned a Savannah antiques store and provided props for movies filming in the area.  For awhile, he was maintenance man for the lighthouse and museum on Tybee Island where he spent his nights drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon at Huc-a-Poos.  I have some confusion as to whether it is Huck-a-Poos or Huc-a-Poos.  Evidently, there is no "k".

There is a mock police mug shot of him with the words "Tybee Record -- 77 PBRs in one night."

I had culture shock when I transferred from Northern Illinois to University of Georgia for junior year.  At NIU, Old Milwaukee cost 99 cents a six pack.  Beer in Athens was a lot higher (CONSIDERABLY) and the cheapest was Pabst Blue Ribbon at $1.99.  Most of the rest was at least $3.  Needless to say, I soon learned how to drink, and enjoy, PBR.

PBR Me, ASAP.  --RoadDog

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Confederate Ship Cotton (No. 2) Seized in Red River

JUNE 7TH, 1865:  The USS Ouachita seized  the Confederate ship Cotton (No. 2) and took her to the mouth of the Red River.  She had been purchased by the Confederate Navy but the stipulated payment had not been made and for this reason she was returned to her former owners.

The vessel had been seized because it had been employed in military operations against the United States.

--Old B-Runner

Maury Goes to Mexico City-- Part 2: Laying Low in Mexico

Maury proposed to offer his services not only as a torpedo expert but also on a broader scale that would be of far reaching benefit for his own loved people and to the new Empire-- the emigration of Confederates to Mexico.  At the time, it appeared to him that he might never be allowed to return home because of the several categories that applied to exclude him from amnesty, including his leadership in the development of torpedoes and overseas intrigue.

Throughout the summer he received communications from home advising against his return.

For example, on June 19 his daughter Elizabeth Herndon Maury wrote:  "Don't trust to any parole or any promise.  General Curtis of the U.S. Army, who is staying here, said to me this morning that you ought not to come under any circumstances,

"General Lee said to me the other day, 'Mrs. Maury, tell you father from me not to think of coming home."

Laying Low in Mexico.  --Old B-R'er

Maury Lands in Mexico and Proceeds to Mexico City-- Part 1

JUNE 6TH, 1865:  After landing at Vera Cruz, Matthew Fontaine Maury proceeded to Mexico City where he was confident that Emperor Maximilian would give him a warm welcome..  In December 1857  the then Archduke and head of the Austrian Navy had sent a present to Maury for his wife, and wrote:  "I have observed, with intense interest and admiration, your noble and unequaled efforts, in order to forward the improvement of the scientific part of our profession.

"I trust you will accept this little present as a token of my gratitude towards a man whom all seafring nations are bound to look upon with respect and thankfulness."

--Old B-Runner

Friday, June 5, 2015

"Blockade Running From Galveston...At An End"

JUNE 5TH, 1865:  Captain Benjamin F. Sands, with USS Cornubia and Preston, crossed the bar at Galveston, landed and raised the United States flag over the custom house.  New London and Port Royal were ordered to follow immediately.

Terms of the surrender had been agreed upon by Major General Kirby Smith, CSA, on board the USS Fort Jackson.

The surrender of Galveston, combined with the capitulation of Sabine Pass and Brownsville, enabled Rear Admiral Thatcher to wrote Secretary Welles that "blockade running from Galveston and the coast of Texas is at an end."

The Door Closes.  --Old B-R'er

The CSS Shenandoah Continues Her Frigid Voyage-- Part 2: Gales and Ice Floes

In this chill sea, the Shenandoah met severe gales.  "The damage from these gales is much increased by the heavy ice which a vessel is likely to be driven on and wrecked.  We encountered the first one of those gales to windward of twenty miles of floe ice, and  if we had been lying to with the ice under our lea, the Shenandoah would probably have been lost with her entire crew.

"It became imperatively necessary to relieve the ship of her perilous situation.  She was a run a little distance from and along the floe until a passage was seen from aloft through it with open water beyond.

"Into this passage she was entered and in a short time she was lying to under close reefed sails with the floe to windward, and this was the solution of the seamanship problem alluded to a little time before, for our dreaded enemy was now become our best friend, the fury of the sea  was expended on it and not against the Shenandoah.  It was a breakwater for the ship."

I Don't Think i Would Have Liked to Be Along With Them.   BBBrrr!  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 4, 2015

CSS Shenandoah Continues Her Voyage-- Part 1: Getting Iced

JUNE 1-13, 1865:  Before burning the Abiagail, Lt. Waddell obtained a stove from her cabin, one of the many items that had not been provided when the Shenandoah hastily left Liverpool the previous autumn.  He needed it for the ensuing days as he navigated along the frozen shores of Siberia.

"I continued as far as the Chi-jinskiki Bay, but found it so full of ice the steamer could not be entered. I then stood along the land of eastern Siberia as far as Tausk Bay, when she was forced away by ice, and I left for Shantaski Island, but I found ice in such quantities before we reached the 150 degrees meridian of east longitude that she was forced to the southward finding ice in almost every direction and apparently closing on her.

"The situation carried anxiety of  mind, and I solved the seamanship problem before us.  The scene was cold, the mercury several degrees below zero, the ice varied in thickness from fifteen to thirty feet and, although not very firm, was sufficiently so to injure the Shenandoah if we were not very careful.  I wanted to reach Shantarski Island (called by whalers Greer Island) for there is fishing there and in the bays southwest of it."

Mighty Cold Weather.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Surrender of Galveston

JUNE 2ND, 1865:  The terms of surrender of Galveston, Texas, were signed aboard the USS Fort Jackson by Major General E. Kirby Smith on behalf of the Confederacy.  Brigadier General E.J. Davis represented the Union Army.

It's All Over.  --Old B-Runner

Reduction of the Mississippi Squadron

JUNE 2ND, 1865:  Assistant secretary of the Navy Fox ordered the Mississippi squadron reduced to 15 ships "with all possible dispatch."  In his letter to rear Admiral S.P. Lee of the Mississippi Squadron, Fox concluded:  "Economize in the use of coal and give directions to all vessels to keep steam down, except in an emergency...."

With the war completed, a number of similar steps were taken to cut expenditures to a  minimum and reduce drastically what had become during the years of conflict the strongest Navy afloat.

--Old B-R'er

Yes, It Was That Washington Duke-- Part 5

Washington Duke later used his influence to have Trinity College (in current-day Trinity, N.C.) moved to Durham where it opened a new campus in 1892.  In 1896, he gave $100,000 to the struggling college on the condition that it open admittance to women.

It was renamed in his honor in 1924, becoming the famed Duke University, home to all those NCAA basketball championships at the Cameron Center.  And, occasionally they have good football teams.  Plus, there are the high standards and medical school.

Washington Duke, who died in 1905, has since been reinterred at the Memorial Chapel at Duke University.

I'll be writing about Trinity, N.C. later today in my RoadDog's RoadLog Blog.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Yes, It Was That Washington Duke-- Part 4

Continued from May 16th.

The Washington Duke whose walk home Philip Brown was retracing, was indeed that Duke.  The man who founded the huge tobacco company and the one who established Duke University.  It was too much of a coincidence not to be.

From Wikipedia.


American tobacco industrialist and philanthropist.

He served in the Confederate Navy from 1863 to 1865.  (There is some confusion as to whether he was in the Confederate Navy or Army.  Philip Brown called his sojourn "A Soldiers' Walk Home."  This was very much against his will as he abhorred slavery.  He once even bough a slave just so he could set her free

After the war, he grew tobacco on his farm, but sold it and moved to Durham, North Carolina and opened a tobacco business.  In 1881 he established W. Duke Sons & Company.

--Old B-Runner

Surrender of the CSS Missouri-- Part 2

The CSS Missouri was the most formidable Confederate vessel surrendered by Carter.  It was a sternwheel ironclad built at Shreveport and late in March, when the river had risen sufficiently, had steamed down the Red River to Alexandria.

There, Carter had written enthusiastically to General Simon B. Buckner:  "I will ... be pleased to welcome you on te deck of the Missouri, when we arrive at Grand Ecore ... I hope to be a valuable [addition] to your forces defending the valley."

The Missouri, however, never had the opportunity for battle, although she had the distinction of being the last Confederate ironclad to be surrendered in home waters.

--Goodbye Missouri.  --Old B-R'er

Cleaning Up On the Red River-- Part 1: Surrender of the CSS Missouri in the Red River

JUNE 1-6TH, 1865:  Lt. William E. Fitzhugh, in the USS Ouchita, led a naval expedition of seven gunboats up the Red River escorting 4,000 troops under Major General Francis J. Herron.  The troops were moving into the trans-Mississippi theater to garrison forts and posts surrendered by Confederate General Kirby Smith and to establish law and order in the region.

At Alexandria, Louisiana, Fitzhugh met with Lt. Jonathan H. Carter, the senior Confederate naval officer in the trans-Mississippi department and received the surrender of all naval vessels, equipment and personnel in that region.

The most formidable vessel surrendered was the CSS Missouri, commanded by Carter.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, June 1, 2015

Found "Local Character" John Potter at Huc-a-Poos, Well, Where He Hung Out and Drank Beer

From the April 16, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Civil War photo said to be a fake" by Mitch Weiss and Russ Bynum, AP.

I have been covering this story about the fake photograph of the CSS Georgia ironclad sunk in the Savannah River by Old Fort Jackson.  This ship is now in the process of being raised and is getting a lot of publicity in the process.

Then, there was a story about a supposed photograph of the ship, the only one known to exist.  But that photo, reported by one John Potter turned out to be a hoax he had made as a teenager.

Since I was going to be in Savannah for my niece's wedding on April 25th, I decided to go looking for this Huc-A-Poos on Tybee Island to find John Potter's lair when he used to live there.  The article made him sound much like one of those "local characters" sometimes known to hang out at bars.

Well, on April 26th, after battling huge traffic jams and touring Fort Pulaski and a lot of driving around Tybee Island. lost for some of the time, and then an incorrect GPS location, we finally found this bar.

If you want to follow the many posts on this man and the fake photo, look up Potter John on the labels/index to the right.

Hey, Maybe Mr. Potter Might Even Be There.  Who Knows?  --Old B-Runner

Apalachicola Occupied

JUNE 1-4TH, 1865:  Lt.Cmdr. Nathaniel Green of the USS Itasca commanded the naval units in a combined Army-Navy movement to occupy Apalachicola, Florida.  Brigadier General Alexander Asboth, commanding the expedition, commended Green highly for his "nautical skill and efficiency, as well as his friendly willingness to aid" which, the general reported, "materially contributed to the successful" execution of the mission."

Another Port Done Gone.  --Old B-R'er

Canby Thanks Navy for Cooperation in the West

JUNE 1ST, 1865:  In his report regarding the surrender of Confederate forces, Major General Edward Canby, commanding the Military Division of West Mississippi, noted -- "during the whole period of my command in the Southwest, I was materially aided by the zealous and efficient cooperation of the naval forces of the West Gulf and Mississippi squadrons and a more effective acknowledgement than mine is due to Admiral Farragut, Commodore Palmer, Admiral Thatcher, successive commanders of the West Gulf, and Admirals Porter and Lee, of the Mississippi Squadron, and to their subordinates in both squadrons."

Thanks a Lot, Navy!  --Old B-Runner