Fort Fisher

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Confederate Navy Vessels Operating in South Carolina Waters-- Part 4: Torpedo Boats and Submersibles

TORPEDO BOATS AND SUBMERSIBLES IN SOUTH CAROLINA WATERS

DAVID--  steam-powered torpedo boat, 50 feet long.  Captured at the fall of Charleston..

MIDGET DAVID--  Same as above.

H.L. HUNLEY--  Hand-cranked submarine which sank the USS Housatonic and then sank itself.

LARGE DAVID--  160 feet long and under construction and captured at the fall of Charleston.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Confederate Navy Vessels Operating In South Carolina Waters-- Part 3: Privateers

I see that three cannons from the CSS Pee Dee, from yesterday's post, will be raised from the Pee Dee River.

STONO--  Burned on evacuation of Charleston.   Captured from US Navy, formerly the USS Isaac Smith.

THEODORA--  Sidewheel iron privateer, 500 tons.  Formerly the Carolina, name changed to Gordon and then to Theodora.


CONFEDERATE PRIVATEERS OPERATING FROM SOUTH CAROLINA

BEAUREGARD--  schooner, 61 tons.  Captured November 12, 1861 by USS W.G. Anderson.

DIXIE--  schooner 111 tons.  Captured April 15, 1862, by USS Keystone State off Georgetown, S.C..  Name changed to Kate Hale when it became a blockade-runner then later to Success.  (Captured by Union, sold and became a blockade-runner.)

JEFFERSON DAVIS--  full-rigged brig, 187 tons.  Formerly the slaver Echo.

SALLIE--  170 tons

SAVANNAH--  schooner, sails, 53 tons.  Captured by USS Perry June 3, 1861.  Formerly Pilot Boat No. 7 at Charleston, S.C..

--Old B-Runner

Monday, September 28, 2015

Confederate Naval Vessels Operating in South Carolina Waters-- Part 2

INDIAN CHIEF--  Receiving ship, burned when Charleston was evacuated.

LADY DAVIS--  Steamer, tug, iron, Its machinery was put on the Palmetto State and the vessel sold.

NASHVILLE--  Sidewheel cruiser merchant ship, 1,221 tons.  Sold to private parties and became the blockade-runner Thomas L. Wragg and then the privateer Rattlesnake.  Destroyed by the Union in the Ogeechee River in 1863.

PALMETTO STATE--  ironclad.  Burned at Charleston evacuation.

PEEDEE--  wooden screw gunboat sunk in the PeeDee River.  Its machinery was brought over from England.  It was to have four 32-pounder cannons and two pivots.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, September 26, 2015

150 Years Ago: Maury Has Opposition to Immigration Plans

SEPTEMBER 26TH, 1865:  Several of Maximilian's ministers objected to Maury's immigration plans and effectively stalled them.  Maury, unaccustomed to having his pans derailed, took shortcuts through the imperial household.  Empress Carlotta handled many of these plans.

This date she agreed to Maury's request to have former Major General Bankhead Magruder appointed to head a land office at a salary of $3,000  a year, with a large number of surveyors under him who were needed to assist in the classification of land titles.

Magruder, a native of Virginia, had graduated from West Point, and served in the United States Army with distinction until 1861, then serving ably in the Confederate Army.  He had announced that he would bring his family to Mexico to live.

--Old B-Runner


Friday, September 25, 2015

Confederate Naval Vessels Operating in South Carolina Waters-- Part 1: Ironclads

From the 16th South Carolina Volunteers Camp, SCV.

CSS AIKEN--  Revenue Cutter, 82 tons.  Sunk July 28, 1861, by frigate USS St. Lawrence.  The name had been changed to Petrel when it became a privateer.

CSS CHARLESTON--  ironclad,  Destroyed by Confederates during evacuation of Charleston.

CSS CHICORA--  ironclad,  Destroyed by Confederates during evacuation of Charleston.

CSS COLUMBIA--  ironclad.  Hit submerged wreck and broke in two.

CSS GRAY--Steamer.  name changed to Lady Davis when became a privateer.

CSS HUNTRESS--  Sidewheel steamer, 500 tons, became a blockade-runner.  Burned off Charleston on Jan. 18, 1863.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 24, 2015

3D Drawing of the CSS Georgia Now Available

From www.3ders.org "Free printable of the week: Dan Foley's 3D printed CSS Georgia steamship."

Dan Foley did this himself and it is not based on any illustration of the ship.  "Back in the day, ironclad craft were high-tech."

The CSS Georgia was a "make-do" type of ironclad with its sides made of interlaced railroad rail sections.  Only a few drawings of the ship exist and there are no plans.  "Almost" one photograph exists, but it was found to be a fake.

Photos of Mr. Foley's CSS Georgia accompanies the article and it goes into great detail about how he made it.

--Old b-Runner


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hunley's Hull Now Restored: "No Smoking Gun"

From the September 17, 2015, Fox News, AP "Hull of Confederate sub, first in history to sink enemy warship, revealed."

The H.L. Hunley's hull has now been completely cleaned and revealed in its entirety for the first time in over 150 years.  The encrusted sand, sediments and rust have been cleared off and it looks much like it did when it went out on that mission that changed the history of naval warfare.

The cleaning revealed some dents on the hull, but it is not known when or where they occurred.    It sank twice before its famous 1864 mission.  Of course, they might have come from when it sank the USS Housatonic.

However, the hull revealed no "smoking gun."  This being the answer to how the submarine came to sink.

The hull does reveal that the wooden boon that held the explosive device attached to the front of it ship was damaged as it appears that it was pushed back into it by the force of the explosion.  Possibly this sank the Hunley.

The Hunley was discovered in Charleston Harbor in 1995 and raised and brought to the conservation laboratory in North Charleston in 2010.  The crew's bodies were found at their stations.  The next step is the cleaning of the Hunley's interior.  This is expected to take another year.  This will be even harder that the hull cleaning as conservators will be working in the cramped 4-foot diameter interior.

Looking Forward to Seeing It.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

150 Years Ago: Maury to Direct Mexico's National Observatory

SEPTEMBER 22, 1865:  Planning to build a National Observatory and wanting to have the right man on hand to direct it, Emperor Maximilian appointed ex-Commander Maury, CSN, one time world famous head of the U.S. Naval Observatory while a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, as "Director of the National Observatory."

The Right Man for the Right Job.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, September 21, 2015

Captain William T. Muse, CSN-- Part 1

From the April 16, 2014, Civilian War Time: N.C.'s Civilian Civil War Wartime Experience.

I only found mention of a "Captain W.T. Muse, commanding the CSS North Carolina died in this town of typhoid fever."  #CW150.

This brief statement just caused me to spend three hours doing research on this man.  Just another in the many reasons it takes me so long to do these doggone blogs.  One things leads to another, leads to another and leads to another.

I knew the CSS North Carolina was an ironclad steamer at Wilmington, North Carolina, hence a Wilmington, Fort Fisher connection.

--Old B-Runner



Saturday, September 19, 2015

Second Dahlgren Rifled Cannon Surprises CSS Georgia Archaeologists

From the Sept. 17, 2015, DVIDS by Jeremy Buddemeter.

It was a huge surprise when the "five finger" grapple brought up a 9,000 pound Dahlgren rifled cannon that had not been previously discovered by several high tech, multi-beam sonar surveys.  This took place on Tuesday, September 15th.

There is a conflict on two manifest lists of the CSS Georgia while it was in the Confederate Navy.  The first one lists two Dahlgren cannons on board the ship.  the second one, dated October 1864, two months before the ship sank, did not list any.

But archaeologists surveying the ship earlier had discovered shells that would have been fired by Dahlgrens.

This makes seven cannons recovered from the ship.  the cannons are among the big-ticket items from the ship, but other smaller objects like leather shoes, wrenches, ceramic bottles and an anvil have also been recovered.

Jim Jobling, project manager at Texas A&M University's Conservation Research Laboratory said, "The range of artifacts that is coming up is staggering.  Researchers include students working on their master's degrees and Ph.D's.  They often work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. handling 25-30 grapple loads daily.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fort Fisher Going to the Dogs: Corgis "Attack"

From the September 16, 2015, Port City Daily (Wilmington, N.C.) "Corgis converge at Fort Fisher" by Hannah Leyra.

First it was the Yankees 150 years ago and then the political-correct anti-Confederate Flaggers.  Now, a bunch of four-legged, tail-wagging mutts took their shot at the big sand fort this past weekend.

Rain and choppy water didn't stop them as between 30 and 40 people and their assorted Corgi dogs had an informal get-together by the old fort.  It was a semi-organized event by Corgi lovers from the North Carolina Triangle area (by Raleigh) and was based on a much larger Corgi get-together that takes place yearly in California.

Some 100 owners RSVP'd that they'd be coming, but bad weather kept a lot of them away.

No Doubt About It, the Fort's Going to the Dogs.  --Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: Maury Appointed Honorary Counselor of Mexico

SEPTEMBER 18TH, 1865:  Emperor Maximilian of mexico issued an imperial decree appointing Matthew Fontaine Maury as "Honorary Counselor of the State."

Maury was becoming more and more the trusted confidant of both the Emperor and Empress, which did not help him with the rest of the administration.

--Old B-Runer

Thursday, September 17, 2015

150 Years Ago: CSS Shenandoah Encounters a Gale-- Part 2: On the Friendless Sea and Without a Country

The struggles of the Shenandoah accorded with the struggles that  "filled our minds."  Alone on the friendless sea, "we were without a home or country, our little crew all that were left of the thousands who had sworn to defend that country or die with her, and there were moments when we would have deemed that a friendly gale which would have buried our sorrowful hearts and the beautiful Shenandoah in those dark waters.

"What a contrast to those gay hopes and proud aspirations with which we had entered upon the cruise.  How eager we had been to court danger.  Now gloomily and cautiously we avoided recognition.  The very ship seemed to have partaken our feelings and no longer moved with her accustomed swiftness."

--Old B-R'er

150 Years Ago: CSS Shenandoah Encounters a Gale-- Part 1

SEPTEMBER 17-30TH, 1865:  After rounding Cape Horn, the CSS Shenandoah ran into a northeast gale which forced her, according to Lt. Waddell, "to west longitude of 24 degrees 40' before she reached the parallel of 40 degrees S..."

Day after day icebergs and savage blocks of ice came near.  "We were without a moon to shed her cheerful light over our desolate path, and the wind blow so fiercely that the ship's speed could not be reduced below five knots.  It was more prudent to go ahead  than to heave to, for I was without observations for several days and in an easterly current.  Some of the icebergs were castellated...."

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

150 Years Ago: The CSS Shenandoah Enters the Atlantic Ocean

SEPTEMBER 16TH, 1865:  The CSS Shenandoah, Lt. Waddell, rounded Cape Horn and entered theAtlantic Ocean enroute to Liverpool, England.  In the Pacific, the Shenandoah had struck the New England whaling industry a blow as that administered to the English whaling industry in 1813 by the USS Essex, commanded by Captain David Porter, the father of Civil War Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter.

There was a lot of truth in the boast made by Waddell in later years when he said, "I made New England suffer."

--Old B-R'er

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 2: Served During Five Wars

Construction of the new fort began in 1824 and continued until 1857.  From 1825-1832, it was overseen by Lt. Col. Joseph Gilbert Totten, the foremost military engineer of his day.  He became chief engineer of the U.S. Army in 1838 and served in that post until his death in 1864.

The new fort was first garrisoned in 1841 and a troop presence continued until 1950.  It served in five wars: Mexican, Civil, Spanish-American and World Wars I and II, but never fired a shot in anger.

During the Mexican War, it was commanded by Benjamin Kendrick Pierce, brother of President Franklin Pierce who also fought in the War of 1812.  From 1843-1853, it was commanded by another War of 1812 veteran, Col. William Gala.  In 1853 the garrison was ordered to California and many lost their lives when their ship, the SS San Francisco sank in a North Atlantic storm on December 24, 1853.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island's Fort Adams-- Part 1: Actually, There Were Two Forts

From Wikipedia.

Last week I wrote about the USNA coming to Newport, Rhode Island, during the Civil War.  Newport was protected by Fort Adams.

Established in 1799 as a First System Fort and named for the incumbent president at the time, John Adams. This former U.S. Army post was first commanded by Captain John Henry, who was later instrumental in teh starting of the War of 1812.  Today it is part of Fort Adams State Park.

The first Fort Adams was designed by Major Louis de Tousard and mounted 17 cannons.  During the War of 1812 it was garrisoned by Wood's State Corps of Rhode Island militia.

After the War of 1812, it was decided to replace the first Fort Adams with a newer and larger fort.  This one was designed by Brigadier general Simon Bernard who had served under Napoleon.  It became the most complex fortification in the Western Hemisphere.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, September 14, 2015

Preserving CSS Georgia Artifacts

From the August 23, 2015, Washington Times "Researchers, graduate students work to preserve artifacts" by Sam Peshek.

The Texas A&M University Conservation Lab has been working on preserving artifacts from French explorer Robert de La Salle's ship, the Belle which sank in Matagorda Bay in Texas in 1686 and was excavated in 1997.  Many of these artifacts are now on display at the Bullock Museum in Austin, Texas.

As this project is nearing completion, the lab now turns its attention to the artifacts from the Confederate ironclad CSS Georgia as they are being sent from the ship's wreck in the Savannah River.

Four recovered cannons are there now and undergoing electrolysis in a two-year project to remove marine growth from them so they can be displayed.

Two of them are Brookes cannons, one weighing 6,000 pounds built at a Georgia foundry.  There is also a Union Dahlgren cannon and a six-pounder.

The lab is also working on the artifacts from the Civil War gunboat USS Westfield, a former New Jersey ferry, destroyed by its crew in 1963 at the Battle of Galveston to prevent capture.  These items were pulled up from the Houston Ship Channel in 2009.  That channel was also undergoing deepening and widening as is the situation of the CSS Georgia.

--Old B-R'er

Photo Slide Show of CSS Georgia Recovery

There is a nice photo slideshow of recovery efforts at the wreck of the CSS Georgia in the Savannah River near Savannah, Georgia, in the August 23, 2015, Savannah Morning News.

You can find it at "Navy divers salvage Confederate ironclad from the Savannah River."

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, September 12, 2015

150 Years Ago: Approves Maury's Confederate Immigration Pamphlet-- Part 2

"'Certainly,' said he.  Then he said, I wish you to continue the conversation with te Empress; I have something pressing to do.  She will make notes, give me verbal explanations, and have it all ready for me by four o'clock in the morning, when I will attend to it.'

"Carlotta was walking in the garden.  he referred me to some books on the table, and went to look for her.  She came, and we commenced discussing matters, she making notes nearly as fast as I could talk... we discussed, with approbation, my going to see you [Maury's wife]; the appointments of agents in the South and their salaries, and the organization of a land office.

"She is very clever, practical and businesslike.  I told her I though she could do more business in a day than all of the Ministers put together could do in a week.  She said, "'I believe I could.'"

A low Opinion of Mexican Ministers.  --Old B-R'er


150 Years Ago: Maximilian Approves Maury's Confederate Immigration Pamphlet-- Part 1

SEPTEMBER 11TH, 1865:  Emperor Maximilian approved Maury's "Regulations and Instruction" prepared to accompany the immigration decree.  The pamphlet provided general information on Mexico's climate, topography, mineral wealth and agricultural possibilities.

That evening after dinner with the royal family, in private conference with the Emperor, Maury told him:  "I can't manage immigration through Ministers.  I must transact business with you directly, and not through them; nor must they have anything to do with it.  'That's what I intend,' said he.  said I, 'I have not seen my wife and children for three years; I want to be quick, organize immigration, and take the steamer of 13th November for France.""

--Old B-Runner

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11 in 2015: "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)"

Continued from my Saw the Elephant blog.

Lyrics from Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue."  This song pretty-well summed up my feeling after 9/11.

Now this nation that I love has fallen under attack
A mighty sucker punch came flying out from somewhere in the back
Soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye
Man, we lit up your world like the 4th of July.

Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list
And the Statue of Liberty is shaking her fist
And the eagle will fly and it's gonna be hell
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell
And it'll feel like the whole world is raining down on you
Brought to you, courtesy of the Red, White & Blue.

Justice will be served and the battle will rage
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage
And you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.
'Cause we'll put a boot up your ass, it's the American Way.

Thanks Toby, I Needed That Back Then.   Still Do.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Newport's Atlantic House Hotel: Former Home of the USNA

Yesterday's post mentioned this hotel in Newport, Rhode Island which was leased by the U.S. government as the temporary home of the Naval Academy during the war.  I wanted to know if it still stands.  In researching I found out that the U.S. Navy has had a lot to do with the town.

The U.S. navy has been involved in Newport Rhode Island, since the 1860s.  The Naval War College and Torpedo Station (now the Naval Undersea Warfare Center) were founded there after the Civil War.

Also on Aquidneck Island and including the Naval Education Training Center and North Atlantic Destroyer Squadron which had its home at the Newport Naval base until 1970.

There is an Atlantic House Hotel at Narragansett Pier located on Ocean Road by the Atlantic Ocean.  It would not be the original one used by the Navy as this one was built 1866-1867.  Iy is a 43-room hotel and has since been remodeled.

So, the USNA Atlantic House Hotel either caught fire and burned down or was taken down.

The "New" Atlantic House Hotel Would Probably be a Very Interesting Place to Stay.  --Old B-Runner


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Annapolis Comes to Newport

From the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial Blog by John Pentangelo.

On May 8, 1861, the USS Constitution sailed into Newport, Rhode, Island, with the United States Naval Academy Classes of 1861-1864 aboard.

Initially, the Plebes (1st Year midshipmen) were both berthed and had classes aboard the Constitution.

Captain George S. Blake was superintendent of the USNA during this move to a safer site as Annapolis was a hotbed of secession and Southern supporters.

The Navy then leased the Atlantic House, a hotel at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Pelham Street opposite Touro Park.  This new structure provided mess facilities, administrative offices, classrooms and quarters for upper classmen.

As much as we love the USS Constitution today, the plebes didn't share that opinion, referring to the legendary ship as "Purgatory."  Going to anything at the Atlantic House was "Paradise."

--Old B-Runner


Shipbuilding in Delaware During the Civil War-- Part 4: Boom Continued After the War

Pusey & Jones contracted to build seven sidewheel/propeller steamers as Union supply ships.

Several companies sprang up to fulfill contracts:  Kirkman & Co., W & A Thatcher and Jackson & Sharp.  Robert Barr & Co. also contracted for a number of vessels.

The shipbuilding boom continued after the war for the new generation of U.S. naval ships.  This continued for the remainder of the 19th century and into the 20th.  Most of the shipyards shut down after World War II and Wilmington's waterfront went into decline.

The new Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. Ltd. absorbed Harlan & Hollingsworth in 1917.  Pusey & Jones went out of business in 1960.

--Old B-R'er

Shipbuilding in Delaware During the Civil War-- Part 3: Blockade-Runners and Monitors

The Confederacy converted some Wilmington-built ships into blockade-runners.

The Cecile brought in more than 2,000 rifles to the South before it was wrecked on a reef in 1862.

The Wilmington-built Austin became the blockade-runner Donegal and made many runs into Mobile before it was captyred and became a supply vessel in the Union Navy.

For some reason, Wilmington shipyards only received limited construction orders from the U.S. Navy.  Harlan & Hollingsworth reluctantly agreed to construct three Monitor-class ships.  The reason for this was because of the U.S. government's notoriety for not finishing projects quickly.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Shipbuilding in Delaware During the Civil War-- Part 2: Need for Ironclad Steamers

In the decade preceding the war, Delaware led the United States in shipbuilding.  During that time it built 35 iron-hulled ships, more than Philadelphia, New Jersey, Baltimore and Boston.

With the coming of the Civil War, the U.S. Navy was still using wooden-huller warships.  And very few of them were steamships.

Once it was learned that the Confederates were building the ironclad CSS Virginia, the U.S. Navy rushed to build its own ironclad steamer, the Monitor.  After the clash between the two ships it became well apparent that a new age of naval architecture was here and the federal government rushed to build more ironclad steamers.

To meet the new demand, they established shipyards at Chester, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey.  And, they began transforming Wilmington-built ships into the many blockaders they were going to need to seal the Confederacy's coast.  They were also converted into troopships and supply vessels.

--Old B-R

Shipbuilding in Delaware During the Civil War: Building the Iron Steamships

From the August 21, 2015, Coastal Point "Civil War Profiles: Shipbuilding in Delaware during the Civil War" by Thomas J. Ryan.

From 1740-1775, Wilmington, Delaware, launched over 300 vessels.  Legend has it that the Wilmington-built ship Nancy was the first to raise a quickly-sewn together American flag in St. Croix, Virgin islands, when it learned of the Declaration of Independence.

In the decades before the Civil War, Delaware led the nation in shipbuilding.

In the 1850s, two firms: Harlan & Hollingsworth and Pusey & Jones, both located along the WEilmington waterfront, began to perform ship repairs and engine installation.  Pusey & Jones also contracted to build the first iron steamship, the Flora McDonald.  Harlan & Hollinsworth soon followed with the iron steamers Ashland and Ocean.  The two shipyards fostered the beginning of many supporting industries in the Wilmington area.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, September 7, 2015

General Lee Advises Maury Against Remaining in Mexico-- Part 2

"The thought of abandoning the country, and all that must be left in it, is abhorrent to my feelings, and I prefer to struggle for its restoration, and share its fate rather than to give up all as lost."

He admire Mexico but still loved Virginia.

"I shall be very sorry if your presence is lost to Virginia.  She now has sore need of all her sons, and can ill afford to lose you.  I am very much obliged to you for all you have done for us, and hope your labours in the future may be as efficacious as in the past, and that your separation from us may not be permanent.

--Old B-R'er

General Lee Advises Maury Against Remaining in Mexico-- Part 1

SEPTEMBER 6TH, 1865:  General Lee advised Matthew Maury against remaining in Mexico.  He wrote:  "We have certainly not found our form of government all that was anticipated by its original founders; but this may be partly our fault in expecting too much, and partly due to the absence of virtue in the people.

"As long as virtue was dominant, the Republic, so long was the happiness of the people secure.  I cannot, however, despair yet; I look forward to better days, and trust that time and experience-- the great teachers of men under the guidance of our ever-merciful God-- may save us from destruction, and restore to us the bright hopes and prospects of the past."

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Maury Continues With Mexico Colonization Plan

SEPTEMBER 5TH, 2015:  Steadily proceeding  with the colonization plan proposed by Matthew Maury, whom he deeply respected, Emperor Maximilian issued a decree which began:  "We, Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, in consideration of the sparseness of the population in the Mexican territory, in proportion to its extent, desiring to give all immigrants all possible security for property and liberty...do decree as follow:

:"Mexico is open to immigrants of all nations.  Immigration agents shall be appointed, whose duty it shall be to protect the arrival of immigrants, install them on the lands assigned them, and assist them in every possible way in establishing themselves. These agents will receive the orders of the Imperial Commissioner of Immigrants, especially appointed by us,  and to whom all the communications relative to immigration shall be addressed."

In other words, the way was open for Confederate immigration to Mexico.

--Old B-R'er

Looking for Remnants of the CSS Neuse Back in 2014

From the March 6, 2014, Beach Carolina Magazine "Search for Remnants of Confederate Ironclad CSS Neuse Begins This Monday" by Michael Black.

Monday, march 10, at 10 a.m., the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources' State Underwater Archaeology team will be in the Neuse River in Kinston searching for artifacts from the CSS Neuse using the latest high resolution technology.

The 23-foot boat R/V Snapdragon II will be operating between the King and the Queen street bridges for about five hours.

The river is currently high enough due to spring flood depth.  Side Scan Sonar, a magnetometer and differential GPS will be used.

The CSS Neuse was underwater from 1865 to the 1960s.  Several attempts at raising the hull took place in 1964 and it was finally taken out of its namesake river and brought to a site at the Gov. Richard Caswell Memorial in Kinston where it remained until the last few years when it was brought inside.

It is the understanding of the researchers that there are still sections of the ship in the river.

--Old B-Runner


Friday, September 4, 2015

CSS Georgia Salvaged by Navy

From the Mystic Seaport.

The Navy is using a huge 17,000 pound guillotine to break up pieces of the CSS Georgia which otherwise would be too large and heavy to be brought to the surface of the Savannah River.

The wreckage artifacts recovered are the responsibility of the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC).

They will be curated at a lab located at Texas A&M.

--Old B-R'er

The CSS Georgia's Conservation Research Lab

From the SAugust 31, 2015, BATT "History revived, one artifact at a time."

The artifacts and pieces of the CSS Georgia which are being brought up are being sent to the Condervation Research Lab at Texas A&M at College Station, Texas.  This organization has been in operation for over thirty years and it has conserved items from 130 projects around the world.

Most recently, they have been working on French explorer LaSalle's ship, the La Belle.  Since 1996 they have conserved over 1,700,000 artifacts and they are just now finishing work on it.

And now, their attention turns to the CSS Georgia.

Parker Brooks, a graduate student technician was sent to Georgia to the wreck site and says that each object recovered has a different story.  He has this to say about one of those objects: "The P.S. Justice was a Union-made piece and here we are finding it on the bottom of the Savannah River on the CSS Georgia, well south of the Mason-Dixon Line.  So how in the world did something like this find itself on the ship?"

The P.S. Justice was a bayonet.

--Old B-Runner


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Archaeology Work at North Carolina's Fort Caswell-- Part 2

Last year, I went out to Fort Caswell to take a look around, but it is on the grounds of a religious group which was having a meeting and entry was denied.

They are encountering problems, however, with World War I-era pipes and roads constructed yo the yop of the ruins.

Bricks indicate the original fort and lead pipes the 20th century.

Fort Caswell was constructed after the War of 1812 and designed to a medieval architecture with three drawbridges, a dry moat and a wet moat.  Though never attacked in a major action, the fort did play roles in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and both world wars.

The students are using grids with strings and they have found bits of ceramics, tools, glass and a lot of rusted metal.  Everything will be preserved and documented.

The site has a World War I rifle pit at Caswell Dunes on the NRHP.

--Old B-Runner


Archaeology Work at North Carolina's Fort Caswell-- Part 1

From the June 17, 2015, State Port (NC) Pilot "Archaeology students continue to uncover history at Fort Caswell. by Lee Hinnant.

Fort Caswell was built in 1827 and now 17 college students and several volunteers are completing weeks of careful digging, scraping and sifting of earth in and around the old fort.  Their efforts have paid off in finding one of the four walled rifle tunnels leading away from the fort.  They were built during the Civil War to give Confederate soldiers a shielded place to leave the fort and fire on Union troops in case the fort was attacked.

They are looking for the fort's original cistern which collected water.

They have also unearthed the fort's original water-filled moat that surrounded it.

--Old B-R'er

North Carolina's "Rocks" Are Solid-- Part 3" Leave the "Rocks" Be

Most authorities say that if the "Rocks" go, the Cape Fear River will start silting in again.  Wilmington would have to close as a port to large ocean-going ships and would essentially become just a glorified marina.

There are some who say that this move is all a par of a conspiracy to turn Southport, at the mouth of the Cape Fear River into a "mega-port.  Sen. Lee denies this.

Both Southport (Smithville during the Civil War) and Bald Head Island have also come out against the destruction of the "Rocks."  The reopening of New Inlet would hurt the tourist-friendly part of Bald Head Island.

Environmentalists "who ought to be the notion's (tearing down the "Rocks") biggest cheerleaders," are against it.  It would erase an estuary system that has built up along Zeke's Island.  The lagoon that formed because of the "Rocks" is a mecca for fishermen.

The Wilmington Star-News closes the editorial with its recommendation:

"The sensible thing, then, would be to put the notion on hold and study it for a long, long, long time."

--Old B-Runner


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

North Carolina's "Rocks" Are Solid-- Part 2

The two-mile dam was built by the Corps between 1874 and 1882.to close New Inlet which was opened by a particularly bad hurricane in 1761.  As early as the 1850s, surveyors and engineers had determined that currents from New Inlet were silting in the Cape Fear River channel and in time would cause the port of Wilmington's closing.

However, during the Civil War, New Inlet proved to be the preferred entrance and exit of blockade-runners.

After the war, the U.S. government hastened to close it and put the father of famed architect Henry Bacon in charge of it  He used his father's rock-laying technique developed at "The Rocks" to build up the foundation of his Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C..

--Old B-Runner

North Carolina's "Rocks" Are Solid-- Part 1

From the August 30, 2015, Wilmington Star-News editorial "Rocks Solid."

This concerns last week's posting about a move to take down part or all of "The Rocks" which were built to close New Inlet, a favorite route of blockade-runners during the Civil War into the port of Wilmington, North Carolina.  Fort Fisher was built to protect New Inlet.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers once listed "The Rocks" near Fort Fisher as one of its proudest achievements.  "So why does state Sen. Mike Lee want to tear it down?"

The New Hanover County Republican has introduced a bill to remove all or part of it between Zeke's Island and Bald Head/Smith island.

He talks about restoring the natural flow of the Cape Fear River and the local environment.

--Old B-R'er

Blockade-Runner Montana

From Vimeo "Montana/Nola-1863-- Civil War Blockade-Runner-- Bermuda Shipwreck" by Dr. Philippe Max Rouja.

A video accompanies this site.  The Montana was an elusive ship carrying many identities.  It made trips between England, Bermuda and North Carolina.

From Wikipedia.

The Montana was wrecked off the north coast of Bermuda on 30 December 1863.  It was 750 tons and the wreck is located in 25 feet of water.  It originally used the Nola name and was also called the Paramount and Gloria.  These names were used to confuse the Union ships watching for it.

When it ran aground, Captain Pittman was in command.  All the cargo and crew were saved.

Evidently, it ran into the shoals ion its maiden voyage as a blockade-runner.

It is a favorite dive site in Bermuda.

--Old B-Runner


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Exploring the Wreck of a Blockade-Runner: The Montana

From the April 29, 2013, Bernews.

Bermuda's Department of Conservation Service and the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute offer guided tours of the wreck of a ship of many names:  Nola, Gloria, Paramount and Montana.

It was  built in Glasgow, Scotland, and was a 236-foot long paddle wheel steamer capable of 15 knots.  It hit a shallow reef off Bermuda and sank in December 1863.  The ship is located in 30 feet of water and ius partially intact.

Of 71 blockade-runners operating in and out of Bermuda, the Union Navy had captured or sunk 43 by 1864.

The Montana wreck consists of two boilers and twp paddle wheel frames lying on their sides.  Its site is alongside the Constellation, a World War II ship wreck that inspired Peter Benchley's Bermuda thriller "The Deep."

So, not only did blockade-runners have to worry aboout Union ships, but also reefs, shallow water and other situations.

--Old B-Runner