Fort Fisher

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

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 CSSSumter.  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 SS 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 inits 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.

1812-1882.

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.

290 FOUNDATION (BVI) INC.

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 quartermasters...to 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 him...to 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