Fort Fisher

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

Friday, December 29, 2017

Fort Fisher To Get a New Visitors Center

From the July 26, 2017, WWAY 3 Wilmington, N.C.  "Fort Fisher State Historic Site Plans To Ad New Visitors Center."

It will replace the smaller, aging one now on the site with a new one.  According to Susi Hamilton, Fort Fisher is the most-visited state historic site.

And, visitation is increasing.  For the 2016-2017 fiscal year some 835,000 have come to the site, which was designed for 25,000 to 30,000 visitors a year.  The new one will about four times the size of the one now there.

The new one will have expanded permanent exhibits, a changing exhibit gallery, expanded auditorium, educational classroom, rental facilities for special events, expanded gift shop and additional office space.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 28, 2017

December 28, 1862: USS Anacostia Seizes Schooner

DECEMBER 28, 1862:  The USS Anacostia, Acting Master Nelson Provost, seized schooner Exchange in the Rappahannock River, Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

N.C. USO President Visits Fort Fisher

From the August 5, 2017, WWAY 3 by Justin McKee.

The USO has been providing programs, services and live entertainment for our troops for over 75 years now.

John Falkenburg, President of the USO local North Carolina says that most people don't know about the organization though they recognize the logo.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

John Wetmore Hinsdale-- Part 4: One of Youngest Confederate Colonels

Obituary from the Confederate Veteran October 1921.

Commanded the 32nd Regiment North Carolina Junior Reserves.  Participated in the Battles of Kinston, Bentonville and surrendered with Johnston's army at Bennett Place..

One of the youngest colonels in Confederate service and his death removes the last North Carolina Confederate colonel.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 22, 2017

John Wetmore Hinsdale-- Part 3: "Full of Energy and Enterprise"

From Find-A-Grave.

Buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, N.C..  Was at the Battle of Seven Pines, Seven Days Battles and the Battle of Helena in 1863.

In a letter to Jefferson Davis, October 20, 1864, Hinsdale was described: "He is an officer of great merit both in the field and in the office.  In the field he is full of energy and enterprise, with coolness and discretion.  In the office few men are more capable.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 21, 2017

John Wetmore Hinsdale-- Part 2: Many Staff Positions

He was aide-de-camp to Brigadier General T.H. Holmes, adjutant general to Brigadier General J. Johnston Pettigrew, Gen. W.D. Pender and Gen. T.H. Holmes.  Also inspector general for Gen. Sterling Price.

Afterwards, he was elected colonel of the 3rd Regiment Junior Reserves (72nd N.C.) and held that post to the end of the year.  He was paroled at Bush Hill, N.C., on 2 May 1865.

After the war, he went to Columbia Law School and was admitted to the bar in both New York and North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Col. John Wetmore Hinsdale-- Part 1: Born in New York, Grew Up in North Carolina

I wrote about him back on December 6.

From the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography by Mary W, Oliver.

Born February 4, 1843.  Died September 15, 1921.

Confederate officer, attorney.  Born in Buffalo, New York.  Family moved to Raleigh, N.C. when he was just a few months old.  Educated at Donaldson Academy in Fayetteville and Starrs Military Academy in Yonkers, New York and in 1858, entered the University of North Carolina.

At the outbreak of the war, he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. in the 8th North Carolina Infantry.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Other Burials at Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery

David Conner, Naval officer War of 1812 and Mexican War  I wrote about him in my War of 1812 Not So Forgotten blog.

Isaac Hull, War of 1812.  Commanded the USS Constitution vs, HMS Guerriere.

Richard Dale, American Revolution naval officer.  1st. Lieutenant under John Paul Jones in Bon Homme Richard vs. Serapis "I have not yet begun to fight."

Levi Twiggs, USMC officer killed in the Mexican War

Johnathan Williams, Army officer and first West Point Superintendent.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 18, 2017

Civil War Burials at Philadelphis'a Laurel Hill Cemetery-- Part 2

Alexander Biddle, Union officer

Samuel Crawford, Union general

Frank Furness, Union officer, Medal of Honor recipient, architect.

Alexander Henry, Philadelphia's Civil War mayor

John C. Pemperton, Confederate general

Garrett J. Pendergrast, Union naval officer

Charles Ferguson Smith, Union general

Isaac J. Wister, Union general

--Old B-R'er

Civil War Burials at Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery-- Part 1

From Wikipdia.

While researching Jacob Zeiler, USMC, Commandant of the Corps 1864-1865 and beyond, I came across a long list of burials at the cemetery, many of them of Civil War interest.

Adolph E. Borie, Sec. of Navy after the war, Friend of Grant.

John A. Dahlgren

Henry Deringer--  gunsmith

Samuel Gibbs French, Confederate general

George Gordon Meade

Francis E. Patterson, Union general

More.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15, 1862: Fox Proposes An Attack on Wilmington

DECEMBER 15, 1862:  Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote Rear Admiral S.P. Lee, proposing an assault on Wilmington, N.C..

"Though the popular clamor centers upon Charleston I consider Wilmington a more important point in a military and political point of view and I do not conceal from myself that it is more difficult of access on account of the shallowness of the bars, and more easily defended inside by obstructions, yet it must be attacked and we have more force than we shall possess again since the Iron Clads must go South so soon as four are ready."

Nonetheless, Wilmington, guarded by the guns of Fort Fisher, remained a bastion of Confederate strength and one of the few havens for blockade runners until nearly the end of the war.

And Fort Fisher was nowhere near as powerful back at this date as it later became.

--Old B-R'er

CSS J.A. Cotton-- Part 2: Some More Information About the Ship

**  It was named for its owner, John A. Cotton, a Unionist before the war but he put the ship at the disposal of the state of Louisiana.

**  It was a large ship and Confederates had some flexibility in armament and hardening machinery spaces (protecting them).  It's beam was on the downside of the ledger.

**  There was a lot of mention of the Cotton continually backing up during fighting.  Was this because it was too difficult to turn?

**  The ship's commander, Fuller, said that the reason for the backing was that that the partial iron rail cladding was forward of the wheels and it was cotton clad aft of them.  He kept his protection where it would do the best good.

**  The ship's gun crews, however, were left out on the open forward deck and suffered heavy losses.  They had a small rifled gun on the deck above, but likewise, it wasn't inside the casemate.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 14, 2017

CSS J.A. Cotton-- Part 1: Some Confusion As to the Name

This is the Confederate ship that fought the USS Calhoun, Diana, Estrella and Kinsman several times over a three month period 1862-1863.

There seems to be a lot of confusion as to particulars concerning the ship.

From the Civil War Navies Message Board Forum.

There was quite a long thread of discussion about the ship.  Here are some of the comments:

**  The CSS Cotten, Cotton, was sunk Janaury 14, 1863 on the Teche Bayou in Louisiana.

**  Most often referred to as the J.A. Cottom.

**  Possibly the mine that exploded and damaged the USS Kinsman was an electric one.  It shivered the ship's stern.  CS Torpedo operators did it.  The ORN reports that a set of wires and an operators' pit were found shortly after the incident.

--Old B-R'er

Action at Bayou Teche-- Part 5: Aftermath and the CSS J.A. Cotton

The Union eventually the area and Federal troops collected horses, mules and sugar in large quantities.

Planters began taking the Oath of Allegiance and were ten allowed to make contracts with freed saves to harvest their sugar crop.

The CSS J.A.Cotton, sometimes referred to as an ironclad ship because of the small amount of railroad rails tacked on its sides.  It is also called the CSS Cotton.

It was burned and sunk on January 10, 1863.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Action At Bayou Teche-- Part 4: Second Battle

The second engagement at Bayou Teche took place 14 January 1863.  It involved the same ships as the first fight.

Union General Godfrey Weitzel (later at Fort Fisher) learned that the J.A. Cotton was planning an attack on his force at Bertwick Bay.  Once again, the four ships from the previous fight steamed into the bayou followed by Union transports.  They passed the debris that obstructed the bayou and engaged the Cotton.  The Kinsman hit a mine and unshipped its anchor.

The CSS J.A. Cotton was badly damaged and set on fire by her crew to prevent capture.

The Union was unable to hold Bayou Teche and eventually had to invade it again in 1863 and 1864.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

November 3, 1862: Action At Bayou Teche-- Part 3: Between the CSS Cotton and Union Ships in Louisiana.

Actually, there had been an engagement a month earlier between the same ships.

NOVEMBER 3RD, 1862:  The CSS Cotton, Lt. Edward W. Fuller, and shore batteries engaged the USS Calhoun, Kinsman, Estrella and Diana in Berwick Bay, Louisiana.  In this close and spirited action against heavy odds, Captain Fuller caused considerable damage to the Union squadron until exhaustion of cartridges forced the Cotton to retire.

Captain Fuller reported that the legs of the men's pants were cut off to use as improvised cartridge bags to fire parting shots as he withdrew.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 11, 2017

Action at Bayou Teche-- Part 2: Still Fighting

Over the next two days, two other fights took place between the Union ships and the CSS J.A. Cotton and each time the Cotton won.

That night, the Union ships captured the A.B. Seger, a small Confederate Navy steamer used as a dispatch boat.  Five days later, the USS Kinsman and the A.B. Seger captured and burned the steamers J.P. Smith and Osprey in Bayou Cheval.

--Old B-R'er

Action at Bayou Teche, Louisiana, November 3-5, 1862-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Bayou Teche is a 125-mile long waterway in Louisiana which was originally the course of the Mississippi River.

During the Civil War, two gunboat engagements took place here.  I wrote about one on Wednesday regarding the USS Diana.

The first occurred November 3-5, 1862, when the USS Kinsman, Calhoun, Estrella and Diana, mounting 24 cannons, passed obstructions placed by Confederate General Alfred Mouton and engaged the CSS J.A. Cotton near Cornay's Bridge for one and a half hours.

The CSS Cotton, a wooden steamboat modified with a casemate of timber and cotton bales and a small amount of railroad iron along its sides was struck several times, but managed to escape.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 8, 2017

USS Diana-- Part 2: Recaptured By Confederates

The USS Diana had a short career.  It captured two vessels on December 6, 1862, near Vicksburg as I wrote about on Wednesday.  It also took part in the attack on Bayou Teche, Louisiana, that resulted in the destruction of the CSS J.A, Cotton on 14 January 1863.

Next, it served with Navy and Army detachments in Berwick Bay, Louisiana, until 23 March 1863, when it was recaptured while on a reconnaissance mission to Grand Lake and Atchafalaya River in Louisiana.

A book has been written about this ship:  "Gunboat Named Diana, A, And Other Exciting Stories of Civil War Battles Which raged in the Bayou Country of Louisiana" by Raphael Morris.

--Old B-R'er

USS Diana-- Part 1: A Captured Confederate Steamer

In the December 6, 2017, post, I wrote about the  USS Diana capturing two steamers near Vicksburg.  I'd never heard of the ship.

From Wikipedia.

A captured Confederate steamer acquired by the Union Navy in prize court.

Sidewheel merchant steamer, specifications unknown, captured by Union forces 27 April 1862, at New Orleans and turned over 7 May to General Benjamin Butler, commander at New Orleans, and used as an Army transport until November 1862 when it was returned to the Navy, Acting master Weeks was placed in command.

The ship had a short career in the Navy.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Pearl Harbor Timeline-- Part 4: The Second Wave Arrives

All Times a.m..


8:50:  The second wave, consisting of 167 planes, attacks.  U.S. forces, now prepared, respond with heavy anti-aircraft fire.

8:55 to 9:00:  Japanese bombers attack Ford Island and Bellows Field, shooting down a B-17 with two pilots attempting to take off.  Other Japanese planes strafe Kaneohe.

9:05:  Bombers return to Hickam Field for an eight-minute assault.

9:06:  Attackers bomb the battleship USS Pennsylvania and two destroyers in drydock.

Continued in today's RoadDog's RoadLog blog.

--Old B-R'er

A Pearl Harbor Timeline-- Part 3: "Air Raid, Pearl Harbor. This Is No Drill"

Continued from today's post  in my Saw the Elephant Civil War blog.

All times a.m..

7:58:  Japanese planes begin bombing aircraft at Wheeler Field.

7:58:  The Ford Island Command Center, under attack, radios an alert:  "AIR RAID, PEARL HARBOR.  THIS IS NO DRILL"

8:00  The USS Oklahoma takes multiple torpedo hits and capsizes in minutes.

8:08:  The first of multiple bombs hits the USS Arizona.  Minutes later, another bomb pierces the powder magazine.  The bow explodes and the ship sinks in minutes.

8:30:  The first wave of attackers withdraws.

A Bloody Mess.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December 6, 1862: USS Diana Captures Two Steamers Near Vicksburg

DECEMBER 6, 1862:  The USS Diana, Acting Master Ezra Goodwin, captured steamers Southern Methodist and Naniope near Vicksburg laden with molasses and sugar.

--Old B-R'er

Col. John Wetmore Hinsdale, 3rd Regt. N.C. Junior Reserves

There is a photograph of Col. John Wetmore Hinsdale, 3rd Regt. N.C. Junior Reserves.

In 1861, he left the University of North Carolina to enlist in the Confederate Army and served with distinction under Generals Holmes, Pettigrew, Pender and Price before being elected colonel of the 3rd Regt. Junior Reserves.

--Old B-Runner

N.C. Junior Reserves at the Battle of First Fort Fisher

From the North Carolina State Historic Sites Fort Fisher.

1st Battalion N.C. Junior Reserves.  Co. D.  Captain James L. McCormic

4th Battalion N.C. Junior Reserves.  Cos. A, B,C and D.  Major John M. Reece.

7th Battalion N.C. Junior Reserves.  Cos. A, B and C.  Major William F. French

8th Battalion N.C. Junior Reserves.  Cos. A, B and C.  Major James Ellington

These units were not at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher.

--Old B-Runner

Col. Lamb Praises the N.C. Junior Reserves at Fort Fisher-- Part 2

"On that Christmas day, eighteen hundred and sixty-four, when North Carolinians won imperishable renown by repulsing the most formidable fleet that ever sailed, two out of every three that were killed outright were Junior Reserves.

"No language can more forcibly describe the bravery and heroism of these boys than this statement of this fact."  Wm. Lamb

--Old B-R'er

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Col. Lamb Praises the N.C. Junior Reserves At Fort Fisher-- Part 1

From Civil War Talk.

Fort Fisher's commander, Col. William Lamb wrote this concerning the actions of the North Carolina Junior Reserves stationed at his post:

"It gives me real pleasure to bear testimony to the gallantry of the N.C. Junior reserves at Fort Fisher when Porter and Butler were repulsed.  The first life sacrificed there in the defence of Carolina homes was a heroic boy; and another Junior reserve, who volunteered for a desperate task, was killed in performing the perilous duty."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 4, 2017

Out of My Price Range: $75,000 for Fort Fisher Painting

From Christie's September Sampling.

Christie's Auction House in new York sold the "Bombardment of Fort Fisher" painting by Thomas F. Laycock for 78.2% above its estimate, for a whopping $75,000.  It is an 1888 oil on canvas and they had estimated it would bring between $7,000 and $10,000.

It is signed and dated and the canvas measures 36 1/4 inches by 72 inches.  The  Union fleet is shown bombarding the fort.

Thomas F. Laycock (1810-1898) also made a famous painting of the USS Maine.

--Old B-R'er

Glasgow, Scotland's Role in the War-- Part 2: The Advance and Atlanta

Public opinion ion Glasgow was split between support of the Confederacy and the Union.  Surely, their was big money to be made in supplying the South with blockade runners so that was a big economic one.  However, dislike of slavery brought forth Union sentiment.

The blockade runners brought in cannons, rifles and munitions inbound and cotton and tobacco was sent outbound.  A total of 355 runners ran aground and another 1,000 were captured.

But even just a couple trips through the blockade would pay for a blockade runner.  The blockade runner Advance, built in Greenock, made 20 successful runs before being captured and later joining the Union fleet.  What better thing to capture a fast blockade runner than a former blockade runner.

The CSS Atlanta, a Govan-built ironclad ship, originally named the Fingal, ran the blockade only once before it ran aground.  This ship later was turned into a Confederate ironclad and then served in the Union Navy.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Glasgow, Scotland's Role in the War-- Part 1: The Blockade Runners

From the November 23, 2017, Scotsman  "How Glasgow found itself at centre of American Civil War" David Walsh.

One big thing was the blockade runners.  many were from the Clyde River.

Blockade runners were fuel efficient, had shallow but spacious hulls, maneuverability and speed.

Dozens of Glasgow-built paddlewheel steamers took part in the enterprise.  At first these ships were ones that were already in operation in Scotland and the British Isles, but then ships started being built specifically to run the blockade.

This caused there to be even more jobs along the Clyde River.

Action in North Carolina, December 1862-- Part 2: Foster's Raid

Foster's Raid went from December 11-20, 1863 from New Bern and eventually as far as Goldsboro, North Carolina.

11-  Skirmish at Kinston Road

11-12--  Skirmish at Kinston Road

12-15--  Operations on the Neuse River

13-14--  Actions at Southwest Creek

14--  Engagement at Kinston, N.C.

15.  Action at Whitehall Bridge  (Ram CSS Neuse in the process of being built comes under attack)

16.  Action at Whitehall

16--  Affairs at Mt. Olive and Goshon Creek

17--  Raid on Dudley's Station

17--  Skirmish at Goldsboro Bridge

17.  Reconnaissance to Diascund Bridge

After this, Foster's Raid was over and his force returned to New Bern.

27--  Action at Elizabeth City

31--  Loss of the USS Monitor off Cape Hatteras

--Old B-R'er

Friday, December 1, 2017

Action in North Carolina December 1862-- Part 1: Foster's Raid Begins

From the North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial site.


8--  Capture of sloop Coquette

9--  Federal naval demonstration on Blackwater and Nottoway rivers (Upper extension of the Chowan River into Virginia).

10.  Confederates attack on Plymouth, including Federal naval operations.

FOSTER'S RAID  11-20.  Casualties roughly 1,055 on both sides.

11-22  Expedition from New Bern to Goldsboro.

11.  Skirmish at Kinston Road

11-12..  Skirmish at Kinston Road.

--Old B-Runner

Back to Greenville, N.C.-- Part 2: Another Account of the Action

Continuing with the capture of Greenville, N.C. in November 1862.

Another report dated November 8, 1862 from Acting. Lt. R.T. Renshaw to Commodore H.K. Davenport, Senior Officers Sounds of North Carolina.

He also reported on the expedition to Rose Bay

The howitzer of the USS Louisiana and sailors under Acting master's Mate McKeever were sent in an Army transport to Rose Bay, N.C. and captured a schooner.

He also sent  John L. Lay and Asst Paymaster Williams to Greenville with 20 men.  The paymaster was along to care for wounded men.  This force was partly armed with Sharps rifles.

They proceeded up the Tar River in the steamer North State with the mission to destroy a boat reported to be under construction above Greenville.

The North State grounded 2-3 miles below Greenville and the force went ashore to continue.  They entered Greenville and captured 6 horses and 3 mules which they turned over to the Army.

"Mr. Lay ascertains that Chief Engineer Quinana, formerly of our service, is superintending the building of two vessels at Tarboro, to be ironclad, one about 50 feet long."

--Old B-Runner

December 1, 1862: Welles Makes His Second Annual Report to Lincoln

DECEMBER 1ST, 1862:  In his second annual report , Secretary of the Navy Welles informed Abraham Lincoln:  "We have at this time afloat or progressing to rapid a naval force consisting of 427 vessels ... armed in aggregate with 1,577 guns, and of the capacity of 240,028 tons...

"The number of persons employed on board our naval vessels, including receiving ships and recruits, is about 28,000; and there are not less than 12,000 mechanics and laborers employed at the different navy yards and naval stations."

Getting Bigger Every Day.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Confederate Congress Gives Thanks to Naval Officers

The Confederate Congress also awarded thanks to their naval officers:

JOHN T. WOOD for his operations in the Chesapeake Bay.

EBENEZER FARRAND  for action at Drewry's Bluff

ISAAC N. BROWN for his actions at Vicksburg

RAPHAEL SEMMES, the CSS Alabama, of course.

Also, JOHN LANCASTER    He was the Englishman who used his personal yacht to rescue Semmes and his crew after the Alabama was sunk by the Kearsarge.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Union Congress Give Thanks to Naval Officers During the War

From the November 24, 2017, Coastal Point "Civil War Profiles--  Congress gives thanks during the Civil War" Tom Ryan.

Union Navy Officers given thanks of Congress:

Admiral David G. Farragut

Admiral David D. Porter

John L. Worden--  commanded the USS Monitor in its fight with the CSS Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

USS Mahaska-- Part 3: Armament

The Mahaska was commissioned 5 May 1862 under Lt. N.H. Farquhar.

On 20 February 1863, it captured the schooner General Taylor in the Chesapeake Bay

It participated in the joint Army-Navy operation to Jacksonville, Florida, 5 February to 4 April 1864.

It captured the schooner Delia near Bayport, Florida, 17 February 1865.

The steamer was 228'2" long, had a 33'10" beam and 10'4" draft.

Its armament consisted of one 100-pdr. Parrott rifle, one 9-inch gun and four 24-pdr. guns.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 27, 2017

Back to Greenville, N.C.-- Part 1: A Success

I was writing about this back on November 14.

Report of Acting Lt. R.T. Renshaw, USN of the USS Louisiana, on the Greenville, N.C.,  Expedition.

The colonel at Washington, N.C., was going to send the steamer North State up the Tar River for forage and Renshaw proposed to him to let Asst. Engineer Lay go along to capture the town of Greenville.

This was arranged, and when they returned, they had prisoners, horses, mules and wagons.

One of the Marine artillerymen was killed while landing with a flag of truce to demand the surrender of the town.  A bridge was destroyed.

--Old B-Runner

USS Mahaska-- Part 2: Service Off Florida.

While operating off Florida waters, it took part in operations against Jacksonville and St. Marks.  It was overhauled in Boston in 1864.

The Mahaska operated off Florida for the remaining years of the war.  Unlike so many other U.S. warships after the war, it continued in service for another three years until decommissioned September 1868 and sold in November.  After that, it became the merchant  vessel Jeannette.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, November 24, 2017

USS Mahaska-- Part 1: Served in Virginia Waters and Odd Charleston

In the last post, I wrote about the USS Mahaska in an Army-Navy expedition against salt works in Virginia.

It was a 1070 ton Sebago-class double-ender built at Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, New Hampshire, and commissioned May 1862.

During 1862-1863 it was active in the Virginia Rivers and Chesapeake Bay.

It joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron off Charleston, S.C., in 1863 and participated in the attacks there in August 1863.

From February to August 1864, it served off the east coast of Florida.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November 22-24, 1862: Joint Army-Navy Expedition in Virginia

NOVEMBER 22-24, 1862:  Joint Army-Navy expedition to the vicinity of Matthews Court House, Virginia, under Lt. Farquhar and Acting Master's Mate Nathan W. Black of the USS Mahaska destroyed numerous salt works together with hundreds of bushels of salt, burned three schooners and numerous small boats, and captured 24 large canoes.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Jacob Zeilen, USMC-- Part 3: Commandant

Jacob Zeilen was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in 1867, becoming the Marine Corps' first general officer.

During his time as commandant, Zeilen defended the Corps from its many critics.

In 1868, he approved the design of the "Eagle, Globe and Anchor" of the USMC emblem.

He retired from the Corps on November 1, 1876 after 45 years of service to "Semper Fi."

Death came November 18, 1880, in Washington, D.C., and he was buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 20, 2017

Jacob Zeilen, USMC-- Part 2: Civil War Service

Jacob Zeilen was stationed at Norfolk and later commanded the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. and then served aboard the USS Wabash.

In the early part of the Civil War, he commanded the Marine Barracks at Philadelphia and Washington, D.C..  On July 21, 1861, he commanded the Marine detachment at the First Battle of Bull Run and was slightly wounded.

In 1863, he was given command of the battalion of Marines with the mission to capture Charleston, S.C., but had to return to Washington because of sickness.  Then it was garrison duty at the Marine Barracks at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Then back to sea with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and then back to Portsmouth.

On June 10, 1864, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and became the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, November 17, 2017

Jacob Zeilen, USMC Commandant-- Part 1: Long Career

From Wikipedia.

In yesterday's post on The USMC after the Civil War, I mentioned its Commandant Jacob Zeilen.  I had never heard of him, so more research was necessary.

July 16, 1806-November 18, 1880.  (He died on tomorrow's date.)

Jacob Zeilen was the Marine Corps' first non-brevet brigadier general and 7th Commandant from 1864-1876.  he attended the USMA at West Point from 1822-1825 but dropped out due to low grades.

He was commissioned 2nd lieutenant in the Marines on October 1, 1831, and served ashore and on the USS Erie, USS Columbus and USS Congress.  During the Mexican War he commanded the Marine Detachment on the Congress and was brevetted to major for gallantry at San Gabriel River, Los Angeles and the Battle of La Mesa.

After the war, he was stationed at Norfolk and New York and accompanied Commodore Matthew C. Perry on the famous opening of Japan expedition.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November 16, 1862: Stopping Contraband in Maryland

NOVEMBER 16, 1862:  The USS T.A. Ward, Acting Master William L. Babcock, captured the sloop G.W.Green and an unnamed seine boat at St. Jerome's Creek, Maryland, attempting to cross to the Virginia shore with contraband.

--Old B-Runner

U.S. Marine Corps After the War-- Part 2: "Marine Corps Hymn" and Enblem

For the remainder of the 19th century, there was some confusion as to the Corps' mission.  The Navy's transformation from sail to steam power brought forth the question of whether Marines were actually needed aboard warships.

Even so, the Marines continually saw service intervening in foreign countries and protecting American interests.overseas.

Marines took part in 28 separate interventions in the thirty years after the Civil War.

Under Commandant Jacob Zeilen, Marine customs and traditions took shape and the Marine Corps emblem was adopted 19 November 1868.  Also, the "Marine Corps Hymn."

Around 1883, the current motto "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful) was adopted.

--Old B-Runner

Tar River, N.C.-- Part 2: Union Prisoners Discover Why the River Is Called That

In June, three months later, 400 Union prisoners of war were sent from Salisbury, N.C., to Washington, N.C., to be exchanged for Confederate prisoners.  Arriving at the Tar River, they asked for and received permission to bathe their stench off in the water.  Heavily guarded, they stripped and went into the water where the Confederates had dumped the barrels earlier.

They stirred up the river bottom so much that they were soon covered with tar smeared all over their bodies.  They came out and got ahold of sticks to remove the sticky mess.

One Confederate yelled derisively at them, "Hello boys, what's the matter?"

A disgruntled Yankee replied,"We have heard of a Tar River all our lives but never believed that there really was any such place, but damned if  he we haven't found it.  The whole bed is tar!!"

A Pretty Good Story.  --Old Sectar

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tar River, N.C.-- Part 1: Washington, N.C., Evacuated

From Wikipedia.

The towns of Louisburg, Rocky Mount, Tarboro, Greenville and Washington, North Carolina are located on it.

When the Confederates prepared to evacuate Washington in March 1862  squads of soldiers were sent up and down the Tar River to destroy all cotton and naval stores.  At Tafts store they found 1,000 barrels of turpentine and tar.

This was too large to burn for fear of setting nearby buildings on fire.  So the barrels were rolled into the river where the hoops were cut and the contents dumped into the water.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Yankee Hall on the Tar River in N.C.

The Union force stopped at Yankee Hall on its way back from capturing Greenville, N.C..

Yankee Hall is a plantation by the Tar River built in the late 1700s.  Today it hosts wedding and parties.

From History of Yankee Hall by Roger Kammerer.

Also known as Pactolus Landing and Perkins Wharf.  Located on the north side of the Tar River, 10 miles east of Greenville.

Reports from July 1862 had it that the Union gunboat Picket and other artillery launches made a reconnaissance up the Tar River and at Yankee Hall fired a shell into the house that nearly took its roof off.  At the time, four or five Confederates were inside the house with their horses tied up in front.  reportedly they scattered in great confusion.

During the war, it was a rendezvous for Confederate pickets and bore distinct marks of shot and shell endured from Yankee encampments in the yard and patrol boats coming up the river.

A Yankee Hall in North Carolina.  --Old B-R'er

The Capture of Greenville, N.C.-- Part 2: Flag of Truce Disregarded

They encountered Confederate cavalry on a bridge near town, but they fled.  Second Engineer Lay then ordered E.A. McDonald to take the launch and a howitzer and position it so as to guard the bridge.He then landed the rest of his force and marched to Greenville under a flag of truce whereupon the mayor surrendered the town.

Shots were heard from the bridge area and Lay brought his howitzer to bear on it and fired several stands of grape shot in that general direction.  One Union man was killed.  Since his flag of truce had been disregarded, he ordered McDonald to destroy the bridge.

They Union force took ten prisoners and returned to the steamer North State and reached Yankee Hall on the Tar River at 10 p.m. where they remained for the night, making preparations for defense and an anticipated Confederate attack further downriver at Boyd's Ferry.

Lay also made a report on the Tar River and said that ships drawing 5 or 6 feet of water could ascend the river as far as Yankee Hall, nine miles above Washington, N.C..  He also made careful observations of the banks of the Tar River.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Capture of Greenville, N.C.-- Part 1: Joint Army-Navy Expedition

From the Official Records Navy.

Report of Second Assistant Engineer John L. lay, USN on the surrender of Greenville, North Carolina.  he was ordered to go to Greenville by the commander of the USS Louisiana, Acting Lt. R.T. Renshaw.

He had with him the steamer North State which had a 24-pdr. howitzer manned by six men from the Marine artillery, a launch with one 12-pdr. howitzer and 17 men from the steamer Chasseur, a flatboat and 17 men of the 1st N.C. Regiment commanded by Lt. John B. McLane and 14 men from the USS Louisiana under E.A. McDonald, gunner.

They left Washington on Nov. 8 and arrived at a dock one mile from Greenville on the 9th at 9 a.m. and couldn't take the steamer further because of the shallowness of the Tar River.  The men and guns were transferred to the flatboat and launch.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, November 11, 2017

National Cemeteries in Illinois: Veterans Day 2017

From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Here is a list of National cemeteries in Illinois.  Anyone of these would be a good place to visit today or any day to pay your respects to those who fought, died or risked their lives in defense of your freedom.

Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery--  Elwood  (on Route 66)

Alton National Cemetery

Camp Butler National Cemetery--  Springfield

Danville National Cemetery

Mound City National Cemetery

Quincy National Cemetery

Rock Island National Cemetery

And here are three cemeteries administered by the Veterans Affairs:

Confederate Mound, Oakwood Cemetery, Chicago

North Alton Confederate Cemetery

Rock Island Confederate Cemetery

There are also Confederate soldiers buried at Camp Butler

That's right, Confederate soldiers ARE AMERICAN SOLDIERS!!

Something to Think About the Next Time You Desecrate a Confederate Cemetery or Statue.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, November 10, 2017

USMC After the Civil War to 1900-- Part 1: "Marine Corps Hymn" and Emblem

From Wikipedia.

After the Civil War, the USMC declined in strength and there came to be some confusion as to its mission.

The Navy's transition from sail to steam even brought forth the question of whether the Marines were even needed on ships.

The Marines continued to intervene and protect American interests overseas.  In the years after the Civil War until 1900, the Marine Corps was involved in 28 different interventions.

Under Commandant Jacob Zeilin, Marine customs and traditions took shape and the Marine Corps emblem was adopted 19 November 1868.  The "Marine Corps Hymn" was first heard around this time and in 1883, the current motto "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful) was adopted.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Greenville, N.C. in the Civil War-- Part 2: Confederate Service

From the North Carolina Civil War Monuments.

Greenville has a Confederate Soldiers Monument at the Pitt County Courthouse at 100 W. Third Street.  It was dedicated November 13, 1914.

How long certain people will allow it to remain is to be seen.

The Genealogy Site.

Men from Pitt County served in the 8th N.C. Infantry, 17th NC (Co. C) and 2nd Regiment, N.C. junior reserves (Co. H)

There was also a Battle at Tranter's Creek fought nearby on June 5, 1862 with about 40 casualties on both sides.

--Old B-Runner

Greenville, N.C., in the Civil War-- Part 1: Raided Several Times

From the VisitGreenville site.

During the Civil War, Greenville's location on the Tar River made it a target for both Confederate and Union forces.  It was overrun and raided by Union forces several times and several skirmishes occurred in and around it.

The town was surrounded by earthworks and had several Confederate hospitals run by female citizens.

--Old B-R'er

November 9, 1862: Surrender of Greenville, North Carolina

NOVEMBER 9, 1862--  Greenville, North Carolina surrendered to a joint Army-Navy landing force under Second Assistant Engineer J.L. Lay of the USS Louisiana.

I lived in Greenville for a year and a half.

The USS Louisiana was blown up off Fort Fisher, N.C. in December 1864 in an effort to knock the sand fort down.

I will do some more research on this.

Home of ECU.  --Old B-Pirate

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Action in North Carolina November 1862-- Part 2

NOVEMBER 11--  Demonstration on New Bern.

NOVEMBER  17--  Destruction of British schooner J.W. Pindar at Masonboro Inlet.

NOVEMBER 18--  Skirmish at Core Creek.

NOVEMBER 23-25--  Naval expedition on New River to Jacksonville  (Cushing)  This resulted in the capture and destruction of the USS Ellis.

NOVEMBER 29--  Capture of the schooner Levi Rowe.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Action in North Carolina, November 1862-- Part 1:

NOVEMBER 1-12--   Expedition from New Bern (through Washington to Wilmington and toward Tarboro), including skirmishes at Little Creek and Rawls' Mill (destruction of property at Hamilton, slaves freed)  (Naval cooperation)

NOVEMBER 2--  Acrion at Rawles' Mill, Little Creek

NOVEMBER 4--  Capture of British bark Sophia

NOVEMBER 8-9--  Naval expedition to Rose Bay and Greenville.

NOVEMBER 11--  Demonstration on New Bern

--Old B-R'er

Action In North Carolina October 1862

From the North Carolina Civil War 150 site.

OCTOBER--  Confederate salt works at Bogue and Currituck Inlets destroyed.

OCTOBER 11--  Action at the Cape Fear River.  Engagement between battery and Union ships near Fort Caswell.

OCTOBER 21--  Reconnaissance at New Topsail Inlet and destruction of schooner Adelaide.

OCTOBER 22--  Capture of British brig Robert Bruce.

OCTOBER 39-NOVEMBER 9--  Naval expedition to Hamilton.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, November 6, 2017

More Action at Cedar Keys, Florida-- Part 2

The USS Somerset captured the blockade runner Curlew off Atsena Otie Key in June 1862 and in October destroyed salt works on James Island near Depot Key.  Some 2,000 bushels of salt were destroyed along with the salt works.  They also captured many civilian workers, slaves and horses.

In 1868, the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company built a lumber mill on Atsena Otie Key to supply wood for its pencil factory in New Jersey.

--Old B-Runner

Battle of Cedar Key (Florida) -- Part 1: Destruction of Railroad and Harbor

Continued from October 9, 2017.

The Battle of Cedar Key 7 January 1862.

The USS Hatteras landed sailors and Marines and attacked the railhead and Station No. 4.  At first they were repulsed by a company of Florida state cavalry and local civilian workers, but they succeeded in destroying tracks, engines and buildings before returning to their ship.

Then the Hatteras boarded and either sank or burned seven blockade runners in the harbor at Depot Key and landed a small force to burn the harbor facilities.  This was a small, but important event known as the Battle of Cedar Key.

--Old B-R'er

Fort Fisher

Major Charles Patterson Bolles supervised the first construction of fortifications of what eventually became Fort Fisher.  It became a part of the fort and was referred to as Battery Bolles.

The Wilmington area was under command of Confederate Generals Theophilus Holmes (for whom Fort Holmes on Smith island was named) and W.H.C. Whiting.  Whiting was Bolles' brother-in-law.

Fort Fisher was built by Confederate soldiers and slaves, of whom some 500 were from neighboring plantations.

Some Native Americans, mostly Lumbee Indians, were also impressed to build the fort.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, November 3, 2017

Army-Navy Cooperation October 1862-- Part 2: Action in Arkansas and South Carolina

OCTOBER 21--  The USS Louisville escorted the steamer Meteor which embarked Army troops at Bledsoe's Landing and Hamblin's Landing, Arkansas.  Both towns were burned in reprisal for Confederate guerrilla attacks on the mail steamer Gladiator on October 19.

OCTOBER 22--  A Naval battery of three 12-pdr. boat howitzers from the USS Wabash supported Union troops at the Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina.

The Wabash's battery took part in many amphibious operations along the South Atlantic coas--Old B-R'er

Army-Navy Cooperation October 1862-- Part 1" Capture of Jacksonville, Florida

Civil War Naval Chronology

This past Saturday, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table discussion group met to talk about Army-Navy cooperation in the Civil war.

There was a lot of that as I have seen in my blog entries from those pages.

I went back and took a look at just the ones listed as joint cooperation for October 1862.

OCTOBER 3--  Joint expedition and engaged Confederate battery at St. John's Bluff, Florida, guarding Jacksonville.  This resulted in the capture of that city.

OCTOBER 7--  Sailors and troops in the Army transport Darlington captured the steamer Governor Milton on the St. john's River.

--Old B-Runner

Charles William MacCord-- Part 2: Involved in Construction of the USS Monitor

Stevens Institute of Technology

The library has three linear feet of Mr. MacCord's papers (and in this case including plans to the USS Monitor).

  The documents span 1860 to 1865.

It was the designer, John Ericsson who named his ship the Monitor.

The USS Monitor was laid down by the Continental Ironworks in New York City on October 25, 1861 and launched exactly 100 days later on January 30, 1862.

Charles William MacCord joined the Delamater Ironworks, New York City, and became chief draughtsman for John Ericsson from 1859-1868.  He drew at least 34 of the drawings for the Monitor.

After the war, he was the first chairman of the Mechanical Drawing Department at the Stevens Institute of Technology when it opened in 1871.

After the famous battle with the CSS Virginia, the Navy canceled all plans for construction of wooden warships according to the site, but I'm not sure about this.

--Old B-R'er

Push for Robert Smalls Statue in South Carolina

There is a push in South Carolina to erect a statue to Robert Smalls, the black man who seized the Confederate transport Planter in Charleston Harbor during the Civil War, sailed it out and surrendered to the Union Navy blockading the port.  he later commanded the fort.

This was quite a feat of heroism and two state senators, Greg Gregory and Darrell Jackson want it to be erected on the grounds of the state house in Columbia.

I would agree that it is a fitting statue to someone who showed such courage.

However, there are Confederate statues on the grounds and they should be allowed to remain.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November 2, 1862: CSS Alabama Captures a Whaling Ship

NOVEMBER 2ND, 1862: The CSS Alabama, Captain Semmes, captured and burned the whaling ship Levi Starbuck, near Bermuda.

One of Many.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Charles William MacCord-- Part 1: Ericsson's Chief Draftsman

From the Oct. 10, 2010 Dead Confederates blog.  The Monitor's Screw.

Back on October 30, I wrote about this man when I came across his name and what he did in the Stevens Institute student newspaper.

It is surprising, that with over 100 patentable inventions on the USS Monitor that no one in authority bothered to preserve the ship's construction drawings..  The Navy didn't, the Continental Ironworks who built it didn't, nor did the ship's inventor, John Ericsson.

But, these drawings were saved by Charles William MacCord, described as the "cantankerous chief draftsman, of John Ericsson.

MacCord was later on the faculty of the Stevens Institute of Technology when it opened and this is where the drawings are preserved.

Thanks Mr. MacCord

Pirates, Revolution and Ironclads-- Part 2: The CSS Georgia, Water Witch and Rattlesbake

The CSS Georgia ironclad was sunk in 1864 to prevent capture by General Sherman's Union forces.  It was relatively forgotten until the 1960s when Savannah River dredging revealed the remains.  In 2013, a portion was recovered and that continued to 2015.  However, none of the ship is currently on display.

The USS Water Witch was captured by the Confederate Navy and the Rattlesnake, passenger ship turned into a gunboat and then a blockade-runner.  Both were sunk just south of the Savannah River.

The Water Witch was sunk by Confederates to avoid capture.  The Rattlesnake was sunk in a battle with the ironclad Monitor USS Montauk.  This ship served as a temporary prison for six of the Lincoln assassination conspirators.

Artifacts from the Water Witch and a full scale model of it can be seen at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia.

--Old V-Runner

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pirates, Revolution and Ironclads, Georgia's Maritime Past-- Part 1

From the October 2, 2017, Connect (Ga,) Statesboro "Pirates, revolution and ironclads.  Exploring Georgia's maritime past" by Kenley Alligood.

Georgia has a long naval history going all the way back to the Spanish explorers in the 16th century.  And, Georgia was the only colony to pay King George III's Stamp Act as 60 ships sat idle at Savannah.

During the Revolutionary War several British warships sank off the Georgia coast including the HMS Defiance at the mouth of the Savannah River after a violent storm in 1780.

The William Scarbrough House, home of the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, was home to the owner of the Savannah, the first steam ship to cross the Atlantic.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 30, 2017

Charles William MacCord, Engineer on USS Monitor Construction

From the October 27, 2017, The Stute (Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey).

Robert Thurston was the first professor of Engineering at the school.  And Charles William MacCord was another early one.  He was one of the engineers on the USS Monitor, a ship that had a huge impact on naval architecture.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 26, 2017

MCCWRT Discussion Group Meets Saturday: Topic Joint Army-Navy Expeditions

This Saturday, October 28, 2017, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table discussion group will meet at 10 a.m. at Panera Bread in Crystal Lake, Illinois.  It is located at the intersection of US-14 (Northwest Highway) and Main Street.

This is an oft-overlooked aspect of the Civil War so it should be quite interesting to see what people come up with to discuss.

--Old B-Runner

Meanwhile, At the Real CSS Neuse

Also taking place on Saturday, October 21, 2017, in Kinston, the CSS Neuse Interpretive Center is honoring the anniversary of the Confederate States Navy Department awarding the contract for the Neuse's construction to Howard and Ellis of New Bern for the construction of the ship.

The contract was signed October 17, 1862.

The Interpretive Center (where the actual hull of the CSS Neuse is located) has designated October 21 as "Shipbuilding Saturday" and admission to enter the center is free.

Paul Fontenoy will discuss shipbuilding techniques of the 19th century and Danny Nye will demonstrate how ship hulls were caulked.

Old B-R'er

Breakfast On the Boat: CSS Neuse II

From the Kinston (NC) Free Press  ":Breakfast on the boat will kick off fun-filled Saturday"  by Mike Parker.

In a cooperative effort between Mother Earth Brewing and the CSS Neuse II Foundation, a breakfast will be held on the full-size replica of the CSS Neuse on Saturday, October 21.

For $7 you get scrambled eggs, bacon, link sausage, grits, biscuits and drink.

It is one of the fundraisers for the CSS Neuse II Foundation to help pay for the insurance, costs, utilities and upkeep on the full-size replica, the only one of a Confederate ironclad in the United States.

The Neuse was the sister ship of the more famous CSS Albemarle.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

One Last Thing on the Capture of the Revere

The Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks says that a schooner named the Revere, nationality unknown, burned off Beaufort and sank on September 10, 1862.

Wonder What That Is All About.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

October 24, 1862: Mounted Sailors Fight Confederates in Arkansas

OCTOBER 24TH, 1862:  Sailors on horseback -- a landing party from the USS Baron De Kalb, Captain John A. Winslow,  debarked at Hopefield, Arkansas, to engage a small Confederate scouting party.

Mounting horses, which were procured, as Captain Winslow reported, "by impressement," the Baron De Kalb sailors engaged in a nine mile running fight which ended with the capture of the Confederate group.

I thought the Baron de Kalb's commander's name sounded familiar.  Winslow later commanded the USS Kearsarge when it sank the CSS Alabama.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 23, 2017

Capture of the Revere-- Part 6: Was It Running the Blockade?

The Revere was off course for a vessel sailing from Nassau to Baltimore as the captain claimed.

He had the captain, Henry Gage, open a package in his hold marked Harness which was found to contain soldier haversacks.  Another trunk was opened and found to contain shoes, thread, matches, tea, starch, stationery and other items worth of running the blockade.  These were all things getting scarce in the Confederacy at the time.

The captain even admitted that this was the second time he was captured.  The first time he spent seen months detained in New York.

Had he been in command of the Revere when it was captured in 1861?

Braine sent Acting master Brown in charge of a prize crew to New York for adjudication.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Capture of the Revere-- Part 5: Too Many Coincidences To Believe Otherwise.

So, let's see, we have an English schooner in both instances.  And, it was based in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Could this be the same ship captured twice?   And both times in the process of making a run through the blockade and both times off the coast of North Carolina.

Did it get captured in 1861 and sold in prize court and then became a blockade runner again?

I'd say so.

Highly Probable.

But As They Say in the Infomercials, "But Wait, There's More."  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Capture of Blockade Runner Revere October 11, 1862-- Part 4

Report of Lt.-Cmdr. Braine, of the USS Monticello, on the capture of the English schooner Revere on Oct. 11, 1862.

Spotted a sail at 8 a.m. and gave chase for one and a half hours.  Captured the English schooner Revere, of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, 25 days out of Nassau.

The captain and two mates claimed they had just come on board the ship the day she sailed and had no idea what the cargo was.

The cargo was suspicious:  800 sacks if salt, a 100 barrels of pork and other items needed in the Confederacy.

He found the name of the Revere on a list given of vessels intending to run the blockade.

Obviously Going to Run the Blockade.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Blockade Runner Revere-- Part 3: Report of the 1861 Capture

  Report of the September 10, 1861 capture.

Report of Cmdr. Parker, U.S. Navy, commanding the USS Cambridge.

"I have the honor to report that I have this day captured the English schooner Revere, of Yarmouth, from Beaufort bound to Key West laden with salt and herring and that I have ordered her to Boston, with an officer and prize crew in charge."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 16, 2017

Blockade Runner Revere-- Part 2: Had Arrived in Halifax After Running Blockade

On August 3, 1861, it was reported from Halifax that the Revere had arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, after running the blockade off Beaufort, N.C..

Tracking the Revere.  --Old B-Runner

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Blockade Runner Revere: Was the 1862 One the Same One Captured in 1861?

Two posts ago,  I mentioned the USS Monticello capturing an English schooner named the Revere running the blockade off Frying Pan Shoals, N.C.

I looked up some more information and found that the USS Cambridge had captured an English schooner named the Revere off Beaufort, North Carolina, on September 10, 1862.

Could This Be the One and the Same?  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 12, 2017

World War II Comes to Fort Fisher This Weekend-- Part 2

Military and civilian re-enactors will be at the site and will set up displays of the fort's World War II airstrip.

Three historians will discuss the role of Fort Fisher and Southeast North Carolina during the war.

Fort Fisher Assistant Site Manager John Mosely will discuss Fort Fisher's role and relate stories of training there.

Historian and author Cliff Tyndall will present Camp Davis and its appearance in a 1943 movie.  Camp Davis was a huge military training installation located a short distance north of Wilmington, B.C..

Krystal Lee, a historian and educator will present the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free to the public with the support of New Hanover County, Town of Carolina Beach, Town of Kure Beach and the Friends of Fort Fisher (to which I belong).

I'd Sure Love to Be There, But Will Be Out on Route 66.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

World War II Comes to Fort Fisher This Weekend-- Part 1

From the Friends of Fort Fisher Powder Magazine Fall 2017, newsletter  "Fort Fisher to host WW II program Oct. 14 to honor site's anti-aircraft training role."

Eighty years after the two attacks on the fort during the Civil War, the United States Army returned to Fort Fisher.  The fort was expanded to meet World War II training needs for anti-aircraft guns.  Thousands of soldiers trained there and many women (WASPs) flew planes pulling targets.

When the fort was closed at the end of 1944, the anti-aircraft base there covered 1,200 acres and the site had been changed forever.

Bunkers had been constructed (and the famous Fort Fisher Hermit lived in one by where the Fort Fisher Aquarium is located today) and several of the fort's traverses had been leveled for the airfield.

Those days will come alive this weekend.

--Old B-R'er

October 11, 1862: USS Monticello Captures Blockade Runner Revere

OCTOBER 11TH, 1862:  The USS Monticello, Lt. Cmdr. Braine, captured blockade running British schooner Revere off Frying Pan Shoals, North Carolina.

Frying Pan Shoals is off the mouth of the Cape Fear River that goes to Wilmington, N.C..

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Connection Between Elmira Prison and Fort Fisher

From the September 17, 2017, Elmira (NY) Star Gazette "Your Opinion:  Connection between Elmira and Kure Beach, N.C." by Tom Fagart.

What do Elmira, N.Y., and Kure Beach, N.C., have in common?  That would be Elmira Prison Camp and Fort Fisher. Plus, the two have two organizations: The Friends of Elmira Civil War Prison Camp and the Friends of Fort Fisher (to which I belong).

After Fort Fisher was captured January 15, 1865, 1,121 Confederate artillerymen were sent to Elmira Prison Camp, arriving January 30 and February 1, 1865.  The prison was knee deep in snow at the time.  The Confederates had neither coats or blankets.

Within five months, 518 of them had died and are buried in C Section of the Woodland National Cemetery.

The Friends of Elmira Civil War Prison are in the process of rebuilding the barracks, improving the grounds and even more importantly, preserving the history of it.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 9, 2017

Depot Key-- Part 7: A Storm and a Refuge

Not only did the rise of Tampa as a transportation hub hurt the Cedar Keys (and Depot Key, now named Atsena-Otie Key), but weather activity as well.

On September 29, 1896, a storm with 125 mph winds sent a 10-foot-high surge over the Cedar Keys, killing more than 100.  That essentially ended the town on Atsena Otie.

In 1929, President Herbert Hoover established the Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Depot Key-- Part 6: After the Civil War

In 1865, Eberhard Faber built a saw mill on Atsena Otie Key for his pencils.  Then, the Eagle Pencil Company did likewise on Way Key.

The Town of Cedar Keys was incorporated in 1869.

Early in his career, naturalist John Muir walked 1,000 miles from Louisville, Kentucky to Cedar Key in just two months.  He caught malaria while working at a saw mill in Cedar Key, but recovered and went to Cuba in 1868.  He wrote about Cedar Key in his memoir, "A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf."

Starting in 1886, Tampa, with its better rail connections took shipping away from Cedar Key which started an economic decline.

--Old Cedar-Runner

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Depot Key-- Part 5: In the Civil War

During the Civil War, Confederate agents extinguished the light at Seahorse Key and removed the sperm oil supply.

The USS Hatteras raided Cedar Keys in June 1862 and burned several ships laden with cotton and turpentine and then destroyed the railroad's rolling stock and buildings in Way Key,  Most of the Confederate troops who had been guarding the area had left for Fernandina because of an anticipated Federal attack on that place.

Cedar Key became an important source of salt for the Confederacy.  In October 1862, (see previous post) Union ships raided and destroyed 60 kettles on Salt Key capable of producing 150 bushels of salt a day.

Union forces occupied Cedar Key in 1864 and remained until the end of the war.

--Old B-Runner

Depot Key-- Part 4: Development and "Pencil" Mills

Several people received permits to settle Depot Key, Way Key and Scale Key.  Augustus Steele received a permit for Depot Key and renamed it Atsena Otie Key.  The City of Atsena Otie was chartered in 1859.  It became an important port for lumber and naval stores.

By 1850, there were two mills producing cedar "slats" for Northern pencil factories and Congress appropriated funds to build a lighthouse on Seahorse Key which was completed in 1854.

In 1860, Cedar Key became the western terminal of the Florida Rail Road connecting Fernandina on the east coast of the state.  David Levy Yulee, U.S. Senator and president of the Florida Rail Road acquired most of Way Key to house the railroad terminal facilities.

A town was platted for Way Key and the Parsons and Hale's General Store, still standing and now the Island Hotel, was built in the same year.

--Old B-R'er

Depot Key-- Part 3: End of the Second Seminole War and Open for Settlement

On October 4, 1842, a huge hurricane hit the Cedar Keys with a 27-foot surge that completely destroyed Cantonment Morgan and did much damage to Depot Key.

Colonel William J. Worth declared the Second Seminole War over in August 1842 and Depot Ket was abandoned.

In 1842, Congress enacted the Armed Occupation Act to increase white settlement in Florida as a way to force the Seminoles out.  With the military's abandonment of Depot Key, the Cedar Keys became available for settlement.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, October 6, 2017

Depot Key-- Part 2: The Second Seminole War

In 1840, General Walker Keith Armistead, who had succeeded Zachary Taylor in command of U.S. troops in the Second Seminole War, ordered the construction of a hospital on what became known as Depot Key (the place's name may reflect the establishment of a depot there by the Florida militia General Leigh Read.)

The primary U.S. Army depot in the Second Seminole War was at Palatka, Florida.  Depot Key was the headquarters of the U.S. Army in Florida, although the headquarters was wherever the commander was.

Cantonment Morgan was established on nearby Seahorse Key by 1841 and used a s a troop deployment station and holding station for Seminoles who had been captured, or who had surrendered, before they were sent west.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Depot Key is Atsena Otie Key, Florida, Today-- Part 1: Second Seminole War

From Wikipedia.

In the last post I mentioned the Union attack on Confederate salt works at Depot Key in Florida.  Depot Key is now Atsena Otie Key and a part of the Cedar Keys area on the Gulf of Mexico southwest of Gainesville, near the state's panhandle in Levy County.  Population in 2010 was 702.

It is in a cluster of islands referred to as the Cedar Keys, the most developed one of which is Way Key.

It's being called Depot Key dates to the Second Seminole War.  During it, the U.S. Army established Fort No. 4 on the mainland by the Cedar Keys.  In 1840, General Zachary Taylor, commander of American troops in the war, requested that the Cedar Keys be reserved for military use for the duration of the war and that Seahorse Key permanently be reserved for a lighthouse.


October 4, 1862: Attack on Salt Works at Depot Key, Fla.

OCTOBER 4TH, 1862:  The USS  Somerset, Lt-Cmdr. English, attacked Confederate salt works at Depot Key, Florida.  The landing party from the Somerset was augmented by a strong force from the USS Tahoma, Cmdr. John C. Howell, and the salt works were destroyed.

Salt at this time was among the most critical "strategic materials" in the Confederacy.

This action at Depot Key was one of the innumerable such landing and raiding operations all along the far-flung Confederate coastline which, often lacking dramatic appeal, nonetheless exacted ceaseless activity and untiring effort, and were instrumental in bringing the Confederacy to defeat.

--Old B-R'er

Lumbee Hero Subject of Panel Discussion

From the September 19, 2017, Robesonian.

Robeson County, North Carolina.

There will be a panel discussion on Henry Berry Lowrie put on by the UNC-Pembroke on Thursday.  Historian William McKee has written a book on Lowrie "To Die Game:  The Story of the Lowrie Band, Indian Guerrillas of the Reconstruction."

Another panel member, James Martinez of UNC-Pembroke wrote "Confederate Slave Impressment In the Upper South."  This covers the origins of the Lowrie War as Lumbee Indians were being forced to work on Fort Fisher.

Henry Berry Lowrie and his band left a deadly trail through Robeson County.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Events in North Carolina, October 1862: Action Near Fort Caswell

OCTOBER--  Confederate saltworks at Bogue and Currituck Inlets destroyed.

OCTOBER 11--  Action at Cape Fear River.  Engagement with battery at Fort Caswell.

OCTOBER  21--Reconnaissance in New Topsail Inlet.  destruction of schooner Adelaide.

OCTOBER 22--  Capture of British brig Robert Bruce.

OCTOBER 30-NOVEMBER 2--   Naval expedition to Hamilton

--Old B-Runner

Monday, October 2, 2017

Capture of Blockade Runner Sunbeam-- Part 4: Confusing Lights Seen

The Sunbeam was a bark rigged ship with much canvas and resembles an English gunboat "when first seen."  It is a sailing vessel with steam as an auxiliary and can speed along at 13 knots using canvas alone.

The crew said they spotted land last night but became confused by lights it saw which most likely were between the State of Georgia and the Mystic to the mail steamer Massachusetts which had arrived from New York.

Apparently, the Sunbeam threw over 3 guns.  Its cargo consisted of gun powder and army stores.

The letter was sent to the Honorable Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

--Old B-Runner

Capture of Blockade Runner Sunbeam on Sept. 28, 1862-- Part 3

Cmdr. Armstrong of the USS State of Georgia mentioned that the USS Mystic was present at the capture (important as this means the Mystic will receive a share of the prize money).

He was sending along the Sunbeam's logbook and all papers found on the ship (important for finding that the ship was running the blockade so subject to being sold).

There was a large number of persons on the Sunbeam.  They took off John Kidd, fireman; William Caldwell, fireman; Francis Pather, fireman and John McClelland, James Frazer and George Gregg, all seamen.  These six will be sent to New York as soon as possible..

They left on board the master, 2 mates, 2 passengers, 2 engineers and six crew members.

The master of the Sunbeam claims he ran in while in distress, but his choosing early daylight is a typical blockade runner ploy.  He was aware of his position and had steamed west by north and had gotten his fires up at 8 p.m. in preparation to run in.

--Old B-R'er

Capture of Blockade Runner Sunbeam, September 28, 1862-- Part 1

Letter from Cmdr. Armstrong of the USS State of Georgia to adjudication judge in New York City concerning the capture of the Sunbeam.  From ORN.

At daylight, a sail was seen near Smith's Island, a chase was given by the USS State of Georgia and USS Mystic.  The ship proved to be a steamer.  The U.S. colors were on the Union ships and the steamer had English colors.  The ship continued running in, even after a gun was fired to her leeward.

The steamer came within range of Fort Fisher's guns, which opened fire on the Union ships.

More shots fired and the Sunbeam was captured about a mile and a half from Fort Fisher.

The steamer proved to be the Sunbeam, which the U.S. consul in Liverpool had warned would try to run the blockade back on August 6 and that it would be carrying gunpowder and muskets for the Confederate government.

--Old B-R'er

Sunday, October 1, 2017

About the Destruction of the Schooner Sept. 26 and Capture of the Sunbeam Sept. 28

On September 26, I wrote about the USS State of Georgia and USS Mystic chasing a blockade running schooner ashore near Fort Fisher and then in the last post, I wrote that the British steamer Sunbeam had also been captured in the area.

It turns out that the same two ships were also involved with the capture of the Sunbeam.

In the ORN, Cmdr. Armstrong of the USS State of Georgia reported to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles on the two actions.

The capture of the Sunbeam took place along with the USS Mystic.  The blockade runner was now being sent to New York in charge of Acting Master Charles Folsom and a prize crew for adjudication.

He also mentioned that on September 26th, a schooner had endeavored to run the blockade off New Inlet, had been chased ashore under the guns of a battery.  The Mystic and State of Georgia ran in and shelled the camp of the rebels and the battery and effectually destroyed the schooner.

But, No prize Money With the Schooner.  Too Bad.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, September 29, 2017

Events in North Carolina September 1862: Zebulon Vance Becomes Governor

SEPTEMBER  2--  Skirmish at Plymouth.

SEPTEMBER 6--  Confederate attack on Washington, N.C. including naval operations.

SEPTEMBER  7-9--   Expedition of the USS Hunchback up Chowan River.

SEPTEMBER  8--  Zebulon B. Vance becomes  governor of North Carolina.  Conservative party, former U.S. Congressman (1858-1861) and former colonel of the 26th N.C. Regiment.

SEPTEMBER 17-19--  Operations around Shiloh

SEPTEMBER 25--  Attack on blockade runner Kate.

SEPTEMBER 26--  Schooner chased ashore and destroyed near Fort Fisher by USS Mystic and USS State of Georgia.

SEPTEMBER 28--  Capture of blockade runner Sunbeam at New Inlet.  (Captured by USS State of Georgia and USS Mystic,

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Events in North Carolina August 1862: Blockade Runners

From the North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Timeline.

AUGUST   Carolina and schooner evade blockade

AUGUST  3-23  Naval operations on Chowan River.

AUGUST 14-15   Reconnaissance from Newport to Swansborough.

AUGUST 24--  Sinking of the USS Isaac N. Seymour in the Neuse River near New Bern.

AUGUST  27--Escape of blockade runner Kate at Wilmington.

AUGUST 30--  Skirmish near Plymouth.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Knife Found In USS Monitor's Turret-- Part 2: The Top of the Turret Constructed of Railroad Tracks

The roof of the USS Monitor's turret is constructed of railroad tracks which means there are many nooks and crevasses of concretion that has to be taken off.  Lots of places for small items to have fallen while the Monitor was sinking.

Hundreds of items spilled into the turret as the Monitor as it sank.  Two of the missing 16 crew members were found in the turret.

The finds of so many pieces of cutlery in the turret, some of sterling silver, brings forth the question as to why there would be so many.  Perhaps some sailors were trying to steal them or maybe they just tumbled from a drawer below deck.

Most of the knife's blade and all of its wooden handle survive on the knife.  It will be treated and will make a "fantastic addition" to the vessel's collection.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

September 26, 1862: Unknown Blockade Runner Chased Ashore at New Inlet

 SEPTEMBER 26TH, 1862:  USS State of Georgia, Commander Armstrong, and the USS Mystic, Lt. Commander Arnold, chased a blockade running schooner (name unknown) ashore at New Inlet, North Carolina (guarded by the beginnings of Fort Fisher), and destroyed her.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Knife Found in USS Monitor's Turret-- Part 1

From the September 10, 2017, Civil War Picket Blog.

Pieces of cutlery have been found as conservators continue to cut away sediments from the roof of the turret, which is turned upside down.

Last month they found a small knife wedged into one of the rails that forms the turret's ceiling.

So far, they have gathered a collection of over twenty pieces of silverware from various locations in the turret.

The turret is upside down, so sits on its roof in the lab.  Part of the conservators' work consists of removing ocean salts in the iron of the turret.  Then they clear away mud and concretion.  They also know of a fork in an area they can't get at right now.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, September 23, 2017

U.S. Navy Rear Admirals: Navy Grade and Pay Regulations 1862-- Part 2

Level of Navy officers and number allowed

1st  Rear Admiral  (9)
2nd  Commodore  (18)
3rd  Captain   (36)

4th  Commanders   (72)
5th  Lieutenant-Commanders  (144)
6th  Lieutenants  (144)

7th  Masters  (144)
8th  Ensigns  (144)
9th Midshipmen (144)

Vessels in the Navy to be divided into four classes with the best ships as First Rates.  This determined ranks to command these ships.

FIRST RATE--  Commodores
2ND RATE--  Captains
3RD RATE--  Commanders
4TH RATE--  Lt. Comanders

--Old B-R'er

Irma Batters Civil War Sites Along East Coast

From the September 13 and 21 Civil War Picket Blog.

**  Hurricane Irma's flooding swamps Fort Sumter, Fort Pulaski and Fort McAllister.

**  Tropical Storm Irma battered Fort Pulaski which is mopping up and aiming at reopening by next weekend, September 29.  The park closed September 6 when there was a distinct possibility of a direct hit from Irma.  The big problem at the fort was from the flooding, not high winds.

The storm surge at Cockspur Island, where the fort is located, was 12.24 feet.

This is the third natural disaster at Fort Pulaski in less than a year, starting with Hurricane Matthew last September and a tornado in May.

Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, September 22, 2017

Civil War Naval Innovations

Tomorrow, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table discussion group meets at Panera Bread in Crystal lake, Illinois, to talk about Civil War innovations.

Me being a Navy guy, I went with Naval innovations.

1.  Gun turret

2.  ironclads

3.  Monitors

4.  mines, both land and water

5.  submarines

6.  coal torpedoes

7.  Disease warfare--  yellow fever

8.  commerce raiders

9.  Whitworth cannons and rifles

10.  Armstrong guns

11.  Large and small-scale Army-Navy cooperation.

Well, and John Ericsson was an innovation all by himself.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Medical Cadets in the Civil War-- Part 2: Charles Rivers Ellet

Mounting war casualties overwhelmed Army surgeons and often found themselves taking on even greater responsibility.

On August 3, 1861, Congress approved the creation of the Medical Cadets, to consist of up to 50 medical school men ages 18-23 who had a liberal education and at least two years of medical school.

Charles Rivers Ellet was one of them and he wrote in June 1861, even before becoming a medical cadet, that he routinely followed physicians around while they were making their rounds in the Washington, D.C. Army Hospitals to see how they questioned and prescribed to their patients.

So, that Charles R. Ellet.  --Old B-R'er

Medical Cadets of the Civil War-- Part 1: To Dress Wounds

On September 19th, I wrote about an engagement between the Ram Queen of the West and Confederate batteries and infantry near Bolivar, Mississippi.  The Queen of the West was commanded by Medical Cadet Charles R. Ellet.

I have to admit that I had never heard of any medical cadets, so had to do some further research.  There was nothing in Wikipedia, where I looked first, other than a Pre-WWII group called Medical Cadet Corps which I will write about in my World War II blog.

The Civil War's Medical Cadets:  Medical Students Serving the Union from the Journal of American College of Surgeons.

This unit consisted of young medical students created to dress wounds and to act as ambulance attendants.

I would say they were more involved with the Union Army, but since Charles Rivers Ellet, was in command of the ram Queen of the West at the action at Bolicar, Mississippi, I will include them in the Naval blog.  Plus, the general Civil War blog, Saw the Elephant is so involved with this Second Civil War.

--Old B-Cadet

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

U.S. Navy Rear Admirals: Navy Grade and Pay Regulation Act of 1862-- Part 1

On September 12, I wrote about Du Pont thanking Iowa Senator James Grimes for his work in support of the Navy and the creation of of the new Navy rank of rear admiral (I'm sure in part because he would be in line to be one).

JULY 16, 1862   Congress established the rank of rear admiral with David D. Farragut named to be America's first rear admiral.

The act was called:


An Act to establish and equalize the Grade of Line Officers of the United States Navy.

Approved by President Abraham Lincoln July 16, 1862.  This act established the U.S. navy ranks of rear admiral, commodore, lieutenant-commander and ensign.

--Old B-R'er

About the USS Nebraska-- Part 3: The USS Colossus, a Throwback

The ships of the Kalamazoo-class were still being built when the Civil War ended, so their service was not needed.  Construction on all was suspended on 17 November 1865 and they remained in the stocks for the rest of their career.

The Kalamazoo was renamed Colossus 15 June 1869 and Vice Admiral David D. Porter ordered it to be rebuilt to carry ten large broadside guns and fitted with iron masts with ship rig, but this never came to pass.  Kind of a step backward as it was.

The unseasoned wood used in the hull construction soon began to rot after 1874.  The Passaconaway was condemned by Act of Congress 5 August 1882 before finally being broken up in 1884.


USS Nebraska  BB-14  1904-1923
USS Nebraska SSBN-739  1992-today

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 19, 1862: Engagement at Bolivar, Mississippi

SEPTEMBER 19, 1862:  The Ram Queen of the West, Medical Cadet Charles R. Ellet, escorting two troop transports, had a sharp engagement with Confederate infantry and artillery above Bolivar, Mississippi.

Medical Cadet is sort of a strange rank for someone commanding a ship.  I'll have to look into this.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, September 18, 2017

About the USS Nebraska-- Part 2: The Four Kalamazoo-Class Monitors

There were fours hips in the class.  Names, Where built, when laid down, renamed and scrapped.  All were suspended November 17, 1865.

KALAMAZOO--   Brooklyn Navy Yard--  1863--  Renamed Colossus 1869--  1884

PASSACONAWAY--  Portsmouth Navy Yard (Kittery, Me.)-- 18 Nov. 1863--  Thunderer and Massachusetts in 1869--  1884

QUINSIGAMUND--  Boston Navy Yard--  15 April 1864--  Hercules and Oregon in 1869--  1884

SHACKAMAXON--  Philadelphia Navy Yard--  Late 1863--  Hecia and Nebraska 1869--  January 1874

--Old B-R'er

About the Transport Nebraska at Eunice, Arkansas-- Part 1: USS Nebraska (Monitor)

I found this ship, the Nebraska listed as a Union gunboat in Wikipedia and a transport in the Civil War Chronology.  I tried to look it up, but couldn't find anything under army transport Nebraska.  I looked up USS Nebraska as well.  I had never heard of a USS Nebraska before.

There was a USS Nebraska, though.  It was the never-commissioned Kalamazoo-class monitor Shakamaxon given that name in 1869.  The Kalamazoo-class  were ocean-going monitors and consisted of four ships.

Construction on the ships began in 1863 through April 1964.

They were 345 feet long, 56.8 foot beam and were the largest of all monitors with two turrets mounting muzzle-loading 15-inch Dahlgren guns.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, September 15, 2017

Senator James W. Grimes of Iowa: Friend of the Navy

On September 12, 2017, I wrote about Iowa Senator James W, Grimes who was thanked by Naval officer Du Pont for his work furthering the Union Navy.

From Wikipedia

James Wilson Grimes  October 20, 1816 to February 7, 1872  Third governor of Iowa and U.S. senator from Iowa.  Born in New Hampshire.  Governor of Iowa 1854-1858.  Elected U.S. senator 1859 as a Republican.  Reelected in 1865.

In 1861, he was a member of the Peace Commission in Washington, D.C. in an attempt to avoid the coming war.

In December 1861 he introduced the bill o create the Medal of Honor (initially only for the Navy and Marines).

He served on the Committee on Naval Affairs and the Joint Commission on Reconstruction and drafted the 14th Amendment.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Col. William Raynor-- Part 2: Commanded the 56th Ohio at Eunice

He was later wounded at the Red River Landing below Vicksburg where he was decorated for bravery.

At red River, he gave his men the order to disembark from their boats, but the men on the lower decks did not get the message.  Raynor did not realize that he didn't have his whole regiment until he got to the top of the hill.

He ordered his aide to go back and get the rest of them, but the aide was to afraid, so Raynor went himself and was shot in the leg.

After the war he became a brigadier general in the Grand Army of the Republic and very active in it.

He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Colonel William H. Raynor, Commanded Union Troops At Eunice, Arkansas-- Part 1

From the Historic Woodlawn Cemetery site.

Colonel William H. Raynor

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the 1st Ohio Infantry Regiment and was captured at the 1st Battle of Bull Run and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond.  He escaped after 17 days and reached the safety of Union lines.

The story goes that while on his way, a Confederate spotted him and was going to shoot when he saw Raynor's Masonic pin and allowed him to pass by.

When he reached home, he organized the 56th Ohio and was elected its colonel.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September 12, 1862: Senator Grimes of Iowa Pushes the Navy

SEPTEMBER 12TH, 1862:  Rear Admiral Du Pont wrote Senator Grimes of Iowa expressing his "warm appreciation of your tremendous labors in behalf of the Navy during the last session.  I believe this to be emphatically the opinion of the whole service."

Grimes had strongly backed the bill creating the rank of Rear Admiral in the Navy.

In reply, the Senator stated:  "I am in no wise deserving of the kind compliments you lavish upon me .... you know that up to my time [in Congress] it was supposed that all information  in relation to your branch of the public service was confined to a select 'guild' about the Atlantic cities, no one from the interior having presumed to know anything about it.

"If i have been of any real service it has been in breaking down and eradicating that idea. , in  assisting to nationalize the Navy -- in making frontiersmen as well as the longshoreman feel that he was interested in it and partook of its glory."

--Old B-Runner

The End of Eunice, Arkansas, Part 2: "Not a Single Vestige Remains"

Continued from September 2, 2017.

On June 14, 1863, Confederates at Eunice, Arkansas, fired artillery on the USS Marmora.  A fight ensued and the Marmora anchored off Eunice.  The next morning, the USS Nebraska was fired on as it approached Eunice.

Both ships bombarded the town and then sent a party ashore.  They set fire to stores, houses and the railroad depot, and completely destroyed the town,  The Marmora's captain remarked in his report. "not a single vestige of the town of Eunice remains."

I could not find anything about a USS Nebraska.

Of interest, no Confederates were found in the town.

Today, Yellow Bend Port, a modern industrial port is located where the town of Eunice once stood.  Nothing else of Eunice remains.

--Old B-R'er

New Theory For Death of Hunley's Crew-- Part 4: "Blast Lung"

The explosion of the torpedo at the end of the Hunley's spar set off a pressure wave inside the submarine that would have caused lethal blast trauma.  There would have also been immediate fatal lung trauma from the blast, known as "Blast Lung."  This would explain the lack of apparent injuries to the the skeletons of the the crew.

So, death would have been instantaneous and then the Hunley and its lifeless crew would have drifted with the current.

It would be interesting if they knew the currents in Charleston Harbor which might have caused the Hunley to end up in its final resting place after the crew was dead.  If they could prove this, this new theory would probably be the one that explains what happened.

However, Navy researchers have their doubts about her theory.

Rachel Lance says that two measurements are absolutely important:  the thickness of the Hunley's hull and the distance it was from the charge when it went off.

Always Interesting.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, September 11, 2017

Where Were You 9-11?

As for Liz and myself, I was already at John T. Magee Middle School in Round Lake, Illinois, teaching my seventh graders social studies.  Another teacher came down the hall between 1st and 2nd period and told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.

After the second plane hit, she told me that information and I realized this was not just an accidental thing.  I couldn't get the TV to work so turned on my radio and we spent the rest of the day listening and talking about what was happening.  This was also the subject of the next week in class.

Liz was on a later start at Ellis Elementary School in Round Lake Beach and first heard about it at home.  When she got to school, it was decided that all the teachers would not talk about it at all.  She taught third grade.

All seven of my blogs today will be devoted to 9-11.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

New Theory About the Hunley's Demise-- Part 3: Killed By Their Own Weapon

Rachel Lance lacked access to the actual submarine (which I think is too bad as she also is searching for answers) so she used a scale model of the Hunley.   She first used compressed gas at first to simulate an explosion.  Then she used scaled down black powder.

She placed her scale model in a pond and measured the pressure inside and outside of it when the explosion took place.

Water transmits blasts well.  Sadly, the Hunley had a very thin hull, unlike today's submarines.

This proved fatal to the Hunley's crew according to her research.

--Old B-R'er

New Theory As to Deaths of Hunley's Crew-- Part 2: Underwater Explosions

Continued from September 4, 2017.

Rachel Lance wrote a paper on her research as part of her dissertation for her Ph.D last year.

Researchers of the Hunley's demise have been puzzled because none of the skeletons of the crew  had broken bones, the submarine was mostly intact and from the positions of the bones, there had been no attempt to escape.  All were still at their stations.  In the past it was believed they either drowned or suffocated.

Lance and her research team conducted a series of experiments.

She is a big history buff and was in the U.S. Navy and had been studying the effects of underwater explosions on unprotected swimmers and became intrigued by this application to the Hunley.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, September 8, 2017

Some More On the Army Gunboat Picket-- Part 2: Artifacts Recovered

The shipwreck has shifted over the years due to hurricanes and now points northward.  Many divers have brought up many artifacts.  Many artifacts were damaged or destroyed many years ago when the Tar River by Washington, N.C., was dredged.  Most of those items were plates and other breakable items.

Artifacts like muskets, bayonets, ship's compass, a brass megaphone type horn, cleats, bullets, etc. have been recovered.

When the ship exploded, the heat must have been extremely intense as the compass is partially melted in a couple of places.

The Picket was also at the Battle of Tranter's Creek in North Carolina on June 5, 1862.  Its captain Sylvester D. Nicholl also commanded there.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Some More On the U.S. Army Gunboat Picket-- Part 1: Wreck Can Be Seen At Really Low Tide

From the Roots Web Civil War.

Cornell University has the Making of America Project which has several pages on the gunboat Picket.

A person wrote to the person making the inquiry on this site with more information.

The Picket is in the Tar River on the western side of the Highway 17 Bridge crossing from Chocowinity, N.C., to Washington, N.C..  The bridge is the separation point between the Pamlico and Tar rivers.  On days when the tide is way out, you can see a portion of the wreck.

It is well-marked to keep boats from hitting it.

--Old B-R'er

U.S. Army Gunboat Picket: Blew Up Off Washington, N.C.

In yesterday's post, I wrote about the Battle of Washington, N.C., where Union forces came under a surprise attack by Confederates on September 6, 1862.  I have written about the ship before.  Just hit the label for Picket (t) US Army gunboat.

From the Encyclopedia North Carolina.


The ship fought in the sounds and rivers of North Carolina until it sank in the Tar River off the town of Washington on September 6, 1862.  It was originally a civilian ship purchased by the Union to assist in General Burnside's Expedition against Roanoke Island.

There was a larger side-wheel steamer named Picket which often gets confused for this one.

It was oine of seven vessels described as a motley fleet in the expedition.  Burnside's officers and men even had some concerns as to these ships' seaworthiness.  To show his confidence in then, Gen. Burnside used the Picket, which was the smallest ship, as his flagship.

The Picket proved a great choice because of its shallow draft and did a fine job covering troop landings at Roanoke, New Bern and Fort Macon.On 6 September 1862, the Picket and gunboat USS Louisiana were in the Tar River off Washington, N.C., when Confederates launched a surprise attack on the town.  Both ships went into action.

The Picket got off one shot before it exploded and sank in the river, killing its captain, Sylvester D. Nicholl, along with 18 crewmen and 6 wounded.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September 6, 1862: Confederate Surprise Attack On Washington, N.C.

SEPTEMBER 6TH, 1862:  The USS Louisiana, Acting Lt. Richard Y. Renshaw, joined with Union troops in repelling a Confederate attack on Washington, North Carolina.

Lajor General John G. Foster reported that the Louisiana "rendered most efficient aid, throwing her shells with great precision, and clearing the streets, through which her guns had range."

U.S. Army gunboat Picket was destroyed by an accidental magazine explosion during the engagement.

The USS Louisiana later was the powder vessel that blew up off Fort Fisher before the first attack on the fort in 1864.

More Army-Navy Cooperation.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, September 4, 2017

New Theory on How H.L. Hunley Submariners Died-- Part 1

From the August 30, 2017, Duke University Chronicle "Duke alumnus discovers mysterious cause of death of Confederate soldiers aboard submarine" by Claire Xiau.

Pleasant news out of Duke after that desecration of the Civil War statue last month.

Eight Confederate soldiers on the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in combat, were killed by their own weapon.

In February 1864, the Hunley sank the USS Housatonic in less than five minutes using 135 pounds of black powder.  The submarine never returned to its Charleston, S.C., base and was lost for a long time before being found in 1995.

Since then, researchers have been looking for the reason why they died.

Rachel Lance, a former Ph.D student in Duke's Department of Biomedical Engineering performed experiments using explosives on a scale model of the Hunley (using scaled down explosives) and found that the shockwave from the explosion killed the crew.

So Far, To Me, This Is the Best Explanation  --Old B-Runner

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The End of Eunice, Arkansas-- Part 1: A Railroad Town

From Wikipedia.

Eunice was also called Eunice Landing and Railroad Township.  It is a ghost town on the Mississippi River in Chicot County, Arkansas.

It was completely destroyed by the Union Army in the Civil War (well, the Navy, actually).

It was the eastern terminus of the Mississippi, Ouachita and Red River Railroad (MO&RR)  Construction on it began in 1852 and by the start of the war, they had seven miles of track completed west of Eunice.

The railroad was completed after the Civil War, but abandoned in 1875 after Mississippi River flooding.  Today Arkansas Highway 208 between Eunice and Halley is built on top of the abandoned railroad.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, September 1, 2017

Since We're On the Subject, the End of Eunice, Arkansas, in 1863

From the Civil War Naval Chronology.

JUNE 13-15, 1863.

Confederate guerrillas fired on the USS Marmora, Acting Lt. Robert Getty, near Eunice, Arkansas, and on the morning of the 14th, fired upon the transport Nebraska.

In retaliation, Getty sent a landing party ashore and destroyed the town, "including the railroad depot, with locomotive and car inside, also the large warehouse ...."

The next day, 15 June, landing parties from the Marmora and USS Prairie Bird, Acting Lt. Edward E. Brennand, destroyed the town of Gaines Landing in retaliation for a guerrilla attempt to burn the Union coal barge there and for firing on the Marmora.

Moral of This Story, Don't Shoot At the Union Ships, or Else.  --Old B-Runner

The Eunice (Arkansas) Expedition-- Part 4: Captured the Wharf Boat

At around noon on August 30, the small fleet reached Eunice, Arkansas.  The wharf boat was captured and prepared for towing to Helena.

(A wharf boat is a boat moored and used for a wharf at a bank of a river or in a like situation where the height of the water is so variable that a fixed wharf in impracticable.  One source here said that the one at Eunice was being used as a hotel.)

A man named Mason, who was suspected of being a guerrilla was arrested as was the river watchman, John McDonald.

Military supplies left by Confederates were gathered and the Union force returned to Helena, arriving September 3.

The Little-Big Engagement at Eurnice.  --Old B-R'er

The Eunice Expedition, Aug. 28-Sep. 3, 1863-- Part 3:

On August 29, 1862, the USS Pittsburg shelled the shoreline ans 175 soldiers disembarked and marched about 2 miles inland.  The Confederates had already evacuated most of the supplies and after a volley from the Union troops, fled  the area.

Another Union force of 50 soldiers under Captain Manning of Co. A, engaged a Confederate guerrilla force, killing one, wounding one and capturing another.

The Union troops reboarded their transports and disembarked again at Montgomery Point on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River where they were expecting to find two Confederate cannons, but none were found.

Army-Navy Cooperation.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Eunice (Arkansas) Expedition-- Part 2: To "Annoy" the Enemy

In August 1862, General Samuel Curtis, commander of the Army of the Southwest, dispatched a Navy-Army force from Helena to Eunice with the purpose of capturing a wharf boat, gather information on Confederates in the Eunice area and to "annoy" the enemy.

On August 28, 1862, 200 men of the 56th Ohio and two pieces of artillery from the 1st Iowa Battery boarded the steamers White Cloud and Iatan.  They were commanded by Colonel William H. Raynor.  The ironclad USS Pittsburg (correct spelling of this ship, so no "h") escorted the two steamships.  The destination was Eunice.

At Carson's Landing they received information from a contraband that there were 200-300 Confederates encamped nearby.  Because of night, no action was taken and the ships anchored.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Eunice Expedition, August 28-September 3-- Part 1: 56th Ohio and 1st Iowa Battery

From the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.

It was led by Lt. Col. William H. Raynor and Col. Starke and consisted of the 56th Regiment, Ohio Volunteers and the 1st Iowa Battery of Colonel Starke's brigade.

They fought an unidentified Confederate guerrilla band.

Casualties:  U.S.--  none
Confederate--  1 killed, 1 wounded, 1 captured.

Two steamboats, the White Cloud and Iatan, carried the troops and were escorted by the USS Pittsburg.

It was a Union victory.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

August 29, 1862: Expedition to Eunice, Arkansas

AUGUST 29TH, 1862:  The USS Pittsburg, Lt. Thompson, escorted steamers  White Cloud and Iatan with Army troops on board to Eunice, Arkansas.  The gunboat shelled and dispersed Confederate forces from a camp above Carson's Landing on the Mississippi shore.

Landing the troops under cover of the Pittsburg's guns for reconnaissance missions en route, Lt. Thompson at Eunice seized a large wharf boat, fitted out as a floating hotel.

This type of persistent patrolling of the Mississippi River and its tributaries by the Union Navy in support if Army operations was instrumental in preventing the Confederates from establishing firm positions.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, August 28, 2017

Ann Bradford Stokes-- Part 6: Where Is She Buried? She Needs At least a Marker

Belknap, Illinois and Johnson County, Illinois.

From Wikipedia.

Located in the southern tip of Illinois in an area known as "Little Egypt."

The county was named for Richard M. Johnson, who commanded a regiment during the War of 1812 at the battle of the Thames.  After this  battle he claimed to have killed the great Indian Chief Tecumseh in hand-to-hand combat.  He also was a U.S. senator and Vice President under Martin Van Buren.  I will write  about him in my War of 1812 Not So Forgotten Blog.

I went to Find-a-Grave and went through the cemeteries in Belknap where Ann Stokes might have been buried.  She was not listed in Beleau, Belknap Masonic, Berreau, Flynn (Wildcat), Goodman or Miller cemeteries which are in Belknap.

I would sure like to find out where she was buried as her grave should definitely be marked.  Perhaps a marker should be put up somewhere as well.

Again, Quite a Woman.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ann Bradford Stokes-- Part 5: A Remarkable Black Woman

The pension office asked the Navy to review her case and the Navy certified that Ann Stokes had actually served 18 months as a "boy" in their service on the Red Rover and that she had a pensionable disability.  In 1890, she was granted a pension of $12 a month, which was the amount usually awarded those who had served as nurses at the time.

She continued to live in Belknap, Illinois, with her husband, one child, two step children until her death in 1903.

Ann Stokes is a remarkable woman for several reasons.  She is one of the first women to ever be enlisted in the Navy at the time and is the only known one to have applied for a pension.  She received that pension based on her own service, not her husbands'.

Quite a Woman.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ann Bradford Stokes-- Part 4: Two Marriages and Pension Applications

Shortly after leaving the Navy in 1864, Ann Stokes married Gilbert Stokes, a black man employed on the Red Rover.  They moved to Illinois where he died in 1866.  She remarried George Bowman in 1867 and lived on a farm in Illinois.

In the 1880s, she applied unsuccessfully for a pension based on her marriage to Stokes and Bowman.  The pension process was even more difficult because she could not read or write.

As her health grew worse, she reapplied again for a pension in 1890, stating that she had "piles and heart disease."    She had by then learned to read and write and put down her own arguments, emphasizing that she was basing her claim on her own military service, not a former husband.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Ann Bradford Stokes-- Part 3: Born a Slave, Served As Nurse in U.S. Navy


Ann Bradford was born a slave in Rutherford County, Tennessee, in 1830.  Few other details are known of her young life.  She was taken aboard a Union ship in January 1863 as "contraband" (an escaped slave).  She volunteered to serve as a nurse that month.

The United States Navy enlisted several young black women into their service and gave the rank of "first class boy" and paid them accordingly.  She stayed on active duty on the USS Red Rover until October 1864 when she became totally exhausted and resigned her position.

--Old B-R'er

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ann Stokes, Black Navy Nurse on USS Red Rover-- Part 2: The First

Ann Stokes was taken aboard a Union Naval vessel as "contraband" in 1863.  She could not read or write as was common with slaves at the time.  She worked under the direction of the Holy Cross nuns on the hospital ship USS Red Rover, the first-ever U.S. Navy dedicated hospital ship.

She was also the first black woman to serve on a U.S. Navy vessel and among the first women to serve as nurses in the Navy.

The Red Rover was a converted Confederate paddle-wheel steamer and became the first U.S. Navy hospital ship.  During the war nearly 3,000 men were treated aboard the ship.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21, 1862: Blockade Runner Captured Off Shallotte Inlet, NC

AUGUST 21ST, 1862:  The USS Bienville, Commander Mullany, captured British blockade runner Eliza, bound from Nassau to Shallotte Inlet, North Carolina.

I can't help but chuckle at the story some friends of my mom who lived in the town if Shallotte, NC,  told her about the time they ordered some furniture from a place in Raleigh, NC, and the truck didn't show y\up.  They waited and waited and finally found out that the truck had gone to Charlotte, NC.

Oh, Well.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, August 18, 2017

Ann Stokes, Black Navy Nurse On the Hospital Ship Red Rover-- Part 1

Back on August 8 of this year, I wrote about Ann Stokes, believed to be the first black woman to serve on a U.S. Navy ship.  She was a former slave who became a volunteer nurse on the U.S. Navy's hospital ship, the USS Red Rover, stationed at Mound City, Illinois.

From Binding Wounds Pushing Boundaries:  African Americans in Civil War Medicine, Nursing the Wounded.

They wrote about two black women:  Susie King Taylor and Ann Stokes, both former slaves who gained their freedom.  I will write about Susie King Taylor in my Saw the Elephant blog.

Both served as care givers Taylor treated the wounded on battlefields but received no pay or compensation.

Stokes served several years on a hospital ship and was paid regular wages.  She became the only black woman to draw a Navy pension based on her service during the war.

More to Come.  --Old B-R'er