Fort Fisher

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

Friday, April 28, 2017

Fort Fisher to Observe Confederate Memorial Day Saturday, April 29

From the April 20, 2017, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural resources.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at 10 a.m. at the Confederate statue at Battle Acre at Fort Fisher.

The event is hosted by the Fort Fisher State Historical Site and the Fort Fisher Chapter 2325 United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC).

A new historical marker will be dedicated by UDC North Carolina Division President Peggy W. Johnson.

John M. Mosely, Assistant Site Manager at the fort will be the featured speaker and will address the attributes of the character of Confederate soldiers, sailors and Marines serving at Fort Fisher.

A color guard of the Columbus Volunteers Camp 794, Sons of Confederate Veterans will present the colors.  There will also be a canteen ceremony and local historical organizations will place wreaths at the base of the Confederate monument.

I am sure my Friends of Fort Fisher and Federal Point Historical Society will also be there.

--Old B-Runner

April 30, 1862: USS Santiago de Cuba Captures a Blockade Runner

APRIL 30TH, 1862:  The USS Santiago de Cuba, Commander Ridgley, captured schooner Maria of Port Royal, South Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

April 29, 1862: Action on the Dawho River, S.C.

APRIL 29TH, 1862:  Expedition under Lt. Alexander C. Rhind in the USS E. B. Hale landed and destroyed a Confederate battery at Grimball's, Dawho River, South Carolina, and exchanged fire with field pieces near Slann's Bluff.

--Old B-R'er

April 28, 1862: Forts Jackson and St. Philip Surrender

APRIL 28TH, 1862:  Forts Jackson and St. Philip, isolated since being  passed by Flag Officer Farragut's  fleet and the fall of New Orleans, surrendered to the Navy; the terms of capitulation were signed on board the USS Harriet Lane, Commander David Dixon Porter's flagship.

The CSS Louisiana, Defiance and McRae were destroyed to prevent their capture.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ryder Lewis Park, Carolina Beach, N.C.

The federal Point Historical Preservation Society put out a bulletin last week alerting members that the proposed Ryder Lewis Park, across US-421 from it and the Carolina Beach Municipal building, was on the agenda for the town council's meeting at 6 p.m. on April 25, 2017.

A park is proposed for the site which also contains part of the Confederate Sugar Loaf defensive line which came into play after the fall of Fort Fisher.

Here's hoping this park comes to be.  Right now, the land is fairly unusable.

--Old B-R'er

April 27, 1862: Fort Livingston in Louisiana Surrenders

APRIL 27TH, 1862:  Fort Livingston, Bastian Bay, Louisiana, surrendered to the Navy.  Boat crew from the USS Kittatinny raised the United States flag over the fort.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April 26,1862: Farragut Gives Thanks

APRIL 26TH, 1862:  Flag Officer Farragut, from his flagship USS Hartford, issued a general order after his victory at New Orleans:  "Eleven o'clock this morning is the hour appointed for all the officers and crews of the fleet to return thanks to Almighty God for His great goodness and mercy in permitting to us to pass through the events of the last two days with so little loss of life and blood,

"At that hour the church pennant will be hoisted on every vessel of the fleet, and their crews assembled in humiliation and prayer, make their acknowledgements therefor to the great dispenser of all human events."

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New Orleans Surrenders-- Part 2: A Major Blow to the Confederacy

With the rapid capitulation of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, the delta of the Mississippi was open to the water-borne movement of Union forces which were free to steam upriver to join those coming south in the great pincer which would sever the Confederacy/

"Thus," reported Union Secretary of Navy Welles, "the great southern depot of the trade of the immense central valley of the Union was once more opened to commercial intercourse and the emporium of that wealthy region was restored to national authority; the mouth of the Mississippi was under our control and an outlet for the great West to the ocean was secured."

The only problem, however, was that the Confederacy still held vital points along the river, and until they were captured, the Union didn't control the whole river, but this was a big step.

And, the North now had quite the Naval Hero in Farragut.

--Old B-Runner

April 25, 1862: New Orleans Surrenders-- Part 1

APRIL 25, 1862:  Flag Officer Farragut's fleet, having silenced Confederate batteries at Chalmette en route, anchored before New Orleans.  High water in the river allowed the ships' guns to dominate the city over the levee top.

Captain Bailey went ashore to demand the surrender.  The Common Council of New Orleans resolved that:  "...having been advised by the military authorities that the city is indefensible, [we] declare that no resistance will be made to the forces of the United States."

The loss of New Orleans, the largest and wealthiest seaport in the South, was a critical blow to the Confederacy.

And, now, They Take Down their Confederate Monuments.  --Old B-Runner

Monday, April 24, 2017

Farragut Runs Past Forts Jackson and St. Philip-- Part 2

APRIL 24TH, 1864:  The USS Varuna was rammed by two Confederate ships and sunk.  In the ensuing melee, the CSS Warrior, Stonewall Jackson, General Lovell, and Breckinridge, tender Phoenix, steamers Star and Belle Algerine and Louisiana gunboat General Quitman were destroyed.

The armored ram CSS Manassas was driven ashore by the USS Mississippi and sunk.  Steam tenders CSS Landis and W. Burton surrendered; Resolute and Governor Moore were destroyed to prevent capture.

"The destruction of the Navy at New Orleans," wrote Confederate Secretary of Navy Mallory, "was a sad, sad blow...."

When the Union Navy passed the forts and disposed of the Confederate forces afloat, the fate of New Orleans was decided.  Farragut had achieved a brilliant victory, one which gave true meaning to Farragut's own words:  "The great man in our country must not only plan but execute."

He Sure Did.  Now, On the Anniversary of This, the Confederate monuments in New Orleans Begin to Come Down.  A Double Sad Day in New Orleans History.  --Old B-R'er

April 24, 1862: Farragut Runs Past Forts Jackson and St. Philip-- Part 1

APRIL 24TH, 1862:  Flag Officer Farragut's fleet ran past Forts Jackson and St. Philip and engaged the defending Confederate flotilla.  At 2:00 a.m., the USS Hartford had shown Farragut's signal for the fleet to get underway in three divisions to steam through the breach in the obstructions which had been opened earlier by the USS Pinola and Itasca.

A withering fire from the forts was answered by roaring broadsides from the forts.  The Hartford grounded in the swift current by Fort St. Philip, was set afire by a Confederate firecraft.  Farragut's leadership and the disciplined training of the crew saved the flagship.

A Sad Day for the Confederacy.  April Was Not a Nice Month.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, April 21, 2017

April 23, 1862: News From Fort Jackson Under Bombardment

APRIL 23RD, 1862:  Brigadier General Duncan, the commander of Fort Jackson, wrote General Lowell in New Orleans:  "Heavy and continued bombardment all night, and still progressing.  No further casualties, except two men slightly wounded.

"God is certainly protecting us.  We are still cheerful, and have an abiding faith in our ultimate success.  We are making repairs as best we can.  Our barbette guns are still in working order.  Most of them have been disabled at times.

"The health of the troops continues good.  twenty-five thousand [actually about five thousand] XIII-inch shells have been fired by the enemy, thousands of which fell in the fort.  They must soon exhaust themselves; if not, we can stand it as long as they can."

Getting near the End, Though.  --Old B-R'er

April 22, 1862: Action At Aransas Pass, Texas

APRIL 22ND, 1862:  Two boats from the USS Arthur, Acting Lt. Kittredge, captured a schooner and two sloops at Aransas Pass, Texas, but were forced to abandon the prizes and their own boats when attacked by Confederate vessels and troops.

Always Seems It Should Be Arkansas Pass To Me.  --Old B-Runner

Clearing the New Orleans Obstructions-- Part 2

Farragut continued:  "They let the chain go, but the man sent to explode the petard did not succeed; his wires broke.  Bell would have burned the hulks, but the illumination would have given the enemy a chance to destroy his gunboat, which had got aground.

"However, the chain was divided and it gives us space enough to go through."

Preparing to Attack.  --Old B-R'er

April 21, 1862: Farragut Writes About His Delay In Attacking New Orleans-- Part 1

APRIL 21ST, 1862:  Flag Officer Farragut explained the delay in the attack on New Orleans:  "We have been bombarding the forts for three or four days, but the current is running so strong that we cannot stem it sufficiently to do anything with our ships, so that I am now waiting a change of wind, which brings a slacker tide, and we shall be enabled to run up....

"Captain Bell went last night to cut the chain across the river.  I never felt such anxiety in my life as I did until his return.  One of his vessels got on shore, and I was fearful she would be captured.  They kept up a tremendous fire on him; but Porter diverted their fire with a heavy cannonade."

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, April 20, 2017

USS Maria J. Carlton-- Part 2: Sunk Near Fort Jackson on the Mississippi River

The Maria J. carlton was assigned to the mortar flotilla at New Orleans and got underway for that spot in mid-February.  It ran into a heavy gale off Cape Hatteras which carried away the ship's mainmast, rigging and sails.  It arrived at station 18 March 1862.


It operated in the 2nd Division of Porter's Mortar Flotilla.

On the second day of the mortar bombardment, April 19, 1862, a Confederate shell struck her magazine and tore a large hole in the ship's bottom and it quickly sank.

Two crew members were wounded.

--Old B-R'er

April 20, 1862: Union Ships Breach Fort Jackson Obstructions

APRIL 20TH, 1862:  The USS Itasca, Lt. Caldwell, and USS Pinola, Lt. Crosby, under the direction of Commander Bell, breached the obstructions below Forts Jackson and St. Philip under heavy fire, opening the way for Flag Officer Farragut's fleet.

Brigadier General Johnson K. Duncan, CSA, commanding the forts, complained that the River Defense Fleet had sent no fire rafts down "to light up the river or distract the attention of the enemy at night" and had stationed no ship below top warn of the approach of the Itasca and Pinola.

This lack of coordination proved most costly to the Confederacy.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

USS Maria J. Carlton-- Part 1: Mortar Boat

From Wikipedia.

I had never heard of this ship before.  In the last post I wrote that this ship was sunk while engaged with Fort Jackson guarding New Orleans.

The Maria J. Carlton was a schooner acquired by the U.S. Navy and used as a mortar boat, fitted with a 13-inch mortar and two 12-pdr. rifled howitzers.  It was 178 tons, 98 feet long and 27-foot beam.

Mortars could fire up and above a target instead of directly at it..

It was purchased at Middletown, Ct. on 15 October 1861 and converted at New York Navy Yard.  Commissioned 29 January 1862 with Acting master Charles E. jack commanding.

--Old B-R'er

April 19, 1862: Union Mortar Boat Maria J. Carlton Sunk

APRIL 19TH, 1862:  Mortar schooner USS Maria J. Carlton, Acting Master Charles E. Jack, bombarding Fort Jackson, was sunk by Confederate fire.

Commander Bell observed that the Confederate guns were being worked "beautifully and with effect."

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Major William C. Clemens At Fort Fisher-- Part 4: With Lincoln in Richmond

Major Clemens was one of four men guarding President Lincoln when he visited Richmond, Virginia, shortly after the fall of the Confederate capital.

In a letter written after Lincoln's assassination, Clemens wrote:  "Here it is!  Here it is!  I can hardly realize the fact that the president is dead, as it has only been a few days since I had the pleasure of entering Richmond with him and passing as he did safely through the city without any protection whatever."

After the war, he was a bookkeeper for the Lehigh Valley Coal Company.  He died June 2, 1894 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania and is buried in the Church of Brethern Cemetery in Germantown, Philadelphia County.

--Old B-R'er

April 18, 1862: Mortar Boats Open Fire on Fort Jackson

APRIL 18TH, 1862:  Union mortar boats under Commander D.D, Porter, began a five-day bombardment of Fort Jackson.  Moored some 3,000 yards from the fort, they concentrated their heavy shells, some weighing up to 285 pounds, for six days and nights at the nearest fort from which they were hidden by intervening woods.

The garrison heroically endured the fire and stuck to their guns.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, April 17, 2017

Major William C. Clemens at Fort Fisher-- Part 3: "We Have Possession"

Continuing with Major Clemens' letter from Fort Fisher.

"...At daylight we, that is the navy, commenced shelling the Fort and after a vigorous shelling until about two o'clock the troops as well as a force of sailors and marines made an assault upon the works..

"The advance was badly cut up whilst the sailors and canals were driven back with heavy loss but the soldiers kept steadily forward gaining traverse after traverse of the Fort until finally at eleven p.m. the signal was made to me 'Cease firing on the fort as we have possession.'

"The fighting has been severe and hard and many a poor fellow has gone to his last home but we have possession of Fort Fisher but I can not say anything about the balance of the works beyond although it is natural to suppose that it is all a victory."

Word From the Front.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, April 14, 2017

Farragut Prepares to Attack the Forts Guarding New Orleans

Most of the other ships in Mitchell's squadron were small, makeshift gunboats.  There was also a number of fire rafts readied to be set afire and set adrift to flow with the current into the midst of the wooden Union fleet.

Against these combined defenses, Farragut, flying his flag on the USS Hartford, brought seventeen ships carrying 154 guns and a squadron of 20 mortar boats under Commander D.D. Porter.

--Old B-Runer

April 16, 1862: Farragut Moves His Fleet In for Attack on Forts Jackson and St. Philip-- Part 1


APRIL 16TH, 1862:  Flag Officer Farragut, after careful planning and extensive preparations, moved his fleet up the Mississippi to a position below Forts Jackson and St. Philip, guarding the approaches to New Orleans and mounting over 100 guns.

High water in the river had flooded the forts.  Confederate garrisons worked night and day to control the water and strengthen the forts against the impending attack.  A chain obstruction supported by ship hulks spanned the river.

Above the forts a Confederate flotilla under Flag Officer John K. Mitchell, included the potentially powerful but uncompleted ironclad Louisiana.

--Old B-Runner

April 15, 1862: Blockade Runner Captured Odd S.C.


APRIL 15TH, 1862:  The USS Keystone State, Commander LeRoy, captured blockade runner Success off Georgetown, South Carolina.

The Success Wasn't So Successful.  --Old B-R'er

April 14, 1862: Union Mortar Boats Commence Bombardment on Fort Pillow

APRIL 14TH, 1862:  Union mortar boats of Flag Officer Foote's force commenced regular bombardment of Fort Pillow, Tennessee -- the next Army-Navy objective on the Union's drive down the Mississippi River.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Major William Clemens-- Part 2: At Fort Fisher

In December 1864 and January 1865, Major Clemens served as chief signal officer to Admiral David D. Porter in the two attacks on Fort Fisher.  He was also one of the soldiers who escorted President Lincoln when he visited Richmond in April 1865, shortly after the Confederate capital was evacuated.

During the attacks on Fort Fisher, he was aboard the admiral's flagship, the USS Malvern.  It was his job to coordinate signals between the Army force ashore and the naval units.

Around midnight, January 16, 1865. he wrote his father:  "I am in the midst of excitement and am so completely worn out and tired that it would be impossible for me to write much.  We have been fighting all day (January 15) and fighting hard and I have been kept busy from daylight until now and even now I may be called at any moment to receive messages."

--Old B-R'er

April 13, 1862: Recon of Mississippi River Below the Forts

APRIL 13TH, 1862:  Coast Survey party under Ferdinand H. Gerdes, begins surveying the Mississippi River below Forts Jackson and St. Philip.  Harassed by fire from the forts and riflemen on the river banks, Gerdes' party worked for five days to provide Flag Officer Farragut with a reliable map of the river, forts, water batteries and obstructions across the river.

In Preparation for the Attack.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Major William Clemens, Signal Officer, Assisted the Navy at Fort Fisher-- Part 1

From the December 8, 2016, Harrisburg (Pa.) Herald "Civil War soldier's letters donated to Schuykill County Historical Society" by Stephen J. Pytak.

Major William W. Clemens, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, wrote numerous letters home.  On Friday, October 7, 2017, Mary Jean Pelham, 82, of Ellington, Connecticut, dropped off 172 letters, some as long as 3-4-5 pages.

He was born in Pottsville on November 21, 1838, and Clemens graduated from West Chester Academy in April 1861.  He joined the Washington Artillerists as a private and marched with the Pennsylvania First defenders to defend Washington, D.C..  They arrived at Harrisburg on April 18, 1861.

--Old B-R'er

Well, There Were Weeki Wachee Mermaids at Fort Fisher Last Month

Still looking for information on this Fort Fisher Mermaid, but, while searching, I did come across mention that the world-famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids were at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher back on March 3-5 and March10-12, 2017.

I really don't think these were the mermaids in question from yesterday's post.

Smells Fishy to Me.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Fort Fisher Mermaid?

I came across mention of this Fort Fisher Mermaid as being located at the North Carolina Museum of the Bizarre in Wilmington.

I was unable to find our anything at all about it other than one source saying the mermaid is a Cape Fear local legend.

The museum is located at 201 S. Water Street, next to the Cape Fear Serpentarium.

Next Time There, I Will Have to Check This Mermaid Out.  --Old B-Maid

April 11, 1862: Fort Pulaski Surrenders

APRIL 11TH, 1862:  Fort Pulaski, Georgia, guarding Savannah, surrendered after enduring an intensive two-day bombardment by Union artillery.  Commander C.R.P. Rodgers and a detachment of sailors from the USS Wabash manned Battery Sigel on the second day of the engagement and "kept up[ a steady and well-directed fire until the fort hauled down its flag, at 2 p.m.."

The Navy's gunners' participation in the action was at the invitation of Major General David Hunter, commander of the Army forces, and demonstrated once again the closeness of cooperation achieved by the two services.

But, this was primarily an Army operation.

--Old B-Runner


Monday, April 10, 2017

Fayetteville Civil War Museum To Have Wilmington Ties

From the September 16, 2016, Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News by Ben Steelman.

The new North Carolina Civil War History Center in Fayetteville, N.C., is slated to open in 2020.  Fundraising for the $65 million has already begun.  And, it will have ties to Wilmington, N.C..

David Winslow is senior consultant for it and has worked at fundraising for Thalian Hall, the Bellamy Mansion, USS North Carolina and Elderhaus (not sure what this is).  All of these, except perhaps the Elderhaus, are in Wilmington.

The new museum is built on the ruins of the former Confederate Fayetteville Arsenal which was burned to the ground by Union General Sherman in 1865 during his March Through the Carolinas.

$6.2 million has been raised so far, including $1 million from the state.  It already has been determined that an admission fee will be charged.

--Old B-R'er

April 10, 1862: Capturing Blockade-Runners

APRIL 10TH, 1862:  Gunboat USS Kanawha, Lt. John C. Febiger, captured blockade-running schooners Southern Independence, Victoria, Charlotte and Cuba off Mobile.

**  USS Whitehead, Acting Master Charles A. French, captured schooners Comet, J.J. Crittenden and sloop America in Newbegun Creek, North Carolina.  The sloop America was evidently not the yacht America of America's Cup fame.

**  USS Keystone State, Commander LeRoy, chased blockade-runner Liverpool, which ran aground outside North Inlet, S.C., and was destroyed by her crew.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, April 7, 2017

April 9, 1862: Flag Officer Hollins, CSN, Wants His Ships Moved to defense of New Orleans

APRIL 9TH, 1862:  Fllag Officer Hollins telegraphed Confederate Secretary of the Navy Mallory from Fort Pillow for authority to bring his force to the support of New Orleans.

Mallory, convinced that the serious threat to New Orleans would come from Flag Officer Foote's force in the upper Mississippi River rather than from Farragut's fleet below, denied Hollins' request.

--Old B-Runner

April 8, 1862: Lee Believes McClellan's Army Shifting Operations to the York River

APRIL 8TH, 1862:  General Robert E. Lee wrote Confederate Secretary of Navy Mallory:  "...it is my opinion that they [General McClellan's army] are endeavoring to change their base of operations from the James River to the York River.

"This change has no doubt been occasioned by their fear of the effect of the Virginia upon their shipping in the James.  General Magruder informs me that their gunboats and transports have appeared off Shipping Point, on the Poquosin, near the mouth of the York, where they intend, apparently, to establish a landing for stores, preparatory to moving against our lines at Yorktown."

That Scary Old CSS Virginia.  --Old B-Runner

April 7, 1862: Surrender of Island No. 10

APRIL 7TH, 1862:  Island No. 10, described by Brigadier General William W. Mackall, CSA, commanding the island, as "the key of the Mississippi," surrendered to the naval forces of Flag Officer Foote.  besides the heavy cannon and munitions captured, four steamers were taken and the gunboat CSS Grampus was sunk before the surrender.

Capture of Island No. 10 opened the Mississippi River to Union gunboats and transports as far south as Fort Pillow.

Congress tendered Flag Officer Foote a vote of thanks "for his eminent services and gallantry at Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, and Island No. 10, while in command of the naval forces of the United States."

Mobile naval strength had sealed the fate of the Confederacy on the upper Mississippi River, and was knifing into the heart of the South.

These Are Three Major Union Victories, Dooming the Confederacy North of Tennessee.  --Old B-R'er

April 7, 1862: The USS Pittsburg Runs Past Island No. 10

APRIL 7TH, 1862:  The USS Pittsburg, Lt. Egbert Thompson, ran past the batteries at Island No. 10 and joined the USS Carondelet below it in covering the crossing of Major General Pope's army to the Tennessee side of the Mississippi River to move against Island No. 10.

The General's words to Flag officer Foote attested to the importance he attached to naval support:  "...the lives of thousands of men and the success of our operations hang upon your decision.  With the two boats all is safe...."

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April 6, 1862: USS Carondelet Makes Recon Down Mississippo

APRIL 6TH, 1862:  The USS Carondelet, Commander Walke, made a reconnaissance down the Mississippi River from New Madrid to Tiptonville, exchanging shots with shore batteries and landing to spike Confederate guns in preparation for covering the river crossing by Major General Pope's troops.

Once Pope's troops were across the river, it was just a matter of time before the Confederates on Island No. 10 would be forced to surrender.  Now, with the Carndelet south of the island, that crossing could take place.

--Old B-Runner

The Navy At the Battle of Shiloh-- Part 2: The Great Service of the U.S. Navy Gunboats

Fire from the two wooden gunboats helped maintain Union positions until reinforcements arrived, and the next day contributed to forcing the Confederate retreat.  "In this repulse," wrote Grant, "much is due to the presence of the gunboats."

General Beauregard, CSA, attributed the Confederate loss the following day in large part to the presence of the gunboats.  "During the night [of the 6th] the rain fell in torrents, adding to the discomforts and harassed condition of the men.

"The enemy, moreover, had broken their rest by a discharge at measured intervals of heavy shells thrown from the gunboats; therefore, on the following morning, the troops under my command were not in condition to cope with an equal force of fresh troops, armed and equipped like our adversary, in the immediate possession of his depots and sheltered by such an auxiliary as the enemy's gunboats."

One of the Army divisions at Shiloh was commanded by Major General Nelson, a former naval officer assigned to the Army, "who," Lt. Gwin observed, "greatly distinguished himself."  Gwin went on to report of the battle,  "I think this has been a crushing blow to the rebellion."

--Old B-R'er

April 6-7, 1862: Navy at the Battle of Shiloh-- Part 1

APRIL 6TH, 1862:  The USS Tyler, Lt. Gwin, and USS Lexington, Lt. Shirk, protected the advanced river flank of General Grant's army at the Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing) and slowed the initially successful attack of the Confederates.

Major General Polk, CSA, reported that the Confederate forces "were within from 150 to 400 yards of the enemy's position, and nothing seemed wanting to complete the most brilliant victory of the war but to press forward and make a vigorous assault on the demoralized remnant of his forces.

"At this juncture his gunboats dropped down the river, near the landing where his troops were collected, and opened a tremendous cannonade of shot and shell over the bank, in the direction from where our forces were approaching."

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Walking Tour of Wilmington Features the Civil War Past-- Part 2

CASSIDEY SHIPYARD on Church Street by the Cape Fear River.  This is where the Confederate ironclad CSS Raleigh was constructed.  In April 1864 it scattered the Union blockading fleet off Fort fisher, but ran aground returning from the action and had to be destroyed.

The ironclad CSS Wilmington was under construction at the shipyard when the Union forces captured the city and was destroyed by Confederates while still on the stocks as they evacuated.

ROSE GREENHOW, famed Confederate spy, drowned off Fort Fisher when the blockade-runner she was on, the Condor, ran aground and her boat capsized while heading for the shore.  Her funeral was held at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church on Dock Street between Second and Third streets.  She is buried at Oakdale Cemetery.

--Old B-R'er

April 5, 1862: Farragut Does a Recon

APRIL 5TH, 1862:  Flag Officer Farragut, on board the USS Iroquois, made a personal reconnaissance in the area of Forts Jackson and St. Philip.  The forts opened fire, but Farragut, observing from a mast, remained as "calm and placid as an onlooker at a mimic battle."

Hardly Even Noticed.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Walking Tour to Learn of Wilmington's Civil War Past-- Part 1

From the January 27, 2017, WECT, NBC TV  "First at Four: Take a walking tour and learn about Wilmington's past."

The director of the Cape Fear Institute, Bernard Thuersam gives guided tours of downtown Wilmington that highlights Civil War history.

Some of the sites:

GABRIEL BONEY, JR. monument to the SOLDIERS OF THE CONFEDERACY.  He was an 18-year-old private from Duplin County and served on Bald Head Island (Fort Holmes), Fort Anderson and was at the Battle of Bentonville.

After the war, he donated money for the monument honoring New Hanover County's Confederate soldiers.  It is located at the intersection of 3rd and Dock streets.

One has to wonder when those certain "offended" people will protest and demand this monument to be removed.

--Old B-Runner

April 4, 1862: USS Carondelet Runs Past Island No. 10

APRIL 4TH, 1862:  The USS Carondelet, Commander Walke, shrouded by a heavy storm at night, successfully ran past Island No. 10, Mississippi River, and reached Major General John Pope's army at New Madrid.  For his heroic dash past flaming Confederate batteries, Walke strengthened the Carondelet with cord-wood piled around the boilers, extra deck planking and anchor chain for added armor protection.

"The passage of the Carondelet," wrote A. T. mahan, "was not only one of the most daring and dramatic events of the war; it was also the death blow to Confederate defense of this position."

With the support of the gunboats, Union troops could now safely plan to cross the river and take the Confederate defenses from the rear.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, April 3, 2017

Coquina Rocks at Fort Fisher

From the May 2016, Our State Magazine (North Carolina).

If you walk in front of the seawall between Kure Beach and Fort Fisher at low tide, you'll come upon the only coquina outcrop on the North Carolina coast.

It is located a short distance from the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, these mounds of clumped shells have been hardened over the years from surface exposure.

They form a small platform extending beneath Kure and Carolina beaches as well as Masonboro Island.

To view them, you'll need to check tide tables as they are only fully exposed at this spot at the lowest tides.

It was the removal of these rocks off the coast of Federal Point for the construction of the US-421 roadbed, that led to the dramatic incursion of the ocean on the remains of Fort Fisher.

--Old B-Runner

April 3, 1862: Apalachicola, Florida, Captured

APRIL 3RD, 1862:  Armed boats from the USS Mercedita, Commander Stellwagen, and USS Sagamore, Lt. Andrew J. Drake, captured Apalachicola, Florida, without resistance and took pilot boats Cygnet and Mary Olivia, schooners New Island, Floyd and Rose and sloop Octavia.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, April 1, 2017

No Surprises: Fort Fisher Popular With the Tourists

From the March 6, 2017, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "No surprises -- Fort Fisher popular with North Carolina visitors" by Tim Buckland.

According to the annual list compiled by the Carolina Publishing and Associates. for the year 2016, Fort Fisher State Historic Site ranked #2 in the state with 830,136 visitors.  The #1 site was the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science with 937,341.

Other high-ranking Wilmington area sites were the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher with 472,471 (which charges admission and the highest of the state's other two aquariums) and the Battleship North Carolina at #21 (also charges admission).

The other Civil War site was Fort Macon State Historic Park at #3 with 802,706.

Of Course, It Is My Belief That Many of Fort Fisher's Visitors Are There Because of the State Recreation Area at Fort Fisher.  --Old BRunner


April 2, 1862: McClellan Wants Navy Cooperation in His Peninsular Campaign

APRIL 2ND, 1862:  General McClellan and his staff arrived at Fort Monroe on board the steamer Commodore.  In the Peninsular Campaign to capture Richmond, McClellan intended to take full advantage of Union sea power for logistic support and offensive operations.

He wrote:  "Effective naval cooperation will shorten this operation by weeks."

He proposed to outflank Confederate defenders by water movements up the James and York rivers supported by the Navy.

The ominous presence of the CSS Virginia at the mouth of the James River dictated that Flag Officer L.M. Goldsborough keep his main naval strength at Hampton Roads alerted against future attacks by the Confederate ironclad.

Union gunboats frequently bombarded Yorktown, under siege by McClellan's army, until the city was evacuated on 3 May.

--Pld B-R'er

April 1, 1862: Union Force Spike Guns of Fort No. 1

APRIL 1ST, 1862:  A combined Army-Navy boat expedition under Master John V. Johnston, USN, of the  gunboat USS St. Louis and Colonel George W. Roberts landed and spiked the guns of Fort No. 1 on the Tennessee shore above Island No. 10, Mississippi River (night of 1-2 April).

Colonel Roberts reported:  "To the naval officers in command of the boats great praise is due for the admirable manner in which our approach was conducted.

--Old B-Runner