Fort Fisher

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31, 1862: Two More Runners Captured

MAY 31ST, 1862:  Commander Rowan, commanding the USS Philadelphia, reported the capture of schooner W.F. Harris in Core Sound, North Carolina.

**  The USS Keystone State, Commander LeRoy, captured blockade running British schooner Cora off Charleston.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

United States Colored Troops at Fort Fisher-- Part 1: 27th USCT

Honoring our military this Memorial Day 2017.

From North Carolina Historic Sites "Black Troops at Fort Fisher."

The 27th USCT regiment participated in the mop-up operations against Fort Fisher on the night of January 15, 1865 and were involved in the initial surrender negotiations.

The regiment was from Ohio and was just one day shy of having a year's service at Fort Fisher, having been organized at Camp Delaware on January 16, 1864.

They served initially in the IX Corps, Army of the Potomac before being transferred to the XXV Corps.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017: William Graham Hood

This 2017 Memorial Day  I will post in all blogs about it today and tomorrow.

William Graham Hood, served in the U.S. Army in World War I.  He never went overseas, though.

He was my grandfather.

May 29, 1862: Four Blockade Runners Captured

MAY 29TH, 1862:  The USS Keystone State, Commander LeRoy, captured British blockade runner Elizabeth off Charleston.

**  The USS Bienville, Commander Mullany, captured blockade runners Providence, with cargo of salt and cigars, Rebecca, with cargo of salt and La Criolla, with cargo of provisions, off Charleston.

That made a total of four blockade runners captured off Charleston in one day.

In the case of the Bienville, this made five blockade runners captured since May 24.  Not a bad haul of prize money.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 28, 1862: Blockade Runner Nassau Captured Near Fort Caswell, N.C.

MAY 28TH, 1862:  The USS State of Georgia, Commander Armstrong, and USS Victoia, Acting Master Joshua D. Warren, captured steamer Nassau near Fort Caswell, North Carolina, running into Old Inlet of the Cape Fear River.

--Old B-Runner

May 27, 1862: USS Bienville Seizes a Blockade Runner in South Carolina

MAY 27, 1862:  The USS Bienville, Commander Mullany, seized blockade running British steamer Patras off Bull's Island, South Carolina with cargo of powder and arms.

--Old B-Runner

CSS Arkansas-- Part 2: Lt. Brown Puts a Rush On Completion

Nevertheless, with great energy to overcome shortages and difficulties of every nature, Lt. Brown completed the Arkansas, reinforced her bulwarks with cotton bales, and mounted a formidable  armament of 10 guns.

Lt. George W. Gift, CSN, who served in the ship later recorded that "within five weeks from the day we arrived at Yazoo City, we had a man-of-war (such as she was) from almost nothing -- the credit for all that belongs to Isaac Newton Brown, the commander of the vessel."

A number of Army artillerists volunteered to cat as gunners on board the ram.

--Old B-R'er

May 26, 1862: Lt. Brown, CSN, Ordered to Take Command of CSS Arkansas-- Part 1

MAY 26TH, 1862:  Lt. Isaac N. Brown, CSN, ordered to take command of the CSS Arkansas and "finish the vessel without regard to expenditure of men or money."

Captain Lynch after inspecting the unfinished ram reported to Secretary of Navy Mallory that:  "the Arkansas is very inferior to the Merrimac[k] in every particular.  The iron with which she is covered is worn and indifferent, taken from a railroad track, and is poorly secured to the vessel; boiler iron on stern and counter; her smoke-stack is sheet iron."

--Old B-Runner

May 25, 1862: Action at Charleston

MAY 25TH, 1862:  A Confederate gunboat under command of Captain F.N. Bonneau, guarding the bridge between James and Dixon islands, Charleston Harbor, exchanged fire with Union gunboats.

Captain Bonneau claimed several hits on the Union gunboats.

I will not be posting for several days, so will go ahead on the chronology.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May 24, 1862: USS Bienville Captures a Blockade Runner

MAY 24TH, 1862:  The USS Bienville, Commander Mullany, captured British blockade runner Stettin off Charleston, S.C..

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

USS Heliotrope-- Part 2: Activity in Virgina

The complement of the Heliotrope is not known.  It was 134 feet long with a 24.6 foot beam and, important for operating in shallow rivers, just a 6.8 draught.

March 6-8, 1865, the Heliotrope participated in a joint expedition up the Rappahannock River to Fredericksburg where it destroyed railroad facilities, tracks and army supply depots.

After that the Heliotrope continued to patrol the Potomac River.  On March 16, with other gunboats, it sent small boats with about 60 men up Mattox Creek and captured three schooners and various types of supplies were taken or destroyed.

The ship continued its work until mid-April when it steamed top New York City and arrived April 20, 1865.   This is probably how black crewman Thomas Jefferson Davis ended up in the New York City area.

It was decommissioned on January 12, 1866, and was sold 17 June to the Department of the Treasury for use in the Lighthouse Service.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 22, 1862: The USS Whitehead Captures Another Ship

MAY 22ND, 1862:  The USS Whitehead, Acting master French, captured the sloop Ella D off Keel's Creek, N.C., with cargo of salt.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, May 19, 2017

May 21, 1862: Boat Expedition in North Carolina

MAY 21ST, 1862:  Boat expedition from the USS Hunchback, Acting Lt. Calhoun, and the USS Whitehead, Acting Master French, captured schooner Winter Shrub in Keel's Creek, North Carolina, with cargo of fish.

--Old B-Runner

May 20, 1862: Action on the Stono River, S.C.

MAY 20TH, 1862:  Union gunboats occupied the Stono River above Cole's Island, South Carolina, and shelled Confederate positions there.  Flag Officer Du Pont reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles:  "The Unadilla, Pembina, and Ottawa, under Commander Marchand ... succeeded in entering Stono and proceeded up the river above the old Fort opposite Legareville.

"On their approach the barracks were fired and deserted by the enemy....  This important base of operations, the Stono, has thus been secured for further operations by the army against Charleston...."

--Old B-Runner

USS Heliotrope-- Part 1

On May 2, I wrote about a house for sale on Long island, New York, that also had the grave of black Union sailor Thomas Jefferson Davis who had served during the war on the USS Heliotrope.  I'd never heard of it, so went to good old Wikipedia.

The USS Heliotrope was 239 tons, 134 feet long steamer armed with a 12-pdr. cannon which served as a tug.

It was originally the Maggie Baker before being bought in New York City and commissioned 24 April 1864.

It was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and proceeded to Hampton Roads, Virginia, where it served as a tug and ordnance ship.  It occasionally patrolled up the James River.

January 23, 1865, it was transferred to the Potomac Flotilla.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 18, 1862: Union Demand for Surrender of Vicksburg Refused

MAY 18TH, 1862:  Commander S.P. Lee submitted a demand from Flag Officer Farragut and General Butler for the surrender of Vicksburg; Confederate authorities refused and a year-long land and water assault on the stronghold began.

As Flag Officer Du Pont observed:  "The object is to have Vicksburg and the entire possession of the river in all its length and shores."

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17, 1862: Expedition Up the Pamunkey River in Virginia

MAY 17TH, 1862:  A joint expedition including the USS Sebago, Lt. Murray and USS Currituck, Acting Master Shankland, with troops embarked on the transport Seth Low at the request of General McClellan ascended the Pamunkey River to twenty-five miles above White House, Virginia.

Confederates burned seventeen vessels, some loaded with coal and commissary stores.  The river was so narrow at this point that the Union gunboats were compelled to return stern foremost for several miles.

General McClellan reported that the "expedition was admirably managed, and all concerned deserve great credit."

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

April 1862 Was a Particularly Bad Month for the Confederacy

As I was writing the posts for the naval aspects of the war last month, I came to believe this was a particularly bad from for the Southern States in secession from the United States.

There was a huge Union buildup on the Virginia Peninsula as McClellan was to lead an attack on Richmond.

The Battle of Shiloh was lost.

Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River was lost.

Fort Pulaski, guarding Savannah, Georgia, surrendered.

Farragut passed Forts Jackson and St. Philip, defending New Orleans and the city surrendered the next day.

Fort Macon in North Carolina surrendered.

Enough To Knock You Flat.  --Old B-R'er

May 16, 1862: Grand Gulf Shelled

MAY 16TH, 1862:  The Union naval squadron under Commander S.P. Lee in the USS Oneida, advancing up the Mississippi River toward Vicksburg, shelled Grand Gulf, Mississippi.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, May 15, 2017

Union Ships Attack Drewry's Bluff

In the battle, the USS Galena was heavily damaged.

But, unsupported, Union Commander John Rodgers and his ships had penetrated the James River to within eight miles of Richmond before falling back.

Rodgers stated at this time that troops were needed to take Drewry's Bluff in the rear.

Had this been done, Richmond might well have fallen.

--Old B-R'er

May 15, 1862: Union Ships Move Against Drewry's Bluff

MAY 15TH, 1862:  The Union James River Flotilla, including the USS Monitor, Galena, Aroostook, Port Royal and Naugatuck, under Commander J. Rodgers, encountered obstructions sunk across the river and at close range hotly engaged sharpshooters and strong Confederate batteries, manned in part by sailors and Marines, at Drewry's Bluff, Virginia.

For his part in this action, Corporal John B. Mackie, a member of the Galena's Marine Guard, was cited for gallantry in a letter to the Secretary of the Navy Welles; in Department of the Navy General Order 17, issued on 10 July 1863, Mackie was awarded the first Medal of Honor authorized to a member of the Marine Corps.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, May 13, 2017

May 14, 1862: USS Calhoun Captures Schooner in Lake Pontchartrain

MAY 14TH, 1862:  The USS Calhoun, Lieutenant DeHaven, captured the schooner Venice in Lake Pontchartrain with cargo of cotton.

--Old B-R'er

Robert Smalls Seizes the Confederate Steamer Planter-- Part 2

"After getting beyond the range of the last guns she quickly hauled down the rebel flags and hoisted a white one.... The steamer is quite a valuable acquisition to the squadron...."

Du Pont added in a letter to senator Grimes:  "You should have heard his [Smalls'] modest reply when i asked him what was said of the carry away of general Ripley's barge  sometime ago.  He said they made a great fuss but perhaps they would make more 'to do' when they heard of the steamer having been brought out."

--Old B-Runner

May 13, 1862: Confederate Steamer Planter Seized at Charleston by Robert Smalls-- Part 1

MAY 13TH, 1862:  The Confederate steamer Planter, with her captain ashore, was taken out of Charleston Harbor by an entirely black crew under Robert Smalls and turned over to the USS Onward, Acting Lt. Nickels, of the blockading Union squadron.

"At 4 in the morning," Flag Officer Du Pont reported, "...she left her wharf close to the Government office and headquarters, with palmetto and Confederate flag flying, passed the successive forts, saluting as usual by blowing her steam whistle."

Quite a Brave Accomplishment.  --Old B-R'er

May 12, 1862: CSS Virginia's Crew to Establish Battery at Drewry's Bluff

MAY 12TH, 1862:  Officers and crew of the CSS Virginia were ordered to report to Commander Farrand to establish a battery below Drewry's Bluff on the left bank of the James River to prevent the ascent of Union gunboats.

The battery was to be organized and commanded by Lt. Catesby ap R. Jones.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fort Fisher Artillery Program This Saturday, May 13

From the May 2017 News release of the friends of Fort Fisher.

The program is called "Deadly Showers of Cast Iron" and will be given Saturday, May 13.

The newly refurbished 32-pounder rifled and banded heavy seacoast cannon will be fired throughout the day from Shepherd's Battery and, there will even be a nighttime firing demonstration.  The cannon was refurbished this past fall by funds from the Friends of Fort Fisher and a grant from the Society of the Order of the Southern Cross.

Firings of the cannon will be free and at 10 a.m., noon, 2, 4:40 and 4:45.  The night time firing will be at 8 p.m. and will cost $5.  Afterwards a replica of the Fort Fisher garrison flag flown over Shepherd's Battery will be raffled.  Winner must be present.

Sure Wish I Could be There.  --Old B-Runner

Dedication At Fort Fisher Recreation Area

From the May 6, 2017, WECT CBS News, Wilmington, N.C., "Dedication event set for Fort Fisher recreation area project."

It will take place May 12, at 2 p.m. and will provide improvements to restrooms at the site, located by Fort Fisher State Historic Site.  Also, picnic facilities will be improved.

This is part of the Connect North Carolina bond referendum which was approved last year.

--Old B-R'er

May 11, 1862: CSS Virginia Blown Up

MAY 11TH, 1862:  The CSS Virginia was blown up by her crew off Craney Island to avoid capture.  The fall of Norfolk to Union forces denied the Virginia her base, and when it was discovered that she drew too much water to be brought up the James River, Flag Officer Tattnall ordered the celebrated ironclad's destruction.

"This perished the Virginia," Tattnall wrote, "and with her many highflown hopes of naval supremacy and success."

For the Union, the end of the Virginia not only removed the formidable threat to the large base at Fort Monroe, but gave Flag Officer Goldsborough's fleet free passage up the James River as far as Drewry's Bluff, a factor which was to save the Peninsular Campaign from probable disaster.

I think it is too bad that the Virginia did not attack the Union fleet or fortifications, maybe make a dash up the Potomac to Washington, D.C., in one last hurrah.  Better to go down fighting than just meekly blowing it up.. Had Franklin Buchanan still been in command, I think he would have taken this action.

--Pld B-Runner

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Over 3000 Posts for This Blog Now.

This post marks  the 3036th I've made since beginning this blog.

Running the Blockade evolved out of my Saw the Elephant Civil War blog, which had come out of my Cooter's History Thing blog and that had come out of my Down Da Road I Go Blog.

My primary interest in the Civil War is its naval aspect and especially anything dealing with Fort Fisher.

I've got to find better ways to spend my time.

Oh Well.  --Old B-R'er

May 10, 1862: Norfolk and Norfolk Navy Yard Captured

MAY 10TH, 1862:  The Norfolk Navy Yard was set afire before being evacuated by Confederate forces in a general withdrawal up the peninsula to defend Richmond.

Union troops under Major General Wool crossed Hampton Roads from Fort Monroe, landed at Ocean View, and captured Norfolk.

A Blow to the South.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May 9, 1862: Lincoln Still Directing Activity in Virginia

MAY 9TH, 1862:  President Lincoln himself, after talking to pilots and studying charts, reconnoitered to the eastward of Sewell's Point and found a suitably unfortified landing site near Willoughby Point.  The troops embarked in transports at night.

The next morning they landed near the site selected by the President.  The president, still aboard his command ship, the Miami, ordered the USS Monitor to reconnoiter Sewell's Point to learn if the batteries were still manned.

When he found the works abandoned, President Lincoln ordered Major General Wool's troops to march on Norfolk, where they arrived late on the afternoon of the 10th.

--Old B-R'er

May 8, 1862: Baton Rouge, La. Seized

MAY 8TH, 1862:  Landing party from the USS Iroquois, Commander James S. Palmer, seized the arsenal and took possession of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

--Old B-Runner

Lincoln Instructs Goldsborough Further: Send the USS Galena

MAY 8TH, 1862:  President Lincoln, still acting as Commander-In-Chief in the field, also directed Flag Officer Goldsborough:  "If you have tolerable confidence that you can successfully contend with te Merrimack without the help of the Galena and two accompanying gunboats, send the Galena and two gunboats up the James River at once" to support General McClellan.

This wise use of power afloat by the  President silenced two shore batteries and forced the gunboats CSS Jamestown and Patrick Henry to return up the James River.

--Old B-R'er

Lincoln Writes to Flag Officer L.M. Goldsborough

MAY 8TH, 1862:  Two days later, President Lincoln wrote Flag Officer Goldsborough:  "I send you this copy of your report of yesterday for the purpose of saying to you in writing that you are quite right in supposing the movement made by you and therein reported was made in accordance with my wishes verbally expressed to you in advance.

"I avail myself of the occasion to thank you for your courtesy and all your conduct, so far as known to me, during my brief visit here."

Lincoln was acting in his role as commander-in-chief in this instance and took personal command.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sewell's Point, Va., Shelled-- Part 2: A Plan to Attack the CSS Virginia

Whatever rumors President Lincoln had received about the Confederates abandoning Norfolk were now confirmed; a tug deserted from Norfolk and brought news that the evacuation was well underway and that the CSS Virginia and her accompanying small gunboats planned to proceed up the James River or York River.

It was planned that when the Virginia came out, as she had on the 7th, the Union fleet would retire with the USS Monitor in the rear hoping to draw the powerful but under-engined warship into deep water where she might be rammed by high speed steamers.

The bombardment showed that the defenses at Sewell's Point were reduced, but still powerful.

The Virginia came out, but not far enough to be rammed.

--More to Come.  --Old B-Runner

May 8, 1862: USS Monitor Shells Sewell's Point, Va.-- Part 1

MAY 8TH, 1862:  The USS Monitor, Dacotah, Naugatuck, Seminole and Susquehanna-- "by direction of the President"-- shelled Confederate batteries at Sewell's Point, Virginia, as Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough reported, "mainly with the view of ascertaining the practicability of landing a body of troops thereabouts" to move on Norfolk.

--Old B-Runner


Saturday, May 6, 2017

May 6-7, 1862: Action on the York and Pamunkey Rivers, Va.

MAY 6-7TH, 1862:  The USS Wachusett, Commander W. Smith, USS Chocura and Sebago escorted Army transports up the York River, supported the landing at West Point, Virginia, and countered a Confederate attack with accurate gunfire.

The USS Currituck, Acting master William F. Shankland, sent on a reconnaissance of the Pamunkey River by Smith on the 6th, captured the American Coaster and Planter the next day.

Shankland reported that some twenty schooners had been sunk and two gunboats burned by the Confederates above West Point.

--Old B-Runner

May 6, 1862: Blockade Runners Captured

MAY 6TH, 1862:  The USS Calhoun, Lt. DeHaven, captured steamer Whiteman on Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana.

**  The USS Ottawa, Lt. J. Blakely Creighton, captured schooner General C. C. Pinckney off Charleston.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, May 5, 2017

May 5, 1862: Lincoln Goes to Hampton Roads to Personally Direct the Stalled Peninsular Campaign

MAY 5TH, 1862:  President Lincoln, with secretaries Stanton and Chase on board, proceeded to Hampton Roads on steamer Miami to personally direct the stalled Peninsular Campaign.

The following day, Lincoln informed Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough:  "I shall be found either at General Wool's [Fort Monroe] or on board the Miami."

The President directed gunboat operations in the James River and the bombardment of Sewell's Point by the blockading squadron in the five days he acted as Commander-In-Chief in the field.

--Old-B-Runner

Thursday, May 4, 2017

USS Maria J. Carlton-- Part 3: Was It Salvaged?

Continued from April 20, 2017.

There was a post in Civil War Talk by Mike d.

He said that a rifled shot from Fort Jackson struck the Carlton's quarterdeck a broke a beam, passing through the magazine and out the ship's starboard quarter.  The crew immediately set signals that the ship was disabled.

He found no mention of the 13-inch mortar or shells being removed after the ship sank.;

From 1982 to 1987, Ray Saltus used a mag drag in the area, but made no positive hits.

Mike d wants to know if anyone knows whether or not the Maria J. Carlton was salvaged or if the mortar was ever recovered.

Later, he added that the Carlton's commander when it sank, Master C.E. Jack, also commanded another mortar ship named the Sidney C. Jones, which he had to burn on 15 July 1862, below Vicksburg.

Right Up There With Selfridge Sinking Ships.  --Old B-Runner

May 4, 1862: Gloucester Point and Fort Pike Captured

MAY 4TH, 1862:  Boat crew from the USS Wachusett, Commander W. Smith, raised the United States flag at Gloucester Point, Virginia, after General McClellan's troops occupied Yorktown; two Confederate schooners were captured.

**  The USS Calhoun, Lt. Joseph E. DeHaven, captured sloop Charles Henry off St. Joseph, Louisiana, and raised the United States flag over Fort Pike, which had been evacuated.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May 3, 1862:USS R. R. Cuyler Captures a Blockade-Runner

MAY 3RD, 1862:  The USS R. R. Cuyler, Lt. F. Winslow, captured the schooner Jane off Tampa Bay, Florida, with cargo including lead.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Two-House Property For Sale, Includes Black Civil War Sailor's Grave

From the March 24, 2017, Newsday (Long island, NY)  by Danny Schrafel.

Two houses on a lot are listed at $2.2 million on 3.2 acres.  This also includes the grave of Thomas Jefferson Davis at the rear of the property.

He enlisted in the Union Navy on April 15, 1865 and served on the USS Heliotrope, a wooden steamboat that was part of the Potomac Flotilla.

The VFW comes out every Memorial Day and puts a new flag on his grave.  I was unable to find out any more information on him, but it would be interesting to find out how he came to be buried there.

--Old B-R'er

May 2, 1862: USS Restless Captures a Blockade-Runner

MAY 2ND, 1862:  The USS Restless, Acting Lt.  Conroy, captured British blockade runner Flash off the coast of South Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, May 1, 2017

Fort Livingston, Louisiana-- Part 2: Built On a Pirate Hideout

In the early 19th century, Grand Terre Island was the home to pirates under Lafitte.

The fort was begun in 1834, but work soon stopped.  It resumed in 1841 under the direction of Major P.G.T. Beauregard, U.S. Army.  A lighthouse was added in 1856.  Construction was stooped by the Civil War and never resumed after that.

It was occupied temporarily by Confederates and used to protect blockade runners using the Barataria Pass..  At one time, the fort had four companies, comprising 300 men along with 15 cannons.  It was abandoned after the fall of New Orleans to Farragut.

Most of the fort was destroyed by a hurricane in 1872 and most of its guns removed in 1889.  One whole side is gone and it is only accessible by boat.

--Old B-R'er

Fort Livingston, Louisiana-- Part 1: Named for Edward Livingston

On April 27, 2017, I posted about the surrender of this fort in Louisiana on April 27, 1862. .  I had never heard of it before.  I was familiar with Forts Jackson and St. Philip, but not this one.

From Wikipedia.

Fort Livingston is a 19th century coastal defense fort located at Grand Terre Island in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.  It was named for Edward Livingston, one-time mayor of New York City, U.S. senator from Louisiana and U.S. Secretary of State under President Andrew Jackson.

It was listed on the NRHP in 1974.

Today, part of the fort still stands but is mostly in ruins.

--Old B-Runner

May 1, 1862: Capturing Blockade Runners

MAY 1ST, 1862:  The USS Hatteras, Commander Emmons, captured schooner Magnolia near Berwick Bay, Louisiana, with cargo of cotton.

**  The USS Jamestown, Commander Green, captured British blockade runner Intended off the coast of North Carolina with a cargo of salt, coffee and medicines.

**   The USS Huron, Lt. Downes, captured schooner Albert off Charleston.

--Old B-Runner