Fort Fisher

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

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

Some More Maxwell Woodhull Family

From Find-A Grave.

Margaret Woodhull Cheseborough was the only daughter and eldest child of Richard Miller Woodhull.  She was the sister of Maxwell Woodhull (1774-1815)

She had a son named Maxwell Woodhull Chesebororough born Feb. 20, 1842, died July 6, 1863 and buried at Trinity Churchyard in Manhattan, New York along with his mother.  With that date of death and his age, I have to wonder if he was at the Battle of Gettysburg, but I haven'y been able to find out anything about him.

Another of her sons was given as William Henry Cheseborough born in 1838 and listed as a colonel.  Perhaps in the Union Army?  But again, I couldn't find anything else about him.

Maxwell Woodhull's son, Maxwell Van Zandt, was born September 17, 1843 and died July 25, 1921.  He is buried at Oak Hill cemetery in Washington, D.C..  Plot:  Rock Creek Lot 580.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 17, 2017

George Washington University-- Part 2: Barracks and Hospital During the War

During the Civil War most of the students left the school to join the Confederacy.  The buildings were used as barracks and a hospital.  Walt Whitman was among the many volunteers to serve here.

In 1873, Columbia College became Columbia University and moved to the urban downtown location centered on 15th Street and H Street, Northwest

In 1904, the school moved to Foggy Bottom and in 1912 to its present location thanks to the efforts of Maxwell Van Zandt Woodhull.

--Old-B-R'er

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

George Washington University-- Part 1: Because George Washington Wanted a Centrally-Located University

From Wikipedia.

Since the Woodhull family is so connected with George Washington University, I will write about it here even though it does have a Civil War role.  Also, I am kind of involved in the Second Civil War right now on my Saw the Elephant Civil War blog.

Founded 1821 as Columbian College.  President George Washington advocated for a centrally located university in his new nation and that became Columbian College.  The name was changed to George Washington University in 1904 to honor the first president.

As of 2016, the school had 27,000 students.

It was considered so important that at the first commencement at the school in 1824, among the attendees were President Monroe, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay and the Marquis de Lafayette.

--Old B-R'er

The Maxwell Woodhull House in Washington, D.C.: A Big Role in History of George Washington University

From Wikipedia.

It was constructed in 1855 for Maxwell Woodhull, U.S.N. at 2033 G. Street, Northwest Washington, D.C..

Along with Maxwell Woodhull, William Henry Seward lived there in 1855 and 1858 during his second term as a New York Senator.

It 1921, it was donated to George Washington University by Maxwell Woodhull's son, Maxwell Van Zandt Woodhull who served as a trustee of the institution and had an important role in the development of the university.

He was elected trustee in 1911 and influenced the University Board to move to 2023 G. Street.

Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Permits for Pictures Required at Fort Fisher for Commercial Photographers

From the August 11, 2017, WECT (Wilmington, N.C.)  "Permits for pictures are required for some at Fort Fisher" by Alex Guarino.

Fort Fisher is a popular site for wedding photos.  Very popular.

But, professional photographers need permits to shoot there.  Non-professional picture-takers do not have to have these permits, though.

This requirement has been in effect since 1976 in North Carolina State Parks, which includes historic sites.  However, this is not posted anywhere.

Wedding photographer Marcus Anthony:  "I love Fort Fisher.  It's got the beach on one side.  It's got rocks.  It's got the sound on one side with the forest and trees.  It's got the state historic site.  It's got so much variety in such a small space, but I don't think I'll be getting a permit."

The rules say a permit is needed "for anyone taking photos for commercial use."  The permit costs $25 for a day or $100 for a year.

Stuff I Didn't Know.  --Old B-Tographer

Monday, August 14, 2017

New Fort Fisher Visitors Center Plans-- Part 2: Thanks to Ted Davis (R-New Hanover)

Susi Hamilton, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural Cultural Resources announced Friday at the event held at the old Fort Fisher Visitors Center that the firm of Clark Nexsen has been selected to design the 20,000 square foot new visitors center which will also have a 150-seat grand hall, a similar auditorium to the present one, indoor classroom,expanded gift shop and many other features.

She thanked state representative Ted Davis (R-New Hanover County) for securing the $5 million in funding after it was initially zeroed out of the N.C, state senate's budget.  However, support from private donors is still needed.

Clark Nexsen's Raleigh office says advance planning is finished and by late 2017, will be in the hands of the state construction office by early 2018.  If they approve the detailed design the blueprint process will begin.

Tank You, Mr. Davis.  --Old B-Runner


New Fort Fisher Visitors Center Plans-- Part 1: Overwhelmed for 150th Anniversary

From the August 4, 2017, Wilmington (NC) Star- news  "New Fort Fisher Visitors Center takes first step" by Adam Wagner.

Plans for the new 20,000 square foot center are underway.

Back in 2015, on the 150th anniversary of the fall of Fort Fisher commemoration, over 48 hours, some 23,000 people visited the current center, nearly as many as the it was supposed to host in a year's time.

Keith Hardison, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources' director of N.C. Historic Sites said about the crowd:  "Talk about overwhelmed.  We felt a bit like the defenders of Fort Fisher, with the Union forces coming over, around and through," the fort.

--Old B-R'er

August 14, 1862: Engagement on Black River, S.C.

155 Years Ago

AUGUST 14TH, 1862:  The USS Pocahontas, Lt. George  B. Balch, and steam tug Treaty, Acting Lt. Baxter, on an expedition up the Black River from Georgetown, S.C., exchanged fire with Confederate troops at close range along both banks of the river for a distance of 20 miles in an unsuccessful attempt to capture steamer Nina.

--Old B-Runner


Friday, August 11, 2017

Some More On Maxwell Woodhull

**  His remains were first interred in the public vault at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., on February 21, 1863.  His remains were later removed to Trinity Church in Manhattan, New York City.  This is where his father, Richard Woodhull, and mother are buried.

**  The Arlington National Cemetery site has this to say about the Woodhull Memorial Flagstaff:

It is 90 feet tall and on the south lawn of the Memorial Amphitheater, one of only two flagpoles at Arlington National Cemetery.  It was erected in 1924 and dedicated to Cmdr. Maxwell Woodhull, USN, 1813-1863.

**  The Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial site has a lot about Woodhull's reports of operations on the St. John's River in Florida.

--Old B-Runner

Death of Cmdr. Maxwell Woodhull-- Part 4: Cousin of Gen. Schenck

"His body was blown over the rampart to the distance of thirty feet.

"The unfortunate officer was about fifty years of age.  He has a son on Gen. SCHENCK's Staff.

"In consequence of this sad accident, the dinner, which was to have taken place at the Eutaw House, was postponed, out of respect to the deceased and Gen. SCHENCK, who was his cousin."

"New York Times  February 20, 1863.

Death of Cmdr. Maxwell Woodhull-- Part 3: Received the Whole Charge"

From the  Feb. 20, 1863, New York Times.

This afternoon, while General BUTLER, in company with the Committee of Reception and Gen. SCHENCK and Staff, were visiting forts around the city (Baltimore), a most melancholy accident took place, which cast quite a gloom over the party.

"They had visited Forts McHenry and Federal Hill, and had gone to Fort Marshall, at the eastern extremity of the city.  Here a salute was fired.  Just as the General and his party had passed along the ramparts, out of range of the gun, the gunner, supposing that the whole party had passed, fired a thirty-two pounder.

"But, most unfortunately, just as the gun was discharged, some of the party, who had loitered behind, came up, and one of them, Commander Maxwell Woodhull, U.S.N., received the whole charge, which blew the flesh from his lower limbs whole and caused his death in a few moments."

An Unfortunate Accident.  --Old B-Runner


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dates for Commander Maxwell Woodhull, USN-- Part 2: When Was He Born?

Of course, Woodhull is a great name for a a sailor before the coming of iron and steel.

But, there is some confusion as to dates in his life other than his death.

Fond-A-Grave had his birth as unknown.  One source had him born in 1832 and his son Maxwell Van Zandt Woodhull in 1834.  Not likely.  I saw a picture of him and he was fairly old when it was taken (probably about the time  of the Civil War).

Fold 3 had him born April 2, 1813.  The marker on the Arlington National Cemetery flagpole says he was 1832-1863.  An account of his death that I read put his age at fifty.

I'd have to say he was born in 1813 and entered naval service in 1832.  Death was February 19, 1863.

Setting the Record Straight.  --Old B-R'er

Commander Maxwell Woodhull-- Part 1: Commander of USS Cimarron

Back on August 1st, I wrote about an engagement July 31-August 1, 1862, on the James River in Virginia between Confederate batteries and the USS Cimarron, commanded by Maxwell Woodhull.

On August 7, I wrote about the USS Cimarron.  I now have come across some interesting information on Commander Woodhull.

From Find-A-Grave.

Birth: Unknown  Death February 19, 1863.  (So, within seven months of the engagement, Maxwell Woodhull was dead.)  The Find-A-Grave site continues:  "Died the victim of an accidental gun discharge.

"There is a memorial flag staff honoring him at Arlington National Cemetery.  It reads:  "In Memory of Maxwell Woodhull, Commander USN 1832-1863 and His Son Maxwell Vanzandt Woodhull  Brevet Brig. Gen. USA 1834-1921."

Fold 3 has his birth as April 2, 1813, in New York City and death February 21, 1863 and that he is buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C..

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Black Woman Stationed On a U.S. Navy Vessel

From the the July 27, 2017, Southern Illinoisan "Museum meeting features historic interpreter, who will portray African-American woman stationed on U.S. Navy vessel."

The Southern Illinois Association of Museums (SIAM) will meet August 5, 2017, at the Jefferson County Historical Village and Museum.

Marlene Rivero will portray Ann Stokes, believed to have been the first black woman to serve aboard a U.S. Navy ship.

Ann Stokes was a slave who became a volunteer nurse on the first Union Naval hospital ship, the USS Red Rover, stationed off Mound City, Illinois.

SIAM is a consortium of museums in the lower 28 Illinois counties.  The Jefferson County Historical Village and Museum is in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

I definitely will do more research on this woman.

An Interesting Story. --Old B-R'er

August 8, 1862: Credit to Bulloch in England

AUGUST 8TH, 1862:  Confederate Secretary of Navy Mallory wrote Commander Bulloch in London:  "I am pleased to learn that the credit of my department stands well in England, and sensible of the great importance of maintaining it, I am endeavoring to place funds to your credit, which the scarcity and very high rate of exchange render difficult.

"We have just paid 200 and 210 per cent for $80, 072.2.9, which amount is now in the hands of John Fraser & Co. of Charleston, with orders to place the same to your credit in England."

The tightening blockade constantly constricted the Southern economy.

200 and 210 per cent?  Did anyone ever hear of usury laws?  How do I get in on this deal!  Wait, too late.

Of course, Bulloch was to use the money to buy commerce raiders.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, August 7, 2017

Writing About Fort Fisher in My RoadDog's RoadLog Blog

I have been writing about Fort Fisher in my RoadDog's RoadLog blog the last couple months.

Go to My Bloglist to the right of this entry to get to that blog.

You can find the accounts under N.C. Jan. 2017 headlines or just hit that label and see them all.

Fort Fisher is my most favorite Civil War site, or any historical site for that matter and a big reason why I became a teacher so I could teach history.

To say this place had a big impact on my life is a huge understatement.

--Old B-Runner

USS Cimarron-- Part 2: Operated S.C., Georgia and Florida

The USS Cimarron was 205-feet long, 35-foot beam and armed with one 100-pdr rifle and six 24-pdr. howitzers.  Its first commander was Commander Maxwell Woodhull.

It operated in the James River immediately after commissioning from 11 July to 4 September 1862 and saw action supporting Army operations.  It engaged Confederates at Harrison's Landing 28 July, Fort Powhatan 31 July and Swan Point Battery 4 August.  This is in disagreement with what I wrote about from the Civil War Naval Chronology back on August 1.

Then the Cimarron was transferred to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and operated in the coastal and inland waters of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida for the rest of the war.

It engaged Confederate batteries on the St. Johns River, Florida 17 September 1862 and in October was at the Battle of St. Johns Bluff.

During the course of its service, it captured three blockade runners and fired on Confederate troops ashore.

It was part of the attack on Fort Wagner on August 17, 20 and 21, 1863.

During January-February 1864 she operated in the Stono River in South Carolina.

--Old B-R'er

The USS Cimarron-- Part 1: Armed for River and Blockade Duties

On August 1, I wrote about an engagement July 31-August 1, at Coggins' Point on the James River, Virginia, between a Confederate batteries which sank two Union transports before being engaged with the USS Cimarron in a fierce fight.

I'd never heard of the USS Cimarron, so had to look it up.

From good old Wikipedia.

The original name of the ship was the Cimerone.  It was a double-ended steam gunboat, 860 tons, with a battery of six howitzers for river operations and a 100-pdr. rifle cannon for blockade duty.

It was commissioned 5 July 1862, and saw action very soon after that.  She was decommissioned  7 August 1865 and sold in November 1865.

--Old B-Runner


Saturday, August 5, 2017

North Carolina's Junior Reserves-- Part 5: Saw Action Late in the War

The Junior Reserves saw combat near the end of the war  They helped defeat the Union attack on Fort Fisher on December 25, 1864, and also saw combat at the Battle of Kinston (Wyse Fork).  March 18 to 21, they were at the Battle of Bentonville.

They sometimes performed with near unbelievable courage, but there were other times they weren't so stellar.

--Old B-Runner

North Carolina's Junior Reserves-- Part 4: Walter Clark

Walter Clark was a young University of North Carolina graduate and was just 17 (17-year-old college grad?) when he was elected major of the 6th Battalion N.C. Jr. Reserves in May 1864.  When it consolidated with another battalion to form the First Regiment N.C. Junior Reserves in June, he was elected major of that unit as well.

After the war he became a judge.  In 1901, he edited the series of books "Histories of Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-'65."

While the young soldiers were in the military these young soldiers experienced the tedium of camp life, drills and guard duty, just like the older regiments  They had long marches, faced bad weather and many died from disease.

--Old B-R'er

Fort Fisher's Beat the Heat Series Continues: USO and Welcoming Sherman

The Fort Fisher 2017 "Beat the Heat" summer lecture series continues for three more weeks.

Lectures are given at the Fort fisher Visitors Center's E. Gehrig Spencer Theater at 2 p.m..

TODAY  AUGUST 5

Topic:  "The USO: 75 Years of Helping Our Military."

Speaker:  John W. Falkenbury, President of the USO of North Carolina.  During World War II there were several USOs in Wilmington.

AUGUST 12

Topic:  "Welcoming Sherman:  Wilmington and the Cape Fear".

Speaker:  Wayne Sokolosky.  Historian and Author.

AUGUST 19

Topic:  "Redcoats on the River:  The Revolution in the Lower Cape Fear."

Speaker:  Bert Dunkerly, NPS Park Ranger, Historian and Author.

Again, sure wish I could be there for these.

Just Too Far Away.  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, August 3, 2017

North Carolina Junior Reserves-- Part 3: An Estimated 4,400 Served

The Junior reserves were originally organized into eight battalions of 3-4 companies each.  Over the next several months all but one battalion were consolidated into three regiments consisting of the standard ten companies each.

Gaps in the state records make it difficult to determine how many were in the Junior Reserves.  But surviving records indicate at least 4,000 youths and postwar records show another 400.

Older men often acted as the leadership of the Junior Reserves.

--Old B-R'er

North Carolina's Junior Reserves-- Part 2: Supposed to Serve Only In Their State

The 17-year-old boys went to the Junior Reserves and the 45-50 -year-old men went to the Senior Reserves.  Those not joining these reserves were drafted into regular combat units.  When a member of the Junior Reserves turned 18, he was expected to transfer to a combat unit.

The Junior and Senior Reserves guarded key military sites like bridges, railway depots and prisons in the states from which they were organized (apparently, other Confederate attacks had Junior and Senior reserves).  This released soldiers who were previously assigned these duties to combat duties.

The Reserves were not supposed to leave their home state, but that was suspended in the dire days as the war waned in late 1864.  The North Carolina Junior reserves briefly went to Virginia on two occasions.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

North Carolina's Junior Reserves-- Part 1: Confederate Conscription

From the NCpedia.

This past Friday I wrote about there being a N.C. Junior Reserves encampment at Fort Fisher over the weekend.  There were members of this unit of 17-year-olds at the First Battle of Fort Fisher.

In 1862, the Confederate Congress passed a conscription act to establish the draft for  all males ages 18-35.  Later that year, the age was raised to 45, but, as in the North, there were exemptions for a variety of reasons or the men would be assigned to work in industries deemed essential to the war effort.  A third conscription law passed in early 1864 brought many of the previously exempted men into combat units.

One provision of this third law was that it required 17-year-old boys and 45 to 50-year-old men to join up and serve in units of their own age group.

The boys became part of the Junior Reserves and the men became the Senior Reserves.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July 31-August 1: Engagement on the James River and An Example of Heroism

JULY 31ST-AUGUST 1ST, 1862:  Confederate batteries at Coggins' Point, Virginia, took Union forces under fire on the James River between Harrison's Landing and Shirley, Virginia, sinking two Army transports.  The USS Cimarron, Commander Woodhull, immediately opened counter fire on the battery.

Praising Gunner's Mate John Merrett who, although extremely ill and awaiting transfer to a hospital, bravely manned his station in the main magazine, Commander Woodhull wrote:  "Merrett is an old man-of-warsman; his discipline, courage, and patriotism would not brook inaction when his ship was in actual battle.  His conduct, I humbly think, was a great example to all lovers of the country and its cause ... it is the act of a fine speciman of the old Navy tar."

This mutual respect between the naval officer and the long service enlisted man enabled the Navy to maintain its tone throughout the Civil War despite the rapid expansion.

Sword Belonging to Commander of Black Civil War Unit Found

From the July 23,2017, Washington Post by Mark Pratt, AP.

Robert  Gould Shaw, who like all officers in black units, was white.  After he was killed at Fort Wagner he was stripped of his clothing and belongings by Confederate soldiers.  His sword was recovered about two years later from a Confederate officer and returned to his parents.

(So, here, the sword was either recovered by a Confederate officer and returned to Shaw's parents or found in the possession of a Confederate officer, confiscated and returned to his parents.)

The sword's serial number matches the records of its maker, English swordsmith Henry Wilkinson.

It is tarnished and has some rust on the blade.  There is also some wear on the handle even though Shaw had acquired it only a month before his death and used in battle just twice.

The blemishes on the sword are likely the result of a Confederate officer using this highly valuable sword for the rest of the war.

It is a very superior sword.

--Old B-Runner