Saturday, May 13, 2023

John Barrien Montgomery USN-- Part 25: U.S. Pacific Squadron at Onset of the Civil War

Continued from March 1, 2023.

At the onset of the Civil War, the U.S. Pacific Fleet/Squadron consisted of the screw sloops USS Lancaster, USS Narragansett and USS Wyoming; the sidewheelersloop Saranac and sailing sloops USS St. Mary's and USS Cyane.  None of them were in San Francisco, but spread all over the Pacific.  It was commanded by John Barrien Montgomery (the destroyer USS Montgomery (DD-121) that fought in World War I and World War II was named after him.

Montgomery did not know the war had started until May 1861, while on board the Lancaster in Hawaii.

Acting Rear Admiral Charles H. Bell took command of the Pacific Fleet on January 2, 1862.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Raising More State Funds for the Fort Fisher State Historic Site

Same source as previous post.

Ted Davis' move to help the aquarium comes right alongside his efforts to secure funds for the adjacent Fort Fisher State Historic Site.  The Civil War fort is currently in the midst of a $22 million renovation project, which includes a new visitors center that is funded by the state.

Phase 2 of the project will include reconstruction of part of the fort and cost roughly $3.57 million, with the Friends of Fort Fisher (to which I belong)  contributing $1 million toward the project.  (The reconstructed area will be that part that was leveled for construction of an airstrip during World War II.) 

Davis has submitted a bill  that would have the state provide $2.9 million to help finance the next stage of the fort's renovations.  That bill, HB 297, is currently in the House  Appropiations Committee where it has been since March 8.

Davis notes that Fort Fisher is the most popular historic site in the state.

Old B-Runner

Monday, May 8, 2023

Raising State Funds for the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher

From the April 28, 2023, Wilmington (NC) Star News "From Venus' Flytraps to wetlands, what 4 proposed bills could mean  for the Wilmington area" by Gareth McGrath.

Yesterday I wrote about the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher's new otter pups.

This aquarium is a huge attraction at Fort Fisher along with the Civil War site and public beach.

Right now, there is a push on to provide money for the improvements of both the aquarium and historic site in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Even though these two are no longer in Representative Ted Davis' district, the Wilmington Republican has not forgotten about the Fort Fisher area.  He has submitted a bill for the state to give the aquarium $10.5 million or its  renovation project.  This proposal comes after Davis had previously helped secure $20 million for the project.

The last time the aquarium was renovated was 2002

The legislation, House Bill 710, is currently in the House Appropriations Committee.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Those New Fort Fisher Otter Pups

A huge attraction of the former Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina is the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.  When I do Fort Fisher searches I often come across this place.

And, the big news out of there is that they now have three new otter pups who are now out for viewing.  Their names are Gemma, Kai and Rey.

I don't know about you, but watching a group of otters doing their otter thing is even better than watching squirrels.  And they sure have fun.  It ought to be illegal to have that much fun.

But, if you're planning on going out to see the new otters, you will need to purchase advance tickets on line.


Friday, May 5, 2023

This Is the 5,025th Post of This Blog

Little did I believe that when I posted the very first item in this blog back on January 1, 2012, that it would still be an ongoing concern.  It is.

This grew our of my Saw the Elephant:  Civil War blog which grew out of my Cooter's History Thing blog.  I was writing so much about Fort Fisher and the Civil War Navy (both sides) that I decided to spin this one off.  

So, I broke the 5,000 mark last month.

Way Too Many Posts, But Sure Enjoy Them.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

CSMC's Company E and USMC Medals of Honor at Fort Fisher

Company E of the Confederate States Marine Corps (CSMC) was formed in Savannah and served at that station.  After Savannah was evacuated in 1864, they moved to Charleston, South Carolina, and after that place was evacuated, moved to the Wilmington Station and took part in the defense of the Second Battle of Fort Fisher.



Rank / ship 

RICHARD BINDER--  sergeant, USS Ticonderoga

ISAAC N. FRY--  orderly sergeant USS Ticonderoga

JOHN RANAHAN--  corporal USS Minnesota

JOHN SHIVERS--  private, USS Minnesota

HENRY A. THOMPSON--  private USS Minnesota

The first two received theirs for operating cannons on the ship.  The last three received theirs while participating in the Naval Column attack on the fort.

--Old B. Runner

Monday, May 1, 2023

CSMC Commandant Lloyd James Beall and Israel Greene

He was a career U.S. military officer until the Civil War.  He was born in Rhode Island and graduated from the USMA.

His father, Lloyd Beall, was in the American Revolution and wounded at Germantown.  After the war was a mayor of Georgetown and during the War of 1812, was stationed with the artillery at Fort McHenry.

His two brothers were also in the U.S. Army, but remained loyal to the Union.

Confederate privateer and spy John Yates Beall, was executed after capture near the end of the Civil War.


Another Confederate officer, Israel Greene, had been a U.S. Marine before the war and was also born in a northern state, New York.  He commanded the company of Marines under the overall command of Robert E. Lee, that captured John Brown at Harpers Ferry before the war started.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Marines in the Civil War Quiz-- Part 2

Answers below.

6.  The USMC had a relatively minor role in the war.  Where did they mostly serve?

7.  However, they were involved as a unit in one battle.  What battle?

8.  What action attempted by US Marines on 8 September 1863 led to a stinging defeat?

9.  In their biggest action, some 400 Marines were involved in an assault on a fort on 15 January 1865.  What was the name of that fort?

10.  How many Marines received a Medal of Honor for this last action?



6.  Blockade duty on various ships.

7.  First Battle of Bull Run  (Where they ran as did most every Union soldier.)

8.  Attack on Fort Sumter

9.  Fort Fisher

10.  Five.  A total of 17 Marines received Medals of Honor in the war.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Marines in the Civil War Quiz-- Part 1

The McHenry (Illinois) County Civil War Round Table discussion group met earlier today and discussed the role played by both the U.S. and Confederate Marines during the Civil War.


1.  Of interest, the commandant of the CSMC (Confederate States Marine Corps) Lloyd J. Beall, was born in what state?

2.  Also of interest, how did he become an officer in the military?  

3.  Where were the headquarters and training grounds of the CSMC?

4.  What was the strength of the CSMC?

5.  How was the CSMC organized?



1.  Rhode Island

2.  Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  (He served in the U.S. Army untikl the Civil War.)

3.  At first at Gosport Navy Yard, Virginia.  After its fall, at Drewry's Bluff, Virginia (on the James River near Richmond.)

4.  45 officers and 1,026 enlisted.

5.  Into lettered companies.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, April 27, 2023

McHenry County CWRT Discussion Group This Sat.: 'Marines in the Civil War'

The McHenry County (Illinois) Civil War Round Table discussion group will have a meeting this Saturday, April 29, to discuss the USMC and CSMC in the war.  

The meeting will be held at Panera Bread (US RT. 14 and Main Street) in Crystal Lake, Illinois, from 10 am to 11:30.  This will be in person and via Zoom.

The role -played by both the U.S. and Confederate Marines in the war is often overlooked, but, nonetheless important.  The CSMC was closely modeled after the USMC and served on ships as well as on land.  Both groups played a role in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher.

Where there is always good discussion (often times on subject) and debate.

Come on Out.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Some More on the 27th USCT-- Part 5: Joining the Army of the Potomac

A quarter of theofficers had no previous military training.  At least five of the 27th's officers were immigrants.  One each came from Poland, Germany and England.  Two were from Ireland.  Irish-born Lt. Col. John W. Donnellan eventually took over command of the regiment.

In April 1864, the regiment was moved by rail and steamer to Virginia to join Burnside's  IX Corps of the Army of the Potomac.  Along the way,  men in Pittsburgh threw stones at one of the companies.  But, they were cheered in Baltimore.

On April 25, they marched past  President Lincoln who reviewed them from a balcony at the  Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C..

They were placed in Ferrero's  Fourth Division, an almost all-black unit.  In May they were brigaded in Ferrero's First Brigade under  Joshua Siegfried. On May 4-5 they moved towards the Wilderness where they did not get into the actual fighting but were relegated to guarding supply trains.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Some More on the 27th USCT-- Part 4: That Officer Problem

Another problem for the 27th USCT, as well as other USCT regiments, was a chronic lack of officers.  Officers, of course had to be Whites.  Blacks could only rise to being sergeants.

Officers were not elected by the men as in other regiments, so when one was killed or no longer able to serve, they had to be found from somewhere else.  However, commanding or being an officer for a black regiment was getting ourself on the quick track of promotion.

The initial organization of the 27th was hindered by this lack of officers.  Thirty-five were needed, but by the end of February, there were only eight serving.  It was not until March 24, 1864, that Lt. Col. Albert M. Blackman arrived to take command of the regiment.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, April 24, 2023

Progress on Fort Fisher Visitors Center-- Part 3: Road Construction and World War II

The new visitor center and archaeology facility carry a price tag of $2.5 million, funds primarily secured through state  budget appropriations.

Nearly $3 million more is needed to complete the overall site improvement project, which includes reconstruction of a series of Civil War-era mounds.  To clear the site for a runway, the Army bulldozed  three of the mounds after activating Fort Fisher as  a training base during World War II.

A fourth mound was taken out by the construction of U.S. Highway 421 before the war.  US-421 ends at the "Rocks" by Battery Buchanan.  Also, North Carolina's Fort Fisher Ferry is located there (where people can go across the Cape Fear River to Southport.

The idea is to tell a complee and inclusive story of Fort Fisher.

Construction of the Fort Fisher visitor center is expected to be complete by mid-to-late May 2024.  Once the building is up and operating, the current visitors center will be torn down.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Progress on the New Fort Fisher Visitors Center-- Part 2

There will be glass, lots of glass, to let natural light into the building and offer an unobstructed of the fort's earthen structures.

Upstairs, visitors will be able to travel back in time as they peruse the artifacts in the main exhibit space.  Glass walls will offer ocean and natural landscape views, one which includes many live  oaks stretching from the river to near the ocean.

There will be a 120-person multipurpose room available to rent, a gift shop overlooking the fort's earthworks, a second story balcony, a theater that will seat 100 people and a changeable  exhibit gallery of artifacts from the North Carlina Underwater Archeology Center.

The underwater archeology center, or UAC, is housed at Fort Fisher in a series of buildings, some built during World War II.  A new lab is also under construction several yards from the visitors center.  The lab is not open to the public.

--Old B-Runner


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Officials Show Off Progress on New Fort Fisher Visitor Center

From the April 18, 2023, Coastal review by Trista Talton.

The new structure will be roughly three times the size of the existing one.  They say the existing one outgrew itself a long time ago so that is why a new one is needed.  By 2021, visitors exceeded 1,000,000.

(However, the new one was a huge improvement over the first one which was a square metal structure on Battle Acre, maybe 60 by 60 feet.)

The new one will have an airy indoor space with more exhibits and will offer views of the beautiful landscape of the area between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River.

Work kicked off about six months ago, but little of the new structure can be seen yet.  Right now it is just the tops of concrete pilings driven fifty feet into ground and a lot of freshly dug earth.  Those pilings took the better part of two months to complete and are the foundation of a two story building built to endure hurricane force winds and flooding associated with coastal areas.

--Old B-Runner