Thursday, June 30, 2016

James Harmon Ward, USN-- Part 1: First U.S. Navy Officer Killed in the War

From Wikipedia.

On June 27, 2016, I mentioned that that was the 155th  anniversary of the death of U.S. Naval Officer James Harmon Ward during an attack on Confederate positions at Mathias Point, Virginia.

(25 September 1806- 27 June 1861)

First U.S. Navy officer killed in the Civil War.  Born in Hartford, Connecticut and attended schools before being appointed a midshipman 4 March 1823.  Served on the USS Constitution for four years in the Mediterranean, then was on the African slave trade routes and in the West Indies because of piracy.

On October 10, 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy opened and Ward was one of the five founders of it.  generally considered as one of the most scholarly of U.S. Naval officers.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

James Harmon Ward, USN-- Part 2: Commanded the Potomac Flotilla During the Civil War

James Ward commanded the USS Cumberland during the Mexican War (later sunk by the CSS Virginia in 1862), the USS Vixen 1848-1850 and later the USS Jamestown.  He wrote "The Manual of Naval Tactics" in 1860 while at the New York Navy Yard.

With the coming of the Civil War, he proposed a "Flying Squadron" to use against the Confederates on the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River and he was placed in command of it.  The USS Thomas Freeborn was his flagship and the rest of the fleet consisted of the USS Freelance, the USS Alliance and three Coastal Survey ships.  (I found no mention of a Freelance or Alliance listed for U.S. Navy ships during the war.)

Ward's fleet later became known as the Potomac Flotilla.  On June 1, they silenced Confederate batteries at Aquia Creek, Virginia.  On June 27th, at what became known as the Battle of Mathias Point, Ward sent landing parties ashore but they were driven back.  While engaging the foe to cover his retreating sailors, Ward was struck by a bullet in the abdomen and mortally wounded and died within an hour.  He was the first U.S. naval officer killed during the war.

Ward was the great grandfather of actor Andy Devine.

The destroyer USS Ward (DD-139) was named for him.    This ship fired the first American shot in the War of 1812 when it engaged a Japanese mini-sub before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Fort Ward, a part of the Washington, D.C. defense during the Civil War was also named after him.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: CSS Sumter Runs Blockade Off Mississippi River

JUNE 30TH, 1861:  The CSS Sumter, Commander Raphael Semmes, ran the blockade at the mouth of the Mississippi River and escaped to sea through Pass a l Outre, eluding the USS Brooklyn, whereupon the crew "gave three hearty cheers for the flag of the Confederate States, thus ... thrown to the breeze on the high seas by a ship of war."

This launched Semmes' famous career as a commerce raider.

**  USS Reliance, Lt. Mygatt, seized and destroyed the sloop Passenger in the Potomac River.

Semmes At Sea, Welles Worst Nightmare Come True.  --Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Northern Steamer St. Nicholas Seized in Undercover Operation

JUNE 28TH-29TH, 1861:  The side-wheel steamer St. Nicholas, making a scheduled run between Baltimore and Georgetown, D.C., was captured by Confederates who had boarded her posing as passengers at the steamer's various stopping points on the Potomac River.

The Confederates were led by Captain George N. Hollins, CSN, who took command of the St. Nicholas, and Colonel Richard Thomas, CSA, who boarded disguised as a woman.  The St. Nicholas then began a search for the USS Pawnee, but, not finding her, put into the Chesapeake Bay where she seized the schooners Margaret and May Pierce and the brig Monticello the following day, June 29..

A Bit of Undercover Work.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

155 Years Ago: Privateer Jefferson Davis Sails from Charleston, A Need for Coaling Stations

JUNE 28TH, 1861:  Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis, former slaver Echo, Captain Louis M. Coxetter, sailed from Charleston; later made numerous captures of Union ships along the coast, and caused much consternation.

**  Captain Du Pont, Chairman of the Blockade Strategy Board, wrote:  "The order we received ... set forth ... the selection of two ports, one in South Carolina, another in the confines of Georgia and Florida, for coal depots ... it seems impossible to supply the blockading fleet with coal without these depots."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, June 27, 2016

155 Years Ago: Action on the Potomac River

JUNE 27, 1861:  The USS Thomas Freeborn, Commander Ward,  USS Reliance, Acting Lt. Jared P.K. Mygatt, with two boats from the USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, attacked Confederate forces at Mathias Point, Virginia.  Commander Ward was killed in the action.

Naval actions at Mathias Point, Aquia Creek, and elsewhere caused Admiral D.D. Porter to later observe of these early operations on the Potomac and Chesapeake:  "... the country was too busy watching the black clouds gathering in the South and West to note the ordinary events that were taking place on the Potomac, yet they formed the small links in the chain, which in the end, shackled the arms of the great rebellion."

**  The USS Resolute, Acting Master W. Budd, burned a Confederate supply depot on Virginia shore of the Potomac River.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Blockade Strategy Board Meets

JUNE 27TH, 1861:  The Blockade Strategy Board met under the chairmanship of Captain Du Pont and included as members Commander Charles H. Davis, USN, Major John Bernard, U.S. Corps of Engineers and Professor Alexander D. Bache, Superintendent U.S. Coast Survey., to consider and report on the major problems of the blockade and to plan amphibious operations to seize vital bases on the Southern coast.

Recommendations made by the Blockade Strategy Board, an early example of "Joint Staff," had a profound effect on the course of the conflict and pointed the way to the successful naval actions at Hatteras Inlet, Port Royal and New Orleans.  The broad policies of the Board early set forth were essentially followed to the culmination at Appomattox.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, June 24, 2016

Civil War Program Set for Saturday at Fort Fisher State Historic Site

From the June 20. 2016, Wilmington (NC) Star-News by Ben Steelman.

The summer Civil War artillery program will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.  It is called "Fire, Smoke, and Deadly showers of Cast Iron: Artillery at Fort Fisher.

Period pieces will be fired throughout the day, including a replica 12-pd Napoleon cannon.  Costumed interpreters will explain artillery drills and military equipment and tours will be given around the surviving earthworks.

Local historian Jeff Tyndall will speak about the Civil War home front in eastern North Carolina at 2 p.m. in the visitors center.

The program is free and open to the public and made possible by the Friends of Fort Fisher, to which I belong.

Ready, Aim, Fire!  --Old B-Runner

Kids Activities Every Friday at Fort Fisher

From the June 17, 2016, WWAY TV ABC.

There will be cannon demonstrations every Friday at the fort from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m..  This is geared for kids, but adults will also enjoy it.  It has been found that today's kids know very little of the fort's history.

Also, tomorrow, the 18th, the Fort will begin its summer "Beat the Heat" Summer lecture series will begin.  I was in the state Saturday, but otherwise busy.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Confederates Building "Infernal Submarine Vessel" at New Orleans

JUNE 24TH, 1861:  USS Pawnee, Commander Rowan, and the USS Tomas Freeborn, Commander Ward, shelled Confederate batteries at Matthias Point, Virginia.

JUNE 25TH, 1861:  Secretary of Navy Welles received a report that "the rebels in New Orleans are constructing an infernal submarine vessel to destroy the USS Brooklyn, or any vessel blockading the mouth of the Mississippi ... a projectile with a sharp iron or steel pointed prow to perforate the bottom of the vessel and then to explode."

It was also reported that "a formidable  floating battery [is] being built at Mobile, to be mounted with large guns of immense size and range to drive away or capture the ships, by engaging them at long range."

JUNE 26TH, 1861:  The USS Minnesota, Flag Officer Stringham, captured bark Sally Magee off Hampton Roads.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Long-Lost Blockade-Runner Agnes E. Fry Found-- Part 4: Using 3-D Sonar

The Charlotte, N.C. Fire Department has volunteered its services to examine the shipwreck.  Very experienced special operations divers will bring their 3-D sonar which is ideal for use in poor water conditions.

The divers will go to the bottom, set up a tripod which will send out sound waves and use high-speed computers to convert the information.

The archaeologists wonder what kind of cargo was left on the ship when it ran aground.  They know that very little was taken off as the crew abandoned ship very quickly.  Plus, with the second and final attack on Fort Fisher just a few weeks ago, it is doubtful that the Confederates were able to salvage much and Union naval forces would be too busy preparing for the attack.  Plus, the war was nearly over at the time.

The fort's commander, Col. William Lamb wrote in a letter asking specifically about the whereabouts of the wreck of the Agnes E. Fry.  Today's archaeologists want to know why he was so interested.

Perhaps They Will Find Out.  --Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago:USS Merrimack Begins Reconstruction as Ironclad CSS Virginia

JUNE 23RD, 1861:  The Confederate Navy began reconstruction of the ex-USS Merrimack as the ironclad CSS Virginia in Norfolk, Virginia.

**  USS Massachusetts, Commander M. Smith, captured Mexican schooner Brilliant with cargo of flour, and Confederate schooners Trois Freres, Olive Branch, Fanny and Basile in the Gulf of Mexico.

A Busy Day for the USS Massachusetts.  Lots of Prize Money.  Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Long-Lost Blockade-Runner Agnes E. Fry Found-- Part 3

Continued from June 10, 2016.

When the wreck was first found, divers went down but the water was actually black with tannins from trees upriver.  "Imagine sticking your face in a cup of black coffee and opening your eyes," said archaeologist Billy Ray Morris.

With this upcoming sonar scan which uses sector scan sonar, images will be 3-D.

Also, people are offering their services as word of the discovery gets out.  The great-great granddaughter of the Agnes E. Fry's chief engineer says she has a journal written by him describing the night the ship went aground.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Magazine to Check Out: Civil War Navy Magazine

I came across this in the Civil War Talk site.

Being a diet-in-the-wool Civil War Navy nut. this is definitely a magazine of interest for me.    They are on Volume 3 Issue 3 and printed four times a year.

This issue had stories about the CSS Georgia recovery, the USS Roanoke and Semmes of the Alabama.

Definitely one to look into.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, June 20, 2016

Carolina Beach Town Hall (NC) Gets Historic Fort Fisher Exhibits-- Part 2

Continued from June 10, 2016.

The Friends  of Fort Fisher were determined to get the exhibits back, but all of these dioramas were inserts, which means they had to be in cabinets.

The cost was between $8,000 and $10,000 and four cases were delivered to the town hall and one to the National Guard Training Facility.

The displays officially opens Tuesday night, June 14th, right before the town council meeting.

Some of the exhibits:

A blockade-runner running the blockade, building Fort Fisher,  Hebe incident when the blockade-runner Hebe ran aground and the Whitworth Flying Battery was used and, the capture of Fort Fisher.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, June 18, 2016

155 Years Ago: Confederate Ships Seized

JUNE 17TH,  1861:  The USS Massachusetts, Commander M. Smith, captured schooner Achilles, near Ship Island, Mississippi.

JUNE 18TH, 1861:  The USS Union, Commander J.R. Goldsborough, captured Confederate blockade runner Amelia at Charleston with cargo of contraband from Liverpool.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: USS Massachusetts Captures Blockade Runner

JUNE 19TH, 1861:  USS Massachusetts, Commander M. Smith, captured blockade running brig Nahum Stetson off Pass a L'Outre, Louisiana.

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: CSS Teaser Ordered to Assist in Defense of James River

JUNE 18TH, 1861:  Major General Robert E. Lee wrote Lt. Robert Randolph Carter, CSN, commander of the CSS Teaser:  "It is desired that the C.S. steam tender Teaser shall unite with the batteries at Jamestown Island in the defense of the James River, and be employed in obtaining intelligence of the movement of hostile vessels and the landing of troops either side of the river...

"It is suggested that you establish a system of signals as a means of communication with the troops, and take every precaution not to jeopardize the safety of your boat by proceeding too far beyond the protection of the guns of the batteries..."

--Old B-Runner

Friday, June 17, 2016

155 Years Ago: Lee Writes to Virginia's Governor About Defense-- Part 2

Lee, showing his understanding of the serious threat posed by Union naval operations on the rivers, reported that:  "six batteries have been erected on the Elizabeth River, to guard the approaches to Norfolk and the Navy prevent ascent of the Nansemond River and the occupation of the railroad from Norfolk to Richmond, three batteries have been constructed...

"Sites for batteries on the Potomac have also been selected, and arrangements were in progress for their construction, but the entire command of that river being in possession of the U.S. Government, a larger force is required for their security than could be devoted to that purpose.

"The batteries at Aquia Creek have only been prepared...  On the Rappahannock River a 4-gun battery... has been erected."

Naval Knowledge.  --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

155 Years Ago: The War Heats Up

JUNE 13TH, 1861:  The USS Mississippi, Flag Officer Mervine, captured schooner Forest King at Key West.

JUNE  14TH, 1861:  American schooner Christiana Keen, grounded and was burned by Confederates near Upper  Machodoc Creek, Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, June 12, 2016

155 Years Ago: Lee Writes Virginia Governor About Defense Preparations-- Part 1

JUNE 15TH, 1861:  Major General Robert E. Lee wrote Virginia Governor John Fletcher regarding preparations for the defense of the state:  "The frigate United States has been prepared for a school ship, provided with a deck battery of nineteen guns, 32-pounders and 9-inch Columbiads, for harbor defense.

"The frigate Merrimack has been raised and is in drydock, and arrangements are made for raising the Germantown and Plymouth."

--Old B-Runner

Friday, June 10, 2016

Carolina Beach (NC) Town Hall Gets Historic Fort Fisher Exhibits New Life-- Part 1

From the June 9, 2016, WWAY 3 ABC  (Wilmington, NC) by Taylor Yakowenko.

Four exhibits will be unveiled next week at the Carolina Beach Town Hall on US-421.  The Friends of Fort Fisher were instrumental in getting these exhibits.  They were originally a part of the collection of the long-closed Blockade Runner Museum in Carolina Beach, according to Friends of Fort Fisher executive director Paul Laird.

The diorama inserts had been in storage in the basement of the Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington for over 30 years and not accessible to the public.

I remember seeing these exhibits often as the Blockade Runner Museum was a major hang out for me back when I was growing up.  As a matter of fact, the Carolina Beach Town Hall is located in the building that used to be the Blockade Runner  Museum, so, in effect, the exhibits are returning to their former home.

I Know Where I'm Going This August.  --Old B-Runner

Long-Lost Blockade-Runner Agnes E. Fry Found, Probably-- Part 2: Smokeless Coal and Non-Splashing Paddlewheels

The archaeologists ran a survey out in the area with a magnetometer (like an underwater metal detector) being towed behind the boat and that is when they found the wreck.

A lot of research has been done on the Agnes E. Fry which seems to be the likely name of the shipwreck as the three other blockade-runners known to have been sunk in the area, only the Fry was longer than 200 feet and this one is 225 feet long.  The paddle wheels and engine is missing.

The Fry's engine was one of the topline engines available in 1864 and burned smokeless high grade coal when attempting to run the blockade to avoid detection by Union ships seeing the smoke from the smokestack.  The paddlewheels, one on each side, had paddle wheel blades especially designed to prevent splashing, another way Union ships would detect blockade-runners.

Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Brooke Ordered to Design the New Ironclad CSS Virginia

JUNE 10TH, 1861:  Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke, CSN, ordered to design the new ironclad CSS Virginia (ex--USS Merrimack).

John Brooke was an American sailor, engineer, scientist and educator.  He was instrumental in the development of the of the Transatlantic Cable and was a noted marine and military innovator.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Long -Lost Blockade-Runner Agnes E. Fry, Found, Probably-- Part 1

Fro the April 12, 2016, Wired "Sonar May Have Turned Up a Long-Lost Civil War Ship, the Agnes E. Fry" by Sarah Zhang.

Archaeologist Billy Ray Morris says its "99% sure "that they have found the wreck of the Agnes E, Fry."
The remaining 1% will be worked out next week when divers visit the wreck with sonar machines to map the shipwreck in 3D detail.

Finding the wreck is part of the larger effort to map Civil War wrecks in the Cape Fear area of North Carolina.  Archaeologist from the state of North Carolina and Gordon Watts, director of the Institute for International Maritime Research recently found the previously mapped wreck more exposed than ever due to dredging of the Cape Fear River.

There were three blockade-runner wrecks documented near the Old Inlet of the Cape Fear River.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Charlotte Fire Department Helps Search Civil War Shipwreck

From the April 11, 2016, WSOC TV, Charlotte, N.C.

The North Carolina State Department of Natural and Cultural Resources said that the Charlotte Fire Department had arranged to bring in a sophisticated 3D SOAR device to confirm the shipwreck's identity.  It will be used by divers next Wednesday.

The shipwreck is thought to be that of the blockade-runner Agnes E. Fry, sunk off the Wilmington coast in December 1864.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: Blockade of Key West Set and Blockade Runners Captured

MAY 8TH, 1861:  USS Mississippi, Flag Officer Mervine, set blockade at Key West.  (Since Key West never was Confederate, I am not sure why the blockade of it would have to be set.)

**  USS Resolute, Acting Master W. Budd, having captured schooner Somerset at Breton's Bay, towed her close to the Virginia shore and burned her.

MAY 9TH, 1861:  USS Massachusetts, Commander Melancton Smith captured British  blockade-runner Perthshire with cargo of cotton near Pensacola.

MAY 10TH, 1861:  The USS Union, Commander J.R. Goldsborough, captured the brig Hallie Jackson off Savannah with cargo of molasses.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kinston's CSS Neuse Interpretive Center-- Part 6: Ran Aground Before First Action

By April 22, 1864, now with four additional gunports more than the CSS Albemarle with ten, was ordered into action at New Bern.  But, a half mile downriver, low water grounded the vessel on a sandbar.

Attempts were made to refloat the ship, but it wasn't until mid-May with rising water, that the Neuse was freed and returned to Kinston.

In February 1865, Sherman and his troops entered North Carolina and the Neuse went back into action, but not for long.

The CSS Neuse Interpretive Center is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..  The last guided tour is at 4 p.m..  admission is $5 for adults and $5 for seniors.

I visited it several years ago, shortly after they moved into their new place and look forward to going back to it this summer.

--Old B-R'er

Kinston's CSS Neuse Interpretive Center-- Part 5: Sister Ship of the CSS Albemarle

The forerunner of the CSS Neuse was the CSS Virginia.  Her sister ship was the CSS Albemarle which was also built in a cornfield along and inland river, like the Neuse.  The Albemarle was built on the Roanoke River and both had the same plan of construction.

However, the CSS Virginia and CSS Albemarle both saw a lot more action than the Neuse.

On December 16, 1862, the Union army attacked the Neuse while it was under construction and thought they had destroyed it.  But, by mid-March, the finished hull of the ship was floated down the Neuse River to Kinston where work was completed.  But delays compounded because of lack of competent shipbuilders and iron plating.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, June 6, 2016

Kinston's CSS Neuse Interpretive Center-- Part 4: Much On Display

There is also a 12-foot Brooke Rifle cannon replica built to scale.  These were the cannons on the Neuse.  It  has a functioning carriage, there is a barracks used by troops garrisoned in Kinston and a reconstruction of part of the ironclad's deck.

Display cases and wall plaques offer stories of the crew, including its captain, Joseph Price and 2nd Lt. Richard Bacot who wrote the earlier account of the ship's final minutes as a Confederate warship.

Photos recount the herculean efforts to free the hull from the Neuse River mud and the lengthy process requiring archaeologists, historians, volunteers and state assistance to accomplish it.

--Old B-R'er

Kinston's CSS Neuse Interpretive Center-- Part 3: A Bottle of Worcestershire Sauce

The hull and ghost skeleton can be viewed from ground level and upstairs.  There is also a full-size cut-out model of the ship and a video presentation.

Nearby the center is a full-size replica outside on Heritage Street.

They have artifacts salvaged from the ship after it was brought up on display like coal rakes used on the boiler, cannon balls, shells, a belt buckle, wrenches, files, shovels, sockets, a stove, ship's bell and an intach bottle of Lea and Perrin's worcestershire sauce.  In addition, there is a rare English-made cuff button from an officer's coat and another with a CSN emblem.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Kinston's CSS Neuse Interpretive Center-- Part 2: Ghost Skeleton

After the war, machinery, iron plating and weapons were removed and the hull remained at the bottom of the river until it was brought up in 1963 for the Centennial of the Civil War.

Then, it spent many years sitting outside under an open roof battling floods and deterioration.  Its remains now are the centerpiece of the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center in downtown Kinston at 100 North Queen Street.

The Center was dedicated in 2005 and is operated by North Carolina Historic Sites.

That hull takes up 31,000 square feet in an open two-story portion of the 40,000 square-feet building.  A 158-foot long, 34-foot wide metal skeleton has been built above the hull to show the vessel's outline to give visitors an idea of the ship's size and scope.  (Many think of it as just a mass of wood.)

--Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Ships Captured Running the Blockade

MAY 5TH, 1861:  The USS Niagara, Captain McKean, captured schooner Aid at Mobil.

**  Flag Officer Perdergast reported the capture of bark General Green by USS Quaker City, Commander Overton Carr, at Capes of the Chesapeake.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Kinston's CSS Neuse Interpretive Center-- Part 1: "We Removed Our Powder & Stores & Burnt the Vessel"

From the May 19, 2016, Examiner "Kinston Discoveries 2016:  CSS Neuse Interpretive Center recounts ironclad's fate" by Kathy Newbern and J.S. Fletcher.

The CSS Neuse Interpretive Center is located at 100 N. Queen Street in downtown Kinston, North Carolina.

What is left of the wreck of the CSS Neuse is now housed in the center after being under water for almost 100 years and then out in the open air for over another 50 years.

A young officer aboard the CSS Neuse wrote of the ship's tragic end:  All the troops had withdrawn from Kinston & the Yankees 18,000 strong came upon us & not having any prospect of being relieved before our provisions ran out & being in a narrow river where we could not work the ship under fire, after shelling the Yankee cavalry for a little while, we removed our powder & stores & burnt the vessel."

--Old B-Runner

Ramping Up to Save the USS Monitor's Turret-- Part 5: $100 Donation

So far they have raised only $1 million of the $20 million needed to complete their work.

The tours will be given from May 9 to July 1, and will be by appointment only and will cost a $100 tax deductible donation to the USS Monitor Center.

Tours are limited to 15 people and you must wear water-proof boots at least 8-inches high to enter the turret.

I just keep thinking about how neat it would be to enter that historic turret, and perhaps even touch it.  Talk about interacting with history.

Sloshing Through the Water.  --Old B-Runner

Ramping Up to Save the USS Monitor's Turret-- Part 4: Sign Me Up for a Tour

A new conservation campaign funded by a year-long effort has raised more than $1 million through grants, pledges, partnership agreements and cash contributions including a %$500,000 gift from the descendants of Monitor Captain John L. Worden and an annual $250,000 curatorial stipend from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which operates the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.

Also, there will be a series of private guided tours for donors through the center's conservation lab and done when the conservators are not working.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ramping Up to Save the USS Monitor's Turret-- Part 3: Looking for Dents

Since the turret recovery/conservation project started in 2002, some 760 objects have been found.

A five person team using chisels, hammers and small pneumatic tools will be removing scale-like layers of marine concretion.  Several times a day, the turret walls will be wet down with purified water.  Each Friday, the tank will be refilled with water to protect it over the weekend and then it will be drained again on Monday.

Once finished, the turret's newly exposed interior and exterior walls will be scanned through a 3-D photogrammerty process, to record the progress of the electrolytic reduction and descaling treatment.

In doing this, conservators hope to be able to gather information on Confederate shot, bolt and shells which hit the turret during its battle with the CSS Virginia in March 1862 and the confrontation with Drewry's Bluff two months later on the James River.

--Old B-Runner

Fort Fisher Extends Summer Hours

From the May 25, 2016, WECT 6 NBC, Wilmington, N.C..

Fort Fisher State Historic Site has extended its hours to include Sunday afternoon.  It will remain closed, however, on Mondays and holidays.  Hours are now 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

To honor Memorial Day and the U.S. military, special presentation will be given Sunday, May 29 at 2 p.m. by Assistant Site Manager John Mosely where he will explain the fort's role in World War II.  It is free and will be given in the visitors center.

I remember a few years ago greatly anticipating a visit to Fort Fisher on a Monday, only to find it closed.

Wasn't a Happy Camper.  --Old B-Runner

155 Years Ago: Privateer Savannah Captured

JUNE 1ST, 1861:  USS Union, Commander J.R. Goldsborough, captured Confederate schooner F.W. Johnson with cargo of railroad iron off the coast of North Carolina.

JUNE 3RD, 1861:  Confederate privateer Savannah, Captain Baker, captured American brig Joseph with cargo of sugar; the Savannah was then captured by USS Perry, Lt. Parrott.

JUNE 5TH, 1861:  Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane, Captain Faunce, USRM, engaged Confederate battery at Pig Point, Hampton Roads.

--Old B-R'er

155 Years Ago: About the Blockade

JUNE 1ST, 1861:  The USS Union, Commander J.R. Goldsborough, captured Confederate schooner F.W. Johnson with cargo of railroad iron off the coast of North Carolina.

**  Captain Du Pont wrote:  "I do not like the tone of things in England ... Lord Derby and Granville, etc., talk of two thousand miles of coast to blockade!  They seem to forget so far as their rights and international interests are concerned we have only to blockade the ports of entry -- from the Chesapeake to Galveston-- any ... venture into any other harbors or inlets of any kind is liable to capture as a smuggler.

"It is the intention of the Government, I presume, to connect the shore between blockaded ports by light draft cruisers to prevent the ingress of arms and contraband, and the egress of privateers-- but that is our business as a war measure -- an effective blockade means the covering of the ports of entry -- and this will be easily done in my judgement...."

--Old B-Runner