Friday, December 29, 2017

Fort Fisher To Get a New Visitors Center

From the July 26, 2017, WWAY 3 Wilmington, N.C.  "Fort Fisher State Historic Site Plans To Ad New Visitors Center."

It will replace the smaller, aging one now on the site with a new one.  According to Susi Hamilton, Fort Fisher is the most-visited state historic site.

And, visitation is increasing.  For the 2016-2017 fiscal year some 835,000 have come to the site, which was designed for 25,000 to 30,000 visitors a year.  The new one will about four times the size of the one now there.

The new one will have expanded permanent exhibits, a changing exhibit gallery, expanded auditorium, educational classroom, rental facilities for special events, expanded gift shop and additional office space.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 28, 2017

December 28, 1862: USS Anacostia Seizes Schooner

DECEMBER 28, 1862:  The USS Anacostia, Acting Master Nelson Provost, seized schooner Exchange in the Rappahannock River, Virginia.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

N.C. USO President Visits Fort Fisher

From the August 5, 2017, WWAY 3 by Justin McKee.

The USO has been providing programs, services and live entertainment for our troops for over 75 years now.

John Falkenburg, President of the USO local North Carolina says that most people don't know about the organization though they recognize the logo.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

John Wetmore Hinsdale-- Part 4: One of Youngest Confederate Colonels

Obituary from the Confederate Veteran October 1921.

Commanded the 32nd Regiment North Carolina Junior Reserves.  Participated in the Battles of Kinston, Bentonville and surrendered with Johnston's army at Bennett Place..

One of the youngest colonels in Confederate service and his death removes the last North Carolina Confederate colonel.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 22, 2017

John Wetmore Hinsdale-- Part 3: "Full of Energy and Enterprise"

From Find-A-Grave.

Buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, N.C..  Was at the Battle of Seven Pines, Seven Days Battles and the Battle of Helena in 1863.

In a letter to Jefferson Davis, October 20, 1864, Hinsdale was described: "He is an officer of great merit both in the field and in the office.  In the field he is full of energy and enterprise, with coolness and discretion.  In the office few men are more capable.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 21, 2017

John Wetmore Hinsdale-- Part 2: Many Staff Positions

He was aide-de-camp to Brigadier General T.H. Holmes, adjutant general to Brigadier General J. Johnston Pettigrew, Gen. W.D. Pender and Gen. T.H. Holmes.  Also inspector general for Gen. Sterling Price.

Afterwards, he was elected colonel of the 3rd Regiment Junior Reserves (72nd N.C.) and held that post to the end of the year.  He was paroled at Bush Hill, N.C., on 2 May 1865.

After the war, he went to Columbia Law School and was admitted to the bar in both New York and North Carolina.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Col. John Wetmore Hinsdale-- Part 1: Born in New York, Grew Up in North Carolina

I wrote about him back on December 6.

From the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography by Mary W, Oliver.

Born February 4, 1843.  Died September 15, 1921.

Confederate officer, attorney.  Born in Buffalo, New York.  Family moved to Raleigh, N.C. when he was just a few months old.  Educated at Donaldson Academy in Fayetteville and Starrs Military Academy in Yonkers, New York and in 1858, entered the University of North Carolina.

At the outbreak of the war, he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. in the 8th North Carolina Infantry.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Other Burials at Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery

David Conner, Naval officer War of 1812 and Mexican War  I wrote about him in my War of 1812 Not So Forgotten blog.

Isaac Hull, War of 1812.  Commanded the USS Constitution vs, HMS Guerriere.

Richard Dale, American Revolution naval officer.  1st. Lieutenant under John Paul Jones in Bon Homme Richard vs. Serapis "I have not yet begun to fight."

Levi Twiggs, USMC officer killed in the Mexican War

Johnathan Williams, Army officer and first West Point Superintendent.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 18, 2017

Civil War Burials at Philadelphis'a Laurel Hill Cemetery-- Part 2

Alexander Biddle, Union officer

Samuel Crawford, Union general

Frank Furness, Union officer, Medal of Honor recipient, architect.

Alexander Henry, Philadelphia's Civil War mayor

John C. Pemperton, Confederate general

Garrett J. Pendergrast, Union naval officer

Charles Ferguson Smith, Union general

Isaac J. Wister, Union general

--Old B-R'er

Civil War Burials at Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery-- Part 1

From Wikipdia.

While researching Jacob Zeiler, USMC, Commandant of the Corps 1864-1865 and beyond, I came across a long list of burials at the cemetery, many of them of Civil War interest.

Adolph E. Borie, Sec. of Navy after the war, Friend of Grant.

John A. Dahlgren

Henry Deringer--  gunsmith

Samuel Gibbs French, Confederate general

George Gordon Meade

Francis E. Patterson, Union general

More.  --Old B-Runner

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15, 1862: Fox Proposes An Attack on Wilmington

DECEMBER 15, 1862:  Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox wrote Rear Admiral S.P. Lee, proposing an assault on Wilmington, N.C..

"Though the popular clamor centers upon Charleston I consider Wilmington a more important point in a military and political point of view and I do not conceal from myself that it is more difficult of access on account of the shallowness of the bars, and more easily defended inside by obstructions, yet it must be attacked and we have more force than we shall possess again since the Iron Clads must go South so soon as four are ready."

Nonetheless, Wilmington, guarded by the guns of Fort Fisher, remained a bastion of Confederate strength and one of the few havens for blockade runners until nearly the end of the war.

And Fort Fisher was nowhere near as powerful back at this date as it later became.

--Old B-R'er

CSS J.A. Cotton-- Part 2: Some More Information About the Ship

**  It was named for its owner, John A. Cotton, a Unionist before the war but he put the ship at the disposal of the state of Louisiana.

**  It was a large ship and Confederates had some flexibility in armament and hardening machinery spaces (protecting them).  It's beam was on the downside of the ledger.

**  There was a lot of mention of the Cotton continually backing up during fighting.  Was this because it was too difficult to turn?

**  The ship's commander, Fuller, said that the reason for the backing was that that the partial iron rail cladding was forward of the wheels and it was cotton clad aft of them.  He kept his protection where it would do the best good.

**  The ship's gun crews, however, were left out on the open forward deck and suffered heavy losses.  They had a small rifled gun on the deck above, but likewise, it wasn't inside the casemate.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 14, 2017

CSS J.A. Cotton-- Part 1: Some Confusion As to the Name

This is the Confederate ship that fought the USS Calhoun, Diana, Estrella and Kinsman several times over a three month period 1862-1863.

There seems to be a lot of confusion as to particulars concerning the ship.

From the Civil War Navies Message Board Forum.

There was quite a long thread of discussion about the ship.  Here are some of the comments:

**  The CSS Cotten, Cotton, was sunk Janaury 14, 1863 on the Teche Bayou in Louisiana.

**  Most often referred to as the J.A. Cottom.

**  Possibly the mine that exploded and damaged the USS Kinsman was an electric one.  It shivered the ship's stern.  CS Torpedo operators did it.  The ORN reports that a set of wires and an operators' pit were found shortly after the incident.

--Old B-R'er

Action at Bayou Teche-- Part 5: Aftermath and the CSS J.A. Cotton

The Union eventually the area and Federal troops collected horses, mules and sugar in large quantities.

Planters began taking the Oath of Allegiance and were ten allowed to make contracts with freed saves to harvest their sugar crop.

The CSS J.A.Cotton, sometimes referred to as an ironclad ship because of the small amount of railroad rails tacked on its sides.  It is also called the CSS Cotton.

It was burned and sunk on January 10, 1863.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Action At Bayou Teche-- Part 4: Second Battle

The second engagement at Bayou Teche took place 14 January 1863.  It involved the same ships as the first fight.

Union General Godfrey Weitzel (later at Fort Fisher) learned that the J.A. Cotton was planning an attack on his force at Bertwick Bay.  Once again, the four ships from the previous fight steamed into the bayou followed by Union transports.  They passed the debris that obstructed the bayou and engaged the Cotton.  The Kinsman hit a mine and unshipped its anchor.

The CSS J.A. Cotton was badly damaged and set on fire by her crew to prevent capture.

The Union was unable to hold Bayou Teche and eventually had to invade it again in 1863 and 1864.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

November 3, 1862: Action At Bayou Teche-- Part 3: Between the CSS Cotton and Union Ships in Louisiana.

Actually, there had been an engagement a month earlier between the same ships.

NOVEMBER 3RD, 1862:  The CSS Cotton, Lt. Edward W. Fuller, and shore batteries engaged the USS Calhoun, Kinsman, Estrella and Diana in Berwick Bay, Louisiana.  In this close and spirited action against heavy odds, Captain Fuller caused considerable damage to the Union squadron until exhaustion of cartridges forced the Cotton to retire.

Captain Fuller reported that the legs of the men's pants were cut off to use as improvised cartridge bags to fire parting shots as he withdrew.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 11, 2017

Action at Bayou Teche-- Part 2: Still Fighting

Over the next two days, two other fights took place between the Union ships and the CSS J.A. Cotton and each time the Cotton won.

That night, the Union ships captured the A.B. Seger, a small Confederate Navy steamer used as a dispatch boat.  Five days later, the USS Kinsman and the A.B. Seger captured and burned the steamers J.P. Smith and Osprey in Bayou Cheval.

--Old B-R'er

Action at Bayou Teche, Louisiana, November 3-5, 1862-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Bayou Teche is a 125-mile long waterway in Louisiana which was originally the course of the Mississippi River.

During the Civil War, two gunboat engagements took place here.  I wrote about one on Wednesday regarding the USS Diana.

The first occurred November 3-5, 1862, when the USS Kinsman, Calhoun, Estrella and Diana, mounting 24 cannons, passed obstructions placed by Confederate General Alfred Mouton and engaged the CSS J.A. Cotton near Cornay's Bridge for one and a half hours.

The CSS Cotton, a wooden steamboat modified with a casemate of timber and cotton bales and a small amount of railroad iron along its sides was struck several times, but managed to escape.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, December 8, 2017

USS Diana-- Part 2: Recaptured By Confederates

The USS Diana had a short career.  It captured two vessels on December 6, 1862, near Vicksburg as I wrote about on Wednesday.  It also took part in the attack on Bayou Teche, Louisiana, that resulted in the destruction of the CSS J.A, Cotton on 14 January 1863.

Next, it served with Navy and Army detachments in Berwick Bay, Louisiana, until 23 March 1863, when it was recaptured while on a reconnaissance mission to Grand Lake and Atchafalaya River in Louisiana.

A book has been written about this ship:  "Gunboat Named Diana, A, And Other Exciting Stories of Civil War Battles Which raged in the Bayou Country of Louisiana" by Raphael Morris.

--Old B-R'er

USS Diana-- Part 1: A Captured Confederate Steamer

In the December 6, 2017, post, I wrote about the  USS Diana capturing two steamers near Vicksburg.  I'd never heard of the ship.

From Wikipedia.

A captured Confederate steamer acquired by the Union Navy in prize court.

Sidewheel merchant steamer, specifications unknown, captured by Union forces 27 April 1862, at New Orleans and turned over 7 May to General Benjamin Butler, commander at New Orleans, and used as an Army transport until November 1862 when it was returned to the Navy, Acting master Weeks was placed in command.

The ship had a short career in the Navy.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Pearl Harbor Timeline-- Part 4: The Second Wave Arrives

All Times a.m..


8:50:  The second wave, consisting of 167 planes, attacks.  U.S. forces, now prepared, respond with heavy anti-aircraft fire.

8:55 to 9:00:  Japanese bombers attack Ford Island and Bellows Field, shooting down a B-17 with two pilots attempting to take off.  Other Japanese planes strafe Kaneohe.

9:05:  Bombers return to Hickam Field for an eight-minute assault.

9:06:  Attackers bomb the battleship USS Pennsylvania and two destroyers in drydock.

Continued in today's RoadDog's RoadLog blog.

--Old B-R'er

A Pearl Harbor Timeline-- Part 3: "Air Raid, Pearl Harbor. This Is No Drill"

Continued from today's post  in my Saw the Elephant Civil War blog.

All times a.m..

7:58:  Japanese planes begin bombing aircraft at Wheeler Field.

7:58:  The Ford Island Command Center, under attack, radios an alert:  "AIR RAID, PEARL HARBOR.  THIS IS NO DRILL"

8:00  The USS Oklahoma takes multiple torpedo hits and capsizes in minutes.

8:08:  The first of multiple bombs hits the USS Arizona.  Minutes later, another bomb pierces the powder magazine.  The bow explodes and the ship sinks in minutes.

8:30:  The first wave of attackers withdraws.

A Bloody Mess.  --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December 6, 1862: USS Diana Captures Two Steamers Near Vicksburg

DECEMBER 6, 1862:  The USS Diana, Acting Master Ezra Goodwin, captured steamers Southern Methodist and Naniope near Vicksburg laden with molasses and sugar.

--Old B-R'er

Col. John Wetmore Hinsdale, 3rd Regt. N.C. Junior Reserves

There is a photograph of Col. John Wetmore Hinsdale, 3rd Regt. N.C. Junior Reserves.

In 1861, he left the University of North Carolina to enlist in the Confederate Army and served with distinction under Generals Holmes, Pettigrew, Pender and Price before being elected colonel of the 3rd Regt. Junior Reserves.

--Old B-Runner

N.C. Junior Reserves at the Battle of First Fort Fisher

From the North Carolina State Historic Sites Fort Fisher.

1st Battalion N.C. Junior Reserves.  Co. D.  Captain James L. McCormic

4th Battalion N.C. Junior Reserves.  Cos. A, B,C and D.  Major John M. Reece.

7th Battalion N.C. Junior Reserves.  Cos. A, B and C.  Major William F. French

8th Battalion N.C. Junior Reserves.  Cos. A, B and C.  Major James Ellington

These units were not at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher.

--Old B-Runner

Col. Lamb Praises the N.C. Junior Reserves at Fort Fisher-- Part 2

"On that Christmas day, eighteen hundred and sixty-four, when North Carolinians won imperishable renown by repulsing the most formidable fleet that ever sailed, two out of every three that were killed outright were Junior Reserves.

"No language can more forcibly describe the bravery and heroism of these boys than this statement of this fact."  Wm. Lamb

--Old B-R'er

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Col. Lamb Praises the N.C. Junior Reserves At Fort Fisher-- Part 1

From Civil War Talk.

Fort Fisher's commander, Col. William Lamb wrote this concerning the actions of the North Carolina Junior Reserves stationed at his post:

"It gives me real pleasure to bear testimony to the gallantry of the N.C. Junior reserves at Fort Fisher when Porter and Butler were repulsed.  The first life sacrificed there in the defence of Carolina homes was a heroic boy; and another Junior reserve, who volunteered for a desperate task, was killed in performing the perilous duty."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, December 4, 2017

Out of My Price Range: $75,000 for Fort Fisher Painting

From Christie's September Sampling.

Christie's Auction House in new York sold the "Bombardment of Fort Fisher" painting by Thomas F. Laycock for 78.2% above its estimate, for a whopping $75,000.  It is an 1888 oil on canvas and they had estimated it would bring between $7,000 and $10,000.

It is signed and dated and the canvas measures 36 1/4 inches by 72 inches.  The  Union fleet is shown bombarding the fort.

Thomas F. Laycock (1810-1898) also made a famous painting of the USS Maine.

--Old B-R'er

Glasgow, Scotland's Role in the War-- Part 2: The Advance and Atlanta

Public opinion ion Glasgow was split between support of the Confederacy and the Union.  Surely, their was big money to be made in supplying the South with blockade runners so that was a big economic one.  However, dislike of slavery brought forth Union sentiment.

The blockade runners brought in cannons, rifles and munitions inbound and cotton and tobacco was sent outbound.  A total of 355 runners ran aground and another 1,000 were captured.

But even just a couple trips through the blockade would pay for a blockade runner.  The blockade runner Advance, built in Greenock, made 20 successful runs before being captured and later joining the Union fleet.  What better thing to capture a fast blockade runner than a former blockade runner.

The CSS Atlanta, a Govan-built ironclad ship, originally named the Fingal, ran the blockade only once before it ran aground.  This ship later was turned into a Confederate ironclad and then served in the Union Navy.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Glasgow, Scotland's Role in the War-- Part 1: The Blockade Runners

From the November 23, 2017, Scotsman  "How Glasgow found itself at centre of American Civil War" David Walsh.

One big thing was the blockade runners.  many were from the Clyde River.

Blockade runners were fuel efficient, had shallow but spacious hulls, maneuverability and speed.

Dozens of Glasgow-built paddlewheel steamers took part in the enterprise.  At first these ships were ones that were already in operation in Scotland and the British Isles, but then ships started being built specifically to run the blockade.

This caused there to be even more jobs along the Clyde River.

Action in North Carolina, December 1862-- Part 2: Foster's Raid

Foster's Raid went from December 11-20, 1863 from New Bern and eventually as far as Goldsboro, North Carolina.

11-  Skirmish at Kinston Road

11-12--  Skirmish at Kinston Road

12-15--  Operations on the Neuse River

13-14--  Actions at Southwest Creek

14--  Engagement at Kinston, N.C.

15.  Action at Whitehall Bridge  (Ram CSS Neuse in the process of being built comes under attack)

16.  Action at Whitehall

16--  Affairs at Mt. Olive and Goshon Creek

17--  Raid on Dudley's Station

17--  Skirmish at Goldsboro Bridge

17.  Reconnaissance to Diascund Bridge

After this, Foster's Raid was over and his force returned to New Bern.

27--  Action at Elizabeth City

31--  Loss of the USS Monitor off Cape Hatteras

--Old B-R'er

Friday, December 1, 2017

Action in North Carolina December 1862-- Part 1: Foster's Raid Begins

From the North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial site.


8--  Capture of sloop Coquette

9--  Federal naval demonstration on Blackwater and Nottoway rivers (Upper extension of the Chowan River into Virginia).

10.  Confederates attack on Plymouth, including Federal naval operations.

FOSTER'S RAID  11-20.  Casualties roughly 1,055 on both sides.

11-22  Expedition from New Bern to Goldsboro.

11.  Skirmish at Kinston Road

11-12..  Skirmish at Kinston Road.

--Old B-Runner

Back to Greenville, N.C.-- Part 2: Another Account of the Action

Continuing with the capture of Greenville, N.C. in November 1862.

Another report dated November 8, 1862 from Acting. Lt. R.T. Renshaw to Commodore H.K. Davenport, Senior Officers Sounds of North Carolina.

He also reported on the expedition to Rose Bay

The howitzer of the USS Louisiana and sailors under Acting master's Mate McKeever were sent in an Army transport to Rose Bay, N.C. and captured a schooner.

He also sent  John L. Lay and Asst Paymaster Williams to Greenville with 20 men.  The paymaster was along to care for wounded men.  This force was partly armed with Sharps rifles.

They proceeded up the Tar River in the steamer North State with the mission to destroy a boat reported to be under construction above Greenville.

The North State grounded 2-3 miles below Greenville and the force went ashore to continue.  They entered Greenville and captured 6 horses and 3 mules which they turned over to the Army.

"Mr. Lay ascertains that Chief Engineer Quinana, formerly of our service, is superintending the building of two vessels at Tarboro, to be ironclad, one about 50 feet long."

--Old B-Runner

December 1, 1862: Welles Makes His Second Annual Report to Lincoln

DECEMBER 1ST, 1862:  In his second annual report , Secretary of the Navy Welles informed Abraham Lincoln:  "We have at this time afloat or progressing to rapid a naval force consisting of 427 vessels ... armed in aggregate with 1,577 guns, and of the capacity of 240,028 tons...

"The number of persons employed on board our naval vessels, including receiving ships and recruits, is about 28,000; and there are not less than 12,000 mechanics and laborers employed at the different navy yards and naval stations."

Getting Bigger Every Day.  --Old B-Runner