Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Play It Safe, Stay Off the Fort Fisher Rocks-- Part 1

From the May 7, 2017, Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

A March 25, 2017, editorial in the paper stated "Fort Fisher's "The Rocks" are now safe."

This headline came about after the North Carolina General Assembly voted down a bill to open them.

So, "The Rocks:" are safe, but walking on them is not so safe.

They were built in 1870 by the Army Corps of Engineers and closed New Inlet, a favorite Civil War blockade runner route, to keep out sand sifting into the Cape Fear River.  The head of the construction was Henry Bacon, father  of the Henry Bacon who designed and built the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C..

--Old B-Runner

Monday, January 29, 2018

January 29, 1863: Union Squadron Tests Galveston Fort

JANUARY 29TH, 1863:  The USS Brooklyn, Commodore H. H. Bell, with gunboats USS Sciota, Owasco and Katahdin tested Confederate batteries under construction at Galveston, Texas.  He learned that two of the fort's guns were capable of firing past the squadron -- more than 2 1/2 miles.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, January 26, 2018

Sea Shanties At Florida's Egmont Key

From the November Tampa (Fla.) Observer News  "Discover the Island's fundraiser at Egmont Key features Sea Shanties" by Carl Mario Nuda.

Egmont Key is located at the mouth of Tampa Bay.  On November 11 the annual Discover the Island event will take place with the group Sea Shanties to perform.

A lighthouse was built on the northern end of the island in 1858 and is still maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The two-mile long island was a Union Navy station during the Civil War as part of the blockade of the Confederacy.

In the Spanish-American War there was a hospital for quarantine site for returning troops with Yellow Fever.

--Old B-R'er

Be Careful Digging in Your Backyard

From the January 7, 2018, U.S. News & World Report  "St. Augustine Man finds Civil War-era Mortar in Yard."

Well, a mortar or cannon shell actually.

Digging in his backyard a man found a Civil War explosive.  He was digging a grave for his dog and found a cannonball with two ports sliding out.

He told the St. John's County Sheriff's Department who called a bomb squad to deal with it.

St. Augustine Lighthouse archaeological conservator Andrew Thompson says there was no Civil War action in the area in which it was found.  He thinks it might have belonged to a collector who discarded it. (I kind of doubt that.)

After it has undergone tests, it will be offered back to the finder or to a museum.

Like, BOOM!!  --Old B-Runner

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Algernon E. Smith At Fort Fisher and Custer's Last Stand-- Part 3

Algernon Smith participated in seven campaigns against the Indians including the Yellowstone Campaign in 1873 and then he was made assistant quartermaster and was in the 1874 Black Hills Expedition.

He was first lieutenant of Company A of the 7th U.S. cavalry, but assigned to the command of Company E, whose commander was at Fort Leavenworth.  It was this reason why he was with Custer's group at the Battle of the Little Bighorn and was killed.

His body was found full of arrows and not among the men of his company, but instead was found with Custer in the small knot of dead troops on "Last Stand Hill."

He was given a hasty burial on the battlefield and later re-interred in 1877 at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas.

His widow survived until 1903.

From Fort Fisher to the Last Stand.  --Old B-R'er

Algernon E. Smith-- Part 2: Fort Fisher and Custer's Last Stand

Algernon Emory Smith

In 1867, Algernon Smith joined the 7th U.S. cavalry under the command of George Armstrong Custer.  He soon became good friends with Custer and part of the so-called "Custer Clan" or "Custer Gang" of close-knit friends.  Custer even called him "Fresh" Smith.

On October 10, 1867, he married Nettie B. Bowen.

He served in the 1868 Washita Campaign which was his first encounter with the Indians.  On December 5, 1868 he was promoted to first lieutenant.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Algernon E. Smith, 117th New York At Fort Fisher and Custer's Last Stand-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

September 17, 1842 - June 25, 1876

Officer in the U.S. 7th cavalry killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana Territory June 25, 1876.

Born in New York.  In June 1862, he enlisted in Company K of the 7th U.S. Infantry and was made a lieutenant in the 117th New York Infantry where he served until October 1863.

At that time he was assigned to Major General Alfred Terry as aide-de-camp.  He was severely wounded at the Battle of  Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865.  Later brevetted to major for his actions during the war.

--Old B-R'er

Oneida County's 117th New York Infantry-- Part 7: 155th Anniversary of Mustering In

August 8, 2017, will mark the 155th anniversary of the 117th's mustering in.

There is more on the 117th New York Infantry Regiment and role of Rome in the Civil War at the Rome Historical Society at 200 Church Street, or at www.romehistoricsociety.org.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

January 23, 1863: USS Cambridge Captures Blockade Runner Off Cape Fear

JANUARY 23RD, 1863:  The USS Cambridge, Commander William A. Parker, captured the schooner Time off Cape Fear, North Carolina, with a cargo of salt, matches and shoes.

--Old B-R'er

Oneida County's 117th New York Infantry-- Part 6: One Member Died With Custer

After their discharge in 1865, most of the men returned to Oneida County and to their former jobs.

Some remained in the military.  Captain Algernon Smith died at Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Colonel Alvin White went on to become superintendent of the Faxton Hospital in Utica.  Colonel Rufus Daggett became the Utica postmaster.

Surviving members of the 117th met regularly in the area until the 1920s, by which point few were still alive.

--Old B-Runner

Monday, January 22, 2018

Oneida County's 117th New York-- Part 5: "The Language That Spilled Out"

Despite combat, the regiment had long periods of boredom, drudgery and restlessness while in camp.  During one of these boring periods in July 1863, an anonymous soldier of the 117th wrote a letter to the editors of the Rome Sentinel (which had been published for about twenty years at that time).

The letter appears to be a joke about a particularly dull soldier in the 117th and was not signed.

The 117th also had a bit of a crude sense of humor.  "One general commented that he had never heard language like what spilled out of the mouths of the 117th."

--Old B-Swear

Friday, January 19, 2018

Union Army Losses At the Second Battle of Fort Fisher


Killed:  2 officer, 35 enlisted
Wounded:  18 officer, 166 enlisted
Missing;  9


Killed:7 officers, 24 enlisted
Wounded:  15 officers, 183 wounded
Missing: 72


Killed:  2 officers, 15 enlisted
Wounded:  4 officers, 105 enlisted
Missing:  none


Killed:  0 officers, 3  enlisted
Wounded:  2 officers, 18 enlisted
Missing:  11


Killed:  11 officers, 77 enlisted
Wounded:  39, 472 enlisted
Missing:  92

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I Finally Get to Fort Fisher for an Anniversary

I finally was able to attend a Fort Fisher anniversary, something I have wanted to do for a really long time.  Last year, I was about 50 miles away clearing out the condo at Topsail Beach, N.C., but way too busy to go to the 152nd anniversary.

Saturday, Jan. 13 was the big day and I attended the Friends of Fort Fisher annual meeting and descendants presentations followed by a drive out to the fort and presentations, the firing of the cannons and re-enactors.

Monday, January 5, I went to the fort on the actual day of the fall of it back in 1865.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, January 11, 2018

January 11, 1863: Confederates Capture the Grampus No. 2

JANUARY 11TH, 1863:  Confederate troops captured steamboat Grampus No. 2 near Memphis, laden with a large cargo of coal, and later burned her at Mound City, Arkansas.

**  The USS Matthew Vassar, Acting Master Hugh H. Savage, captured schooner Florida off Little River Inlet, South Carolina, with cargo of salt.

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fort Fisher's 153rd Anniversary-- Part 3: Programs at the Fort

Also at Fort Fisher on Saturday, January 13, there will be two programs offered inside the museum.

At 12:30 p.m., Dr. Keith Holland will present the history of the Union transport ship Maple Leaf, which was sunk in 1864.  It has a Fort Fisher tie-in.

At 2:30, North Carolina Division of State Historic Sites and Properties Director Keith Hardison will present "Confederate Commander: The Military Qualifications of Jefferson Davis."

All events will be this Saturday, January 13.

As Much Fort Fisher As You Can Stand In One Day.  --Old B-R'er

Oneida County's 117th New York-- Part 4: The Race to the Parapet

So noteworthy was the 117th's actions at Fort Fisher that it actually raced a Pennsylvania regiment to plant their flag on the fort's parapets.  "When one man was shot another would pick up the flag."  Remnants of this flag today are housed in the Oneida County History Center.

Historian Peter Leonard says that the soldiers in the 117th did not enlist because of the issues of slavery or states rights, saying,: "For the average person in Oneida County, I believe it was more of a sense of duty to enlist and serve.  Many had fathers and grandfathers in the Revolution and War of 1812, including the battles of Fort Stanwix and Oriskany."

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Fort Fisher 153rd Anniversary-- Part 2: Friends of Fort Fisher Meeting and Descendants of the Battle

Earlier in the morning of January 13, Saturday, the Friends of Fort Fisher will have a breakfast meeting at the Carolina Beach Courtyard by Marriott during which the plans for the new Fort Fisher visitors center will be shown.

Afterwards, descendants of those who fought at both Battles of Fort Fisher, will present information on their ancestors' roles in the fighting.

--Old B-R'er

Oneida County's 117th New York Infantry-- Part 3: Biggest Contribution the Capture of Fort Fisher

The 117th trained for about three weeks before moving south where they spent several months in the Washington, D.C., garrisons.

They went on to participate in campaigns across Virginia and North Carolina.  At one time they were under the command of General U.S. Grant.

Civil War historian and expert on the Fourth Oneida (117th NY) Peter Leonard says the capture of Fort Fisher was the unit's most significant contribution to the war.  The 117th was in what "would become the largest amphibious landing up until D-Day."

--Old B-Runner

Monday, January 8, 2018

Fort Fisher Celebrates 153rd Anniversary-- Part 1: Re-Enactors and Cannon Firing

From the December 30, 2017, Wilmington (NC) Port City Daily  "Fort Fisher celebrates 153rd anniversary of the Second Battleof Fort Fisher" by Michael Praats.

The name of the commemoration is "Exploding Shells and a Blaze of Musketry."  This will be held Saturday, January 13, 2018.  And, the best part is that I will finally be able to be there.

There will be outside re-enactors discussing camp life, garrison duty and showing the manual of arms.

There will also be large and small artillery firings throughout the day, including the 32-pdr. rifled and banded cannon atop Sheppard's Battery.

Masonboro Parlor will be playing 19th-century music and photographer Harry Taylor will be demonstrating wet plate photography.

Really Looking Forward to This.  --Old B-R'er

Oneida County's 117th New York Infantry-- Part 2: Trained At camp Huntington

New York Governor Edwin Morgan exhorted his state's people to enlist, "Let the 'glorious example of the Revolutionary period be our emulation."

Rome, New York, had around 6,000 people in 1862.

The volunteers for the 117th were largely from around Rome and Utica, but they had members from every county community.

They were organized at Camp Huntington in July 1862.  This camp was located between Liberty and West Dominick streets, spanning west from Expense Street to Francis Street, about six city blocks.  Vamp Street is named after it and runs through the former camp site.

--Old B-Runner

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Oneida County Answers the Call-- Part 1: 117th NY Infantry

From the July 11, 2017, Rome (New York) Sentinel  "Rome Historical Society artifacts and highlight area's Civil War history" by Mac Bullock.

155 years ago, Oneida County answered the call of duty.

The Civil War was in its 15th month and the 117th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment was mustered in in Rome August 1862.    This regiment played a major role in the capture of Fort Fisher.

Many expected the war to be over by Christmas.

Archival documents in the Rome Historical Society give an idea of the situation.

The 117th was also called the Fourth Oneida Regiment.  They were called to duty by New York Governor Edwin Morgan's call for volunteers.

--Old B-Runner

Saturday, January 6, 2018

North Carolina Timeline, January 1863: Coastal

These are more the coastal part of what was happening.

JANUARY 5--  Expedition to capture Wilmington pilots.

JANUARY 14--  Loss of USS Columbia off Masonboro Inlet.

JANUARY 17-21--  Reconnaissance from New Bern to Pollocksville, Trenton, Young's Crossroads and Onslow.

JANUARY  19--  Skirmish at White Oak Creek.

JANUARY  20--  Skirmish near Jacksonville

JANUARY 27-28--  Reconnaissance on Neuse and Trent rivers.

JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 3--  Naval expedition to Hertford on Perquimans River.

--Old B-Runner

Camp Fisher, N.C.-- Part 3: Four Regiments Trained Here

From the NCpedia.

Camp Fisher was established in the fall of 1861 as one of two Confederate infantry training camps in the county.  (Guilford County)  Companies organized here included those from the 28th, 34th and 37th North Carolina Infantry Regiments in 1861 and the 11th N.C. in 1862.

Charles Fisher, for whom it was named, was the second president of the North Carolina Railroad.

The camp was located between West Kivett Drive and Leonard Avenue in High Point.

--Old B-Runner

Friday, January 5, 2018

Camp Fisher, N.C.,-- Part 2: High Point, N.C.

From highway marker:  "Located 3/4 mile east.  Camp Fisher was a camp of instruction for North Carolina troops 1861-1862.  Camp Fisher was named for Col. Charles Fisher of Salisbury, after his death at the Battle of First Manassas."

dedicated 1990 by the Colonel John Sloan Camp, 1290 SCV on Main Street, Highway 311.

This sign is located in High Point.

--Old B-R'er

Camp Fisher, N.C.,-- Part 1: Named For Charles Fisher

From, the March/April 2016, Confederate Veteran.

One of the Books in Print Reviews was "Guilford Under the Stars and Bars" by C. Michael Briggs.  Guilford refers to Guilford County, North Carolina, home of Greensboro.

What caught my eye in the review was Camp Fisher being named after the same man for whom Fort Fisher was named.  Right up my alley.  Anything Fort Fisher.

It said that Camp Fisher was in High Point and was constructed as a training camp for incoming Confederate soldiers.  It was named for the same Confederate colonel, Charles Fisher of the 6th North Carolina Infantry, who was killed at the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861.  The huge fort guarding Wilmington, N.C., was also named for him.

--Old B-Runner

Thursday, January 4, 2018

January 4, 1863: Joint Army-Navy Expedition Against Fort Hindman

JANUARY 4, 1863:  A joint Army-Navy expedition under Rear Admiral David D. Porter and Major General W.T. Sherman got underway up the White River, Arkansas, aiming at the capture of Fort Hindman at Arkansas Post.  Porter described Fort Hindman as a "tough little nut," mounted 11 guns.

Porter's ship were seriously short of coal and had army transports tow them to conserve fuel.  His fleet consisted of the USS Baron de Kalb, Louisville, Cincinnati, Signal, Marmora, Lexington, New Era, Romeo, Rattler, Glide and Porter's flagship, the Black Hawk.

This date, Porter also ordered the ram Monarch to join him at the mouth of the Arkansas River

--Old B-R'er

Blockade Runner Condor Has A Story to Tell

From the July 26, 2017, North State Journal  "Sunken Civil War blockade runner has a story to tell to North Carolina divers and snorkelers" by Donna King.

You can dive or snorkel on the wreck, located just off Fort Fisher, but if that is not your thing, you can find out a lot about the stricken ship on land through artifacts at the Fort Fisher museum and a replica of its engine room at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

The wreck itself is now an Official Heritage Dive Site and is administered by the Office of State Archaeology.

It is intend "to educate, to further heritage tourism and to teach divers stewardship."

--Old B-Runner

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery-- Part 2: Defenders of Fort Fisher Buried Here

A cast iron fence originally encircled the cemetery, but during World War II it was donated to the war effort.

In 1862, he blockade runner Kate brought in yellow fever along with supplies.  The disease killed 600 people in Wilmington and 400 are buried at a site in the cemetery known as Yellow Fever Hill.

After the Civil War there was a massive influx of deceased Confederate and Union soldiers carried into Wilmington.  Unidentified bodies of 550 soldiers who died at the Battles of Fort Fisher were buried at the Confederate Plot.

In addition, Confederate General W.H.C. Whiting and James Reilly from Fort Fisher, John Newland Maffitt and Rose O'Neil Greenhow are buried at Oakdale.

Oakdale Cemetery has a Friends of Oakdale Cemetery organization to help.

--Old B-R'er

Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery-- Part 1: Established 1855

From the Go Upstate.com site, Spartanburg, S.C.  "Superintendent shares history of Oakdale Cemetery" by Terry Reilly, Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

Eric Kozen is the superintendent of Wilmington, N.C.'s Oakdale Cemetery which opened in 1855 and has more than 20,000 burials.

The first person to be buried there was a the six-year-old daughter of the cemetery's president.  Its 65 acres were originally located just outside the city limits at 15th Street because of a fear of disease spreading from the dead.

Burial plots measured 20 by 20 feet and were originally auctioned off for $50 to $75.

--Old B-Runner

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Future of Fort Fisher-- Part 2: Outside Exhibits

We will be seeing this presentation again as well as finalized plans on January 13, 2018, when the friends of Fort Fisher hold their annual meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott at Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

5.  Recreate the historic lunette.

6.  New maintenance building.

7.  River Road Exhibit Trail.

8.  Beachfront Exhibit Platform, Overlook and Stage.

9.  North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Center.

10.  Amphitheater.

Looking Forward to All This.  --Old B-R'er

Visit Wilmington's New Hanover County Library

From the December 22, 2017, Wilmington (NC) Star-News  "On the Map: Dig up the past in the North Carolina Room" by Ben Steelman.

The North Carolina Room has a local history collection consisting of 200,000 books and bound materials.

For Civil War buffs, one is a Union chart showing plans for the attack on Fort Fisher.

They also have several runs of old Wilmington newspapers, some covering the Civil War years.

--Old B-Runner

The Future of Fort Fisher-- Part 1: New Visitors Center

From the Friends of Fort Fisher, July 27, 2017.

A meeting was held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday August 4 at the Fort Fisher Museum.

State Representative Ted Davis Jr. and North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources Secretary Suzi Hamilton and local officials presented the Future of Fort Fisher including major improvements and rebuilding parts of the fort.

Among the things to be done:

1.  Demolish existing visitors center.

2.  New visitors center to be built north of current one.

3.  The old one will become the parking area for the new one and will be enlarged.

4.  Recreate the earthen mounds and sally port.  (These were taken down when the Army built the airfield during World War II.)

--Old B-Runner

Monday, January 1, 2018

Seven Years of Civil War Navy Running the Blockade Blog

Today's post marks the seventh year of this blog which started in 2012.  It grew out of the Saw the Elephant Civil War Blog when it became apparent that three were all these naval posts.  I am a Civil War fan, but the Navy and Fort Fisher have always been my main interest.

Last year I posted 529 to this blog and today's post marks the 3,309th time since the beginning.

--Old B-Runner