The following items may be of interest to our membership
Fund-raising for the Wilderness:
I am pleased to endorse this
fundraising appeal from the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefields
to you. This very grassroots volunteer effort has taken on
the admirable task of restoring the Lacy House (Ellwood) at the
Wilderness battlefield. For any of you who have been to Ellwood
you know it is a place of deep beauty and sacred importance.
A field hospital during the battle of Chancellorsville--Stonewall
Jackson's shattered arm is buried there; a headquarters during the
battle of the Wilderness--its halls echo with the bootsteps of
couriers and generals moving with dutiful expedience at Warren's
headquarters. Today, the site has been under the protective
umbrella of the NPS and, thanks to Tom's group, was recently
reopened to the public--since then over 6,000 visitors have
crossed the threshold. Tragically, there are no federal
funds to restore this site. Structurally sound, the interior
suffers from severe insect infestation and damage. It must
be restored if the home is to be presented in its true
Executive director, BGES
The Swamp Angel, a unique gun emplacement
delivered Charleston's first Civil War bombardment
as reported by
Bob Campbell in The Islander.
A Federal gun platform, called an engineering feat since it was mounted in the James Island marsh mud, dropped the first artillery shells on the city of Charleston in 1863. Today, the location of the gun known in history as "The Swamp Angel" is preserved as a battleground site by the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust, according to Ted Banta, who recently stepped down as the trust's first executive director.
"The Swamp Angel was actually our first preserved site," Banta says. "I thought it was a very interesting site and needed to be preserved."
Although the Swamp Angel location is said to be difficult to approach and only by boat, it can be seen from the harbor. The trust has erected a historical marker where the gun sat in 1863. According to a trust handout, Federal engineers built the gun platform floating in the muddy marshes between Morris Island and James Island. The gun platform supported a 16,000 pound, eight-inch parrot rifle that fired 200 pound shells. Rounds delivered from the Swamp Angel delivered the first shells to reach the city of Charleston during the Civil War causing an outrage among the city's citizens and commanding general. According to Banta, General P.G.T. Beauregard, commander of the Charleston defenses, went berserk and called the bombardment "barbaric".
At the time of the war the civilian population had been left alone. "Nobody had fired on them," says Banta. "Turns out the battery was a major engineering feat because of the way it was built on pluff mud." Pilings were driven down into the sand in a square, he says, and then a platform was set inside the pilings. To counterweight the platform, "They put sandbags all around it, I think 4,000 sand bags. When it fired," he says, "the pluff mud would absorb the shock of the firing." Sand from these bags is still at the site he says, and the platform lies under about 4 feet of mud.
On the first night of the Charleston shelling, the gun's crew fired 15 rounds into the city. But, after two more nights of bombardment and 36 rounds, the gun blew up from an overcharge of powder. "The gun just wouldn't take it," Banta says.
The Swamp Angel site is one of four the trust has preserved in its seven years of battleground preservation efforts. Others are Battery #5 on James island, Coles Island, Fort Palmetto on the Stone River near Folly, and Battery Cleaves on James Island.
The trust also worked closely with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in the preservation of Fort Lamar on James Island. Fort Lamar, scene of a major 1862 land battle, is now owned by the Natural Resources Department's Heritage Trust and is open to the public.
The Living History Association of
Mecklenburg Inc. Has been raising funds to erect a monument to North
Carolina soldiers that fought at South Mountain The cost is nearly
$50,000 and is progressing very well. If you’d like more
information or would like to contribute call them at 704-545-9760.
Yet another Friends Group supporting
the Fredericksburg area is now active. The Friends of the
Fredericksburg Area Battlefields (FoFAB) runs its membership on a 12 month
cycle from Jan 1-Dec 31. Dues are $10 per year for a single member
or family. For membership
or tour information call FoFAB at 540-972-9954.
Corinth Area has made a substantial commitment to preservation of its trenches and
sites. This historic town is worth a visit for many reasons. They also have many tourist
friendly educational aids. Their Friends group welcomes new members with donor categories
at all levels. For more information contact Ann Thompson, Manager of the Civil War Center
After Gettysburg, nearly 13,000 confederate prisoners were housed at Fort Delaware. The pristine fort is still open for visitation, although there is a $6 admission fee. You must ride a ferry to the fort. Call 302-834-7941 for information. Be sure to ask about the ferry schedule.
The Confederate's Nathan Hale is Sam Davis, a Tennessee boy who accepted a death sentence and was hanged for failing to reveal the names of his comrades. His home is 20 minutes South of Nashville in Smyrna. For information call toll free, 888-750-9524.