Florida National Guard Has Ceremony At Olustee Event

By Julio C. Zangroniz
(April 2013 Civil War News)

Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw digs an Olustee soil sample, one of four to be gathered at U.S. battlefields, with an aide.     (Julio C. Zangroniz)

OLUSTEE, Fla. — The Florida National Guard secured a “piece of land” for a very special project during a ceremony at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

Before the start of the 37th annual reenactment, Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw, adjutant general of Florida, described the project just before he knelt down and started scooping up some soil.

The Guard is trying to collect samples from as many as 16 battlefields, both here and abroad, where the State of Florida has fielded troops. Then, on Sept. 16, all those samples will be deposited at the Guard’s parade grounds in St. Augustine.

The international samples will include 12 locations as widespread as Japan and Indonesia, and some European countries, according to the general. U.S. soil will come from Chickamauga, Ga.; Cold Harbor, Va.; and Gettysburg, Pa., in addition to Olustee.

The Guard’s parade grounds are currently unnamed, but it is likely that the facility will receive a            new designation at the September ceremony. It will mark the 448th anniversary of the first muster of Florida militia, in 1565, under Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles, according to Florida National Guard command historian Gregory A. Moore.

During his remarks, General Titshaw recalled a visit he made to the Olustee Battlefield with his family in the 1990s. He added that a relative on his mother’s side fought and died in the Feb. 20, 1864, battle while serving in the 9th Florida Infantry.

The general thanked the reenactors in attendance and praised their dedication to history and to the memories of their predecessors, regardless of which side of the American Civil War they had served.

“We appreciate both sides being here today and I hope we will remain friendly through the rest of the event,” the general joked before shaking hands with reenactors and awarding some of them a special commemorative coin.

For more information about the Florida National Guard project, visit the organization’s website at http://www.nationalguard.com.

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A record 19 scouts in Troop 114 of Littleton make Eagle in 2012

Congratulations to Brother Ryan Greenway and his father Brother Ralph Greenway. Brother Ryan, of Scout Troop 114 was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!.


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Spar Torpedo Reveals New Info About How Hunley Sank A Ship

By Scott C. Boyd
(April 2013 Civil War News)

The copper sleeve that held torpedo remains held onto spar by nut and bolt. Torn copper to their right shows how detonation of the  torpedo pushed the sleeve down on spar. Also note seam on spar tube.

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The exciting discovery of a damaged copper sleeve at one end of the spar on the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley has overturned conventional wisdom about how the vessel became the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel in combat.

The new information was revealed at a Jan. 28 press conference at the Warren Lasch Conservation Lab where the recovered submarine is being conserved.

Additional details about the Hunley’s spar have subsequently come to light and testing is planned to gather more data about why the submarine may have sunk after its history-making attack.

Spar Torpedo

The damaged sleeve was part of the copper case holding the gunpowder charge of the explosive torpedo attached to the spar, a 16-foot metal tube (details below). This spar torpedo was the Hunley’s only weapon.

The conventional explanation for how the spar torpedo worked was that the Hunley rammed the torpedo, which had a barb on its end, into the USS Housatonic’s hull, attaching the barbed torpedo. Then the Hunley backed away and the torpedo detached from the spar, remaining impaled in the hull.

A rope lanyard was supposedly attached to the torpedo and wound on a spool attached to the Hunley’s exterior. After the submarine backed up and reached the end of the rope, the taut lanyard would then pull and detonate the torpedo.

Hunley chief conservator, Paul Mardikian said not only was part of the torpedo casing on the spar, but it was attached with a nut and bolt.

This demonstrates that the torpedo was never meant to come off the spar, contrary to the conventional understanding of how it worked.

Mardikian said he learned something was on the end of the spar when he X-rayed it about 10 years ago. He originally thought the sleeve was made of lead until he removed the concretion from the spar last summer and discovered it was copper and was part of the torpedo itself.

“The new findings on the spar change the entire configuration,” said Maria Jacobsen, chief archeologist for the Hunley project. She recently presented the new data to the Hunley’s owners, the U.S. Navy.

“The conventional wisdom [about how the spar torpedo worked] seemed very suspicious and very unlikely to most of us,” she said. “It seemed like an unlikely way of implanting a torpedo,” especially if the target is a ship’s hull sheathed in metal to prevent barnacles, as was a common practice.

One of Jacobsen’s researchers found a technical drawing in the National Archives of a torpedo labeled as the one used by the Hunley to sink the Housatonic.

The torpedo was designed by the Singer Company. It had 135 pounds of black powder, with three spring-loaded triggers in the center, according to the drawing.

Jacobsen said the torpedo was detonated by a lanyard probably pulled somehow from inside the submarine.

New Details

Mardikian gave Civil War News many new details about the spar itself.

The spar is 16 feet long and hollow, made from a metal sheet about 3 or 4 millimeters thick folded into a tube shape. Its outside diameter is about 2.5 inches. A seam down its length is visible now that the concretion has been removed.

The spar was made from two tubes joined by a coupling on the outside. Additionally, a chunk of steel was riveted inside at the joint to strengthen it.

The sleeve of the torpedo cylinder was secured with a vertical nut and bolt at one end of the spar.

On the other end, the spar was slid onto a solid metal rod and attached with a vertical nut and bolt.

That rod had a U-shaped end that attached to a yoke on the Hunley’s lower bow with a horizontal nut and bolt. This allowed the spar to be raised vertically for attaching or removing the torpedo.

Previously people could only speculate about factors such as the size of the powder charge in the torpedo and how far the Hunley was from the Housatonic when it exploded, according to Jacobsen.

Now they finally have some of the data needed to mathematically model the effect of the torpedo’s underwater explosion. That effect on the submarine’s hull and on the crewmen inside will be calculated.

Physical scale-models may also have to be used at some point for “controlled explosive testing,” she said.

Further data needed includes the exact condition of the submarine’s hull, which may give clues to the explosion’s impact.

The hull is still covered by concretion from its 136 years under the sea. Safely removing this concretion is Mardikian’s next big task.

The Hunley disappeared on Feb. 17, 1864, after sinking the U.S.S. Housatonic, a wooden steamer warship, just outside the entrance to Charleston Harbor. It was located in 1995 near the Housatonic wreck and was recovered in 2000.

For more information visit Friends of the Hunley at http://www.hunley.org

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150 years later, 2 Civil War sailors to be buried

 Monitor sailors to be buried: Facial reconstructions show what two sailors who died in the USS Monitor during the Civil War might have looked like. IMAGE

The remains of two crew members of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday. They probably will be the last Civil War sailors to be buried there.

RICHMOND, Va. — A century and a half after the USS Monitor sank, the interment of two unknown crewmen found in the Civil War ironclad’s turret is bringing together people from across the country with distant but powerful ties to those who died aboard.

The ceremony Friday at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington will include Monitor kin who believe the two sailors — whose remains were discovered in 2002 — are their ancestors, despite DNA testing that has failed to make a conclusive link. But the families stress that the interment pays homage to all 16 Union sailors who died when the ship went down, and nearly 100 people from Maine to California are expected to attend.

“When I learned they were going to do a memorial and have the burial at Arlington, it was like, ‘I can’t miss that,’ ” said Andy Bryan of Holden, Maine, who will travel with his daughter Margaret to the capital. He said DNA testing found a 50 percent likelihood that Monitor crewman William Bryan, his great-great-great-uncle, was one of the two found in the summer of 2002, when the 150-ton turret was raised from the ocean floor off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

“If it’s not William Bryan, I’m OK with that,” Bryan said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I feel like I should be there.”

The same holds true for Diana Rambo of Fresno, Calif. She said her mother, Jane Nicklis Rowland, was told of the ceremony for Monitor crewman Jacob Nicklis a week before her death in December, at age 90. He was Rowland’s great-uncle. That, Rambo said, makes the interment especially poignant.

Rambo, too, suspects Nicklis was one of the two in the turret. “We know he was on the ship,” she said. “We know he was one of the 16.”

Monitor turret recovery: The turret of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, where two sailors' bodies were found, is lifted out of the ocean off the coast of Hatteras, N.C., in August 2002. IMAGE

Two weeks ago, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the two probably would be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington. He’ll speak at the interment. “It’s important we honor these brave men and all they represent as we reflect upon the significant role Monitor and her crew had in setting the course of our modern Navy,” he said.

The ceremony is scheduled on the 151st anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads, which took place on March 8 and 9, 1862. On the second day, the Brooklyn-made Monitor fought the CSS Virginia in the first battle between two ironclads. The Monitor was the Union’s answer to the Confederate Virginia, built on the carcass of the U.S. Navy frigate USS Merrimack. The battle of the ironclads ended in a draw.

The Monitor sank about nine months later in rough seas southeast of Cape Hatteras while under tow by the USS Rhode Island. Dubbed a “cheesebox on a raft,” the Monitor was not designed for rough water. Sixteen of the Monitor’s 62 crew members died. The crew of the Rhode Island was able to rescue about 50 people. Most of the dead were lost at sea. The wreck was discovered in 1973.

Retired Navy Capt. Barbara “Bobbie” Scholley was commanding officer of the team of about 40 divers who descended to the Monitor wreck in 2002. The turret was upside down and filled with coal, sand and silt that had hardened into a solid mass. Divers chipped away until the turret could be lifted.

“We knew there was a good chance we would find sailors in the turret because they would escape that way,” said Scholley, who will travel from her home in Annapolis, Md., for the Arlington ceremony.

“I think everybody realized, yes, this is a piece of history, but it’s more than that,” Scholley said of the mood among divers, archaeologists and others on a support barge when the remains were found. “These are men who fought for us and died for us, and here they are and we’re bringing them home. It was very powerful.”

The turret has gone through restoration and is on display at the USS Monitor Center of The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News.

Meanwhile, in a long-shot bid to identify the remains, the skulls of the sailors found in the turret were used to reconstruct their faces about a year ago.

Some families whose ancestors had served on the Monitor came forward — including Rambo’s mother and Bryan — but DNA testing did not produce a conclusive match.

But some are confident their own detective work has sealed the family links to the two found in the turret.

Gaydee Gardner, Rambo’s sister, said it’s surreal to know “I am a blood relative to Jacob … a 21-year-old kid off to sea on the first ironclad, whose president was Abraham Lincoln.” She will travel from Rancho Mirage, Calif., for the ceremony in memory of “a kid who must have been terrified during his final hours.”

Bryan said the Navy is sending a DNA kit to a maternal descendent in Australia in hopes of cementing the link with William Bryan.

“The more I’ve learned about him, the more I’m attached,” said Bryan, who will join 20 family members in Washington. “It doesn’t hurt that my father was William Bryan, so that always make it feel that it’s pretty personal.”

The remains were sent to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii. They concluded the sailors were white, each was 5-foot-7, and one was 17 to 24 years old while the other was in his 30s. They narrowed the possibilities to six among the 16 Monitor sailors who died.

Forensic anthropologist Robert Mann said the command has not given up hope and is conducting more DNA testing. Genealogists have been able to determine possible descendants for 10 families of the missing 16 sailors.

But although efforts to identify the two continue, “let’s lay the men to rest,” said David Alberg, superintendent of the Monitor sanctuary.

Alberg — along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Maritime Heritage Program and descendants of the surviving Monitor crew members — have pushed for the Arlington honors.

“It’s their final voyage,” Alberg said. “They sailed out in 1862 and never made it home, and now they’re finally being laid to rest 150 years later.”

Source: http://news.msn.com/us/150-years-later-2-civil-war-sailors-to-be-buried

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Historic oversight corrected: Film ‘Lincoln’ inspires look into slavery vote

Mississippi Ratifies 13th Amendment Banning Slavery

Posted: 02/18/2013 2:49 pm EST  |  Updated: 02/19/2013 1:15 am EST
Mississippi lawmakers have officially ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which banned slavery in 1865.
One hundred forty-eight years after three-fourths of the states voted to approve the amendment, Mississippi’s legislature finally took steps to fix the glaring oversight last month. According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the decision was inspired by the Oscar-nominated film “Lincoln,” which depicts the 16th president’s efforts to enact the amendment.
After University of Mississippi Medical Center professor Dr. Ranjan Batra saw the film last year, he was inspired to look into what happened after states voted on the amendment. He found that while the state had originally rejected the slavery ban, the state legislature eventually voted to approve the amendment in 1995. The measure cleared both legislative chambers, but was never sent to the Office of the Federal Register and therefore never made official.
Batra then contacted another Mississippi resident, Ken Sullivan, who in turn got in touch with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. Hosemann’s office agreed to fix the oversight and file the paperwork, making the ratification official on February 7.
Mississippi was the last state to approve the amendment. Kentucky, the second-to-last holdout, ratified it in 1976.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated incorrectly that three-fifths of the states voted 148 years ago to approve the amendment. It was three-fourths.

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Original Photographs of the Civil War

What an unbelievable website. Click the link below.


Please read the instructions before viewing…These pictures are very profound. It is fortunate that these photos have survived. Most probably a million wet plate photos were made during the civil war on glass plate.  Popular during the war, they lost their appeal afterwards and so many were sold for the glass. Many used in green houses. Over the years the sun caused the images to disappear.

These are pretty amazing considering they were taken over to 150 years ago: A compendium of photos from era of the War Between the States.

Run the cursor over the photograph and the picture caption will pop up.

Click photo to enlarge and to read the rest of the caption. Once enlarged you find “forward” and “previous” options on left and right side of photo.

You can also advance pictures using the right arrow.


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Experts find new evidence in submarine mystery

FILE - The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sits in a conservation tank after a steel truss that had surrounded it was removed in this Jan. 12, 2012 file photo taken at a conservation lab in North Charleston, S.C.  Scientists say a pole on the front of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley designed to plant explosives on enemy ships may hold a key clue to its sinking during the Civil War. The experts are to release their findings Monday Jan. 28, 2013 at the North Charleston lab where the hand-cranked sub is being preserved and studied. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith, File)

FILE – The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sits in a conservation tank after a steel truss that had surrounded it was removed in this Jan. 12, 2012 file photo taken at a conservation lab in North

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Researchers say they may have the final clues needed to solve the mystery of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, which never resurfaced after it became the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship, taking its eight-man crew to a watery grave.

Scientists said Monday that the Hunley apparently was less than 20 feet away from the Housatonic when the crew ignited a torpedo that sank the Union blockade ship off South Carolina in 1864. That means it may have been close enough for the crew to be knocked unconscious by the explosion, long enough that they may have died before awakening.

For years, historians thought the Hunley was much farther away and had speculated the crew ran out of air before they were able to return to shore.

The discovery was based on a recent examination of the spar — the iron pole in front of the hand-cranked sub that held the torpedo.

The Hunley, built in Mobile, Ala., and deployed off Charleston in an attempt to break the Union blockade during the Civil War, was finally found in 1995. It was raised five years later and brought to a lab in North Charleston, where it is being conserved.

Conservator Paul Mardikian had to remove material crusted onto one end of the spar after 150 years at the bottom of the ocean. Beneath the muck he found evidence of a cooper sleeve. The sleeve is in keeping with a diagram of the purported design of a Hunley torpedo that a Union general acquired after the war and is in the National Archives in Washington.

“The sleeve is an indication the torpedo was attached to the end of the spar,” Mardikian said. He said the rest of the 16-foot spar shows deformities in keeping with it being bent during an explosion.

Now it may be that the crew, found at their seats when the sub was raised with no evidence of an attempt to abandon ship, may have been knocked out by the concussion of an explosion so close by, said Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, a member of the South Carolina Hunley Commission.

“I think the focus now goes down to the seconds and minutes around the attack on the Housatonic,” he said. “Did the crew get knocked out? Did some of them get knocked out? Did it cause rivets to come loose and the water rush into the hull?”

The final answers will come when scientists begin to remove encrustations from the outer hull, a process that will begin later this year. McConnell said scientists will also arrange to have a computer simulation of the attack created based on the new information. The simulation might be able to tell what effect the explosion would have on the nearby sub.

Maria Jacobsen, the senior archaeologist on the project, said small models might also be used to recreate the attack.

Ironically, the crucial information was literally at the feet of scientists for years.

The spar has long been on display to the public in a case at Clemson University’s Warren Lasch Conservation Lab where the Hunley is being conserved. With other priorities on the sub itself, it wasn’t until last fall that Mardikian began the slow work of removing encrustations from the spar.

Scientists X-rayed the spar early on and found the denser material that proved to be the cooper sleeve. But Jacobsen said it had long been thought it was some sort of device to release the torpedo itself.

Finding evidence of the attached torpedo is “not only extremely unexpected, it’s extremely critical,” she said. “What we know now is the weapons system exploded at the end of the spar. That is very, very significant.”


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