Monday, February 17, 2014

150 years ago: Hunley sinks the Housatonic

(CNN) -- Born and built amid gray-cloaked secrecy during the American Civil War, the H.L. Hunley — the first submarine to sink an enemy ship — has held tight to its murky mysteries. The 150th anniversary of the Hunley's daring and dangerous raid will be marked this weekend and Monday, but the overarching question remains: What caused the submarine and its eight-member crew to slip to the bottom of the sea on the moonlit evening of February 17, 1864, after it signaled to shore a success that changed naval warfare. Read the full article here.

For some thoughtful reflections on "The men lost on the U.S.S. Housatonic," see Robert Moore's February 17 Cenantua blog entry.

More "Thoughts on the U.S.S. Housatonic the the H.L. Hunley" can be found on Craig Swain's,
To The Sounds of the Guns blog.

And, of course, interesting information on the Confederate submarine is generously offered by the Friends of the Hunley.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Ball's Bluff and Monocacy -- 18th Civil War Forum Reunion

18th Civil War Forum Battlefield Conference
Ball’s Bluff, and Monocacy
(with a side trip to Antietam)

Leesburg, Virginia, April 3-6, 2014
Headquarters hotel:
Best Western Leesburg Hotel & Conference Center
726 E. Market Street
Leesburg, Virginia 20176

Registration is $285.  Registration will cover your seat on the bus (or other transportation, such as a ferry), entrance fees, box lunches for Friday and Saturday, and buffet dinner and presentation on Saturday evening.

Tour guides, speakers, and expert consultants
Jim Morgan, author of, A Little Short of Boats: The Civil War Battles of Ball's Bluff and Edwards Ferry, October 21 - 22, 1861 
B. F. Cooling, author of Monocacy, the Battle that Saved Washington, and The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot: the Fort Stevens Story
Rich Gillespie, director of education for Mosby Heritage Area Association
Steve Meserve, gentleman, scholar, raconteur

Tentative Itinerary (subject to change):
Thursday, April 3, 1:00 p.m: optional afternoon outing by carpool: Antietam National Battlefield. We'll begin with a presentation by historian Ted Alexander at the Visitor Center, then make a couple stops on the battlefield with a NPS ranger to interpret
Thursday, April 3, 6:00 p.m: informal reception, check-in, programs, name tags (location to be announced); dinner on your own
Friday a.m., April 4: walking tour of historic Leesburg with Rich Gillespie, including visits to Harrison Hall (now known as the Glenfiddich House) where Lee stayed when he passed through town on his way to Maryland in 1862, and where he met with Longstreet, Stuart and Jackson before crossing the river. A short distance from there is the John Janney home, where Lee made his only social call while in town. Janney, I am sure you recall, came within a single vote of becoming President of the United States when John Tyler was chosen instead as Vice President to William Henry Harrison. He later served as President of the Virginia Secession Convention and was the man who offered Lee command of Virginia's troops in 1861. [The latter house is private, and requires special arrangements to tour — thanks to Steve Meserve for recommending these two stops and providing the historic background.]
Friday lunch: picnic on the grounds of Morven Park, one-time estate of Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis. The Executive Director will present a talk for us while we enjoy our lunches. 
Friday afternoon: visit to Fort Evans, then to Ball’s Bluff battlefield with Jim Morgan for detailed battlefield hikes (3-4 hours all told). 
Saturday a.m., April 5: Frederick, Maryland — visit to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and, if time permits, the Barbara Fritchie House
Saturday afternoon, April 5: Tour Monocacy battlefield, and visit Ft. Stevens with B. F. Cooling 

Saturday evening, April 5, 6:30-10:00 p.m, in the ballroom at Morven Park Mansion: reception from 6:30-7:00; buffet dinner at 7:00; after-dinner speaker at 8:00 p.m.
Guest speaker: Dr. Benjamin Franklin Cooling