31/08/2001 - Preservation News Update - August 2001Fremantle Gravesite #1 - Liverpool Civil War Heritage Trail - Submarine H L Hunley - The Monitor - Ball's Bluff VA - Kelleys Point/Fort Negley/Franklin TN - Oklahoma Battlefield Preservation - Rich Mountain, WV - Perryville KY - Buffington Island OH. (An abridged version of this this article appears in 'Crossfire' the magazine of the ACWRT(UK) No.66)
By Anne Hughes ACWRT(UK)
LT COL A J L FREMANTLE
Thanks to the movie, "Gettysburg", possibly the best-known Englishman in Civil War circles is Lt Col A J L Fremantle, whose book, "Three Months in the Southern States" was published following a visit to the Southern states in 1863. What is not so well known is that General (as he subsequently became) Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle lies in an unmarked grave in Woodvale Cemetery, Brighton. His headstone was apparently laid flat on the grave in 1935, as it was unsafe and has subsequently disappeared. The centenary of General Fremantle's burial will be on 20 September 2001.
On this anniversary, there will be a ceremony at the graveside to erect a new headstone and curbset. The grave was discovered by Roger Hughes, an Englishman who portrays Col Fremantle, and he and fellow enthusiast, Nevill Wantling (who portrays General Lee) are fund-raising to pay for the new headstone.
The present Lord Fremantle will be in attendance at the ceremony, as will other members of the Fremantle family and representatives of the Royal Yacht Squadron. The rededication will be at 12 Noon on 29th September - a hundred years to the day and hour of the original burial.
Anyone interested in Col Fremantle is welcome to attend, but, as Mr Hughes points out, donations would be even more welcome! US readers may send donations to:
Roger Hughes Fremantle Grave Restoration Fund, PO Box 952, Debary, Florida 32713. British readers wishing to contribute are asked to send donations to the UK treasurer:
Gary Lakin, 16 Trevor Road, Pelsall, Walsall, West Midlands WS3 5DB (UK cheques made payable to the monumental masons - "G D Memorials", please).
More info: http://www.colfremantle.com
CIVIL WAR HERITAGE TRAIL, LIVERPOOL
Efforts are under way to persuade Liverpool City Council to set up a Civil War Heritage Trail This would include sites such as The Confederate Embassy in Rumford Place, the dock at Lairds where the Alabama was fitted out, Perch Rock Museum, Birkenhead Town Hall, various houses occupied by Commander James Dunwoody Bulloch, the Bulloch graves at Toxteth Cemetery and the graves of the Alabama crew buried at St James's Cemetery.
The group planning the Trail believes that they could attract visitors from both European countries and the States, in addition to visitors from the UK.
Recently Dave Tollerton and Bob Jones met with officials of the Liverpool Tourist Board to discuss the project. The officials pointed out that City Council can't organise this project, however, it was suggested that the group who suggested that the Trail should set up a business themselves and some funding might subsequently become available. A business plan is to be developed to look into the feasibility.
A local library has recently hosted a display on the life of Commander Bulloch and his links with the city and there are hopes that this display might be repeated in a bigger venue.
In the meanwhile, the organisers are keen to get an idea of likely numbers of visitors, particularly from overseas and anyone who feels they may wish to visit Liverpool in the next couple of years is asked to e-mail either gentleman on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on: http://www.csa-dixie.com/Liverpool
SUBMARINE H L HUNLEY
Conservation work continues on artefacts retrieved from the Hunley. Actual excavations of the wreck have ceased until the autumn, when it is hoped to explore further under a wooden bench located in the wreck. X-rays have been conducted, showing there are artefacts, possibly personal effects of the crew stowed underneath the wooden bench. Dr. Robert Neyland, Project Director says, "If the crew carried any personal items onboard the sub, the bench would be the likely place because of the cramped conditions." The x-rays showed a small glass medicine bottle and a leather strap. The strap is lying on the top of the bench, goes underneath and is concreted to the side of the hull.
Senator Glenn McConnell, Chairman of the Hunley Commission, commented "The excavation in the fall will be comparable to reading a good mystery book with each day being a new page revealing more about the characters and uncovering more of the clues to solving the mystery of what happened on the final voyage." More info: http://www.hunley.org
Exciting news from the Monitor dive site. On Tuesday, 7th August, crowds gathered at the Mariners' Museum to watch the arrival of the 30-ton steam engine of the Monitor at the Museum for conservation. Since March 2001, The Mariners' Museum, U.S. Navy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been working to recover the Monitor's steam engine from 240 feet below the sea, off the coast of North Carolina. Preparatory work to prepare the ironclad's turret for recovery in 2002 was included in this year's dives.
The engine was lifted from a barge in the James River and into conservation at The Mariners' Museum where it will spend the next ten years. The engine is one of over 130 artefacts recovered from the Monitor this year. Others include the ironclad's condenser, engine room thermometer, brass railing, chimney lanterns, blower engine, bilge pumps, and engine room flooring. As a tribute to the sixteen crew members aboard the vessel who died on 31st December 1862, a Union re-enactor read the name and rank of each sailor during a ceremony just after the steam engine reached land. Following the ceremony, "Amazing Grace" was played on the bagpipes, in honour of the crew.
Visitors can now see the engine and most of these artefacts undergoing conservation at The Mariners' Museum. More info: http://www.mariner.org
BALL'S BLUFF, VIRGINIA
A development company recently announced plans to build on one of the few remaining open areas of Ball's Bluff Battlefield. Earthworks built by D H Hill in 1861/62 are under threat as are other parts of the battlefield.
The Town Council of Leesburg had purchased parts of the battlefield, promising to turn them into a town park, and not cause further damage. However, it appears that the town is now considering turning the area into playing fields, which will necessitate levelling of the ground and removal of timber in order to lay the fields. This matter was scheduled to be discussed at a Council Meeting in July, but it has been deferred.
Anyone who has visited Ball's Bluff recently will appreciate that this is a small oasis in a sea of housing developments, and the idea of further encroachment by either developers or the Town Council is appalling. If you planning to go to Northern Virginia, visit Ball's Bluff - assuming you can find it amongst the housing (signage is poor by British standards) - and take the time to stand on the Bluff and contemplate what went on there, visit the tiny cemetery; then take action as in the next paragraph, if you haven't already done so!
A plea: please take the time to either write, or to e-mail the Leesburg Town Council to implore them not to further damage the diminishing undeveloped area of this historic battlefield. Details are: Leesburg Town Council, 25 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia 20176, USA, or e-mail: email@example.com
KELLEY'S POINT, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
A success to report! The Battle of Nashville Preservation Society (BONPS) has managed to buy six acres of the Kelley's Point Battlefield, which will be incorporated into Nashville's "greenway" park system. The new park will be called "Brookmead Park at Kelley's Point Battlefield", and is located nine miles west of Nashville, near Bell's Bend on the River Cumberland. Our own American Civil War Round Table UK has donated $2,000 for interpretation at the park.
BONPS President, Bob Henderson, reports that Nashville had the most extensive line of battle during the Civil War. The Confederate line stretched from Kelley's Point over 14 miles from West to East Nashville. Kelley's Point saw the largest sustained battle between the Confederate Cavalry and the Union Navy.
Kelley's Point is the third property saved by BONPS in the last few years. The have also acquired land at Shy's Hill and Redoubt No 1. More info: http://www.bonps.org
FORT NEGLEY, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
BONPS also has a fight on their hands to raise awareness and funds to restore historic Fort Negley at Nashville. The plight of Fort Negley has been featured on the (US) History Channel, as one of several battlefields under threat of partial or total destruction.
BONPS President, Bob Henderson, says the next step is the try and improve the fort's visibility by clearing foliage from the site so it is visible from the adjacent main highway. He is hoping that if the site is visible, more people will become interested in the restoration.
Mr Henderson estimates the restoration could take about $3 million, however, the planning superintendent at Metro Parks estimates that a full restoration could take between $5 million to $10 million. The site is currently closed to the public because drainage damage to the fort's limestone blocks makes the structure unstable. Mr Henderson believes that if the fort could be connected to the Greenways' project (mentioned in the previous item), federal funding might become available. More info: http://www.bonps.org
A recent poll commissioned by the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) found that residents of Williamson County, Tennessee, oppose the building of an elementary school on a portion of Franklin Battlefield. 78% of those polled felt that an alternative site should be found for the school. The site for the proposed school is adjacent to the Harrison House, which became a military headquarters during the Battle of Franklin for General John Bell Hood.
More info: http://www.civilwar.org
OKLAHOMA BATTLEFIELDS' PRESERVATION
The Tulsa Civil War Roundtable has recently raised $1,000 for the purpose of preserving Oklahoma's Civil War battlefields. Cheques have been presented to Oklahoma History Society for The Honey Springs battlefield site near Rentiesville, and The Friends of Cabin Creek Battlefield, near Pensacola, Oklahoma. More info: http://www.tulsacivilwar.homestead.com
RICH MOUNTAIN, WEST VIRGINIA
The Civil War Preservation Trust has recently transferred 40 acres of Rich Mountain battlefield to a foundation which will preserve it. The Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation, with other preservation groups, has protected more than 400 acres of the battlefield. The Civil War Preservation Trust originally bought the land in 1992 from the family that had owned the land since the time of the battle. A conservation easement, protecting the land, will be placed on it before its transfer to the Foundation. The battle site and nearby encampment have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. More info: http://www.civilwar.org
The Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association (PBPA) has opened a new battlefield walking trail that interprets recently acquired property during its five mile plus length. The trail includes mown paths, interpretative signs and a new brochure. The brochure includes an overview of the campaign and the battle of Perryville and provides a map for visitors of the self-guided trail. More info: http://www.perryville.net
BUFFINGTON ISLAND, OHIO
Much of the Buffington Island battlefield - Ohio's only Civil War battlefield - is now being mined by a gravel company. Margaret Parker, President of Meigs County Historical Society, has said that preservationists are now looking at ways to raise money to buy land not currently owned by the mining company.
In earlier negotiations, the mining company agreed to put aside $100,000 for programmes about the Battle of Buffington Island. Around $40,000 of this money was spent on an archaeological survey, it is thought that some of the remaining money could be used for the purchase of land, with hoped for matching grants from federal or state authorities.
More info: http://www.civilwar.org
Meanwhile, the Ohio Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has started a fund to raise money to pay for an aerial flyover of the battlefield in an attempt to find the missing graves of over 50 Confederate troopers who died on the battlefield on 19 July 1863, when John Hunt Morgan's forces were killed in fighting with the forces of Union Generals Judah and Hobson.
As the missing graves may well be under threat from the mining operations, it is hoped that they can be located and any remains found returned to their native Kentucky for burial.
© ACWRT(UK) 2001