Editor’s Note: Bill Morgan, the author of The Civil War Lover’s Guide to New York City (published by Savas Beatie), was kind enough to offer up his list of the top 5 most overlooked Civil War sites in the Big Apple as a series of guest posts here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.  Bill’s introduction will be followed by one overlooked NYC site per week, every Monday for the next five Mondays.  Join Bill here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog, as he counts down his list.

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The Top 5 Most Overlooked Civil War Sites in New York City

by Bill Morgan

#5 FORT RICHMOND, NOW CALLED BATTERY WEED, and FORTS

TOMPKINS AND WADSWORTH

Hudson Road, Staten Island. Hours: W–Sun 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

General information: (718) 354-4500.

Battery Weed 500x375 The Top 5 Most Overlooked Civil War Sites in New York City #5: Battery Weed

Battery Weed.

Battery Weed is now part of the Fort Wadsworth Military Reservation and is open to the public as a museum. It was built between 1849 and 1861 as Fort Richmond to guard the Narrows, the gateway to New York Harbor from the Atlantic Ocean. It is located strategically across from Fort Hamilton, which is on the Brooklyn side of the channel. Like Fort Totten, it was designed by Gen. Joseph G. Totten (1788–1864) and later named for Gen. Stephen Weed (1831–1863), who had been killed at the battle of Gettysburg. The fort is in the shape of a trapezoid, with three tiers of guns housed under open arches. During the Civil War, it boasted approximately 116 guns, making it the strongest fortification along the Atlantic coast. Fort Tompkins was built between 1861 and 1870 and stands on the crest of the hill above Battery Weed. It was finished too late to see much Civil War activity, and was used primarily as a barracks for Battery Weed. Both Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins are good examples of the type of heavy granite masonry fortifications that were rendered useless by the new rifled cannon developed during the Civil War era. Fort Wadsworth, beneath the bridge at Bay Street and Wadsworth Avenue, has the distinction of being the oldest continually staffed military reservation in America, having first been used for military purposes in 1663. In 1865, it was renamed in honor of Brevet Maj. Gen. James Samuel Wadsworth (1807–1864), who had been killed during the battle of the Wilderness the previous year.

Fort Tompkins 500x354 The Top 5 Most Overlooked Civil War Sites in New York City #5: Battery Weed

Fort Tompkins.

 

If you visit Staten Island via the Staten Island ferry, take time to visit the memorial erected in 1915 to the memory of Maj. Clarence T. Barrett. It is in Barrett Triangle, the park bounded by Hyatt Street, Bay Street, Stuyvesant Place, and Richmond Terrace. Barrett signed on with the 175th New York at the outbreak of the war and took part in the Union’s 1864 siege of Mobile and the final battles around Richmond that ended the war. The classical bronze figure of a warrior by artist Sherry Edmundson Fry stands on a pedestal decorated with traditional Greek figures and the motto “Loyal, Honest, Brave and True.”

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Mississippi Marine Brigade – Part 7

by Dan O'Connell on April 11, 2014 · 0 comments

Affair at Goodrich’s Landing

As the surrender of Vicksburg became a foregone conclusion the emphasis of operations shifted to the Louisiana side of the river. Ellet’s cavalry had maintained patrols in the area and reported that an informant had warned of another attack on Milliken’s Bend. On 27 June the attack took place, not at the expected location but at Goodrich’s Landing about ten mile up river from Milliken’s Bend.

Two regiments of black volunteers from the 1st Arkansas and 10th Louisiana under the command of Colonel William Wood occupied a “very good little fort” there but had unwisely sent two companies out to an exposed position at a lesser fort. Confederate Colonel William Parson’s cavalry took advantage of the situation with his Texas cavalry and captured the entire lot. The 1st Kansas Mounted Regiment was sent by BG Hugh Reid to lure the Confederate troopers back into a trap. The well laid plan was ruined when the John Raine arriving with a portion of the Mississippi Marine Brigade fired on them warning them away. Yet another Union commander was irritated by the actions of the brigade.

On 30 June the entire Marine brigade was assembled and with the assistance of Wood’s regiments set off in search of the elusive Parsons. Ellet anticipated a short action and failed to provision the column with either food or water. After a march of five miles it was determined that they had taken the wrong road and a countermarch was ordered. In the vicinity of Tensas Bayou Ellet halted the infantry column so they could satisfy their hunger at a blackberry patch while the cavalry continued ahead. When Major Hubbard reported that the cavalry had located the Confederate force nearby Ellet could not get his men to respond to his movement order. By the time the infantry column was finally reassembled the Confederate troopers had made good their getaway and burned the bridge behind them. Although Ellet claimed that his marines had pushed Parson’s force away they had actually been ordered back by MG Richard Taylor and had left without a fight.

Eventually Ellet sent three companies across the remains of the bridge to pursue the departing enemy. What they discovered on the chase would lead to much controversy. Parson’s men left a trail of destruction that included burned cotton gins, slave quarters, and the charred remains of slaves killed in the wanton destruction. In a letter published in the St. Louis Democrat LT S. F. Cole also stated “that numerous charred skeletons of the white officers of the negro troops were found, in some cases nailed to trees and slabs and evidently burned alive.” LTC Samuel Nasmith, of the 25th Wisconsin, confirmed the killings in his report of the expedition stating “the rebel atrocities committed…were such as the pen fails to record in proper language.” The column returned to the landing and on 1 July the brigade loaded the boats and departed for Young’s Point to rest his troops. Their brief stay left most of the regular units in the area unimpressed. LTC Nasmith complained bitterly about lack of cooperation from Hubbard and called the brigade “entirely worthless” and “a positive injury” to the operations in Louisiana.

Mississippi Marine Brigade (Campaign Series)

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Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Civil War Book Preview: The Petersburg Campaign Volume II: The Western Front Battles

by Brett Schulte April 9, 2014

Bearss, Edwin C., Suderow, Bryce & Wyrick, William. The Petersburg Campaign Volume 2: The Western Front Battles September 1864-April 1865. Savas Beatie LLC (March 2014). 600 pp., 38 illustrations, 25 maps, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN: 978-1-61121-104-7 $34.95 (Cloth). The Petersburg Campaign Volume 2: The Western Front Battles September 1864-April 1865 by Ed Bearss and edited by Bryce Suderow, is […]

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The Top 5 Most Overlooked Civil War Sites in New York City #4: St. John’s Episcopal Church

by Brett Schulte April 7, 2014

Editor’s Note: Bill Morgan, the author of The Civil War Lover’s Guide to New York City (published by Savas Beatie), was kind enough to offer up his list of the top 5 most overlooked Civil War sites in the Big Apple as a series of guest posts here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.  Bill’s introduction will […]

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Mississippi Marine Brigade – Part 6

by Dan O'Connell April 4, 2014

Vicksburg The Mississippi Marine Brigade finally made its way to Young’s Point on 29 May and Porter, acting on a request from Grant, ordered them to occupy Haines Bluff until relieved. Pemberton, completely overestimating the size and combat power of the brigade, saw the move as a threat to the water batteries located nearby and […]

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Civil War Times: Vol. 53, No. 3 (June 2014)

by Brett Schulte April 3, 2014

[TOCWOC Editor’s Note: I’ve decided to again go through the latest issues of Civil War magazines I subscribe to and comment on articles which interest me.  In the interest of protecting what seems to be my ever shrinking free time, not all of the items/articles in a given magazine will receive comment, but they will […]

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April 2014 Civil War Book Notes

by James Durney April 2, 2014

Those that can’t write, Review! April 2014 James W. Durney *********************************************************** Hello again, this is the first “Those” in almost a year. A number of factors, reasons and events caused this to happen, none of which is important to you. The immediate goal is to publish every two months while working toward being a monthly […]

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