Thursday, August 12, 2010

Civil War Naval News

The National Museum of the United States Marine Corps (www.usmcmuseum.com), located 35 miles south of Washington D.C. near Quantico, Virginia, recently unveiled three new galleries. The new additions convey Marine history from 1775 through 1918. "Defending the Republic: 1775-1865" depicts just that, with interesting displays, including Marines who were called to defend Harper's Ferry from John Brown's raid in 1859. At the start of the Civil War in 1861, the Marines split into two, and Union Corporal John F. Mackie was the first Marine to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Confederate Marines are also depicted, as is one Union Marine who accompanied Lincoln to Gettysburg, where he gave his infamous "Gettysburg Address." Other galleries include "A Global Expeditionary Force: 1866-1917," and "Marines in World War I: 1918."

The National Civil War Naval Museum in Port Columbus has received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. The AASLH, now in its 65th year, gives the most highly-prestigious award to recipients for achievement in preservation and interpretation of state and local history. Only 49 awards were given for 2010 to organizations and individuals across the country.

And lastly, an archaeological project discovered a naval yard site on the east side of the Pee Dee River in Marion County, South Carolina. The site is what remains of the Mars Bluff Naval Yard. Artillery shells and two large cannon were also discovered, belonging to the CSS Pee Dee, which was one of the last Confederate gunboats to be built at the naval yard, and was launched in January 1865. The cannons were thrown into the river upon Sherman's advance into South Carolina to prevent their capture. On March 15, 1865, the boat was set afire and blown up. To find the naval yard, the journal of Lt. Edward Means was used (dating August 3, 1864 to March 15, 1865) as well as ground-penetrating radar and other remote-sensing technologies. A 3-D map was created to help archeologists excavate the site. The items will eventually be on display at the Florence County Museum in South Carolina.