October Meeting – Angela Zombek on Civil War Prison Camps

Monday, October 21, 2019

7:30 PM

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, October 21, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

This month our speaker will be Angela Zombek, History professor at UNCW. She will speak on her book Penitentiaries, Punishment, and Military Prisons.

Her book examines the military prisons at Camp Chase, Johnson’s Island, the Old Capitol Prison, Castle Thunder, Salisbury and Andersonville, whose prisoners and administrators were profoundly impacted by their respective penitentiaries in Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Virginia; North Carolina; and Georgia.

While primarily focusing on the war years, Zombek looks back to the early 1800s to explain the establishment and function of penitentiaries, discussing how military and civil punishments continuously influenced each other throughout the Civil War era.

In an interview on the web site, Women Who Know History, Dr. Zombek says; “I grew up Cleveland, Ohio and moved to Florida in 2006 to pursue my Doctorate in History. I am passionate about teaching and about history and have had the opportunity to teach in many settings, including the National Park Service, St. Francis High School (Gainesville, FL), Santa Fe College, the University of Akron, and the University of Florida.

From 2011-2018, I was Assistant Professor of History at St. Petersburg College & accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Civil War History at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, beginning in August 2018. I have presented my research on imprisonment in the Civil War Era at numerous conferences in the U.S. and abroad.”

On April 2, 2017, she appeared in TLC’s celebrity genealogy show called “Who Do You Think You Are,” and helped actress Jessica Biel learn about the history of her Civil War ancestor (Season 8, Episode 5): https://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/who-do-you-think-you-are/.

On May 2, 2018, she appeared in a Fox 13 Tampa Bay News segment on Confederate Monuments: http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/tampa-bay-area-confederate-monuments.

President’s Letter – October, 2019

By Elaine Henson

Kure Memorial Lutheran Church Part VI

Kure Memorial continued to grow during the 1970s, 80s and into the 90s.

Pastors during those years were: Rev. John B. Barringer 1970-1973; Rev. Everette E. Horne 1974-1975 and Rev. Jacob H. Young 1975-1990.

A highlight of the 70s was the church’s Twenty-Fifth Anniversary celebrated in August, 1976.  Rev. Jacob Young suggested that they invite Rev. David F. Johnson to deliver the sermon since he was the first full time pastor.  Also invited was Dr. F. L. Conrad, who was still president of the Synod and also conducted the first service in the 1955 building.  The Lutheran Church Women provided lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the service.

The archive does not include any photos from the Twenty Fifth Anniversary..  If anyone has photos, please contact FPHPS.

Pastors from 1952 – 1990

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the years before the Kure Beach Community Building was built, several organizations utilized the church’s Fellowship Hall.  The Town of Kure Beach used it along with the Kure Beach Fire Department and the Carolina Beach Recreation Department also used it for exercise classes.  Later it was used by AA and Girl Scouts.  Kure Lutheran was truly an integral part of the Federal Point beach communities.

Next month:  Kure Memorial Lutheran Church, Part VII

The Closing of New Inlet (The Rocks) 1870-1881

... and the Swash Defense Dam 1881-1891

By Sandy Jackson

[Originally published in the November, 1995 – FPHPS Newsletter]

The Rocks

The Rocks
Zeke’s Island to Fort Fisher

In 1870 the Corps of Engineers made a postwar survey of the Cape Fear River under Gen. J. H. Simpson.

The results of Simpson’s survey supported closing New Inlet, south of Fort Fisher, prior to any dredging in the river, since sand washed in the inlet would quickly refill the channel.

The River Improvements Act of July 11, 1870, appropriated funds for the Cape Fear improvements. General Simpson and Colonel Craighill of the US. Engineers devised a work at the New Inlet breeches to intercept the sand being washed into the river by the northeasterly gales and to then prevent the spilling of vast volumes of water through the breaches.

The works were intended to close the small inlets contiguous to the main inlet, thus forcing the water into the main channel of the Cape Fear River and scouring the channel to a capacity to admit vessels.

The first step undertaken to close the inlet was the erection of a 500-foot deflector jetty from Federal Point on the northern side of New Inlet, that followed a southwesterly line of shoals.

The Rocks - Zeke's IslandThe work of closing the breaches between Smith [Bald Head Island] and Zeke’s Islands, was under the supervision of Maj. Walter Griswold and consisted of placing large, heavy wooden cribs, filled with stone, across the bottom.

The line of crib works started at the northernmost extremity of Smith Island and extended toward Zeke’s Island. For the greater part of its 1,200 feet length, the works were built upon the remains of a stone dike, constructed by Captain Daniel P. Woodbury in 1853.  At the commencement of the work the water on the bar had diminished to the nominal depth of only 8 feet with a narrow channel.

The Rocks3

The Rocks – up to Battery Buchanan

During the 1870-1871 fiscal year the Corps of Engineers reported that a 607-foot section of the breakwater and superstructure had been completed across the most difficult breach that contained the deepest and strongest current. In addition to the construction of the breakwater, Griswold also began erecting sand fences and planting shrubbery and other vegetation on Zeke’s Island to prevent further erosion.

In 1873 the Corps reported that the closing of the breaches between Zeke’s and Smith’s Islands had been completed. The jetty extended 4,400 feet in length and was protected from the currents by sunken flats and thirty thousand sand bags.

Upon inspection it was found that sand had quickly accumulated, forming shoals around the jetty and further strengthening the structure. As a result of the building sand at the breakwater and sand fences, Zeke’s Island was being thoroughly merged into Smith’s Island beach and returning to its former shape before the 1761 storm that caused it to open.

Federal Point, however, and the outer point of Smith Island beach continued to wear. By 1877 Zeke’s Island had entirely lost its identity.

In 1872 the Corps made a proposal to completely close New Inlet, and a board of engineers met in Wilmington, to consider the idea. After careful review the board recommended closure of the inlet. Congress appropriated an additional one hundred thousand dollars for the continued task.

Building 'The Rocks'

Building ‘The Rocks’

Work began on completely closing New Inlet in 1874 by placing an experimental cribwork along a line of shoals 1,700 feet long to the deep water of the channel. The cribwork consisted of a continuous line, or apron, of wooden mattresses-composed of logs and brushwood, loaded with stone, and sunk—that formed the foundation for a stone dam.

Each section of the mattress was 36 feet wide and 36 feet long and was floated out to its proper position and held in place by anchors. Having proceeded at a cautious pace, the Corps of Engineers halted the construction after two years of difficult work and the construction of only 500 feet for further consideration.

Bill Reaves - Carolina Beach The Oceanic Hotel - Rocks - May 15 1893

Click – to read

While reevaluation of the project was under way, it was decided to use any remaining funds to dredge the channels of the river at Horseshoe shoal, the Bald Head bar, and the “Logs,” a submerged cypress stand 7 miles below Wilmington to a depth of 12 feet.

When work on closing New Inlet continued in 1876 the project proved difficult because of the depth of the water and the amount of stone required to be piled on top of the wooden mattresses. The last mattress raft was sunk in June 1876, and it was estimated that 6,200 cubic yards of riprap stone would be required to be placed on the mattresses just to raise the dam to the low water mark.

The first load of stone was dumped on the dam in January 1877. The work continued year to year by piling small stone rip-rap on and over the foundation. As the dam lengthened, the amount of rip-rap needed increased as the current scoured the mud and sand from around the dam, increasing the depth of water.

The Rocks4By 1879, under direction of Asst. Eng. Henry Bacon, the dam had been built to the high water mark for its entire length of 5,300 feet; and one small middle section that had been left open for navigation was closed. More than 122,000 cubic yards of stone had been placed on the dam, and still more was needed to raise the dam to two feet above the high water.

At the suggestion of Bacon to Chief Engineer Craighill, heavy granite capstones were placed on top of the rock dam. The Corps successfully completed the closure of New Inlet in 1881.

 

Swash Defense Dam 1881-1891

While the Corps of Engineers was engaged in the closing of New Inlet, a storm in 1877 opened a breach between New Inlet and the closed Smith’s – Zeke’s Islands swash.

In order to prevent the purpose of the dam from being corrupted by the new opening, it was decided to close the breach by artificial means. The first attempt, made by Engineer Bacon in February 1881, proved to be of insufficient strength and collapsed.

The Rocks2

The Rocks
– walking toward Zeke’s Island

A second attempt to build a sturdier structure followed during the spring and summer of 1881. During that effort over “400 heavy piles eight feet apart in two lines nine feet apart” were driven in a line across the breach. Sand quickly accumulated on the ocean side of the defense, reinforcing the structure.

A series of storms in August and September 1881, however, broke through the beach on the north side of the breakwater, flanking the defense and forcing its abandonment. In order to save the work, Bacon recommended that a line of defense be completed that extended from Zeke’s Island over the shoal water to reduce the tidal difference.

The Corps approved Bacon’s recommendations for the extended defense; without them the effectiveness of the New Inlet dam would have been severely compromised and a great deal of money and time expended with little more than a temporary improvement. A row of mattresses, 40 to 60 feet wide, was laid along the line earlier proposed. On top of the mattresses they piled stone, similar to the New Inlet dam, up to the high-water mark.

Storms again plagued the defense project and forced another swash to open just north of the other two and nearer New Inlet Dam.  As a result, Bacon was forced to lengthen and modify the line of mattresses.

Contractors finally delivered the first load of stone to the works in December 1884 from a quarry on nearby Gander Hall plantation. The placement of the stone continued over the next several years, with minor delays caused by the occasional storm. By 1891 the Corps had completed the 12,800-foot Swash Defense Dam to its proper height and width.

From Battery Buchanan out to The Rocks

From Battery Buchanan
down to The Rocks

The length of the upper section of the dam extended Battery Buchanan on Federal Point to Zeke’s Island, a distance of 5,300 feet. The continuation of the Swash defense dam from Zeke’s Island to Smith’s Island, 12,800 feet, made the entire closure just over 3 miles in length.

“The Rocks,” as the entire dam was eventually called, measured from 90 to 120 feet wide at the base, and for three-fourths of the line the average depth of the stone wall was 30 feet from the top of the dam. The Corps of Engineers topped the Rocks with concrete during the 1930s. The Rocks still separate the Cape Fear River from the ocean.

 

 

 

 

[Editor:  Claude V. (Sandy) Jackson III included this article in a book he later published, ‘The Big Book of the Cape Fear River‘.  

In the ‘The Big Book’, there are 22 pages detailing Historic Navigation and Dredging Projects on the lower Cape Fear including  Snow’s Cut with descriptions, locations and pictures.]

 

Bibliography

Hartzer, Ronald B.
1984 “To Great and Useful Purpose; A History of the Wilmington District US. Army Corps of Engineers“. Wilmington: Privately printed.

Rayburn, Richard H.
1984 “One of the Finest Rivers in the South: Corps of Engineers Improvements on the Cape Fear Below Wilmington, 1870-1881.” Lower Cape Fear Historical Society, Inc. Bulletin 27, no. 3 (May): 1-6.

1985 “One of the Finest Rivers in the South: Corps of Engineers Improvements on the Cape Fear Below Wilmington, 1881-1919.” Lower Cape Fear Historical Society, Inc. Bulletin 28, no. 2 (February): 1-6.

Sprunt, James.
1896 “Tales and Traditions of the Lower Cape Fear 1661-1896“. Wilmington: Lerin Brothers; Reprint, Spartanburg, S.C.: The Reprint Co., 1973.

US. Army Corps of Engineers
1870 “Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers to the Secretary of War.”  Washington: US. Government Printing Office

Wilmington Star (Wilmington, NC.) 1873, 1876, 1877, 1886

Wilmington Weekly Star (Wilmington, NC.) 1872


[Additional Resources]

‘The Rocks’ Arial View:  Fort Fisher to Zeke’s Island to Bald Head
Google Maps: ‘The Rocks
Images: Zeke’s Island
Zeke’s Island – NC Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Rocks’ 1761 – 1950: from the Bill Reaves Files
‘The Rocks’ in the News

November 1995 Newsletter (pdf) – Federal Point Historic Preservation Society

 

Bald Head: The History of Smith Island and Cape Fear

Did You Know?
Excerpts from David Stick’s Bald Head: The History of Smith Island and Cape Fear

  • William S. Powell, distinguished historian and author of the definitive North Carolina Gazetteer, says that the name Bald Head is properly applied only to a small area of no more than a few hundred acres occupying the extreme southwest portion of the southernmost of the islands in the complex.
  • The name CAPE FEAR first appeared on a map drawn by a member of Sir Walter Raleigh’s 1585 colony en route to Roanoke Island, stating: “wee were in great danger of a Wracke on a breache called the Cape of Feare.”
  • The vast areas of Smith Island marshland and the tidal creeks winding among them provide a productive spawning ground for a variety of marine creatures, not the least of which are oysters, shrimp, clams, and crabs, as well as a number of fin-fish, including spot and mullet.
  • Bald Head’s best-known and most-publicized marine visitor is the giant loggerhead turtle, which sometimes weighs as much as half a ton.  Awareness of the plight of the endangered loggerheads is especially acute on Bald Head, where a unique cooperative arrangement involving the developer, residents, the Nature Conservancy, and government agencies has resulted in an active “Turtle Watch” program.
  • Landgrave Thomas Smith, a prominent merchant from Charlestown, secured a grant for the island on which Cape Fear was located on May 8, 1713 for the purpose of trading with the Indians.
  • In September 1717 the notorious pirate Stede Bonnett was captured by Colonel Rhett in the waters of the Cape Fear River adjacent to Bald Head Island.
  • During the War of Jenkins’ Ear (cir. 1740’s) a Spanish man-of-war appeared off Bald Head, harassing vessels entering Port Brunswick and commandeering others departing North Carolina with naval stores. As a result Fort Johnston was begun for the defense of the Cape Fear River.
  • Benjamin Smith , the last of the heirs of Landgrave Thomas Smith to hold title to Smith Island and Bald Head, died in 1826 following a distinguished career in which he served as an aide de camp to General Washington as well as Governor of North Carolina, 1810-1811.
  • In 1784 the North Carolina Assembly authorized a special duty of six pence per ton to be paid by all vessels entering the Cape Fear, the proceeds to be used for “erecting beacons and buoys at the mouth of the Cape Fear River.”  By 1789 there was enough money in the hands of the commissioners to begin construction of a lighthouse on Bald Head.  Benjamin Smith, a member of the commission and owner of Bald Head, donated 10 acres, with the stipulation “that no person, shall be allowed to carry or keep on the said island, or any part thereof, any cattle, hogs, or stock of any kind.” The lighthouse keeper was permitted to keep poultry, a cow, and a calf but anyone found hunting on the Island would be fined five pounds the first time and ten pounds for each succeeding offense.
  • John J. Hedrick, an engineer from Wilmington and commander of the Confederate “Cape Fear Minute Men” was put in charge of the building of Fort Holmes on the west side of Bald Head.  The primary mission of the 1,400 men of the 40th Regiment, North Carolina Troops under Hedrick’s command was to prevent enemy landings anywhere on Smith Island; another was to go to the aid of any friendly vessel unfortunate enough to run aground on or near the island.
  • An early plan, in the 1920’s and 30’s, for development of what the promoter called “Palmetto Island” resulted in clearing for proposed roads, and construction of a pier, a pavilion, and a partially completed hotel.
  • Frank O. Sherrill of Charlotte purchased Bald Head Island in 1938 with plans for a major resort which would include a four lane  “ocean highway” down the East Beach from Fort Fisher – to be paid for by the State of NC. In 1963 he consolidated his holdings by purchasing the federal property surrounding the two Lightstations and Lifesaving Station.
  • In 1972 the Carolina Cape Fear Corporation purchased Bald Head from Frank Sherrill and announced development plans; however, politics, an economic recession, and a new public awareness of the value of undeveloped natural areas doomed their project to failure.
  • Today 10,000 acres of marsh and estuary belong to the State of North Carolina. The Bald Head Island Conservancy and the North Carolina Nature Conservancy are involved in managing the undeveloped land.