Civil War Blockade Runner Found; Mercy Street Renewed by PBS; Highway Named for Civil War Vet

The Civil War in the News March 2016

A roundup of a few Civil War related items in the news.

Burnside Reading Newspaper

Civil War Blockade Runner Shipwreck Believed Found Off NC Coast

North Carolina authorities believe they have located the submerged wreck of the Confederate blockade runner Agnes E. Fry. The vessel lies off the mouth of the Cape Fear River and was located by sonar on February 27th, 2016, and divers have since explored the wreck despite poor visibility caused by currents from the river. Although two other ships are believed to be in the same general location the size of the vessel–225 feet long–has researchers believing the ship is the Fry as the other two were smaller. Investigations are continuing to confirm the identity.

Lt. Joseph Fry CSN

Lt. Joseph Fry CSN

The Agnes E. Fry was built in Scotland in 1864 and was originally called the Fox. It was renamed after the wife of Lieutenant Joseph Fry, the ship’s captain. Fry, a Floridian, was an officer in the United States Navy before the Civil War. Fry resigned his commission in 1861 to join the Confederate Navy. The Agnes E. Fry made three successful blockade runs before it was run aground and scuttled to avoid capture, probably sometime in January 1865. Lt. Fry survived the war, and in 1873 was recruited to bring arms to Cuban rebels in that nation’s Ten Years War, an insurrection against Spanish rule. Commanding the Virginius, an old Confederate blockade runner, Fry was captured by the Spanish and executed.

Mercy Street Renewed

PBS has renewed the Civil War medical drama Mercy Street for a second season. The six episode first season aired in January and February to generally favorable reviews and good viewership numbers. It’s based on real life historical characters and events in a Union hospital based in a former hotel in Alexandria, Virginia in the spring of 1862. The grim reality of wounded soldiers is not sugar coated in the series, which is filmed in Virginia. I enjoyed the first season and am glad it was renewed.

There’s no word on any sort of timetable for when the new season will air, but the time frame for the historical setting will be from the time of the Seven Days Battles during the Peninsula Campaign through the Battle of Antietam. That would be late June 1862 through mid September of the same year, leaving plenty of Civil War left for additional seasons.

Washington State Highway To Be Renamed for Black Civil War Veteran

Pending the signature of Washington Governor Jay Inslee, the Washington state legislature has passed legislation to begin the process of naming State Route 99 in honor of an African American Civil War veteran.

William P. Stewart was born in Illinois and enlisted in the 29th United States Colored Troops in early 1865. A few years after the war, Stewart moved to what was then Washington Territory. He became a farmer near Snohomish, Washington, northeast of Seattle. He died in 1907 and is buried in the Grand Army of the Republic cemetery in Snohomish.

The highway runs along the eastern side of Puget Sound through Seattle. Ironically, parts of it were named at one time after Confederate president Jefferson Davis. The road currently has no official name.


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