J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “Rebel”

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Women of the Confederacy (Pt. 11)

Nancy Hart

Nancy Hart

“The Rebel in the Family” 

The life of Confederate spy Nancy Hart is shrouded in mystery. Old documents refer to her with a mixture of fact and folklore. It is believed that she was born in Raleigh, North Carolina to John and Rebecca Hart in 1846. Her mother was a first cousin of Andrew Johnson, who later became president when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. The Harts were devout Christians, and her father frequently held family worship services. While Nancy was still an infant, they moved to Tazwell, Virginia. 

Nancy was tall, lithe, and black-eyed. She was a middle child who had six, or possibly twelve, siblings. In 1853, she went to live with her sister and brother-in-law, Mary and William Clay Price, in Roane County, Virginia, which became West Virginia in 1863. The family lived in the wilderness, so Nancy learned how to be an accomplished hunter and rider, but she never learned how to read and write. When the Civil War began, the Roane County held divided loyalties. Friends, neighbors, and families were separated by opposing beliefs. William was not a Confederate soldier, but he did his part by assisting them. After drawing suspicion, Union soldiers confronted him at his farm and ordered him to go to nearby Spencer to take the oath of allegiance. He departed with the Yankees, but never made it to Spencer. His body was discovered three days later. He had been shot in the back and left in the road. 

The murder of William spawned Nancy’s loathing for the Federals. She revered the Southern Cause, even though two of her brothers went to fight for the North. In early 1861, her neighbors, the Kelly’s, held a going away party for their two sons who had joined the Confederate Army. While the party was commencing, Union officers marched past the house in the moonlight. Nancy hollered, “Hurrah for Jeff Davis!” Four rifle shots rang out in response, and four minie balls struck the front stoop, one of which lodged in the door. Three days later, Nancy joined the Moccasin Rangers, who were pro-Southern guerrillas, and rode with their leader, Perry Conley (or Connolly) at the head of the column, leading the Rangers while working as a spy, scout, and guide to the local region. She travelled alone at night to deliver messages between Confederate armies, and slept during the day. She also saved the lives of many wounded Rebel soldiers by hiding them with Southern sympathizers and nursing them back to health. Posing as a farm girl, she peddled eggs and vegetables to Union detachments to obtain information, and scouted isolated Federal outposts to report their strength, population, and vulnerability to General Stonewall Jackson. She even led Jackson’s cavalry on several raids. In the fall of 1861, Conley narrowly escaped the Federals, but Nancy was captured. Deciding she didn’t know anything, they released her, which was a big mistake, because she reported back to Conley with valuable information about the Yankees. 

Nancy married one of the Moccasin Rangers, Joshua Douglas. Conley was mortally wounded in an engagement with Ohio Infantry in early summer, 1862. He fought off his attackers until he ran out of ammunition, and then the Yankees clubbed him to death. Afterward, the Rangers disbanded. Nancy’s husband joined up with the 19th Virginia Cavalry, and she moved into the mountains of Nicholas County, where she continued her work as a messenger. A reward for her capture was issued, and it wasn’t long until Union Lieutenant Colonel Starr recognized “Peggy,” as Nancy was known by both armies. She and a female friend were discovered in a log cabin, crushing corn. They were taken prisoner, and confined to the second-story of an old, dilapidated house in Summersville.  Soldiers were quartered downstairs, and a sentry was posted to guard them in their room.  

While there, 20-year-old Nancy was allowed to roam the jail grounds of her own free will. She gained the attention of several soldiers, including telegrapher Marion H. Kerner, who convinced Starr to transfer the young women to the Summersville jail, and supplied them with sewing materials and illustrated papers. When an itinerant photographer showed up to hone his trade, Kerner persuaded Nancy to pose for a picture, although she said that she didn’t have clothes “fittin’ to be pictured in.” Kerner requested clothing from some Union women, and fashioned a Yankee officer’s hat by folding the bill and inserting a plume. The resulting photograph is the only one in existence of Nancy Hart, who, according to legend, refused to smile because she had to wear Yankee attire.  

Here is where the story differs. One version states that, later that night, Nancy tricked a naive soldier. After talking to him extensively, she convinced him to show her his pistol. The young, enamored Yankee willingly obliged. She promptly fired into his heart, killing him instantly. Nancy jumped headlong out of a second-story window into a clump of tall jimson weeds, and escaped bareback on Lieutenant Colonel Starr’s horse.  

A week later, on July 25, she returned with 200 Confederate cavalrymen. She was still riding Lieutenant Colonel Starr’s horse. At 4:00 a.m., the Rebels burned three buildings, including the commissary storehouse. They also destroyed two wagons, and captured eight mules and twelve horses. In all, only ten shots were fired, and two soldiers were wounded. The Confederates easily arrested the slumbering Yankees, including Starr, who was shipped off to Libby Prison with his officers. Marion Kerner was also captured, but Nancy convinced the Confederate officers to release him because of the kind treatment he had shown her. He was immediately arrested, however, after attempting to send a telegraph to Union forces. 

Nancy faded out of the picture as an active partisan, no doubt knowing that, if she were to be captured again, a rope would be waiting for her. After the War Between the States ended, her husband returned, and they lived in Greenbrier County, raising two sons. Nancy’s last public appearance was in 1902, when she testified at the Courthouse in Lewisburg on behalf of her son, Kennos, who was charged with killing a man at a dance. Nancy died in either 1902 or 1913.  

The other version of her story isn’t nearly as colorful, and is much sadder. According to Hart family legend, Nancy was born to rebel, and paid with her life after she was arrested and confined in Summersville. Because Union troops didn’t want the locals to know, her hanging on Cold Knob Mountain was kept a secret. Nancy remained calm, but once allowed to speak, she hollered out the Rebel yell, as well as “Wahoo! Whoop! Hurrah!” and “Yay for the President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis!” However, there is little or no evidence suggesting that Nancy was executed by hanging. On the other hand, there is little or no evidence stating that she ever married, either, and no official record of her killing a Union soldier. Census records are sketchy at best, as are family records. 

She is buried at Mannings Knob Cemetery in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, near Richwood, where the Mannings family buried their slaves. The cemetery is also known as Nancy Hart Cemetery. She was originally buried with only a pile of stones to mark her grave. Years later, Jim Comstock, a publisher and Civil War buff, decided that she deserved a proper marker, so he and Nancy’s granddaughter found the top of Mannings Knob, but the area had been bulldozed to make room for a beacon tower. Her grave was never located. However, a marker was erected in the cemetery in her honor. 

Hart Grave 

Marion H. Kerner, the Union officer who convinced Nancy to pose for a photograph, said that the last glimpse he caught of her was shortly after the Summersville raid, and he never “heard of her since. She may be dead.”  He later wrote about her, making her story famous in Leslie’s Weekly Magazine. The article was published in 1910. A large rock, known as “Nancy’s Dancing Rock,” still exists on the West Fork of the Little Kanawha River, near the place where Nancy grew up. 

Thankfully, Some Folks Still Have Sense

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It has been quite upsetting to see how many people have jumped on the politically correct bandwagon recently, and have strived to destroy or distort every Confederate monument, flag, or street sign in sight. But there is still hope that this trend will end, and hopefully, soon.

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CONFEDERATE MOTORCYCLES LIVES ON
The Confederate Motorcycles brand, thought to be abandoned by its rebranded owner Curtiss Motorcycles Inc., has been revived by venture capital fund Ernest Lee Capital and continues to manufacture high end motorcycles in Birmingham. The brand website has been updated with a number of new and pre-owned motorcycles and a story explaining plans to reintroduce new versions of the Confederate Hellcat, Fighter and Wraith.
After the rebranding from Confederate Motors Inc. to Curtiss Motorcycle Company, Inc., Ernest Lee Capital LLC announced that through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Confederate Motorcycles LLC, it has successfully acquired the intellectual property rights to the Confederate brands and designs. Confederate Motorcycles LLC immediately announced plans to continue to sell the last remaining Confederate P-51 Combat Fighters and FA-13 Combat Bombers and to begin production of its latest Confederate G3 Fighter immediately. The Confederate website also features a number of previously owned factory reconditioned Confederate motorcycles each with less than 500 miles on them.
“We are currently designing the next run of bikes that will each be available with a number of customer-selectable options,” said Ernest Lee. “We personally did not want to see the Confederate brand disappear into the ether.”
Lee believes the Confederate name is “no more synonymous with racism than is ‘Rebel’ or the Confederate Flag itself. We acknowledge that there are some that disagree with our viewpoint but felt that allowing individuals to discuss their differences of opinion is paramount to the democracy in which we all live. We want to continue that tradition at Confederate; building innovative and original bikes that draw crowds everywhere they ride.”
According to the Confederate Motorcycles Facebook Page, Confederate has plans to reintroduce an all new Confederate Hellcat next year, with a newly designed Confederate Wraith to follow thereafter.
(Article courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, July 13, 2018 ed.)

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish you a very happy New Year. May all your hopes and dreams come true in 2018.

Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us. It is New Year’s Eve, 1863, and the antagonist, David, finds himself in a predicament he never could have imagined. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the past.

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That evening, the family and their friends gathered in the parlor for a New Year’s Eve celebration, but David kept to a corner, avoiding the others. Anna had given him some wine, so he sat alone, contentedly sipping, and gazed at the two Currier and Ives paintings. Claudia and Abigail amused themselves with their stereographs and the carousels he had made for them. Anna and Maggie talked happily while Sarah and Grace conversed in the opposite corner. At midnight, they all gathered in the center of the room. Anna stood close to him as the mantle clock chimed twelve times.

“Happy New Year!” the ladies exclaimed, raising their glasses.

They clanked their crystals together, and everyone took a sip of wine. David glanced over at the doorway where a strand of mistletoe had been hung. He wished he was standing beneath it with Anna, so he would have an excuse to kiss her. Claudia and Abigail went around the room hugging everyone before they went up to bed. Once David had finished his glass, he excused himself and retired to his room.

He lit the fire, undressed, heated a bed warmer in the embers of the fireplace, and set it on the bed. While he waited for it to warm the flannel sheets, he checked on his Colt .44 and saw that it was just as he’d left it. Returning the warmer to its place near the hearth, he climbed into bed and shivered slightly, his breath barely visible in the firelight.

Closing his eyes, he thought of everything that had taken place the previous year: how he had traveled to Virginia and fought with so many fearless commanders and comrades, and how he had lost Jake and had ended up at the Brady farm. His mind wandered to home. He wondered how his mother and sisters were getting along and whether the Yankees had taken over their land. He hoped 1864 would see an end to the terrible war, but he also wished the South would be triumphant somehow. He thought of his hospitable hostesses and how they had saved him: Miss Maggie, who obviously loathed him; Miss Sarah, who tolerated him; and Anna, lovely Anna. If the war ended, she might be interested in him for some other reason than to provide her with an alibi. It seemed the only people who really liked him for who he was were the two little girls.

Thank God for their innocence, he thought.

His mind drifted back to Anna and her amazing smile. What this year held in store for them, he hadn’t a clue. Perhaps he would be able to return to Alabama soon, after all. It would be a welcome escape from the predicament he now found himself in. Anna was too close, too personal. He knew he was falling further with each passing day. His portentous, precarious situation reminded him of soldiers he’d seen walking enemy lines. He knew sparks could never fly between the two of them. It was the worst forbidden, foreboding situation he could have ever imagined. His affections toward her might potentially place Anna in horrific danger. The Yankees could blame her for treason. She would stand to lose her farm, or even worse, her life. Where would that leave her younger sisters? Guilt washed over him. He couldn’t restrain his feelings, yet he knew he had to. His only choice was to submit to his present condition: the most challenging, heart-wrenching situation he had yet to endure. He knew his family missed him and Callie needed him, but in his heart he wasn’t ready to go home.

Miss Alcott and the Rest (Who Inspired Us)

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According to Google, today would have been Louisa May Alcott’s 184th birthday (check out the cute picture). For those of you who don’t know who she was, Louisa May Alcott served as a nurse in a Union hospital in Georgetown during the Civil War for several weeks in 1862-1863. Her experiences inspired her to write “Hospital Sketches,” which was published in 1863. Later on, she would write the classic Little Women (1868), which took place during the Civil War. The story revolved around the lives of four sisters after their father left to serve in the Union Army, and was based on Louisa’s childhood.

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Other than Louisa May Alcott, the Civil War era produced many other great writers, including Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Of course, the war produced numerous war heroes, but it also effected the population so profoundly that many authors, artists, musicians, medics, and thespians would go on to relive the war through their creations.

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(Clara Barton)

It’s easy to forget today how such a terrible war impacted the lives of our ancestors. Kids who grew up during the war went on to recreate what their father’s had told them about their experiences. Early movies and television depicted the war, including famous vaudevillian acts. Shirley Temple, the Three Stooges, and John Wayne all recreated the Civil War in their movies. One of my favorite songs, “I’m a Good Ole Rebel,” was written after the war, and expressed the angst felt by a Southerner who refused to be reconstructed.

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The list goes on and on. Share your favorite Civil War celebrity or creation that was a product of the Civil War. Let’s see how many we can come up with!

“Hospital Sketches” is mentioned in my new novel, A Rebel Among Us.

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https://www.amazon.com/Rebel-Among-Us-J-D-R-Hawkins/dp/1537167871/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476830523&sr=8-1&keywords=a+rebel+among+us

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebel-Among-Us-J-D-R-Hawkins-ebook/dp/B01LXU8NZR/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474131845&sr=1-1&keywords=A+rebel+Among+Us

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/665424

https://www.foundationsbooks.net/book/a-rebel-among-us-by-j-d-r-hawkins/

Ole Miss Misses the Mark (Again)

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Another event took place last week involving the never ending assault against the Confederacy. Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) announced its marching band won’t play “Dixie” at football games this fall. This decision was made by the athletic department. In a statement, they said the song will be replaced by something “more inclusive for all fans.”

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What? How is “Dixie” non-inclusive? First of all, the song was written before the Civil War. Second, it was written by a Northerner. Third, it was President Lincoln’s favorite song. Fourth, there is nothing in the lyrics that implies racism, which is what all these idiots are now claiming everything Confederate is. Fifth, Ole Miss should be ashamed of doing away with its unique, wonderful heritage.

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The University Greys were students from the school who went to fight in honor of the South. None of them survived. Their bodies were returned, and they were buried on campus. This is a great dishonor and tragedy, because whoever is in charge at Ole Miss is seriously missing the point. Instead of misrepresenting the history of this school, they should be embracing it. They’ve already replaced Colonel Reb and renamed Confederate Avenue. And they refuse to fly the Mississippi state flag on campus: the same state that funds them. I guess getting rid of the Rebel name and the Confederate soldier statue will be next, because who knows who that might offend. If I was an alum of Ole Miss, I would be very offended by what is going on, and I wouldn’t hesitate to let them know. Cutting off funding might get through to them.

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Shame on you, Ole Miss. Shame on your leadership for misdirecting the school. And shame on you for discrediting your history and categorizing all your Southern heritage as racist.

https://socialismisnottheanswer.wordpress.com/tag/ole-miss-wont-play-dixie/

http://www.gopusa.com/ole-miss-to-stop-playing-dixie-at-football-games-this-fall/

Guns, Flags and Bibles

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I saw this article a few days ago about a guy who owns a gun shop in Tennessee, and thought I should share. He is going against the current wave of political correctness sweeping the country right now. Here’s the article:

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In the Age of Obama political correctness has been placed on hyperdrive, but a growing mass of citizenry is rejecting it out of hand and going to great lengths in which to do so.

This rejection is epitomized by a gun shop in Oakland, Tenn., which is handing out Bibles and your choice of an American or Confederate flag with every purchase.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Big Bang Guns is making the offer to every customer who walks in the door. Located just outside of Memphis, the small gun shop (which offers its products online too, by the way) says its promotion is scheduled to run through July 14.

When the shop was asked why the promotion, manager Tony Tavares said, “Why not?”

“It’s pretty patriotic to offer both and a Bible as well,” he told the WFB. “It’s freedom of speech with some religion to go along with it.”

Cue the PC Left’s outrage machine.

So far, customers have really taken to the offer and have responded very positively.

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John McFarland, the shop owner, said, “The customers like it. We sell everything from $200 guns all the way up to $20,000 Barretts. It’s picked up really well.”

The shop owner said he’s sick of seeing American traditions and values attacked so he created the promotion as a way to support those who believe as he does.

“I’m at a point in my life where I’m tired of everybody making me feel bad for what my moral beliefs are,” he told the Free Beacon. “I believe there’s history behind the rebel flag, I believe there’s history behind the American flag, I believe in the right to bear arms, and I believe in freedom of religion.”

“I just wanted to let everybody know we believe in that and we support everybody who believes in that,” he added.

“We’re just trying to promote American freedoms,” McFarland said. “I’m pretty outspoken politically and I believe everybody has their rights. I believe if you’re an atheist you have that right. I believe if you believe in God you have that right. And I believe if you believe in the Confederate flag, you believe in the history behind it, you have the right to have it. And that’s where we stand and I’ll stand behind that.”

“To me, that’s more important than any amount of business.”

And to tens of millions of other Americans as well.

(Article Courtesy of Southern Heritage News & Views, June 3, 2016 ed.)

 

A Battlefield Victory

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It’s always amazing when something like this happens. A few days ago, I received an email from the Civil War Trust, stating that they had secured 10 acres of the battlefield at Brandy Station. The area is known as Fleetwood Hill, where Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart had his headquarters before the surprise battle took place.

The Battle of Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle to take place on North American soil. It happened on June 9, 1863, following  a Grand Review by Stuart’s troops. Union General Gregg saw the dust that was stirred up and surprised the Confederates early the following morning. The Rebels managed to reign the day and fulfill their mission, which was to mask General Robert E. Lee’s infantry as they made their way north. Brandy Station was a prelude to the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Last year, the CWT secured 56 acres of the battlefield. This is significant, because housing developments had been encroaching on the area for years. It doesn’t make sense how this could have been allowed to happen, since it is hallowed ground in my opinion, but it isn’t the only Civil War battlefield that has been neglected or destroyed. The CWT has now secured over 1,900 acres at Brandy Station.

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Other significant battlefields that the CWT has been working on include Antietam and Gettysburg. A few years ago, I visited the Wilderness Battlefield, and was appalled to see how many houses were built on the hallowed site. Hopefully, the CWT can secure more land in that area as well.

Read more about the Battle of Brandy Station in my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire.

http://www.amazon.com/Beckoning-Hellfire-Novel-Civil-War/dp/0595435319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462942766&sr=8-1&keywords=a+beckoning+hellfire

 

Mississippi Stands Firm

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A lawsuit has reignited debate over the presence of Confederate symbols in a Southern state, but in Mississippi, Southerners are mounting a legal defense of their Dixie flag.

A federal complaint filed last week says the Confederate cross on the Mississippi flag is hate speech that endangers African Americans, according to Carlos Moore, a black attorney from Grenada, Miss., who cited the killing last summer of black church-goers in South Carolina.

 

The government of Mississippi is preparing to defend their flag, however. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said voters should decide whether their flag should be redesigned, not a “frivolous attempt to use the federal court system.” The state’s attorney general, Democrat Jim Hood, said his personal belief is that the flag hurts the state and it should change, but that will not prevent him from fulfilling his oath to defend his state’s laws.
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Although several Southern flags reference elements of the Confederate “Stars and Bars,” Mississippi is the last state to keep the secessionist symbol in its entirety. While some Mississippians say flag the reflects poorly on the state’s image, many see it as a symbol of loyalty to their often misunderstood, even maligned, state history.

“It is frustrating that the United States as a whole lumps us all as a bunch of ignorant racists who are uneducated and don’t have shoes and go around having stereotypes about everybody else,” Bess Averett, director of the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation in Vicksburg, Miss., told The Christian Science Monitor in 2006. “Hey, we have cars and trains like everyone else, so we could leave if we wanted.”

 

In Mississippi, people are digging in their heels in support of both their “Rebel Flag” and self-determination.
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A previous state referendum – in 2001 – showed voters supported keeping the Confederate symbol by nearly a 2 to 1 margin, with a fairly equal voting split coming even from black neighborhoods.

 

Where Mr. Moore sees “state-sanctioned hate speech,” as he wrote in his lawsuit, Southerns see a symbol of their family’s heritage, said Jeremy Gouge, a 44-year-old roofer, who has family ties to the South.

 

“I know there’s things that happened. I can’t control what other people have done,” Mr. Gouge told the Associated Press. “What’s the next flag that someone is going to say, ‘We don’t like that flag, let’s take that one down?'”
(Courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, 3/3/16)

Old Fort Has Story to Tell

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In infamous part of our past, Ft. Morgan sits serenely overlooking Mobile Bay in Alabama. The fortification is located at the very tip of land that stretches across the mouth of the bay. It was built following the War of 1812, and was used up until 1946. Although the structure is merely a skeleton of its former self, it still resembles what, during its day, was an impermeable design. In fact, it probably wouldn’t have fallen to Union troops on August 23, 1864 if it hadn’t been overrun.
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This is where Admiral David Farragut, upon attacking the Confederates at the fort, uttered his famous order, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” The Union fleet penetrated the fort by blasting past the Rebel vessels and through the minefield, thus taking control of the fort. The U.S.S. Tecumseh monitor was destroyed by the C.S.S. Tennessee, and sank just off the coast, killing 90 of its crew.
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The fort was reactivated during the Spanish-American War, and was used as a training base during WWI. In the forties, it was reactivated once again, and manned by the Coast Guard. In 1946, it was deactivated and turned over to the Alabama.
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Even though the fort is old and somewhat creepy, with weeds growing up through the handmade bricks that make up the walls, it is a fascinating edifice with an intriguing story to tell. Pieces of rusty cannons lie half-buried in the white sand below the fort, remnants of what was once a magnificent battle. The view from the batteries out over the bay is spectacular. I highly recommend that everyone take the opportunity to see this fort if they can, and/or Ft. Gaines, which stands at the west side of the bay.

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