Rare Civil War artifact returns to Hatteras for permanent exhibit at Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

HATTERAS, NC August 21, 2014 – Through the generosity of the Keith Family Foundation, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum has acquired the silk ensign from the USS Monticello.  It is one of only three silk naval flags from this period known to exist and is the only one with the name of the ship, “Monticello”, and that of her commander, “Lieut. Daniel L. Braine” embroidered along the hoist.

Colored print of 1860s vintage, mounted on a Carte de Visite, depicting the ship under steam at sea. Donation of Rear Admiral D.L. Braine, USN, who commanded the Monticello during the first part of the Civil War.  U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Colored print of 1860s vintage, mounted on a Carte de Visite, depicting the ship under steam at sea. Donation of Rear Admiral D.L. Braine, USN, who commanded the Monticello during the first part of the Civil War. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

USS Monticello, a 655-ton wooden, screw-steamer, was built at Mystic, Connecticut, in 1859 for commercial use. Chartered by the Navy in May 1861, she was named Star for a few weeks and then resumed her original name, Monticello. She was purchased by the Navy in September 1861. Her Civil War service is impressive, involving active employment in the blockade of the Confederacy’s Atlantic seacoast and the capture of several prizes. She took part in early wartime actions in the blockade of the James River and, in North Carolina, participated in the August 1861 capture of Hatteras Inlet, and the “Chicamacomico Races”.

"The 'Monticello' Shelling the Rebels near Hatteras, October 5, 1861" from Harper's Weekly Illustrated Newspaper, October 26, 1861.

“The ‘Monticello’ Shelling the Rebels near Hatteras, October 5, 1861″ from Harper’s Weekly Illustrated Newspaper, October 26, 1861.

During these first few months, Lieutenant Commander Braine commanded the USS Monticello which was part of the North Atlantic Blockade Squadron. In one of the first naval engagements of the War, the Monticello exchanged fire with an enemy battery of five guns at Sewall’s Point for one hour and fifteen minutes.   She was also part of the squadron that bombarded and captured Forts Hatteras and Clarke at Hatteras. In October 1861, she was a principal in the “Chicamacomico Races” exchanging shots with enemy gunboats, dispersing two regiments of Confederate infantry, sinking two barges, and rescuing the Twentieth Indiana Regiment. In addition, the Monticello silenced a two-gun battery at Federal Point, North Carolina.

 

In addition, the U.S.S. Monticello, engaged batteries at New Inlet, captured the blockade running British schooner Revere off Frying Pan Shoals, was part of the expedition to Smithville (Southport), participated in the attacks on Fort Fisher, and accepted the surrender of Fort Casswell.

The USS Monticello Ensign after restoration and ready for permanent display at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, NC.

The USS Monticello Ensign after restoration and ready for permanent display at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, NC.

“The association of the flag with the USS Monticello makes this of primary importance to the history of Hatteras and North Carolina,” stated Joseph K. Schwarzer, Director of the North Carolina Maritime Museums.  “We are thrilled to have been able to preserve this remarkably unique and important piece of history,” he stated.

 

The flag restoration was done by Sarah Stevens, Textile Conservator at Zephyr Preservation Studio, LLC, New York State Bureau of Historic sites, Pebbles Island Resource Center.

 

The flag is 8 by 12 feet and was in fragile condition prior to the restoration work.

For more information, call 252-986-2995 or email maryellen.riddle@ncdcr.gov.  Visit the website at www.ncmaritimemuseums.com.

 

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is located at 59200 Museum Dr., Hatteras, NC 27943.  The museum is open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission.

 

About the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras is named in honor of the thousands of shipwrecks that litter North Carolina’s coast, and is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the state’s coastal and shipwreck history, with emphasis on the years 1524 through 1945. Shipwrecks associated with piracy, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and World Wars I and II are the subject of changing exhibits. The museum has remnants of the earliest known shipwreck found in North Carolina waters, dating to 1650. For more information, visit www.ncmaritimemuseums.com.

 

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras is open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission to the public. Donations appreciated.

 

The North Carolina Maritime Museum system is comprised of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Beaufort and the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport. All three museums are part of the Division of State History Museums in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

 

About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

 

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.

 

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson

About the Author:

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson is the founder and Editor of Beach Carolina Magazine. Living along the coast of North Carolina, Mike has a passion for the beach and loves to bring news and events of the Carolinas to others around the world.

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