April 17, 2011

Fort Fisher Relic to be Turned Over to the Visitor Center

We are extending a big thank you to one of our blog readers, Alan Earl, for doing a very community minded act. Alan has purchased a unique Civil War object from eBay and he will be donating it to the Fort Fisher visitor center for their public exhibit.

This morning on our Facebook page, we posted an eBay auction link selling a Civil War piece from the battle at Fort Fisher. The listed object was described as being an "Armstrong cannon friction primer box from Fort Fisher" and was dated as either 1864 or 1865.

The following is the item description as listed on eBay:
This is one of the rarest artillery accessory, a British Armstrong tin friction primer box that was made by the Sir William Armstrong Cannon Foundry & imported into the Confederacy.

It was used by the 1st. Battalion, North Carolina Heavy Artillery on the giant 150 pounder Armstrong cannon at Fort Fisher, North Carolina.

The box is made of heavy stamped tin, 1 7/8” tall (with top & bottom closed, 2 ¾” open x 2 3/8” x 2”. Inside is a pair of 4 loops to hold 8 Armstrong friction primers, 1 set of 4 on top & the other 4 from the bottom. It is in good condition & shows a lot of hard use with both the top & bottom opened from when the primers were used on the cannon during both the 1st. & 2nd Battles of the Fort Fisher on December 23 through December 27, 1864 & January 13 through January 15, 1865.

There were a very limited number of Armstrong cannons imported in the Union blockade during the Civil War. & anything for an Armstrong cannon is considered very rare here in America & are seldom seen at Civil War shows!


Shortly after we posted the eBay auction link, Alan responded that he had purchased the item and would be returning it to Fort Fisher if it was truly authentic.

Following some correspondence with the seller, Alan learned that the primer box was most likely truly as described. The seller informed him that his 3rd generation Great Grandfather, Lt. Richared F. Armstong, CSN, had acquired the primer box while fighting in the second battle of Fort Fisher.

So it now appears that the piece will most likely be authenticated and Alan will be passing it on to the Fort Fisher visitor center for their public exhibit.

Alan, who is the Associate Director of Sports and Recreation for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, states that he has always loved studying military history and that when he saw the item listed on eBay, he felt compelled to act because it belonged back at Fort Fisher.

Although Alan is new resident on the Island, he is really demonstrating the wonderful community minded spirit that makes me proud to be a resident of Carolina Beach. I'm sure we all extend a heart felt thank you to Alan and I someday look forward to viewing his primer box at the Fort Fisher visitor center.
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