For our next meeting James A. Morgan, III discusses early war activities at Pensacola and Fort Pickens, and the battle of Santa Rosa Island.
Meeting time: 7:30 PM, November 8, 2011.
Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia.
Topic: Pensacola, Fort Pickens, and the Battle of Santa Rosa Island
About the time that Major Robert Anderson was securing Fort Sumter for the Union, Lt. Adam Slemmer was doing the same for Fort Pickens at the mouth of Pensacola Bay. The two situations were very similar and war could have erupted at either place though an uneasy truce eventually kept things quiet at Pickens even after the war began. Though there were several brief interruptions in the truce, the first real fighting occurred on the night of October 9, 1861 when 1100 Confederates under General Richard “Fighting Dick” Anderson attacked the Union encampment outside of Fort Pickens. Tonight’s speaker will tell the story of this fight and the months leading up to it.
About our speaker:
A lifelong Civil War enthusiast, Jim Morgan was born in New Orleans where his family eventually settled after the dastardly yankees destroyed Morganza Plantation during the war. He grew up in Pensacola, Florida, and now lives in Lovettsville, Virginia. His Confederate ancestors served in the Pointe Coupee Artillery, the 6th Louisiana Battery, and the 41st Mississippi Infantry.
Jim is a past president of the Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable, current chairman of the Loudoun County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, and a volunteer guide at Ball’s Bluff for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. He serves on the advisory boards of the Mosby Heritage Area Association and the Thomas Balch Library.
As a reenactor he has done both Union and Confederate artillery and infantry impressions with several different units. Some years ago he wrote a brief unit history titled Always Ready, Always Willing: A History of Battery M, Second United States Artillery. His tactical study of Ball’s Bluff, titled A Little Short of Boats, was initially released in 2004 and was re-released in a revised, expanded hardback edition in July, 2011. It has been called “the definitive account of Ball’s Bluff.”
His accounts of Ball’s Bluff appear on the websites of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and the Civil War Trust. Jim also has written for Civil War Times, America’s Civil War, Blue and Gray, and The Artilleryman among others. Jim holds a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida and a master’s in Library Science from Florida State University. He works as the Acquisitions Librarian for the State Department’s Office of International Information Programs in Washington, D.C.