Stories About the 'Forgotten War'
On Aug. 25, the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex welcomes Jim Greathouse, a member of the state's War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee.
In a presentation to start at 7 p.m. Greathouse will cover the history of naval ships in North Carolina and the exploits of North Carolinians in the naval service.
Some of the ships include gunboats 166, 167 and 168, all of which were built in Smithville, now present-day Southport.
Well-known residents from North Carolina who were involved in naval exploits included Johnston Blakeley and Otway Burns. Originally from Ireland, Blakeley's family emigrated to Charleston, then his father moved with his son to Wilmington after the death of the youngster's mother.
He commanded the Wasp, which was eventually lost at sea, along with its captain. Blakeley is regarded as one of the best American naval officers of the time period.
Burns is well-known for his privateering during the War of 1812. His ship, Snap Dragon, distinguished itself and became the most famous privateer vessel in American history. Born in Swansboro, Burns is buried in Beaufort's Old Burying Ground.
Most North Carolinians have little knowledge or realization of the boatbuilding that has taken place in the Tar Heel state. Greathouse, whose research has led him to focus specifically on gunboat 166, dubbed The Alligator, will enlighten attendees with the ships constructed along our coast. Each one of these gunboats met with a different fate.
Admission is free.
For more information about the museum, call (910) 486-1330 or access www.museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov. The Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, located on the corner of Bradford and Arsenal avenues in Fayetteville, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
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