View Full Version : Fort Mahone poetry project

Dusty Merritt
05-06-2008, 08:53 PM

This is my first post. Been enjoying reading the forum; your discussion of Civil War photographs in particular is the most in-depth discourse I've encountered on the subject, at times going even deeper than William Frassanito.

I'm a longtime Civil War buff, former member of the Fairfield County (CT) Civil War Roundtable, and current MFA writing student at Naropa University. Over the past year, I've been working on a series of poetry and prose (tentatively titled "No Talons at his Heels") focused on the fall of Petersburg, particularly Confederate soldiers stationed in and around Ft Mahone on April 2, 1865. Most of my writing has had the 53rd North Carolina in mind; as such, I've been researching western North Carolina during the war to get some perspective, also been listening to old folk songs & ballads (Dillard Chandler, Hobart Smith, Roscoe Holcomb, etc), and studying Thomas Roche's series of photographs around Ft Mahone.

I've noticed that one thing poets have in common with good CW reenactors is attention to detail.

I was therefore wondering if any of you could help direct me to any good sources on the 53rd, Ft Mahone, soldier slang, or any snippets of seemingly minute details or bits of wisdom that might serve well in a poetic context. I've read John Inscoe's Heart of Confederate Appalachia, Trudeau's Last Citadel, and numerous books on camp life. But a lot of you guys here don't seem to just read and write about this stuff--you live it.

I have a million questions but I figure I've already dumped a great deal on yall as it is. Thank you so much for your anticipated help.

-Brendan Hamilton

05-08-2008, 10:53 AM

Interesting query yours. Firstly, I live 10 minutes from former Fort Damnation, (aka Fort Mahone). I'm also a licensed tour guide at Petersburg National Battlefield. With that being said, anything I can do from this end just lemme know. In recent research and discussion with a PNB Ranger regarding the 2nd N.C. Inf it came to light that they were around Fort Mahone the day it fell. In fact, the 2nd reported 43 men captured that day while none were wounded or KIA. Must've been a mass surrender. (All on 3 April 65) Will see if I can add to your reading resources list.

Dusty Merritt
05-08-2008, 12:00 PM
Thanks so much John. It's a shame that the records are so scarce. I haven't even found anything to indicate who died there on the Confederate side. Any theories as to the unit of the dead men in the Thomas Roche photographs?