Friday, May 20, 2011

May 18, 1861 (Saturday): Cannon Fire on Carrier Row

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Reports of Brig. Gen. Walter Gwynn, commanding at Norfolk

Norfolk, Va., May 20, 1861
The enemy fired on the unfinished battery at Sewells Point on the 18th, but did no damage. There were at that time no guns mounted or nearer than Norfolk…..
R. S. Garnett,
Adjutant-General, Virginia Forces

Both sides having gotten their dander up, the fight resumed the next day. Gwynn was 59 at the war’s outbreak, a West Point graduate who helped plan the attack on Fort Sumter and was a knowledgeable ordinance officer. He served in that capacity during the war before resigning his commission in 1863 to become the comptroller of the State of Florida. Little is written about Gwynn, but his post at Norfolk was an important one. Sewell’s Point has become even more important militarily 150 years later, as the home to many of the Navy’s carriers at the Norfolk Naval Station.

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