Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Keeping The Lighthouses

Formed by an act of the Provisional Confederate Congress on March 5th 1861, the Confederate States Lighthouse Bureau was formed to aid in construction and up keep of Lighthouses.

The Confederate States Lighthouse Bureau was created on March 5th 1861 to oversee the construction and care of all lighthouses and other aids to navigation pertaining to the Confederacy.  The Act created the position of Chief of the Lighthouse Bureau, a job only open to a commissioned Confederate Navy officer.  The Bureau divided the Confederate shores into five districts, to be handled by five lieutenants acting as district superintendents.  It authorized the Confederate President to have military engineers build and maintain lighthouses and other navigational aids.  The first Chief of the Lighthouse Bureau; who was Rear Admiral Raphael Semmes, was to report twice a year to the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury.

By July 1861 in order to prevent Union ships from blockading the southern coast line, most have the Confederate lights had been extinguished.  The Bureau had much of the equipment moved inland.  The Fresnel lens from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse were never been returned, and their where about are unknown.

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