of The Condor on display at Fort Fisher
placard adjoining the model above
Cape Fear Historical Society
The Archives & Library: Online Collections: Mary Sanders Notes
I have been asked to write up my War experience. Well I had war
experience, and much of it.
In the beginning of the war the
ladies of Wilmington N.C. organized a Soldiers Aid Society of which I
was a member. We met daily made comfortables, & clothes for the
soldiers, knit socks for them in [illegible] did any and everything we
could to provide for our Army. When the seat of Government was moved
from Montgomery Ala. to Richmond a deputation of our Society would meet
each train and provide a meal for our troops being rushed to the scenes
We were there when the "Condor", the steamer on which Mrs.
Greenhow was returning from Europe, was wrecked. Maj. Stevenson found
her body being on the beach where it was washed up after she was
drowned. He tenderly raised her, shook the sand from her clothing and
calling for a litter placed her thereon. The remains was sent to
Wilmington and all that is mortal of this famous lady rests in our
beautiful Oakdale Cemetery.
Wilmington was not without it's
feminine war heroes as well. The city's history claims Rose O'Neal
Greenhow as its own. She was a Confederate spy who's infamy led her to
be imprisoned several times at Washington's Capitol Prison as a war
criminal. Known as "Rebel Rose", she was returning to Wilmington, via
Nassau from Europe aboard the steamer Condor. She carried many dispatch
cases for President Davis as well as a leather pouch filled with
donations to the Confederacy in gold, which she wore around her neck.
The Condor beached in the channels on September 30, 1864 as a result of
efforts to evade the blockading fleet. Fearful she would be captured
and returned to a Union prison, Greenhow requested a dinghy to take her
ashore. The small boat capsized near the shore in rough waters, and she
was drowned. When a young soldier found her body on the beach it was
said that there was a large amount of gold sewn into her gown,
presumably for safekeeping until she reached Richmond, VA. She was
buried with great ceremony and honor at Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington,
and the Ladies Memorial Association erected a memorial over her grave
in 1888. Although Rose Greenhow was not a native of the city, because
she is buried here, she is one of the many war heroes Wilmington
War Naval Chronology 1861-1865
Published 1966 by Naval History Division , Office of the Chief of Naval
Operations , Navy Department , Washington D.C.
USS Niphon, Acting Master Kemble, ran
British blockade runner Condor aground off New Inlet, North Carolina.
Niphon was prevented from destroying the steamer by intense fire from
Fort Fisher. Among the passengers on board Condor was one of the most
famous Confederate agents of the war, Mrs. Rose O'Neal Greenhow. Mrs.
Greenhow, fearful of being captured on the grounded runner with her
important dispatches, set out in a boat for shore, but the craft
over-turned in the heavy surf. The crew managed to get ashore, but the
woman, weighted down by $2,000 in British gold in a pouch around her