"... Born On The 4th of July ", Lieutenant Samuel Marcy's Birthright Aboard USS Vicennes

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Feb 14, 2012
Central Pennsylvania
july 4 uss vicennes currier and ives.JPG

There's a story behind everything. With our national birthday coming up, this one seemed worth telling. Ran across several images of USS Vicennes, the 703 ton sloop of war bearing that name during the ACW. Commissioned as early as 1826, Vicennes had been brought back into service after variously ( and famously ) been part of Wilkes' expedition to the Antarctic, was sketched in a Japanese port and was our first warship to circumnavigate the whole planet. It pays to track down why Currier and Ives thought subjects worthy of a for-sale print.

This print has one story behind it so interwoven into who we are it gives you chills. In 1861 a New York career Naval officer, Lieut. Samuel Marcy was ear marked to man the first launch intended to resupply Anderson's men at Fort Sumter. Born July 4th, 1820 it seems awfully striking to see Marcy walk through these moments in time. We know that launch never happened, what's so striking is Marcy's presence there, and his role in a fight to keep this nation alive.

USS Vicennes arrived at Fort Pickens in September, 1861. I can't find when naval veteran Samuel Marcy as assigned to the ship. He'd been assigned the Potomac and Pawnee before his war ended in January, 1862. On Blockade duty at the Northeast Pass of the Mississippi, acting gunner William Wilson wrote of Marcy's death.

july 4 use 1.JPG

july 4 use 2.JPG

Samuel Marcy was not killed in some epic sea battle, his death part of a fierce struggle. He died serving the country whose birthday he shared in the massive conflict over keeping us all glued together. He left the struggle January 22, 1862, at 42 leaving wife Eliza and two children, Edith and William.

Happy Birthday to all of us and thank you, Samuel Marcy.


Sergeant Major
Aug 5, 2011
Thank you! I've used up my quota of NY Times free views :angel:, guessing somewhere, someone snipped this. It's a wonderful archive- I use up the free views in around 10 minutes every time they're available.

I think those historicals are unlimited views.


Forum Host
Dec 28, 2008
Really interesting article, Annie, and timely, too! I love how you ferret out connections to things that I wouldn’t even have thought of!:smile: