Memoirs by ACW naval persons

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
8,370
Location
Central Massachusetts
After reading Robley Evans' A Sailor's Log, and Admiral Dewey's Autobiography, I'd really like to find other memoirs of men who served in the navy during the Civil War (officers and enlisted personnel both). The postwar period, through the SpAmWar is also fascinating. Can anyone suggest further titles?

Many thanks in advance.

jno
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Messages
13,173
Location
Central Ohio
Oh, wow. There are a lot. I haven't read them all... some of them are actual memoirs, some are edited diaries, and some are accounts of the war written by the participants...
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Messages
13,173
Location
Central Ohio
  • Ammen, Daniel. Navy in the Civil War, The: Vol. 2, The Atlantic Coast. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1883. 273 pp.
  • Ammen, Daniel. Old Navy and the New, The. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1891. 553 pp.
  • Bacon, Edward W. and Burkhardt, George S. (ed.) Double Duty in the Civil War: The Letters of Sailor and Soldier Edward W. Bacon. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 2009. 288 pp.
  • Batten, John M. Reminiscences Of Two Years In The United States Navy. Lancaster, Pa.: Inquirer Press, 1881. 125 pp.
  • Bigelow, John. France and the Confederate Navy, 1862-1868: An International Epsiode. New York: Harper & Bros., 1888. 274 pp.
  • Brooke, John M. and Brooke, George M., Jr. (ed.) Ironclads and Big Guns of the Confederacy: The Journal and Letters of John M. Brooke. Columbia, S.C.: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2002. 257 pp.
  • Brown, George (ed.). Navy, The: The Union Army, Vol. VII. Madison, Wisc.: Federal Publishing, 1908.
  • Bulloch, James D. Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe, The: or, How the Confederate Cruisers Were Equipped [2 volumes]. London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1883. 898 pp.
  • Butts, Frank B. My First Cruise at Sea and the Loss of the Iron-Clad Monitor. Providence: Sidney S. Rider, 1878.
  • Butts, Frank B. Cruise Along the Blockade, A. Providence: The N. Bangs Williams Co, 1880.
  • Clark, George E. Seven Years of a Sailor's Life. Boston: Adams, 1867. 358 pp.
  • Cowley, Charles. Leaves from a Lawyer's Life, Afloat and Ashore. Lowell, Mass: Penshallow Print. Co, 1879.
  • Currie, George E. and Clarke, Norman E., Sr. (ed.) Warfare Along the Mississippi: The Letters of Lieutenant Colonel George E. Currie. Mount Pleasant, Mich.: Central Michigan Univ., 1961. 153 pp.
  • Cushing, William B. and Carter, Alden R. (ed.) Sea Eagle, The: The Civil War Memoir of Lt. Cdr. William B. Cushing, USN. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. 184 pp.
  • Dahlgren, Madeline Vinton. Memoirs of John A. Dahlgren, Rear Admiral, United States Navy, by His Widow. Boston: J.R. Osgood, 1882. 660 pp.
  • Davenport, Francis O. On a Man-of-War: A Series of Naval Sketches. Detroit: E.B. Smith & Co, 1878.
  • Dawson, Francis W. Reminiscences of Confederate Service, 1861-1865. Charleston, S.C.: News and Courier Book Presses, 1882. 180 pp.
  • Dewey, George. Autobiography of George Dewey, Admiral of the Navy. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1913. 337 pp.
  • Dickson, James and Durham, Roger S. (ed.). High Seas and Yankee Gunboats: A Blockade-Running Adventure from the Diary of James Dickson. Columbia, S.C.: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2005. 185 pp.
  • Dodson, C. Marion and Earp, Charles Albert (ed.). Yellow Flag: The Civil War Journal of Surgeon's Steward C. Marion Dodson. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 2002. 151 pp.
  • Drayton, Percival. Naval Letters of Percival Drayton, 1861-1865. New York: The Library, 1906. 81 pp.
  • Driggs, George W. Opening of the Mississippi; or, Two Years Campaigning in the South-west. Madison, Wisc.: W.J. Park, 1864. 149 pp.
  • Du Pont, Samuel F. and Hayes, John D. (ed.) Samuel Francis Du Pont: A Selection From His Civil War Letters [3 volumes]. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1969.
  • Du Pont, Samuel F. Official Dispatches and Letters of Rear Admiral Du Pont, U.S. Navy, 1846-48, 1861-63. Wilmington, Del.: Ferris Brothers, 1883. 531 pp.
  • Edge, Frederick Milnes. An Englishman's View of the Battle between the Alabama and the Kearsarge. New York: W. Abbatt, 1908.
  • Evans, Robley D. Sailor's Log, A. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1901. 467 pp.
  • Fagan, P. W. An Abstract Log and a Journal of the Incidents of the Cruise of the U.S. Steamer San Jacinto, in the Years 1859, 1860, and 1861. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1861.
  • Farenholt, Oscar Walter. Monitor Catskill, The: A Year's Reminiscences, 1863-1864. San Francisco: Shannon-Conmy Print. Co, 1912.
  • Farragut, Loyall. Life and Letters of Admiral Farragut, First Admiral of the United States Navy, The. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1879. 586 pp.
  • Fisher, Charles B. and Sluby, Paul E. and Wormley, Stanton L. Diary of Charles B. Fisher. Washington: Columbian Harmony Society, 1983.
  • Force, Manning. From Fort Henry to Corinth. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1881. 204 pp.
  • Forrest, Douglas French and Still, William N., Jr. (ed.). Odyssey in Gray: A Diary of Confederate Service, 1863-1865. Richmond, Va.: Virginia State Library, 1979. 352 pp.
  • Fox, Gustavus V. and Thompson, Robert M. and Wainwright, Richard (eds.) Confidential Correspondence of Gustavus V. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1861-1865 [2 volumes]. New York: Naval History Society, 1918.
  • Franklin, Samuel R. Memoirs of a Rear Admiral Who Has Served for More than Half a Century in the Navy of the United States. New York: Harper, 1898. 397 pp.
  • Fullam, George Townley and Summersell, Charles G. (ed.). Journal of George Townley Fullam: Boarding Officer of the CSS Alabama. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1973. 229 pp.
  • Fullam, George Townley. Cruise of the Alabama from Her Departure from Liverpool Until Her Arrival at the Cape of Good Hope, The. Liverpool: Lee and Nightingale, W.H. Peat, 1863. 48 pp.
  • Gillmore, Quincy A. Engineer and Artillery Operations Against the Defenses of Charleston Harbor, 1863. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1865. 314 pp.
  • Gleaves, Albert. Life and Letters of Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce, U.S. Navy, Founder of the Naval War College. New York: Putnam, 1925. 381 pp.
  • Goodwin, Josiah Henry and Wiseley, William (ed.). Diary of Josiah Henry Goodwin: Fife Major for the Fife and Drum Band of the Mississippi Marine Brigade, Covering the Period January 1, 1863 Through June 1, 1864. : , 1983.
  • Gould, William Benjamin. Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press, 2002. 400 pp.
  • Grattan, John W. and Scheller, Robert J., Jr. Under the Blue Pennant: Or Notes of a Naval Officer, 1863-1865. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1999. 239 pp.
  • Gregg, Josiah and Moody, Wesley and Sachse, Adrienne (eds.). Diary of a Civil War Marine, The. Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 2013.
  • Gunther, Charles F. and Allardice, Bruce S. (ed.) Two Years Before the Paddlewheel: Charles F. Gunther, Mississippi River Confederate. Abilene, Tex.: State House Press, 2012. 350 pp.
  • Gusley, Henry O. and Cotham, Edward T. (ed.) Southern Journey of a Civil War Marine, The: The Illustrated Note-Book of Henry O. Gusley. Austin, Tex.: Univ. of Texas Press, 2010. 223 pp.
  • Higgins, Josiah Parker and Herrmann, E.C. (ed.). Yeoman in Farragut's Fleet: The Civil War Diary of Josiah Parker Higgins. Carmel, Calif.: Guy Victor Publications, 1999. 98 pp.
  • Hill, Frederic S. Twenty Years at Sea; or, Leaves from My Old Log Books. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1893. 273 pp.
  • Hill, Jim Dan and Stedman, Charles Ellery. Civil War Sketchbook of Charles Ellery Stedman, Surgeon, United States Navy, The: Biography and Commentary. San Rafael, Calif: Presidio Press, 1976.
  • Holton, William C. and Osbon, B.S. (ed.) Cruise of the U.S. Flagship Hartford, 1862-63. New York: L.W. Paine, 1863. 84 pp.
  • Huling, Edmund J. Reminiscences of Gunboat Life in the Mississippi Squadron. Saratoga Springs, N.Y.: Sentinel Print, 1881. 86 pp.
  • Hunter, Alvah F. and Symonds, Craig L. (ed.) Year on a Monitor and the Destruction of Fort Sumter, A. Columbia, S.C.: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1987. 208 pp.
  • Isherwood, Benjamin F. Facts in Relation to the Official Career of Benjamin F. Ishwerwood, Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering of the Navy Department. Philadelphia: Benjamin F. Isherwood, 1866. 57 pp.
  • Jack, Eugenius Alexander and Flanders, Alan B. and Westfall, Neale O.. Memoirs of E.A. Jack, Steam Engineer, CSS Virginia. White Stone, Va.: Brandylane Publishers, 1998. 65 pp.
  • Jones, James P. and Keuchel, Edward F. (eds.) Civil War Marine: A Diary of the Red River Expedition, 1864. Washington: Marine Corps Historical Division, 1975.
  • Keeler, William F. and Daly, Robert W. (ed.) Aboard the USS Florida, 1863-65. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1968. 252 pp.
  • Keeler, William F. and Daly, Robert W. (ed.) Aboard the USS Monitor, 1862. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1964. 278 pp.
  • Kell, John McIntosh. Recollections of a Naval Life. New York: Neale Books, 1900. 307 pp.
  • Lamson, Roswell Hawks and James M. McPherson, Patricia R. McPherson. Lamson of the Gettysburg: The Civil War Letters of Lieutenant Roswell H. Lamson, US Navy. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997. 240 pp.
  • Lucas, Daniel B. Memoir of John Yates Beall: His Life, Trial, Correspondence. Montreal, Canada: J. Lovell, 1865.
  • Lynn, John Worth. Confederate Commando and Fleet Surgeon: Dr. Daniel Burr Conrad. Shippensburg, Pa.: Burd Street Press, 2001. 197 pp.
  • Maclay, Edgar Stanton and Trenchard, Edward and Trenchard, Stephen Decatur. Reminiscences of the Old Navy. New York: Putnam, 1898. 362 pp.
  • Maffitt, Emma Martin. Life and Services of John Newland Maffitt, The. New York: Neale Books, 1906. 436 pp.
  • Maffitt, John Newland. Nautilus, or Cruising Under Canvas. New York: United States Publishing, 1872. 352 pp.
  • Mahan, Alfred Thayer. From Sail to Steam: Recollections of a Naval Life. New York: Harper, 1907. 325 pp.
  • Marchand, John B. and Symonds, Craig L. (ed.) Charleston Blockade: The Journals of John B. Marchand, US Navy 1861-1862. Newport, R.I.: Naval War College, 1976. 287 pp.
  • Marvel, William (ed.). Monitor Chronicles, The: One Sailor's Account; Today's Campaign to Recover the Civil War Wreck. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. 272 pp.
  • McCarten, Francis. In Peace and War: Or Seven Years in the U.S. Navy. : Printed on board the U.S. flagship Tennessee, 1876.
  • Milligan, John D. (ed.). From the Freshwater Navy, 1861-64: The Letters of Acting Master's Mate Henry R. Browne and Acting Ensign Symmes E. Browne. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1970. 327 pp.
  • Minor, Hubbard T. and Campbell, R. Thomas (ed.) Confederate Naval Cadet: The Diary And Letters of Midshipman Hubbard T. Minor, With a History of the Confederate Naval Academy. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2007. 224 pp.
  • Morgan, James Morris. Recollections of a Rebel Reefer. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1917. 491 pp.
  • Morrow, Leslie G. Journal of Leslie G. Morrow, Captain's Clerk of the U.S. Steamer Galena. Yorba Linda, Ca.: A.P. Morrow, 1988.
  • Osbon, Bradley Sillick and Paine, Albert Bigelow. Sailor of Fortune, A: Personal Memoirs of Captain B.S. Osbon. New York: McClure, Philips, 1906. 332 pp.
  • Oviatt, Miles M. and Livingston, Mary P. (ed.) Civil War Marine at Sea, A: The Diary of Medal of Honor Recipient Miles M. Oviatt. Shippensburg, Pa.: White Mane Publishing Company, 1999. 197 pp.
  • Parker, William Harwar. Recollections of a Naval Officer, 1841-1865. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1883. 403 pp.
  • Perkins, George Hamilton and Perkins, Susan G. (ed.). Letters of Captain George Hamilton Perkins. Concord, N.H.: I.C. Evans, 1886. 257 pp.
  • Porter, David Dixon. Incidents and Anecdotes of the Civil War. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1886. 357 pp.
  • Post, Charles A. Diary on the Blockade in 1863, A. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1918.
  • Rains, Gabriel James and Michie, Peter Smith and Schiller, Herbert M.. Confederate Torpedoes: Two Illustrated 19th Century Works with New Appendices and Photographs. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2011.
  • Roberts, Captain (pseud. of C. Augustus Hobart-Hampden). Never Caught: A True Story of Blockade Running. London: John Camden Holten, 1867. 123 pp.
  • Safford, Moses and Bopp, Lawrence J., and Bockmiller, Stephen R. (eds.). Showing the Flag: The Civil War Naval Diary of Moses Safford, USS Constellation. Charleston, S.C.: History Press, 2004. 379 pp.
  • Sands, Benjamin F. From Reefer to Rear Admiral. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1899. 308 pp.
  • Scharf, J. Thomas. History of the Confederate States Navy from Its Organization to the Surrender of Its Last Vessel. Baltimore: Rogers & Sherwood, 1887. 824 pp.
  • Schley, Winfield Scott. Forty-Five Years Under the Flag. New York: D. Appleton and Co, 1904.
  • Selfridge, Thomas O., Jr. What Finer Tradition: The Memoirs Of Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., Rear Admiral, USN. New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1924. 288 pp.
  • Semmes, Raphael. Memoirs of Service Afloat during the War Between the States. Baltimore: Kelly Peit & Co., 1869. 894 pp.
  • Sinclair, Arthur. Two Years on the Alabama. Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1896. 344 pp.
  • Smith, C. Carter, Jr. (ed.). Two Naval Journals: 1864. The Journals of John C. O'Connell, CSN and Pvt. Charles Brother, USMC, at the Battle of Mobile Bay. Chicago: Wyvern Press, 1964. 51 pp.
  • Sprunt, James and Thomas, Cornelius M.D. (ed.). Tales of the Cape Fear Blockade. Wilmington, N.C.: Charles Towne Preservation Press, 1960. 125 pp.
  • Steedman, Charles and Mason, Amos Lawrence. Memoir and Correspondence of Charles Steedman, Rear Admiral, United States Navy, with His Autobiography and Private Journals, 1811-1890. Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1912.
  • Taylor, Thomas E. and Wise, Stephen R. (ed.) Running the Blockade: A Personal Narrative of Adventures, Risks, and Escapes During the American Civil War. London: John Murray, 1896. 180 pp.
  • Tomb, James H. and Campbell, R. Thomas (ed.) Engineer in Gray: Memoirs of Chief Engineer James H. Tomb, CSN. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2005. 214 pp.
  • Usina, Michael P. Blockade Running in Confederate Times. Savannah, Ga.: George N. Nichols, 1895.
  • Vail, Israel Everett. Three Years on the Blockade: A Naval Experience. New York: The Abbey Press, 1902. 171 pp.
  • Van Tilberg, Hans. Civil War Gunboat in Pacific Waters, A: Life on Board USS Saginaw. Gainesville, Fla.: Univ. Press of Florida, 2010. 368 pp.
  • Waddell, James I. and Horan, James D. (ed.) CSS Shenandoah: The Memoirs of Lieutenant Commanding James I. Waddell. New York: Crown Publishers, 1960. 200 pp.
  • Walke, Henry. Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War in the United States on the Southern and Western Waters. New York: F.R. Reed, 1877. 480 pp.
  • Watson, Robert and Campbell, R. Thomas (ed.). Southern Service on Land & Sea: The Wartime Journal of Robert Watson, CSA/CSN. Knoxville, Tenn.: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2002. 312 pp.
  • Watson, William. Civil War Adventures of a Blockade Runner, The. College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M Univ. Press, 2001. 324 pp.
  • Welles, Gideon and Beale, Howard K. (ed.). Diary of Gideon Welles [3 volumes]. New York: Norton, 1960.
  • Wilkes, Charles and Morris, William J. et. al. (eds.). Autobiography of Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes, US Navy, 1798-1877. Washington: G.P.O., 1978.
  • Wilkinson, John. Narrative of a Blockade Runner, The. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1877. 252 pp.

I may have missed a few or included a couple that shouldn't be here... put this together sort of quickly. No, I haven't read them all... yet. :wink:
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Messages
13,173
Location
Central Ohio
To tighten the focus a bit, I'd primarily recommend these twelve...
  • Bulloch, James D. Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe, The: or, How the Confederate Cruisers Were Equipped [2 volumes]. London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1883. 898 pp.
  • Dewey, George. Autobiography of George Dewey, Admiral of the Navy. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1913. 337 pp.
  • Gusley, Henry O. and Cotham, Edward T. (ed.) Southern Journey of a Civil War Marine, The: The Illustrated Note-Book of Henry O. Gusley. Austin, Tex.: Univ. of Texas Press, 2010. 223 pp.
  • Hunter, Alvah F. and Symonds, Craig L. (ed.) Year on a Monitor and the Destruction of Fort Sumter, A. Columbia, S.C.: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1987. 208 pp.
  • Keeler, William F. and Daly, Robert W. (ed.) Aboard the USS Florida, 1863-65. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1968. 252 pp.
  • Keeler, William F. and Daly, Robert W. (ed.) Aboard the USS Monitor, 1862. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1964. 278 pp.
  • Parker, William Harwar. Recollections of a Naval Officer, 1841-1865. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1883. 403 pp.
  • Semmes, Raphael. Memoirs of Service Afloat during the War Between the States. Baltimore: Kelly Peit & Co., 1869. 894 pp.
  • Taylor, Thomas E. and Wise, Stephen R. (ed.) Running the Blockade: A Personal Narrative of Adventures, Risks, and Escapes During the American Civil War. London: John Murray, 1896. 180 pp.
  • Watson, William. Civil War Adventures of a Blockade Runner, The. College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M Univ. Press, 2001. 324 pp.
  • Welles, Gideon and Beale, Howard K. (ed.). Diary of Gideon Welles [3 volumes]. New York: Norton, 1960.
  • Wilkinson, John. Narrative of a Blockade Runner, The. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1877. 252 pp.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

chellers

Lt. Colonel
Retired Moderator
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
9,963
Location
East Texas
To tighten the focus a bit, I'd primarily recommend these twelve...
  • Bulloch, James D. Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe, The: or, How the Confederate Cruisers Were Equipped [2 volumes]. London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1883. 898 pp.
  • Dewey, George. Autobiography of George Dewey, Admiral of the Navy. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1913. 337 pp.
  • Gusley, Henry O. and Cotham, Edward T. (ed.) Southern Journey of a Civil War Marine, The: The Illustrated Note-Book of Henry O. Gusley. Austin, Tex.: Univ. of Texas Press, 2010. 223 pp.
  • Hunter, Alvah F. and Symonds, Craig L. (ed.) Year on a Monitor and the Destruction of Fort Sumter, A. Columbia, S.C.: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1987. 208 pp.
  • Keeler, William F. and Daly, Robert W. (ed.) Aboard the USS Florida, 1863-65. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1968. 252 pp.
  • Keeler, William F. and Daly, Robert W. (ed.) Aboard the USS Monitor, 1862. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1964. 278 pp.
  • Parker, William Harwar. Recollections of a Naval Officer, 1841-1865. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1883. 403 pp.
  • Semmes, Raphael. Memoirs of Service Afloat during the War Between the States. Baltimore: Kelly Peit & Co., 1869. 894 pp.
  • Taylor, Thomas E. and Wise, Stephen R. (ed.) Running the Blockade: A Personal Narrative of Adventures, Risks, and Escapes During the American Civil War. London: John Murray, 1896. 180 pp.
  • Watson, William. Civil War Adventures of a Blockade Runner, The. College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M Univ. Press, 2001. 324 pp.
  • Welles, Gideon and Beale, Howard K. (ed.). Diary of Gideon Welles [3 volumes]. New York: Norton, 1960.
  • Wilkinson, John. Narrative of a Blockade Runner, The. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1877. 252 pp.
Fantastic, Mark. Thank you.
 

ErnieMac

Brigadier General
Moderator
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
9,062
Location
Pennsylvania
Copyright for a number of these books has expired and they have been published on line for free use. A few examples from the lists above follow:

Incidents and Anecdotes of the Civil War
by David Dixon Porter
https://archive.org/stream/incidentsanecdot00port#page/n0/mode/2up

The Life and Letters of Admiral Farragut, First Admiral of the United States Navy by Loyall Farragut
http://www.forgottenbooks.org/readbook/The_Life_of_David_Glasgow_Farragut_First_Admiral_of_the_United_States_1000543674#1

Memoirs of Service Afloat during the War Between the States by Raphael Semmes
https://archive.org/stream/memoirsservicea02semmgoog#page/n6/mode/2up

Autobiography of George Dewey, Admiral of the Navy by George Dewey
https://archive.org/stream/autobiographyofg00dewe#page/n9/mode/2up
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Messages
13,173
Location
Central Ohio
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
8,370
Location
Central Massachusetts
I just finished Sailor of Fortune, A: Personal Memoirs of Captain B.S. Osbon. (New York: McClure, Philips, 1906. 332 pp.)
What a life!
To summarize, very briefly: Born 1826. 1840 served on Irish immigrant ship (typhus broke out, dozens buried at sea – read 'fed to the sharks'). Served on a couple of whalers, one of which unexpectedly (to him) turned pirate. Helped US naval vessel face down French squadron intent on annexing Hawaii. Commanded boat in an Anglo-Chinese flotilla hunting down pirates on the China coast. Joined an Argentine navy and commanded a ship in heavy fighting during one of their civil wars. Many other like adventures. Became newspaperman in New York. 'Buddy-buddy' with the Prince of Wales during his 1860 visit. Swapped tales with Abe Lincoln during the latter's journey to Washington for his first inauguration.
On board the Harriet Lane as volunteer in attempt to relieve Ft. Sumter – witnessed bombardment and describes it in detail. Accompanied, and interviewed, Col. Anderson during voyage to New York. Aide to Dupont in Port Royal expedition in fall of '61. Farragut's Flag Lieutennant/Signals Officer on USS Hartford during attack on the Forts and capture of New Orleans. Saw heavy action, credited with saving Farragut's life. Among other adventures, he went on a secret mission for Gideon Welles to steal a British naval code book from a RN vessel in Boston harbor.
After the war, on Farragut's recommendation, he was appointed Admiral in the Juarista Mexican Navy (he details the story of his command --one armed riverboat in the Rio Grande). Later he was engaged mostly in journalistic and business ventures that took him all over the world, and through many adventures. His last service was in 1898, when, authorized by the Secretary of the navy, he tracked down and located the Spanish fleet, identified its coaling stations, and correctly predicted it's destination as Santiago (where it was met and annihilated by the American squadron).
There's much, much more here of almost incredible adventures, and close association with many important naval, military, and political personalitties.. One is tempted to take much of it with a grain of salt – but there are certainly enough corroborating documents to show that he was where he said he was, and served in the capacities he claims. He probably exaggerated some of his contributions (advised on fleet dispositions to various flag officers, suggested invention improvements to John Ericsson, became very chummy with Napoleon III – who wanted to hear about events in Mexico).
A great read, and very informative.

Cheers!

jno
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Messages
13,813
Location
Mississippi
I just finishedSailor of Fortune, A: Personal Memoirs of Captain B.S. Osbon. (New York: McClure, Philips, 1906. 332 pp.)
What a life!
To summarize, very briefly: Born 1826. 1840 served on Irish immigrant ship (typhus broke out, dozens buried at sea – read 'fed to the sharks'). Served on a couple of whalers, one of which unexpectedly (to him) turned pirate. Helped US naval vessel face down French squadron intent on annexing Hawaii. Commanded boat in an Anglo-Chinese flotilla hunting down pirates on the China coast. Joined an Argentine navy and commanded a ship in heavy fighting during one of their civil wars. Many other like adventures. Became newspaperman in New York. 'Buddy-buddy' with the Prince of Wales during his 1860 visit. Swapped tales with Abe Lincoln during the latter's journey to Washington for his first inauguration.
On board the Harriet Lane as volunteer in attempt to relieve Ft. Sumter – witnessed bombardment and describes it in detail. Accompanied, and interviewed, Col. Anderson during voyage to New York. Aide to Dupont in Port Royal expedition in fall of '61. Farragut's Flag Lieutennant/Signals Officer on USS Hartford during attack on the Forts and capture of New Orleans. Saw heavy action, credited with saving Farragut's life. Among other adventures, he went on a secret mission for Gideon Welles to steal a British naval code book from a RN vessel in Boston harbor.
After the war, on Farragut's recommendation, he was appointed Admiral in the Juarista Mexican Navy (he details the story of his command --one armed riverboat in the Rio Grande). Later he was engaged mostly in journalistic and business ventures that took him all over the world, and through many adventures. His last service was in 1898, when, authorized by the Secretary of the navy, he tracked down and located the Spanish fleet, identified its coaling stations, and correctly predicted it's destination as Santiago (where it was met and annihilated by the American squadron).
There's much, much more here of almost incredible adventures, and close association with many important naval, military, and political personalitties.. One is tempted to take much of it with a grain of salt – but there are certainly enough corroborating documents to show that he was where he said he was, and served in the capacities he claims. He probably exaggerated some of his contributions (advised on fleet dispositions to various flag officers, suggested invention improvements to John Ericsson, became very chummy with Napoleon III – who wanted to hear about events in Mexico).
A great read, and very informative.

Cheers!

jno
Indiana Jones, 007, & Baron Münchhausen combined, what a story !

I nominate this fellow for membership into The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Joined
Jan 12, 2010
Messages
168
Location
Memmingen, Germany
If anyone knows where I could get my hands on this book......
A journal of the cruise of the U.S. ship Susquehanna during the years 1860, 1861, 1862 and 1863 by Amos Burton
please let me know
 

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
6,464
It's been mentioned, but Alva Hunter's A Year on a Monitor and the Destruction of Fort Sumter is well worth reading.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top