Discussion Unusual circumstances - 1861 Civil War letter found

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Feb 14, 2012
Central Pennsylvania
Another thread it's disappointing, getting to the end. Rats! Just do not want to let go of their stories although we know their fates.

Thanks so much for bringing this entire saga here, appreciate it! I can see keeping this letter in a book- for the person who did treasure it once. Guessing they thought it the best way to protect it ( not belonging to the forum ), or someone stuck it there while transporting it? If the owner died and whomever broke up his possessions had no clue, would have given a box of paperbacks to Goodwill or something. Gives you the willies thinking how easily it could have been tossed, too.

Satisfying, hearing it is going home. What a family treasure with an even cooler story attached, thanks to you.


Feb 8, 2018
Another thread it's disappointing, getting to the end. Rats! Just do not want to let go of their stories although we know their fates.

Oh, there is much more to come. Besides having to research James and Issac, I have to research each name mentioned in the letter and there are several. When I pick up the enhanced scans this week, I will post them up, and most likely will need help with the transcription.

And I need an opinion from all of you about me writing a book about their lives in the war and the letter. I would consider it a "Historical fiction" since I will have to use my imagination to fill in the blanks. Plugging in the facts as I know them to preserve the history as accurately as possible, but taking liberties on the character building and circumstances surrounding the letter.

NH Civil War Gal

Forum Host
Feb 5, 2017
Just found this:
Face to Face With a Rebel
Acting Ensign Isaac S. Bradbury, U.S. Navy
Carte de visite by C.H. Williamson of Brooklyn, New York, about 1863
Collection of the author
One day in early 1864, the Union warship Cambridge left her place along the outer line of the blockade along the North Carolina coast near Wilmington on a routine patrol. She steamed towards land and took up a position from which her crew could observe Confederate batteries.

The ship and crew operated at a relatively safe distance, but close enough to hear the surf pounding the beach and the bugle calls of the enemy.

At one point, a Cambridge sailor spotted a group of five Rebels. They had wound their way behind sand hills and disappeared behind the dunes.

Back on the Cambridge, the commanding officer was made aware of the situation, and he ordered a boat of armed sailors to investigate.

The Cambridge, possibly a model
or artwork
U.S. Naval Historical Center
The officer in charge of the expedition was the ship’s well-regarded master’s mate. Isaac Bradbury, 24, was the eldest of seven children born to a mariner and his wife in the fishing village of Machias, Maine. Bradbury came of age as clouds of war gathered over the country, and entered into a union with a Machias girl, Caroline, soon after the bombardment of Fort Sumter severed the constitutional bonds of the republic. (1)

While the newlyweds settled and started a family in Machias, the Union war machine cranked into high gear. The navy acquired a number of civilian vessels for the service, including the sleek, screw-propelled steamer Cambridge. Built in Massachusetts in 1860, she was purchased by the navy in the summer of 1861. Her decks were fitted with guns and she was sent south to join the blockade of Confederate ports along the Atlantic coast.

In March 1863, Bradbury accepted an appointment as an acting master’s mate. His motivation for joining the navy is unknown, but it is evident he became enamored of the lifestyle. “I like my ‘Commander’ as well as I love my life, and in return have his confidence and respect. We have a gentlemanly set of officers all through, and a good crew of over a hundred & fifty men,” he wrote during the autumn of 1863 to a friend in Machias. He added, “They have been baptized in fire & blood, and stood the test well. (2)

“Part of North Carolina showing approaches to Wilmington, Compiled at the U.S. Coast Survey Office, March 1864”
Library of Congress
He continued, “You can imagine my feelings the first time I was under fire, we got nigh in too the Batterys and they opened on us, and we in return engaged them. Death & destruction was all around, the shells as a majority all over shot us, so at the flash of every gun of the 'Rebs' all the officers & men on the spar deck would throw themselves flat on their faces, and as the shells went over us a screaming they made anything but delightful music, in fact I thought I would rather be at home hearing the 'Machias Cornet Band' playing 'Home Sweet Home,' I think it would be far preferable. But I was doomed to be put to a severe test for a shell suddenly burst among the men cutting one in two and severely wounding several others. The one that was killed fell towards me and the blood spouted over my uniform.” (3)

Bradbury noted, “With great difficulty I kept possession of my feelings, all though it cost me a big effort, but after the action was over, as cool as I thought I was, my under clothes was dripping wet with sweat, and my face after the action was over, and the excitement died away, was as white as a sheet and I noticed that I was not alone.” (4)

A few months later, he received orders to go ashore in command of a detachment to find out with the five rebels were up to. Armed with muskets and cutlasses, Bradbury guided his command along the beach and to the dunes without attracting the attention of the enemy. “We crept down until we was about one hundred yards, when our party rushed out and summoned them to surrender,” Bradbury explained in another letter to his friend. “One of the d-d scoundrels answered me with a ‘ball & buck’ it missed me, and I instantly drawed a bead on him with my ‘Sharps rifle’ and I made a hole in his face as big as an egg. I went up to the corpse and it was a horrible sight, oh god I hope & pray that this awful was will soon com to an end. But I had to do this action for self defense, there was nothing on him excepting a rebel newspaper ‘Wilmington Journal’ and two or three envelopes.” (5)

Bradbury did not mention the fate of the other four rebels, and it is assumed that they escaped. Bradbury and the rest of the detachment returned to the Cambridge and resumed their regular duties.

This and other experiences prompted Bradbury to declare to his friend, “You can rest assured the blockade is as effective as it can be possibly and that we are constantly having exciting times, and dangerous too. But I hope the god of battles will protect me and carry me over again safe to ‘Old Machias’ but you can rest assured that whenever I am called to go I shall try to do my duty faithfully.” (6)

Crew of the Narcissus, December 10, 1865
Bradbury may be seated in the center
State Archives of Florida
In late December 1865, Bradbury was ordered to take the Narcissus to New York City, where the vessel would be decommissioned and sold, and he and the crew mustered out. Bradbury looked forward to returning to “Old Machias.” (8)

The Narcissus and a sister ship, the Althea, departed Pensacola on New Year’s Day 1866. Three days later off Tampa Bay, the vessels encountered a storm. Bradbury and his counterpart on the Althea decided to pull into port and wait for the weather to clear. As the Narcissus steamed ahead at full speed, she struck a sandbar and grounded about two miles north of Egmont Key. Just after 7 p.m., her boiler exploded and she sank with all hands aboard. There were no survivors. (9)

The next morning, the crew of the Althea found wreckage and the body of a sailor washed up on a beach. They also found Ensign Bradbury’s papers. (10)

Bradbury was 26. His wife and a young daughter survived him. (11)

1. On May 30, 1861, Bradbury married Caroline G. Hanscom in Machias. Isaac S. Bradbury pension file, NARS.
2. The friend and recipient of the letter was William Bartlett Smith (1806-1869). Born and raised in Machias, Smith was a prominent attorney, state politician, and three-time Collector of Customs for the District of Machias. He was in charge of planning the town’s centennial celebration in 1863, and his book, Memorial of the Centennial Anniversary of the Settlement of Machias was published the same year. The printer of the book, Charles Osborne Furbush (1835-1916), was also the publisher of the Machias Republican. Bradbury intended this letter for publication in the Republican. Bradbury’s commander, William F. Spicer of New York City (1820-1878), graduated from the U.S. Navy Academy in 1839 and became a career navy man who served on assignments around the world. He commanded the Cambridge and Quaker City from 1863-1865 as part of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, including operations against Fort Fisher, North Carolina, in January 1865. He remained in the navy after the war. At his death in 1878, he held the rank of commodore and commandant of the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. Isaac S. Bradbury to William B. Smith, September 14, 1863. Isaac S. Bradbury Letters, 1863-1864, New-York Historical Society, New York, New York.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Isaac S. Bradbury to William B. Smith, February 11, 1864. Isaac S. Bradbury Letters, 1863-1864, New-York Historical Society, New York, New York.
6. Ibid.
7. Isaac S. Bradbury pension file, NARS.
8. Report of Acting Rear-Adm. Henry Knox Thatcher, December 31, 1865, ORN I, 22: 261-263.
9. Bendus, “A Proposal to Establish the Shipwreck USS Narcissus as a State Underwater Archaeological Preserve.” Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, Tallahassee, Florida.
10. Ibid.
11. Isaac S. Bradbury pension file, NARS.

In Print
This column originally ran in the October 2014 issue of the Civil War News.
Posted 22nd September 2014 by Ron Coddington
Labels: 1866 bradbury cambridge coddington confederate faces of war florida isaac machos maine narcissus north carolina pensacola ron union wilmington



Feb 8, 2018
James True Bradbury's 6th Maine regiment seems to have been extremely active during the war:

Siege of Yorktown
Battle of Williamsburg
Seven Days Battles
Battle of Gaines' Mill
Battle of Garnett's & Golding's Farm
Battle of Savage's Station
Battle of White Oak Swamp
Battle of Malvern Hill
Battle of South Mountain
Battle of Antietam
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Gettysburg
Bristoe Campaign
Second Battle of Rappahannock Station
Mine Run Campaign
Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

Did this regiment, or most regiment's fight as a whole? Or were only certain company's involved in each engagement? In other words, is there anyway to look up what the role of Company C was during these engagements?

Also, I can't seem to find out how many Company's made up the regiment, or what their total strength was in number.

On another note, I did find a book written on the 6th's Maine:
Author is James H. Mundy
Title is No Rich Men's Sons, the Sixth Maine Volunteer Infantry

It's on order:smug:
Last edited:


Feb 8, 2018
Ok, I'm stumped. After the Narcissius struck a torpedo outside of Mobile bay on 7 Dec 1864, all hands survived and were then scattered among other boats at the time.

https://books.google.com/books?id=-RwpAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA752&lpg=PA752&dq=uss+narcissus+torpedo+sinking&source=bl&ots=_hPE5IiEv8&sig=-DyvVbqPSw7fepqZl3blbWdcZMc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjLw_Dh_afZAhUCI6wKHdSjAw0Q6AEIQzAG#v=onepage&q=uss narcissus torpedo sinking&f=false

Then, they raised her and towed her to to Pensacola where she was repaired and re-fitted. There was some question whether she had struck a torpedo(mine) or that Captain W.G. Jones caused the sinking due to error or poor seamanship. This was cleared up after the hull was inspected, and Jones was cleared. However, Commodore Palmer lashes Jones for causing a letter to be published in a New Orleans newspaper "so disgusting a character, renders him unfit to hold the position he now occupies in the Navy". He then calls for Captain Jones's dismissal from the Navy.

Later, on 12 Jan 1865 all I find is a note saying the charges were dismissed. But, there is not a copy of this "letter" that I can find anywhere. Those charges the Commodore leveled were pretty serious, so I wonder if a copy of that letter exists because I can't find it.

Well, I think the charges were dismissed, or was Jones dismissed?
https://books.google.com/books?id=-RwpAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA754&dq=uss+narcissus+W.G.+Jones+inquiry&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjT2aSCgqjZAhUGKqwKHVxMDHQQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=uss narcissus W.G. Jones inquiry&f=false
Last edited:
Dec 31, 2010
Kingsport, Tennessee
James True Bradbury's 6th Maine regiment seems to have been extremely active during the war:

Siege of Yorktown
Battle of Williamsburg
Seven Days Battles
Battle of Gaines' Mill
Battle of Garnett's & Golding's Farm
Battle of Savage's Station
Battle of White Oak Swamp
Battle of Malvern Hill
Battle of South Mountain
Battle of Antietam
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Gettysburg
Bristoe Campaign
Second Battle of Rappahannock Station
Mine Run Campaign
Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

Did this regiment, or most regiment's fight as a whole? Or were only certain company's involved in each engagement? In other words, is there anyway to look up what the role of Company C was during these engagements?

Also, I can't seem to find out how many Company's made up the regiment, or what their total strength was in number.

On another note, I did find a book written on the 6th's Maine:
Author is James H. Mundy
Title is No Rich Men's Sons, the Sixth Maine Volunteer Infantry

It's on order:smug:

Companies A, B, C, D. E, F, G, H, I, & K. Usually 100-150 men to a Company. This was generally true on both sides.

03 May, 1863
Private George Brown
Company K, 6th Maine Regiment
Marye's Heights, Fredricksburg
Battle of Chancellorsville

.........The men were informed what was to be done, and
instructed to press on at double quick to the top of the hill
over the meshes of rifle pits and stone walls which intervened.
Above all, they were instructed to rely upon the bayonet and not
to fire a shot until the fortifications were carried. At eleven
o'clock an attacking column consisting of the Sixty-first
Pennsylvania and Forty-third New York, marching by the flank,
moved across the bridge on the immediate right of the Sixth, and
advanced up the plank road to attack the enemy.

This was the signal for a general attack, and as they became
warmly engaged with the enemy, the Sixth was ordered forward.
The instant that the advance commenced all of the enemy's works
in their front, stone wall, rifle pits and redoubts, belched
forth a terrible fire of musketry which did fearful execution in
our ranks. Silent, cool and determined, the men of the Sixth
with closed ranks pushed steadily on, routing the enemy from
behind the stone wall at the point of the bayonet, and pressing
up on the rifle pits without a halt and without firing a shot.
Hotter and hotter waxed the fire of the enemy. Besides this
fearful musketry he poured cannister and spherical case into our
ranks from his guns at the top of the hill, while the right of
the Sixth which was left entirely unprotected by the breaking of
the Sixty-first Pennsylvania, was subjected to a flank fire
before which it seemed that every man must go down.

As they neared the rifle pits the fire of the enemy reached its
greatest fury and did most fearful execution. It was here that
those gallant officers of the Sixth - Captains Young, Ballinger
and Gray - fell fighting like brave and true men as they were.
Scores of men fell too, but nothing could stop the advancing
line which swept steadily on up the hill.

The rifle pits were reached, and then for the first time a shout
of victory went up. In the fierce hand to hand encounter that
ensued many of the enemy were slain by the bayonet alone.
Private George Brown of company K, bayoneted two of the enemy in
succession, and then as the resistance was obstinate he brained
a third with the butt of his musket. At this point the fight was
only waged for a moment.

The enemy's line gave way in wild confusion and dismay, and fled
to the top of the hill, followed so closely by our men that they
never were rallied, but either surrendered in the fort or
continued their flight down the plank road. Rushing on, our men
scaled the earthwork at the top of the hill, capturing many
prisoners and a battery of seven guns from the celebrated
Washington Artillery. In five minutes from the time the Sixth
started on the charge the fort was captured and their colors (*)
were the first to wave in triumph over its parapet.

In this battle the regiment won a reputation that will live with
the history of the rebellion. Their loss was one hundred and
twenty eight officers and men killed and wounded.

(*) the color bearer was Sergeant John A. Gray, Company K, 6th
Maine, # 478 in CWDB Regimental File. He was wounded during this
action. Gray and Brown were both killed in a later, highly
unusual, night bayonet attack at Rappahannock Station, Virginia,
07 November, 1863, fought exactly the same way and, again,

This account calls into question some historians' conclusions
that the bayonet was not used much - usually basing these
conclusions on surgeon's reports. The problem with this is that
surgeons generally saw soldiers who were still alive and had
wounds that could be successfully treated - stretcher bearers
had to prioritize cases and men with abdominal wounds were
considered terminal and left on the field. This might account
for the fact that surgeons actually saw a low percentage of
bayonet wounds. It is obvious that Private Brown inflicted his

Source: Maine in the War ( Adjutant General's Report ), Nelson
Dingley Jr, publisher, Lewiston, Maine, 1865
Note: Wayne Reuel Bean

George was a 22 year-old Private when he enlisted and mustered into Company K 6th Maine Infantry, on 7/15/1861.

He was Killed on 11/7/1863 at Rappahannock Station, VA.


Feb 8, 2018
The letter and the high def copies, along with a thumb drive of the "restoration" scans all went off today with FedEx to the Gr Gr Gr Grandson of Issac Snow Bradbury. The Camera shop tech did a fantastic job on enhancing the writing...simply amazing.

We have a bet going on who can translate the letter first...prize?...a pint of stout. He wants to hold off on publishing any of the content yet, but I think he will be ok releasing it once he has read it and it has soaked in. I'll keep y'all posted, meanwhile I have to hunker down and get working on the transcript.


Major General
Judge Adv. Genl.
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Aug 16, 2015
Outstanding story, both the experience of the men at the time and the subsequent research! Thanks, Motor7, for sharing and thanks to our Forum members for their assistance to your search: an excellent example of our group at its best!


May 3, 2017
New Brunswick, Canada
You probably already knew James was killed in action at Rappahannock Station, VA, 11/7/1863.

From the OR, here's a report on the part played by the 6th Maine :


Report of Maj. George Fuller, Sixth Maine Infantry, of engagement
at Rappahannock.

November 10, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the
part taken by this regiment in the engagement at Rappahannock
Station, on the 7th day of November, 1863:

The regiment left camp near Warrenton, Va., at daylight on the
morning of the 7th instant, in company with the rest of the brigade,
and marched toward Rappahannock Station. When within 1 mile
of the station, the regiment was halted and formed in line of battle
in the edge of a wood about 200 yards to the right of the railroad.

This was about 12 m. At 2 p. m. Lieutenant-Colonel Harris was
ordered to relieve the Forty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers,
which was upon the skirmish line. Companies A, F, D, I,
and C, composing the right wing, were sent forward, under my
command, for that duty, and the skirmish line was duly relieved, the
right of the line connecting with the skirmishers of the One hundred
and twenty-first New York Regiment, and the left connecting
with those of the Twentieth Maine Regiment, belonging to the Fifth
Corps. At 2.30 p. m. the skirmish line was ordered to advance upon
the enemy, which it did in gallant style, quickly driving in his
skirmishers upon the fortifications. Our loss upon the line up to
this time was 1 killed and 5 wounded.

At sunset the left wing was ordered to advance, and it was
immediately thrown forward to within 250 yards of the skirmish line,
and ordered to lie down under the crest of hill, just in our front.
Immediately after, orders came from General Russell to deploy the
left wing, double the skirmish line, and with the Fifth Wisconsin
regiment as a support, to charge the enemy's works. The wing was
at once deployed, and immediately upon the arrival of the Fifth
Wisconsin, thrown forward upon the skirmish line. Here but a
moment's delay was caused by arranging the skirmishers, now
doubled, and at the command, "forward, double-quick," the regiment
rushed upon the works, under a heavy fire of musketry and
artillery. The fire grew heavier as the line neared the works, and
the men were struck down with fearful rapidity; but unwavering,
with wild cheers, the survivors reached the "fortifications," and
springing over them engaged the enemy in a hand-to-hand conflict.
The enemy, astonished and bewildered, quickly gave way and fled,
many of them toward the river, but by far the greater part to their
left, which was as yet unassailed, leaving in our hands 350 prisoners,
4 guns, and 1 stand of colors.

The works along the whole length of our line were now in our
possession. And now the enemy, strong in their rifle-pits farther to
their left, commenced a raking fire down the length of our line, which
proved very destructive, and, perceiving the weakness of our force,
advanced heavily upon our right, compelling that part of the line
to abandon the works; but disputing every foot of the ground, the
men fell back upon our center and left, which still retained possession
of the fortifications, and turning sharply upon the enemy kept
them at bay until the opportune arrival of the Fifth Wisconsin,
which came up upon the run, and with its usual impetuosity rushed
into the conflict. With the invaluable aid of this regiment, we were
quickly gaining ground when the arrival of the Forty-ninth and the
One hundred and nineteenth Pennsylvania Regiments, together with
the storming of the enemy's left by the Fifth Maine and the One
hundred and twenty-first New York Regiments, who carried those
works with a rush, decided the battle, the enemy being either
captured or driven across the river.

I would here mention that about 80 men belonging to the Fifth
Corps, under the command of Captain Morrill, of the Twentieth
Maine regiment, forming a skirmish line upon our left, rendered
valuable aid in carrying and holding the works. I would also beg
leave to mention here the following-named officers, to whose invaluable
efforts, after we had lost two-thirds of our line officers, the
obstinacy with which the fight was conducted is due, viz: Captains
Lincoln and Bassford, and Lieutenants Honey, Norris, Smith, and
Williams (the two latter, although severely wounded, rejoined their
companies next morning and reported for duty), and First Sergt. W.
H, Coan, Company H, who, after his officers had fallen, took
command of the company, and by his cool and determined conduct
helped much to the result. Captain Summers and Lieutenant Hobbs,
of Company A, forming the right support of the line, and Lieutenants
Hill and Pierce, of Company C, forming the left support, did
their duty well and nobly.

I regret to state that during the early part of the engagement,
Lieutenant-Colonel Harris, while gallantly leading on his men, fell
dangerously wounded, and the command devolved upon me. Adjutant
Clark was also severely wounded while in the works, bravely
doing his duty, but not before he had driven his sword into his
versary. Captains Furlong, killed; Burnham, Roberts, and Witherell,
wounded; and Lieutenants Wilkins and McKinley killed; Waite,
Pottle, Jacobs, Morton, Knowles, and Chamberlin, wounded, were
stricken down while gallantly leading on their men--doing their duty
as only such officers can.

Numerous instances of personal valor among the enlisted men of
the regiment have come to my knowledge, too numerous, indeed, to
mention in this hurried report, but I cannot refrain from asking your
attention to the following two instances of unexampled courage and
coolness: Sergt. Otis O. Roberts*, of Company H, with only 5 men,
rushed upon the color-bearer of the Eighth Louisiana Regiment,
who was in the midst of his color company, and after a hand-to-hand
conflict, in which the bayonet was freely used, succeeded in capturing
the colors, and compelling the whole company to surrender.
Privates Robinson Kitching, and Thomas W. Chick, of Company B,
and Private Lawrence O. Laughlin, of Company G, pursued the
enemy to the river, firing three shots after them, and ordered them
to surrender. Three commissioned officers and 175 men obeyed the
order, and the 3 men marched their prisoners safely to the rear.

After the engagement, the regiment was ordered to hold the right
redoubt of the enemy's works, near the railroad, until further orders,
which it did until the next day, when at 1 o'clock p. m. the brigade
crossed the Rappahannock, and taking a position went into camp.

The regiment lost in this terrible engagement 139 officers and men,
a full list of whose names and rank I respectfully submit.

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient

Major, Commanding Sixth Maine Volunteers.

Capt. C. H. HURD, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Source: Official Records
[Series I. Vol. 29. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 48.]

James' mother, Eliza, filed for a pension June 30, 1880. The complete file at the National Archives would certainly help in your story.

View attachment 176477
Is the photo of Fuller or Bradbury?


May 3, 2017
New Brunswick, Canada
Issac Snow Bradbury dob- 08/11/1839 enlisted in the Navy 2 Feb 1863 was killed 4 Jan 1866 when his boat the USS Narcissus foundered in a hurricane near Tampa Bay and ran aground on Edgemont Key. When the cold January waters of the Gulf flooded the boiler, the steam engine blew up, killing all 26 crew members. Only one body was recovered, but Bradbury's personal papers washed ashore in Tampa bay and were found. The shipwreck is now a National Underwater Preserve:


Isaac served on the USS Cambridge from 1862-1865. The Cambridge was part of the North Atlantic Blockading squadron for 3 years and saw quite a bit of action. On 21 Sept, 1862 she picked up escaped slave William B Gould I off Cape Fear NC when Gould and 7 other escaped slaves rowed a boat 28 miles down the Cape Fear River out to sea. Gould immediately joined the Navy and served on the Cambridge for the remainder of the war. Gould wrote a detailed diary which is only one of three escaped slave diary's known to exist.

In researching James and Issac, I find references to their fathers and/or great grand fathers under identical names that also served dating back to the Revolutionary war. I still have much work to do on the family's history, but so far it is quite remarkable.

There are many oddities about this story, here is another one. A quote from this article:

"A Canadian couple discovered a photo of crewmen of the doomed USS Narcissus hidden in a yard-sale frame. On the back of the photo was a letter a crew member wrote to his family dated Dec. 10, 1865, less than a month before the ship sank."

Hmmmm, another "accidental discovery" of an important part of the history of the Bradbury family......?

And right there in the center of the photo seated is our man, Captain Issac Snow Bradbury. Chuckster, thanks for clearing up my "acting Ensign" confusion:thumbsup:


There is something about this boat that wants it's story told. Tidbit's about her and her crew just keep popping up & something tells me there is more to this story. I'll keep you guys updated as I turn over new rocks.

A painting of the USS Narcissus:


Is there a Canadian connection in the photo? If so who is the Canadian?


Feb 8, 2018
Is the photo of Fuller or Bradbury?

That's Fuller.

I don't know the Canadian connection yet. The photo of the crew, with Bradbury seated in the middle was discovered inside a framed painting at a yard sale in eastern Canada. I have the thesis written on the USS Narcissus by Nicole Morris and am about half way through it. I hope that the thesis will expound on that photo discovery.


Feb 8, 2018
Now, some stunning information. I started researching the names mentioned in James's letter(his fellow soldiers and friends in the tent with him while he wrote the letter). One is a Charles Clark, and a little googling and [boom], turns out he wrote an action report on the Battle of Rappahannock Station. The very battle that James was killed in, 7 Dec 1863.


And there it is, the exact method of his death, an artillery shell:

"A Confederate shell hits Co. C; Harris will later report Pvt. James Bradbury as “killed” and privates William Elderkin and Jeremiah Hennessey as “severely” wounded. Skirmishing steadily through the afternoon, the 6th Maine boys reach a position some 400 yards from the redoubts, or so 1st Sgt. William Coan of Co. H and Dexter estimates."

So now we know exactly how each brother died.

I have to say, reading James's letter in it's entirety tonight weighed heavy on the heart.............


Feb 8, 2018
On another note, can someone tell me what this 1861 address was on the letter?


Schr. Donworth....it sounds like someone's name, not a place. And initially I thought it was Boston Mass, but it's not.....Ma[L]s ?