USS LACKAWANNA Cabinet Card (1882)

Source: Preliminary Inventory of the Albert Parker Niblack Collection, 1876-1942; East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1080

Postcard, depicting officers of the U.S.S. LACKAWANNA

Postcard, depicting officers of the U.S.S. LACKAWANNA

Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo

Description:

 This 1882 cabinet card shows portraits of 17 officers inset around a photograph of their ship, the USS LACKAWANNA. Captain Henry Wilson is featured in the center of the top row between his higher ranking subordinates. The lower ranking officers are in the lower rows. The lowest ranking, most junior officer in the view is Ensign Alfred Parker Niblack, Naval Academy Class of 1880, who appears at the extreme right of the bottom row in civilian dress. It was his first assignment after graduating.

Niblack (1858-1929) was born in Vincennes, Indiana and was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1876. He graduated in 1880 and was immediately posted to the LACKAWANNA and served there for two years. Niblack quickly made a name for himself in the Navy for his initiative, resourcefulness, diplomatic skills, and tactical and navigating skills. In 1887, while still an ensign, Niblack commanded the small 23-ton launch USS COSMO, which was being towed by the USS PATTERSON to Alaska. In weather so severe that at least one other large ship sank, COSMO‘s two lines parted and Niblack was forced to sail his newly built and badly leaking boat several hundred miles to Astoria, Oregon. Despite the fact that the storm caused much damage to the boat and 5 of the 7 crewmen were seasick much of the time, Niblack brought his command and crew home safely to port.

In later years, Niblack served on many ships and held several shore posts including the Smithsonian Institution, the Bureau of Navigation, and a tour in the Office of Naval Intelligence. He published numerous works on naval engineering, navigation, and tactics. He won his first significant command, USS IROQUOIS, in 1904, and subsequently commanded numerous other ships including USS HARTFORD and USS OLYMPIA. He was naval attache to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Germany and The Netherlands, and served as a member of the General Board of the Navy. He saw significant action in the Battle of Manila in the Spanish American war in 1899 and the Occupation of Vera Cruz Mexico in 1914.

In World War I, Niblack commanded Division 1 of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, with USS ALABAMA (BB-8) as his flagship. While in European waters, he was promoted to Rear Admiral in August 1917. In October he took command of Squadron 2, Patrol Force, and served in this post through the Armistice. In March 1919 he became Director of Naval Intelligence and U.S. Naval Attache in London in August 1920. As Vice Admiral he commanded all U.S. Naval Forces in European waters from January 1921 to June 1922. After commanding the 6th Naval District at Charleston, S.C. for a year, Niblack retired in July 1923 and retired to the South of France. He died at Monte Carlo, Monaco on 20 August 1929. In 1940, the destroyer USS NIBLACK (DD-424) was named in honor of Vice Admiral Niblack, sponsored by his widow.

Made by Reiman & Co., of San Francisco, California this cabinet card is fairly typical of the genre. By 1882 cabinet cards like these had supplanted the smaller cartes de visites that had been popular in the 1860s and 1870s. They were acquired as souvenirs, and collected or traded like baseball cards. Cabinet cards remained popular into the early twentieth century, when home photograpy became economical. This cabinet card is one of several in the Albert Parker Niblack Papers (#1080).

The LACKAWANNA was veteran of the Civil War. Named for a river in Pennsylvania LACKAWANNA was launched by the New York Navy Yard in August 1862. A screw sloop-of-war she joined the Union blockade of the southern coast of the Confederacy, principally off Mobile Bay until the war ended. LACKAWANNA captured several Confederate blockade runners during the war. She also participated in Admiral Farragut’s conquest of Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. In 1866, LACKAWANNA was reassigned to the Pacific Fleet and operated in the Pacific, in Hawaii, along the coast of California and Mexico, and in the Far East until she was finally decommissioned at Mare Island 7 April 1885.

You may access the finding aid to the Alfred Parker Niblack Papers at: http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/1080/

Click on the image to view an enlarged version.

William S. W. Ruschenberger, Journal (1848)

Source: William S. W. Ruschenberger Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #629

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

William S. W. Ruschenberger served in the U.S. Medical Corps from 1826 until 1869. His first ship was the U.S. frigate BRANDYWINE (1826-1829), which sailed to many ports in South America. He was aboard the USS PEACOCK from 1831 until 1832 and again in 1835-1837, this time traveling around the world. He was fleet surgeon on the USS PLYMOUTH for the East India Squadron (1847-1849). After shore duty from 1850 to 1854, he was appointed to the Pacific Squadron (1854-1857) and served on the U.S.S. INDEPENDENCE, which traveled to Chile, Hawaii, and Panama. Ruschenberger was in the Mediterranean Squadron from 1860 to 1861. He was chief surgeon for the Boston Navy Yard throughout the Civil War. He retired with the rank of commodore in 1869.

Ruschenberger wrote several books, including A Voyage Round the World (1838) and Elements of Natural History (1850).

These excerpts from his 1848 journal mention a flogging (April 12), a court-martial (May 12), and a recipe for mosquito repellent (May 22). You can view the journal in its entirety through Joyner Library Digital Collections.

William S. W. Ruschenberger, Journal (1848)

William S. W. Ruschenberger, Journal (1848)

United Confederate Veterans Song Book

Source: Richard Porson Paddison Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #327

Staff Person: Brian Johnson

Description:

The first image below is that of the cover of a songbook titled United Confederate Veterans Song Book, ca. 1890-1900, which contains many songs relating to the southern states prior to, during and after the Civil War. The second image is that of the first song in the book, “Old North State,” North Carolina’s state song. This and many other interesting books and pamphlets, as well as numerous letters written during the Civil War can be found in the Richard Porson Paddison Papers in the Special Collections Department at Joyner Library. http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/0327/

Richard Porson Paddison, lived in Virginia and Boston, Massachusetts, and finally returned to the South, taking up residence in North Carolina in 1860. Paddison moved to Point Caswell in Pender County, N.C., after the Civil War, where he operated steamboats on Black and Cape Fear rivers. Paddison lived at Point Caswell for the reminder of his life except for the years 1886-1897, when he resided in Titusville, Florida.

United Confederate Veterans Song Book, ca. 1890-1900

United Confederate Veterans Song Book, ca. 1890-1900

United Confederate Veterans Song Book, ca. 1890-1900

United Confederate Veterans Song Book, ca. 1890-1900

Emiline Pigott: Confederate Spy

Source: Bellair Plantation Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #87

Emiline Pigott: Confederate Spy

Emiline Pigott: Confederate Spy

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

This image was taken from a 1903 New Berne (New Bern) calendar. The calendar is in our Bellair Plantation Collection. Emiline Pigott (left) was born in Harlowe Township, Carteret County, on December 15, 1836. Emiline was a spy for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. She carried contraband items in her large hoop skirts.

General Ambrose Burnside landed on the coast of North Carolina on March 14, 1862, at the future site of Cherry Point Marine Air Corps Station’s, Officer’s Club. Miss Pigott’s fiance, private Stokes McRae, and the meager Confederate forces were forced out of New Bern and headed to Virginia. Stokes was killed at Gettysburg and she vowed to carry on his cause.Miss Pigott was caught in 1865 with contraband such as clothing, combs, boots, personal letters and important documents reporting on Union troops, and placed in prison (Jones House). Miss Pigott, a genteel Southern lady, refused to have an African American woman touch her body to search her. She ate an important document and tore up the personal letters while they tried to find someone else to search her. There are different stories as to what happened after she was caught, but she was finally released. She lived to a long life to age 82 and died on May 26, 1919.The Jones House (pictured on the right) at 231 Eden Street in New Bern was built for John Jones ca. 1809; the west wing was added ca. 1820, during the Federal period. Brothers John and Fredrick Jones both owned and operated their own turpentine distilleries. The distilleries supplied large amounts of turpentine for the use in sealing wooden hull-vessels. The house was used as a jail during the Civil War. Referred to as the “Secesh Jail,” it is said to have housed Emiline Pigott. Tryon Palace Commission purchased the house in 1963 as its official guest house; it is also used as a gift shop for the palace.

The information was gathered from these books located in the North Carolina Collection.

Hand, Bill. A Walking Guide to North Carolina’s Historic New Bern. Charleston: History Press, 2007.

Hand, Bill. Remembering Craven County Tales of Tarheel History. Charleston: History Press, 2006.

Sandbeck, Peter B. The Historic Architecture of New Bern & Craven County, North Carolina. New Bern: Tryon Palace Commission, 1988.

Click on the image itself to see an enlarged version.

Henry Corbin Diary

Source: Guide to the Henry Corbin Papers, 1863-1864, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #161

Henry Corbin Diary

Henry Corbin Diary

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

Henry Corbin was a Fourth Sergeant in Company B of the 23rd Virginia Cavalry. He served with General Jubal A. Early in the Shenandoah Valley. His diary documents his activities from April 20, 1863, up until September 22, 1864, when he was killed at the battle of Fisher Hill. He also participated in the battles of Lynchburg, Monacacy and Winchester. The pages you see here were recorded right before he was killed. Click on the image to see additional pages that explain how the diary was found. Special Collections has other related manuscript collections such as the following: #246 Guide to the A.F. Williams Diary, #283 Guide to the New Bern Historical Society Collection, #338 Guide to the William W. Perry Diary and #537 Guide to the J.C. Hines Papers. More information about this collection can be obtained by going to Manuscript Collection 161

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.

Sparrow Warren Civil War Letter

Source: Guide to the Thomas Sparrow Papers, 1819-1872, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1

Staff Person: Brian Johnson

Description:

The image below is correspondence written to Captain Thomas Sparrow of the Washington Grays by Dr. E. Warren on July 8, 1861. It is possible that Captain Sparrow never received the letter as he was imprisoned by Union forces in August of the same year.

Transcription:

Portsmouth July 8, ’61

Dear Sir,

It is my duty to inform you that the measles is prevailing to a considerable extent among the members of the Hyde County Company. It is not in my power to so adopt the proper measures to prevent it from spreading among the troops stationed here, and I therefore urge upon you the importance of doing something to protect the men belonging to your company from the disease.

Very respectfully,

Edward Warren MD

Surgeon

Thomas Sparrow (1819-1884) was a Washington, N.C., lawyer until the outbreak of the Civil War. He was commissioned a captain in the Confederate Army in 1861 and served at Fort Hatteras until he was taken prisoner by Union forces in August of that year. After the war he returned to Washington and represented Beautfort County in the North Carolina General Assembly in 1870 and 1881.

This correspondence and much more can be found in the finding aid of the Thomas Sparrow Papers which can be accessed at Manuscript Collection 1

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.

Letter from Dr. E. Warren to Captain Thomas Sparrow, July 8th, 1861

Letter from Dr. E. Warren to Captain Thomas Sparrow, July 8th, 1861

Letter from Dr. E. Warren to Captain Thomas Sparrow, July 8th, 1861

Letter from Dr. E. Warren to Captain Thomas Sparrow, July 8th, 1861

Farabee Letter

Source: Grimes-Bryan Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #16

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

This letter is from the Grimes-Bryan Papers (1808-1924) collection #16.The Grimes-Bryan families were very important in eastern North Carolina. John Herritage Bryan was a lawyer in New Bern and Raleigh. He also served as a US Representative from 1825 to1829. His daughter, Charlotte Emily, married Confederate General Bryan Grimes in 1863; they lived at Grimesland Plantation, in Pitt County. Bryan and Charlotte Grimes had a son named Junius Grimes who married Ida Wharton of Forsyth County. It is probably because of this marriage that this letter is in the collection. The letter tells us about camp life in the early part of the Civil War. B.L. Farabee was part of the 21st N.C. Infantry Regiment at Camp Hill in Danville, Va. He talks about betting on horses and making a blackberry pie. The collection has many letters telling about the Civil War; slavery; marketing cotton and peanuts; and social life in the 19th Century. Other topics mentioned are education, the Confederate flag being made for a Martin County group of solders, courts, Reconstruction and elections in the southern states. This is a wonderful collection; enjoy checking it out. You can find more information here.Manuscript Collection 16 Other related manuscript collections are #54, #147, and #267 in this library.

Click on the images to see enlarged versions.

Letter from B.L. Farabee to A.C. Wharton Jr.

Letter from B.L. Farabee to A.C. Wharton Jr.

Letter from B.L. Farabee to A.C. Wharton Jr.

Letter from B.L. Farabee to A.C. Wharton Jr.

A transcription is provided below:

[To A.C. Wharton Jr. Clemmonsville, Davidson County, N.C.]

Camp Hill, Danville

July 7th 1861

Dear Sir,

I take pleasure this beautiful Sabbath morning to drop you a few lines to inform you that I am enjoying good helath at the present and I hope when you receive these few lines it will find you enjoying the same blessing. Dock I tell you we boys have fines times hear [sic]. I wish you and Henry Douthit was hear [sic] with us for I know you don’t enjoy you selves at home. Our camp is about one mile from Danville situated in a beautiful grove, surrounded on all sids [sic] by good spring and too [sic] or three hundred yards from Dan River whear [sic] we boys have nice sport every evening. Dock whent [sic] over to Danville yesterday evening and seen too [sic] or three horse races which look very nice. They was $25 bet on the first race which run a quarter of a mile. And on the second $100 which run a half a mile on the third $10 only run a quarter of a mile. Dock I supose [sic] you would like to know something a bout our election we have elected Mr. Kirkland for our Col and Capt. Leach for first Lieutenant Col. Our election for officers has not come of yet but I think Lieutenant Moss will be our captain. We have elected Mr. Richardson for our Maj. Ed sends his best respects to you Dock and saids [sic] he is hear [sic] and that we could not do without him fore [sic] he is our clown. I can say that Ed is the liveliest one in camp. R.A. Wommack sends his best compliment to you and the Dr. Marian Eecks [?] sends his respects you!

Dock I can’t say for surtian [sic] when we have to leave hear [sic] some think that we have to leave shortly and others don’t. We will not know untill [sic] Capt. Leach comes back from Raleigh. He left hear [sic] last Wednesday. He will be back some time this week. Their [sic] is some sickness in our camp too [sic] or three of our boys air [sic] sick but not to say dangerous except Phillip Hanes he is very sick has got the Typhoid fever. I understand that Frank Billings has been releas [sic] this morning to go home to see his Mama and Papa. They say he is going derange [sic]. David Pack has ben [sic] release to go home. I rechond [sic] they will start this week. We had a very nice rain last evening which was needed very bad. Dock our fair is rough and we get a plenty of cold meat and bread and a little coffee at morning and evening. I went over the river Friday and pick some blackberries and mad [sic] me a pie. It was the first pie I had since I left Lexington. Dock as soon as you get this letter I want you to answer me back. Give my love to John and Peter and also to the rest of my school mats [sic] tell them howdy for me.

direct you letter in care of Capt. Leach

Write soon.

Excuse all bad spelling and penmanship.

You Sincere Friend

B.L. Farabee

Old Money

Source: Sallie Joyner Davis Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #133

Twenty shillings

Twenty shillings

Staff Person: Brian Johnson

Description:
This image is from a collection that contains a letter (1916) from Colonel Fred A. Olds of the North Carolina Historical Commission to Miss Sallie Joyner Davis in which he proposes that East Carolina develop a historical collection. In order to encourage the collection, Colonel Olds enclosed a quantity of currency, including colonial proclamation money (1754, 1768, 1771), Revolutionary War currency (1780), and a variety of Civil War money.

Miss Sallie Joyner Davis (1871-1954) was a charter member of the faculty of East Carolina Teachers Training School. A native of Wayne County, she was a niece of Dr. J. Y. Joyner and a descendant of colonial printer James Davis (see 1780 currency). Miss Davis graduated from U.N.C.-Greensboro and pursued graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, and the University of California. She taught history at East Carolina University from 1909 to 1945. (During this time period the university was known as East Carolina Teachers Training School and East Carolina Teachers College).

The finding aid for this collection can be found at: Manuscript Collection 133

Fifty dollars

Fifty dollars

Five pounds

Five pounds

Ten Shillings

Ten Shillings

One dollar

One dollar

Confederate ten dollar bill

Confederate ten dollar bill

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.

USS Merrimack aka CSS Virginia

Source: John L. Porter Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #850

USS Merrimack aka CSS Virginia

USS Merrimack aka CSS Virginia

Staff Person: Jon Dembo

Description:

Attached is an original pen & ink sketch of the MERRIMAC (sic), the famous Confederate ironclad ram. The sketch was made in 1862 by Naval Constructor John Luke Porter (1831-1893) who had helped convert her into the first ironclad warship. The sketch is part of a notebook / diary which he began writing in 1860 and continued until after the Civil War. A slightly edited version of the text was published as John L. Porter: Naval Constructor of Destiny, by Alan B. Flanders in 2000. However, this may be the first time that this image has ever been published.

Originally a frigate in the US Navy known as the USS MERRIMACK, the retreating federal forces had burned her to the waterline in 1861 in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent her use by the Confederacy. Porter, one of the few professional naval constructors in service to the Confederacy led the team that raised and converted her into an ironclad warship.

Upon commissioning, the Confederate Navy renamed her CSS VIRGINIA. Almost immediately, on 8 March 1862, the MERRIMAC engaged in a series of historic naval battles sinking or damaging several wooden Union warships in an attempt to break their blockade of Southern commerce. In doing so, she decisively proved the superiority of iron over wooden-hulled warships. She made history again, on 9 March, when she fought the even more radical Union ironclad, the USS MONITOR, off Hampton Roads, Virginia. That battle, which ended in a tactical draw, was the first ever between iron hulled warships. It ushered in the age of iron and steel warships which endures to the present day. The battle between the MONITOR and the MERRIMAC proved a strategic victory for the Union by preserving the blockade and thus, may have spelled the doom of the Confederacy.

Later during the Civil War Porter went on to build more than a dozen ironclads for the Confederacy and become the head of Confederate Navy ironclad building program. Among a variety of other writings, the Porter notebook / diary contains two versions of the story of raising and re-fitting the MERRIMAC and concludes with a description of Porter’s experiences during the final days of the Civil War in Eastern North Carolina.

In later years, Southern sympathizers tended to avoid using the name MERRIMAC to describe the vessel; Porter, a loyal southerner, however, consistently used his slightly corrupted version of the ship’s original name instead of VIRGINIA. In the wake of the famous battle between the MONITOR and MERRIMAC, Porter engaged in a long-running controversy with Lt. John M. Brook, CSN, who also claimed to have been chiefly responsible for raising the MERRIMAC. Both sides continued the battle until long after the principals were deceased but without settling the matter decisively.

The Porter notebook / diary may be found in the John L. Porter Collection (#850) along with a variety of other materials relating to Porter. Please contact the Special Collections department if you have any questions.

When Johnny Came Marching Home Again

Source: Timothy Hunter Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #748

Pass that allowed C.B. Keeling to travel home after the Civil War

Pass that allowed C.B. Keeling to travel home after the Civil War

Staff Person: Jean Hiebert

Description:
Timothy Hunter was a shipbuilder in Elizabeth City, North Carolina from 1835 until the advent of the Civil War. We are fortunate to have his personal papers which were donated to Joyner by his great-great-great granddaughter, Mrs. Joanne Foreman. The finding aid for his papers is at: Manuscript Collection 748.

Tucked deep into these papers is the pass that allowed a young soldier, C.B. Keeling, to travel home after the war ended. Hunter and Keeling knew each other because Keeling served several times as a seaman on the schooner San Juan that Hunter built in 1858. Hunter hired him as one of the six crew who routinely manned the schooner. The ship’s manifest from 1860 lists Keeling as a 22 year-old who stood 5’8″ tall and earned $16 a month. As was typical of the time, he had a second career as well. He was listed as a printer when he joined the Confederate army on May 4, 1861.

A little background . . .
By July of 1861, the Union had begun a blockade of southern ports. In many cases, blockade runners like the San Juan were the only ships small enough and fast enough to slip through the blockade. It was a dangerous business and even the fastest ships sometimes got caught. On September 28, 1861, the U.S.S. Susquehanna intercepted the San Juan on her way back from the West Indies where she had been loaded with sugar, salt, and gin. Both the cargo (worth $4000) and the ship (worth $4500) were seized by the Union navy, but it is unclear what punishment was dealt the crew.

Nearly five months later, Keeling turned up as a private in Company L of the 17th Regiment that was assembled on Roanoke Island. The strategy of the great Burnside Expedition was to overtake each island fort on the way to Richmond where Union forces would then have easy access to the railway linking Richmond with New Orleans. Brigadier-General D.H. Hill felt that this was such a crucial battle that the fall of Roanoke Island would be as “fully fatal as that of Manassas.” Ships were sunk in the inlet as impediments to the advance of the Union fleet. Regiments from North Carolina and Georgia manned the few cannon available on the island and the famous Mosquito fleet attempted to repel the Union advance. None of it worked and Roanoke Island fell on February 15, 1862. General Burnside took the whole encampment as prisoners.

Why the pass is important . . .
Keeling was exchanged in August 1862 and was present or accounted for until March of 1863 when the regiment was disbanded. He likely joined another unit and was recaptured. The date on the pass is April, 1865 — the fifth and final April of the war. The pass allowed Keeling to travel from Richmond to Norfolk. The Dismal Swamp Canal spanned the distance between Norfolk and Keeling’s home in Elizabeth City and would have been a familiar route to him. Before beginning the trip home, Keeling was required to sign an oath of parole that granted him permission to return to Pasquotank County. It was an agreement of honor that he would not participate in hostile acts against the United States until he was properly exchanged.

The creases still show on this small square of paper where it had been folded into quarters. I have held it in my hands many times in the hopes that somehow it could impart just a little more information on the man Timothy Hunter had been. It was a long time before I stopped to consider that the real story it tells is that of a man who was 27 years old when the war ended; a man who was most likely tired, hungry, dispirited, and afraid of how he was going to survive now that everything he knew had been changed forever. This simple square of paper was all the permission he had in the world to even try his luck at surviving. How many hands had held it? How many pairs of eyes had surveyed it with suspicion, then reluctant assent? How many times had Keeling folded it back up, returned it to his pocket, and let go of the breath he had held in fear?

I don’t know if Keeling ever went back to Elizabeth City or if he married and had a family. There is no further record of him in the Hunter papers. At the oddest times, he will enter my thoughts and I can’t help but wonder what ever became of him. In the few moments that I have held his pass, I’ve had an eerie sense that I was holding a man’s life in my hands.

I hope that it was finally a peaceful life.