Born in Kendall, N.Y., William Barrow Mann (about 1835-1920) graduated from the University of Buffalo in 1861 and enlisted in the Union navy. He received an appointment as an assistant surgeon, and served as a doctor aboard the “Miami.”
Philip Langer braced for impact. The wooden sloop-of-war on which he served, the Monongahela, was only yards away from ramming the rebel ironclad ram Tennessee in the waters of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864.
The Tennessee fired its guns into the approaching Monongahela at this critical moment. Two shells fired from her ports crashed into the Monongahela’s bow. One shell tore into the wood siding near the prow and lodged in the berth deck. The other ripped through the berth deck where Langer and others stood firm. It exploded and sent iron fragments, splinters of wood and other debris through the air. The crew was thrown violently to the floor.
Then the Monongahela struck her prey full force amidships. The blow, according to a news report, caused “the huge rebel monster to reel like a drunken man.”
Charles Mellen Rowe of Maine (1841-about 1915) started his Civil War service in October 1864 as an ensign on the ironclad monitor Naubuc. The vessel was so poorly constructed that she was deemed not seaworthy and converted to a torpedo boat. She and her crew never made it out of New York. Rowe’s brief navy career ended in August 1865. He settled in Newfield, N.J., after the war, married Adelia Hemingway, and became a farmer.
This image is new to my collection, and now available on Pinterest, Tumblr, and Flickr.
I recently added this carte de visite of Henry M. Meade to my collection. His portrait and story will be included in my forthcoming book about the Civil War navies. Meade was one of Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s nephews, and I’ve only just begun to research his life and military service. His navy biography through 1868, from the Records of Living Officers of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps,: Born in New York. Appointed from New York, January 31st, 1862; entered the service as Acting Assistant Paymaster; attached to receiving ship, New York, 1862-4; steamer Mattabessett, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, 1864-5; special duty, Navy Department, 1865-6; appointed Passed Assistant Paymaster, U.S. Navy, July 23d, 1866; steam-sloop Juniata, South Atlantic Squadron, 1867; steam-sloop Kearsarge, South Pacific Squadron, 1868-9; commissioned as Paymaster, April 9th, 1868.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Richard Rush (1848-1912) was the grandson of diplomat Richard Rush (1780-1859), and great-grandson of Benjamin Rush (1746-1813), a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Rush entered the U.S. Naval Academy in its temporary location at Newport, R.I., in 1863, and spent the Civil War on the Academy’s sloop-of-war Marion, which was used as a training ship. He graduated in 1867, and was promoted through the ranks until in 1891, when he was made Lieutenant Commander. In 1893, he was appointed superintendent of naval war records, and in this capacity oversaw the early publication efforts of The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies, a thirty volume set grouped in two series. According to the preface, “the long-delayed publication was finally authorized by act of Congress approved July 31, 1894, and begun by Mr. Rush. The first five volumes were published under his efficient administration, and the important duty of organizing the office for the distribution of these volumes was accomplished.”
Rush was ordered to sea in March 1897, thus ending his association with the project.
The story of Capt. Dennis Edwin Barnes of the 93rd New York Infantry is now available on the New York Times blog Disunion is now available. An excerpt:
Suddenly the haunting voice of a man in prayer rose above the cries of the wounded. One Union soldier who had nodded off to sleep after that first day of hellish fighting awoke to the sound with a start.
“I never before nor since heard such a prayer,” he noted years later. “It seemed, lying there in the darkness of the night in the woods, that his deep, sympathetic voice, mingled with the voices and groans of the dying ones, sounded as from some other world.”
The soldier recognized the voice. It belonged to Dennis Barnes, his captain, a square-shouldered, six-foot lumberman from New York who was on a self-appointed mission to rescue the wounded from his company after the day’s desperate fighting. Barnes was picking his way across the densely wooded landscape, exhausted and pained from an injury he had suffered to his hand. It was near midnight when he found a corporal who had succumbed to the gaping wound in his belly.
I appreciated this comment on Capt. Barnes’s story by Hal Cheney of Martinsville, Ill.: “One reads so many rather sterile accounts of the Wilderness, that seem to take for granted the horrors of that epic struggle. This recounting by Mr. Coddington, puts a personal face on this human tragedy, while preserving its standing as the unmistakeable beginning of the end for the Confederate States.”
Thank you, Mr, Cheney.