Iowa-born and Oregon raised Roswell Hawks Lamson (1838-1903) graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1862. He was promoted to lieutenant, and commanded the gunboats Mount Washington, Gettysburg and Wilderness. In the latter vessel, he participated in the December 1864 attempt to destroy Fort Fisher using a boat loaded with 215 tons of gunpowder. The “powder boat” exploded, but did not damage the fort.
Lamson sat for this carte de visite in the Napoli, Italy, studio of Fratelli Alinar of Napoli. He resigned from the navy in 1866, and returned to Oregon.
My latest Civil War News ”Faces of War” column is now available. 1st Lt. John Herman Borger and his comrades in the Twelfth Iowa Infantry repelled wave after wave of Confederate attacks from their position in a sector of the Shiloh battlefield that would later become known as the Hornet’s Nest.
Although outnumbered, Borger and his fellow Iowans had the advantage of superior ground. William P. Johnston described it in the biography of his father, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, who suffered a mortal wound during the battle. “Here, behind a dense thicket on the crest of a hill, was posted a strong force of as hardy troops as ever fought, almost perfectly protected by the conformation of the ground, and by logs and other rude and hastily-prepared defenses. To assail it an open field had to be passed, enfiladed by the fire of its batteries.”