Influential Man Behind the Official Navy Civil War Records

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.

This image is new to my collection, and is available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr.
Influential Man Behind the Official Navy Civil War Records

He Received a Formal Thanks from Admiral Farragut

The back of this carte de visite of Richard Starr Dana and William Starr Dana by an unidentified photographer is dated October 1863, which coincides with 20-year-old Ensign William S. Dana’s graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy. Less than a year later, Dana numbered among a small group of officers who received a formal thanks from Admiral David Farragut for the destruction of the blockade runner Ivanhoe, which was chased aground by federal warships near Fort Morgan at the mouth of Mobile Bay. On July 6, 1864, Dana commanded one of several small boats that attacked the Ivanhoe in a daring nighttime raid. Dana and his comrades managed to set the stranded boat afire while hundreds of Union sailors and soldiers observed the action. “The entire conduct of the expedition was marked by a promptness and energy which shows what may be expected of such officers and men on similar occasions,” announced Farragut with evident pride.

Dana went on to a distinguished career in the navy, and rose to the rank of commander.

In 1884, he married botanist and political activist Frances Theodora Parsons (1861-1952). Their marriage was relatively brief, as Dana died in Paris, France, on January 1, 1890.

Three years later, writing under the name “Mrs. William Starr Dana,” Parsons’s How to Know the Wild Flowers was published. Considered the first field guide to North American wildflowers, the book was an instant best seller.

His image is now available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr:
He Received a Formal Thanks from Admiral Farragut