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Doc. 13.-destruction of the Alabama.

Report of Captain John A. Winslow.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France, June 19 P. M., 1864.
sir: I have the honor to inform the department that the day subsequent to the arrival of the Kearsarge off this port, on the twenty-fourth instant, I received a note from Captain Semmes, begging that the Kearsarge would not depart, as he intended to fight her, and would delay her but a day or two.

According to this notice, the Alabama left the port of Cherbourg this morning at about half-past 9 o'clock. At twenty minutes past ten A. M., we discovered her steering toward us. Fearing the question of jurisdiction might arise, we steamed to sea until a distance of six or seven miles was attained from the Cherbourg break-water, when we rounded to and commenced steaming for the Alabama.

As we approached her, within about one thousand two hundred yards, she opened fire, we receiving two or three broadsides before a shot was returned. The action continued, the respective steamers making a circle round and round at a distance of about nine hundred yards from each other. At the expiration of an hour the Alabama struck, going down in about twenty minutes afterward, carrying many persons with her.

It affords me great gratification to announce to the department that every officer and men did their duty, exhibiting a degree of coolness and fortitude which gave promise at the outset of certain victory.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

Report of casualties.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France, June 20, 1864.
sir: I inclose herewith the surgeon's report of the casualties on board this vessel in the late action with the Alabama.

Although we received some twenty-five or thirty shots, twelve or thirteen taking effect in the hull, by the mercy of God we have been [218] spared the loss of any one life, whereas in the case of the Alabama, the carnage, I learn, was dreadful.

The ships were about equal in match, the tonnage being the same. The Alabama carrying one one hundred pounder rifle, with one heavy sixty-eight pounder, and six broadside thirty-two pounders. The Kearsarge carrying four broadside thirty-two pounders, two eleven-inch, and one twenty-eight pounder rifle-one gun less than the Alabama.

The only shot which I fear will give us any trouble, is one one hundred pound rifle, which entered our stern-post, and remains at present unexploded.

It would seem almost invidious to particularize the conduct of any one man or officer, in which all had done their duty with a fortitude and coolness which cannot be too highly praised; but I feel it due to my Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Thornton, who superintended the working of the battery, to particularly mention him for an example of coolness and encouragement of the men while fighting, which contributed much toward the success of the action.

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

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France, afternoon, June 19, 1864.
sir: I report the following casualties resulting from the engagement this morning with the steamer Alabama:

John W. Dempsey, quarter-gunner, compound comminuted fracture of right arm, lower third, and fore-arm. Arm amputated.

William Gowin, ordinary seaman, compound fracture of left thigh and leg. Seriously wounded.

James Macbeth, ordinary seaman, compound fracture of left leg. Seriously wounded.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

John M. Browne, Surgeon United States Navy. Captain John A. Winslow, Commanding U. S. Steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg.

Letter from the Secretary of the Navy.

Navy Department, July 6, 1864.
sir: Your very brief despatches of the nineteenth and twentieth ultimo, informing the department that the piratical craft Alabama, or 290, had been sunk on the nineteenth of June, near meridian, by the Kearsarge, under your command, were this day received. I congratulate you on your good fortune in meeting this vessel, which had so long avoided the fastest ships, and some of the most vigilant and intelligent officers of the service; and for the ability displayed in this combat you have the thanks of the department.

You will please express to the officers and crew of the Kearsarge the satisfaction of the Government at the victory over a vessel superior in tonnage, superior in number of guns, and superior in the number of her crew. The battle was so brief, the victory so decisive, and the comparative results so striking, that the country will be reminded of the brilliant actions of our infant navy, which have been repeated and illustrated in this engagement.

The Alabama represented the best maritime effort of the most skilled English work-shops. Her battery was composed of the well-tried thirty-two pounders of fifty-seven hundred weight, of the famous sixty-eight pounder of the British navy, and of the only successful rifled one hundred pounder yet produced in England. The crew were generally recruited in Great Britain, and many of them received superior training on board her Majesty's gunnery ship, the Excellent.

The Kearsarge is one of the first gunboats built at our navy-yards at the commencement of the rebellion, and lacks the improvements of vessels now under construction. The principal guns composing her battery had never been previously tried in an exclusively naval engagement, yet in one hour you succeeded in sinking your antagonist, thus fully ending her predatory career, and killed many of her crew, without injury to the Kearsarge, or the loss of a single life on your vessel. Our countrymen have reason to be satisfied that in this, as in every naval action of this unhappy war, neither the ships, the guns, nor the crew have been deteriorated, but that they maintain the abilities and continue the renown which ever adorned our naval annals.

The President has signified his intention to recommend that you receive a vote of thanks, in order that you may be advanced to the grade of commodore.

Lieutenant Commander James S. Thornton, the Executive Officer of the Kearsarge, will be recommended to the Senate for advancement ten numbers in his grade, and you will report to the department the names of any others of the officers or crew whose good conduct on the occasion entitles them to especial mention.

Very respectfully,

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy. Captain John A. Winslow, U. S. N., Commanding U. S. Steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France, June 21, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith reports of the executive officer, chief-engineer, boatswain, and gunner of this vessel, with a copy of log-book containing minutes of the action.

I fully coincide in the recommendations of the executive officer, and such cases as deserve special reference to will be subject of further communication.

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

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Port of Cherbourg, June 21, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to forward you the reports of the damage sustained in the different departments [219] of this vessel during the recent action with the Alabama.

In connection with this engagement, I take great pleasure in informing you officially that the conduct of both men and officers equalled in every respect my most sanguine expectations. In the gun divisions the utmost coolness prevailed throughout the action; the details of the manual of exercise being as carefully attended to as if in ordinary exercise, and to this cause may be attributed the excellent condition of the guns and gear after a rapid firing of an hour's duration. The powder division received my particular attention, and important service was promptly and thoroughly rendered. The circumstances under which the battle was fought afforded no opportunity of displaying special acts of individual heroism; but, while every man and boy in the ship displayed the utmost coolness, zeal, and courage, there were some who, by their position and peculiar duties, attracted special attention and deserve special mention.

The marines fought the rifle-gun upon the topgallant forecastle, under the charge of Acting Master's Mate Charles H. Danforth. The action on our part was commenced by this gun, and its fire was rapid and effective throughout. The high reputation of their service was nobly sustained by the marine guard of this ship. The boatswain, James C. Walton, was observably active and efficient. Gunner F. A. Graham's duties were all performed efficiently, and merit commendation. The carpenter's mate, Mark G. Ham, is well known to you, sir, as a faithful and competent man. His conduct in the battle was distinguished by the cool and intelligent performance of his duties. It is unnecessary for me to call your attention to the officers commanding the gun or master's divisions, as their duty was performed under your own eye. I am happy to commend Acting Master's Mate Ezra Bartlett, in charge of the shell supply, for his coolness and efficiency.

In the surgeon's department every arrangement that experience or humanity could suggest was made for the comfort of the wounded.

Fortunately, we have but three of our own crew in that condition; but after the action, the wounded of the enemy, numbering fifteen persons, were consigned to the care of Surgeon J. M. Browne, who was entirely without professional assistance. The duties of his department were thereby rendered extremely arduous, but were coolly and successfully performed.

William Gowin, ordinary seaman, was severely wounded by the explosion of a shell. He dragged himself to the forward hatch, refusing to allow the men to leave his gun for the purpose of assisting him. His cheerful willingness to sacrifice his life for victory's sake was expressed in terms that animated and encouraged others. John W. Dempsey, quarter-gunner, wounded at the same time, losing an arm, displayed similar heroism. James McBeth, ordinary seaman, another of the wounded men, displayed both courage and patience. All the men on the sick-list voluntarily went to their quarters and rendered such service as they were able to perform.

The engineer's division was admirably and efficiently conducted, under the command of Chief-Engineer W. H. Cushman. Sidney L. Smith and Henry McConnell, third assistant engineers, were stationed on deck, and their conduct came immediately under my observation. It was distinguished by coolness and vigilance. The other assistants, Mr. W. H. Badlam and Mr. F. L. Miller, were on duty in the engine and firerooms, and, judging from the prompt manner in which the orders from the deck were executed, I know that their duties were creditably performed. The ship is indebted to Paymaster J. A. Smith for efficient service during the action. His clerk, Mr. D. B. Sargent, performed his duty on deck in the third division. The Orderly Sergeant, C. T. Young, the Master-at-Arms, Jason R. Watrous, also deserve special mention for admirable performance of their duty. I will hand you the names of those men specially mentioned by divisional officers, as soon as I receive them.

In conclusion, sir, let me congratulate you on the success of your plan of battle, and compliment you on the skill and judgment displayed in its execution.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

James S. Thornton, Lieutenant Commander and Executive Officer. John A. Winslow, Captain, Commanding U. S. Steamer Kearsarge.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, June 21, 1864.
sir: I respectfully report that the only injury received in the engine department during our engagement with the Alabama on the nineteenth instant was to the smoke-pipe, which was perforated through both sections by a one hundred pound rifle-shell, which exploded as it was coming through, tearing out a ragged hole of about three feet in diameter, carrying away three of the chain-guys; and to the top of the engine-room hatch, which was cut completely through and across by a shell. I would further report that all the assistant engineers, and the firemen and coal-heavers, behaved with perfect coolness, and were attentive to their duty during the action; and that, to the self-possession and attention of Second Assistant Engineer William H. Badlam in the management of the engines, Third Assistant Engineer Frederick L. Miller, in charge of the boilers, Third Assistant Engineer Sidney L. Smith, on deck, at the fire and hot-water hose, and Third Assistant Engineer Henry McConnell, at the engine signal-bell, the efficiency of the engine department is to be attributed. I would also mention first-class fireman Joseph Dugan for his coolness and competency in assisting Mr. Miller in fire-room; first-class firemen Jerry Young, William Smith, Benjamin H. Blaisdell, William H. Donnelly, in assisting Mr. Badlam in charge of the engines; and first-class fireman True W. Priest, for quickness and attention in charge of [220] the after fire-hose during the alarm of fire in the action.

Very respectfully,

William H. Cushman, Chief-Engineer. Captain John A. Winslow, U. S. N., Commanding.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, June 20, 1864.
sir: I respectfully submit to you a statement of injuries sustained by the United States steamer Kearsarge in her hull, sails, rigging, etc., during our late engagement with the rebel steamer Alabama on the nineteenth instant, off this port.

In hull.--One shot in starboard gangway; cut chain and bruised plank. One shell under waistgun; cut chain and exploded, cutting outside planking. One shell under starboard main channels; cut off chain-plate, going through and exploding. One thirty-two pounder solid shot; entered forward of forward pivot port; shot lodged inside, crushing water-ways. One one hundred pounder rifle shell; lodged in stern-post. One shell through top of the engine-house. One shell through port netting, abreast main rigring. One shot and two shells through port netting, forward of mizzen rigging. One shell through smoke-stack, exploding inside stack. Two shots through taffrail. One shot through netting, forward of mizzen rigging on starboard side.

In sails.--Spanker badly torn by shell.

In rigging.--Fore-topmast backstay carried away. One shroud in main rigging cut away. One screw in port main rigging. Starboard maintopmast backstay cut away. After shroud, starboard side of the main-topmast rigging. Starboard swifter of mizzen rigging. One screw in port main rigging. One plate in starboard main channels.

Boats.--Third cutter, one shot through bottom; starboard gunwale shot away. Gig, badly shattered.

The spars are all in good order.


J. C. Walton, Boatswain. J. S. Thornton. Lieutenant Commander and Executive Officer.

Number of shots and shells which struck the ship in various places, twenty-eight.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, June 20, 1864.
sir: I respectfully submit the following report of the expenditure of ordnance stores on board of this ship during the engagement with the rebel steamer Alabama, on the nineteenth instant:

Fifty-five fifteen-pound service charges; fifty-five eleven-inch five-second shell; sixty six-pound service charges; eighteen thirty-two pounder five-second shell; forty-two thirty-two pound solid shot; forty-eight two and a half pound service charges, rifle; forty-eight rifle percussion-shell; one hundred friction-primers; two hundred and forty percussion-primers.

Fixed ammunition for boat howitzer: nine shrapnel, Bormann fused; one canister.

Recapitulation.--Duration of action, sixty-five minutes. Number of rounds eleven-inch, fifty-five; number of rounds thirty-two pounder, sixty; number of rounds thirty-pounder rifle, forty-eight; number of rounds twelve-pounder howitzer, ten; total, one hundred and seventy-three.

Very respectfully,

Franklin A. Graham, Gunner United States Steamship Kearsarge. James S. Thornton, Lieutenant Commander and Executive Officer.

Extract from log-book.

Moderate breeze from the westward. Weather bc. At ten, inspected crew at quarters. At twenty-minutes past ten, discovered the Alabama steaming out from the port of Cherbourg, accompanied by a French iron-clad steamer, and a fore-and-aft rigged steamer, showing the white English ensign and a yacht-flag. Beat to general quarters, and cleared the ship for action. Steamed ahead, standing off shore. At fifty minutes past ten, being distant from the land about two leagues, altered our course and approached the Alabama.

At fifty-seven minutes past ten, the Alabama commenced the action with her starboard broadside at one thousand yards range. At eleven, we returned her fire and came fairly into action, which we continued until meridian, when, observing signs of distress in the enemy, together with a cessation of her fire, our fire was withheld. At ten minues past twelve, a boat with an officer from the Alabama came alongside and surrendered his vessel, with the information that she was rapidly sinking, and a request for assistance. Sent the launch and second cutter, the other boats being disabled by the fire of the enemy. The English yacht, before mentioned, coming within hail, was requested by the captain to render assistance in saving the lives of the officers and crew of the surrendered vessel. At twenty-four minutes past twelve, the Alabama went down in forty fathoms water, leaving most of her crew struggling in the water. Seventy persons were rescued by the boats. Two pilot-boats and the yacht also assisted. One pilot-boat came alongside of us, but the other returned to the port. The English yacht steamed rapidly away to the northward, without reporting the number of our prisoners she had picked up. Hoisted up our boats and three of the enemy's cutters. Repaired the rigging temporarily. Took a French pilot, and steamed away to Cherbourg. At ten minutes past three, let go the port-anchor in seven fathoms water, and veered to thirty fathoms chain.

Conduct of the Deerhound.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France, June 21, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to report that toward the close of the action between the Alabama and this vessel, all available sail was made on the former for the purpose of again reaching Cherbourg. When the object was apparent, the Kearsarge was steered across the bow of the Alabama for a raking fire; but before reaching this point the Alabama struck. Uncertain whether [221] Captain Semmes was not using some ruse, the Kearsarge was stopped. It was seen, shortly afterward, that the Alabama was lowering her boats, and an officer came alongside in one of them to say that they had surrendered, and were fast sinking, and begging that boats would be despatched immediately for saving of life. The two boats not disabled were at once lowered, and as it was apparent the Alabama was settling, this officer was permitted to leave in his boat to afford assistance. An English yacht, the Deerhound, had approached near the Kearsarge at this time, when I hailed and begged the commander to run down to the Alabama, as she was fast sinking, and we had but two boats, and assist in picking up the men. He answered affirmatively, and steamed toward the Alabama, but the latter sank almost immediately. The Deerhound, however, sent her boats, and was actively engaged, aided by several others which had come from shore. These boats were busy in bringing the wounded and others to the Kearsarge, whom we were trying to make as comfortable as possible, when it was reported to me that the Deerhound was moving off. I could not believe that the commander of that vessel could be guilty of so disgraceful an act as taking our prisoners off, and therefore took no means to prevent it, but continued to keep our boats at work rescuing the men in the water. I am sorry to say that I was mistaken. The Deerhound made off with Captain Semmes and others, and also the very officer who had come on board to surrender. I learnt subsequently that the Deerhound was a consort of the Alabama, and that she received on board all the valuable personal effects of Captain Semmes the night before the engagement.

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

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

Prisoners of the Alabama paroled.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France, June 21, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to report that the number of prisoners brought on board the Kearsarge belonging to the Alabama was seventy-six officers and sixty-four men. One officer (carpenter) and two men dying and seventeen wounded are included in this number. As we have very contracted accommodations for our own crew without increase, it became indispensable to send these prisoners on shore, and their parole was taken, with exception of the doctor, non-combatant, who was put on parole that he might attend to his wounded. The officers were held as prisoners of war. I learn that these officers, with six men, were carried on shore at Cherbourg by pilot-boats; but of the number who reached England in the Deerhound I have no reliable accounts.

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

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.

I, J. D. Wilson, late lieutenant on board the Alabama, captured in the action off Cherbourg by the United States steamer Kearsarge, on the nineteenth of June, 1864, do solemnly affirm my sacred word of honor that I will not bear arms against, or otherwise operate against, the interests of the Government of the United States in any manner whatsoever, until I shall have been regularly exchanged.

Signed and given on board the United States steamer Kearsarge, July thirteenth, 1864.

Joseph D. Wilson, Lieutenant Confederate States Navy. Witness: S. E. Hartwell, Captain's Clerk.

United States steamer Kearsarge, June 19, 1864.
We, the undersigned, officers of the late (so-called) confederate States steamer Alabama, now prisoners of war on board the United States steamer Kearsarge, do hereby pledge our sacred word of honor not to engage in arms, or otherwise employ ourselves against the interests of the Government of the United States of America until we shall be regularly exchanged.

Francis L. Galt, Surgeon C. S. Navy, and late Acting Paymaster C. S.S. Alabama. In presence of J. Adams Smith, Paymaster, United States Navy.

United States ship Kearsarge, Port of Cherbourg, France, June 19, 1864.
We, the seamen and others, lately belonging to the steamer Alabama, and captured in the action between that vessel and the United States steamer Kearsarge, off this port, on the nineteenth day of June, 1864, now prisoners of war, do hereby solemnly pledge our sacred word of honor not to engage in arms against, or otherwise employ ourselves against, the interest of the Government of the United States of America, until we shall be regularly exchanged.

William Clarke, seaman; William McKenzie, cockswain; James Broderick, cockswain; William Forrestall, quartermaster; John Emery, ordinary seaman; William Wilson, cockswain; Edward Rawes, master-at-arms; Henry Tucker, officers' cook; David Leggett, seaman; Frank Currian, first-class fireman; Henry Godson, ordinary seaman; Samuel Henry, seaman; John Horrigan, first-class fireman; Edgar Tripp, ordinary seaman; David Williams, ordinary seaman; Richard Parkinson, officers' steward; William Barnes, quarter-gunner; George Freemantle, quartermaster; John Russell, seaman ; Henry Hestake, ordinary seaman; Thomas Watson, ordinary seaman; John Johnson, ordinary seaman; John Smith, seaman; Henry McCoy, seaman; Thomas Parker, boy; James Ochure, seaman; Edwin Burrell, seaman; James Higgs, seaman; Patrick Bradley, fireman; Match Mudick, ordinary seaman; William Miller, ordinary seaman; John Benson, coal-heaver; Joseph Pruson, coal-heaver; James Maguire, coal-heaver; John Casen, seaman; Henry Higgin, seaman; Frank Hamonds, seaman; Nicholas Adams, landsman; Michael Shields, seaman; Peter Laperty, second [222] class fireman; George Conroy, ordinary seaman; David Thurston, seaman; Thomas Brandon, ordinary seaman; Richard Evans, ordinary seaman; Thomas Potter, second-class fireman; John Wilson, boy; James Clemens, yeoman; George Peasey, seaman; John Riley, fireman; Henry Yates, seaman; James Wilson, boy.

In presence of

J. Adams Smith, Paymaster, United States Navy. John M. Browne, Surgeon, United States Navy.

Officers and seamen especially mentioned.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France, June 25, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a list of the names of the men who, during the engagement of the Alabama and Kearsarge, exhibited marked coolness and good conduct, and for such have been recommended by the divisional commanders as deserving special reference to.

It affords me pleasure to report that William Smith, quartermaster, was captain of the eleveninch gun which, according to the rebel accounts, did such execution that a reward was offered by Captain Semmes to silence his gun. Smith is well worthy, both from education and otherwise, to the appointment of a master's mate.

John F. Bickford, who, during the engagement and from long example and good conduct, and also education, is entitled to this reward.

Both of these men are so highly spoken of by the officers, that it is but their due that my report should refer in a special manner to them.

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

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.
P. S.--I omitted to state that the carpenter's mate of this vessel, Mark G. Ham, of Portsmouth, is most particularly recommended for promotion by the executive officer. He is, in my opinion, fully entitled to it from his conduct in the action, but not more than from his faithful and everwilling performance of duty during the cruise.

James Haley, captain forecastle; John F. Bickford, captain top; Charles A. Read, cockswain; William Smith, quartermaster; William Bond, boatswain's mate; Charles Moore, seaman; George Harrison, seaman; Thomas Perry, boatswain's mate; John Hayes, cockswain; George E. Read, seaman ; Robert Strahan, captain top; James H. Lee, seaman; Joachim Pease, colored, seaman; William B. Poole, quartermaster; Michael Aheam, paymaster's steward; Mark G. Ham, carpenter's mate.

Prisoners landed at Cherbourg under patrol.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France, July 5, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a list comprising the names of prisoners from the Alabama, landed at Cherbourg under parol not to serve against the United States.

The Alabama brought into Cherbourg a crew of one hundred and forty-nine in number, all told.

It is supposed that she received an addition, as several officers and others were arrested by the police of Cherbourg, endeavoring to evade the laws by joining her.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.

United States steamer Kearsarge, Port of Cherbourg, France, June 19, 1864.
We, the wounded prisoners of war, late seamen and others on board the Alabama, captured in the action off Cherbourg by the United States steamer Kearsarge, on the nineteenth of June, 1864, do solemnly affirm, upon our sacred word of honor, that we will not bear arms against, or otherwise operate against, the interest of the Government of the United States in any manner whatsoever, until we shall have been regularly exchanged.

Thomas X Winter, 
 second-class fireman.
 J. Adams Smith, paymaster.
 John M. Browne, surgeon.
Jacob X Vorbor, 
 J. Adams Smith, paymaster.
 John M. Browne, surgeon.
John X Neat, 
 J. Adams Smith, paymaster.
 John M. Browne, surgeon.
Robert X Wright, 
 captain maintop.
 J. Adams Smith, paymaster.
 John M. Browne, surgeon.
Wm. X McGinley, 
 J. Adams Smith, paymaster.
 John M. Browne, surgeon.
Wm. X McGuire, 
 captain foretop.
 J. Adams Smith, paymaster.
 John M. Browne, surgeon.
Martin X King, 
 first-class fireman.
 J. Adams Smith, paymaster.
 John M. Browne, surgeon.
Saml. X Williams, 
 first-class fireman.
 J. Adams Smith, paymaster.
 John M. Browne, surgeon.
Peter X Hughes, 
 boatswain's mate.
 J. Adams Smith, paymaster.
 John M. Browne, surgeon.
Robert X Devine, 
 ordinary seaman.
 J. Adams Smith, paymaster.
 John M. Browne, surgeon.


United States steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France, July 5, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to inclose the certificate of death of William Gowin, one of the wounded in the late action of this ship with the Alabama.

He was a brave and gallant sailor, and by his cheerfulness, when suffering under a most excruciating wound, afforded a most encouraging example.

When the cheer was heard on the surrender of the Alabama, he insisted that the doctor should go up and join, saying he would be willing to bear a dozen such wounds to hear that cheer.

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

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.

Letters from the Secretary of the Navy.

Navy Department, July 8, 1864.
sir: The department will recommend to Congress to appropriate for distribution on board the Kearsarge the value of the Alabama, and you will please send a muster-roll of your ship, and all the information you can obtain as to the armament of the Alabama, and her complement of officers and men.

You do not inform the department of the circumstances under which the yacht Deerhound was permitted to act as a tender to the Alabama, and carry off your guns, the pirate captain and his first lieutenant, and many of his crew. I notice, by the last mail from England, that it is reported you have paroled the foreign pirates captured on board the Alabama; I trust you have not committed this error of judgment. They should be held at every sacrifice, and either sent home in the St. Louis, or brought here by yourself.

Very respectfully, etc.,

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy. Captain John A. Winslow, Commanding United States Steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France.

Navy Department, July 12, 1864.
sir: Your despatch of the twenty-first ultimo (No. 21) is received, stating your efforts to save the lives of the survivors of the Alabama, after the battle of the nineteenth of June, and after the formal surrender and destruction of that vessel. Your efforts in the cause of humanity, in striving to rescue these men, most of them aliens, who have, under their ignoble leader-himself a deserter from our service and a traitor to our flag-been for nearly two years making piratical war on unarmed merchantmen, are rightly appreciated.

It is to be regretted that the confidence and generous sympathy which you exercised, and which would actuate all honorable minds under similar circumstances, should have been so requited and abused by the persons on board the Deerhound, an English vessel, of the royal yacht squadron.

That the wretched commander of the sunken corsair should have resorted to any dishonorable means to escape after his surrender; that he should have thrown overboard the sword that was no longer his; that before encountering an armed antagonist, the mercenary rover should have removed the chronometers, and other plunder stolen from peaceful commerce, are not matters of surprise, for each act is characteristic of one who has been false to his country and flag. You could not have expected, however, that gentlemen, or those claiming to be gentlemen, would, on such an occasion, act in bad faith, and that having been called upon or permitted to assist in rescuing persons or property which had been surrendered to you, would run away with either. It is now evident that your confidence in the Deerhound, and the persons connected with her, was misplaced.

The department commends your efforts to save the lives of drowning men, although they had been engaged in robbing and destroying the property of those who had never injured them. In paroling the prisoners, however, you committed a grave error.

The Alabama was an English-built vessel, armed and manned by Englishmen; has never had any other than an English register; has never sailed under any recognized national flag since she left the shores of England; has never visited any port of North-America, and her career of devastation, since she went forth from England, is one that does not entitle those of her crew who were captured to be paroled. This department expressly disavows that act. Extreme caution must be exercised, so that we in no way change the character of this English-built and English-manned, if not English-owned vessel, or relieve those who may be implicated in sending forth this robber upon the seas from any responsibility to which they may be liable for the outrages she has committed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy. Captain John A. Winslow, U. S. N., Commanding United States Steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France.

Paroling of Lieutenant J. D. Wilson, of the Alabama.

United States steamer Kearsarge, off Dover, July 15, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of two communications.

On receipt of the letter of Mr. Adams, and deeming the circumstances warranted it, I paroled Mr. Wilson, handing to him the note, a copy of which is forwarded.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

United States steamer Kearsarge, off Dover, July 14, 1864.
The conduct of Joseph D. Wilson, late lieutenant on board the Alabama, has been so honorable, first in presenting himself on board the Kearsarge, and surrendering himself, when it was [224] in his power to have gone on board the Deerhound, and gained his liberty in the dishonorable manner which others had taken; and again, in his repudiation of the means pursued by those who obtained their liberty in this way, and his deportment while a prisoner having been of the same honorable standard, at the instance of Mr. Adams, Minister of the United States at the Court of St. James, I have paroled the said Wilson, and, feeling a full confidence and trust in his word and honor, I recommend that all privileges that can be given a prisoner of war should be extended to him, believing fully he will never violate any obligation which he pledges himself to fulfil.

John A. Winslow, Captain.

London, July 18, 1864.
my dear sir: Mr. Wilson, one of the persons taken at the time of the action with the Alabama, and now a prisoner on parole in your ship, has called to see me, to ask a word from me to you in favor of giving him his liberty on parole.

I decline to assume any authority with you in regard to the disposition you think proper to make of your prisoners. At the same time, I have reason to suppose that this young gentleman has acted honorably in this business, by recognizing his obligations, and therefore I should regret that he should experience no more liberal treatment in return, than one who disregarded them would deserve.

Under the circumstances, if in your judgment this case, for any reason of the health of the person, or any other good cause, is one in which you can make an exception, having a reliance on the honor of the individual that he will take no improper advantage of it, I will very cheerfully concur in your opinion, and approve your act.

I am, very truly, yours,

Explanatory Report of Captain Winslow.

United States steamer Kearsarge, English Channel, July 30, 1864.
sir: The latter part of the despatch of the department of the eighth instant refers to the parole of the prisoners in these words: “It is reported you have paroled the foreign pirates captured on board the Alabama. I trust you have not committed this error of judgment. They should be held at every sacrifice, and either sent home in the St. Louis, or brought here by yourself.”

I beg the department will consider the circumstances in which this vessel was placed at the termination of the action with the Alabama. The berth-deck, contracted as it is, with insufficient storage for our own men, was covered with bedding of the wounded, the quarter-deck was similarly crowded, and the forward part of the ship, on the spar-deck, was filled with prisoners under guard.

The ship was damaged both in rigging and hull. A shot had entered the stern-post, raising the transom-frame, and binding the rudder so hard as to require four men at the helm. It was therefore important that an examination should be made of the damages sustained. On our arrival at Cherbourg, I received information from our consul at London that the Florida was in the Channel, on the French coast, and at the same time information came that the Yeddo was out, and the Rappahannock was expected to follow; and, in addition to this, that the St. Louis had sailed for Madeira.

The Kearsage had been acting alone and independently for the last nine months, and I was not aware that any of our cruisers had beer ordered in the Channel. It became, therefore, in my mind, of the utmost importance, that the Kearsarge should at once be put in a state to meet these vessels and protect our commerce. This could not be done with prisoners on board, equalling the half of our crew, and the room occupied by the wounded taken to the exclusion of our own men. To have kept them would have required a quarter-watch as guards, and the ship would have been wholly ineffective as a man of war to meet this emergency which threatened.

Under these circumstances, and without an American vessel in port by which any arrangement could be made for trans-shipping the prisoners outside, I felt it my duty to parole them.

A report appeared in the papers that the prisoners were paroled contrary to Mr. Dayton's instructions. This is erroneous. Communication was had with Mr. Dayton on the subject of the officers, and after these the men were paroled.

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

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

Captain Winslow's detailed Report.

United States steamer Kearsarge, English Channel, July 30, 1864.
sir: In obedience to instructions of the department, I have the honor to make the following supplementary report of the action between the Kearsarge and Alabama:

On the morning of the nineteenth ultimo, the day being fine, with a hazy atmosphere, wind moderate from the westward, with little sea, the position of the Kearsarge at ten o'clock was near the buoy which marks the line of shoals to the eastward of Cherbourg, and distant about three miles from the eastern entrance, which bore to the southward and westward. At twenty minutes after ten o'clock, the Alabama was descried coming out of the western entrance, accompanied by the Couronne, (iron-clad.) I had, in an interview with the Admiral at Cherbourg, assured him that, in the event of an action occurring with the Alabama, the position of the ships should be so far off shore that no questions could be advanced about the line of jurisdiction. Accordingly, to perfect this object, and with the double purpose of drawing the Alabama so far off shore that, if disabled, she could not return, I directed the ship's head seaward, and cleared for action, with the battery pivoted to starboard. Having attained a point about seven miles from the shore, the head of the Kearsarge was turned short [225] around, and the ship steered directly for the Alabama, my purpose being to run her down, or, if circumstances did not warrant it, to close in with her.

Hardly had the Kearsarge come round, before the Alabama sheered, presented her starboard battery, and showed her engines. On approaching her at long-range of about a mile, she opened her full broadside, the shot cutting some of our rigging, and going over and alongside of us.

Immediately I ordered more speed, but in two minutes the Alabama had loaded and again fired another broadside, and following it with a third, without damaging us, except in rigging.

We had now arrived within about nine hundred yards of her, and I was apprehensive that another broadside (nearly raking as it was) would prove disastrous. Accordingly, I ordered the Kearsarge sheered, and opened on the Alabama. The position of the vessels was now broadside and broadside; but it was soon apparent that Captain Semmes did not seek close action. I became then fearful lest, after some fighting, that he would again make for the shore. To defeat this, I determined to keep full speed on, and with a port-helm to run under the stern of the Alabama and rake her, if he did not prevent it by sheering and keeping his broadside to us. He adopted this mode as a preventive, and, as a consequence, the Alabama was forced, with a fill head of steam, into a circular track during the engagement.

The effect of this manoeuvre was such that, at the last of the action, when the Alabama would have made off, she was near five miles from the shore; and had the action continued from the first in parallel lines, with her head in shore, the line of jurisdiction would no doubt have been reached. The firing of the Alabama from the first was rapid and wild; toward the close of the action her firing became better. Our men, who had been cautioned against rapid firing without direct aim, were much more deliberate; and the instructions given to point the heavy guns below rather than above the water-line, and clear the deck with the lighter ones, was fully observed.

I had endeavored with a port helm, to close in with the Alabama; but it was not until just before the close of the action that we were in position to use grape. This was avoided, however, by her surrender. The effect of the training of our men was evident; nearly every shot from our guns was telling fearfully on the Alabama, and on the seventh rotation on the circular track she winded, setting foretrysail and two jibs, with head in-shore. Her speed was now retarded, and by winding her port broadside was presented to us, with only two guns bearing, not having been able, as I learned afterward, to shift over but one. I saw now that she was at our mercy, and a few more guns well directed brought down her flag. I was unable to ascertain whether it had been hauled down or shot away; but a white flag having been displayed over the stern, our fire was reserved. Two minutes had not more than elapsed before she again opened on us with the two guns on the port side. This drew our fire again, and the Kearsarge was immediately steamed ahead and laid across her bows for raking. The white flag was still flying, and our fire was again reserved. Shortly after this, her boats were seen to be lowering, and an officer in one of them came alongside, and informed us the ship had surrendered and was fast sinking. In twenty minutes from this time the Alabama went down, her mainmast, which had been shot, breaking near the head as she sunk, and her bow rising high out of the water as her stern rapidly settled.

The fire of the Alabama, although it is stated she discharged three hundred and seventy or more shell and shot, was not of serious damage to the Kearsarge.

Some thirteen or fourteen of these had taken effect in and about the hull, and sixteen or seventeen about the masts and rigging. The casualties were small, only three persons having been wounded; yet it is a matter of surprise that so few were injured, considering the number of projectiles that came aboard. Two shot passed through the ports in which the thirty-twos were placed, with men thickly stationed around them, one taking effect in the hammock netting and the other going through the port on the opposite side, yet no one was hit, the captain of one of the guns being only knocked down by the wind of the shot, as supposed.

The fire of the Kearsarge, although only one hundred and seventy-three projectiles had been discharged, according to the prisoners' accounts, was terrific. One shot alone had killed and wounded eighteen men, and disabled a gun. Another had entered the coal-bunkers, exploding, and completely blocking up the engineroom; and Captain Semmes states that shot and shell had taken effect in the sides of his vessel, tearing large holes by explosion, and his men were everywhere knocked down.

Of the casualties in the Alabama no correct account can be given. One hundred and fifteen persons reached the shore, either in England or France, after the action. It is known that the Alabama carried a crew, officers and men, of about one hundred and fifty into Cherbourg, and that while in the Southern ocean her complement was about one hundred and seventy, but desertions had reduced this complement. The prisoners state that a number of men came on board at Cherbourg, and the night before the action boats were going to and fro, and in the morning strange men were seen, who were stationed as captains of the guns. Among these there was one lieutenant, (Sinclair,) who joined her in Cherbourg.

The Alabama had been five days in preparation. She had taken in three hundred and fifty tons of coal, which brought her down in the water. The Kearsarge had only one hundred and twenty tons in; but as an offset to this, her sheet chains were stowed outside, stopped up and down, as an additional preventive and protection to her more empty bunkers. [226]

The number of the crew of the Kearsarge, including officers and sick men, was one hundred and sixty-three; and her battery numbered seven guns--two eleven-inch, one thirty-pounder rifle, and four light thirty-two pounder guns.

The battery of the Alabama numbered eight guns--one heavy sixty-eight, of nine thousand pounds; one one hundred and ten pounder rifle; and six heavy thirty-two pounder guns.

In the engagement the Alabama fought seven guns and the Kearsarge five, both exercising the starboard battery, until the Alabama winded, using then her port side with one gun, and another shifted over.

The collateral events connected with this action have already been laid before the department.

I inclose a diagram showing the track which was described during the engagement by the rotary course of the vessels.

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

John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

Armament and complement of the Alabama.

United States steamer Kearsarge, English Channel, July 30, 1864.
sir: The despatch of the department of the eighth instant, calling for information of the Alabama's armament, and complement of officers and men, and also of the proceedings of the Deerhound, has been received.

I have the honor to inform the department that, according to a memorandum handed to me by American captains who were prisoners in the Alabama, that she carried into Cherbourg a crew, officers and men, of either one hundred and forty-seven or one hundred and forty-nine; but what number joined her there I have no means of ascertaining.

Several persons were prevented by the police at Cherbourg from going on board; but it appears that Mr. Sinclair (lieutenant) was one of those who succeeded in joining her.

The rebel officers state their crew (officers and men) to have been about one hundred and fifty. I have no means of either falsifying or verifying these statements; but the American captains who were prisoners report that thirteen men had been left at one port, and four at another, before the arrival of the vessel at Cherbourg, and her complement, therefore, when filled, was about one hundred and seventy all told. The statement of some of the prisoners is, that a number of men came on board at Cherbourg, and the night before the action, that boats were going to and fro from the Alabama to the Deerhound, and in the morning of the action they saw strange men who were made captains of guns, who were supposed to be naval reserve men brought in the Deerhound.

In my despatch of the nineteenth ultimo I informed the department that the battery of the Alabama consisted of one one hundred pounder rifled1 pivot, one heavy sixty-eight pounder, (nine thousand pounds;) and six thirty-two pounder guns.

My despatch of the twenty-first ultimo informed the department of the proceedings of the Deerhound yacht, her gradual edging to the leeward, leading us to suppose she was seeking men who were drifting in the current, and then taking advantage of the hazy weather to make off, while our boats were out busy in rescuing the larger part of the prisoners who were struggling in the water.

It was my mistake at the moment that I could not recognize an enemy who, under the garb of a friend, was affording assistance.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Letter from Surgeon J. M. Browne.

United States steamer Kearsarge, deal roads, England, July 23, 1864.
dear sir: I deem it appropriate to acquaint you with certain details appertaining to the engagement and its results between this vessel and the Alabama.

The gun's crews were instructed in the application of tourniquets made for the occasion, and an ample supply furnished each division. Cots for the transportation of the wounded were in convenient positions, yet neither were brought into use. This has explanation from the fact that the wounded refused assistance from their comrades, concealing the severity of injury, and one (Gowin, ordinary seaman) dragged himself from the after pivot-gun to the fore-hatch, unwilling to take any one from his station. While I should ever make similar preparations on the eve of contest, the example of the one in question would teach me that, under the excitement of battle, little reliance could be placed upon the fulfilment of my instructions. This vessel is exceedingly deficient in provision of conveniences for wounded men; there is no appropriate place for the performance of operations.

Acting upon my recommendation, Lieutenant Commander Thornton, Executive Officer, caused the fore-hold to be arranged for the accommodation of six wounded, after the application of temporary dressings, that they might have immunity from the exposure subjected to while upon the berth-deck.

The action continued for eighteen minutes without casualties. Then a sixty-eight pound Blakeley shell passed through the starboard bulwarks below main rigging, exploded upon the quarter-deck, and wounded three of the crew of the pivot gun. One, William Gowin, ordinary seaman, received a compound fracture of left femur at lower and middle third and tibia, and fibula upper third, complicating the kneejoint.

No fragments of shell were found in the wounds. The hemorrhage was profuse, chiefly venous. Suitable dressings and stimulants were employed. [227]

Another, John W. Dempsey, quarter-gunner, had compound comminuted fracture of right arm, lower third and elbow, the fore-arm being completely lacerated — a shapeless mass. Arrangements were made for amputation before the close of the action, but its unexpected cessation caused the performance immediately after. Chloroform was administered with happy results.

The arm was amputated at the middle third, upper border. The third, James McBeath, ordinary seaman, received a compound fracture of left tibia, upper third. No pieces of shell were found in the wound.

The above comprises the total casualties. It is certainly surprising that the percentage should have been so small, considering the exposure and number of shot received. Probably no future similar combat will occasion like results. Shell were bursting over this vessel from the commencement to the termination of the fight, and a few of the ship's company were knocked down by the concussion derived from a passing projectile.

Owing to the system of unshipping bulwarks at pivot guns, a considerable space is thereby exempt from the danger arising from splinters. The Kearsarge fired one hundred and seventy-three shot; the Alabama, about twice that number, her firing being rapid and nearly incessant up to the period of the striking of colors. The carnage on board the latter is reported terrific; many of her crew were literally torn in pieces by an eleven-inch shell; others were much mutilated by splinters. By a merciful Providence, our ship's company were spared such appalling accidents.

The wounded of the Alabama were brought on board for treatment. Those whose names and nature of injury were noted, are borne upon a list appended to the quarterly report. Others, with injuries less severe, were treated, and subsequently went on shore with the uninjured paroled crew.

Assistant-Surgeon Doctor A. Llewellyn was drowned. The Surgeon, F. L. Gait, (acting paymaster,) introduced himself while I was engaged in the amputation and proffered his assistance. I requested he would assist in attending to the wounded of his vessel; but as he was prostrated by excitement and fatigue, and had received certain contusions, he was inadequate for the duty. I sent him to my room, and, without other professional aid, attended to all the injured. Surgeon Galt was paroled the same evening.

Upon the arrival of the Kearsarge at Cherbourg, owing to the number of wounded and the want of proper accommodation on board, all were transferred to the Hospital de la Marine, by permission of the admiral commanding the department. It is extremely fortunate that such facilities were afforded to the injured; every care and attention were bestowed upon the unfortunates. The skill and benevolence displayed by Monsieur Dufam, surgeon-in-chief, and Monsieur Aubin, surgeon of second class, and provost of the hospital, claim especial commendation.

I am pleased to report that his excellency Mr. Dayton has made a proper representation of the valuable services rendered by these gentlemen to the minister of the marine at Paris, and to the Department of State at Washington. I have previously reported the death of the brave Gowin. Hopes were reasonably entertained that his recovery would occur; but, anemic from hemorrhage and debilitated by previous attacks of malarial fevers, little vital power remained; phlebitis supervened, soon succeeded by death. Gowin was brought with a smile upon his face, although suffering acutely from his injury. He said, “It is all right, and I am satisfied; for we are whipping the Alabama;” adding, “I willingly will lose my leg or life, if it is necessary.” During the progress of the action he comforted his suffering comrades by assuring them that “Victory is ours!” Whenever the guns' crews cheered at the successful effect of their shot, Gowin waved his hand over his head and joined in the shout. In the hospital he was calmly resigned to his fate, repeating again and again his willingness to die, since his ship had won a glorious victory.

His patience and cheerfulness during intense suffering, and his happy resignation, attracted general notice, enlisted sympathies for his recovery, and occasioned sincere regrets for his decease. To record the gallant conduct of this noble sailor is to me a gratification, and my apology for mentioning these minor incidents. His shipmates will erect a proper monument to his memory at Cherbourg.

I have in my possession a sum of money given by the resident Americans in Paris for a like memorial in his native town in Michigan.

The coolness and fortitude displayed by our crew and the precision of the firing were remarkable. One was almost compelled to regard their conduct as that witnessed at the ordinary target practice. In the hour of victory they were generous, refraining from exultation in the presence of the captives, and bestowing upon them every attention necessary for their comfort. I send by mail a pamphlet descriptive of the engagement, written by Mr. Edge, an Englishman. It is the best account yet published, being composed from data furnished by the officers of the Kearsarge, although a few inaccuracies exist.

Captain Winslow desires me to present his regards.

I remain, dear sir, very truly yours,

John M. Browne. Surgeon W. Whelan, Chief of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Washington, D. C.

1 Afterward found to be one hundred and ten pounder.

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