Friday, September 18, 2009

Aboard the USS Galena

Four Fantastic Civil War letters were written by J.Henry Sellman an officer aboard the USS Galena to his mother in Davidsenville, Maryland.

Extracts from the letters below to giver you a better idea of thier content.

"Rumor says that we go up the river tomorrow. - Captain Wilkes of the Wachusett which has returned here is now the flag officer - He is the man who arrested Mason & Slidell - The government probably has selected him expecting some dashing qualities from him - Hence also the rumor that Fort Darling is again to be attacked. The balloon plays an important part in McClellan's movements - Nearly every evening we can see some staff officer or high military dignitary going up to make observations"
"The president was here to see us the other night. He did not stay long. I hope his visit will be of some benefit to the country. If they should turn Stanton out I should be glad."
"The "Monitor" is with us and today the "Dacotah" joined are squadron - The "Makasha" is not far distant. She belongs to are squadron - We are not moving about any - Where with our anchor ready for slipping, and with steam up - If the ram comes down she will find us ready - Our Captain told me last night he intended running into her - If she came out - He said it would be an interesting experiment to know what effect our running our vessel at full speed against her would have."
"I should like dearly to be with you and I know that you cannot wish to see me more than you do - But I cannot resign - When the war is over most probably the government will dispense with my services - I do not now think they are essential to its ultimate success - But I do assist it undoubtedly"
"The steamer "Southfield" got aground off City Point yesterday evening, right in shore almost - She used to be the "Ferryboat" but carries a tremendous battery - Of course she is much exposed to an attack - Thier batteries opened up upon her while aground - She replied in a spirited manner - We signaled for permission to join in the fight which was granted. We immediately got under way and joined in - The "Galena" soon silenced all the batteries - No one was hurt on our side - The "Southfield" had fireball put through her."

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