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Letter, 11 Aug. 1864, of Geo[rge] W. Howe
        to his Wife
    A gift to the SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2005

| Gifts to Manuscripts 2005 | Front Page 2005 | Friends of the Library | Endowments |

Letter, 11 August 1864, of Union seaman Geo[rge] W. Howe, U.S. Stea[me]r Arethusa, Port Royal (Beaufort County, S.C.) informs his wife of the voyage southward from “the capes of the Delaware.” As the engineer in charge of the ship, Howe rated the vessel “an excellent one as far as concerns the duty that she was built for,” but he added, “she is not a very desirable Boat to be in on the Blockade because she Rolls rather too much for comfort.”

Howe was favorably impressed with the ship’s officers, but he noted that there had been a good deal of seasickness en route, causing him extra work since those affected included half of his firemen and coal passers. “One of our officers died two Days before we arrived at Charleston,” the letter reports, “and we had to sew him up in a canvas bag and throw him overboard. It was a very sad affair, it appears that he had been a drinking very hard while on shore and he died from the effects of strong drink.”

The Arethusa, a small screw steamer built in 1864 at Philadelphia as the Wabash, was purchased there by the Navy from Messrs. S. and J.M. Flanagan on 1 July 1864. The ship was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 29 July 1864, Acting Ensign John V. Cook in command. Assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, the Arethusa arrived at Port Royal on 6 August 1864 and served as a collier there through the end of the Civil War, supporting Union warships that were enforcing the blockade of the Southern coast.

This page updated 26 June 2005
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