Citation
Steedman, Charles to Christopher Raymond Perry Rodgers - Gunboat Paul Jones - Transcript

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Title:
Steedman, Charles to Christopher Raymond Perry Rodgers - Gunboat Paul Jones - Transcript
Series Title:
Charles Steedman Papers
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Subjects / Keywords:
Civil War
History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- United States
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America

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University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
Steedman8nm

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Florida and the Civil War
Charles Steedman Papers

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U. S. Gun Boat Paul Jones March 29, [18]63


My Dear Rodgers

I returned here yesterday having been detained at Jacksonville to take care of the land
forces. I wrote the Admiral word that so soon as reinforcements had arrived to enable
them to hold the place without the presence of the vessel I would make a reconnaissance
up as far as Palatka. This was done on the 23 and everything was found quiet &
satisfactory on the River. Nothing could be learned of the steamer St. Mary's. On my
return from the reconnaissance on the evening of the 24th ist. I informed the commanding
officer at Jacksonville of my intention to leave the next day but during the night the
Enemy having shelled the town with an Eighty pound Rifle which they had succeeded in
mounting on a R. R. [Railroad] Car & running in unobserved to within two miles of the
town & which was only checked by the fire of the Norwich Guns- which fortunately
could be brought to bear. I considered it advisable to remain a day or two longer until the
Commanding Officer of the land forces could send out a sufficient force to drive the
Enemy back & destroy the R. R. Track some two or three miles in the interior so as to
prevent their approach. At my urgent solicitation & advice this was done effectually &
all fears of a second shelling removed.

On the 27th to the surprise of everyone orders were recd. [received] from Genl. Hunter
[General David Hunter] to evacuate the Town & return to Port Royal- as I considered my
presence no longer necessary & glad to escape the distressing sight of witnessing the
grief & despair of the loyal inhabitants who were obliged to leave with the army from
having compromised themselves through the positive assurance of French [General
William H. French?] & C. [Company?] that the place would be permanently held & an
advance made into the interior. I took my departure on the morning of the 28th leaving
the Norwich and Uncas to cover the Town during the embarkation. I must say that this
move [as made?] on the part of the Army was one of the most illadvised & illjudged
affairs which has occurred during this war & it will ever be a subject of deep
mortification and disgust to me in having been accidently mixed up with it. God grant
that I may never again be placed in a like position or have anything to do with Army
expeditions so long as it is commanded out here by its present chief.

Before leaving I supplied the Norwich & Uncas with one month's coal- I would suggest
that a light draft vessel with coal may be sent at an early day as I do not consider it
prudent or safe for either vessel to leave the River even for one day to go to Fernandina-
besides this it is only once or twice during the month the Norwich can cross the bar.

So soon as I have taken on board the provisions & stores from the Keystone State & the
return of the Paul Jones Jr. from Dolby where she goes to take orders for the Wamsutta to
go to Nassau. I will proceed up the coast as far as St. Catherines for the purpose of
investigating into the difficulty between Captain Gillespie and one of his officers- I think
it very likely that having got so far I will proceed on to Port Royal by the way of
Aussabaw [Ossabaw Sound] (inside passage) to get a supply of coal- we have little over









one hundred tons here which I think it best to keep for the other Gun Boats- In doing this
I shall not be over 48 hours absent from my station.

One of my Masters has made an application to be detached from the vessel. Please ask
the Admiral to grant his request as I have no particular wish that the gentleman should be
disappointed in his desire to have more active service.

[Letter stops here]


Transcribed by Nicole J. Milano, University of Florida, 2009




Full Text

PAGE 1

U. S. Gun Boat Paul Jones March 29, [18]63 My Dear Rodgers I returned here yesterday havi ng been detained at Jacksonville to take care of the land forces. I wrote the Admiral word that so s oon as reinforcements had arrived to enable them to hold the place without the presence of the vessel I would make a reconnaissance up as far as Palatka. This was done on the 23 and everything was found quiet & satisfactory on the River. Nothing could be learned of the steamer St. Marys. On my return from the reconnaissance on the evening of the 24th ist. I informed the commanding officer at Jacksonville of my intention to leave the next day but during the night the Enemy having shelled the town with an Eighty pound Rifle which they had succeeded in mounting on a R. R. [Railroad] Car & running in unobserved to within two miles of the town & which was only checked by the fire of the Norwich Gunswhich fortunately could be brought to bear. I considered it advi sable to remain a day or two longer until the Commanding Officer of the land forces coul d send out a sufficient force to drive the Enemy back & destroy the R. R. Track so me two or three miles in the interior so as to prevent their approach. At my urgent solici tation & advice this was done effectually & all fears of a second shelling removed. On the 27th to the surprise of everyone orders we re recd. [received] from Genl. Hunter [General David Hunter] to evacuate the Town & return to Port Royalas I considered my presence no longer necessary & glad to escap e the distressing sight of witnessing the grief & despair of the loyal i nhabitants who were obliged to leave with the army from having compromised themselves through the positive assurance of French [General William H. French?] & C. [Com pany?] that the place would be permanently held & an advance made into the interior. I to ok my departure on the morning of the 28th leaving the Norwich and Uncas to cover the Town duri ng the embarkation. I must say that this move [as made?] on the part of the Army was one of the most illadvised & illjudged affairs which has occurred during this war & it will ever be a subject of deep mortification and disgust to me in having been accidently mixed up with it. God grant that I may never again be placed in a like position or have anything to do with Army expeditions so long as it is commanded out here by its present chief. Before leaving I supplied the Norwich & Uncas with one months coalI would suggest that a light draft vessel with coal may be se nt at an early day as I do not consider it prudent or safe for either vessel to leave the River even for one day to go to Fernandinabesides this it is only once or twice during the month the Norwich can cross the bar. So soon as I have taken on board the provisions & stores from the Keystone State & the return of the Paul Jones Jr from Dolby where she goes to take orders for the Wamsutta to go to Nassau. I will proceed up the coast as far as St. Catherines for the purpose of investigating into the difficulty between Captai n Gillespie and one of his officersI think it very likely that having got so far I w ill proceed on to Port Royal by the way of Aussabaw [Ossabaw Sound] (inside passage) to get a supply of coalwe have little over

PAGE 2

one hundred tons here which I think it best to keep for the other Gun BoatsIn doing this I shall not be over 48 hours absent from my station. One of my Masters has made an application to be detached from the vessel. Please ask the Admiral to grant his request as I have no particular wish that the gentleman should be disappointed in his desire to have more active service [Letter stops here] Transcribed by Nicole J. Mila no, University of Florida, 2009