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Simpson, Edward (1824-1888) Journal of a cruise in the U.S.S. Isonomia no. 1

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05911.06.01 Author/Creator: Simpson, Edward (1824-1888) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph manuscript Date: 19 August 1864-18 November 1864 Pagination: 1 v. : 48 p. ; 16 x 10.5 cm.

No. I and II cover the record of the blockade ship Isonomia from the beginning of its service off Wilmington SC in August 1864 to 25 December 1864 when Simpson released command of the vessel. Calf covers.

[30 August] "At daylight, Flag Pond battery & half moon opened fire on 'Dunbarton'" [this entry also includes a list of the nine blockaders present and the names of their officers; Simpson includes himself in this list]

[31 August] "Had a false alarm and chased a shadow directed by a falling meteor which was mistaken for a rocket" [evidently Simpson's skittish crew was prone to false alarms]

[2 September] "Adml. Lee arrived in 'Malvern' - Ordered to reassemble the Court to report amt. of damage by collision of 'Cherokee' & "Gov. Buckingham.'"

[4 September] [Entry contains a list of bearings taken from various points, including Battery, Fort, Wrecks of 'Beauregard,' 'Hebe,' & 'Venus.'] "…saw much firing from vessels on the bar, and many rockets flying to the Eastd. Batteries…"

[9 September] "Went to Fort Totten & saw salute of 100 guns for Atlanta & Mobile…"

[16 September] "The moon full, sea smooth, atmosphere clear, altogether a lovely night. Oh war, war, why must your horrors interfere?"

[18 September] "At dark sent party on shore by 'Nippon' to get information about strength of enemy at Wilmington...."

[19 September] "...recd. orders to go to Key West with Isonomia - It came like a thunderbolt! God knows! It is all right no doubt. If He will but grant me prize money...."

[26 September] "This frail vessel, unsuited to the sea must depend for all her safety altogether upon his protecting arm. It is like tempting Providence to send her to sea."

[29 September] "Found there was no yellow fever in Key West so concluded to go right up to town...."

[1 October] "Ridgely says if I go to the Bahamas, I must got to Stirrups Key, & engage McKinley (colored) as pilot..."

[19 October] "Issued order for a landing at Apalachicola....Brought up in cabin Mrs Mars (living at Light House) whose husband was shot by Rebs, some nine months ago...."

[20 October] "...landed at Apalachicola, Everybody shut up in their houses...The place desolate, people living on corn meal alone, not much of that....Some people actually starving...Oh the effect of war!"

[21 October] "Heard on shore that our staking out the channel has led to the Rebs sending some men to Chatahoochie, Fort Gadsden & Bloody Bluff..."

[23 October] "At 3A.M. the boats started carrying 40 men from Ft. Henry, 15 (with howitzer) from Somerset, 18 from Isonomia, Marines from Ft. Henry & Somerset 18, and 8 officers, 99 in all, in 7 boats."

[8 November] "I trust that it has pleased God to grant us a change of rulers." [November 8, 1864 was election day. Simpson was evidently a supporter of McClellan, as opposed to Lincoln.]

[11 November] "Recd. Two white refugees, & 10 contrabands, brought down by Fort Henry last night. Recd. Rosster & Mrs. Rosster & Mrs. Burke. Three women in my mess!!!"

[Additional excerpts available.]

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