Presentation Notes: 2005-2006

Civil War Naval History

Presented by Stauffer Miller - June 14, 2006

Notes by Carolyn Weiss

The Society appreciates that Mr. Miller drove here from Virginia to deliver his program.

Many years ago he developed an interest in his ancestors from Cape Cod who served as officers in the Civil War Navy during the period 1861-1865.

He found great original source material at Sturgis Library, including accounts in the Yarmouth Register and the Barnstable Patriot. He was able to compile an extensive list of approximately 160 Cape Cod men who had served in the navy during the Civil War. His information came from Cape Cod statues, diaries, and histories, which he perused in libraries and historical societies from Sandwich to Provincetown. He also did research in the Massachusetts Archives and the National Archives in Washington.

As he became more and more involved in the research, he wanted to learn more about each man - his birth, his life, his naval service and his death. Mr. Miller intends to publish his years of research in a book entitled: Hoisting Their Colors - Cape Cod Civil War Naval Officers.

Other sources which he found on the Cape were courthouse records (particularly land transfers); newspaper articles; the Massachusetts Census of 1855; biographies; "Cape Cod Republican" published from 1862-1864; and the Civil War plaque on Nauset Beach Road honoring the Civil War army and navy men from Orleans. For example, Provincetown had 34 officers in the Civil War navy. He studied manuscripts in the Library of Congress and the Navy Department Library in Washington. Some of these officers were in a "special" navy, created only for the Civil War.

He showed many photographs of Cape Cod naval officers, their ships and crews, including the America (for which the America's Cup was named). The America was originally used by the South, but was scuttled by them and resurfaced by the Union, refitted, and used early in the Civil War. It later became a training ship for the Navy.

He left us with a list of six men for whom he can not find a date and place of death - Arthur H. Atkinson, Thomas D. Babb, Josiah D. Cook, Thomas W. Hutchinson, Octavius H. Robbins, and William R. Rude - asking that anyone with information on these six contact him:

See the Presentation Notes Index for summaries of other presentations given at the Society's monthly meetings.