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P-054: Civil War Ship Journals

Abstract: This journal covers nearly a year of the life of a paymaster named Keely on the Union side-wheel steamer New National during the American Civil War. The New National ran from the mid to lower Mississippi River. The journal describes work and life on the ship

Date: December 15, 1963 – December 2, 1864

Scope: The journal entries seem to be recorded daily, but the full year has not remained extent over time. Keely describes the work of the boatmen as well as the personal lives of many workers and guests. The journal are numbered, part of a system Keely employed wherein he regularly bundles his journals in the mail addressed to his wife with instructions to keep them under lock and key, awaiting reassembly as one journal.

Extent: 127 pages, manuscript writing on “Congress” stationary. Accompanying single-spaced typescript totaling 27 pages.

History: From Way’s Packet Directory, 1848-1983:

                NEW NATIONAL: Sternwheel packet, wood hull, built Jeffersonville, Ind., 1860. 379 tons. Machinery from former NATIONAL. Built for Captain P.C. Montgomery for Red River trade. Sold May 1865 to John S. and Richard Sinnott (3/4) and James McClosky, New Orleans. They continued her New Orleans-Red River, Captain Richard Sinnott, with F.C. Findren, clerk. Retired 1873 and was taken to Cincinnatti. She was wrecked on the wharf at Covington, Ky., and the high water that October that carried her away.

Access: This is collection P-054. This collection is available for on-site use only in the Rare Book and Manuscripts Reading Room. Some of the collection may be photocopied, digitally scanned or photographed, depending on condition. Researchers are advised to call ahead concerning changes in hours due to University intersessions and holidays. The St. Louis Mercantile Library is located on levels one and two of the Thomas Jefferson Library building. More information about conducting research with the archival collections of the Library, including current building hours and reading room policies, can be found on our Research page.

Preferred Citation note: The preferred citation for this collection is "From the collections of the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.”

 


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