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    [Civil War-Navy]. Union Ship's Surgeon Richard H. Green Autograph Letter Signed.

    "R. H. G." Six pages, 8" x 10", [off the coast of the Carolinas]; February 20, 1864. Letter from Greene to his fiancée Charlotte (Lottie), written on board ship, in which he discusses shipboard chores, their upcoming wedding and life together, and military news. The letter reads, in part:

    "I am writing in my state room for the cabin and decks, in fact all parts of the ship are being thoroughly scrubbed. It is one of the chief duties of officers and men in the Navy to keep clean. The Capt. is on deck above me making the men jump to it. I can tell you: they are "holy stoning,' that is rubbing the deck with large, heavy stones that have a smooth flat surface. Water and sand are put on plentifully and then sailors drag these stones up and down by ropes until the decks are as white and clean as the kitchen floors in old times at home.... Some rebel soldiers have lately come out to us in a boat from the fort; they ran away and they say that all the others would do the same if they could. They looked pretty hard, I can tell you. They say that the iron clads in the river are about to make an attack on us, and I should not be surprised if they should be upon us some still dark night. We have nothing here but big wooden ships and I expect we shall share pretty hard for there is no possibility of procuring their iron sides by shot. Our Capt. he says he shall steer full steam for one of them and run on to him & both sink together. We don't mean to run and give up the blockade anyway."

    Richard H. Greene of Bennington, Vermont, was the earliest known black graduate of Yale University. After graduating from Yale in 1857, he attended and graduated from Dartmouth Medical School in 1864. During his time at Dartmouth, Greene applied to the Secretary of the Navy for an appointment in the U.S. Navy. His appointment was accepted. Greene enlisted as Assistant Surgeon and served most of his time as Ship's Surgeon on the USS State of Georgia, to which he was appointed in November of 1863.
    USS State of Georgia was a large steamer with powerful guns acquired by the Union Navy during the Civil War. With a crew of 113 sailors and officers, the steamer was used by the Union Navy as a gunboat in support of the Union Navy blockade of Confederate waterways. The ship-a side wheel steamer built at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1851 by Vaughn & Lynn-was purchased by the Union Navy at Philadelphia in September 1861 from the Philadelphia and Savannah Steamship Company, and was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on November 20, 1861, with James F. Armstrong in command. Late in July 1863, the steamer returned to Philadelphia for extensive repairs and was decommissioned there on August 10. Recommissioned on November 27, 1863, the steamer returned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and served on blockade duty primarily off Wilmington, North Carolina, until forced to sail north again late in the summer of 1864 for yard work.

    Condition: Letter has the usual folds, the horizontal fold on all pages have been repaired with tape. Light toning and soiling; otherwise good.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    19th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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