DescriptionUSS Brooklyn Naval Landsman's Archive, with Civil War Content about the U.S. Troop Buildup at Fort Pickens, Florida, in Early 1861. This archive is comprised of seven letters, all dated between February 1860 and June 1861, and written from the "U. S. Ship Brooklyn." Landsman George A. Tittle writes the approximately nine pages of this collection to his sister while serving on the Brooklyn as it cruised near Pensacola, Florida, during the opening of the Civil War.
Tittle, a resident of Beverly, Massachusetts, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1859, and was soon aboard the Brooklyn. As the threat of hostilities loomed in early 1861, he reports to his sister that "Only two of our officers have resigned, they are from Alabama, all the others are 'true blue' [January 16, 1861]." The vessel was soon sent to help fortify Fort Pickens, Florida. Tittle's letters reflect this assignment as he informs his sister of the ship's movements and the build-up of U.S. troops and weaponry at the fort. On April 21, just days after the fall of Fort Sumter, he writes that "we received the Sabine's & St. Louis' marines and some of their sailors . . . and ran up near the fort and landed them . . . (in all about 350 men) who immediately marched into the fort; this manoeuvre being seen by the Secessionists caused them to postpone the attack. . . . There are now over one thousand men (soldiers) in the fort, and they are engaged day and night in mounting guns inside and erecting sand batteries and placing large Mortars along the beach." With a bit of bravado, the young sailor writes on May 2, "the work on Fort Pickens and the several batteries on Santo Rosa island is so nearly completed as to be able in a few days to defy the whole force of the Southern Confederacy. We expect to see lively times in this neighborhood before long."
In the final letter of this collection, dated June 8, 1861, and written from "passé a l'outre, Miss'pi River", Tittle records a new assignment for the Brooklyn: "We left our station (off Fort Pickens) on the evening of the 25th ult., and arrived here at noon on the following day, and here I presume we will be stationed until the war will be ended. The Powhatan is stationed at the S. W. Pass; the south pass is blocked with sunken vessels, consequently the entrance to the Mississippi River is completely blockaded. . . . On the 31st a steamer hove to sight with a secession flag at her peak and on discovering us, hauled down the secession and hoisted the English flag and stood off to the S. W.; we immediately went in pursuit of her, and when we were about a mile and a half astern of her fired a shot to heave her to, but she paid no attention to it, we then gave her a 10 inch shell (from our pivot gun) which burst directly over her and had the desired effect."
Tittle was discharged as Surgeon's Steward in October 1861, but reenlisted again in December 1861. He served onboard the USS Kearsarge until the end of 1864. Letters are in fine condition.
Estimate: $2,000 - $2,500.
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