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    Description

    Frederick Meyer Archive of Letters Written Aboard the U.S.S. Flagg with Two Photographs. A group of 21 letters from Meyer, a German immigrant, who joined the Union Navy and served upon the U.S.S. Flagg. The Flagg was a steamship commissioned in 1861, and it served as a blockade ship along the South Carolina coast until 1865. The Flagg was decommissioned in early 1865 and sold. Meyer's letters date from February 26, 1862 to January 30, 1865, and cover the confrontations between the U.S. Navy and Confederate blockade-runners. The majority of the letters are two to four pages, measuring approximately 5" x 8". The text has been partially translated due to his broken English.

    Writing from Charleston on November 2, 1862, Meyer thanks his wife for the clothes she sent him and tells her about the frustration he feels about being moved from ship to ship. In part and in broken English: "My dear, I received your letter, found a little bag of camphor there for to wear around my neck. I am very much pleased to you for at neck my clothes smell so good...thanks to God that you was so lucky to get a good stake, our stake goes from Rattlesnake Creek to Bulls Bay...Last week we...sank the 3 [steamers]...she got up to Fort Moltre there resunk on the site. Charleston there lays a steamer...Mary you speak about the satisfaction they won't give none they said it is no good for we got sent from one ship to another then that be no good...I got sent back again to my own vessel there is 15 gone this time, I don't think come back again but getting none no I got half that luck to be sent home again...Mary my dear is a hard time coming. I hope you must have the best that you can and take all the comfort you can pray to God and he will not forsake you for no fondest present melting best yearns like thy gods to make thee blest." However, within two months, Meyer had been happily stationed aboard the Flagg and wrote on 12 January 1863: "I think God done me a great favor sending me on board the Old Flag...I call this God's gift to me..."

    Following a battle between the CSS Chicora, CSS Palmetto State and USS Mercedita, Meyer wrote of the encounter in his letter dated February 1, 1863 in part "Saturday morning 5 o'clock...There was several men killed then they had to surrender...15 killed, 31 wounded...fire all around as shells bust on top us..." And the following month he wrote of the attack on Fort Sumter, His letter dated April 13, 1863 provides a few details and reveals Meyer's fears about the longevity of the war. In part: "I got a few minutes now to write a few lines about the battle at Charleston...300 pounds rifles...Mary if I was home I would tell you...what is the truth so if anybody asks you better tell them that they have disgraced the country if they make this blunder not good. The war will last 20 years...I got your letters, I got one the morning the bombardment began..."

    After a few more months aboard the USS Flagg, Meyer appears to have grown accustomed to life in the Navy and was proud of the work he was doing. On September 1, 1863, he recounts in part "Great work here, Sumter looks like an old ruin. The southeast corner is gone...Gilmor and Dilgrean...there was no man that worked together so well...they tried to storm us three times but in war we whipped them three to one - we was one thousand strong...cross the river now we can shell the city..."

    The following year, Meyer had a close brush with death when one of his ships was blown up by the Confederate Navy. On February 23, 1864, he writes of the near miss in part: "My Dear a few lines to let you know that I am on my old station again. We sailed from Boston the 4th of February and I received the same day an [illegible]. I am glad that we are here for the water was disagreeable in Boston...6 days ago the rebels blowed up one of our ships and as luck have, the water was not deep, there was 12 man lost, the rest saved them. Saved by getting up in the rigging..."

    Meyer's excited letter of December 23, 1864 tells of the fall of Savannah, in part: "Savannah is taken. The Savannah ram blowed up now it goes for Charleston. Sherman looked like an old farmer the USS Flag is the first ship that held Sherman at Fort MacGallast. There was not many killed..." And as the war drew to a close, Meyer was anxious to return home to his wife and son. His final letter, January 30, 1865, expresses his impatience. In part: "My Dear, I received your letter today that was mailed the 7 January. I have been looking for it. I began to think that you had gone for a sogaga and took Harry for a drummer boy...I don't think that is a good plan to buy an article then wait for the price to rise before you pay you got to work sly to catch a fox in his hole different hats different yarn...There is no news here as I know of, it is the same thing over again but I am looking for the month of May at is coming slow...you know there is a good deal of lost time to make up last summer so take good care of yourself..."

    The small archive of letters is also accompanied by a sepia tone cabinet card photo of Meyer in uniform on U.S. Art Co. paper, measuring 5.25" x 7.25". There is also a 4" x 5" black and white photo of Meyer with an associate. This photograph has been mounted to paper and measures approximately 5" x 6" overall. The archive provides an interesting insight into the service of an immigrant in the Civil War and would be an excellent addition to any collection.

    Condition: The letters have usual mail folds and light toning. Minor soiling and foxing, else good. The photographs have some toning and foxing. Minor fading. The black and white photograph has remnants of another photograph adhered on verso.


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