[CIVIL WAR - NAVY - U.S.S. GENESEE]. ALBERT, John E. manuscript diary. 1 September 1862-12 May 1868.


99 pages, 18mo, 3 7/8 x 6 3/8 in. calf-bound journal, alternating between ink and pencil, corner loss to front board, spine with tape repair, some scuffing. 

 “John E. Albert’s Diary of Events On Board U.S.S. Genesee” commences 1 September 1862 when Albert departs home for New York Yard to begin service on the water. On the 26th, he boards the U.S.S. Genesee at Newport News, VA. The scope of this detailed document is broader than the title might suggest. In addition to the ship’s progress through the Civil War and various engagements, Albert records numerous secondary events, including a burial at sea [“This morning Mr. Cannon was buried overboard, he had been sealed up in a coffin”], a court-martial ["...here has been for the last 10 days a Court Marshall in session on Board the U.S. Ironclad Cincinnati. Captain and Paymaster Gibbson are on trial.”], countless breakdowns and repairs, the problem of desertion ["...received 10 Marines from the Yard to do guard on board here to prevent men from deserting...”] and the like.

A detailed account of the ship’s progress from Mobile to New Orleans, at which it arrived on 5 March 1863 to serve under Farragut’s command following the capture of New Orleans in the expedition up the Mississippi. Their objective was to cut off Confederate supply lines, pass Fort Hudson, and join forces with Admiral Porter and General Grant in the attack on Vicksburg. Albert also reported events on land as news reached the Genesee [“It was reported that Genl Dick Taylor was going to march into Mobile and surrender. Also reported that ‘Mosby’ surrendered.”] The journal contains little in the way of accounts of the actions in which the ship participated. A detailed account with much information that may not be recorded anywhere else. Oddly, at the end, there are 10 pages in German in a different hand, followed by Albert’s account of “Sermons Preached by Rev. Saml J. Knapp" beginning 3 October 1867 and ending 1868[?].”

The Genesee was commissioned on 3 July 1863 under Commander William M. MACOMB. This steamer served primarily, but not exclusively, to block Confederate trade and military supply lines.

The Richard B. Cohen Civil War Collection Lots 79-98; 116; 138-153; and 266

Cowan's is pleased to offer the third installment of Richard B. Cohen's collection of Civil War Brown Water Navy photography. Richard was known to many in the field as a "disciplined collector who maintained a relatively narrow focus having built an important, perhaps unsurpassed collection in his area of specialization." From cartes de visite to large format photographs, this portion of the collection features a noteworthy selection of images of Brown Water Navy warships, among them, the USS BentonChoctawLafayette, and Louisville. Many important identified naval officers are also represented, including an exquisite CDV of the promising young officer, Lieutenant Commander William Gwin, who died of wounds aboard the USS Benton following an artillery duel with Confederate forces at Snyder's Bluff, and an exceptionally large war-date photograph of the controversial commander of the USS Pittsburgh, Egbert Thompson.

This auction also features a premiere selection of autographs and manuscripts from Richard's carefully curated collection. Highlights include a letter from Jefferson Davis to his distant cousin, John J. Pettus, Governor of Mississippi, dated a year before secession, conveying intricate plans for securing armaments in preparation for the war; an Abraham Lincoln signed endorsement; a letter from Admiral D.G. Farragut from New Orleans, offering excellent insight into his "political" thinking as well as his dedication to his work; correspondence from Gideon Welles, David Dixon Porter, U.S. Grant, and W.T. Sherman; and a pair of superb letters with highly descriptive accounts of the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimac.

Provenance:The Richard B. Cohen Civil War Collection

Estimate: $500 - $1,000

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