[CIVIL WAR]. TOWNSEND, Captain Robert (1819-1866). Archive of documents related to Townsend's naval career and Civil War service, comprising:

Group of 6 Civil War-date documents and 1 cover spanning 1861 - 1865. 

JAMES, J [?]. Letter signed ("J. James"), to Lt. Townsend, Philadelphia, 30 September 1861. 1p, 7 3/4 x 10 in. on "Com'dts. Office, U.S. Navy Yard" stationery (ink feathering, light soil). James as commanding officer of the Navy Yard directs Townsend to report immediately and prepare for command of the Harriet Lane. -- HARRELL, Abram Davis (ca 1810-1871). Letter signed ("A.D. Harrell"), to Lt. Townsend, US Steamer Miami, Hampton Roads, 5 February 1862. 1p,  8 x 9 3/4 in. (light soil). Lt. Comdng Harrell directs Townsend to proceed to Washington to deliver dispatches to the Secretary of the Navy and then to “return, without delay, to this vessel.”  Signed endorsement at the foot: “Approved John MARSTON, Capt & Senr Officer” and a note signed by G.[ustavus] V.[asa] FOX, Asst. Secy.” ----WELLES, Gideon (1802-1878) and FARRAGUT, D. G. (1801-1870). Orders to Townsend, in Syracuse, NY. 1 p., 4to, 27 May 1863. Townsend is to proceed to New York by June 7 and there report to Admiral PAULDING “for a passage in the USS Circassian to New Orleans, and on your arrival report to Rear Admiral Farragut for command of the US Iron-clad Steamer Essex. A note at the bottom, signed by Paulding, indicates that he reported on 18 June 1863. Signed docket on verso in Farragut’s hand: “Reported June 29th/63 / D. G. Farragut / Rear Admiral.” -- PORTER, Rear Admiral David D. (1813-1891). Letter signed ("David D. Porter"), to Commander Townsend, Cairo, 31 December 1863. 2pp, 7 3/4 x 9 3/4 in. on "Mississippi Squadron, Flag Ship Black Hawk" stationery (ink feathering, Porter signature very faint). Porter commends Townsend, then Commander of the Essex and 1st Dist. Miss. Squad, for “the systematic manner in which all your official communications are forwarded, and your reports are made. It is quite a pleasure to arrive at your heap of official documents, for I am certain to find everything in proper shape. Hoping that when you command a squadron, you will be amply rewarded for your present consideration of my comfort / I remain / Very respectfully / David D. Porter / Rear Admiral.” -- LEE, Samuel Phillips (1812-1897). Letter signed ("S.P. Lee") as Acting Rear Admiral Commanding Mississippi Squadron, to Commander Townsend, Mound City [IL], 3 November 1864. 2pp, 8 x 10 in. on letterhead of the "Mississippi Squadron, Flag Ship Black Hawk," marked “Duplicate (Nov. 15th)” (small tears at edge fold). Lee informs Townsend that his relief, Comdr. Bryson, has reported and instructs Townsend to turn over command of the Essex to him.  Signed note in Townsend’s hand at the bottom left: “Received on board U.S. Iron-clad Essex, off Memphis, Tenn., 18th Nov. 1864; being my first official notice of my detachment.”  At the bottom, additional note by Lee: "Note—Nov 15/64—Annexed [p. 2] is a certified copy of your order from the Navy Dept. recd. since the above was sent you. The Dept’s order was not sent you since you were expected[?] up under the above, & it is not retained as you may be on the way up.”  --WELLES, Gideon.  Document signed ("Gideon Welles"), to Commander Townsend, [Washington, DC], 17 February 1865, forwarded 25 February 1965. 1p, 8 x 10 in. (some ink feathering, light soil). Welles orders to Townsend in New York, detaching him from the command of the Mohongo and ordering him to report immediately to Rear Admiral STRINGHAM , Boston, “for the command of the U. S. Steamer Wachusett (3d Rate).” Note at bottom signed by Stringham to the effect that Townsend reported on February 25th. -- Printed envelope of “U. S. Mississippi Squadron, Official Business,” addressed to Townsend as "Commdg 1st Dist Miss Squad / USS Essex.” Note on verso: “Recd Jan 7th 1864.”

[With:] 8 additional documents spanning 1837-1850 (condition generally good with expected wear given age, some slight tears at folds).

Certificate notifying Townsend of his appointment as a Midshipman effective 4 August 1837, dated, 1 July 1840. On verso, in Townsend’s hand: “Letter enclosing my Warrant as Midshipmen U. S. Navy from Aug. 4th 1837. Dated 29th June 1840.” With document signed, 4 August 1837, appointing Townsend Acting Midshipman, signed by M.[ahlon] DICKERSON, Secretary of the Navy and a duplicate of same.

Letter signed, 1 p. 4to, 6 January 1842, delivering a harsh reprimand for unacceptable conduct.  “I enclose for your perusal an copy of a report [not present] this day made to the Department Commander M. Intosh through Capt. Perry. . . . “ Signed A.[bel] P. Upshur,” Secretary of the Navy 1841 – 1843, and endorsed by Perry at the bottom. 

Letter signed, 10 May 1843, instructing Townsend to attend “The examination of Midshipmen” in Philadelphia on the 22nd, signed “A Tho Smith / Actg. Secy. Navy.”  A note at the bottom, signed “Geo. F[?] Read" indicating that Townsend “reported” on the specified date. 

Certificate for Townsend as a Passed Midshipman, effective 29 June 1843, dated 12 July 1843, signature illegible. 

Autograph letter signed “David Henshaw”[?]. Navy Department, 1 Sept. 1843. 1 p., 4to, granting Townsend medical leave of absence “till the 1st of November next.” 

Autograph letter signed “J Y[?] Mason.”  Navy Department, 3 Feb. 1849. 1 p., 4to, granting Townsend six months furlough, and the end of which he can apply for the remainder of the year he had requested. 

Orders from the Navy Department, 20 May 1850, for Midshipman Townsend to proceed to Norfolk, Virginia, and report there to Lt. Cmdg. S. P. Lee “for duty on the Coast Survey,” signed “M. Ballard Preston[?]”.   

Orders, 15 October 1850, for now-Lieut. Townsend to proceed to Boston and report to "Commdr Downes" aboard the U. S. Receiving Ship Franklin, signed "Will. A. Graham", Secretary of the Navy 1850 – 1852. 

Together, 14 documents and 1 cover.

A native of New York, Townsend enlisted in the Navy in 1837 and served continuously including participating in the capture of Vera Cruz during the Mexican-American War.  Though he resigned from the Navy in 1851, he re-entered the service at the outbreak of the Civil War entering as an acting-lieutenant in September 1861 before attaining the rank of commander. Townsend saw active combat in command of the Essex in 1863, and participated in the Siege of Fort Hudson and the capture of Fort de Russy. He saw combat during the Civil War on three ships, most notably as commander of the Essex on the Mississippi 1863 – 1864 but also on the USS Miami and USS Wachusett. Under Townsend’s command, the Wachusett headed for the Cape of Good Hope to participate in the hunt for the commerce raider CSS Shenandoah. He died of heatstroke while serving aboard the Wachusett in China in August 1866.

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: $1,500 - $3,000

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