Four CDVs of Identified Naval Officers, Incl. Thomas McKean Buchanan, KIA Aboard USS Calhoun

Lot of 4 CDVs featuring identified naval officers, two with Brown Water Navy imprints.

CDV of an officer leaning casually against studio column. E. Jacobs: New Orleans, LA, n.d. Pencil identified "T. M. Buchanan.Thomas McKean Buchanan: Acting Midshipman 10/1/51, Midshipman 6/9/55, Passed Midshipman 4/15/58, Master 11/4/58, Lieutenant 7/18/60, Lieut. Commander 8/5/62, KIA 1/14/63 aboard USS Calhoun. Buchanan's first wartime posting was to the steam frigate Mississippi in April 1861 destined for the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in July 1862 and was for a time in command of the Mississippi, the gunboat New London, and subsequently commanded the gunboat Calhoun. Admiral Farragut wrote in September, 1862, "Lieutenant Commander McKean Buchanan, with light draft steamers, had been operating successfully in Berwick Bay and Atchafalaya River." And again, from New Orleans, November 14, 1862, to the Secretary of the Navy, he encloses Lieutenant Commander Buchanan's report, saying, "He is commanding the naval forces co-operating with the army in Opelousas, and had already two fights with the enemy's steamers and land forces." On January 14, 1863, in command of a flotilla, Commodore Buchanan, while ascending Bayou Teche on board the USS Calhoun, went forward in an exposed position and was at once targeted by rebel sharpshooters on the bank. He was soon struck in the head, and fell dead on the deck. He was universally regarded "as a brave officer. His daring courage and activity while in command of these light draft steamers made his name widely known throughout that part of the country." Admiral Farragut later wrote personally of Buchanan's death, "Yesterday was a sad day for me. I went to see Banks; he handed me a dispatch from the bar, announcing the loss of the Hatteras. When I came on board I received another, telling me of the death of one of my bravest and most dashing officers, Lieutenant Commander Buchanan."

CDV of a rather corpulent officer. H. Lazier: Syracuse, NY, 1862. Ink autographed on verso "To my dearest Wife / Robert Townsend / Syracuse / June 19th, 1862." Robert Townsend (1819-1866): Midshipman 8/1/37, Passed Midshipman 6/29/43, Lieutenant 10/11/50, Resigned 4/7/51, Acting Lieutenant 9/17/61, Commander 7/16/62, Captain 7/25/66, Died in service 8/15/66. Townsend had served during the Mexican War at Vera Cruz and left the Navy in 1851. With the outbreak of war he re-entered service and thereafter commanded successively a series of warships under Farragut participating in most of the major operations of the Mississippi Squadron. In 1862 Townsend was executive officer and later CO of the gunboat USS Miami assigned to the Mortar Flotilla engaged in neutralizing Confederate fortifications below New Orleans. He then took command of the large iron gunboat USS Essex in Admiral Porter's Mississippi Squadron. Under Townsend, Essex participated in the siege and bombardment of Port Hudson during May-June, supporting army operations that ultimately resulted in the capture of the strategic location that gave the Union effective control of the Mississippi River by July 1863. Townsend sortied in Miami during the Red River Campaign and assisted in the capture of Fort DeRussy on March 15-16, 1864. He then was put in command of the new steam frigate USS Wachusett and was employed on blockade duty. On February 15, 1865 Wachusett was ordered to the East India Station to join a squadron assembling "to track down the Confederate commerce raider CSS Shenandoah." 

CDV of an officer with crossed arms possessing an attitude. Uncredited, n.d. Signed in ink on verso "Yours truly / Wm. W. Black / A.M.M. / USN." William W. Black: Mate 9/23/62, Resigned 6/14/64. Black must also have served early on as acting master's mate consistent with the A.M.M. acronym. No record of service located.

CDV of a determined officer with crossed arms. Lilienthal: New Orleans, LA, n.d. Inked on verso "Jas W Patterson / USN.James W. Patterson: Third Assistant Engineer 4/21/63, Second Assistant Engineer 9/28/64, Retired 10/21/69. No record of service located.

The Richard B. Cohen Civil War Collection 
Lots 133-162 

Cowan's is pleased to offer the first contingent of an unparalleled assembly of Brown Water Navy images archived over a lifetime of study by consummate collector Richard B. Cohen, a familiar name to many in the field of Civil War photography. To those who knew him best, Richard B. Cohen will be remembered as a "disciplined collector who maintained a relatively narrow focus having built an important, perhaps unsurpassed collection in his area of specialization." Richard was particularly well read and his historical knowledge informed his collecting as reflected by the photography that follows. The array of carte-de-visites and albumen photographs gathered here include a number of identified naval officers - both famous and obscure - along with a handful of enlisted sailors and Mississippi Marine Brigade images, and, significantly, many views of unique Brown Water Navy sidewheel and sternwheel warships - no two vessels looking exactly the same. Subjectively, the most appealing aspect of the Cohen Collection are the photographs of these gunboats, transports, and impressed vessels quickly converted at St. Louis, Cairo, and Cincinnati for duty on the waters of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The gamut of improvised warships range from the earliest types of steam powered vessels first taken up by the Army to create a small timberclad flotilla, to the several purpose-built War Department Ellet rams, and later, the more numerous classes of tinclads, some converted but all built for and crewed by the Navy. A few captured Confederate vessels impressed into Union service are also present. It is supremely evident that Richard B. Cohen's collecting instincts were always evolving, but uniformly refined. We trust that both advanced and neophyte collectors will find something to pique interest now that the time has come to inevitably recycle these exceptional images to a new cadre of aficionados.

Provenance:The Richard B. Cohen Civil War Collection


Buchanan CDV in soft focus, else VG.  Townsend carte with average clarity, VG.  Black image light due to overexposure with dented corners, G+.  Patterson image very light with dented corners, about G. 

Estimate: $300 - $500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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