Leather bound album, 3.5 x 5 in., containing a view of an unidentified warship followed by twenty uniformed naval subjects (plus two more in civilian dress), all identified in period pencil by last name only but in the same hand throughout. Of the twenty-two images, ten are positively identified by rank, five more are named but not positively identified, three are presumably officers in civilian attire, two other penciled last names are illegible, and the last two are named enlisted sailors. Album likely assembled sometime during 1864, as nearly all of the uniformed officers exhibit aspects of rank insignia consistent with the 1864 Regulations. Disproportionate number of engineers in the album contraindicates that these officers and men are from the same ship, while the concentration of technical officers suggests either a shared comradeship by branch of service, or perhaps an unnamed school ship. The array of eastern seaboard back marks are indicative of service afloat with the Atlantic blockade. Other than the penciled last names on album pages there is no other writing in album itself.
The first carte is a detailed copy illustration of an unidentified American steam-sailing warship underway in heavy seas flying the Stars and Stripes. J. Hansen, Marine Painter: NY. Three guns are visible, fore, aft and amidships.
Sailors pictured in the album include enlisted sailor named "White" on album page; however on verso the name "Duncan E. Reid" is inked. Uncredited; "Rogers." Bogardus: NY. This officer appears to be a third assistant engineer, as the Navy List had four officers so-named, all with same rank - unknown; "Chamberlain." Barcalow: NY. Charles C. Chamberlain: mate 8/7/63, discharged 7/29/65; "Bennett" in civilian attire - unknown; "Harris." William Richardson: Williamsburg, VA. In fatigue jacket without insignia - unknown; "Osborn." Kellogg & Touchy: NY. Francis G. Osborn: acting ensign 8/20/63, acting master 12/6/64, discharged 7/16/66; "Bryant." J. Ramsdell: NY. Probably William H. Bryant: mate 10/11/61, acting ensign 9/4/63, discharged 10/8/68; "Sle"? (illegible). Critcherson & Leland: Worchester, MA - unknown master; "Barton." A.M. Jacobs: Brooklyn, NY. Probably James A. Barton: third assistant engineer 1/16/63, resigned 3/5/68; enlisted sailor named "Blakeman" with Hong Kong imprint; "Nagle." Augustus Morand: Brooklyn, NY. Two possibilities in Navy List, either Augustus F. Nagle or Charles F. Nagle, both third assistant engineers; "Slosson." Bendann Bros.: Philadelphia, PA. Henry L. Slosson: acting third assistant engineer 9/29/63, third assistant engineer 10/13/63, second assistant engineer 8/1/66, passed assistant engineer 10/27/74, resigned 9/15/83; "Vanderbilt." William Richardson: Williamsburg, VA. Showing only a canted anchor on cap with star on sleeve. Probably Aaron Vanderbilt: mate 7/20/63, acting ensign 2/1/65, discharged 10/12/65, or alternatively Wm. W. Vanderbilt, a third assistant engineer; "K. (A)burn" (?). C.D. Fredericks: NY. Possibly a midshipman with single star on sleeve, carrying sword. Partially illegible but no one named "Auburn" in Navy List; "Sim(ms)." Winslow: NY. No insignia showing, possibly a sail maker or carpenter under 1864 Regulations - unknown; "Jones." Sherman & Co.: Brooklyn, NY. In civilian dress - unknown; Name illegible, in same hand as others. Likely an officer but this young man in civilian dress - unknown; "DeWolf" without imprint. William H. DeWolf: acting master 11/16/61, discharged 11/4/65; "Kenyon" without imprint. Two possibilities in Navy List, either Albert J. Kenyon or Charles W. Kenyon, both third assistant engineers - unknown; "Sackett." Broadbent & Co.: Philadelphia, PA. Augustine Sackett: third assistant engineer 10/3/61, second assistant engineer 8/3/63, resigned 8/24/65; "Morgan." Whitney: NY. Joseph Morgan: third assistant engineer 11/16/61, second assistant engineer 8/25/63, resigned 1/5/66; "Haney" with foreign imprint. Hugh Haney: acting third assistant engineer 9/28/63, discharged 9/1/65.
The Richard B. Cohen Civil War Collection
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
Album itself in rough condition with edge wear and missing spine and brass clasp. Interior album pages good with a few lifting at bottom. Body of cartes are generally VG with light edge wear, a few showing heavier wear. Other than the penciled last names on album pages there is no other writing in album itself.
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