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Louis James M. Boyd served as 3rd Assistant Engineer aboard the U.S. gun boat "Albatross" from March 6, 1862. During his service, Boyd witnessed many Union naval operations carried out along the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River. The "Albatross," a propeller-driven steamer rigged as a three-masted schooner, was constructed in Mystic, Connecticut in 1858. The ship was purchased and commissioned by the U.S. Navy at New York Navy Yard on June 25, 1861. At the outset of the Civil War the ship was assigned to the Atlantic Blockading Squadron as part of President Lincoln's strategy to surround the Confederate states.
In April, 1862 the ship was transferred to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and then reassigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. After reporting to Admiral David Farragut, the "Albatross" steamed to the mouth of the Rio Grande River, near Brownsville, Texas. From there the ship patrolled the Gulf Coast, raiding Confederate salt works along the Florida coast between Pensacola and St. Andrews.
In late 1862 the "Albatross" was paired with Farragut's flagship, the "Hartford," in the Mississippi River campaign against Confederate-held Port Hudson, Louisiana. Out of seven warships, only the "Hartford" and the "Albatross" succeeded in running past the fort and continued disrupting Confederate blockade runners over the next few months. In May 1863, during one engagement with Confederate warships, the "Albatross" suffered heavy damage and casualties. One crew member received the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery during the fight.
The "Albatross" remained on the Gulf Coast after the surrender of Port Hudson on July 9, 1863. In between breaks for repairs and one severe Yellow Fever outbreak, the ship assisted in the blockade of Mobile Bay until the end of the war. On August 26, 1863, Louis James M. Boyd was discharged from the U.S. Navy. The "Albatross" was decommissioned in Boston Navy Yard on August 11, 1865.
This collection includes letters written by Louis James M. Boyd to his wife, "Jannie," from April 23, 1862 to August 1871. Boyd served as a 3rd Assistant Engineer aboard the U.S. Gun boat "Albatross" during the Civil War. While the correspondence is personal, the majority of the letters focus on various aspects of the Navy's blockade of Southern ports. There is mention of campaigns along Florida's Gulf Coast and up the Mississippi River. Of particular interest are those letters dealing with attacks on Port Hudson, Louisiana and assaults on salt works between St. Andrews and Pensacola, Florida. The letters also relate contemporary opinions of African-Americans serving in the Union army, the status of Maryland during the war, and the Southern response to the presence of the Union navy.
Folder listing available.
Additional Physical Form:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
Originals in custody of donor.
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields:
United States. Navy. United States. Navy
Blockade Mexico, Gulf of African American soldiers. Gunboats
United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Florida History Civil War, 1861-1865 United States History --Blockades Civil War, 1861-1865 Mississippi River United States History --Participation, African American. Civil War, 1861-1865 United States History --Naval operations Civil War, 1861-1865 Mexico, Gulf of