Author: Damian Shiels

  • Memorial Day Stories 1: USS Tecumseh

    Memorial Day Stories 1: USS Tecumseh

    For Memorial Day 2022 Civil War Bluejackets took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to share the stories of some of the men who lost their lives aboard USS Tecumseh at the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama in 1864. Covering the vessel and four of her crew, the stories were presented as threads, and are replicated […]

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  • Infographic: Exploring the Origins, Ethnicity & Makeup of an American Civil War Ship’s Crew

    Infographic: Exploring the Origins, Ethnicity & Makeup of an American Civil War Ship’s Crew

    Where were the men who served aboard U.S. naval vessels from the American Civil War born? What proportions of their crew were African American, and how many were immigrants? The answers to these questions varied from ship to ship, but could have a profound impact on how the vessel’s on-board community functioned. In our new […]

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  • Revealing the Life Experiences of African American Crewmen aboard USS Pittsburg, July 1864

    Revealing the Life Experiences of African American Crewmen aboard USS Pittsburg, July 1864

    In order to examine the potential of linking data to specific crew lists, a sample analysis was undertaken on crewmen from the USS Pittsburg muster of 1 July 1864. This muster included details on 151 individuals, 40 percent of whom were black. Pension applications were sought relating to black and immigrant sailors among the crew, with thirty […]

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  • USS Carondelet Spotlight: Nativity & Ethnicity on a Union Gunboat

    USS Carondelet Spotlight: Nativity & Ethnicity on a Union Gunboat

    In our first two posts on Civil War Bluejackets we focused on individuals, exploring what they can reveal about immigrant and African American service in the Union Navy. Another of our aims with the muster roll transcription project is to see what the wider data set can tell us, and what questions it might raise. One way […]

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  • USS Carondelet Spotlight: Reconstructing Individual Lives-Irish Immigrant James Carey

    USS Carondelet Spotlight: Reconstructing Individual Lives-Irish Immigrant James Carey

    Our first post on Civil War Bluejackets sought to demonstrate how the muster rolls allow for a detailed look at the often hard to reach experiences of formerly enslaved African Americans. They also provide a similar opportunity with working class European immigrants. Given that March marks Irish American Heritage Month in the United States, we decided to take a […]

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  • USS Louisville Spotlight: Uncovering the Story of an Enslaved Mississippi “Field Hand”

    USS Louisville Spotlight: Uncovering the Story of an Enslaved Mississippi “Field Hand”

    The transcription efforts of the volunteers have allowed us to examine both the micro and macro experiences of Union gunboat crewmen on the Mississippi. In essence, this allows us to conduct both a “deep dive” into the story of individuals, and to pull back to gain broader perspectives on these men’s service. An example of […]

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