An Old Claim

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The CSS Alabama was sunk by the USS Kearsage, but not before causing considerable damage to the American merchant marine. From The Mariners’ Museum collection.

Hello readers, and welcome back to the Library blog. Many of the posts on this blog over the past few months have concerned the SS United States. While this blog will by no means abandon the proud ship as a subject matter, it will nonetheless begin to focus on a new topic: Maritime Piracy. Piracy is an issue that comes up frequently in our news, especially in the past few years. Just yesterday, naval forces from France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands worked together to catch numerous pirates that had stolen boats and taken hostages in the Gulf of Aden. Read the full article HERE!

 During the American Civil War, the Confederates deployed several small ships of war as commerce raiders, bent on damaging the Union’s trade routes. Since the Confederate government was not officially recognized by the United States government, these commerce raiders were seen as pirates by Union ships. Perhaps no raider is as famous as the CSS Alabama, a British-built sloop-of-war that terrorized Union shipping all over the world. In fact, First Mate Joshua P. Atkins from the T.B. Wales filed an insurance claim for his lost property when the CSS Alabama captured and burned his ship on November 8th 1863.   Read more

Remembering our Good Fortune

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To Ms. Eliza Guinan, Michael's sister. The letter was not sent until Michael arrived in Washington DC on July 30th. From The Mariners' Museum Collection.

Hello again, and welcome back to the Library blog. I hope everyone had a pleasant Fourth of July and a weekend spent with friends and family. Sadly, during the Civil War hundreds of thousands of young men could not share in this simple joy. Separated from their loved ones, the only merriment many soldiers had was what they could create for themselves. Private Michael Guinan of the 128th New York Volunteers Co. A wrote to his sister a letter several days after the Fourth, recounting the somber celebration he and his unit had produced.

“We passed the Fourth of July in camp with no amusement of any kind whatsoever only in the evening (Bill?) Forster got a couple of barrels of beer and called us all up and we all drank a glass in honor of the day… at taps we all went to bed, to dream of times gone by and of those to come again: to dream of the Fourths of July we passed at home, and of those we will pass if God spares us to return again.” – Pvt. Michael Guinan, July 1864.   Read more