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Sale 38 Lot 292

(1820-1895) First Lieutenant in the Confederate States Navy. Morris served on the Savannah, Georgia, Station in 1861-63 and commanded CSS Florida from January 1864 until her capture the following October. During the remainder of the Civil War, he served abroad as an agent of the Confederacy. Superb content A.L.S. "C Manigault Morris Commander Geo Navy", 1p. 4to., "Naval Rendezvous" Savannah, Feb. 28, 1861 to Colonel Henry C. Wayne, adjutant general of the Georgia State forces at Milledgeville, describing the purchase, outfitting, officers and crew, etc. for the first vessel in the navy of Confederate Georgia: the Savannah. A 406-ton, side-wheel steamer formerly named the Everglade, the Savannah was re-commissioned at the outbreak of hostilities. At the time of writing, Morris was the ranking officer of the Georgia Navy in the port of Savannah. He writes: "Your Telegraphic Dispatch, 'Don't take Everglade [sic, Savannah] until repairs to boiler is made, further by mail,' was not received until after Commander Kell had taken her from her owners. My object in hastening the matter was that I might get her ready for Sea as soon as possible, as I have now 49 Men Shipped, and could get her off in a few days if her Armament was here. Her Officers are as follows, Commander J. McI. Kell, Midshipmen Armstrong, Meriwether, & Hooper, Chief Engineer Joshua smith, Assistant engineer Uzal Meecker. Leut. [Richard F.] Armstrong has not yet reported, and Mr. Holcombe has charge of the Bonita. If I had another Boat, I think I might get a crew for her in a week. I would recommend the 'Gordon' or the St. Mary's, the former can be had at any time, the Latter will be here on Saturday. The Gordon I think the better oat of the two...". On Jan. 25, 1861, the Georgia convention voted for the purchase of three steamers for defense of the coast and Gov. Brown sent Commander John McIntosh Kell to Savannah to purchase and command the first of these. On March 7, after making a number of repairs, Kell reported the Savannah ready for active service. Kell took her on her first cruise the following day. He was then ordered to Fernandina, Florida, in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain two guns for Fort Pulaski owing to the governor of Florida's refusal to turn them over to him. Upon arrival back in Savannah on Mar. 22, Kell learned that Georgia had ratified the Confederate Constitution and the Georgia Navy was to be absorbed into the Confederate Navy. The C.S.S. Savannah (not to be confused with the later ironclad of the same name) served as Commodore Tattnall's flagship during the battle of Port Royal Sound. In November 1861, Tattnall led her in an attack on Union vessels guarding the Savannah River. In January, he ran the blockade to bring supplies to Fort Pulaski. The vessel was renamed the C.S.S. Oconee in 1863 upon the completion of the ironclad ram Savannah. The Oconee became a blockade runner, but fell victim to a storm in August 1863. The letter also mentions the ship Bonita, which was a former slaver that was captured by the U.S. Navy before the outbreak of hostilities. After Georgia seceded, the Bonita was in Savannah harbor and was seized for use by the Georgia Navy. A superb letter from the earliest days of the Georgia Navy, quite rare. Usual folds, extremely light toning at margins, else near fine.
Estimate $ 2,000-3,000

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