Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Figurehead of the Chesapeake.

A few years ago I did a page on the Chesapeake, then the other day I received a letter from a Mr. Martin Bibbing, from Suffolk, England, wanting to know what I know about the figurehead of the Chesapeake, and give the following interesting information.

For many years I have studied the famous action between HMS Shannon and USF Chesapeake and I was delighted to find recently on the internet your excellent and invaluable listing of the Chesapeake’s killed, wounded and prisoners following the battle. I was also intrigued by your statement regarding the Chesapeake’s figurehead (fiddle beak, she didn’t have a figurehead as such) and I wondered where your information came from:

“The figurehead for Chesapeake was formerly located outside the main admin offices of Olau Line in the old Royal Naval Dockyard of Sheerness, but was damaged by the Medway Ports Authority during a move in 1991”.

My understanding has always been that the when the Chesapeake was broken up after her service in the Royal Navy many of her timbers were used to construct a flourmill in Hampshire (which still exists and is known as the Chesapeake Mill) but her fiddlebeak was presented to Philip Broke’s son (Broke himself having died by this time). When the Broke family line ran out the fiddlebeak (and Shannon’s figurehead) ended up at Shrubland Hall near Ipswich, Suffolk , the family seat of the de Saumerez dynasty (related through Broke’s wife’s family). When inheritance tax liability forced the current de Saumerez family to sell Shrubland and many of its treasures a few years ago the Shannon’s figurehead and Cheseapeake’s fiddlebeak were auctioned off and bought by an American and exported to the USA. Fortunately before they left the country I was able to obtain photographs of them both which I attach for your interest.

I have also previously come across another contradictory reference to Chesapeake’s figurehead which doesn’t square with my previous understanding......

A book entitled Hampshire Treasures (1982) ISBN 0-900-908-7-26 has the following;

"The figurehead of the Chesapeake was also to be found in the area (near Wickcombe, Hampshire, at Arford House - 2 storeys. Coursed square stone blocks, creamwashed. Slate roof. Casement windows with flat lintels and 'Gothic' tracery. Stable block converted into dwelling. Stables and various outhouses round a courtyard. A complex of buildings, now two dwellings. The main house is square. Conservatory across south face. In the late 19th century, Brett Harte was a visitor and named the footpath from Arford to Longcross Hill The Brae.

The figurehead of the Chesapeake, which was captured by the Shannon, was formerly on a summer house at the top of the garden- it was a bird, perhaps an eagle, and a portion of it was said to be part of a lamp bracket in the house.

When the Chesapeake was broken up, the figurehead was bought by Mr Ewsters, who was then building (or living in) Arford House. Mr Henry Knight, who was born 27th Nov 1805, remembered it, and told the then rector, Mr Laverty (1872-1928)."

Even if this bird or eagle was from the Chesapeake’s (which I doubt as the droughts of the ship show only the plain fiddlebeak) the only explanation I can put on these diverse statements would mean that the when the Chesapeake was broken up it was Mr Ewsters of Arford House who bought the figurehead (fiddlebeak) and it was only subsequently given or bought by Broke’s descendents - but then where does your statement that a figurehead purporting to be that of the Chesapeake was to be found at Sheerness as late as 1991. All very mysterious. I would love to have your thoughts.

Best regards, Martin Bibbings Suffolk, England.

My Answer.

Mr. Bibbings, It took me a while but I found the post you were talking about, and I could tell from the first sentence were the info came from. I got it off the web while looking for info on the two ships. I tried to find it again so I you could give any Ref. they give but I couldn’t find it again sorry.

I found the info about the figurehead very interesting, as to my thoughts, about it, I can say there is more then likely truth to both sides of the stories.

Although I like history, I built my site on the surname but you can’t just have pages after pages of names. I use history as a back ground so those looking for their ancestors will know what was happen in and around their ancestors at that point and time in history.

Although from time to time I do pages on history just for the interest. I found your info very interesting and was hoping you would allow me to post the info you sent me as a page and my site? And I would like to use the photo of the figurehead as well, if you don’t mind? , Don’t fell bad if you don’t like the idea I have many other subject matters to write about

Dennis S.

Monday, May 09, 2011

They Shot Themself.

Here are some soldiers that shot themselves accidentally, however there are some civilians on this list as well. There will also be some men that committed suicide by shooting themself.

1. Mortimer Odett, private, Company G, Third New York, Cavalry, enlisted August 7, 1861, at Lowville, Age 18, Mustered in at Boonville, August 21, 1861.

2. Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel A. Moore, of the Fourteenth Connecticut infantry. Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, of the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteers, though not on duty, superintended the movements of his command on the 6th of March, and while engaged in the capture of some rebels accidentally shot himself with his pistol.

3. Charles Henders, Company G, Thirtieth Indiana Infantry, shot himself in hand for purpose of getting to the rear.

4. Thomas C. Case, Company C, 98th., Ohio infantry, who, it is supposed by many, accidentally shot himself dead.

5. . Private Ed. Hurst, 4th., Indiana infantry, accidentally shot himself in the line of battle.

6. Colonel Frederick. H. Collier, 139th,Pennsylvania, infantry, accidentally shot himself through the foot with a pistol-ball, and was compelled to leave his command.

7. Bugler [William H.] Leeser, of Company B, fifth U. S. Cavalry, accidentally shot himself while on picket.

8. Lieutenant [George F.] Crocker, 2nd., Colorando Cavalry compamy K., shot himself, accidentally, yesterday, and will be laid up for weeks.

9. Corpl. William K. Worth, 23rd. Mass., infantry, company I., accidentally shot himself through the hand. Home Ipswich, Soap maker, Enlisted September 22, 1861, Mustered in September 28, 1861. Wounded December 13, 1862, on the march. Discharged for disability May 12, 1863, at Boston Mass., as a Corporal.

10. Joseph C. Powell, private in Company H, 14th., Missouri Cavalry, who accidentally shot himself through the left hand, inflicting a dangerous wound.

11. Colonel Holiday. The death of Colonel Holiday was very sudden and very sad. He appeared greatly depressed when here about the condition of his regiment, which was then at Strasburg. He spoke upon no other subject while here. His officers say he had been nearly insane for three weeks, and attribute his depression of spirits to personal disappointments not connected with his profession. I do not know how this may be. His death occurred near Strasburg, while he was near the head of his column. He shot himself in the head, and died without a word. His body has been sent, with appropriate attentions, to his friends in New York.
Note. This should be Jonas P. Holiday?

12. James Round. Accidentally shot himself December 16, near Brown County line, Kansas, 1863.

13. Jacob Wingett. Accidentally shot by James Pickett, in White Cloud, Kansas, June 5, 1865.

14. Jonathan Rigby. Shot himself accidentally, near Geary City, Kansas, March 28, 1872.

15. Ed. Hayton. Accidentally shot himself near Wathena, Kansas October 20, 1880.

16. John Hines, Accidentally shot and killed himself on Wolf river, Kansas, January 6, 1882.

17. Fred Huff. Accidentally shot himself on Cedar Creek, Kansas, February 6, 1903.

18. Andrew J. Batty, Bugler, 7th., Kansas Cavalry Co. B., home Topeka, enlisted Sept. 9, 1861, mustered in Sept. 9, 1861, Killed accidentally shot himself, Holden, Mo., January 8, 1862.

19. Henry Vossick, recruit, 10th., Illinois, infantry, company F., home St., Louis Mo., shot himself, Aberrstion of mind.

20 James T. Dutton, recruit, 123rd., Illinois, infantry, company A., Enlisted March 16,, 1864, Mustered in April 19, 1864, Home Charleston, died, accidentally shot himself at Colombia Tenn., August 9, 1864.

21.Henry Snell, recruit, 11th., Indiana, cavalry, Co. A., Home Peoria, Enlisted March 31, 1864, Mustered in April 23, 1864. Shot himself died, at Memphis, September 10, 1865.

22. Henry H. Sherman, Sixth Corporal, Third Iowa, Infantry, Co. B. Age, 24, Enlisted May 31, 1861, Mustered in June 10, 1861, Home Knoxville, Nativity of Ohio, Killed, shot by accident July 24, 1861, Chillicothe, Mo.

23. William Schnemilch, Recruit, 58th. Illinois infantry, Co. G., Shot himself, died July 20, 1863.

24. Thomas Clifton, private, 13th., Illinois cavalry, company D., Enlisted January 29, 1862, mustered in February 20, 1862, home Cook county, accidentally shot, and killed himself.

25. Bernhardt Zink, Private, 16th., Illinois cavalry, company D., Enlisted March 10, 1863, Mustered in March 27, 1863, Home Chicago. Shot himself and died at Cumberland Gap, Kentucky December 13, 1863.

26. John C. H. Wiley, recruit, 16th, Illinois cavalry, company K., Enlisted August 20, 1863, Mustered in August 31, 1863. Returned prisoner. Accidentally shot himself, died June 4, 1863.

27. Alexander Anderson, private, First Illinois Light Artillery, company A., Enlisted July 16, 1861, Mustered in July 16, 1861. Shot him self in a fit of insanity at Memphis, June 27, 1862.

28. Abraham Brown, private 54th., Massachusetts infantry, company E., Home Toronto, Canada West, Age 20, Sailor, Enlisted April 4, 1863, Mustered in April 23, 1863. Killed July 12, 1863, accidentally shot himself at James Island, S. C.

29. Edward E. Moore, Private, First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, company D., Age 18, Clerk, Enlisted and Mustered in December 11, 863, died of wounds August 20, 1863, Petersburg Va., Shot himself by accident, July 17, 1864.

30.Benjamin Estes, Private, First Regiment New Jersey, Handcock’s Corps., company G., Enlisted and Mustered in February 13, 1865, accidentally shot him self at Camp Handcock, Virginia, March 14, 1865.