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Guide to the Naval History Society Collection
1721-1995 (bulk 1781-1936)
  MS 439

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Celia Hartmann.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 09, 2019
Description is in English

Container List

Series 47. John Ancrum Winslow (1842-1875)

Scope and Content

The series consists of Winslow's letters to his wife Katherine A. Winslow before and after Kearsarge's defeat of CSS  Alabama under his command, an early letter from Raphael Semmes and the challenge sent by him as commander of  Alabama, copies of orders received, letters received by Winslow from various dignitaries after the victory and some sent to Mrs. Winslow after her husband's death, and a 20th century newspaper clipping describing the discovery of  Alabama's wreck.

Some letters to Mrs. Winslow have been redacted in another hand and/or have had portions excised; some appear to have been previously mounted or stored in an album. A few of the earlier letters to her are fragments and have penciled on them the date "April 25, 1962". One letter (December 13, 1861) is from the Winslows' son Chilton relating his father's injuries and includes a penciled note from his father.

These materials formed the basis for John M. Ellicott's "The life of John Ancrum Winslow, Rear-Admiral, United States Navy, who commanded the U.S. Steamer "Kearsarge" in her action with the Confederate Cruiser "Alabama"," published in 1902 by G.P. Putnam's Sons. Portions of this collection relating to the Civil War have been digitized and are available to on-site researchers and to users affiliated with subscribing institutions via EBSCOhost.

Biographical Note

John Ancrum Winslow (1811-1873) was appointed midshipman in 1827, served in the Mexican War, and was commissioned commander in 1855. During the Civil War, he first served on the upper Mississippi River. Promoted to captain in 1862, he commanded Kearsarge (1863-1864) in pursuit of Confederate cruisers in Europe. On June 19, 1864, in a celebrated naval engagement,  Kearsarge sank the Confederate raider  Alabama off Cherbourg, France, where it sank. For his victory Winslow was promoted to commodore and received the thanks of Congress. He later commanded the Gulf Squadron (1866-67), was made rear admiral (1870), and commanded the Pacific Squadron (1870-72).


Various letters were previously individually housed and described, with date, sender, and abstracts of or quotations from their contents. Those are individually housed and described here; the previous wrappers and descriptions from the collection are grouped together at the end of the series.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Letters to Mrs. Winslow
1842 July 2 - August 24
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Letters from Raphael Semmes, then in US Navy Lighthouse Board
1860 November 15, 1861 January 25
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Letters to Mrs. Winslow
1861 September 15 - December 13
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Copies of orders received
1862 January 10, January 21, September 27
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Letters to Mrs. Winslow
1862 May 9 - September 29
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Letters to Mrs. Winslow
1862 October 9 - 1863 June 19
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Letters to Mrs. Winslow
1863 July 1 - December 20
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Letters to Mrs. Winslow
1864 January 1 - August 23
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Captain Semmes' challenge to Captain Winslow
1864 June 14
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Telegram to Vice Consul of U.S., Cherbourg: "Glorious thanks be to god and Winslow" [signed] Putnam
1864 June 18
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Letter from U.S. Consul General , Paris, Hon. Wm. Drayton
1864 June 19
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Letter from Rev. L. Dussaud: "written the day of the battle; minister at Cherbourg offering his services to Admiral Winslow, as chaplain for the sick and wounded"
1864 June 19
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Letter from Hon. J.W. Morse, U.S. Consulate, London
1864 June 20
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Letter from Charles Francis Adams, U.S. Minister London: "Fine letter of congratulations"
1864 June 21
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Letter from George H. Preble (commander, U.S. Sloop of War "St. Louis"), Cadiz, Spain, on "successful destruction of that pest of our commerce the "  Alabama""
1864 June 21
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Letter from Hon. M.L. Dayton, Jr., U.S. Legation, Paris
1864 June 23
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Letter from Hon. Thomas H. Dudley, Consul General, Liverpool
1864 June 24
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Letters to Mrs. Winslow
1865 June 9 - 1868 February 15
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Power of attorney to Catherine A. Winslow
1865 December 21
Box: 1 Folder : 20 From Admiral Thornton: "His farewell letter to Winslow who died Sept. 29, 1873"
1873 August 5
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Letters from Mrs. Admiral Farragut to Mrs. Winslow, speaking of her husband's appreciation of Admiral Winslow's service to his country
1875 January 25, 26
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Clipping: "Civil War drama under way, 30 fathoms deep," New York Times
1988 June 28
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Typed transcript: June 20, 1864 letter to Mrs. Winslow after defeat of Alabama; excerpt from  Appleton's vol. VI, p. 569, biography of Winslow and description of the engagement
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Pencil memoranda by Chilton R. Winslow "(for his mother from bulletin board) that "Kearsarge" had sunk the "  Alabama" and description of that action"
Box: 1 Folder : 25 Wrapper "Private papers belonging to John A. Winslow 1863", "Autograph of Adm. W."
Box: 1 Folder : 26 Wrappers and descriptions for individual letters
Box: 1 Folder : 27 Wrappers for groups of letters

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