Als From Uss Southfield, Prior To Battle Of Plymouth, 1864 W/cover
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Als From Uss Southfield, Prior To Battle Of Plymouth, 1864 W/cover:
Aletter with cover written by 2nd Engineer in command William Goff at sea onboard the USS Southfied off Plymouth, NC.during a period of renewed Confederate action and just prior to the Battle of Plymouth in which the Southland was lost.
In February,the Confederatesattacked New Bern and captured gunboat USS Underwriter. On the first day of March, Southfield and tincladUSS Whiteheadascended theChowan Riverto assist Army steamer USS Bombshell, which had been cut off by Confederates . On March 2, they shelled the Southern batteries, enabling Bombshell to dash down to safety.
The air was rife with rumors that Rebel ironclad ramCSS Albemarlewas ready to descend theRoanoake Riverto destroy the Union warships in the sounds. On the afternoon of April 17,Confederate ground forces attacked Plymouthwith artillery and musketry. The Union gunboats in the vicinity helped to defend the town for the remainder of the day and throughout the next.
That night, in anticipation of an attack by Albemarle, Southfield was brought alongside USS Miami, and the two ships were lashed together for mutual protection and concentration of firepower. Before dawn on the morning of April 19, Albemarle emerged from the Roanoke. Miami and Southfield raced toward her. When the three ships collided, the ram scraped across Miami's bow, smashed through Southfield's starboard side, and pierced the wooden gunboat's boiler. For a moment, both Miami and Albemarle were entangled with the fatally wounded double-ender. The forward ropes which had lashed Southfield to Miami were snapped by the collision, and the aft lines were cut by Miami's crew. Albemarle had a harder time extricating herself from her bested and rapidly sinking adversary.
Before she could pull free from the wreck by backing her engines, the ram had taken on so much water that her forward deck was too far depressed to permit her to overtake Miami or to let her guns open fire on the departing side-wheeler. Thus, in sinking, Southfield saved her consort.
Engineer Goff was taken prisoner and spent five months as a POW before being paroled. Upon his release he was assigned to the ill-fated USS Merrimac, which would also be lost. It was the third of his ships to be lost. In this letter of late March 1864 he puts up a good-humored calm to his parents
“…It is quite chilly today, but I suppose that you have it much colder North than we do. I had not ought to complain…Fredy says that mother will look for me in April. She must not look for me till I come, for it is uncertain what month you will see me...there must be some steamer come here to relieve us before we can go, but I don't see how the Boiler of this Ship can hold out long, it is very bad...
Goff talks about coming home with a stipulation that unfortunately for him comes true;
"…that is if I do not get Ship Reck again…"
Goff was taken prisoner April - Sept. 30th., 1864after the sinking of the USS Southfield at the battle of Plymouth. The Merrimac was the third ship that sank while Goff was onboard in 1865(See my other item for sale, 6 Documents as well as other letters written by Engineer Goff)
Excellent condition with original stamped cover.
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