Papers (1863-1936, undated) including typewritten transcripts, correspondence, newspaper and periodical articles and miscellany.
Charles William Read (1840-1890) was born either in Hinds County or Yazoo County, Mississippi. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1856 and was graduated in 1860. Upon hearing that Mississippi had seceded from the Union, Read resigned his commission and returned to the South to join the Confederate Navy. Lieutenant Read's distinguished accomplishments included the capture of twenty-two vessels during the period between June 6 and June 27, 1863. He was captured in Portland, Maine, in June, 1863, following an attempt to take the revenue cutter CALEB CUSHING. He was exchanged in 1864 and subsequently participated in naval operations on the James River.
For further information, see Dictionary of American Biography, vol. 8, pp. 420.
The collection contains typewritten transcripts of Read's notes that discuss the ships on which he served, as well as the ships, cargoes, and captains he captured. The notes describe also the methods he used to capture them. The notes that deal with Portland Harbor constitute an excellent first-person account of his capture and subsequent imprisonment at Fort Warren, Massachusetts. Also of interest are copies of official U.S. government correspondence and correspondence Read sent to the Confederate Secretary of the Navy concerning Read's activities at Portland and the events leading to them. Other primary material pertaining to Read's naval career include his notes describing his duty in the James River Squadron in 1864 and papers relating to his pardon (1865).
Correspondence (1878-1936) includes letters primarily from Read's old shipmates and members of his family. Of particular interest is a letter (1894) describing Confederate sailors' imprisonment at Portland, Maine; Read's attempted escape from Fort Warren; and actions of Read on the James River in 1864. A letter from W. S. Schley ([1904?])summarizes Read's career in laudatory language. A letter of Roby Read in Yokohama, Japan, describes the perceptions and practices of the Japanese in regard to the use of stevedores (Nov., 1910).
Also included are copies of articles dealing with Read's naval career. Among these are Read's account in the Southern Historical Society Papers (May, 1876) concerning his service aboard the MCRAE and the ARKANSAS and "The Capture of Caleb Cushing," by Clarence Hale (1901).
Gift of Mr. Mallory J. Read, Miss Lorna M. Durham
Processed by L. Durham; M. York, June 1981
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.