Charles W. Read Papers, 1863-1970, undated

Manuscript Collection #424

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Charles W. Read Papers
Creator: Read, Charles William, 1840-1890
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1863-1970, undated) including typewritten transcripts, correspondence, newspaper and periodical articles and miscellany.
Extent: 0.073 Cubic feet, 37 items , copies of typewritten transcripts, correspondence, newspaper and periodical articles, and miscellany.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

March 24, 1981, 34 items; Papers (1863-1910, 1936, undated), including correspondence, personal notes, newspaper and magazine articles, and historical essays. Copies of originals in possession of Mr. Mallory J. Read, Arlington, Va. Copies received from Miss Lorna M. Durham, Selma, N.C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Charles W. Read Papers (#424), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Mr. Mallory J. Read, Miss Lorna M. Durham

Processing Information

  • Processed by L. Durham; M. York, June 1981

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

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.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

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).

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Autograph Entries :

  • Schley, W[infield] S[cott] [1904?]

Subject Entries :

  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Ships and Shipping
  • JAPAN— Labor and Laboring Classes
  • MAINE— PORTLAND— Civil War
  • WAR— CIVIL— Forts— Fort Warren
  • WAR— CIVIL— Naval Operations
  • WAR— CIVIL— Prisoners of War

Date Entries :

  • 1862-1864

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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