Nelly Baker 1
Nelly Baker 21

Autograph Book of the Civil War Troop Transport and Hospital Steamer Nelly Baker

Civil War Period Autograph Book of the Steamer Nelly Baker – This book, in superior condition, is the autograph book that was aboard the Steamer Nelly Baker – SOLD

The Nelly Baker was probably the best known of the early Nahant Line steamers. She was built expressly for Nahant by Samuel Sneeden, in 1854.  Sneeden, who’s shipyard was located in Greenpoint, N.Y., was one of the more significant steam boat builders of the mid-19th century. The Nelly Baker was constructed, primarily, of white oak and was considered to be quite a substantial vessel, capable of withstanding severe weather. Her dimensions were as follows:  gross weight – 303 tons; length – 153 ft.;  beam – 26 ft.; depth – 8.5 ft. She was equipped with a “walking” beam engine, with a 32-inch cylinder and stroke of 10 ft. When first built, the Nelly Baker was considered the fastest steamboat in Boston harbor. She was named for the daughter of Mayor Baker of Lynn, Mass. who was the president of the Nahant Steamboat Co. During the Civil War , she served in Southern waters as a troop transport and hospital ship. After the war’s end, she was sold in 1866 to the Grey Brothers, and all further trace of her disappears. This fine and rare autograph book contains the signatures of many of the Nelly Baker’s Civil War passengers – numerous officers, many of whom would see considerable action later in the war.

The following is an excerpt from an article printed on July 12, 1862 by the New York Times:

The rebels have lately made their appearance near Windmill Point (in Va.), near which our steamers have to pass in coming to this landing, and have opened a battery (probably a moveable one) on our mail and other steamers as they go by. On Monday, the Canonicus received a shot underneath the pilot-house, cutting off the bell wires, and the Achilles also had two balls put through her hull, and the Nelly Baker narrowly escaped having her rudder carried away by another missile on the same day. Capt. Colden said, “Let her rip,” and the engineer put on full steam and escaped out of range. The river is now lined with gunboats, and the rebels do not dare to bark. The mail steamer goes up and down under convoy. The following is a list of the signers in this book, in chronological order of their signature and accompanying annotations:

  • J. M. Manning
  • W. W. Geety, n.d. “The reconstruction of the American Union is the desire of every patriot but it can never be accomplished...until Slavery shall be entirely eradicated from our social system.” [This is possibly William W. Geety of Co H, PA 47th, wounded 10/22/1862 Pocotaligo, SC.]
  • D. C. Rodman, 7th Conn. Vol.
  • Beaufort, June 21, 1863 — Full page, interesting but hard to read. Mentions Major Larrabee [?]; wife of Gen Banks and a quote. [see photo.]
  • O. S. Sanford, 7th Conn. Vol.
  • Samuel E. Hudson, Beaufort, 1863
  • C. E. Fuller, Beaufort, 1863
  • A. J. Holbrook, Lieut & Signal Officer, Dept. of No. Carolina, Beaufort, 1863
  • Jona. Crowell, 2nd Mate of Steamer Nelly Baker, Beaufort
  • Israel Sealy, 1st Lt., 47 NYV, AAAG, Dept of the South, Hilton Head, Mar. 5, 1863
  • J. G. Chambers, Major 23rd Mass. Vols. [Appears to be John Gray Chambers; wounded Quaker Bridge, Drewry's Bluff, died of wounds Fort Monroe, VA, 7/15/1864]
  • Edwin S. Harris, Captain 9th Regiment N. Jersey Vols.
  • Wm. I[?] Robinson [?], Surgeon 104th Regt, Beaufort, 1863.
  • A L Gwynne, quote, 1881.
  • N. Gardner Parker, 1st Lieut. 1st SCV, 1863.
  • Andrew Hessell, 2d Lieut 2d S.C. Vols. Beaufort
  • [signer with interesting alias - "Knockamstiffyou----thunderbolt"] Quotation, “This world was made my A grater power than chan[c]e.” On board of the Nelly Baker bound for St. Simon’s Island Geo.
  • Benj F Prouty, Capt. “B” Co. 5th[?] Conn. Vol. Infy
  • George Hoyt, Manchester, N.H.
  • C. H. Knapp
  • Robert Kennedy, Chief Engineer, U. S. Steamer Nelly Baker, Beaufort, June 27th, 1863.
  • Charles A. Northorp – one line quote.
  • Wyman Dearborn, quote, 1870, Beaufort
  • Geo. W. Gardner, Capt 24th Mass.
  • Frank L. Osborne, July 26, 1865, “Kenesaw”
  • John W. Selvage, 1st Lieut 34th U.S.C.T. [Colored Troops], July 1865.
  • C. Byron Malleck [or Halleck]
  • H.H.D. Byron, Jamaica Plain MA, quote, at Beaufort, SC 1871
  • JJ Noah of Nashville, 1871 at Beaufort, SC. Quote, small drawing of logo or seal.
  • Alfred G. Thomas, 1873, quote, small drawing swan.
  • Rachel C. Mather, Beaufort, 1878. With quote.




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