DSC01136DSC01109DSC01137DSC01138DSC01140DSC01131DSC01105DSC01106USS Yankee

Original Civil War U.S. Navy Id’d Officer’s Vest


Original Civil War U.S. Navy Id’d Officer’s Vest – Single breasted, Civil War U.S. navy, blue vest with a nine button front; it conforms to U.S. Navy, Civil War period regulations. The name ‘L.H.MERRILL” is written, in period, on linen interior lining of the vest. The vest has all of its original, Civil War navy vest size buttons; the dark blue front, exterior panels of the vest were constructed of fine English broadcloth wool. The back panel of the vest was made of the typical brown, polished cotton; both original size adjustment bands are present, with the original black japanned clasp. The interior of the vest is lined in a nice, white cotton linen. The front panels exhibit three pockets – two on one side and one on the other, per period style or fashion. All the pockets are lined in a brown polished cotton. The vest is in excellent condition, both inside and out. Louiville H. Merrill was an acting assistant paymaster in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War, serving in 1864 and 1865; he served aboard the USS Yankee. Melville’s wartime correspondence is currently in the East Carolina University archives. The USS Yankee was quite active in Virginia theatre and involved in many engagements; it was an armed side-wheeler tug-like boat. The Yankee accompanied the first re-provisioning expedition to Ft. Sumter, in 1861.

Louville H. Merrill, throughout his enlistment in the U.S. Navy (ca. July 5, 1864 – May 20, 1865), served as the acting assistant paymaster on the U.S. Steamer YANKEE, first under John Rockwell, (July 1864 – October, 1864), then under G. C. Schultz (October, 1864 – November, 1864), and finally under L. G. Cook (November, 1864 – May, 1865). The YANKEE was a sidewheel steamer built in 1860 at the New York City Naval Shipyard for use on the U.S. Naval expedition to provision Fort Sumter, S.C.. On April 26, 1861, she became part of the blockade system of the Chesapeake Bay and in July was officially attached to the Potomac Flotilla. She saw action in the transport of Union troops, the capture of Confederate troops, and with the destruction of embattlements and towns. She was decommissioned on May 16, 1865, in the naval shipyard in Washington, D.C., and was sold at auction to George B. Collier in September of that year.

 Louville Howard Merrill

Birth:             Sep. 22, 1839 Cumberland, Cumberland County, Maine, USA

Death:             Aug. 15, 1918; Portland, Cumberland County, Maine, USA

Family links: Spouse: Mary Ellen Wyman Merrill (1842 – 1930); Children: Louville Howard Merrill (1875 – 1876)*,  Grace F. Merrill Jenkins (1878 – 1969)*,  Katherine Collins Merrill Kelly (1882 – 1978), Emma Lucy Merrill Worthen (1885 – 1985)* *Calculated relationship

Burial: Moss Side Cemetery, Cumberland Center, Cumberland County, Maine, USA

USS Yankee - Sidewheel Steamer:

Built in 1860 as a steam tug at New York City

During the Civil War USS Yankee:

Was chartered in early April 1861 to help provision Fort Sumter at Charleston, S.C.

Assisted in the evacuation of Norfolk Navy Yard, 20 April 1861, towing USS Cumberland to safety

Commissioned USS Yankee in April 1861, LT. Thomas O. Selfridge in command

Served as dispatch and escort vessel on the upper Chesapeake Bay

Assigned to reconnaissance duty lower Chesapeake Bay, eastern shore and James River

Attached to the Potomac Flotilla, 9 July 1861

Captured Confederate schooner Favorite, 18 July 1861

Assisted in the destruction of sloops T.W. Riley and Jane Wright, 29 July 1861

Captured schooner Remittance, 16 August 1861

Assisted in the capture of J. W. Sturges, 27 July 1862

Reassigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in April 1863

On the Rappahannock River captured schooner Cassandra, 11 July 1863

Took schooner Nanjemoy on the Coan River, 15 July 1863

Captured sloop Clara Ann, 1 August 1863, on the Coan River

Participated in raid on railroad facilities at Hamilton’s Crossing near Fredericksburg, VA., 7 March 1865

Decommissioned, 16 May 1865, at Washington Navy Yard

Sold at public auction, 15 September 1865, to George B. Collier

Final Disposition, fate unknown


Specifications:Displacement 328 t. 
Length 146′ 
Beam 25′ 7″ 
Draft 21′ 1″ 
Speed unknown 
Complement unknown 

two 32-pdrs

Propulsion steam




USS Yankee (1861)

United States

Laid down:     unknown date

Launched:      1860

Acquired:       1861

Commissioned:          1861

Decommissioned:      16 May 1865

Struck:            unknown date

Fate:    sold at public auction on 15 September 1865

General characteristics

Displacement:            328 tons

Length:           146 ft (45 m)

Beam: 25 ft 7 in (7.80 m)


steam engine

side-wheel propelled

Armament:     two 32-pounder guns

USS Yankee (1861) was a steam-powered side-wheel tugboat acquired by the Union Navy just prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War.


Provisioning Fort Sumter, evacuating Norfolk

The Yankee—a side-wheel steamer built in 1860 at New York City—was one of three steam tugs chartered early in April 1861 at New York City for use on the expedition to provision Fort Sumter, South Carolina, the first U.S. state to declare its secession from the Union, which it had done on December 20, 1860. She departed New York on 8 April 1861 and arrived off Charleston Bar on the 15th, a few hours after Major Robert Anderson’s command had evacuated the fort and embarked in Federal transport Baltic. On the 20th, Yankee assisted in the evacuation of the Norfolk Navy Yard, Norfolk, Virginia, towing USS Cumberland to safety. She then returned to the New York Navy Yard.


Performing reconnaissance duty

Yankee left the navy yard on the 26 April 1861 for duty as a dispatch and escort vessel between Annapolis, Maryland, and Havre de Grace, Maryland. On 30 April 1861, she received orders to Hampton Roads for reconnaissance duty between the Rip Raps and Cape Henry, Virginia. Batteries manned by Virginia forces that had not yet been formally incorporated into the Confederate States Army at Gloucester Point, Virginia, fired upon Yankee on 7 May 1861,[1] doing little damage but reportedly wounding two Union sailors. Yankee returned fire with four shots and two shells but the crew could not elevate its guns high enough to reach the shore batteries and Yankee broke off the action and returned to Hampton Roads. After further reconnaissance duty along the eastern shore of Virginia and the James River, Yankee proceeded to the Washington Navy Yard on 25 May 1861 to deliver prize schooners General Knox and Georgeanna. She sailed for Hampton Roads on the last day of May 1861 and arrived on 2 June 1861 but was sent north a week later for major repairs at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.


On 2 July 1861, Yankee departed Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, bound via the Washington Navy Yard for Hampton Roads. However, Confederate activity along the Potomac River necessitated that the vessel remain at Washington; and she was formally attached to the Potomac Flotilla on the 9 July 1861.


Operating in the Virginia area

In ensuing months, Yankee was busy operating against Confederate vessels in the Potomac and Southern forces along its banks. On 18 July 1861, she captured the Confederate schooner Favorite in the Yeocomico River, Virginia. On 29 July, she and USS Reliance (1860) engaged a Confederate battery at Marlborough Point, Virginia. Yankee destroyed the sloops T. W. Riley and Jane Wright near Smith’s Island, Virginia, on 16 August 1861 and captured the schooner Remittance near Piney Point, Maryland, on 28 August 1861. A landing party from USS Anacostia and Yankee destroyed abandoned Confederate entrenchments and batteries at Cockpit Point and Evansport, Virginia, on 9 March 1862, the day of the engagement between the Union ironclad USS Monitor and the Confederate armored ram CSS Virginia.


During brief service with the James River Flotilla supporting General George B. McClellan’s beleaguered army at Harrison’s Landing in July and August 1862, Yankee assisted in the capture on 27 July 1862 of J. W. Sturges in Chippoak Creek, Virginia. She returned to the Potomac Flotilla on 30 August 1862 and guarded the water approaches to the Federal capital until the following spring.


Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron

USS Coeur de Lion, USS Primrose, USS Teaser, and Yankee left the Potomac Flotilla for Hampton Roads and duty with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in April 1863. Yankee participated in the capture of the strong Confederate position at Hill’s Point, Virginia, on the Nansemond River on 20 April 1863, even though the armed tug’s length and draft impaired her maneuverability. She returned to the Rappahannock River on 1 May 1863.


During duty on the Rappahannock, Yankee captured the schooner Cassandra and her cargo of whiskey and soda on 11 July 1863. She took the schooner Nanjemoy in the Coan River, Virginia, on 15 July 1863; and captured the sloop Clara Ann on 1 August 1863. Yankee assisted in landing Union cavalry and infantry under General Gilman Marston on the Potomac-Rappahannock peninsula on 12 January 1864 and helped destroy a Confederate encampment under construction at Carter’s Creek, Virginia, on 29 April 1864.


Raiding Hamilton’s Crossing

Yankee’s last major operation of the war occurred on 7 March 1865, when the tug joined USS Commodore Read, USS Delaware, USS Heliotrope and Army troops in a raid upon Hamilton’s Crossing near Fredericksburg, Virginia. The force destroyed a train depot, a railroad bridge, 28 loaded freight cars, and a Confederate army wagon train. Moreover, she made prisoners of 30 Confederates as well.



On 5 May 1865, Yankee sailed to the Washington Navy Yard. Yankee was decommissioned there on 16 May 1865 and was sold at public auction on 15 September 1865 to George B. Collier.