Important Civil War Navy Grouping – Includes Uniforms, Sea Bags, Images, Rare USN Blankets and Personal Items – Sailor Served on Admiral Farragut’s Flagship, the USS Hartford Where He Was WIA



Important Civil War Navy Grouping – Includes Uniforms, Sea Bags, Images, Rare USN Blankets and Personal Items – Sailor Served on Admiral Farragut’s Flagship, the USS Hartford Where He Was WIA – This grouping is the most significant Civil War navy grouping we have ever encountered; all of the components were the possessions of Averland Foster, a young man who served in the U.S. Navy, during the war, on the USS Hartford, where he was wounded by wood splinters when a Confederate projectile struck the ship. Foster, after recovering, would later serve on the USS Colorado, during the bombardment of Ft. Fisher; he would remain in the US Navy until 1866, traveling on board the Colorado to Europe. This grouping is so voluminous, that we have compiled a list of its contents, as descriptions of each item would simply take up too much of this posting. Please feel free to email or call us with specific questions. The following is a list of the components of the grouping:

 List of Items Composing Foster Civil War Navy Grouping (Civil War Sailor – Averland Foster – enlisted under the name – George Knight):

  1. 2 Civil War period navy jumpers (blouses) – both have the name “George Knight” stenciled in the jumper; this was the name Averland Foster utilized when he joined the navy; one jumper has a rating badge on the sleeve
  2. 2 Civil War period U.S. Navy blankets
  3. 1 pair of Civil War period navy trousers
  4. 2 pre-Civil War or Civil War period beckets (rare woven rope handles for a sea trunk or chest)
  5. 1 mid-19th century sea bag stenciled with the initials of Averland Foster’s brother – Rushton G. Foster2 mid-19th century sea bags stenciled with the initials “AWF” – Alfred Washington Foster – sailor and father of Averland Foster; the senior Foster was on board whaling vessels prior to the Civil War and kept the ship’s logs, as did his brother and Averland’s uncle, Philetus Foster; these logs are currently in the collections of New York Heritage Digital Collections
  6. 1 sea bag made from a mid-19th century feed bag
  7. 3 homespun towels – mid-19th century
  8. Book published in the 1880s entitled: “The Alabama and Sumter” by Raphael Semmes
  9. Mid-19th century bone fid, with two bone rings (larger ring – a neckerchief slide)
  10. 2 M1858 Hardee hat eagle insignias
  11. Mid-19th century stenciling kit with two ink bottles, two stenciling brushes, mirror folder
  12. 2 mid-19th century personal stencils – “Ella Foster” (mother of Averland); “Rushton G. Foster” (younger brother of Averland)
  13. CDV of monument to Franklin Goodwin – died in Cherbourg, France after falling from the rigging of the USS Colorado (1866) – shipmate of Averland Foster
  14. Civil War period cased, 1/6 plate tintype of Averland Foster, as a U.S.N. enlisted sailor, in uniform
  15. Civil War period 1/4 plate tintype housed in an elaborate, decoratively appointed, blue velvet case – containing handwritten period note identifying the man in the image as Averland Foster, in U.S.N. uniform – Editor Ron Coddington of Military Images Magazine contacted us and added this information regarding this image:”According to page 43 of Foster’s pension (attached) he was at home at East Hampton, Long Island until February 21, 1865. The Colorado was in for repairs at the New York Navy Yard after taking a pounding at Fort Fisher weeks earlier. It is a good bet that Foster posed in a New York City studio that catered to navy personnel as evidenced by the backdrop. I believe we’ve attributed this backdrop to a Brooklyn photographer in a past issue. A very cursory review of Foster’s pension notes he used an alias at one point. Also that Foster had previously served on the Varuna, (the pension states Varina) a legendary gunboat that fought in operations that led to the fall of New Orleans.”
  16. Civil War period 1/6 plate tintype housed in a leatherette case of Averland Foster in U.S.N. uniform – handwritten period note identifies Foster
  17. Pre-Civil War, cased, 1/9 plate ambrotype with accompanying handwritten note identifying sitter in image as Averland Foster, at age 12
  18. Civil War period 1/6 plate tintype housed in a leatherette case with handwritten note identifying sitter (in Civil War period, U.S.N. uniform) as Averland Foster entering the navy at age 16
  19. Mid-19th century CDV album containing numerous Foster family images, to include a navy friend – Clarence Glover – in period U.S.N. officer’s uniform; images of Russian sailors who had boarded the ship USS Colorado, in Europe; a CDV of a monument to one of Foster’s shipmates who died, while on the Colorado, after falling from the ship’s rigging; of significance, the first two pages (frontispieces) of the CDV album have a handwritten, period statement indicating the Averland Foster entered the US Navy, under the name – George Knight; the statement also indicates that Foster initially was on board Admiral Farragut’s flagship and wounded by splinters, while on board the Admiral’s ship
  20. Five Civil War period, patriotic covers (unused)
  21. Five Civil War period, patriotic stationery / blank letter paper (unused)
  22. Foster family genealogy
  23. Civil War period (dated 1862) letter to Averland Foster’s mother indicating the Averland had joined the U.S.N.
  24. 1/6 plate Daguerreotype of two c. 1850s men; one with wheel hat – Alfred W. Foster (father of Averland Foster)
  25. Numerous textiles – mid-19th century cotton sheets (possibly Averland Foster’s ship board sheets); homespun towels; linens
  26. Engraved copper, name plate – difficult to discern name, at this time

All of the textiles are in overall, good condition; both of the jumpers have some stress pulls and what appears to be burn holes, yet both remain in generally, good condition. The jumpers are both almost completely hand sewn. The pants are in excellent condition and exhibit a combination of hand and machine sewing. Please review all of the images, as they can elucidate the brief descriptors in our list of included elements. We have listed here just a bit of the research we have completed on Foster and family; we have a considerably large volume of more material, to include information on the ships on which Foster served.



Name Age
Alfred W Foster 45
Eliza Foster 40
Averland L F Foster 19
John H Foster 8
Burrows C Foster 0

George Knight

Residence Boston MA; 25 years old.

Enlisted on 1/17/1862 at Boston, MA as an Ordinary Seaman.

On 1/17/1862 he mustered into US Navy

He was discharged on 2/9/1864

Ships served on in Navy:



* USS FLAMBEAU (discharged from ship)

USS Colorado (1856)

The first USS Colorado, a 3,400-long-ton (3,500 t), three-masted[2] steam screw frigate, was launched on 19 June 1856, by the Norfolk Navy Yard. Named after the Colorado River,[3] she was sponsored by Ms. N. S. Dornin, and commissioned on 13 March 1858, with Captain W. H. Gardner, in command. She was the fifth of the “Franklin-class” frigates, which were all named after US rivers, except for Franklin.

Pre-Civil War

Putting to sea from Boston on 12 May 1858, Colorado cruised in Cuban waters deterring the practice of search by British cruisers until 6 August, when she returned to Boston and was placed in ordinary until 1861.

Civil War

Colorado was recommissioned on 3 June 1861, and sailed from Boston on 18 June, to join the Union Navy‘s Gulf Blockading Squadron. She was under the task force commander, Commodore William Marvine, acting as his flagship for the Blockade.[2] On 14 September, an expedition under Lieutenant J. H. Russell, from Colorado, cut out the schooner Judah, believed to be preparing for service as a privateer and spiked one gun of a battery at the Pensacola Navy Yard, losing three men in the raid. On 11 December, another expedition was sent to Pilot Town, and succeeded in capturing a small schooner and two men. Colorado assisted in the capture of the steamer Calhoun (or Cuba) on 23 January 1862, off South West Pass, at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and a week later engaged four Confederate steamers.

In April 1862, Colorado, built for fighting at sea, was prevented from participating in the Battle of New Orleans because her draft was too deep to cross the bar. Nineteen guns and one howitzer were removed and distributed across the fleet.[4] She returned to Boston, on 21 June, and was decommissioned from 28 June-10 November.

Colorado sailed from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 9 December, to rejoin the blockading force off Mobile, Alabama, on 13 March 1863. She shared in the capture of the schooner Hunter on 17 May. Returning to Portsmouth Navy Yard, on 4 February 1864, she was again placed out of commission from 18 February-1 September.

Clearing Portsmouth, on 6 October, she joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and cruised off the coast of North Carolina, until 26 January 1865. Colorado participated in the bombardment and capture of Fort Fisher from 13 to 15 January. She was struck six times by enemy fire which killed one man and wounded two.

By late 1864, Wilmington, North Carolina, was the only port left to the Confederacy. Its access to the sea was protected by Fort Fisher, at the mouth of the Cape Fear River.

A joint Army-Navy attack in December failed (the First Battle of Fort Fisher, 7–27 December 1864).[4]

A second attack came in January (the Second Battle of Fort Fisher, 13–15 January 1865). Colorado was engaged, and George Dewey played a key role in her success.

Colorado, being a wooden ship, was placed in the line outside the monitors and other armored vessels, but got a full share of conflict. Toward the end of the second engagement Admiral Porter signaled Commodore Thatcher to close in and silence a certain part of the works. As Colorado had already received considerable damage, her officers remonstrated. But Dewey, who had now acquired marked tactical ability, was quick to see the advantage to be gained by the move and the work was taken in fifteen minutes. The New York Times, commenting upon this part of the action, spoke of it as “the most beautiful duel of the war”. When Admiral Porter came to congratulate Commodore Thatcher the latter said generously: “You must thank Lieutenant Dewey, sir. It was his move.” Nevertheless, Thatcher was promoted to rear admiral. He tried to take Dewey with him as his fleet captain when he went to supersede Farragut at Mobile Bay. This was not permitted, but Dewey was promoted to lieutenant-commander.[

NAME: Alfred W Foster
AGE: 37
HOME IN 1860: Southampton, Suffolk, New York
Name Age
Alfred W Foster 37
Eliza E Foster 35
Averland Foster 14
John Henry


NAME: Alfred W. Foster
AGE: 58
BIRTH DATE: Abt 1822
HOME IN 1880: Springs, Suffolk, New York, USA
RACE: White
SPOUSE’S NAME: Eliza E. Foster
OCCUPATION: Works In Fish Factory
NEIGHBORS: View others on page
Name Age
Alfred W. Foster 58
Eliza E. Foster 56
Rushton G. Foster 13


Title Whaling Log of the Barks Columbia and Roanoke, 1845-1860
Description Incomplete account kept aboard the bark Columbia, on a voyage from Sag Harbor to the

Northwest Coast of North America, 9 July 1845 – 5 June 1848 (dates contained in this journal are 9 July 1845 – 17 July 1846);

owned by Cook & Green, commanded by Captain Samuel B. Pierson. Pages following Roanoke account contain sailor’s

poetry & stories: “Maggie is Sitting by my Side,” “Ellen Bayne,” “The Jolly Rover,” story “The Dying Sailor’s Last Dollar” by

Pastor J.B. Ripley of the Mariners Church, Philadelphia, PA., story “Anxieties of a Sailor’s Life,” “Be Kind to the Loved Ones at

Home” (taken from log book kept by Philetus Foster, chief officer on board the

English barque Oriental), “To One Believe,

“The Wife’s Commandments,” “The Woodcutters Night Song,” “I’m Growing Old,” “The Dying Wife to her Husband,”

“Gentle Anna,” “Far upon the Sea,” “Good News from Home,” “Nelly Gray,” “Julie to the Eligible Bachelor,” most either

originally written by or merely rewritten by Alfred W. Foster (keeper of these logs) while on

board the Roanoke. Following

poem “Julie to the Eligible Bachelor” is start of Alfred W. Foster’s work journal of 1865-1866 (one page, pages immediately

following torn out), with names Wm. H Parsons and Vail, Bengman & Co. as listed employers; poetry continues after torn out

pages with “My Little Good for Nothing,” “Jemima Brown,” “Elar Rear” (sp?), “Statley Surthern.” Pages following “Statley

Surthern” are blank, until sketch of U.S.S. Colorado, “The Dreadnaught,” more pages torn out, “The Dying Californian,” then

one half page of a farming journal, more pages torn out. Final pages contains two crew lists: the brig “Susan”, sailed 14

October 1861, and the bark “John A. Robb,” sailed 15 October 1861, both of of Sag Harbor, N.Y. Incomplete account kept

aboard the bark Roanoke, on a voyage from Greenport, N.Y. to the Indian & Pacific oceans, 12 June 1857 – 25 February

1860 (dates contained in this journal are 12 June 1857 – ? February 1858); owned by Wells & Carpenter, commanded by

Captain Jared Wade Jr. (includes a dramatic account of the attempted rescue of a man overboard; sketches of whaling

vessels and the U.S.S. Colorado, used during the Mexican Gulf blockade of 1861 and in the Civil War; two crew lists dated

1861 are included).

Creator Foster, Alfred Washington