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Three Letters Written Aboard the U.S. Frigate Columbia by Detroit native John T. Walker to his niece Anna E. Davenport of Detroit in 1842 and 1844. [Bombardment of Tangiers]

Hampton Roads, Virginia April 13, 1842, at sea near Rio de Janeiro August 31, 1842 and Tangiers August 1, 1844. Size ranges between 10 x 7.75, and 10 x 8, four pages (1 sheet folded in half) each with writing on three pages and the address on the fourth page; April 1842 is on USNW Temperance Society letterhead and postmarked Norfolk V’a Apr 13, August 1842 on plain paper with postmarks of Detroit, Mich. Nov. 17 and New Orl (eans?) Oct. 23; August 1844 has engraving of Gibralter (sic) by J&E Harwood London with the postmark of Boston Mas. Oct. 13. Fold creases, small edge tears, light soiling, light spotting to two letters, lacks wax seals (only remnants remain), two letters (one from 1842 and 1844) have been roughly opened with resulting tears and small pieces missing (very little effect to text) overall good condition. In April 1842 Walker writes to his niece Anna that they have just arrived from a horrific 40 day cruise between Boston and Hampton Roads in which "not more than 3 or 4 (days) which did not blow a Hurricane with rain and snow all the time. . . We have been at Sea on the worst coast in the whole world in the worst time of the year." He was one of the few not sick and had a hearty appetite. They are presently at anchor waiting for orders: "It is rumored here that we shall go to the coast of Mexico, and raise the deuce with the Mexicans, who have been feeling a little to(sic) large lately. Perhaps we shall have some fun in that quarter yet." Walker is referring to Mexico refusing to recognize Texas as an independent republic and invading it in February of 1842, his ship did not go to Mexico. Later in the letter he mentions being homesick for Detroit, wanting to be near Brown’s Corner on Jefferson Avenue watching people go by and anticipates the changes waiting for him, some a result of the great fire (of 1805). In the August 31, 1842 letter he apologizes for this short note as the homeward bound ship John Carver is nearby and will be picking up the sailors’ letters to take back with them. The crew, in a hurry to write last minute letters, gather pens and paper "and are seated around a table in the steerage, dark and close, lighted by a couple of half starved, meager tallow candles, and nought is heard but the hurried scratch of pens." In the last letter Walker tells Anna where he has been since he "arrived in this region" (the Mediterranean): Cadiz, Gibraltar, Mahon, Toulon (a major French military port), Genoa, Leghorn, Pisa where he "saw and mounted the top of the celebrated Leaning Tower," Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius and Rome where he saw the Pope. At Naples news reached the ship of the trouble at Tangiers between the Moors and the French and they were ordered to this hotspot. Once there, the crew found out how dangerous it was for them. They could not go ashore without being guarded by armed Moorish soldiers; otherwise, they risked having their heads removed from their bodies. Regarding the French: "there is a large French fleet here . . . all commanded by Admiral the Prince de Joinville ready to knock the city of Tangiers into a cocked hat. . . The cause of the war is I’ believe, the Moors cut off some of the French supplies in Algiers. . . I suppose we shall have some sport in a day or two in the way of a bombardment. Five days after the date of this letter, the French attacked Tangiers; this action was referred to as the Franco-Moroccan War. Unique content. Sold as a lot only.

Book Id: 99-1495

Price: $850.00

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