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Full text of "August Meeting. Letter from Captain G. V. Fox; Letter of Commodore John Rodgers; Communication from Hon. John G. Palfrey; Sons of Liberty Who Dined at Dorchester, 1769"

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A stated monthly meeting of the Society was held this day, 
Thursday, the 12th of August ; Vice-President Aspinwall, in 
the absence of the President, in the chair. 

The Recording Secretary read the record of the last meeting. 

In the absence of the Librarian, the donations for the past 
month were announced by the Recording Secretary. 

Among those especially noticed, was a copy of " The Official 
Correspondence on the Claims of the United States in respect 
to the ' Alabama,' " London, 1867, — presented by Mr. Adams. 
In reference to this publication, Mr. Adams remarked that 
it does not contain all the correspondence relating to the 
" Alabama" in which he took part, as the date upon the title- 
page of the volume would indicate. It was published by 
Lord Russell in vindication of himself. 

The thanks of the Society were presented to Mr. Adams 
for the gift. 

A copy of the original picture of the old house in Dock 
Square, built in 1680, and a copy of Paul Revere's picture of 
the Boston Massacre, were presented to the Society by Mr. 
William H. Keith, of Charlestown, for which the thanks of 
the Society were ordered. 

Mr. Whitney read the following letter from Captain G. V. 

Fox, lately the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, addressed to 

Mr. Winthrop : — 

Lowell, Mass., July 10th, 1869. 
Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, 

President Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Mass. 

Sir, — Mr. H. A. Whitney, a member of your Society, is kind 
enough to inform me that it will be agreeable to yourself and asso- 
ciates to receive for preservation a number of rebel flags, which have 
been saved from those acquired during the rebellion by the navy under 
the administration of Mr. Welles. 


Accordingly I have sent to him, for presentation to the Massachu- 
setts Historical Society, eight flags, numbered and described as fol- 
lows : — 

No. 1. The flag of Fort Walker, Hilton Head, Port Royal, South Carolina. 
Captured by the naval forces under the command of Rear- Admiral S. F. Dupont, 
Nov. 7, 1861. 

No. 2. A flag found amongst the property abandoned after the above action. 
It is supposed to be the State flag of South Carolina. 

No. 3. The flag of Fort Henry, Tennessee River. Captured by the naval 
forces under the command of Rear- Admiral A. H. Foote, Feb. 6, 1862. 

No. 4. The flag of Fort St. Philip, Mississippi River. Captured after the 
memorable forcing of the defences to New Orleans by the navy, under Admiral 
D. G. Farragut, April 24, 1862. 

No. 5. The new flag adopted by the rebels in 1863. Captured by a naval 
force under the command of Commodore John Rodgers, June 17, 1863. An in- 
teresting letter from that distinguished officer, describing the capture of the iron- 
clad " Atlanta," is enclosed. 

No. 6. The flag of the iron-clad " Tennessee." Captured by a naval force under 
the command of Admiral D. G. Farragut, on the day of his successful entrance 
into Mobile Bay, Aug. 5, 1864. 

No. 7. The admiral's flag of the rebel Buchanan, who commanded the " Ten- 
nessee " in the above action. 

No. 8. The flag of Fort Caswell, left flying upon the flagstaff of that fort, 
after its evacuation, consequent upon the capture of the defences of Cape Fear 
River by the United-States forces, under the command of Vice-Admiral D. D. 
Porter and Major-General A. H. Terry. 

These are truly the flags which were forwarded to Washington, 
with the official reports announcing the victories which are enumerated. 
They were placed at my disposal by the Department, because it was 
deemed unadvisable to preserve at the National Capitol the evidences 
of internecine strife. 

Most respectfully your obedient servant, 

G. V. Fox. 

The letter of Commodore John Rodgers, referred to, de- 
scribing the capture of one of these flags (No. 5), under his 

command, here follows : — 

U. S. Navy Yard, Boston, 
Commandant's Office, June 14th, 1869. 

Sie, — It gives me much pleasure to repeat the history of the 
Confederate flag in your possession, captured on board the " Atlanta." 

The history of the flag is so connected with the performance of the 
15-inch guns, which you introduced into the service, that to tell the 
one involves some account of the other. 


The previous flag of the Confederacy had been the stars and bars ; 
but a strong current of adversity had set against the fortunes over 
which it waved, and the rebel government chose a new ensign. 

I was told that this new flag was first hoisted in action on board 
the iron-clad " Atlanta." 

The monitor " Weehawken," under my command, was sent to War- 
saw Sound by Admiral Dupont, to prevent the rebel iron-clad " At- 
lanta " from getting to sea from Savannah by that passage. Subse- 
quently the monitor "Nahant," Commander John Downes, was sent 
to the same place, to reinforce the " Weehawken." 

On June 17, 1863, it was reported to me at daylight that the 
" Atlanta " was coming down the Wilmington river. I was incredu- 
lous, not believing that she would venture to attack two monitors ; but 
a glance through a spy-glass convinced me that it was true. 

We were riding to the flood-tide, heading towards the sea, without 
room to turn. 

As before decided upon, in case an attack should be made while 
thus situated, we slipped the " Weehawken's " cable, and steamed down 
to a part of the channel which I had sounded and buoyed, in which 
the monitors could turn with a single sweep of the helm. 

The "Nahant" commenced rapidly heaving up her anchor. The 
" Weehawken " passed the " Nahant " in going down, turned, and 
passed her in going up. The " Nahant " ran down necessarily to the 
same widening of the channel, turned as we had done, and came gal- 
lantly to our support. But her services were not needed. Captain 
Downes withheld his fire until he should be close alongside, under the 
impression that only then would, his shot be effective. Before he 
reached the position he so zealously sought, the terrible 15-inch gun 
of the " Weehawken " had compelled the " Atlanta " to surrender. 

At about three hundred yards from the " Atlanta," the " Wee- 
hawken " fired a 15-inch cored shot, weighing three hundred and forty 
pounds, with a charge of thirty pounds of powder. 

I saw this shot strike on the side, and I saw splinters fly into the 
air. I learned, after the action, that it had driven about two barrels 
full of splinters of wood and iron into the vessel, these wounding 
every man of a gun's crew stationed opposite. It made a hole through 
the side, very ragged, but averaging six inches wide by three feet 
long ; and it knocked down, by the mere concussion, some forty men, 
who lay upon the deck stunned, and as though dead. 

The crew could not know that those insensible men were not killed. 



Surprised at the novel effect of the huge shot employed against them, 
they ran below. 

The next discharge was of two guns, the 11 and the 15-inch. The 
shot from one of these, I thought from the 15-inch, struck the top of 
the pilot-house, in which were four men, two pilots and two helmsmen. 
It crushed down the heavy wrought iron bars ; and the four men fell 
stunned and helpless upon the floor, thus preventing the trap-door 
leading into the pilot-house from being raised, and thus cutting off 
access to the steering gear. 

There remained no means of directing the course of the " Atlanta " ; 
and the crew had deserted their quarters. She surrendered. 

The first shot had taken away from the crew the wish to fight ; 
the second had cut off the means of escape. 

The flag in your possession, which had flown so confidently over the 
"Atlanta," was now hauled down, but was soon replaced by a smaller 
one, — a piece of white, hurriedly cut out of the lowered ensign. 

This white symbol, seen through smoke, looked blue ; and its char- 
acter thus misunderstood, two more guns were fired ; but they had no 
effect upon the action, since its result had been reached already. 

The new flag had not changed the fortunes of the Confederacy. 
So quickly had the terrible ordnance done its work, that the " Nahant " 
had no opportunity of firing a shot. 

Very truly yours, 

John Rodgers. 

Hon. G. V. Fox. 

The thanks of the Society were voted to Captain Fox for 
this valuable gift. The flags were exhibited in the room 
during the meeting. 

The Chairman spoke of the decease, since the last meeting, 
of our associate, the Hon. William Brigham, and presented 
from the Standing Committee the following resolutions : — 

Resolved, That this Society has heard with deep regret of the death 
of the Hon. William Brigham, and would here record their sense of 
the great loss which the Society has sustained thereby. 

Resolved, That the President be requested to appoint one from our 
number to write the memoir of our late associate, for the " Pro- 


Mr. Waterston paid a fitting tribute to the character of 
Mr. Brigham, and the resolutions were unanimously adopted. 

The Recording Secretary read the following letter from the 
President, in which mention is made of the death of Mr. 
Brigham, and also of the decease of our Corresponding Mem- 
ber, Mr. William Winthrop, late Consul at Malta : — 

Stockbeidgs, 9th August, 1869. 
Charles Deane, Esq., Secretary Massachusetts Historical Society. 

My dear Sir, — As I had previously intimated, I find it impossible 
for me to be at our Monthly Meeting on Thursday next. 

I trust that some one or more of our associates will be prepared to 
pay a just tribute to our valued friend, William Brigham. I would 
uame Dr. Robbins, his classmate, for the customary memoir, if the 
selection is left to me. 

It is fit that I should announce, in a single word, the death of oar 
Corresponding Member, William Winthrop, Esq., the late United-States 
Consul at Malta. His repeated and valuable contributions to our 
Library, of which still another is on the way, and a handsome bequest 
to our funds, which will come to us after the expiration of one or two 
lives, entitle him to be remembered among our benefactors. But I 
must postpone all detailed notice of him until some future meeting. 
Yours faithfully, 

Robert C. Winthrop. 

Henry Martyn Dexter, D.D., was elected a Resident Member. 
Mr. Deane laid before the meeting the following communi- 
cations from the Hon. John G. Palfrey: — 

Cambridge, 1869, Aug. 3. 
My dear Mr. Deane, — You know that after the discomfiture of 
the Stamp project, the Sons of Liberty used to celebrate the anniversary 
of the enforced resignation of the distributor (Hutch, iii. 201). Pos- 
sibly some future antiquary may like to inform himself as to the com- 
position of the company which met for that purpose just a century 
ago, and which, it may be presumed, celebrated not less hilariously be- 
cause within a fortnight they had seen the last of Governor Bernard. 
By placing the accompanying paper, if you think fit, in the Collections 
of the Historical Society, will you provide for the satisfaction of such 
a curiosity, should it arise ? 

Faithfully, dear sir, your friend and servant, 

John G. Palfrey. 




An Alphabetical List of the Sons of Liberty who dined at Liberty Tree, Dorchestet 

Aug. 14, 1769.* 

Adams, Samuel 
Adams, John, Esq* 
Avery, John, Esq. 
Avery, John, Jr. 
Appleton, Nath. 
Austin, Benj., Esq. 
Austin, .Samuel 
Ayres, Joseph 
Abbot, Samuel 
Avis, Samuel 


Brattle, Thos. 
Bradford, John, Capt. 
Bowes, Nicholas 
Barber, Nath. 
Bant, William 
Boyer. Peter 
Barrell, Joseph 
Balch, Nath. 
Blake, John, Capt. 
Blanchard, Caleb 
Brimmer, Martin 
Brimmer, Hermon 
Black, Andrew 
Burt, Benjamin 
Brigden, Zachary 
Bowes, William 
Bruce, Stephen 
Bass, Moses Belcher 
Bass, Henry 
Boynton, Richard, Capt. 
Breck, William 
Barrett, Samuel 
Bradford, Jos., Jr. 
Brown, John 
Baker, John 
Brattle, Brig. General 
Bowdoin, James, Hon. 
Burdet, Benj. 
Barnard, Benj. 
Brackett, Joshua 
Bell, William 
Belcher, Sarson 
Boardman, Wm. 
Boweyer, Dan. 
Bowman, Rev. Dan. 
Barrett, John, Esq. 
Burbeck, William 
Billings, Richard 
Brown, Enoch 
Binney, Capt. 
Bryant, .lames 
Bryant, John 


Cushing, Mr. Speaker 
Cooper, William 
Cushing, John 
Church, Benj. 
Church, Benj'., Jr. 
Church, Edward 
Cleverly, Stephen 
Carnes, Edward 
Cobb, Capt. 
Collins, Ezra 
Copely, John 
Cudworth, Benj. 
Cudworth, Nath. 
Cheever, Wm. Downe 
Colson, David 
Colson, Adam 
Cunningham, Major 
Cunningham, James 
Chardon, Peter, Esq. 
Crunch, Richard 
Cunningham, Jno. 
Cazneau, Andrew, Esq. 
Carter, James 
Cattle, Win., Esq., Carolina. 
Crofts, Thomas 
Cheever, Ezek., Jr., Esq. 
Chase, Thomas 
Cunningham, William 
Crane. John 
Clap, Ebenezer 
Cox, Lemuel 
Carnes, Joseph 


Dana, Richard, Esq. 
Dickinson, Mr., Brother to 

the Farmer. 
Dawes, Thomas, Capt. 
Dennie, William 
Davis, William 
Deshon, Moses, Esq. 
Dalton, James, Capt. 
Dalton, Peter Roe 
Davis, Edward 
Dashwood, Capt. 
Dorr, Ebenezer 
Dorr, Harbottle 
Dean, John, Capt. 
Davis, Caleb 
Davis, Aaron 
Davis, Robert 
Danforth, Samuel, Dr. 
Davis, Solomon 
Dolbeare, Benj. 

Dorrington, John, Capt. 
Dickman, William 
Doane, Elisha, Major 


Erving, John, Hon. 
Erving, George, Esq. 
Edes, Benjamin 
Edwards, John 
Eliot, Deacon 
Eliot, Joseph, jr. 
Edes, Thomas 
Emmes, Samuel 
Edwards, Alex. 


Freeman, Jon., Capt. 
Fleet, Thomas 
Fleet, John 
Foster, Deacon 
Foster, Timothy 
Foster, Bossenger 
Foster, William 
Fitch, Timothy 
FJagg, Josiah 
Fowle, William 
Farmer, Paul 


Greenleaf, 'William 
Gore, John, Capt, 
Gore, John, Jr. 
Green, George 
Gill, John 
Gill, Moses 
Grant, Samuel 
Green, Francis 
Gardner, Joseph, Dr. 
Greenleaf, John 
Gardner, John 
Gridley, Col. 
Green, Joshua 
Green, Edward 
Greenwood, Capt. 
Griffiths, John 
Gooding, Benj. 
Griflfen, Wm., Esq., of Vir- 
Green, John 
Green, Joseph 
Greenleaf, Oliver 
Greenleaf, Stephen 
Greene, Benj., Jr. 

* This paper is in the handwriting of Col. William Palfrey, the grandfather of the 
Hon. J. G. Palfrey. — Eds. 


Gray, William 
3win, Capt, Newbury. 
Gooding, Joseph 
Gray, Lewis 
Greaton, John 
Green, Nath. 

Gardner, Thomas, Member 
for Cambridge. 


Hancock, John, Esq. 
Henshaw, Joshua, Esq. 
Hopkins, Caleb, Capt. 
Head, John 
Heath, William, Capt. 
Hill, Henry 
Henshaw, Joseph 
Henshaw, Joshua, Jr. 
Henderson, Joseph 
Hatch, Jabez 
Homer, John, Capt. 
Holmes, Benj. Mulbury 
Holmes, Nath. 
Hichborn, Thomas 
Hichborn, Thomas, Jr. 
Harris, Samuel 
Henchman, Samuel 
Raskins, John 
Henshaw, Andrew 
Hamock, Charles 
Hill, Alexander 
Hill, John, Esq. 
Holbrook, Samuel 
How, Samuel 
Houghton, John 
Hickling, William 
Hall, Joseph 
Homes, William, Esq. 
Henshaw, Daniel 
Hinckley, John 
Hunt, Mr., Schoolmaster. 
Harris, Stephen 
Harris, Stephen, Jr. 
Hinckley, Ebenezer 
Hoskins, William 
Hill, Dr. 
Hewes, Robert 
Honeywell, Richard 
Horry, Thomas 

I, J. 

Jackson, Joseph, Esq. 
Inches, Henderson 
Jeffries, John, Dr. 
Jarvis, Charles, Dr. 
Johonnot, Francis 
Jones, Deacon 
Jarvis, Edward 
Jackson, Joseph 
Ingraham, Duncan 
Jeffries, David, Esq. 
Johonnot, Zechary, Esq. 
Johonnot, Gabriel 

Johonnot, Andrew 
Jones, William 
Ingersol, John 
Jenkins, John 


Kent, Benj., Esq. 
Knox, Thomas 
Knox, Thomas 
Kennedy, William 
Kneeland, Barth. 

Langdon, John 
Lucas, John 
Lovell, James 
Lasinby, Joseph 
Langdon, John, Jr. 
Langdon, Timothy 
Leach, John 
Laggett, Thomas 
Loring, John 
Loring, Caleb 
Leverett, John, Capt. 
Leverett, Thomas 
Lowell, John 


Mason, Jonathan 
Marshall, Thomas, Colonel 
Marston, John, Capt. 
May, John 
May, Ephraim 
Malcom, Daniel, Capt. 
Matchett, John, Capt. 
Molineaux, William 
May, Aaron 
McDaniel, Jacob 
Morton, Joseph 
Morton, Dimond 
McDaniel, Hugh 
Miller, Charles 
McLain, John 

Noyes, Nathaniel 


Otis, James, The Hon. jr. 
Otis, Samuel Allyne 
Otis, Joseph 

Pemberton, Samuel, Esq. 
Partridge, Samuel, Capt. 
Pitts, John 

Pitts, James, The Hon. 
Pitts, William 

Pitts, James Jr. 
Palfrey, William 
Prince, Job, Capt. 
Parker, Daniel 
Perkins, James, Jr. 
Peck, Thomas Handasyd 
Pattin, William, Capt. 
Peirpont, Robert 
Proctor, Edward 
Proctor, Samuel 
Pool, Fitch 
Pulling, John, Jr. 
Price, Thos. Maurice, Capt. 
Pico, Joshua 
Palmes, Richard 
Pecker, James, Dr. 
Price, Ezekiel 
Proctor, John 
Phillips, William, Esq. 
Pierce, Isaac 
Power, Mr., Carolina. 
Pierce, Mr., Carolina. 


Quincy, Samuel, Esq. 
Quincy, Josiah 


Ruddock, John, Esq. 

Revere, Paul 

Rand, Isaac, Dr. 

Ray, Caleb 

Richardson, James 

Reid, Mr., Secretary to Gov. 

Franklin, Jerseys. 
Read, William, Esq. 
Ruggles, Samuel 
Robinson, Lemuel 
Ratcliffe, Mr., Carolina. 
Roberts, Peter 


Swift, Samuel, Esq. 
Sweetser, John, Jr. 
Smith, John 
Spear, Nathan 
Spear, David 
Salter, Richard 
Savage, Habijah 
Savage, John 
Smith, William 
Symmes, Eb., Capt. 
Symmes, John 
Spooner, William 
Sharp, Gibbins 
Scott, John 
Simpson, Ebenezer 
Sneiling, Jona., Major 
Sprague, John, Dr. 
Spooner, George 
Soley, John 
Scollay, John, Esq. 




Storey, Elisha, Dr. 
Sellon, Samuel 
Seaver, Ebenezer 
Surcomb, Richard 
Stanbridge, Henry 
Scott, William 
Searle, Samuel 
Stoddard, Jonathan 
Scott, James, Capt. 


Trott, George 
Trott, Jonathan 
Turner, William 
Thompson, Major 
Trott, Samuel 
Trott, Thomas 
Turell, Joseph 
Tyler, Joseph 

Tyler, Royal, Hon. 
Tyler, Thomas, Esq. 
Tileston, Capt. 
Thompson, James 
Tuckerman, Edward 
Tileston, John 
Tileston, Thomas 

. V. 

Vose, Joseph 
Vernon, Fortescue 


Whitwell, Samuel 
Welles, Arnold, Esq. 
Waldo, Joseph 
Wendell, John Mico 
Wendell, Oliver 

Welsh, John 
Warren, Joseph, Dr. 
Webb, Joseph 
Walley, Thomas 
Waldo, Daniel 
Wyer, Robert, Capt. 
Whitwell, William 
Wheelwright, Job 
Wheatly, Nath. 
Waldo, John 
Wendell, Jacob 
Waters, Josiah, Capt. 
White, Benjamin 
Williams, Joseph, Colonel 
White, William, Capt. 

Young, Thomas, Dr. 

355,— about 300 dined. 

Mr. Waterston here introduced to the meeting Mr. William 
H. Dall, who gave an interesting account of his explorations, 
•at the head of a scientific corps, among the Eocky Mountains, 
embracing the " Alaskan Eange." He exhibited and pre- 
sented to the Society a map from a drawing made at the 
United-States Coast Survey Office, under his direction, from 
his own surveys, which had been photographed from the 

The thanks of the Society were presented to Mr. Dall for 
the map and for his interesting remarks. 

Mr. Parkman exhibited copies from some interesting un- 
published maps of the Mississippi, and the Western lakes and 
rivers, made chiefly by the early Jesuit missionaries, recently 
procured in Paris. 

On motion of Mr. R. Frothingham, it was — 

Voted, That Mr. Parkman be requested to prepare a paper 
on these maps for the Society's " Proceedings." 

Mr. Parkman stated that he should be quite willing to pre- 
pare an account of these maps, with fac-similes of them as 
suggested; but he was now engaged in publishing a work 
which would embrace much of this material. 

Mr. Waterston, as the chairman of a committee from the 
Natural History Society, called the attention of the members 


to the approaching celebration of the Centennial Anniversary 
of the birth of Alexander von Humboldt, who was at the time 
of his death an Honorary Member of the Society, and sug- 
gested that those who thought of attending should secure seats 
together at the Music Hall, where the address by Professor 
Agassiz, was to be delivered. 


A stated monthly meeting of the Society was held this day, 
Thursday, September 9, at eleven o'clock, a.m. ; Vice-President 
Aspinwall in the chair. 

The record of the last meeting was read. 

The Librarian read the list of donors to the Library for the 
past month. 

The Cabinet-keeper read a list of the donations to the 
Cabinet for the past month. These included a pair of tongs 
once owned by the family of Thomas Hutchinson ; also a war- 
club from the Sandwich Islands, brought thence by Captain 
"William Ballard, of Boston; given by his grandson, Mr. 
William Ballard, of Brooklyn, N.Y., through Mr. John J. May, 
of Boston. 

The Corresponding Secretary read letters of acceptance 
from M. Thiers, of Paris ; and from Mr. William S. Appleton 
and the Rev. Henry M. Dexter, of Boston. 

Mr. Davis spoke of the Montcalm letters which had been 
the subject of a communication from Mr. Parkman at the 
June meeting, in one of which appeared some remarkable 
predictions of historical events in this country, of sufficient 
importance to attract the attention of Mr. Carlyle in his 
"History of Frederic the Great." Mr. Davis said that Car 
lyle was mistaken in supposing, as he seemed to do, that