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Navy Profiles

Egbert Henry Allis
Lost at Sea

Egbert Henry Allis, born in Brookfield, April 15, 1836, was appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Navy, on January 27, 1862. He was initially assigned to the side-wheel gunboat Westfield, a former ferryboat purchased by the Navy from Cornelius Vanderbilt at the beginning of the war. Westfield saw action on the Mississippi River with Commodore David Porter's Mortar Fleet, where Allis was commended by his commanding officer for "kind and unremitting attention to the sick." Westfield was later engaged in the blockade of Texas, leading a successful assault on the city of Galveston, which it captured on October 9, 1862. When the Confederates recaptured the city in January, 1863; Westfield ran aground and the crew set charges to destroy the boat rather than let it be taken. Unfortunately, the charges went off early, killing the captain and most of the senior officers; with the paymaster absent, Allis was left to report on efforts to save official records. In the spring, Allis was sent home on sick leave, and in August he was ordered to the brig Bainbridge also of Brookfield, aged 17, who joined the service August 13, 1863, as a Surgeon's Steward. Bainbridge left New York on August 18, bound for the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron; the vessel encountered a hurricane and sank off Cape Hatteras on August 21. Allis, Smith and 98 others in the crew perished. The only survivor was picked up by the brig South Boston the next day.

(to be continued ...)


Notes:

1. Peck, 690, 705; Westfield," Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C., sighted at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/; Internet; (hereafter referenced as DANFS); Commander Renshaw to Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1864-1927), Series I, volume 19, p. 31 (hereinafter referred to as ORN, Series I assumed); Allis to Welles, Jan. 11, 1863, ORN, 19:441; "Bainbridge," DANFS; Jose Fernandez-Partagas, Storms of 1858-1864 (Climate Diagnostics Center, Environmental Research Laboratories, NOAA, April 1995), 46.


See Researching and writing about Vermont Blue-Jackets in the Civil War for explanations of references.

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