Table of Contents
Guide to the George Mifflin Bache Papers,1821-1917, 1952, 1968
A collection in the
Special Collections & Archives Department,
United States Naval Academy
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5029
Prepared by: Jennifer A. Bryan
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
In 1846, the elder Bache was swept overboard during a gale while in command of the U.S.S. Washington (brig), engaged on duty with the Coast Survey. Despite his father 's tragic death at sea, George Mifflin Bache embarked upon a naval career. Undoubtedly, both his father's and mother's connections aided him in his choice of vocation. He served as captain's clerk aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga (sloop-of-war) from August 1855 to May 1857. The same month he left the Saratoga, he was appointed Acting Master's Mate of the Coast Survey schooner Nautilus, under the command of Lieutenant Richard Wainwright, an uncle by marriage. In November 1857, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating on June 1, 1861.
George Mifflin Bache had a distinguished career during the Civil War. He received his lieutenant's commission in July 1862 and in November took command of the U.S.S. Cincinnati (sternwheel casemate gunboat). That vessel was invovled in the operations against Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1863 and was sunk during an engagement with Confederate batteries defending the approaches to the city. The Secretary of the Navy wrote a letter to Bache commending him and the Cincinnati's surviving officers and crew for their bravery in action. Bache subsequently took command of the U.S.S. Lexington (sidewheel gunboat) and in late 1864 assumed the duties of executive officer aboard the U.S.S. Powhatan (steam sloop-of-war) in the North Atlantic Squadron. That ship was involved in the attacks on Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Bache was wounded in the shoulder while taking part in the land assault on that post.
On July 25, 1866, Bache was commissioned a lieutenant commander. He served as the executive officer of the U.S.S. Sacramento (steam sloop-of-war) from September 1866 until June 1867, when the vessel ran aground on reefs at the mouth of the Godavary River on the east coast of India. All hands survived, but the ship was lost. A Navy General Court Martial held in New York in January 1868 suspended Bache and Captain Napoleon Collins. On March 11, 1869, Navy Department General Order No. 102 revoked the sentence of the court martial and restored Bache's pay.
From 1869 to 1872, Bache served aboard the U.S.S. Juniata (steam sloop-of-war) during that vessel's cruise in European waters. His final post was at the Washington Navy Yard. Bache retired with the rank of commander in 1875. He died on February 11, 1896, and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, D.C. He was survived by his wife, the former Harriet DuBois of Hallstead, Pennsylvania, and three daughters.
The destroyer Bache (DD-470), commissioned on November 14, 1942, was named for Commander George Mifflin Bache.
Scope and Content Note
A small amount of material relates to the Pattersons, including two journals kept by Eliza Patterson (one a transcribed copy) and one journal kept by her sister George Ann (1819-1893) when they sailed with their father during his command of the Mediterranean Squadron in the 1830s. There is a typescript copy of one lengthy letter written in 1821 from Margaret (Porter) Heap (1791-1858) to Evelina (Anderson) Porter (1791-1871). Evelina Porter was the wife of Commodore David Porter (1780-1843) and the mother of George Mifflin Bache's uncle David Dixon Porter (1813-1891). Margaret Porter, David Porter's sister, was married to naval surgeon Samuel Davies Heap (1781-1853), who at the time of the letter was in charge of the hospital of the American Mediterranean fleet. He later served as United States consul to Tunis.
Among the photographs are several of George Mifflin Bache at various points in his life, including one of him in his midshipman uniform and an opalotype (probably dating from 1866) showing him in the uniform of a lieutenant commander. A cabinet card from the Washington, D.C. studio of Charles Milton Bell, who was in business from 1873 to 1909, depicts Bache in the uniform of a commander. Another cabinet card of Bache in civilian clothes was taken at the Rieman & Co. studio in San Francisco.
There are two cartes-de visite of his cousin Thomas Harman Patterson (1820-1889), a naval officer, and one of his uncle General William Hemsley Emory (1811-1887), none of which are dated. One photograph of Patterson shows him in a commander's uniform before the uniform regulations were modified in July, 1862. It bears a Boston photographer's stamp on the back, so it most likely dates from early 1862 when Patterson would have been in Boston to take command of the U.S.S. Chocura (screw steam gunboat). The other photograph of Patterson shows him in the commander's uniform of 1864.
The connection of two items to George Mifflin Bache is unclear. One is the third volume of a coast survey of Japan, in Japanese, and the other is a letter from bootmaker Jonathan Forrest to Colonel James Duncan Graham, whose son graduated from the Naval Academy in 1862. Eight books and one photograph album have been removed from the collection and are cataloged separately.
Additional documents connected to George Mifflin Bache are located at the Navy Department Library, Naval History and Heritage Command in the Commander George Mifflin Bache, USN Collection (http://www.history.navy.mil/library/manuscript/bache_george.htm).
Arranged into incoming and outgoing letters, thereunder chronologically.
Incoming correspondence consists of seven items from David Dixon Porter, George Mifflin Bache's uncle. In a letter dated February 14, 1864, from the flagship of the Mississippi Squadron, Porter informs his nephew of the death of Bache's sister from typhoid fever. Porter was married to George Ann Patterson, the sister of Eliza (Patterson) Bache.
All outgoing correspondence, 135 items, is from George Mifflin Bache to his mother Eliza (Patterson) Bache. A letter dated May 19, 1864, describing the Red River campaign, is missing four pages (5-8). An incomplete letter in fragile condition, dated July 3, 1867, describes the loss of the sloop-of-war Sacramento.
George Mifflin Bache kept these three volumes, each marked "Private Journal," while serving as captain's clerk aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga. During this time period, the Saratoga cruised the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. At the beginning of the second journal, Bache mentions a desire to join the U.S. Coast Survey. His father's brother Alexander Dallas Bache (1806-1867) was Superintendent of the Coast Survey and in May 1857, George Mifflin Bache was appointed Acting Master's Mate of the U.S.S. Nautilus (schooner) commanded by Lieutenant Richard Wainwright (1817-1862), husband of George Mifflin Bache's aunt Sarah Franklin Bache.
The entry for January 24, 1857 in the third volume contains a piece of midshipman's doggerel "occasioned by some of the Acting Midshipmen at the Naval Academy burning down a round-house."
Navy Department orders and circulars; papers related to the loss of the sloop-of-war Sacramento; A Bill for the relief of Commander George M. Bache, United States Navy (retired) 50th Cong., 1st sess., S.1169; undated "War Reminiscences;" a memorandum regarding abolishment of the Washington Navy Yard; and papers outlining George M. Bache's naval service.
Calling cards and invitations, and obituaries of George M. Bache. One invitation is to Admiral and Mrs. Porter's 50th wedding anniversary celebration.
Arranged by subject, with undated material last.
Photographs of: George M. Bache; the USNA Class of 1861 (copy); Bache's cousin Thomas Harman Patterson and uncle William Hemsley Emory; the U.S.S. Cincinnati; the U.S.S. Lexington; Madras (Chennai), India; and an unidentified woman (perhaps one of Bache's daughters) and unidentified naval officer.
Among the photographs of Bache are one in his midshipman uniform, presumably his graduation picture.
Documents related to the death of George Mifflin Bache [Sr.], a map of the Battle of Chattanooga drawn by Dallas Bache, and clippings about relatives of George M. Bache.
Arranged alphabetically, thereunder chronologically.
Journals and letters of Eliza, George Ann, and Harriet Patterson, the daughters of Commodore Daniel Todd Patterson (1786-1839) and his wife George Ann Pollock (1787-1851). One of Eliza's two journals is a partially handwritten, partially typed copy. Her other journal, from 1834, is entitled "Journey from Alexandria to Cairo." George Ann's journal begins in mid-sentence.
Typescript copy of a letter from Margaret (Porter) Heap to Evelina (Anderson) Porter; letter from Jonathan Forrest to Colonel James Duncan Graham; items related to destroyer U.S.S.Bache; volume 3 of a coast survey of Japan, in Japanese.
The following eight books and one photograph album have been removed from the collection and cataloged separately:
Maury, Matthew Fontaine. The Physical Geography of the Sea. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1855. (Spec Coll GC11.M45 1855)
Inscribed on front free endpaper "Geo. M. Bache U.S.N."