The U.S. Steamer Clifton Off Cape Hatteras, March 1862.
The U.S. Steamer Clifton Off Cape Hatteras, March 1862.

Guide to the Daniel D. T. Nestell Papers, 1852-1911

MS 310

A collection in the
Special Collections & Archives Department,
Nimitz Library

Naval Academy Seal

United States Naval Academy
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5029

Prepared by: David D'Onofrio
(Original Guide by Mary R. Catalfamo, 1996)

December 2008

Descriptive Summary

Purchase, and donation to the Special Collections & Archives Department by Mr. Royal Luty. Accession Nos. 95-51 and 97-76.
6 linear inches.
Access to the Daniel D. T. Nestell Papers is unrestricted.
The Daniel D. T. Nestell Papers are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information
Preferred Citation:
Daniel D. T. Nestell Papers, MS 310
Special Collections & Archives Department
Nimitz Library
United States Naval Academy

Biographical Sketch

Daniel D. T. Nestell, reportedly born in New York between 1815 and 1819, graduated with honors from the University of the City of New York's University Medical College (later the New York University School of Medicine) in 1843. Following graduation, Nestell, accompanied by one of his professors (Dr. Valentine Mott), traveled abroad for two years in furtherance of his medical studies. Upon his return to the United States, Dr. Nestell reportedly worked as a physician or apothecary until 1862.

On January 25, 1862, Dr. Nestell was appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon, to serve on the U.S.S. Clifton (side wheel steamer). While assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Clifton participated in the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Phillip in April 1862, the Siege of Vicksburg in June 1862, and the First Battle of Galveston in October 1862, before being captured by Confederate forces at Sabine Pass, Texas on September 8, 1863. Nestell was subsequently held as a prisoner of war until January 1864, when he was released.

After his release from Confederate captivity, and a subsequent furlough, Nestell was assigned to the U.S.S. Alabama (side wheel steamer), again serving as Acting Assistant Surgeon. Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Alabama took part in the Union attacks on Fort Fisher from December 1864 to January 1865. During the action at Fort Fisher, Nestell suffered irreversible hearing damage. Five months later, on June 6, 1865, Dr. Nestell's appointment as Acting Assistant Surgeon was revoked, and he was honorably discharged from the Navy in August of that year.

On September 9, 1869, Nestell received an appointment as Acting Assistant Surgeon in the U.S. Army, and served at Camp Warner, Oregon until April 1871. After serving briefly in California and the Arizona Territory, Nestell returned to civilian life in May 1872, and served in private practice in California.

Dr. Daniel D. T. Nestell died on October 24, 1900. Dr. Nestell was survived by his wife, Maria Louisa Whaites Nestell, whom he married in 1864, and his daughter, Ella.

Scope and Content Note

The Daniel D. T. Nestell Papers, comprising 6 linear inches of documents and spanning from 1843 to 1911, focus primarily on Nestell's service and experiences as an Assistant Surgeon in the United States Navy during the Civil War. The papers describe Nestell's naval career, from his initial appointment through his retirement and subsequent pension claims, including descriptions of his time as a Confederate prisoner of war, and eye witness accounts of numerous naval engagements through a series of original drawings.

The collection is primarily composed of correspondence, claim receipts, news clippings, photographs, and original drawings.

The collection is organized into three series by document type. UNITED STATES NAVY FILES consists of documents pertaining to the functional aspects of Nestell's career as an Assistant Surgeon in the United States Navy, including appointments, prize claims, and pension claims. The series also includes Nestell's Doctor of Medicine diploma. PHOTOGRAPHS consists of nine portraits of United States military personnel, including Nestell, and fellow crew of the U.S.S. Alabama. DRAWINGS, representing over one-half of the collection, consists of original drawings by Nestell, primarily depicting major engagements of the Union Navy's West Gulf Blockading Squadron and Mississippi Squadron, in which U.S.S. Clifton took part.

In addition to biographical inquiries pertaining to Nestell, the major research area served by the Nestell Papers (specifically Nestell's drawings) is the study of the activities of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, including the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Phillip, the Siege of Vicksburg, and the First Battle of Galveston.

Series Descriptions

UNITED STATES NAVY FILES, 1843, 1852 and 1863-1911. (Box 1 and MS OS)

Arranged alphabetically by document type.

Varied documentation of Nestell's career as a surgeon in the United States Navy in the Civil War and subsequent retirement. The documents pertain to Nestell's appointment as an Acting Assistant Surgeon, claims for prize money and indemnification due to injury, pension payouts, and time spent as a prisoner of war of the Confederacy. Included in the series are letters, orders, claim forms and receipts, news clippings, appointments, a Confederate Navy voucher, an oath of office, and a report.

Among the items in the series are two Confederate documents, consisting of a voucher for hauling and an appointment as surgeon for Dr. James M. Jackson.

Also included in this series is a biographical chronology of Nestell compiled by one of his great grandchildren, which includes highlights of Nestell's service record, as well as Nestell's Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of the City of New York Medical School.

PHOTOGRAPHS, [1860s]. (Box 1)

Arranged alphabetically by name.

Portraits of Nestell and other U.S. Navy and Army personnel, including crew members of U.S. Ships Alabama and Clifton. Included in the series are cartes de visite, a tintype, and a negative.

DRAWINGS, 1862-1865. (Box 2)

Organized into two sub-series by subject.

Pencil and ink drawings by Nestell, primarily of U.S.S. Clifton and the naval actions undertaken by the West Gulf Blockading Squadron.

Ships, Maps, and Battle Scenes: Arranged chronologically by date of drawing.

Depictions of Union naval vessels (primarily U.S.S. Clifton), Civil War battle scenes and maps, and landscapes. Prominent engagements include the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Phillip, the Siege of Vicksburg, and the First Battle of Galveston, as well as several drawings of action on Bayou Teche. In addition to U.S.S. Clifton, featured naval vessels include U.S. Ships Westfield, Mississippi, Hartford, and Harriet Lane.

Portraits: Hand-drawn portraits, primarily caricatures of sailors (presumably crew members of the U.S.S. Clifton). Also included in the sub-series are a landscape of a cemetery and church steeple and the portrait of a woman, labeled Piozzi.

Arrangement Note

The Nestell Papers have been digitized in their entirety. In addition to following the links in the Container List below, the materials can be accessed through the Nimitz Library Digital Collections.

Container List

Box Folder  
1 Appointment - Acting Assistant Surgeon (U.S.N), January 6, 1862 - April 3, 1863
2 Appointment - Surgeon (Dr. James M. Jackson, C.S.A.), June 12, 1863
3 Biographical Material, undated
4 Confederate Navy Voucher - Hauling Fees, March 16, 1864
5 Correspondence - Confederate Captivity, February 2, 1864 and undated

Includes a written pledge by Nestell not to divulge C.S.A. information upon his release as a prisoner of war [POW].

6 Correspondence - Leave of Absence (Wife's Illness), February 27 - March 5, 1864
7 Correspondence - Pension, February 17, 1886 - October 17, 1911

Includes Accrued Pension Notices and a Declaration for Original Invalid Pension form.

8 Correspondence - Report Receipts, July - August 1864
9 Correspondence - Request for "The Medical and Surgical History of the Rebellion," undated
10 Morning Report, June 1, 1852

Marine Barracks, Pensacola, Florida. Signed by Captain Josiah Tattnall.

11 News Clippings - Confederate Captivity, February 29, 1864 and undated

Includes a narrative by Nestell of the naval action at Sabine Pass and his subsequent captivity as a prisoner of war [POW].

12 Oath of Office - Surgeon's Steward (William Betts), June 3, 1864
13 Orders, February 24, 1865 and September 9, 1869 - January 2, 1872
14 War Prize and Loss Indemnification Claims, April - May 1864 and June 17, 1874 - March 17, 1885
15 Bates, William (Acting Master, U.S.S. Alabama), November 1864
16 Bowen, William S. (U.S.N.), undated
17 Glisson, O.S. (Captain, U.S.N.), undated
18 Law, [Richard] L. (Captain, U.S.S. Clifton), undated
19 Nelson, Wilson (Captain), undated
20 Nestell, Daniel D., undated
21 Otis, A. (Colonel), undated
22 Smith, Frank (Volunteer Lieutenant, U.S.S. Alabama), undated
23 Stewart (Colonel), undated
Box Folder
2[OS] DRAWINGS/Ships, Maps and Battle Scenes
1 The U.S. Steamers Clifton, Westfield, and Jackson in a Storm Off [blank], February 1862
2 The U.S. Steamer Clifton Off Cape Hatteras, March 1862
3 South West Pass of Mississippi Vessels: Underscored [Vessels Ran] Aground, Others Towing Off, March 26, [1862]
4 [Map Showing Clifton and Squadron at Pass L'Outre, Depicting Clifton's Route Through the Gulf of Mississippi], undated
5 The Fleet Within Three Miles of English Channel - Seward's Point on the Left Behind Which is Fort Jackson and a Large Rebel Fleet, undated
6 An Old Fisherman in his Boat Scudding from Ship to Ship, Selling at Exorbitant Prices Too, April 15, 1862
7 The Scene of Action Commencing April 18 as Far as I Can See from the Deck of Our Vessel, [1862]
8 The Fleet Engaging the Two Forts [at] 3 1/2 AM, April 24, 1862
9 Running of the Forts by Commd. Farragut's Fleet, April 24, 1862
10 The "Great Battery" Ram Built at New Orleans to Destroy the Union Fleet, Sunk After Being Disabled and Burnt, April 24, 1862
11 Capture of Forts Jackson and St. Phillip, April 24, 1862
12 Scene Above Quarantine, [April 24, 1862]
13 The U.S. Steamer Mississippi Crippling the Manassas, [April 24, 1862]
14 The Hartford Attacked by the Ram Louisiana, undated
15 The Clifton Burning a Fire Raft, undated
16 General Butler's Troops Passing Through a Bayou in the Rear of Fort St. Phillip, undated
17 A Casemate at Fort Jackson, undated
18 Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Phillip: Design Drawn on the Spot, undated
19 Blowing Up of the Confederate Steamer Louisiana After Surrender, [April 28, 1862]
20 Refugees from Fort Jackson, April 28, 1862
21 Fort Jackson, April 29, 1862
22 Fort Jackson, undated
23 Arrival of the Hartford off New Orleans, undated
24 Appearance of the Levee, New Orleans, April 1862
25 "Orphan Asylum" - Below New Orleans, undated
26 Baton Rouge, Mississippi, undated
27 The Harriet Lane, Com. D. Porter, May 1862
28 Off Biloxi - The Clifton After Them with a "Sharp Stick," May 1862
29 A Grave Yard on Pearl River, Mississippi, May 1862
U.S. Surveying Steamer Sachem
[Bust Profile of Bearded U.S.N. Officer]
30 The Great Water Spout - Off "Round Island," May 24, 1862
31 Round Island [in] Mississippi Sound, undated
32 Off Forts Morgan and Gains, May 30, 1862
33 [View of] Rear of Fort Pickens, fort McRae, Fort Barrancas, and U.S.S. Clifton, May 31, 1862
34 Pensacola, Florida, undated
35 [Vicksburg and the Union Fleet: Diagram of Mississippi River from Warrenton past Vicksburg to Juncture of Yazoo River], undated
36 A Secesh [Confederate] Soldier from Vicksburg, June 19, 1862
37 View of Vicksburg, June 22, 1862
38 A Hasty Sketch: The Louisiana Bell, Having Delivered Her Quantum of Troops for Vicksburg, June 26, 1862
39 Attack on Vicksburg by the Mortar Fleet under Commodore Porter; the Sloops of War Lying Five Miles Down River, June 27, 1862
40 The Battle Before Vicksburg, June 28, 1862
41 Plan of Vicksburg During the Bombardment, June 28, 1862
42 The Grave of the First Slain On Board the U.S. Steamer Clifton, at the Bombardment of Vicksburg, June 28, 1862
43 General View of Mississippi River Below Vicksburg - As We Lay, July 6, 1862
44 Running the Grand Gulf - Found it Burned by Our Boats Coming Up, July 11, 1862
45 The Capture of Galveston, Texas, October 1862
46 Ye Defense of Ye City of Galveston, Texas, One Gun!, undated
47 The Hero of Galveston in a Quandary!, undated
48 [View of] Fort Point, Galveston City, Pelican Spitt with Barracks, Virginia Point, Rebel Tents, and Shed on Bridges to Virginia Point, undated
49 Bombardment of Port Velaca [Lavaca], Texas, October 31 - November 1, 1862
50 The Clifton Going Into Matgorda Bay, November 2, 1862
51 Capture of the U.S.S. Harriet Lane at Galveston, Texas, January 1, 1863
52 The Recapture of Galveston, Texas: The Clifton Ahead, undated
53 The U.S. Steamer Clifton off Grant's Pass, July 9, 1863
54 Moss Covered Oak on the Atchafalaya, undated
55 Old Tree on the Atchafalaya, undated
56 The Grand Army on the March up the Teche, undated
57 Up the Teche: After Them!, undated
58 The Clifton on the Teche Removing a Pontoon Bridge at Night, undated
59 Burning of Bridges on the Bayou Teche, undated
60 The Clifton Off a Plantation [on] Bayou Teche, undated
61 Batteries on the James River, April 8, 1865
62 "Fort Darling" on the James River, April 9, 1865
63 Homes of the Union Soldiers on the James, April 9, 1865
64 Dutch Gap, April 9, 1865
65 The Last of the "Howlett House," April 9, 1865
66 Ship Island, undated

Includes ships Clifton, and Westfield.

67 Fort Pike and Lake Pontchartrain, undated
68 Entrance to Charleston, [South Carolina], undated
69 U.S.S. Clifton [Approaching] Entrance to Port Royal, undated
70 General Aspect of "Horn Island" Miss. Sound, undated
71 Key West: The Clifton's Position, undated
72 Recto: Cape George, Florida
Verso: George's Bay, All at Anchor till Change of Wind, undated
73 Clifton on the Way Out the Harbour, undated
74 The U.S.S. Clifton Towing up the North America with 1,300 Troops On Board, undated
75 Deck of the U.S. Steamer Clifton in Fighting Order, undated
76 General Appearance of Land at Ten Miles, undated
77 The Clifton in a Storm at Night, undated
78 As We [ships] Appear in the Fog, undated
79 Sea Gulls and Pelicans the Size of a Turkey, undated
80 Mortar Schooner, undated
81 Diana, undated
82 The Ward Room Steward's Complaint ("Garry," "William," "Old Leach" Gunner's Mate), undated
83 "At Quarters," undated
84 "Scared to Death": Our Wardroom Steward, undated
85 Peter, "Call Boy," undated
86 "Prof" the Hypocrite, undated
87 A regular Officer in the U.S. Navy: Query = What is it? Drawn from Real Life, undated
88 View [Church in Background, Cemetery in Foreground], undated
89 Piozzi, undated
Box Folder
1 Diploma - Doctor of Medicine, University of the City of New York, 1843