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Medical Register and Journal of the U.S. Steamer Valley City, 1861-1862: Finding Aid

Published in 1995

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 303
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Medical Register and Journal of the U.S. Steamer Valley City
  • Dates: 1861-1862
  • Size: 0.06 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume
  • Creator: Valley City (Steamer)
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: U.S.S. Valley City was a wooden-hulled screw-steamer assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. The Medical Register and Journal of the U.S. Steamer Valley City covers the ship's Civil War medical history, as well as several of her notable naval engagements in the waters around North Carolina.

History of U.S.S. Valley City (Steamer)

Valley City, a wooden-hulled screw-steamer built at Philadelphia in 1859, was purchased by the Navy at New York City on July 26, 1861 and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on September 13, 1861, Lt. James C. Chaplin in command.

The next day, Valley City left New York to join the Potomac Flotilla commanded by Capt. Thomas T. Craven. She arrived in the Potomac River off Occoquan Creek, Va., on the 17th and began patrol and reconnaissance duties. She exchanged gunfire with a Confederate battery at Freestone Point, VA, on September 25. Valley City was reassigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron under Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough in October but first put into the Baltimore Navy Yard, MD, for emergency repairs to her funnel. After a brief stop in Hampton Roads late in December, the repaired steamer was deployed with the blockade off Hatteras Inlet, NC, on January 4, 1862.

Valley City remained off Hatteras Inlet for one month and then participated in the successful amphibious assault upon Roanoke Island, NC, on February 7 and 8. The victory closed supply lines to the Confederate-held Norfolk Navy Yard and was largely responsible for the evacuation of that vital naval facility three months later. Following the capture of Roanoke Island, Valley City assisted in the capture of Elizabeth City, NC, on the 10th. During the attack, a shot passed through the steamer's magazine and exploded in a locker containing fireworks. When Lt. Chaplin and others went below to extinguish the fire, they found Quarter Gunner John Davis seated calmly above an open barrel of powder to keep the fire out, while passing powder to the upper deck. For his incredible valor on this occasion, Davis received the Medal of Honor. Valley City remained in the North Carolina sounds and participated in the capture of New Berne on March 13 and 14 and the subsequent clearing of the Neuse River. She returned to Baltimore for repairs on June 2.

In September, Valley City was assigned patrol and reconnaissance duty in Virginia's York River. She was reassigned to Plymouth, NC, on 25 October to protect Union troops stationed there. On the evening of November 2, she led a reconnaissance expedition up the Roanoke River to Hamilton which she left a week later and returned to New Berne. In January 1863, the vessel returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard for a new propeller and underwent further repairs and alterations at Baltimore before deploying off Washington, NC, in April. Valley City fired upon Confederate positions near Blount's Creek, NC, on April 15, then left to join Lt. Charles W. Flusser's command at Plymouth on April 19.

Valley City performed routine patrol and reconnaissance duties off Plymouth through July. On the 26th, the steamer helped to protect Union forces ashore during a joint expedition up the Chowan River, NC Later, while serving as a mail steamer, the vessel collided with the U.S. transport Vidette on September 21 and suffered one fatality. Valley City sailed for Hampton Roads on November 27 and proceeded on to Baltimore for repairs and did not return to New Berne until February 19, 1864, when she resumed her now familiar patrol and reconnaissance activities.

Valley City was present at the evacuation of Washington, NC, in May and captured the schooner M. O'Neill there on May 5. During the summer months of May through September 1864, the steamer played an important role in support of Union forces ashore and afloat in scattered operations in the Roanoke, Chowan, Pamlico, Pungo, and Scuppernong rivers of North Carolina. On October 28, Valley City plucked Lt. William Barker Gushing from the Roanoke River after his daring, successful torpedo attack upon the Confederate ram C.S.S. Albemarle at Plymouth and, from October 29 to November 1, assisted in the recapture of Plymouth itself. While on an expedition up the Roanoke River on December 20, the vessel suffered two casualties in a surprise attack by hidden Confederate shore batteries at Poplar Point, NC.

Valley City remained active during the last few months of the war, rendering assistance to an Army expedition to Colerain, NC, in January 1865, and participating in a reconnaissance patrol up the Chowan River to Winton, NC, in early April. In May, Iosco, Valley City, and a picket boat captured a motley collection of small Confederate watercraft during a sweep of the Roanoke River and also dragged the bottom for sunken guns and unexploded torpedoes.

Early in the summer, the steamer returned north and was sold at public auction at New York City on August 15, 1865. She was re-documented for merchant service on December 28 and was lost at sea off Cape San Bias, FL, on January 30, 1882.

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Biography of George R. Mann

George R. Mann was appointed as Acting Assistant Surgeon in the United States Navy on September 21, 1861. Following his service aboard U.S.S. Valley City, he served aboard the steamers U.S.S. Commodore Barney, U.S.S. Lockwood, and U.S.S. Pocahontas. George R. Mann died aboard Pocahontas on August 20, 1864.

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Description of Contents

The Medical Register and Journal of the U.S. Steamer Valley City, spanning from October 1861 to May 1862, comprises a single volume, handwritten medical record. The Register, compiled while the Valley City was a member of the Union Navy's North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, covers the ship's Civil War medical history, as well as several of her notable naval engagements in the waters around North Carolina.

Pages 2 through 5 of the Register comprise the "Register of patients on board the U.S. Steamer Valley City." This patient register notes each patient's number, name, rate, age, place of birth, date of admission, where from, disease or injury, date of discharge, and where to.

Pages 21 through 96 of the Register comprise the "Journal of Medical and Surgical practice on board of the United States Steamer Valley City in 1861 and 1862 by Acting Assistant Surgeon George R. Mann." The journal provides details of patients' cases in terms of diagnosis, disease, condition, and treatment. Patients typically received multiple entries, tracking their progress over time.

In the context of the journal entries, there are references to Valley City's combat actions, including an attack on "rebel batteries" at Roanoke Island, North Carolina, in which some of the sick patients insisted on manning their posts (February 7-8, 1862); the attack on Elizabeth City, North Carolina, including accounts of "a short but desperate hand to hand fight," and the actions of John Davis to prevent a shell-ignited fire in Valley City's magazine from spreading (February 9-10, 1862); the boat's crew sailing to destroy a batter above Roanoke Island known as Roberts Fishery (February 20, 1862); and brief mentions of the attack upon rebel fortifications at New Berne, North Carolina (March 12-14, 1862).

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The Medical Register and Journal of the U.S. Steamer Valley City comprises a single volume consisting of two sections:

  • Section 1: Register of patients on board the U.S. Steamer Valley City, 1861-1862
  • Section 2: Journal of Medical and Surgical practice on board of the United States Steamer Valley City, 1861-1862
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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Medical Register and Journal of the U.S. Steamer Valley City is 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.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Charles Q. Norton in July 1985. Accession No. 85-27.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Logbooks from U.S.S. Valley City may be available in Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships, ca. 1801 - 1940, National Archives and Records Administration.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Medical Register and Journal of the U.S. Steamer Valley City, MS 303

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:

Navy Department. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1959-1981.

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1814-.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1995. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1995 and revised by David D'Onofrio in May 2014.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Mann, George R., d. 1864
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Medical Care
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Naval operations
  • United States. Navy -- Medical care
  • Valley City (Steamer)

Genre Terms

  • Logs (records)
  • Manuscripts
  • Medical records
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Medical Register and Journal of the U.S. Steamer Valley City, 1861-1862

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