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Moses A. Lane Papers, 1852-1888: Finding Aid

Published in August 2008

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 389
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Moses A. Lane Papers
  • Dates: 1852-1888
  • Size: 0.02 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 2 folders containing 19 items
  • Creator: Lane, Moses A.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: The Moses A. Lane Papers, consisting of fourteen handwritten letters (with typed transcriptions) and five photocopies of service records, span from 1852 to 1888 and offer a glimpse into the career and Civil War service of gunner Moses A. Lane.

Biography of Moses A. Lane

Moses A. Lane, birth date unknown, was a career serviceman in the United States Navy, serving most of his career as a gunner. Lane joined the Navy on January 28, 1852, with his first duty station aboard the U.S.S. Levant, before being detached and transferred to the U.S.S. St. Louis, which was charged with suppressing the slave trade along the western coast of Africa. Following a three month leave in 1858, and a brief assignment at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Lane was attached to the U.S.S. John Adams in 1859, which served in the Pacific until the outbreak of the Civil War, when it was transferred to the U.S. Naval Academy, temporarily relocated to Newport, Rhode Island, as a training vessel. It is around this time that Lane was ordered to the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, in May 1862, for ordnance duty. One year later, Lane transferred to the gunboat U.S.S Cimarron.

The Cimarron, a double-ended steam gunboat, was primarily assigned to blockade duty with the Atlantic Blockading Squadron during Lane's time on board. While the Cimarron's primary duty was blockading off South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, the ship also took part in the attack on Fort Wagner in Charleston Harbor in late August 1863.

Beginning in 1877, Lane's next major recorded duty came aboard the screw sloop of war, U.S.S. Plymouth, which operated off the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean. Lane was placed on the retired list on January 11, 1885, and died on October 31, 1888.

Little is known about the personal life of Moses A. Lane, other than that he was married (possibly to a woman named Annie, referred to by first name throughout the collection), and had a sister, whose name is unknown, and possibly a brother named Joe (also referenced throughout the collection).

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Description of Contents

The Moses A. Lane Papers, spanning from 1852 to 1888, consist of fourteen handwritten letters (with typed transcriptions) and five photocopies of service records. The papers offer a glimpse into the career and Civil War service of gunner Moses A. Lane.

Organized into a single series, the collection is arranged into two folders by document type, and thereunder chronologically. All of the letters are from Moses A. Lane to his sister (addressed simply "My Dear Sister") and date primarily from his time at the New York Navy Yard in 1862, aboard the U.S.S. Cimarron in 1863 and 1864, and aboard the U.S.S. Plymouth in 1878. The letters refer primarily to life on the home front, and the U.S. Army service of a man, possibly Lane's brother, named Joe. Regarding Lane's service in the Navy, little is said aside from complaints about ordnance duty and reductions in pay and benefits. The service records, all photocopies, span Lane's entire career.

The Moses A. Lane Papers reflect the tedium of blockade duty but offer very little about Lane’s responsibilities or experiences aboard U.S. ships Cimarron and Plymouth, or at the New York Navy Yard.

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The Moses A. Lane Papers are arranged alphabetically by document type, thereunder chronologically into a single series with no subdivisions.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Moses A. Lane 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.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Manuscripts and Archives in October 2005. Accession No. 07-55.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Moses Lane's career in the U.S. Navy can be found in the Moses A. Lane Papers, C1307 at Princeton University Library's Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts (

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Moses A. Lane Papers, MS 389

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.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in August 2008. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in August 2008.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Correspondence
  • Lane, Moses A.

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Correspondence, 1862-1878

Box 1 Folder 2

Service Records (Photocopies), 1852-1888

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