"Off Memphis" (in the Mississippi River): Flag Officer Command, Western Flotilla, Mississippi River, June 14, 1862. Printed broadside, 12 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches, on blue-lined paper, the verso of the cover leaf of a bi-folium, employing a bold head in capital letters, a nice display type. ¶Printed aboard the flotilla flagship "U.S. Flag Steamer ‘Benton’." The order presents "regulations to be observed by the vessels of this flotilla in their communication with the hospital-boat "RED ROVER," detailed instructions for the transfer of sick persons to the first hospital ship commissioned into the U.S. Navy; addressed in manuscript on the verso of the integral leaf to "Commander [Henry A.] Walke / Carondolet."Not recorded on OCLC (which does describe another issue of this order at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, though much smaller at 7 7/8 x 7 1/4 inches). Folded, but very good. (#5056). Item #58048
A unique copy of the general order initializing procedures to be followed in utilizing the services of the "Red Rover," the U.S. Navy's first dedicated Hospital Ship. A converted side-wheeler captured from the Confederates who used it as a barracks ship, it was fitted out as a hospital boat, with ample, in fact elaborate samitary measures and adequate professional medical staff. On 10 June 1862 it was ready for service and by the 14th of June, the date of this order, it already had 55 patients. By the time it was decommissioned in November, 1865, it had accommodated some 2400 patients, contributing significantly throughout its service to the mitigation of disease and the saving of lives. In 1865 it was commended by Fleet Surgeon Ninian N. Pinckney, who wrote: "there is less ... sickness in the Fleet than in the healthiest portion of the Globe." The "Red Rover" began service in June, 1862, as part of the Union army's Western Flotilla. During that summer it took part in operations along the Mississippi, from Vicksburg to Helena, Arkansas. In December, 1862, it was commissioned by the U.S. Navy. From February to July, 1863, "Red Rover" took part in the campaign against Vicksburg and, after it fell, continued her services along the river until the fall of 1864. The "Benton," from which this order was issued, "was considered one of the most powerful of the river gun boats" (J.R. Johnson, "Rear Admiral John Rodgers, 1812-1862," p. 166); its best known victory, with Davis commanding, came shortly before this order was issued, when it led the flotilla against Confederate naval forces in the June 6, 1862, Battle of Memphis, destroying or capturing seven of the eight opposing boats.This copy of Davis's order is addressed to the "Carondelet," one of the most famous Union ironclad riverboats, commanded by Henry A. Walke; under his leadership, from February to July, 1862, the ship achieved a record of strategic victories as part of the western flotilla. This is a unique copy of the order, in tall format, with relatively elaborate typography, using several large bold fonts. For a full account of "Red Rover," see U.S. Dept. of the Navy, "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships" online. Good accounts of the "Carondelet" and Walke are also available online. A fine artifact, representative of the Union naval success on the western waters.