William Burden Stevenson – The Civil War Era
(continued from William Burden Stevenson 1842 – 1926)
In William’s Civil War pension application records he states that about two weeks after leaving the Royal Navy as a deserter he made his way to Pennsylvania and joined Company I of the 111th PA Infantry under the false name of Thomas Crawford.
It’s not yet been discovered just how he began serving in the United States Navy, but I would posit that he might have divulged his previous maritime experience without disclosing that he was a deserter from the Royal Navy. In a document from the US Treasury Department dated 9 November 1893 it states that on May 2, 1864 William was transferred from the Army to the Clara Dolsen and served on that ship until May 12, 1864; he also served on the Chickasaw until July 10, 1865; lastly, his next ship of service was the Fearnot and he was stationed on that ship until August 9, 1865.
The Clara Dolsen (sometimes spelled Dholsen) is described as:
“Clara Dolsen was “a magnificent river steamer” in which half interest was owned by Bart Able and Albert Pearce of St. Louis. She was built in 1861 at Cincinnati, Ohio. Used in the service of the Confederate States out of Memphis, Tenn., she was captured by Federal ships of the St. Charles Expedition on the White River, 14 June 1862. Later she operated with the Union army and eventually as USS Clara Dolsen (frequently written Dolson).”
The Chickasaw was a river monitor, but not in the sense of what you might envision when you hear the word “monitor” i.e., the Merrimac and the Monitor. These were steam driven boats and in this case, for William Stevenson, a place to reside for a while until his next orders sent him to the his last ship, the Fearnot.
“From the time of her arrival at Key West 17 September 1861, Fearnot served as coal and supply ship for the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, sailing out of Key West to Ship Island, and after its fall, New Orleans. Her last service, from October 1865 to May 1866, was in carrying surplus ordnance to Pensacola, and guarding the large amounts of ammunition accumulating there. She arrived at Boston 29 May 1866, and there was decommissioned 18 July 1866 and sold 3 October 1866.”
William was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy on May 1, 1864 at New Orleans, Louisiana. After the Civil War was over, he continued to serve on ships at sea during peace time.
(To be continued)
(2015) Clara Dolsen. Retrieved November 02, 2015, from http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/confederate_ships/clara-dolsen.html
- W. (2015) Fearnot. Retrieved November 02, 2015, from http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/f/fearnot.html