#L3-16-63

One of the Actors in the UNION AQUATIC THEATRE ON BOARD U.S. STEAM GUN BOAT PORT ROYAL HARBOR OF APALACHICOLA Writes Home Sending a Hand-Drawn Playbill… AMAZING CALLIGRAPHY!



As far as Civil War paper memorabilia, this letter sending home an original playbill is a solid 10 out of 10.  The letter is dated March 16th, 1863 and is 4-pages in nice dark ink. 

The broadside measures 12 ½ x 8 inches and is on blue imported stationery, hand done in black, blue and red ink.  The detail is amazing.  At the bottom in tiny print, “Printed by Bishop’s Cheap Hand Press”!!  The broadside advertises a Monday Evening January 12th, 1863 performance of 3 plays:  His Last Legs, Make Your Wills, and The House Dog.  For each play the cast is written out.  Our writer John A. Stammers has a part in each of the plays.  We will take a number of photos so that you can see the great detail. 

Now, back to the letter: 

U. S. Gunboat Port Royal
Apalachicola Bay
March 16th, 1863

Dear Friend Harry,

I wish to inform you that I received your kind and welcome letter today, and I am very glad to hear that you are well, but sorry to hear that you have so much sickness in your family, and I hope to hear different in your next. I wish to inform you that I received all the papers and stamps this time, but the other letter with the 18 stamps I did not get. They must be mislaid or lost. I am in very good health all along so far AND HAVE A VERY GOOD TIME AMONG THE THEATRICAL FOLKS HERE. I showed this letter to the Yeoman and he was pleased to hear that YOU TOOK SO MUCH INTEREST IN THE PLAY BILL, and send his compliments to you. We are getting up a splendid drawing of the stage which I shall send you in a short time with a scene of Toodles. We have had a great many bills sent away to the New York Press by our officers. We have received a large lot of play books by this mail and WILL SOON BE ABLE TO SEND YOU A SAMPLE OF OUR PLAY BILLS AGAIN. We were in great distress for a mail as we had not heard from the North for 2 months, and we were nearly out of grub. It is exciting on our deck today with news from all states. I hope the next mail we get, it won’t be away so long. It is awful to be out here and not hear from home for months. You can’t imagine how we felt until today. I will write to you as soon as a Steamer comes along. I don’t know how to thank you for the favors you have sent me and never will forget it of you. All I am waiting for is to get back to Boston. Then I will talk to you. I am glad to hear that Hout hangs out so well. I thought he was among the missing. Remember me to him if you please. I am sorry about Frank Farnell for he was a good man. Let me know if old Doyle is with you yet. If so I send him my respects. I showed some of your bills around the deck today, and they were amazed to see a printed bill. The officers praised it very much, as one of our officers is a Composer of a New York office. I see the Cliffon and I find out how things are in Theatrical Circles at home. Harry, I don’t know what to say, but all I have to say is that this war is a going to bust another year. We have no trouble here only expecting to see the Chattahoochee every day. But the people in town say she will never come to attack us which I think myself. She will never go back again, if she come near us, as we are too much for them. Our ship’s Company are eager to get a crack at her to send her to the happy land of Canaan. When I look at the Salmon paper, it put me in mind of old times. The weather is getting warm and we will soon have to wear the white. Hoping this will find you on good health and strength. Until next time, I must now close my letter as the mail leaves in a half an hour. Harry, I can’t find words to thank you, but I hope to see the time I will repay you. No more at present from

Yours Truly,
John A. Stammers

NOTE:  Stammers refers to the CSS Chattahoochee, which was a twin-screw steam powered gun boat built in Saffold, Georgia and named for the river upon which she was built.  She entered the Confederate Navy in February 1863.   On May 27th, 1863, the Chattahoochee’s boiler exploded killing 19 of its crew.  In 1963 a portion of the Chattahoochee was raised from the bottom and placed in the National Civil War Naval Museum.  IT IS THE ONLY CONFEDERATE NAVAL GUN BOAT THAT SURVIVED TO MODERN DAY! 

Condition:  Excellent.  A truly historic letter and broadside.

#L3-16-63 – Price $1,595















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