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The Men of The Nashville

Captains of the vessel changed as each stage of the ship's use evolved. They were:

As the S.S. Nashville, Captain Berry

As the C.S.S. Nashville, Lt. Robert Baker Pegram

As the Thomas L. Wragg, Captain Gooding

Finally, as the Rattlesnake, T. Harrison Baker

Lt. Robert Baker Peagram
Lt. Robert Baker


Others served in various capacities
throughout the vessel's life as officers and men.

The original crew of the S.S. Nashville were a motley group of men, not atypical of the seamen of the time.
Their crew list survives.

Lt. Robert Baker Pegram, Captain from VA
2nd Lt. J.W. Bennet, Executive Officer from MD
3rd Lt. William C. Whittle, Engineer from VA
Lt. John J. Ingraham, Sailing Master from SC
1st Lt. Charles M. Fauntleroy
James Hood, Chief Engineer from Canada
Lewis Hill, Master at Arms
Richard Taylor, Paymaster from VA
Dr. John L. Aucrum, Asst. Surgeon From SC
Edward Hassell, Captain's Clerk from SC
William Smith, 1st Asst. Engineer from SC
John Spidell, 2nd Asst. Engineer from AL
John C. Murry, 3rd Asst. Engineer from SC
Mr. Johnson, Quartermaster
James Evans, Pilot form SC
Thomas Jones, Pilot from SC
John Nacon, Pilot from GA
Francis Sawyer, Boatswain
James West Pegram, Midshipman from VA
F.M. Thomas, Midshipman from SC
W.R. Inge Dalton, Midshipman from MI
H.G. McClintock, Midshipman from AL
Clarence Cary, Midshipman from VA
I.S. Bulloch, Midshipman from GA
W.B. Sinclair, Midshipman from GA
Francis Warrington Dawson, Midshipman from England
W.P. Hamilton, Midshipman from SC
Mr. Ramson, Seaman and Acting Boatswain
Frederick Williams, 2nd Cook
Mr. Sampson, Seaman
Mr. Caulks, Seaman
George P. McIndo, Water Tender
William Jones, Fireman
Thomas Casey, Fireman
Paul Bogan, Coal Passer
John Seeley, Water Tender
Jno Carral, Boy
McCarthy, Boy
Sculli, Boy
Mr. Lussen, Position Unknown

Of the eight crewman on board their origins are as follows:
An Irishman
A Belgian
A North Carolinian
A Frenchman
A Scotchman
A Spaniard
A Swede
A Fat Cockney Englishman

The original Log Book for the vessel also survives, as seen in this sample page.


Life at sea was sometimes dangerous, sometimes exciting. Much of the time, however, it was unpleasant and nearly always, boring. Life can best be understood from the words of the men who lived it, as these excerpts from the diaries of one man demonstrates.

Describing a storm at sea and his first seasick experience, one of the first crew, Francis W. Dawson, wrote,

"While the gale was at its height the engine broke down, and sail was made to keep the vessel's head to the wind. The storm began to subside, and on the morning of the eigth day the wind had lulled. The waves still ran high, and for the first time I saw the beautiful effect of the dashing of the spray over the rail of the vessel, forming miniature rainbows arching to the deck and glowing and glittering, with prismatic colors.

"I suppose I ought to say at this point that I was very seasick on the first day out, but, as Bo'sun Sawyer was constantly after me to do some of the drudgery he had in mind for me, I had no time to indulge in the pleasures of sea-sickness and recovered entirely in less than twenty-four hours."

From The English Voyage of the Confederate Steamer Nashville, Peagram Harrison. Unpublished thesis, Dartmouth College, 1994, p. 20-21.

The writing of Dawson in Reminiscences of Confederate Service 1861-1865 edited by Bell I. Wiley contains interesting commentary of life aboard ship. One letter to his family in England is particularly descriptive of a seaman's lot.

" . . . For 2 or 3 days we had fine weather, but after that there was a succession of strong head winds and rough seas. The paddle boxes and water closets were carried off at one sweep. Only once did we beat to quarters, and that was a false alarm . . . Certainly at sea you cannot have too much sleep at one spell! What is called watch & watch is kept at night! That is one half the crew in duty from 8 to 12, the 2d from 12 to 4, the 1st again from 4 to 8 & so on, so that, when tired & wet you have turned in, scarcely are you comfortably snoring before it is time to turn out again. The provisions are far from good; it is with great difficulty that
I can eat at all! Indeed in every way the life is truly a hard one!"

Dawson even wrote a song sung to the tune of "The Bonnie Blue Flag" sung often by the crew entitled "The Nashville Dixie."

The Nashville Dixie
'Tis long years since our fathers fought,
Our Country dear to free;
Our chartered rights, sealed with their blood,
Were the fruits of victory,
They knew not how to cringe or kneel,
The despot's train to swell,
The first deep thought in every breast
Was to love old Dixie well.
CHORUS - Hurrah! three cheers! so gaily let us sing,
Of all the lands that crown the earth
Old Dixie's is the king.
Our liberties are threatened now,
Armed host invade our soil,
Yet Northern bands, in hurried flight,
From Dixie's sons recoil.
We scorn their threats, deride their vows,
We know the foeman's worth,
No Vandal band shall e'er command
The land that gave us birth.
CHORUS - Hurrah! three cheers! so gaily let us sing,
Of all the lands that crown the earth
Old Dixie's is the king.
The free-born rights our fathers won
Will we, their sons, maintain,
The honor or our spotless flag
Untarnished shall remain,
No Northern star shall ever shine
Where the Southern Cross has waved,
Nor while a hand can grasp a sword
Shall Dixie's be enslaved.
CHORUS - Hurrah! three cheers! so gaily let us sing,
Of all the lands that crown the earth
Old Dixie's is the king.

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