4 Replies Latest reply on Feb 2, 2021 7:03 PM by Elizabeth VIlleponteaux

    Seeking Army reports about drowning incident

    Elizabeth VIlleponteaux Newbie

      I am looking for any records of an incident reported in the newspaper in February 1872, in which a man who was on a flat bringing "two heavy guns" from Southern Wharf to be installed at Fort Sumter (Charleston, SC) fell in the water and was assumed to have drowned. The man's name was Charles Cooper, and he was one of two men on the flat. The second man was not named. According to the newspaper article, published February 26, 1872, the flat was being towed by the steamer St. Helena. I believe they were civilians, since the story did not say otherwise, but I am not positive. The wharf at the time was privately owned, so my understanding is there would be no local records from the port side of the incident. Since they were delivering army property, I thought the archives might have something. Thanks for any ideas.

        • Re: Seeking Army reports about drowning incident
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear Ms. VIlleponteaux,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Letters Received, 1805 - 1889 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1762 - 1917 (Record Group 94) and Letters Sent, 8/1868 - 10/1883 for the Department of the South in the Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands (Record Group 393) that may have correspondence mentioning the incident.  For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at Archives1reference@nara.gov.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

          • Re: Seeking Army reports about drowning incident
            Elliot Schneider Ranger

            Hello Elizabeth,


            Here is a picture of the St. Helena Steamer. Also it may help if we knew a little about Mr. Charles Cooper when was he born, were he was from maybe get an idea to see if he was Army/Navy? If we can see what his unit was maybe they would have a report in the unit files.


              • Re: Seeking Army reports about drowning incident
                Elizabeth VIlleponteaux Newbie

                Thank you! One of the things I am trying to determine is whether this man is a Charles Cooper who was either my great-great-grandfather or my great-great-grandmother's first husband. I don't know anything for certain about this man, and a newspaper report (attached) is all I know about the incident. The Charles Cooper I am looking for was born in Prussia about 1835 and to my knowledge was not in the military. It is possible that he joined the Navy in Philadelphia in 1871--I found a record of someone who is a close enough match, but it's a common name. If so, however, the records seemed to indicate he deserted. From at least 1866 to 1871 he was recorded as living in Charleston and worked as a stevedore in that time. I have never seen any other mention of any military connection. newspaper report of drowning incident