Skip to main content

Ellsworth Hults diary

Identifier: MSS-3735

Scope and Contents

Elsworth Hults was the paymaster's clerk on the USS Galena when it left Philadelphia after receiving repairs. He began his diary on February 18, 1864. Hults described the Battle of Mobile Bay, with diagrams of the bay showing the positions of the various ships, as well as the locations of Forts Morgan and Gaines, islands, and shoals. In addition, there is a photograph of Admiral James Forsyth, "the tallest man in the American Navy - 6 ft 6, great friend of my fathers and mentioned in this log." There is also a transcription of the diary.


  • 1864 February - November


Biographical / Historical

Ellsworth Holman Hults, son of David and Deborah Phillips Hults, was born in August 1841, in Mount Holly, Burlington, New Jersey. By 1850, the family had moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In November 1863, he enlisted in the United States Navy and was paymaster's clerk aboard the USS Galena during the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864.

After the war, on 1 December 1869, Hults married Ann Eliza Bullock in Philadelphia. The couple had two children, Jessie Bullock Hults and Ellsworth Hults II. His career after the war was primarily as an insurance broker. Hults died on 6 February 1902.

The USS Galena was a wooden-hulled broadside ironclad built for the United States Navy during the American Civil War. The ship was initially assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and supported Union forces during the Peninsula Campaign in 1862. She was damaged during the Battle of Drewry's Bluff because her armor was too thin to prevent Confederate shots from penetrating. Widely regarded as a failure,Galena was reconstructed without most of her armor in 1863 and transferred to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron in 1864. The ship participated in the Battle of Mobile Bay and the subsequent Siege of Fort Morgan in August. She was briefly transferred to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron in September before she was sent to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for repairs in November. They were completed in March 1865 and the Galena rejoined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in Hampton Roads the following month. After the end of the war, the ship was decommissioned at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in June. She was transferred to Hampton Roads in 1869, condemned in 1870, and broken up for scrap in 1872.


0.2 Linear Feet (diary in phase box)

Language of Materials



The diary of the paymaster's clerk aboard the USS Galena from February through November 1864. There is also a transcription of the diary and a photograph of Admiral James Forsyth "the tallest man in the American Navy, 6 ft 6."


purchased from Hughes Books, New Orleans, LA, 2013

Processed by

Martha Bace, 2013
Guide to the Ellsworth Hults diary
July 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266