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Samuel Walker Journal on the USS Kineo

Identifier: MSS-4296

Scope and Contents

The USS Kineo was a single crew, schooner-rigged vessel launched in 1861. Her artillery included an eleven-inch Dahlgren smoothbore gun, two twenty-four pounder smoothbore guns, and a twenty-pounder Parrot rifle. Walker faithfully records their sailing up and down the Mississippi River and encounters with Confederates, other ships, and conflicts. His account begins near New Orleans on Wednesday, July 1, 1863, when they learn of an impending attack. They steam upriver at full speed and arrive in time to fire on the Confederates, learning the next day that they had also killed a Black man and injured his wife. The action continues at a torrid pace for two weeks. During the period there is heavy fighting almost every day. When it is over, they anchor at New Orleans, where they go on shore leave: "We drove to the Lake and all had a good bath together, we then refreshed ourselves with wines fruits &c." Walker gives a good account of the activities in port and of shipboard events and rumors, such as the one "that we are soon going up the river, perhaps as high as St. Louis." He also discovers that "a certain lady by all appearances very respectable had been making inquiries for me."

The Kineo enters dry dock to have her shaft repaired and her propeller replaced. While repairs are being performed, Walker keeps a sharp eye on passing ships, troops and prisoners moving, prizes landing, and other events of a busy wartime port. By the end of July 1863, the fleet engineer had essentially condemned the Kineo, and they received orders to head north. There is a break of seven days, and the journal resumes on August 8. Beginning on August 15, Walker records their perilous journey north, arriving at Baltimore on August 25. Here they are paid and await their eventual discharge or reassignment. Walker made his last entry on August 29, 1863.


  • 1863

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Biographical / Historical

Samuel Walker was born on June 30, 1835, in Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. He married Caroline Cahoon in May 1858. His stated occupation was mariner. Enlistment records for the US Navy in 1861 state that he had hazel eyes, dark hair, and a fair complexion. He served on the USS Kineo during the Civil War.

He lived in Harwich the rest of his life and worked as a sailor. He died on April 29, 1881; death records indicate he was lost at sea. He and Caroline had at least three children.


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Language of Materials



Journal kept by US Navy sailor on the USS Kineo as it patrolled the Mississippi River during the Civil War

Custodial History

The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections acquired this in 2018.

Processing Information

Processed by Donnelly Walton, 2021
Guide to the Samuel Walker Journal on the USS Kineo
Donnelly Walton
March 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266