Charles Steedman Letters (U.S. Naval officer)
Charles Steedman (1811-1890) rose up the ranks of the U.S. Navy, serving in the Coast Survey in the 1840s and participating in the bombardment of Vera Cruz during the Mexican-American War. As a commander during the Civil War, he led forces during the capture of Port Royal, South Carolina, in 1861 and also enforced the blockade against Georgia and Florida. On September 17, 1862 he directed a gun boat attack against Confederate batteries on the St. Johns River as the Navy attempted to secure the route to Jacksonville. This bombardment, although unsuccessful, was followed up with a joint land and water assault in October that captured the batteries. Steedman’s letters in this collection describe naval support for the occupation of Jacksonville and the Navy’s blockade duty along Florida’s coasts. See also T. Frederick Davis, “Engagements at St. Johns Bluff St. Johns River, Florida September-October, 1862,” The Florida Historical Quarterly 15:2 (October 1936):77-84.