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Letter from Henry Goulton on board USS Wabash to his mother - 25th January 1859

The first USS Wabash was a 4808 ton steam screw frigate built in Philadelphia in 1856. During 1858 to 1859 she went to the Mediterranean having initially served as flagship of the Home Squadron. During this time Henry Goulton was serving aboard and wrote a letter to his mother in England from Genoa in January 1859.


Transcribed letter from original letter held by Margaret Willmot daughter of Leonard Golton.

Original on fine smooth white paper from Henry Goulton to his mother dated 25th January 1859.


U.S. Steamer "Wabash"

Genoa, Sardinia

Jany 25th /59


My dear Mother

This will in all probability take you by surprise, as it is some time since you have heard from me although I did a short time ago write to my Brother hoping he would have received it, but having received no answer have concluded he never received it, as no answer has as yet been received.

Finding I could do no better on account of the hard times in America, I concluded as a change in life to take the Sea for a living, and accordingly entered the Navy of the United States for the term of three years, at wages of 2-10 per month, with our allowance of 1.8- or all put together $19.50 American Money, - and take great pleasure in informing you that so far, I have been well and hearty, and trust luck is the case with all at home, and you in particular The usage in these vessels is of the best kind and to speak the truth in a few words, - There is no fault to be found by anyone in the Government Employ. I have seen Much since I left England, both in America, and other foreign places I have been at since I left England at some future day, it may be my pleasure perhaps to see you all again, when I can recount to you all.

Acting as I have, I think has been very productive of good health to me, as well as showed me much of the world, that I would have been Entirely ignorant of, - so you will see every thing, no matter what the Change may be, turned out for the best = in perusing the Newspapers, both English and American I see that business is very dull all over, - therefore I feel quite satisfied for the present, - where I am, - as here I can accumulate a little Capital, that at some remote period, may be of essential service to me while I am very favorably situated I often cast a look toward those who need, and all who are suffering from the inclemency of the Season, - and where a Chance offers, throw my Mite toward their relief should you ever get this, I hope you will write, and give me all the particulars you may consider of service to to me to know, as well as how every thing is in general at home nothing worthy of any very particular note has Occurred on board to communicate to you, - we had a cruise to the Eastward last summer which proved to be very pleasant as much was seen, which gave great satisfaction to all on board in all probability we will have another the Ensuing Summer, as the Mediterranean has many ports to be visited, at present we will remain, perhaps to March in Genoa on account of the season being too Stormy to take the vessel about, for that reason you can write me often a letter, as one from any of the family will be duly appreciated and promptly answered England, being so near to where we are, admits of exchanging Communication by mail every 10 days, therefore I hope you will Embrace every Chance that offers of doing so. ~ In bringing this letter to a Close I beg you will remember me kindly to all Enquiring friends, you may chance to see and tell them all, that I tender them, my kind regards and look forward with bright hopes that the days will yet come, when I can see them all in person again, - then to say to them what the limits of this sheet, for what of time and space precludes, - Finally, let me close this letter to you, with the most ardent hope, that a son can Express, that you may live long and enjoy many happy years, and may it yet be your pleasure to see us all that are living rise up to be useful to ourselves, and all around us, as well as to be a blessing to the generation in which we live. Give my Love to Mary Ussiney, and tell her that if God spares me I shall at the End of this cruise come over and see her, I must say my love to all.

Henry Goulton


Direct to me

Henry Goulton

U.S. Steamer "Wabash




If you are interested in more information about the USS Wabash and the part that it later played in the American Civil War just two years after this letter was written then the links below should be used:




© Howard Golton 2003

Page last updated 14th July 2003