Brooklyn Navy Yard: March 6, 1865. Manuscript Civil War era letter written from Brooklyn NY by the wife of the executive officer of the Navy Yard (Lieutenant Commander Leonard Paulding) who had just been promoted and appointed to command the 'Monocacy', one of the ironclads which were invaluable to the Union in naval combat. Ironclads employed the latest technology developed by the Navy, and were essential in the fight against Confederate ironclad ships.
At the time of the letter, Paulding was the executive officer of the Navy Yard, but the recent promotion would require another relocation, causing difficulty to Mrs. Paulding and the family: "I am tired of this miserably unsettled life".
Mrs. Paulding also dislikes her current New York City house: "a three story city house with a 10 foot square yard in the rear and a brick pavement in front". She writes to Aunt May, hoping for help finding in the vicinity "a small house with some little garden to be rented for anything within $300. I have been told that rents and living are more reasonable in and near Philadelphia than near New York".
Mrs. Paulding concludes with an undeniable plaint: "None but Navy people can realize the trials of Navy life".
Helen Jane Offley Paulding (1828 - 1910) was born on the 23rd of December in Trieste (then Austria) to American parents John Holmes Offley and Catharine Offley, and returned to the United States in July 1835 aboard the brig 'Barbara' out of Leghorn (Livorno) Italy.
Helen and Leonard Paulding were married in 1851; the New York state census of 1865 shows the couple living in Brooklyn, NY, with children Holmes, Anna, Helen, and Kate.
Leonard Paulding's naval career in the Civil War was impressive: he served on the USS Michigan I, USS Galena I, USS St. Louis II, USS Monocacy I, USS Eutaw, USS Cyane II, and the USS Wateree.
Leonard Paulding died on April 29th, 1867 on the USS Wateree while in command in the Bay of Panama. Wateree was part of the South Pacific Squadron, whose patrol area extended from Panama to Cape Horn and as far west as Australia. Wateree mainly patrolled the coasts of Central and South America, protecting American interests there.
Commander Paulding and Helen Offley Paulding are buried together at Arlington National Cemetery.
10 1/2 x 8", folds to 5 1/4 x 8", laid paper. Four pages, signed Helen Offley Paulding, with return address Navy Yard, Brooklyn. Contemporary folds flattened. Very good condition. Item #24772