The Civil War Connections Blog

Monitor Log: 2 September 1862

September 2nd was a grim day on the Monitor.  Sadly, Wardroom Steward Lawrence Murray, whom we met back on March 3rd in an event that did not show him at his best, died on this day. The logbook entry below records the event rather matter of factly. But crewman George Geer went into far more detail in his letter home to his wife, dated September 3, 1862.

Geer begins by telling Martha of a pleasant, yet poignant cruise taken to view the Cumberland  on September 2 – and remember, George was a creative speller and not consistent in his use of punctuation:

The Officers have riged up one of our Cutter Boats with a Sail and last evening a party of us took a Sail around the reck of the Cumberland she lays in the same place she Sank only her Mast are out of water it is hard to believe there are the bodys of so many poor Saylors laying in their Watery Grave in that Ship and what a sight it will be when they rase here which the Government will do as soon as the War is over  Her Sails are still on the Yards every thing as she was when she Sank We were gon from the Ship about two hours and the wind died away so we had to row back

He continues on:

it was just dusk when we got back and we had been on board hardly five moments when one of the men jumped or Roled over board and was drownded he was the Wardroom Stewart and was very fond of liquor it seams he had been on Shore to buy things for the Wardroom when he got hold of a bottle of Whisky and drank the whole of it he was so Crazy he took up an Ax and threw at a Colored Boy which if it had have hit him would have killed him the Captain had him put out foward of the Pilot house away from any body but did not have any Irons put on him the Lieutenant was away at the time but when he came on board he told the Captain he was a bad man when in Liquor and he had bettor put the Irons on him as soon as he saw the Irons he became as Crazy as poseable and it took 4 men to hold him while the Irons were put on him they had hardly left him when he made a spring and eather fell or roled off the side as both his hands and feet were Ironed of corse he could make no exertion to save him self if he wanted to and he must have went under the Vessel as the tide was running very strong  We had boats grapling for him most of the night but could not find him  He always said he had a Wife and dayghter in Calaforna but he could not have been much help or comfort to them and he will not be much looss to them as he never sent any money to them but Gambled it away…

You will recall that this was the second day of no grog rations for the crew.

Sic transit Lawrence Murray. Resquiescat in Pace, Wardroom Steward.


Remarks Sept 2/62


Commences & till 4

Wind S.W & cloudy                                                                          

Louis Stodder



From 4 to 8

Wind & weather same                                                                       

  G.F. Geo. Frederickson



From 8 to Meridian

The Mahaska came up & anchored.  Wind N & W[estwar]dweather clear                                            

SDG  S.D. Greene



From Meridian to 4

Wind N.W[estwar]d. & weather clear                                                                 

W.F.  William Flye



From 4 to 6

Wind & weather same                                                                       

Louis Stodder



From 6 to 8

Fair wind & weather.  At 6.30 the Ward room steward

(Lawrence Murray) being drunk & disorderly was placed for ward of

the Pilot house.  And placed in double irons. On leaving him he immediately

threw himself over the side and never afterwards appeared at the

surface.  Search was made but in vain                                                                       

Louis Stodder



From 8 to Midnight

Same wind & weather.  Dragged for the body of Lawrence Murray but did not succeed in finding it                                                                                                                                                                                                                                GF  Geo. Frederickson