Duxbury in the Civil War

By Erin McGough, Collections Manager

Most of our blogs, indeed most Civil War researchers, have focused on Army service during the Civil War. But these shoulder straps from the Collection of the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society give us the opportunity to examine life in the Navy during the Civil War. They are believed to have been owned by Lucius Austin Waterman (1832-1895) of Duxbury, who served as an Acting Ensign from 1862/63 until August 1865. During that time, Waterman served on several ships including the Aries, Philadelphia, and Passaic, all of which participated in the North American Blockading Squadron.

At the time of Waterman’s enlistment, military service in the Navy was not viewed with the same sense of honor that life in the army warranted. Part of this is because of negative stereotypes such as “drunk as a sailor” which predate the Civil War and give the…

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