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Samuel B. Massa Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Massa, Samuel B., 1842-
Title: Samuel B. Massa Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1861-1868.
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft.
Abstract: The papers of the U.S. Navy paymaster during the Civil War include outgoing correspondence (about 100 items), mostly to Massa's family, about war-time naval operations; a diary (1861-1863); and memorabilia, including photographs.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
http://scrc.syr.edu

Biographical History

Samuel B. Massa was born September 17, 1842 in Brooklyn, New York. At the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the U.S. Navy, where he served first as a paymaster's clerk and then as a paymaster until the close of the war.

Massa was paymaster's clerk on the gunboat Cayuga from February 1862 until the end of that year. During that time the Cayuga was active in the taking of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Donaldsville on the lower Mississippi River. In 1863 Massa became paymaster of the "steamsloop" Pensacola, also stationed on the Mississippi. The following year he moved to Cairo, Illinois, as the paymaster on the fleet receiving ship Great Western. Massa remained at Cairo until November 1865 when he was transferred to the Boston Navy Yard.

Massa rewrote a copy of his Civil War diary in 1909, at the age of 67. The date of his death is unknown.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Samuel B. Massa Papers consist of the Civil War Correspondence, Diary, and Memorabilia of a paymaster in the U.S. Navy. The materials date from 1861 to 1868.

Correspondence numbers approximately one hundred items, which date from 1861 to 1868. Nearly all of these are outgoing letters from Massa to his family during the years when he was in the navy. He wrote most frequently to his mother and to Elizabeth and Ferd Massa, apparently his sister and brother. There are also a number of letters to "Clib," possibly another brother. An index of the correspondence has been prepared to show the date, place, and recipient of each letter. Massa was a faithful correspondent, and he wrote in detail about naval battles and his style of life in the navy, as well as on the conditions and society he encountered in occupied southern territory. There are copies of two letters from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles in 1864 when Massa and others from his ship were involved in disciplinary proceedings.

Massa's Diary, which dates from February 1862 to July 1863, is titled "Cruise of the U.S. Gunboat Cayuga." Despite the title, the diary continued into Massa's service on the Pensacola in 1863. Included here are vivid descriptions of life on board ship and the Battle of New Orleans in 1862. Massa often supplemented his descriptions in the diary, as in his letters, with skillfully drawn maps and pencil sketches of fortifications and boats.

Memorabilia, 1864, includes a bill of fare from a steerage mess and several photographs of Massa and his ships and fellow crew members.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings

Persons

Massa, Samuel B., 1842-

Corporate Bodies

United States., Navy.

Places

United States, History, Civil War, 1861-1865, Campaigns, Sources.
United States, History, Civil War, 1861-1865, Naval operations, Sources.
United States, History, Civil War, 1861-1865, Sources.
United States, History, Military, To 1900, Sources.

Genres and Forms

Correspondence.
Diaries.
Photographs.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Samuel B. Massa Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 1966.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: FED
Date: Dec 1971
Revision history: 15 Feb 2007 - converted to EAD (AMCon)

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Inventory

Correspondence
Box 1 1861
Box 1 1862 (5 folders)
Box 1 1863 (3 folders)
Box 1 1864 (3 folders)
Box 1 1865 (2 folders)
Box 1 1866 (2 folders)
Box 1 1867 (2 folders)
Box 1 1868
Box 1 Enevelopes
Diary
Box 1 "Cruise of the U.S. Gunboat Cayuga" 1862-1863 - holo. copy
Memorabilia
Box 1 Bill of Fare, Steerage Mess 1864
Photographs
Box 1 "Admiral Farragut" undated
Box 1 "My Office Force on Receiving Ship Great Western, Cairo, Illinois" 1864
Box 1 "Samuel B. Massa, U.S.N." 1864
Box 1 "U.S. Flagship Black Hawk, etc." 1864
Box 1 "U.S. Navy Yard, Mound City, Illinois During High Water" 1864
Box 1 "Wharfboat, Cairo, Illinois" 1864
Index of correspondence in the Samuel B. Massa papers
  • Outgoing Letters from Samuel B. Massa
    • 1861 Jul 24 (Delaware Water Gap; to Mother)
    • 1862 Mar 11 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga; to Mother)
    • Mar 16 (Key West; to "Folks one and all")
    • Mar 30 (Ship Island; to "Brother")
    • Apr 16 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Apr 21 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga; to "Folks of Brooklyn")
    • May 4 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Jun 23 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Abaco Island; to "Mother")
    • Jun 23 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Abaco Island; to Ferd Massa)
    • Jul 7 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off New Orleans; to "Mother")
    • Jul 11 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off New Orleans; to [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Jul 15 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off New Orleans; to Ferd Massa)
    • Jul 23 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Baton Rouge; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Jul 29 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off New Orleans; to "Mother")
    • Aug 6 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Baton Rouge; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Aug 14 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Pensacola; to "Mother")
    • Aug 24 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Morgan; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Aug 31 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Mobile Bay; to "Mother")
    • Sep 10 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Mobile Bay; to "Brother")
    • Sep 13 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Mobile Bay; to "Clib")
    • Sep 24 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Pensacola; to "Mother")
    • Sep 28 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Warrinton Navy Yard; to "Lou and Charlie")
    • Oct 12 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Mobile Bay; to "Dear Folks")
    • Oct 13 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga; to "Clib")
    • Oct 19 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Mobile Bay ; to"Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Oct 26 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off New Orleans; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Oct 29 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga steaming up the; to Mississippi "Mother")
    • Nov 13 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off New Orleans; to "Dear Folks")
    • Nov 30 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Donaldsonville, La.; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Dec 7 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Donaldsonville, La.; to "Clib")
    • Dec 16 (U.S. Gunboat Cayuga off Bayou Goula, La.; to "Mother")
    • Dec 17 ([n.p.]; to Ferd Massa)
    • 1862 Dec 26 (New Orleans; to Ferd Massa)
    • 1863 Jan 4 (U.S. Steamsloop Pensacola off New Orleans; to "Friends one and all")
    • Jan 18 (U.S. Ship Pensacola, New Orleans; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Jan 30 (U.S. Ship Pensacola, New Orleans; to Ferd Massa)
    • Feb 12 (U.S. Flag Ship Pensacola off New Orleans; to "Mother")
    • Feb 23 (U.S. Ship Pensacola, New Orleans; to "Folks")
    • Mar 14 (U.S. Ship Pensacola, New Orleans; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Mar 19 (U.S. Ship Pensacola, New Orleans; to "Mother")
    • Apr 7 (U.S. Ship Pensacola, New Orleans; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Apr 18 (U.S. Ship Pensacola, New Orleans; to "Dear Friends")
    • May 9 (U.S. Ship Pensacola, New Orleans; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Jun 8 (U.S. Ship Pensacola, New Orleans; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Jun 9 (U.S. Ship Pensacola, New Orleans; to "Mother")
    • Jun 12 (New Orleans; to Ferd Massa)
    • 1864 May 9 (Cairo, Illinois; to Ferd Massa)
    • Jun 1 (U.S. Receiving Ship Great Western, Cairo, Ill.; to "Clib")
    • Jun 2 (Cairo, Illinois; to Ferd Massa)
    • Jun 30 (Cairo, Illinois; to "Mother")
    • Jul 24 (Cairo, Illinois; to "Mother")
    • Aug 30 (Cairo, Illinois; to Ferd Massa)
    • Oct 12 (Cairo, Illinois; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Oct 12 (Cairo, Illinois (copy of letter signed by officers of the Great Western, including Samuel B. Massa) U.S. Navy Dept.)
    • Oct 31 (Cairo, Illinois; to Ferd Massa)
    • Nov 6 (Cairo, Illinois; to "Mother")
    • Nov 6 (Cairo, Illinois; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Nov 19 (Cairo, Illinois; to "Friends")
    • Dec 10 (Cairo, Illinois; to "Mother")
    • Dec 16 (Cairo, Illinois; to Ferd Massa)
    • 1865 Jan 1 (U.S. Receiving Ship, Mississippi Squadron, Cairo, Illinois; to "Folks")
    • Mar 12 (Great Western Cairo, Illinois; to "Folks")
    • Apr 10 (Cairo, Illinois; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Apr 14 (Cairo, Illinois; to "Mother)
    • Apr 21 (Cairo, Illinois; to "Father")
    • Apr 21 (Great Western Cairo, Illinois; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • 1865 Nov 11 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • Nov 13 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to [ ])
    • Nov 18 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • 1866 Jan 20 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Folks")
    • Mar 13 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Folks")
    • Apr 6 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • Apr 23 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • May 8 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to Ferd Massa)
    • May 11 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • May 22 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Folks")
    • Jun 12 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • Jun 23 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Bessie" [Elizabeth Massa])
    • Aug 6 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Father")
    • Aug 13 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to Charles)
    • Sep 18 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • Oct 9 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Folks")
    • Nov 4 (Charlestown, Massachusetts; to "Mother")
    • Nov 11 (Charlestown, Massachusetts; to "Mother")
    • 1867 Feb 10 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Folks")
    • Mar 24 (Charlestown, Massachusetts; to "Folks")
    • Apr 9 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • Apr 11 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Folks")
    • May 9 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Folks")
    • Jun 23 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mamma")
    • Jul 21 ("At home"; to "Folks")
    • Sep 1 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Folks")
    • Sep 21 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • Oct 21 (Charlestown, Massachusetts; to "Folks")
    • Nov 20 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • Nov 24 (Charlestown, Massachusetts; to "Folks")
    • Dec 21 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Folks")
    • 1868 Feb 9-11 ("At home" [Boston]; to "Folks")
    • Feb 23 ("At home" [Boston]; to "Mother")
    • Mar 16 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • Apr 8 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
    • Apr 27 (U.S. Navy Yard, Boston; to "Mother")
  • Incoming Letters from Gideon Welles (copies)
    • 1864 Oct 21 (Navy Dept. (copy); to Massa and Others)
    • Oct 21 (Navy Dept. (copy); to Capt. A.M. Pennock)

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