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Autograph Book Kept by a Jewish Former U.S. and Future Confederate Naval Officer Imprisoned at Fort Warren, Signed by Dozens of Fellow Political and Military Prisoners
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Julian Myers enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 13, against his parent’s wishes. He served with distinction, rising to lieutenant before the Civil War. After a 30-month tour in the China Seas, he was arrested on board the steam sloop of war USS Hartford under Admiral Farragut, in Philadelphia, on December 4, 1861 due to his Confederate sympathies. He used this album to gather signatures from his fellow prisoners at Fort Warren at the mouth of Boston Harbor. While some of the inscriptions are simple autographs, many of the prisoners have added a note explaining their positions and how they came to be imprisoned. 

[JUDAICA. CIVIL WAR] JULIAN MYERS. Autograph Album. Fort Warren (Boston), MA, December 1861 to January 1862. 41 inscriptions on rectos of 21 pp., 5 x 7 ¾ in. With two 1899 clippings on Myers’ death of Myers at the rear. Disbound; worn, some leaves may have been lost.

Inventory #27805       Price: $3,800

Confederate sympathizers from border state Maryland are especially well represented. Several signers were among the 31 members of the state House of Delegates who were arrested to prevent that state's secession, including Speaker of the House E.G. Kilbourn. 

Charles Howard, formerly president of the Baltimore Police Board of Commissioners, wrote on Christmas Eve with the date of his arrest and the names of the three locations where he had been incarcerated. A fellow Baltimore commissioner, William H. Gatchell, noted that he had been “arrested on the 1 July 1861 at 3 o'clock in the morning by 400 armed men.”

George Armistead Appleton wrote: “Arrested Sept. 7th 1861 on my way to Virginia. Confined in the Station house at Bulls for 4 days taken from thence to Fort McHenry thence to Fort Columbus thence to Fort Waren. [Signed at] Ft. Warren Dec 28th/61.”  His stay as a prisoner in Fort McHenry is ironic; his grandfather George Armistead was the American officer who successfully defended Fort McHenry during the British bombardment that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner.

Naval officer Austin E. Smith wrote “Arrested Aug. 2d 1861, suspected of being suspicious.” Another naval officer complained that he was arrested “for refusing to serve against the Confederate States of America.” Infamous con artist Parker Hardin French, “he Kentucky Barracuda,” arrested as a Confederate spy, added his signature. Frank K Howard, Editor of Baltimore’s The Daily Exchange, notes that he was arrested by order of William Seward.

Myers was paroled in January, 1862, and then exchanged in April for Captain and future Union general Zenas Bliss. Myers then joined the Confederate Navy, taking command the monitor CSS Huntsville. He fought in the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864, scuttling his vessel to avoid its capture. According to a clipped 1899  obituary, “Subsequent to the war, Admiral Farragut once said in a remark to Gen. Sherman, when Mr.. Budd Myers, the Captain’s son was introduced to the great Union naval hero, “This man’s father did what no other man could have done with the same forces, he kept me out of Mobile for two weeks.”

His remains were interred in the Jewish section of the Laurel grove cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. The burial was officiated by Rabbi I. P. Mendes of the Mikva Israel Congregation.

Myers had not been previously identified as a Jewish soldier who served in the Civil War. 

Julian Myers (1825-1899) was the son of Mordecai Myers (1794-1865) and Henrietta Cohen Myers (1799–1886). His mother was the daughter of Solomon Cohen and Belle Moses. Solomon's Father, Rabbi Moses Cohen (1798-1762) and Belle's father Myer Moses (1735-1787) were prominent English-born Jews that emigrated to Charleston from London. His grandfather Levy Myers (d.1827), a native of Georgetown, South Carolina, was the first Jewish medical graduate at the University of Glasgow in 1787. 

Provenance: collection of Arthur G. “Gil” Barrett. Swann Galleries, Sept. 23, 2023, lot 145 (not recognizing this as Judaica).  

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