Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
J.M. Taylor (Schooner) Records, 1862

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, November 1997

Summary Information
Title: J. M. Taylor (Schooner) records
Creator: Robert M. Blackwell & Company
Inclusive dates: 1862
Extent: 20 items
These letters and documents pertain to the commercial sailing vessel J. M. Taylor , on lease to the Federal government for Civil War service. The focus of the papers is Blackwell & Company's attempts to obtain restitution from the government for wartime damages to the vessel.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1983. M-2104.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

J. M. Taylor (Schooner) Records, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is organized chronologically.


During the first year of the Civil War, the schooner J. M. Taylor was captured by John Perene, in employ of the mercantile firm of R. M. Blackwell & Co., whose offices were located at 144 Front Street, New York. In 1862, the J. M. Taylor was leased to the federal government to transport troops and horses from Alexandria, Va., to Fortress Monroe.

In April, 1862, Capt. Perene joked about the schooner becoming "lunch before dinner" for the Confederate iron-clad Merrimac , then patrolling the James River. Ironically, it was not the Merrimac that did in the Taylor : while carrying a cargo of fresh meat for Union troops on July 7, the Taylor became lunch for a barrage of Confederate artillery from the shore and was badly mangled. Blackwell & Co. spent months afterward repairing their prize and requesting restitution for damages of the government.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The letters and documents that comprise the J.M. Taylor records recount the fate of a commercial sailing vessel on lease to the federal government for wartime service. These papers appear to have been assembled at the office of Blackwell & Company in a topical file, with the bulk concerning Blackwell's attempt to get restitution from the government for the repair of the Taylor after it was damaged by shore fire along the James. The collection includes letters by John Perene to Blackwell & Company and copied extracts from the logbook of the J.M. Taylor .

Subject Terms

    • Restitution--United States.
    • Taylor, J. M. (Vessel)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Naval operations.
    • Perene, John.
    Genre Terms:
    • Logs (records)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   30, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    J. M. Taylor (Schooner) records,  1862 March 6-October 4 [series]