Thursday, September 22, 2016

USS John Adams

 Image result for uss john adams 1799 is always offering me new hints about the various people that I have in my family trees. Today provided another interesting brush with history. The hint was simple enough, Anna Woodruff Pierce, the daughter of Fidelia Langford and Lorenzo Dow Pierce had filed for a survivor's pension. Her husband, Charles E. Goodwin, had served in the US Navy before they were married and when he died, Anna filed for a widow's pension based on that service.
The hint directed me to a form that had been completed that showed she qualified for the pension because he had served aboard the USS John Adams. This is where the story gets interesting. The USS John Adams was built in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1799. She saw action in many conflicts: both Barbary Wars, the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Civil War being the last conflict. Charles Godwin must have been on board during the Civil War as he was born in 1839.
The Adams gained fame for leading a three steam-powered gunboat raid up the Harbor River to Port Royal, South Carolina. The raid was organized by Union operative and former slave, Harriet Tubman and Colonel Montgomery. The ships relied on local black mariners to avoid mines and fortifications. The raid freed over 750 slaves and broke the back of the Confederacy.