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Committee of Reception to the Crews of the Frigates "Cumberland" and "Congress" records

Call Number



1862-1869, inclusive


Committee of Reception to the Crews of the Frigates Cumberland and Congress


0.25 Linear Feet in one box and one oversize folder.

Language of Materials

English .


The collection consists of records relating to New York City's Committee of Reception to the Crews of the Frigates "Cumberland" and "Congress." The committee was organized to raise money to aid survivors of the ships that were destroyed in March 1862 by the Confederate ironclad "Virginia" at Hampton Roads, Virginia, during the Civil War.

Historical note

On March 8, 1862, the ironclad Confederate ship Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) attacked and destroyed the USS Cumberland and USS Congress at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Responding to the human casualties of this encounter, efforts were made in New York City to raise funds to contribute to the relief of crew members or surviving family. A Committee of Reception to the Crews of the Frigates "Cumberland" and "Congress" was formed to arrange an April 1862 reception at the Academy of Music in New York for officers and crew members. Money raised from tickets and donations were distributed for a time after the event. (See New York Times article "Honor to our brave tars," April 11, 1862.)


The collection is arranged by document type.

Scope and Contents

The collection primarily includes records concerning the determination of eligibility for claim payments. Records include lists of survivors and seamen lost from the Cumberland and Congress; certifications of claimants regarding their identity and service on the frigates; acknowledgements of funds received (often called "ovation funds"); and correspondence regarding the relief funds. Much of the correspondence comes from Stillman B. Allen, a lawyer from Boston, Mass. The collection also includes donor lists and bills related to the fundraising effort.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The materials are in the public domain.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Committee of Reception to the Crews of the Frigates "Cumberland" and "Congress" records, 1977.313, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by George H. Thompson in 1902.

Related Materials

New York Public Library holds An Account of the reception given by the citizens of New York to the survivors of the officers and crews of the United States frigates Cumberland and Congress ... April 10, 1862. (call number: VYFH Account of the reception given by the citizens of New York).

Collection processed by

Larry Weimer

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-11-02 13:40:14 +0000.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is written in: English, Latin script.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in December 2011 by Larry Weimer. It was rehoused and the finding aid revised to the folder level in October 2023 by Dee Bowers.


Brooklyn Historical Society

View Inventory

Receipts of payment to sailors, 1862

Box: 1, Folder: 1 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Lists of sailors, circa 1862

Box: 1, Folder: 2 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)
Box: OS-33 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Lists of donors, 1862

Box: 1, Folder: 3 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Financial records, 1862-1863, 1869, inclusive

Box: 1, Folder: 4 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Correspondence, 1862-1863, inclusive

Box: 1, Folder: 5 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Stillman B. Allen correspondence, 1862

Box: 1, Folder: 6 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)

Sailors' certificate of identity, 1862-1868, inclusive

Box: 1, Folder: 7 (Material Type: Mixed Materials)
Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201