Thomas Brown alias Thomas Bruges - Paymaster's Steward

Thomas Brown enlisted in the Navy under the alias of Thomas Bruges[3] and was attached to the U.S.S. Tecumseh on 23 April 1864.

Brown is listed under his alias on the Tecumseh casualty lists[1], [2] for the 5 August 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay. His mother's pension application doesn't give an enlistment date for Brown, so it is unknown how old he was or how long his length of service was.

The last letter Brown sent home to his folks before the Tecumseh sailed for Pensacola.

U.S. Monitor Tecumseh
James River
June 25, 1864

Dear Father,
Your favor of the 14th inst was received with much joy and I am very glad to hear you are well and all the folks the same you say. You saw one article in the paper stating the capture of Fort Darling it is entirely false, for the gunboats have not been within 7 or 8 miles of it as getting afraid they draw too much water especially the monitors. We had a nice little fight on Wed the 22d inst with the battery. I have spoke to you before, it is on a high piece of land or hill about a mile and a half from where we lay they opened on us on the morning of the 22d with a good will to do us damage if they could but they failed to do so to any great extent but I forgot to say that we was under a crop of fire from the Rebel rams but they could not quite reach us and i am glad they could not for while I was on deck it was all I wanted to dodge the shot and shell from the hill battery. It was fun to be on deck and hear the steel pointed shot came singing along like a locust and the minute we would hear them we would all run behind the turret and hearing it up close and see the shot and shell go singing over our heads and drop in the water just astern of us. The monitor named Canonicus from Philadelphia laid close along side of us so you could jump from one to the other. She was more unfortunate than us one shot went through the top of her smoke stack and made three holes and another one came along and struck her deck and made a dent about 4 inches deep and jumped up and tore her awning and skipped overboard and the Boston monitor called Saugus just a little to our left got struck on the front of her turret with a rifle ball and it made a large dent and bounced clear back about 20 feet and fell overboard that is the only damage that is being done yet. I think the Rebs are sick of us for we put the shot and shell in there at a fearful rate we knock their battery most all to pieces dismounting three of their guns. They stopped firing at sundown and have not fired since and we have remained quiet while they repair their works and remount their guns and I suppose already for us again. So goes the war but since I communicated this latter we have weighed anchor and are now on our way down the river so I will let the letter stop until we get to our destination I think we are bound for Norfolk.

Sunday afternoon we arrived at Norfolk. Saturday at 12 o'clock we are at anchor off the city. I don't think the weather could be much warmer than it is at present here. While I write the perspiration is running off me like water. A good many of our men are sick with the diarrhea and I have it quite bad myself. The report is as soon as we get repaired which will only take about 6 days then we are bound for Mobile. I would give 2 months pay to be out of here. The distance to Mobile is about 1500 miles right at sea all the time we will be batten down about 10 days. If we do not get swamped I am afraid we will smother of the heat and after we get there we will be batten down all the time for it is very rough weather off Mobile and the sand flies and mosquitoes will eat a fellow up. I will write to you as soon as we reach our destination if ever we do which I am sorry to say is doubtful for it is the first monitor that has dared to my knowledge to endure so far at sea.

Good bye,

Give my love and best wishes to all the folks and let them know I will write to them personally if I should survive the passage. Ask Mother to forgive me for not writing to her but will do so soon if.

I think I will take your advice about the begers and forgive. you need not send them for I think I will need them no more.

God be with you all
your affectionate son
Tom B.

(Excuse the looks of this; I hope not my last letter, remember me to my little sister.)


None. His mother applied for a survivors pension in his name.

Awards & Memorials


Alternate Spellings of Name

Thomas Bruger

References and Sources

[1] Officers and Enlisted Men who Died in the Active Service of the U.S. Navy 1776-1885

[2] "Navy Gazette: List of Deaths in the Navy of the United States, reported to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Navy Department, during the week ending December 3d, 1864." Army and Navy Journal, 10 Dec. 1864, p. 253.

[3] Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of Civil War and Later Navy Veterans ("Navy Widows' Certificates"), 1861-1910