James L. Dalton - Landsman

James L. Dalton was born circa 1844 in New York and enlisted on 5 November 1863 at the New York, NY Naval Rendezvous as a landsman for a 1 year enlistment[1].

Dalton first served aboard the U.S.S. Kensington and later was attached to the Tecumseh on 20 April 1864 [2]. He was reported lost with her during the Battle of Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864 as reported in Navy casualty lists.[3], [4].

Some of Dalton's letters sent home:[5]

On Board the U.S. Receiving Ship North Carolina
March 26, 1864

My dear father
Our ship went out of commission on Friday and we were transferred to the steamer North Carolina. Mr Plunkett is going out as a Lieut Commander of the Double ender Mattabesett he told us that he would come on board on Saturday and get us drafted for the Mattabesett and give all the old ship's company liberty if he can't take us. Will be [illegible] on the Brooklyn the Mattabesett is going into commission on Tuesday so is the Brooklyn. They have me rated as ordinary seaman and all of us I think will go on board the Brooklyn. Mother or Mary Eliza can come down to the Navy Yard and can give what things for me to the Marine in the [illegible] with my name and the name of the Kensington. Put it down as
James L. Dalton
of the Kensington
[illegible] 42 on the
Gun Deck
And I will expect her on Monday as I will keep a look out for it if I get drafted I will let you know in your next letter
For yourself my dear Father accept the best wishes and grateful love of your affectionate son
James L. Dalton
on board the N. Carolina

On board the U.S.Receiving Ship North Carolina
April 8 1864

Dear Father
I am drafted on the new monitor Tecumseh lying in the Navy Yard but I will not go on board for a week yet. I sent you a pass for Thursday but you did not come. Johnny is not drafted yet. Send me in a little money in your next letter if I was not drafted for the monitor, I would be for the Brooklyn it is very well [illegible] on the Monitor.
No more at present
James L. Dalton

On board the U.S.S. Monitor Tecumseh
Port Royal, South Carolina
Saturday July 16, 1864

My dear father,
Today at eight o'clock we leave for our destination Mobile. We will get there in about twenty days being one thousand miles from here and we cannot steam fast. I am disappointed in not seeing Johnny at this place before I leave. Next to go to New Orleans, LA as our letters are posted for that place. I take that my mother is healthy. Mary, Eliza and Lucy. Let me know how the draft is in New York or Brooklyn and if you came out one of the lucky ones. They might draft every one that they can and if it [illegible] on [illegible] go away from there. I write this letter in a hurry as I expect the mail to leave the ship every minute. Give my respects to all everyone [illegible] and let them all is right with me at present.

No more at present from your affectionate son
James L. Dalton

PS Send your letter in the following matter
Jas. L. Dalton
on board the U.S.S. Monitor Tecumseh. West Gulf Blockading Squadron. New Orleans LA.
or Elsewhere
And I will get it
Jas. L. Dalton

He was approximately 19 years old and had been in the Navy for nine months.


None. His mother claimed his pension.

Awards & Memorials


Alternate Spellings of Name


References and Sources

[1] Return of the United States Naval Rendezvous, New York, NY for the week ending April 16, 1864

[2] NARA T1099. An index to rendezvous reports during the Civil War, 1861-1865.

[3] "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.

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

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