Peter Holland - Ordinary Seaman

Peter Holland was born circa 1842 in Ireland and he enlisted on 30 April 1864 aboard the U.S.S. Minnesota at Hampton Roads as a Ordinary Seaman for a 2 1/3 year enlistment[1] and sent to the Tecumseh on 2 May 1864. He was a former member of Company H, 13 New Hampshire Infantry[4] who was transfered to the Navy at Hampton Roads in April 1864.

Per his disability pension application [4] and affidavits from surviving shipmates, on 6 May 1864 the day the U.S.S. Commodore Jones was sunk on the James River by a mine, Holland was doing work on the forecastle on orders from 1st Assistant Engineer Charles Pennington. While on deck, he was shot in the face by someone on the shore and fell down a hatch landing on the anchor chains below. He was treated by Dr. Henry Danker and remained aboard despite his injuries to his face, shoulder and hip.

Even though he held a deck rate of ordinary seaman, Holland worked in the fire room as a coal heaver, likely to replace shipmates who fell ill from the heat in the pit. Frank Cousins stated in an affidavit that due to the heat of the fire room, men often would faint at their posts and many were sent ashore to be hospitalized as a result. Acting ENS John J. P. Zettick stated in affidavit for another shipmate that "I know from my own personal experience that the engine room on board the Tecumseh...was so hot that the thermometer indicated often as high as 130° Fahrenheit. When under banked fire, the engine room customarily stood above 120° Fahrenheit."

On 1 August 1864, Holland was sent to Naval Hospital Pensacola with adynamia [3] and as a result, was not aboard for the Battle of Mobile Bay. In Holland's 1898 disability pension hearing [4] from his pension files, what happened at Pensacola:

Q. What were you treated for in the Pensacola Hospital?
A. Weakness and rheumatism. I had become so weak from the heat of the fireroom on the Tecumseh that I needed a rest. After I had laid down and rested for a while I was better and could have done light work, such as I had on the Antonia. I was suffering from diarrhoea and had the rheumatism. The Dr. said there that the only way he knew to cure rheumatism was to burn it out, and he put hot irons to my feet and the calves of my legs. With the heat of the fireroom I was so weak and lame and had suffered from the rheumatism for perhaps a month before I was put in the hospital at Pensacola. I never had rheumatism in my life before I went into the army. I have had rheumatism in my left shoulder and hip ever since my army service. I hve had the diarrhoea a good many times since the war but not as bad as I did in the service. After I was wounded I had a good deal of pain and dizziness in my head. There are all the disabilities I had in the service.

Holland was transported to Naval Hospital New Orleans on 6 August 1864 to make room for wounded from the Battle of Mobile Bay. From there he was discharged to duty 27 August 1864 [3]. From his pension files he was sent to the U.S.S. Fearnot and then the U.S.S. Antonia until his discharge from the Navy on 12 September 1865.

After the war, he worked as a shoemaker. He died sometime between 4 August 1904 and March 1907.





Awards & Memorials


Alternate Spellings of Name


References and Sources

[1] Return of the United States Naval Rendezvous, U.S.S. Minnesota at Hampton Roads 1864

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

[3] Hospital Tickets and Case Papers, compiled 1825-1889. ARC ID: 2694723. Department of the Navy, Records of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Record Group 52. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

[4] M1469, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Civil War and Later Navy Veterans, 1861-1910 ("Navy Survivors' Certificates"), National Archives at Washington, D.C.