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Joshua F. Minor
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Birth: 1833
Virginia, USA
Death: Dec., 1866
New South Wales, Australia

Joshua F. Minor, whose first name was also shown as “Josh” and Joseph, is indicated, in at least one primary source, to have been appointed from Virginia. He was born in 1833, in Virginia, married Anna Eliza Brown, at Cold Spring, New York, on Wednesday, May 17, 1854, and in 1860 was residing at Huntington, Suffolk County, New York, as a boatman, with his wife, Ann, and son, Charles. According to the 1854 newspaper report of their wedding, under the title, A WEDDING FEAST, “The monotony of Cold Spring village was broken into last evening, (Wednesday May 17th) by one of the most agreeable and interesting social gatherings we have ever had the good fortune to attend. Capt. W.C. Brown had two interesting daughters married to two noble hearted seamen of the ship Huntsville, who having weathers the dangers of many a gale, and safely returned, have now shipped on board the good bark matrimony; upon which occasion Capt. Brown opened his house, prepared a feast, and cordially invited all his neighbours to partake. About 120 persons sat down to a table laden with the bounties of providence, and participated in the joyfulness of the occasions. This has been the laudable custom of Capt. Brown upon all similar occasions, having had two daughters married before. During the evening nothing occurred to mar the harmony and good feeling of the company; one thing in particular must be remarked, viz: That Religion and Temperance were both acknowledge as sumpremely necessary. The parties were united by the Rev. G. Hollis former pastor of the M.E. Church, and were JOSHUA F. MINOR to ANN ELIZA BROWN, and CHARLES W. JOY to JULIA S. BROWN. In conclusion we wish all parties the best of this world’s joys with the fullness of Heaven’s blessings, and that all the noble hearted sailors who weather the storms of the great deep may find the comforts and joys of home and wedded life. ” Joshua and Anna had at least one child, a son, Charles, who died at Suffolk County in 1861. Ann herself died in 1911, and both she and Charles are buried at the Huntington Rural Cemetery in Suffolk County. [1] Subsequent records show that Joshua was shown in a list of New York residents who were eligible for military duty, in June, 1863 – the entry indicating that he was a 31 year old resident of Cold Spring, New York, born in Virginia, married, and a seaman by occupation. At the time (June, 1863) the list was compiled, he was shown as being “absent on a voyage to Cuba”. He is known to have served on whaling vessels in the Pacific, before the Civil War. Although there is an indication that he had first served aboard the cruiser, the CSS Sumter, his name is not shown in the one existing muster roll of this Confederate vessel, and such service is yet to be authenticated. [2] Minor is first heard of, in official sources, as being one of the crew of either the merchant vessel the Charles Hill, or the Nora, both of which vessels were captured, on the same day, March 25, 1863, and at the same time, by the Confederate States cruiser, the CSS Alabama. Ten members from the combined crews of both these cargo vessels were, after their capture, shipped aboard the CSS Alabama, to form a part of that cruiser’s crew, Minor being one of these ten men. Minor must have performed very well on the cruiser, and much to the satisfaction of his commanding officer, Raphael Semmes, as, within a very short period of time, by Sunday, June 21, 1863, he was appointed to the position of master’s mate, and given the position of third officer aboard the Confederate tender, the CSS Tuscaloosa, which had lately been the prize vessel, the Conrad. There is a possibility that Semmes had already known Minor from any previous service on board the CSS Sumter, if indeed, Minor had served on this cruiser. [3] The Tuscaloosa cruised through Atlantic waters and did cause a minor amount of damage, also calling in at some ports, during her cruise. However, on arrival at Simon’s Bay, South Africa, a second time, on December 26, 1863, the vessel was seized by the British authorities there, and the officers and crew, after remaining aboard for a short period, were released, paid off, and returned to England. In early May of 1864, Minor and several of his fellow sailors from the Tuscaloosa were shipped aboard the CSS Rappahannock, then being retained at the port of Calais, France, by the French authorities. Minor still held his position as master’s mate, though he did not long remain aboard this idle cruiser. The journal of assistant paymaster Douglas French Forrest of the CSS Rappahannock, in an entry dated Monday, May 9, 1864, mentions that: “Some men from the Tuscaloosa shipped a few days ago & now that we have some of the Georgia’s men, we have representations from every one of our cruisers.” Orders were received aboard the CSS Rappahannock, in early August, 1864, from flag officer Samuel Barron, to pay off and discharge the crew, and send the officers back to England, for eventual detachment elsewhere. Minor is next heard of as being one of those who went aboard the steamer Laurel, at Liverpool, in early October, 1864, arriving off Funchal in the Madeiras group of islands, on October 14th (another account gives the date as October 15th) to await the arrival of their new vessel. He had gathered, earlier, with several other officers and crew, who were to go aboard their new vessel, at Liverpool, and they were involved in clandestine activities, including using assumed names, to ensure that no Union agents were aware of what they were up to. Within a few days, the Sea King was spotted, giving the agreed upon signal, and both vessels steamed out of view of the port to transfer stores and personnel onto the Sea King. Once everything was in readiness, and they had recruited as many sailors as they possibly could, the Sea King was commissioned as the Confederate States Navy cruiser, the CSS Shenandoah. The vessels parted company, and the Shenandoah then commenced her cruise. Minor served through the entire cruise until the Shenandoah returned to Liverpool, months after the official end of the American Civil War. During his service aboard the cruiser, Minor did not exactly endear himself to some of the officers and crew, as he was stated to have indulged in several anti-social activities. At one point, after a prize vessel was boarded, and then destroyed, a rumor had been spread around the Shenandoah that one of the officers who had boarded the prize vessel had come off with a large sum of currency in his possession. This was proven to be a false rumor, and the culprit who was indicated, by at least one officer, in his journal, to have spread the rumor, was named as Minor. Another one of the officers, in referring to Minor, states that he had also served aboard the Confederate cruiser, CSS Alabama, and had been made a master’s mate by Semmes, and had, previous to the war, served aboard whaling vessels in the Pacific area. He indicated that the commander of the Shenandoah, James I. Waddell, paid far too much attention to advice given by Minor, on where to find whaling vessels, and which vessels that passed the cruiser during her Pacific cruise were potential prize vessels, and which were not. Some of the accounts in these journals often smack of pure jealousy, when referring to other officers. Minor is also stated, in another journal entry, to have been a bully, often picking on one officer in particular, namely the Baltimorean, Lodge Colton. It got to the point where Colton could not take it any longer, and challenged Minor to a swordfight, wherein both officers jumped up and grabbed, as the entry states, their “toothpicks” and, without any intention of spilling blood, just sparred harmlessly, both combatants obviously quite scared to take any violent offensive action against each other. Minor is stated to have been quite surprised, at first, at the challenge, not thinking that Colton would do anything, as on so many previous occasions, when he was bullied by Minor. But Minor, not wanting to seem to be a coward, took up the challenge. All observers, coming to a silent agreement, did not intervene at all, and just let the sparring take its course, and, after a while of this absurd activity, both parties came to a mutual agreement to stop the demonstration, obviously looking quite foolish to everyone who had stood aside, observing the seemingly timid duel. [4] Yet, despite his bullying of some personnel, Minor was also the victim of some of the behavior of the sailors themselves, as there are reports of insolence towards Minor, with the result that one or more such sailors were triced up as punishment. There is also an entry showing that Minor was much more trusted in guiding the ship in stormy weather, than were some of the other officers, who held higher ratings, which, of course, led to much jealousy, and complaints to Waddell, and his executive officer, Whittle. [5]
When word reached the cruiser, about August, 1865, that the war in America had concluded some months before, all armaments were removed and placed in storage below deck. The officers and crew then had discussions amongst themselves to try and decide where they should put into port, with Australia, Cape Town, and other points being mentioned. Petitions were handed to the captain indicating preferences, and Minor was one of ten petitioners who pleaded for Waddell to put into Cape Town. However, the vast majority of the officers and crew placed their reliance and trust in the decision of Waddell, on whichever course he chose to take. [6]
Despite all these arguments, quarrels and disagreements, the cruise continued right to the end, when the Shenandoah steamed into the Mersey, on November 6, 1865, and the crew were eventually discharged and released from the vessel a short time later, at Liverpool, England, each man being paid off, and provided with a gift of a gold watch.
Minor remained in Liverpool for less than two months before making the decision to return to Australia. He left aboard the ship Glee Maiden, carrying less than a dozen passengers, in early January, 1866, but the vessel had to return to Liverpool after a collision which sustained considerable damage to several parts of the vessel, as well as losing an anchor. After repairs were completed, the vessel once more sailed out of Liverpool, on February 15, bound for Melbourne, where she arrived on the afternoon of May 30, 1866, after encountering a severe storm immediately after leaving Liverpool, and further inclement weather on arriving off the southern coast of Australia. The passenger list, on arrival in Melbourne, shows Minor, then aged 32, as a mariner. At some stage he made his way to the southern coast of New South Wales, and resided near the town of Eden. He had become familiar with the Kilgour and McLaren families, residing in this area, as members of these families had also served with him on the Shenandoah. Minor took up the activities of a fisherman, and with several others were involved in these activities until he was lost, with other members of the fishing party, aboard a whaleboat, named Ellen, in a storm around Montague Island, some fifty miles from Two Fold Bay, New South Wales, about December 12, 1866. Also lost with Minor were David and George Kilgour, William Shaw, and a person described as being an American named Jonathan. Since their remains were never found, there is no register of death of any of these men, as it was a practice, in those days, to leave such losses unregistered. [7]

[1] 1860 U.S. Census. Although some post war accounts incorrectly show his name as John, James or Jason, official documentation, as well as census records clearly show his first name as either Joshua or Joseph. It is fair to assume that the handwritten script of the time has been incorrectly transcribed in some cases. Marriage and other family data shown at FAMILY TREE RECORDS web site at See also, the newspaper, Long Islander, dated May 19, 1854, page 2.

[2] “The Alabama and the Kearsarge: The Sailor’s Civil War,” by William Marvel, published by the University of North Carolina Press, 1996, pages 176 and 285. Marvel also incorrectly shows Minor’s first name as John (page 176), then, in the roster of the personnel of the CSS Alabama (page 285) in the same volume, correctly shows it as Joseph. See also, the Southern Historical Society Papers, volume 35, page 243, as well as the muster roll of the CSS Alabama, included in the Arthur Sinclair volume, Two Years on the Alabama. Minor’s service aboard the CSS Sumter is mentioned in the William A. Temple affidavit shown on page 975 of volume 1 of The Case of Great Britain As Laid Before the Tribunal of Arbitration, Convened at Geneva, published by the Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1872. Although Minor’s name is not on the only existing muster roll of the CSS Sumter, for the period April 1 to September 30, 1861, it is possible that he may have enlisted aboard the Sumter, at a subsequent period. The fact that the commander of the CSS Alabama, Raphael Semmes, seemed to have already known Minor, when he was taken on as one of the personnel of the CSS Alabama, on March 25, 1863, and also, Minor’s almost immediate promotion, after only three months on the Alabama, indicates some knowledge of Minor’s capabilities, by Semmes. Minor’s whaling experience, and service aboard whaling vessels in the Pacific is mentioned in the unpublished journal of fellow officer aboard the CSS Shenandoah, John Thomson Mason, in the entry for Sunday, June 4, 1865. This journal is in the collections of the Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia. See also, the document entitled “CONSOLIDATED LIST of all persons of CLASS1, subject to do military duty in the First Congressional District, consisting of the Counties of Suffolk, Queens and Richmond, State of New York, enumerated during the month of June, 1863, under direction of Capt. Edwin Rose, Provost Marshall, at

[3] The taking of the Charles Hill, and the Nora, as prize vessels, by the CSS Alabama, on March 25, 1863, is mentioned in several primary accounts, including the journal of commander Raphael Semmes, in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, series 1, volume 2, page 735, as well as the Journal of George Townley Fullam: Boarding Officer of the Confederate Sea Raider Alabama, edited by Charles G. Summersell, pages 98-101, and Arthur Sinclair’s Two Years on the Alabama, page 84.

[4] Paymaster Douglas French Forrest’s entries, about the personnel from the CSS Tuscaloosa coming aboard the CSS Rappahannock, in May, 1864, as well as the decision to pay off the crew and send them, as well as the officers, back to England, in August, 1864 can be found on pages 176 and 203 of his published journal, Odyssey In Gray: A Diary of Confederate Service, 1863-1865, published 1979, by the Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia. Details of the activities leading up to, and including the commissioning of the CSS Shenandoah can be found in several published and unpublished accounts, including the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, series 1, volume 2, page 713 and series 1, volume 3, page 757, the William Conway Whittle, jr., journal, published as The Voyage of the CSS Shenandoah: A Memorable Cruise, and John Thomson Mason’s and Charles E. Lining’s journals, both available at the Museum of the Confederacy. Minor’s activities, and his bullying of some of his fellow officers and crew are mentioned in both journals.

[5] See especially, entries from the journal of Whittle, The Voyage of the CSS Shenandoah, pages 81 and 91, and several entries in the Lining journal.

[6] The petitions and final decisions relating to the end of the cruise of the CSS Shenandoah are to be found on pages 779 – 783, series 1, volume 3, of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion.

[7] Passenger list of the Glee Maiden, dated 30th May, 1866; Melbourne newspaper, the Argus, dated Thursday, May 31, 1866, page 4; Sydney Morning Herald dated Thursday, January 3, 1867, page 5; e-mail message from Ms Nicole Azoury, NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages, dated 28 July, 2009.
Body lost at sea
Specifically: Lost at sea, off the southern coast of New South Wales, Australia, during a fishing expedition with several colleagues.
Created by: Terry Foenander
Record added: Sep 01, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 57988208
Joshua F. Minor
Added by: Terry Foenander
Joshua F. Minor
Added by: Terry Foenander
Joshua F. Minor
Added by: Terry Foenander
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