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Jeremiah Mitchell was born on November 13, 1838 at North Yarmouth, Maine; the son of Ammi R. & Larisa Mitchell.  Little is known of Jeremiah Mitchell’s early life, or anytime prior to his enlisting in the U.S, Navy. The first information mentioning Mitchell, was his service record, which recorded on May 23, 1863 that he was serving as Acting  Mate aboard the USS “Farallones”. The “Farallones” was originally known as the USS Massachusetts, a steam-screw sloop, until it underwent conversion to a store ship. Her engines were removed, she was converted into a bark and renamed the “Farallones” in January 1863.  She was commissioned on June 17, 1863, with Acting Master C. C. Wells in command, and served ships of the Pacific Squadron as a store ship until February 1867; when she was decommissioned at Mare Island, sold and renamed yet again, the “Alaska”. The “Alaska” was a merchant ship that was eventually lost off the coast of Chile around 1881.  Mitchell continued at his post on the “Farallones” until July 7, 1863; then on March 24, 1864 was appointed as an Acting Ensign aboard the USS “Lancaster” at Acapulco, Mexico.

 

The “Lancaster”, the first of many ships of that name, was a screw sloop-of-war commissioned on May 12, 1859. The “Lancaster” also served in the Pacific Squadron, from 1859 through 1866, continually serving the Navy until 1915 when she was transferred by the Government and used as a Quarantine Ship by the U.S. Public Health Service.

Mitchell also served aboard the USS “Narragansett”, it to was a screw sloop, but a 2nd class, commissioned on November 6, 1859.  Throughout the Civil War she cruised in the Pacific with the primary mission of protecting American mail steamers from Confederate raiders. On December 15, 1864 she departed the Eastern Pacific for the East Coast, arriving at New York City on March 18, 1865. Mitchel was detached from the “Narragansett” on March 21, while awaiting orders he received on March 31st, to proceed to Boston, Massachusetts and to report to Rear Admiral Stringham for duty aboard the USS “Squando”;  a 1175-ton Casco-class light draft monitor, built at East Boston, Massachusetts and commissioned in June 1865.

The “Squando”, was named after the famous Indian chief “Squando” and served in the North Atlantic Squadron in 1865 and 1866. She was stationed at Charleston, South Carolina, from August 1865 until the spring of 1866. Decommissioned in late May 1866, the “Squando” was then laid up at the League Island Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In June 1869, she was renamed “Erebus”, and renamed again two months later, becoming the “Algoma”. The monitor had no active service after 1866 and was scrapped in 1874. Mitchell received an honourable discharge from the U.S. Navy on August 28, 1865.

It’s unsure what brought Mitchell to Australia, or what he did after arriving here, but a letter from David Pinnell, U.S. Consul in Melbourne, Victoria dated December 31, 1869 reveals that when Jeremiah died he had upon his person “his regular discharge from the Army Service”.

A strange comment, seeing as how he served in the U.S. Navy. His death certificate, No. 10317/1869, stated he was a mariner, a U.S. citizen and that he died at the age of 32 of “congestion to the lungs and dysentery” from which he had been suffering for some five weeks. He died at Sandridge, Victoria, today’s Port Melbourne, on December 6, 1869. Jeremiah Mitchell was buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery, Wesleyan Section E, grave No. 304.

 

Department of the Navy, Records Department

Department of Records, North Yarmouth, Maine

 “Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships”, Naval Historical Center,

         Washington, D.C., 1959-1991.

“List of Officers of the U.S. Navy and of the Marine Corps, 1775-1900”,

 edited by Edward W. Callahan; L.R. Hamersly & Co., New York, 1901

Melbourne General Cemetery Records -  National Archives, Washington, D.C.

 Naval Historical Center

  “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion”,

         Government Printing Office, Washington, 1894

 U.S. Consul Dispatches from Melbourne, Australia

  “Warships of the Civil War Navies”, Paul H. Silverstone, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1989

 

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