Thursday, May 31, 2007

For Guert fans only (but that's everyone, right?)

This entry is slightly off topic, though it does have a direct military justice connection. Through that most blessed of all web sites,, I was able (feeble pun intended) to obtain a copy of Alice P. Kenney's The Gansevoorts of Albany: Dutch Patricians in the Upper Hudson Valley (1969). (Sorry, Guert, but the copy I received obviously had never been read in the thirty-some years since it was printed.) Guert is mentioned in only 4 of the volume's 289 pages. But one of these four pages includes an interesting, though all-too-brief, account of Guert's career after his famous role in the Somers mutiny's aftermath (if, indeed, mutiny it was):

Guert's career included occasional successes and many disappointments. In the Mexican War, he won distinction as the leader of a landing party which attacked Vera Cruz in 1847. In 1855, the year following his promotion to commander, he brought the ship Decatur to the aid of the inhabitants of Seattle during an Indian attack. Not long thereafter, however, he was relieved of his command for drunkenness on duty. [That helps to explain some of Guert's posts.] . . . Guert insisted that it was an exceptional instance, and with Peter's aid was assigned to more congenial duties at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In the spring of 1862, after forty years of service, he at last received the command of a new sloop of war, the Adirondack. His delighted Uncle Peter reminded him to send for a dozen bottles of fine old Madeira that had been waiting for this occasion for thirty years. Six months later the Adirondack, on blockade duty in the Bahamas, ran on a rock and was lost. A court-martial cleared Guert of blame, but the blow to his pride was shattering. After returning for a time to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, he retired and went to live with his sister Catherine Curtis in Schenectady, where he died.

Kenney at 248.

Guert, we're glad you've chosen to spend part of your post-mortem period with us.


Guert Gansevoort said...
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Guert Gansevoort said...

Many disappointments? How many Americans have saved a United States Ship from piracy, helped wrest two thirds of the United States from Mexican dictatorship, and put down an indigenous rebellion that threatened another third of the country? I wonder how Ms. Kenney, with her excellent hindsight, would have handled the likes of Mr. Spencer. Perhaps I shall send her a well aged bottle of Madeira. God help us if women ever take to the sea.

Anonymous said...

I recently purchased the Commission promoting Guert Gansevoort to the position of Captain and signed by Abe Lincoln. You obviously know alot about him. I've done some research but any tidbits of information would be greatly appreciated. My email is