African Americans and the U.S. Navy - 1870s and 1880s

Following the Civil War, African Americans continued to serve in unlimited roles among the Navy's enlisted ranks, though a tendency to encourage them to become officer's stewards was emerging.

This page has views of African-Americans on board Navy ships and ashore during the 1880s.

Additional material African Americans and the U.S. Navy

Click photograph for a larger image.

Photo #: NH 53991

USS Galena (1880-1892)

Ship's Mizzentopmen, with a pet goat and bird circa the 1880s.

NHHC Photograph.

Online Image: 87KB; 740 x 605

Photo #: NH 53996

USS Galena (1880-1892)

Ship's African-American sailors, circa the 1880s.

NHHC Photograph.

Online Image: 85KB; 740 x 615

Photo #: NH 2860

USS Ossipee (1862-1891)

"Berth Deck, Cook's" in 1887. Photographed by E.H. Hart, 112 E. 24th St., New York.
Note cooking gear, sausages in roasting rack at left, tins of beef (one from New Zealand), bread, man peeling potatoes, black sailor with bowl, coffee cups, and bearded Marine.

NHHC Photograph.

Online Image: 104KB; 740 x 535

Photo #: NH 42949

USS Ossipee (1862-1891)

Crew "At Quarters", circa 1887-88.
Note black sailor in right center; gun crews by their weapons at right, Marines with "Trap-door Springfield" rifles, drummers, dog on deck and hammocks stowed in hammock rails over the bulwarks.

NHHC Photograph.

Online Image: 88KB; 740 x 410

Photo #: NH 42950

USS Ossipee (1862-1891)

"General Muster" on board, circa 1887-88.
The ship's Commanding Officer, Commander William Bainbridge Hoff, is in center, leaning on the grating rack.
Note Marine sentry at the gangway, hammock stowage, and large percentage of black sailors among the crew at left.

U.S.NHHC Photograph.

Online Image: 102KB; 740 x 460

Photo #: NH 57901

North Atlantic Squadron Encampment at Camp Osceola, Magnolia Bluffs, Pensacola, Florida, April 1888.

Squadron personnel at the Magnolia Bluffs railway station. Note boys seated on bench at left and navy men on steps carrying assorted gear. Sailor in center is holding a Model 1878 Hotchkiss Magazine Rifle and wears leggings and a cartridge belt.

Photograph from a booklet published by E.H. Hart, New York.

NHHC Photograph.

Online Image: 120KB; 740 x 600


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

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