[NAVAL OFFICER'S LETTERS, Aaron O. Shuff]. WALKER, William, American adventurer. Approx. 54 ALSs, mostly 4o by Aaron O. Shuff, an officer aboard the U.S. ship "Wabash" and later the "Levant", chiefly to his brother, Nat, in Philadelphia, describing life in the service of the United States Navy, including an encounter with "the President" (Pierce?) and an account of his role in the capture of William Walker
in December 1857. Other topics include discipline aboard ship, naval
tactics, seamanship and navigation.
A FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF THE CAPTURE OF WILLIAM WALKER
In 1855 Walker led a Nicaraguan revolutionary faction in the capture of Granada. He was inaugurated president of Nicaragua in 1856. He planned to unite the republics of Central America under his rule, but American industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt, whose transit company had been appropriated by Walker's Nicaraguan supporters, financed forces to overthrow Walker in battle in 1857. Walker was captured by the British after landing in Honduras in 1860 and was executed by Honduran authorities.
19 September 1856: "...one man is now undergoing punishment - thirty days on bread and water, in irons - solitary confinement every other four hours in the sweat box." -- 11 October 1856: "The President came aboard on Thursday, under a grand National salute of 21 guns & we now have an admiral's flag flying at our main...On Friday the Commodore [Paulding] invited me to dine in his cabin with the President." -- 3 December 1857: "What action the Commodore will take with Walker I do not know...I think the best thing that could be done would be to hang Walker off hand and make an end to him...of course we will take him, or kill him...the Captain, accompanied only by myself landed in front of Walker's house...he said 'I surrender sir, I am under your orders'".
The group concludes with a letter to Shuff's mother reporting his sudden death at age 27 and the location of his burial. With Shuff's state department passport, oval portrait, a sketch of San Juan harbor, several manuscript poems and newspaper clippings. Together approx. 140 pages.