Thursday, September 17, 2015

Augustus Dudley

Dr. Samuel Dudley (1790-1874), originally from New Hampshire, became the resident surgeon at the Portsmouth Island Marine Hospital in 1829. His oldest child, Augustus Dudley (1831-1912), was a merchant on Portsmouth Island at the outbreak of the Civil War. During the war, Augustus Dudley became a sutler (a civilian merchant who sells provisions to an army in the field).

After the war, Augustus Dudley filed claims with the US Government for the loss of nearly $10,000 worth of his property. This included $1,415.00 for unpaid items taken from him by Union officer Dr. John M. Davis for use in the Marine Hospital. Property and services included a scow dismantled for firewood, 20 stoves, a beef cow, 8 cords of wood, various hospital supplies, and 49 days use of his schooner Annie.

Additional items lost included another of Dudley's schooners, the C. A. Johnson, destroyed and sunk by Union troops when they negligently and ineptly removed the mast to use for a flagpole ($5,500) and various items removed from a store at Hatteras ($3,000).

According to Augustus Dudley, he was in the Union lines every hour of the time from the fall of Hatteras on the 29th day of August, 1861 until the war ended in 1865, and was "loyal to the U.S. Government every hour of his life."

Early in the war Confederate forces had captured "a good portion" of his property ("worth upwards of Nine Thousand Dollars"). Dudley was threatened, arrested, and imprisoned by the Rebels. For these losses "there was nothing received and nothing promised and nothing expected."

However, after Federal victory at Hatteras he felt that he would be protected, and compensated for property and services taken by the Union army. But as late as 1905 he had never been remunerated for the loss of his property. No records indicate that Augustus Dudley ever received compensation, although it is possible that his widow or other heirs may have eventually collected on the claims.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of whale and porpoise fishing on the Outer Banks. You can read it here:


  1. These are the kinds of stories that make history come alive and really help us understand the forces and challenges actually faced by those who lived through these events. It never ceases to amaze how much has occurred over the years on the small island and even smaller village of Ocracoke and it's wonderful that so much has been preserved and recalled in all those years since 1715. Thanks, Phillip, for such an interesting, educational, and enjoyable way to start each day.

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  3. Anonymous7:38 AM

    Very interesting read.

  4. Anonymous8:24 AM

    Damn Yankees!!!
    David in Fay.

  5. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Just catching up to your posts for this week. I wanted to share with you regarding both today and Tuesday's posts: now has wills and porbates records available online. Would be very interesting to look up and see if any Portsmouth and Ocracoke wills are the list above, it can be a fascinating view into the possessions our ancestors owned.

  6. Anonymous12:46 PM

    I'm sorry but Cold Mountain puts a different spin on things in my mind. Opportunists claiming to be on side A or side B taking from the weak, unknowing, scared unarmed peoples to profit and selfishly take advantage of a situation of CHAOS. Poor Dr Dudley were these thieves er "soldiers" really who they say they represented?? How could be prove a negative -- what were the known unknowns and the unknown knowns and who was King of the road?