Committee on Claims – Thomas S. Lutterloh

27 Apr

Notes:  Reading through the various testimonies of individuals provides a wealth of information regarding several of the Cape Fear river steamboats at the end of the Civil War, and the subsequent actions of Sherman’s army toward confiscation and use of those vessels for several month.   Boats mentioned include: A. P. Hurt, North Carolina, Kate McLaurin, Orrell and Gov. Worth.  Captains, boat owners, and pilots giving testimony and/or mentioned include: Thomas S. Lutterloh, Capt. Sam’l Barry, Thomas J. Green, R. M. Orrell, Samuel W. Skinner, James Madden, Daniel Buxton, Archibald White, and Jonathan Worth.

Excerpt from Report:


ROBERT M. ORRELL, being duly sworn, says:  That he is a citizen of the above county and State, and for many years prior to, during, and since the late war, was a resident of the town of Fayetteville, in the said county and State, and is now a resident of the said county, living four miles from said town, and is — years of age; that he has personal knowledge of the facts as herein stated, the most of which came under his immediate observation; that on the 11th day of March, 1865, the U. S. Army, under command of Gen. W. T. Sherman, came into the town of Fayetteville, N. C., and at that time the steamer A. P. Hurt, the property of the Cape Fear Steamboat Company, was lying up the Cape Fear River, about eight miles, loaded with cotton.  ON the 12th of the same month I was called upon by an officer of the U. S. Army and requested to go with his men – a detail of soldiers – and bring the boats down to this place, Fayetteville, N. C., the officer having been told that the boats were my property; this was a mistake, and I told the officer was not my boat, but that I would see the captain of the same, the steamer Hurt; the officer thinking that I was misleading him did not at first take my statement, as he had been led to believe that the steamer Hurt was my property, but he learned differently, and finding out that my boat was the Kate McLaurin, which had been burned several miles further up the Cape Fear River by order of the Confederate forces, he accepted my statement as true, and sent after the steamer Hurt, and she was brought to Fayetteville, N. C., a few days thereafter and carried to Wilmington, N. C., under charge of Capt. Barry (I think), by order of the U. S. Government, where she was kept in the use and employment of the U. S. Government from that time (March) until October or November of the same year, 1865.  All the boats, the steamer Hurt and North Carolina especially, as well as my own boat, the Kate McLaurin, were run up the Cape Fear River to evade the Confederate forces, and my boat, the Kate McLaurin, was destroyed by the same Confederates.  I was told afterward that if the boats were run off to keep away from the Union forces, that they and the property found on them would be confiscated, but that was of no avail to me, as my boat, above referred to, had already been destroyed by the other side; I had another boat, the Orrell, that had not been seized or destroyed by either side, so that I have no claim of any kind against the U. S. Government.  I speak of the facts in reference to the property of others that I know of, and to the end that they may be dealt fairly with by the Government, who took and used their property without remuneration.   I was also told that the boats run off to keep out of the way of the Confederates and which were afterwards seized by the U. S. Army, would be paid for by the Government.

The testimony showing all these facts was taken several years since, probably in 1865 or 1866, by the late Jonathan Worth, who was governor of North Carolina, just after the war, and was in some way interested as part owner of the Hurt steamer,  and the same was, I suppose, sent to Washington, and I think this testimony was used to get a return of the boat to the owners.  I recollect that in this investigation that I was on the witness stand in relation thereto, as was also I. B. Davis, now dec’d, and others.

The U. S. Government used the steamers A. P. Hurt and North Carolina from March 12th, 1865, to October or November of the same year, and I am satisfied that they were worth to the owners during that time from $5,000.00 to $8,000.00 per month, and I base this estimate upon the fact that during the same time I operated the steamer Orrel on the Cape Fear River and made at least $3,500.00 per month clear profit from the net earnings of her work, and this boat was a much smaller boat than either the other two, the Hurt or the North Carolina.

My net earnings on this small boat, the Orrel, were about $2,000.00 per week, with operating expenses to be paid out of that, which places my estimate of net monthly earnings at $3,500.00 per month as within reasonable, and, I think, certain bounds.  From this estimate I base my testimony that the earnings of the other two larger boats, each having nearly if not quite double the carrying capacity over the steamer Orrel, at from $5,000.00 to $8,000.00 per month.

The Cape Fear Steamboat Company is a joint-stock company and is represented by Col. W. S. Cook, part owner and agent, and the steamer North Carolina was owned by T. S. Lutterloh principally, and his brother W. H. Lutterloh, whom the former represents as his heir and administrator.

The steamer North Carolina was carried out of the way of the Confederate forces, and seized by the U. S. Government, and used by them as was the Hurt, the other steamboat, as fully stated herein.

I have no interest in this matter, and make this affidavit based on what came under my own immediate observation and knowledge, and that the owners may use what I know, if they see fit, in their effort to get reimbursement for their loss.


Sworn to and subscribed before me this 2 day of April, 1890.

[SEAL.]                                                JNO. B. BROADFOOT,  Notary Public.

NORTH CAROLINA, Cumberland County:

ARCHIBALD WHITE, being duly sworn, says:  That in the month of March, 1865, he was employed as pilot on the steamer North Carolina, plying on the Cape Fear River, in the above county and State, and which said steamboat was owned by Thomas S. Lutterloh, of said county, who now lives in the town of Fayetteville, N. C.  That on or about the 11th day of said month the steamer of which affiant was pilot was stopped at the mouth of Rockfish Creek, which is about seven miles below Fayetteville, N. C., and which empties into the Cape Fear River, for the purpose, as the owner said, of keeping her out of the way of the confederate forces, and while there the said boat was seized by order of the U. S. Army officers for the use of the Government and was so used by the Government for a long time; that is to say, so as affiant remembers and to the best of his knowledge, from about the 12th day of March, 1865, until the month of October or November of that same year.

That at that time the river business was very valuable to the owners of the steamboats and affiant has no hesitation in saying that the boat property was worth to the owners, and U. S. Government who was using it, at least $5,000.00 for each and every month that the same was in the control and custody of the Government, and would have been worth at least that much, and therefore a consequent loss to the owners to that amount.  Affiant has no interest in the subject-matter, as he is not and never was owner of any part of the steamboat, and has no personal interest now in the result of the same, except that as a matter of justice to the owner he should be paid for his property which the Government took from him.

ARCHIBALD (his x mark) WHITE.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 1 day of April, 1890.

[SEAL]                              G. P. MCNEILL, N. P.

[Report of case regarding “Thomas S. Lutterloh” and confiscation of the steamer North Carolina and the steamer A. P. Hurt of the Cape Fear Steamboat Company from the U. S. Congressional Serial Set by U. S. Government Printing Office – 1891-’92.]

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Posted by on April 27, 2009 in Uncategorized


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