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Admiral Henry H. Bell signed this manuscript letter, written in Hingo Japan in 1868, as commander of the U. S. Navy's Asiatic Fleet. In it, he instructs a ship commander to send all future communications to him to Hong Kong. Bell was Fleet Captain of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron for two years during the American Civil War. He wrote this letter less than two weeks before drowning near Hyogo, Japan.
Manuscript letter signed "H.H. Bell" as Rear Admiral, Commanding, U. S. Asiatic Squadron. 1 page, 8x10, ruled paper, docketed on verso. U.S. Flagship Hartford, Hingo, Japan, Jan. 1, 1868. Addressed to Commander J.C. Febiger commanding the USS Ashuelot, Shanghai, China. In full: "Sir: After the reception of this letter, You will please address all communication tome [sic] at Hong Kong, Care of the US Naval Storekeeper. I am Very Respectfully". Noted at top left: "Duplicate. Original sent Via/Hong Kong, Per HBM.S. 'Basilisk'". Bell drowned on Jan. 11, 1868 when his boat was overturned in heavy seas while heading for shore at Japan's Hyogo. HENRY H. BELL (1808-1868) entered the U. S. Navy as a midshipman in 1823 and spent the next 45 years of his life in the service. He was aboard the USS Grampus when it fought pirates off the Cuban coast in the early 1820s and, during the American Civil War, as Fleet Captain of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron as a commodore. In August of 1865, Bell sailed for the Far East to re-establish the East India Squadron (later the Asiatic Squadron), which had been inactive since its warships had returned to the American East Coast during the Civil War; he was promoted to rear admiral in 1866. While in Asia, he captured and destroyed four barrier forts near Canton, China (now Guangzhou) and anchored in the bay of Osaka, Japan to pressure the Japanese government to open Hyogo Port. Commander JOHN C. FEBIGER commanded the Ashuelot of the Asiatic squadron from 1866-1868. Lightly toned and creased. Manuscript writing touches signature. Manuscript writing, but not signature, is lightly spotted in places but is legible. Folded twice and unfolded. Otherwise in fine condition.

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Born: April 13, 1808 in Orange County, North Carolina
Died: January 11, 1868 in Hiroga, Japan (at sea, while coming ashore)

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