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Finding aid for the John S. McMillin papers


Summary Information

USC Libraries Special Collections
McMillin, John S.
John S. McMillin papers
Collection no.
1855-1893, undated
0.42 Linear feet, 1 box
Letters, documents, testimony regarding Capt. John S. McMillin, his command of the Union steamer "Silver Wave" during the Civil War, and his steam capstan patent.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], John S. McMillin papers, Collection no. 0003, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

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Biographical note

John S. McMillin was the owner of a transport ship, the "Silver Wave" that was pressed into service on the Missisippi River from 1861-1863. McMillin also invented a steam powered capstan during this period, which was patented in 1867.

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Scope and Contents

Letters, documents, testimony regarding Capt. John S. McMillin, his command of the Union steamer "Silver Wave" during the Civil War, and his steam capstan patent. A detailed inventory of each document is included in the box.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

USC Libraries Special Collections
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California, 90089-0189

Revision Description

 Finding aid edited and updated by Sue Luftschein, 2011 January; 2014 March

Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.


Donated by Mrs. Philip D. Terry, Jr.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Silver Wave (Transport ship). -- Archives


  • Correspondence
  • Legal documents

Geographic Name(s)

  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Archival resources

Personal Name(s)

  • McMillin, John S. -- Archives


  • Capstan--United States--History--19th century--Archival resources
  • Patents--United States--History--19th century--Archival resources
  • Sea control--History--19th century--Archival resources

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

 Letters of reference and testimony in behalf of Captain John S. McMillin 1863 

Scope and Content

Includes a letter from General Ulysses S. Grant to Brigadier General R. Allen (signed copy, dated July 25, 1863).

1 1

 War orders to the steamer Silver Wave, Capt. J.S. McMillin, commander 1862-1863   32 items.

Scope and Content

Military orders to Captain McMillin aboard the SIlver Wave.

1 2

 Petitions for reimbursement for services by and repairs to the Silver Wave. 1862-1870 

Scope and Content

Papers and letters relative to petition to Congress by McMillin for confirmation of award made to him in 1863 for extra-hazardous service while mastering the Silver Wave on the Mississippi in the service of General Grant.

1 3

 U.S. Patent Office documents relative to J.S. McMillin's "Improvement in applying steam power to the capstan of steamboats..." 1866-1867 

1 4

 Court decrees, briefs, injunction, etc. relative to infringements of steam capstan patent 1867-1881 

1 5

 Correspondence re steam capstan patent 1876 

1 6

 "SIlver Wave" memos and public announcements 1855, 1863, 1876 

1 7

 Realia 1893, undated 

Scope and Content

Hand painted fan; souvenir badge of the Grand Army of the Republic.


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