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Jersey City And Its Historic Sites

By Harriet Phillips Eaton
Published 1899

This Web version, edited by GET NJ

Navy War Records

Mr. William Knickerbocker Van Reypen entered the service as Assistant Surgeon December 26th, 1861. Having been promoted through the various grades, he now holds the position of Surgeon General of the Navy. Of good Dutch lineage on both sides of the house, he is proving his sterling inheritances by the masterly manner in which he is meeting the terrible responsibilities of his position in providing for all emergencies in the Medical Department of the Navy in this war with Spain. To Surgeon General Van Reypen the world is indebted for the Hospital Ship in war. At the International Medical Congress, held in Moscow in 1896, he presented the plan which was carried out by the United States Government in fitting out the Solace and Relief during the present summer, which were the first ever used. A most valuable addition to a fleet in war, not only in the relief afforded to the sick and wounded, but in rendering the ships more efficient by leaving them with fighting men only, unhampered by the sick and disabled. There is so little space on board men-of-war which can be utilized for hospital purposes that the chances of recovery for the wounded are largely increased. Civilian doctors who have visited the Solace are enthusiastic over the perfection of its arrangements for the sick and wounded. It is a marvel that a ship not built for the purpose could be so well adapted to hospital needs. Jersey City may well be proud of Surgeon General Van Reypen.

The only other representatives of Jersey City in the navy during the war, so far as I can learn, were in the volunteer navy : Acting Master James M. Van Boskerck, who was in command of a guard boat at Alexandria, Virginia; Dr. Forman, who served as assistant surgeon during the war, and Mr. Daniel Toffey, who acted as captain's clerk for his uncle, Captain John L. Worden, on the first Monitor that was built and went into service as an experiment in 1862. Mr. Toffey acted as aid in carrying orders during the famous battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac. Of the nine monitors ordered by the government during the Civil War, six were built in Jersey City ship-yards. Aside from the above named, I have been unable to learn of many other citizens of Jersey City who have served in the navy. About 1835, Commodore Wetmore built a large white house on Newark avenue below Baldwin avenue where he and his family lived for many years. At one time he was in command of the Constitution at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. At the building of the Hudson County Court House, Commodore Wetmore determined the astronomical position and the following is the latitude and longitude of the observation spot:

Latitude40 , 43', 50", north.
Longitude14h., 48m., 44.,IS., or 74, 3' , 40.5 west.
At present Lieutenant Harry Phelps, who graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in the Class of 188o, Lieutenant Charles Phillips Eaton of the Class of 1883, and Lieutenant Philip Andrews of the Class of 1886, are, I believe, the only line officers in the navy from Jersey City.

Table of Contents

Jersey City History
Your Ancestors' Story
Asbury Park
Bruce Springsteen's Jersey Shore Rock Haven!

The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and The Central Railroad Terminal
Visit Liberty State Park!

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