Posted 6 years ago
This nondescript carte de visite almost slips by on a cursory examination of the front-- it is hard to tell that the subject is military. A close look shows one shoulder board visible on his right shoulder (as viewed).
The back gives the story with the identification in period ink: " M.B. Means, Gunner USN, Sedgwick, Me".
Mark B. Means has a great record of Naval service.
Records show he was a seafaring man before the war-- serving on the Brig Jones in 1858 operating out of Salem, Mass.
At the start of the War, Means enlisted as a seaman in the US Navy and served on the Ohio, Minnesota and Sportsman. In JUL 1863 he was transferred to the USS Tennessee becoming a Gunner on the ship.
A year later he was transferred to the USS Monongahela. On that ship he participated in the attacks on Mobile Bay. The Battle of Mobile Bay is famous for Admiral Farragut and his "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" order to a ship captain during the fight. During the Battle the Monongahela was heavily engaged and rammed the CSS Tennessee (ironclad) eventually leading to her capture.
Gunner Means continued to serve on the Monongahela until JAN 1865 when sickness sent him to the hospital in New Orleans. He was discharged for disability on 26 APR 1865 after just over 4 years of wartime service.
Based on the tax stamp and inscription, the photograph was taken during Means' service with the USS Monongahela (AUG 64- discharge).
I don't know much about Means' post war life with the exception that he lived out his years in Maine and died in 1920, at the age of 84.