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Grimes, Absalom Carlisle (22 August 1834–27 March 1911), Confederate mail runner and steamboat pilot, was born in Anchorage, Kentucky, the son of William Leander Grimes and Charlotte Platt Wright. He was born while his parents were visiting his father’s hometown relatives. After he was one month old, his parents took him to their home at Saverton, Missouri (near Hannibal), where his father worked as a Mississippi River steamboat pilot. During his youth in St. Louis the rambunctious Grimes disliked school intensely and at the age of twelve stowed away on a steamboat to New Orleans, only to be retrieved by his anxious parents before he could carry out his plan to go to sea as a cabin boy. When he was sixteen, he worked briefly as a messenger boy for the Morse Telegraph Company when its service was first introduced to St. Louis, but later in the year he was introduced to steamboat piloting by his father. Ab, as Grimes was familiarly known, was so short at the start of his apprenticeship that he had to stand on a box to see over the boat’s steering wheel. After obtaining his first annual license in 1852, he piloted various steamboats in the lively upper Mississippi trade between St. Louis and St. Paul until the start of the Civil War in 1861....

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Hambleton, Thomas Edward (17 May 1829–21 September 1906), blockade runner and financier, was born in New Windsor, Maryland, the son of Thomas Edward Hambleton, a dry-goods merchant and entrepreneur, and Sarah Slingluff. His parents moved in 1831 to Baltimore, where Hambleton received his early education before enrolling in St. Mary’s College, from which he graduated in 1849. He then entered into a partnership in Baltimore that manufactured agricultural implements. In 1852 he married Arabella Stansbury, with whom he had three children....

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Wilkinson, John (06 November 1821–29 December 1891), U.S. and Confederate naval officer, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of Francis Coleman and Jesse Wilkinson, a U.S. naval officer. On 18 December 1837 Wilkinson was appointed a midshipman in the U.S. Navy, and on 10 February 1838 he was assigned to the USS ...