APPELL, PHILLIP FRANCIS (1831~1898) Captain Phillip Francis Appell was an officer in the Confederate State Navy. He was born in Prussia in 1831, although census information has him born in 1834. Information regarding his early life is limited. We know he married Sophia A.S. Appell who born in South Carolina. They married on September 18, 1862 in Harris, Texas. According to the 1880 Census, Appell and his family were living in Blanco, Texas where he was a farmer and she was a homemaker. At the time of the census, they had two daughters and two sons, Maude, Perino, Georgia, and Albert.
The Register of Confederate States Naval Officers says Appell was appointed Masters mate July 11, 1861, and acting sailing master October 14, 1861. He served on the C.S.R.S. St. Phillip at New Orleans Station in 1861. In September of 1861 he was detached from the C.S.R.S. St. Phillip and ordered to Galveston, Texas. Thats where he commanded the C.S.S. Bayou City from 1861-1862.
The C.S.S. Bayou City was a 165-foot side-wheel steamer that was built for commercial use. It was originally a mail boat that ran between Galveston and Houston. Bayou City was charted in September of 1861 by Commander W.W. Hunter and was taken over by the war department in October 1862. In the early part of 1862, Appell, and two other soldiers in the Confederate States Navy wrote a letter to Commander Hunter with their ideas for the C.S.S. Bayou City, the following is a transcription of that letter:
Dear Sir: Believing it to be the duty that we owe to the country and ourselves to harass and annoy as far as lies within our power the lawless and unnatural enemy who is now blocking out port, we submit to you this memorial, humbly asking your consent and assistance. We propose taking the little sloop Fanny Morgan, for which we shall provide the 1-pound rifle gun invented by Mr. Nichols, of this city, and, sailing out to the beacon, endeavor to draw out the launches of the Santee, which have hitherto so readily pursued all the small craft that has appeared off our harbor, and if possible sink them. Should we fail in this we propose taking a few shots at the Santee, merely to try the gun, which, with an improved ball, we believe will carry 3 miles. Hoping you may feel disposed to grant us this favor, we remain with the highest considerations of esteem, your obedient servants,
W. Herbert Beazley
P.F. Appel, C.S. Navy
W.N. Shaw, C.S. Navy
Commodore W.W. Hunter
Department of Texas
Later that year, Appell resigned, the letter from Commander Hunter is as follows:
Sir: I have this day received and forwarded to the honorable Navy Department of your resignation. Until the please of the honorable Navy Department in communicated to me in relation to this matter, you will consider yourself suspended from duty and keep within the precinct of your residence, subject to my orders. You will in no wise communicate officially with any military authority, except through me, whilst you are under my command.
Commander, C.S. Navy,
Master P.F. Appel, C.S. Navy
His resignation was tendered in 1862. Later records indicate at some point he continued his service as a leave of absence was granted on June 13, 1863. Then on August 19, 1864, Special Order No. 234, instructed Appell to proceed to Galveston to, once again, take over the C.S.S. Bayou City, relieving the current Captain for new orders. That order came from Henry S. Lubbock, Captain and Commander of the Marine Department. The C.S.S. Bayou City served the Confederacy in Texas waters until the conclusion of the Civil War., however it is uncertain if Appell remained in service until the end of the war.
After the war it seems Appell returned to farming. We know that along the way he became friends with former Texas Governor Francis R. Lubbock, and the Clerk of Texas Adjutant Generals, E.M. Phelps as they both testified to his service in the Confederacy for Mrs. Appells request for a Widows confederate pension. Phillip Francis Appell died Thursday, June 25, 1898 and the funeral took place at his residence at 200 East Sixteenth Street in Austin, Texas. Here is an excerpt from the Austin Daily Statesman on Friday, June 24, 1898:
Phillip Francis Appell died yesterday, aged 67 years. His funeral will take place from his late residence, 200 East Sixteenth street, at 5 p.m. today.
Pallbearers-Gen. W.R. Hamby, Col. A.J. Baker, Col. Joel H.B. Miller, Capt. E.M. Phelps, Maj. E.M. Bacon, Capt. Louis T. Wise, Mr. Earnest von Rosenberg, Mr. Herman Pressler, Mr. Chester Thrasher, Mr. Cicero Nichols, Mr. Jack Shackelford, Hon. Jno. D. McCall.
Members of the John B. Hood Camp of Confederate Veterans are requested to attend the funeral of our comrade, Capt. P.F. Appell, which will take place from his residence, corner Sixteenth and Brazos streets, at 5 p.m. this evening.
Phillip Appell was buried in the Texas State Cemetery. Sophia Appell outlived her husband by 30 years. She died at the home of one of her daughters in Ft. Worth, Texas May 9, 1928. It is uncertain where she is buried.
Source Information from: Widows Confederate Pension Application, Application for Mortuary Warrant, Compiled military records, The Austin Daily Statesman, CSnavy.org, familysearch.org, history.navy.mil, and hazegray.org.