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George Ransom naval journal, 1843-1844, 1862-1865

1 volume

This volume contains ships' logs pertaining to George M. Ransom's service on the United States Navy ships Erie (January 1843-September 1844), Kineo (February 1862-February 1863), Mercedita (April 1863-August 1863), Grand Gulf (September 1863-November 1864), and Muscoota (January 1865-May 1865). Ransom served on the Erie during its voyage from the East Coast to the South Pacific and commanded the remaining vessels in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River, and Caribbean Sea. The logs recount naval battles and the capture of several blockade runners during the Civil War.

This volume (463 pages) contains ships' logs pertaining to George M. Ransom's service on the United States Navy ships Erie (pp. 2-101), Kineo (pp.105-283), Mercedita (pp. 286-339), Grand Gulf (pp. 340-441), and Muscoota (pp. 442-463) in the early 1840s and early 1860s. The logs were written in several hands, and each contains standard information about winds, the ship's course, and the ship's location.

The log of the sloop Erie (January 16, 1843-September 19, 1844) concerns the ship's journey from the Charlestown Navy Yard to Cape Verde, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Hawaii, Tahiti, and back to Norfolk, Virginia. Entries contain detailed notes regarding the use of sails and unusual occurrences such as encounters with other ships at sea and in port, changes in personnel, and attempts to avoid shoals and other dangerous areas. The final entry concerns the transfer of prisoners and mutineers from a whaling vessel.

Material regarding the gunboat Kineo includes 17 pages of "Articles for the Internal Regulations of the U. S. Steam Gun Boat Kineo" (undated) and log entries (February 8, 1862-February 20, 1863). The regulations pertain to aspects of sailors' and officers' personal behavior and official duties. The ship's log entries concern the Kineo's Civil War service between the Mississippi River Delta and Vicksburg, Mississippi; the Kineo was primarily stationed at New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Donaldsonville, Louisiana, and Warrenton and Grand Gulf, Mississippi. Many entries refer to and provide details about military activities, including the ship's participation in the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, encounters and engagements with Confederate ships and shore batteries, and the capture of hostile vessels (including one carrying a large number of cattle intended for Confederate use, early October 1862). The log also refers to other Union vessels, the progress of the land war, ship maintenance, and issues related to the Kineo's crew. Two entries contain copies of a letter of thanks from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells (July 8, 1862) and a U.S. House of Representatives resolution praising Admiral David Farragut (August 18, 1862).

The log of the steamer Mercedita (April 18, 1863-August 18, 1863) largely relates to the ship's service in the Caribbean, where it visited ports in Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas. Many of the entries report on other ships in the area, including foreign vessels, and on activities such as target practice and ship maintenance. The entry of May 26, 1863, concerns two crewmembers' imprisonment by the United States consul in Haiti following their encounter with the captain of a French merchant vessel. The entries of July 30 and 31, 1863, pertain to the death and funeral of Master's Mate Granville W. Fogg.

The third log concerns the steamer Grand Gulf, particularly its activities as part of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron off of the North Carolina coast and along the Cape Fear River (September 28, 1863-November 25, 1864). The first entries concern the intake of officers and final preparations for the ship's launch from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Grand Gulf was stationed primarily near Wilmington and Beaufort, North Carolina, though many entries are dated "at sea." The log reports on the ship's encounters with other blockading vessels and its chase and capture of several blockade runners, including the British ship Mary Ann (March 6, 1864), the Banshee, and the Young Republic (May 6, 1864); these and similar entries list apprehended cargo. Other topics include crew discipline and ship maintenance.

The final section concerns the steamer Muscoota (June 5, 1865-May 17, 1865). Under Ransom's command, the ship was stationed in and around the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Norfolk Navy Yard. Log entries pertain to the ship's officers and incoming personnel, maintenance issues, and collisions with other vessels in port. The final pages of the volume include notes on navy personnel (May 1, 1843-June 27, 1844) and a quote from the Iliad.


John Vaughan papers, 1779-1781, 1784, 1789, 1794

3 volumes and 3 loose items

The John Vaughan papers document British activities in the West Indies during the American Revolution. Covered are Vaughan's incoming letters, dispatches, bills, reports, and memoranda during his command of the Leeward Islands from November of 1779 to March 1781, as well as several postwar manuscripts pertinent to the British Colonial West Indies.

The John Vaughan papers (3 volumes and three loose items) document Vaughan's first two years as commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands, from November of 1779 to March 1781. The papers comprise approximately 470 items, almost all of which are incoming letters, dispatches, bills, reports, and memoranda from naval commanders and subordinates, officials in England and North America, and friends and relatives in England.

The papers primarily relate to the conduct of the Revolutionary War in the West Indies, and reveal a close coordination between the army and navy in the region. Topics documented include the capture of St. Eustatius, the capture of transports by the French, the treatment of prisoners of war, and the provisioning and paying of troops. Also covered are promotions, discipline, and reports on hardships, such as endemic sickness, supply shortages (food, candles, rum, and money), poor barracks, a lack of doctors and medicine, and bad weather. Of note are the letters from William Mathew Burt, governor of Antigua and St. Christopher's; Gabriel Christie, commander at Antigua; Lucius Ferdinand Cary, commander at Tobago; George Ferguson, governor of Tobago; Commodore William Hotham; Admiral Hyde Parker; Admiral Samuel Hood; George Brydges Rodney, commander of the Leeward Island Station; Anthony St. Leger, brigadier general at St. Lucia; Major Henry Fitzroy Stanhope; and Loftus Anthony Tottenham, brigadier general at Barbados.

In addition to the incoming material, this collection contains four items written by Vaughan:
  • Volume 1, item 23: After March 19, 1780: Memoranda for an answer to Christie's letter of March 18-19
  • Folder 1: May 11, 1784: Vaughan's deposition sent to Isaac Howell, for a property dispute involving Edward Foord, Samuel Delprat, Richard Clark, and Simon Nathan, over a lawsuit in Jamaica
  • Folder 1: September 29, 1789: Vaughan to an unknown property owner (partnered to a Mr. Alexander Ellis) concerning purchasing land on the Mohawk River
  • Folder 1: September 17, 1794: John Vaughan to William Wyndham, reporting on specifics of British troop strengths throughout the Caribbean. Mention of surrender of Belville Camp, Guadeloupe, by capitulation in October, and lost companies in that affair. Martinique is the most important island from a military perspective. St. Lucia. Enemy strength at Guadeloupe, specifying around 400-500 "whites" and 4,000 or 5,000 "Blacks" armed with muskets and bayonets. Guadeloupe would require a Garrison of troops, with the number of men needed to attack. Believes that they should raise the siege of Basse-Terre and keep the enemy in check. Royalists can't be relied on. Strength at Antigua, St. Christopher's, and Dominica. Sir Charles Grey, Admiral Jarvis, and islands of St. Bartholomew and St. Thomas. Current assessment of privateers. British and French reinforcements. Capt. Hare's 10th Light Dragoons: when they came from America, they had "hardly a sound horse amongst them"--consider discontinuing this expensive Corps.

Volume 1 contains 246 items; Volume 2 contains 276 pages; and Volume 3 contains 207 pages.


William L. Culbertson, Jr., Scrapbook, 1905-1918

1 volume

The William L. Culbertson, Jr., scrapbook consists of one volume containing numerous newspaper clippings, documents, photographs, hand-drawn maps and illustrations, correspondence, and various ephemeral items related to the career of US Navy officer CDR William Linn Culbertson, Jr., between 1905 and 1918.

The William L. Culbertson, Jr., scrapbook consists of one volume containing numerous newspaper clippings, documents, photographs, hand-drawn maps and illustrations, correspondence, and various ephemeral items related to the career of US Navy officer CDR William Linn Culbertson, Jr., between 1905 and 1918.

The volume (25.5 x 19 cm) has 146 pages and is bound in red marbled paper covers. The covers and spine are in poor condition. Inside of the front cover there is a loose diplomatic passport for Culbertson, Jr., issued by the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France, from August 1916 that contains personal descriptive information as well as a photographic ID portrait. The scrapbook begins with newspaper clippings from ca. 1905 and subsequent materials proceed in chronological order for the most part. Numerous items collected during Culbertson, Jr.’s time abroad contain text in foreign languages including French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, German, Arabic, and Greek.

Items of particular interest include:
  • Hand-drawn portrait of a man playing cards and smoking a pipe (between pgs. 2 & 3)
  • Clipping related to court martial of Iowan midshipman Charles M. James for alleged involvement in hazing (pg. 5)
  • Photomechanical image of the U.S.S. Missouri (pg.7)
  • 1906 New York herald clipping with full page illustrated article titled "At Sea with the Naval Cadets Annual Cruise of the Boys to Learn Practical Seamanship" (pg. 9)
  • An order from Lt. CDR Cleland Davis of the U.S.S. Missouri dated May 24, 1906 instructing Culbertson, Jr., to "take charge of the remains of J. J. Molloy, fireman 1st class" who died from asphyxiation while ashore in New York City (pg. 11)
  • A letter received March 27, 1906 while the U.S.S. Missouri was in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, regarding Culbertson, Jr.'s request to be assigned to a torpedo boat that will "make the trip to the Asiatic Station" (pg. 17)
  • Ca. 1906 clipping regarding Culbertson, Sr.'s real estate dealings (pg. 19)
  • Typescript copies of the "Plan for the Occupation of St. Marc, Hayti" dated February 1916 (between pgs. 30 & 31)
  • Program for the "Memorial Service in memory of the Culbertsons, of 'Culbertson's row' and their descendants who served in the War of the American Revolution" held at Rocky Spring Presbyterian Church, Franklin County, Pennsylvania on September 15, 1907 (pg. 37)
  • Pamphlet detailing "Facilities for American Seamen on shore leave in Rio de Janeiro, January, 1908" which includes a map of Rio's commercial district (pg. 41)
  • Clippings of an article regarding Surgeon General Presley M. Rixley's opinion that medical officers be placed in command of hospital ships (pg. 44) and a satirical cartoon titled "When the Navy puts doctors in command of the hospital ships" (pg. 45)
  • A humorous mock notice issued to Culbertson, Jr., in September 1908 while aboard the U.S.S. South Dakota sent by "Neptune Rex" and undersigned by "Secretary to his Majesty Davy Jones" (pg. 52)
  • A manuscript map detailing features of American Samoa (pg. 53)
  • Clippings of three cartoons from a series titled "Trials of a First Baby" (pgs. 54-57)
  • Letter from oiler J. J. Murphy dated May 23, 1907, requesting permission to purchase his discharge from the U.S. Navy in order to return home to Ireland following the deaths of two brothers; obituary clipping attached (between pgs. 68 & 69)
  • Manuscript item in Japanese (pg. 73)
  • New York herald clipping giving Culbertson, Jr.'s account of what he saw in the aftermath of the 1907 earthquake in Kingston, Jamaica (pg. 76)
  • Manuscript map detailing the valley of the Artibonite River in Haiti, likely ca. 1915/1916 (between pgs. 86 & 87)
  • Manuscript map detailing prospective plan of attack on St. Marc, Haiti, relative to the U.S.S. Des Moines, likely ca. 1916 (pg. 99)
  • Passport for Culbertson, Jr., issued by the American Consulate in Alexandria, Egypt, on December 31, 1915 (pg. 115)
  • Clipping of a humorous joke anecdote about a woman from San Francisco who contacted her deceased husband "John" with help from a spiritualist medium only to find he was much happier being dead than he ever was living with her (pg. 118)
  • Memorandum dated October 13, 1915, regarding damages to the U.S.S. Brutus and U.S.S. Des Moines (pg. 129)
  • Two French travel permits for Culbertson, Jr., issued by the Departement des Alpes-Maritimes in 1916 (pgs. 136 & 137)
  • Numerous playbills, tickets, receipts, stamps, business cards (including cards for foreign naval officers), schedules, menus, advertisements, event invitations, social club notices, and other ephemeral items collected at various ports of call including Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Shanghai, Yokohama, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, New York City, Alexandria, Cyprus, Naples, etc. (passim)
  • Numerous clippings related to World War I (passim)