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Guide to the Naval History Society Collection
1721-1995 (bulk 1781-1936)
  MS 439

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Celia Hartmann.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 29, 2018
Description is in English.

Container List

Series 49. Logbooks: U.S. Navy (1799-1928, undated)

Scope and Content

The series consists of original and transcribed log books from US naval vessels, including those under the command of John Paul Jones (see Series 28) and Isaac Hull (see Series 27) (USS Constitution) and from lesser-known ships on routine cruises.

The Serapis logbook is notable for the variety of uses the volume was put to on the vessel under both British command and after its capture by Jones aboard  Bon Homme Richard. It includes lists of officers and men aboard  Ariel under the command of Jones, and deserters from  Bon Homme Richard; was kept on board  Serapis from September 26, 1779, to October 14, 1780; and aboard  Queen of France in August and September of 1782. It ends with material transcribed at an unspecified date from Jones's papers on deposit at the Library of Congress as of January 18, 1872.

The 1824 USS Ontario cruise was via the West Indies to the Mediterranean, where it joined Commodore William Bainbridge's (see Series 1) squadron and protected commercial shipping along the Barbary Coast from pirates. The volume includes drawings and writing at the end, probably by the child or children of Murray Mason, Fairfax County, Virginia. A midshipman at the time of this log, he may have been on  Ontario and returned home with the book.

USS Potomac departed New York in August, 1831, on its first overseas cruise to join the Pacific Station via the Cape of Good Hope. On February 6, 1832, it shelled Quallah Batoo, Sumatra, in retaliation for the February, 1831, capture of merchant vessel  Friendship and the murder of her crew. The logbook was kept by midshipman James L. Parker. In the volume are two newspaper clippings: "View of the Castle of San Juan d'Ulua with the burning of the Mexican brig Creole by Lieutenant James Lawrence Parker and passed midshipmen Hynson and Rodgers USN" (undated) and from "The Daily chronicle and General Advertiser" of August 7, 1847, a memoriam from Commodore Matthew C. Perry on Parker's July 12, 1847, death from disease brought on by wounds sustained in an attack on Tuspan, Mexico.

The Constelation [sic] and  Grampus logbooks are bound on continuous sheets that appear to have been removed from a previously sewn volume. The title page of each shows a hand-rendered drawing of the ship at full sail.

The 1844 Constitution logbook documents a cruise to the African coast off Madagascar. It includes hand-drawn maps of the area showing the ship's route and one with soundings documented; appendices on "Madagascar," "Hints on the Economy of a Man of War" (noting health and cleanliness issues on a long cruise to an unhealthy place), "The comparative merits of hemp and chain cables…valuable extract from a report transmitted by the Board of Admiralty by Captain W.F. Owen Royal Navy," "Chronological abstract of the cruise," "Barometrical observations in the Mozambique Channel during the months of October and November 1844," "Wooden Anchors," and "The Mozambique channel".

The Penguin logbook documents routine shipboard operations during travel between Key West, Charlotte Harbor, and Apalachicola, Florida, before ending at Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the ship's protection of Union naval forces during the Civil War.

Related Materials at The New-York Historical Society

The Serapis logbooks were edited by John Sanford Barnes (see Series 3, Series 28) and published as "The logs of the Serapis - Alliance - Ariel, under the command of John Paul Jones, 1779-1780; with extracts from public documents, unpublished letters and narratives," by the DeVinne Press, New York, as the Society's first volume of publications in 1911.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: OS 1 Folder : 23 U.S.S. Ontario
1837 October 19 - 1838 March 8
Box: OS 1 Folder : 24 Journal of a cruise on board of the USS ; U.S. Schooner  Grampus
1838 March 16 - October 20; 1839 August 26 - 1840 July 31
Volume: 1 Logs of Serapis,  Alliance,  Ariel, under the Command of John Paul Jones
1779-1780
Volume: 2 USS Ontario
1824 July 24 - 1825 July 23
Volume: 3 Journal of Pacific Cruise US Frigate Potomac
1831 August 23 - 1833 13 June, 1847
Volume: 4 Log of U.S. Frigate Constitution
1844 March 26 - October 31
Volume: 5 Steam log of U.S. Steamer Penguin
1862 July 22 - May 22 1863
Volume: 6 Log of the U.S. Frigate Constitution, 1798 July 20 - May 11 [photostat]
1928
Volume: 7 A log book for the ship Bon Homme Richard, the honorible [sic] John Paul Jones, Commander. Begun at L'Orient, Saturday 8th of May 1779 [transcript]
Undated
Volume: 8 A log book for the war ship Ranger, John Paul Jones, Commander. 1777 November 26 - ends 1778 May 18 [transcript]
Undated

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