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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
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Celia Hartmann.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 09, 2019
Description is in English

Container List

Series 30. Richard Worsam Meade, 2nd (1836-1865, 1871, 1976)

Scope and Content

The collection is comprised of materials related to the crew of brig Washington and prize claims for capture of  Amistad; correspondence and records from Meade's command of various vessels and at the New York Navy Yard; detailed information about  San Jacinto under his command, including the salvage of its equipment after it was wrecked; materials related to the inquiry into John McLaughlin's conduct during the Florida campaign against the Seminole Indians; Meade's efforts to make Spanish translations of notable American documents available after the Mexican-American War; a statement from his estate; and a newspaper clipping about the reconstructed  Amistad's participation in Operation Sail.

One of the lists of officers aboard Washington during its capture of  Amistad and the prize money apportioned is dated April 23, 1800: this appears to be an error in transcription from an original.

Meade's role in the expedition to map Colombia's Atrato River is not clear from the correspondence: its mission was to map possible transisthmian sites before Panama was eventually chosen.

The foldered log books of North Carolina appear to have been disbound from a volume similar to others in the collection. General orders have been pasted over the logbook entries in some places.

The Spanish translations of various documents of American freedom, and correspondence documenting efforts to have them distributed to new Spanish-speaking citizens, are undated. They may date to soon after the annexation of Texas and other Spanish-speaking territories as a result of the Mexican-American War that ended in 1848.

Much of the early correspondence bears the date, added in pencil, of the collection's acquisition by the Naval History Society: May 3, 1934. The subject of a few documents has been written on them in blue pencil.

All the volumes show the bookplate of Richard Worsam Meade (a heraldic crest bearing the motto "Toujours prest") as well as a sticker with the Naval History Society's seal that reads "From the Library of Richard Worsam Meade 4th (1870-1833), son of Richard Worsam Meade (3rd), Rear Admiral U.S.N., presented by Mrs. Richard Worsam Meade (4th), May 3, 1934".

Portions of this collection relating to the Civil War have been digitized and are available to on-site researchers and to users affiliated with subscribing institutions via EBSCOhost.

Related Materials at The New-York Historical Society

In 1862, San Jacinto was under the command of Theodore Greene. His correspondence from 1863 to 1864 aboard that vessel forms part of Series 23 and was donated to the Naval History Society by Mrs. Meade as part of her 1934 gift.


The loose materials had previously been arranged in chronological order by subject, with printed materials gathered together at the end. The thematic divisions have been retained but all foldered materials are now in chronological order.

Biographical Note

1807: Richard Worsam Meade 2nd born in Spain

1826: Enters Navy as midshipman

1826-1836: Serves aboard Brandywine,  St. Louis

1836: Marries Clara Forsyth Meigs

1837: Son Richard Worsam Meade 3rd (see Series 31) born New York City

1837: Promoted to lieutenant; serves with US Coast Survey, at New York Navy Yard, aboard steamer Fulton and storeship   Erie

1839: Lieutenant under Captain Gedney aboard brig Washington at capture of slave ship  Amistad off Long Island coast, August

1840s: Fulfils intermittent naval service while awaiting orders

1847: Assigned to steamer Scourge

1851: Resigns commission

1854-1855: Resumes service as commanding officer aboard steamship Massachusetts in the Pacific Squadron

1855: Resigns commission

1861: Returns to active duty as Commander of receiving ship North Carolina at New York, on which new recruits are housed and trained before receiving their permanent assignments

1864: Promoted to captain, commanding officer aboard San Jacinto during its pursuit and capture of various Confederate ships supplying southern ports

1865: Supervises salvage of guns and equipment when San Jacinto strikes a reef off Great Abaco Island, Bahamas, January 1

1867: Retires from active service

1870: Dies Brooklyn, New York, April

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Notes on navigation and mercator sailing
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence about Amistad: watch bill, orders, officers aboard  Washington, prize settlement
1839 August - 1841 September
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Letters from Charles H. Smith, Perth Amboy, about Zabriskie
1842 October 19 - December 4
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Log abstracts: Massachusetts,  Decatur; log extract  Dale; correspondence
1842, 1851, 1854-1855
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence received; Vincennes log book; Charles Gray affidavit
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Correspondence received
1847-1867, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Edith: Inventory, inventory of public property, correspondence from chief engineer Parran to Commodore Thomas Catesby Jones
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Congressional Record: Act to promote Navy efficiency; Bill to indemnify Amistad master and owners; report on Boutwell memorial
1852, 1858, 1859, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Massachusetts: log, correspondence
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Naval orders, circulars, publication on reorganization; form to document cruises
1856, 1858, 1864, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Atrato River survey: correspondence to Isaac Toncey, and between Alexander von Humboldt and F.M. Kelly
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Muster roll of the band [North Carolina?]
Box: 1 Folder : 13 North Carolina: log book, extracts, general orders
Box: 1 Folder : 14 List of deserters
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Correspondence sent and received
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Prisoners report, San Jacinto
Box: 1 Folder : 17 North Carolina: steam warming and ventilating apparatus
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Extracts, log of San Jacinto
1864 December
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Internal regulations, San Jacinto
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Letter book copies, correspondence San Jacinto
Box: 1 Folder : 21 "Monthly quarterly returns as required by the Admiral," desertion reports, crew lists San Jacinto
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Ordnance supplies, books aboard San Jacinto
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Prize list, San Jacinto
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Reports, correspondence from San Jacinto
Box: 1 Folder : 25 Money expended on provisions, names of men blacklisted
Box: 1 Folder : 26 Stores, supplies from wreck of San Jacinto
1865 January
Box: 2 Folder : 1 "Statement of administrator of late Captain R.W. Meade, USN"
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Clipping: "Namesake of schooner slaves took over joining Operation Sail," New York Times
1976 May 12
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Ship plan, unidentified
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Translation from Spanish: "Nihilism"
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Explanation of translated documents' value
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Correspondence petitioning for compensation; Spanish translations of Declaration of Independence and other documents
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Spanish translation, Articles of Confederation
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Spanish translations, Declaration of Independence
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Spanish translation, U.S. Constitution
Box: OS 1 Folder : 15 Officers aboard Washington and prize money apportioned for capture of  Amistad
[1840] April 23
Box: OS 1 Folder : 16 Copy, log book San Jacinto
1864 January 31, 1865 January 2
Box: OS 3 Folder : 4 Crew list, San Jacinto
Volume: 1 Letter book
1839 February 20 -1840 July 18
Volume: 2 Pamphlets, letters, reprints about Lt. John T. McLaughlin
Volume: 3 List of Officers and Men, Pay Tables: USS San Jacinto
Volume: 4 Watches, crews, and messes: USS San Jacinto
Volume: 5 Letter book
1864 January 3 - April 30
Volume: 6 Internal regulations, list of deserters, USS San Jacinto; copies of 36 letters

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