Return to Naval Historical Center home page. Return to Frequently Asked Questions page.

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Shipboard Life in the Antebellum U.S. Navy: A Select Bibliography


Reference Works

Bauer, K. Jack. Surfboats and Horse Marines: U.S. Naval Operations in the Mexican War, 1846-48. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1969.

Callahan, Edward W. ed. List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775-1900... New York: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1901.

Callan, John F., and Russell, A.W. comps. Laws of the United States Relating to the Navy and Marine Corps, from the Formation of the Government to 1859... Baltimore: John Murphy & Co., 1859.

Fasano, Lawrence. Naval Rank, Its Inception and Development: A Short History of the Evolution and Genealogy of the Naval Officer. New York: Horizon House, 1936

Harland, John. Seamanship in the Age of Sail: An Account of the Shiphandling of the Sailing Man-of-War, 1600-1860, Based on Contemporary Sources. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1984.

Long, David F. Gold Braid and Foreign Relations: Diplomatic Activities of U.S. Naval Officers, 1798-1883. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1988.

McEwen, W.A., and Lewis, A.H. Encyclopedia of Nautical Knowledge. Cambridge MD: Cornell Maritime Press, 1953.

Paullin, Charles O. Paullin's History of Naval Administration, 1775-1911... Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1968.

Schroeder, John H. Shaping a Maritime Empire: The Commercial and Diplomatic Role of the American Navy, 1829-1861. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1985.

Smith, Myron J. The American Navy, 1789-1860. Metuchen NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1974.


Sweetman, Jack. American Naval History: An Illustrated Chronology of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, 1775-Present. 2d ed. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991.

Tily, James C. The Uniforms of the United States Navy. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1964.

Tucker, Spencer. Arming the Fleet: U.S. Navy Ordnance in the Muzzle-Loading Era. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1989.

U.S. Navy Department. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. 8 vols. Washington: GPO, 1959-81.

Monographs treating the Social History of the Naval Service

Burr, Henry L. "Education in the Early Navy." Temple University, Ph.D. diss., 1939

Chapelle, Howard I. The History of the American Sailing Navy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1935.

Langley, Harold D. A History of Medicine in the Early U.S. Navy. Baltimore MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

________. Social Reform in the United States Navy, 1978-1862. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1967.

McKee, Christopher. A Gentlemanly and Honorable Profession: The Creation of the U.S. Naval Officer Corps, 1794-1815. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991.

Valle, James E. Rocks & Shoals: Order and Discipline in the Old Navy, 1800-1861. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1980.

Personal Narratives

The Broad Pennant: Or, A Cruise in the United States Flagship of the Gulf Squadron during the Mexico Difficulties; Together with Sketches of the Mexican War, from the Commencement of the Hostilities to the Capture of the City of Mexico. New York: 1848.

Colton, Walter. Deck and Port: Or, Incidents of a Cruise in the United States Frigate Congress to California. New York: A. S. Barnes and Burr, 1860.

________. Ship and shore, in Madeira, Lisbon, and the Mediterranean. New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1851.

Gould, Roland F. The Life of Gould, an Ex-Man-of-War's Man, with Incidents on Sea and Shore, Including the Three-Year's Cruise of the Line of Battle Ship Ohio on the Mediterranean Station, under the Veteran Commodore Hull. Claremont NH: Claremont Manufacturing Co., 1867.

Habersham, Alexander W. My Last Cruise, or, Where We Went and What We Saw. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co., 1857.

Hawks, Francis L. comp. Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, Performed in the Years 1852, 1853, and 1854 under the Command of Commodore M. C. Perry, United States Navy. 3 vols. Washington: Beverly Tucker, Senate Printer, 1856-58.

Jones, George. Sketches of Naval Life, with Notices of Men, Manners and Scenery, on the Shores of the Mediterranean, in a series of Letters from the Brandywine and Constitution Frigates. 2 vols. New Haven CT: Hezakiah Howe, 1829.

Leech, Samuel. Thirty Years from Home, or a Voice from the Main Deck... Boston: C. Tappan, 1844.

Meyers, William H. Journal of a Cruise to California and the Sandwich Islands in the United States Sloop-of-War Cyane, 1841-1844. Ed. by John H. Kemble. San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1955.

Murrell, William M. Cruise of the Frigate Columbia Around the World under the Command of Commodore George C. Read in 1838. Boston: 1838.

Myers, Ned. Ned Myers; or a Life before the Mast. Ed. by James F. Cooper. 1843. Reprint. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1989.

Nordhoff, Charles. Man-of-War Life: A Boy's Experience in the United States Navy, During a Voyage Around the World in a Ship-of-the-line. 1855. Reprint. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1985.

Parker, William H. Recollections of a Naval Officer, 1841-1865. 1883. Reprint. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1985.

Paulding, Hiram. Journal of a Cruise of the United States Schooner Dolphin, Among the Islands of the Pacific Ocean; and a Visit to the Mulgrave Islands, in Pursuit of the Mutineers of the Whale Ship Globe. New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1831.

Reynolds, J.N. Voyage of the United States Frigate Potomac, Under the Command of Commodore John Downes, during the circumnavigation of the Globe, in the Years 1831, 1832, 1833, and 1834. New York: Harper and Bros., 1835.

Ruschenberger, W.S.W. Three Years in the Pacific; Including Notices of Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1834.

Semmes, Raphael. Service Afloat and Ashore during the Mexican War. Cincinnati OH: W.H. Moore, 1851.

Stevens, Benjamin F. A Cruise on the Constitution Around the World on Old Ironsides, 1844-1847. New York: 1904 [Reprinted from The United Service Magazine]

Stewart, Charles S. A Visit to the South Seas in the U.S. Ship Vincennes, During the Years 1829 and 1830; With Scenes in Brazil, Peru, Manilla, Cape of Good Hope, and St. Helena. 2 vols. New York: J.P. Haven, 1831.

Sullivan, William. Sea Life; Or, What May or May Not Be Done, and What Ought to Be Done by Ship-Owners, Ship-Masters, Mates and Seamen. Boston: James B. Dow, 1837.

Taylor, Fitch W. The Broad Pennant: Or, A Cruise in the United States Flagship of the Gulf Squadron during the Mexican Difficulties; Together with Sketches of the Mexican War, from the Commencement of the Hostilities to the Capture of the City of Mexico. New York: Leavitt, Trow, & Co., 1848.

________. A Voyage Round the World, and Visits to Various Foreign Countries, in the United States Frigate Columbia; Attended by Her Consort the Sloop of War John Adams, and Commanded by Commodore George C. Read. 2 vols. 3d. ed. New Haven CT: H. Mansfield, 1844.

Torrey, F.P. Journal of the Cruise of the United States Ship Ohio, Commodore Isaac Hull, Commander, in the Mediterranean, in the Years 1839, '40, '41. Boston: Samuel N. Dickenson, 1841.

Warriner, Francis. Cruise of the United States Frigate Potomac Round the World During the Years 1831-1834. New York: Leavitt, Lord & Co., 1835.

Wood, William M. Fankwei; or, The San Jacinto in the Seas of India, China, and Japan. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1859.

26 March 96