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

Inventory of the Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, in Record Group 45.

All of these documents are located at the National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408, and all inquiries about these records should be made to them.

Records of Boards and Commissions, 1812-90

Board of Navy Commissioners

The establishment of the Board of Navy Commissioners by act of Congress on February 7, 1815 (3 Stat. 202), was the outgrowth of efforts to relieve the Secretary of the Navy of some of his responsibilities connected with the civil functions of the Navy so that he could devote more time to overall administration. The procurement of naval stores and materials; construction, armament, equipment, repair, and preservation of naval vessels; establishment of regulations to secure uniformity in the classes of naval vessels; preparation of estimates of expenditures for different parts of the naval service; and supervision of navy yards, naval stations, and Navy agents became the responsibilities of the board. The Secretary retained control over personnel and appointments, movement of ships, and other administrative matters not delegated to the board.

As provided by the act, the board, attached to the Office of the Secretary, was composed of three post-captains appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate; the ranking officer of the board was to be its president. The board was authorized to establish its own regulations and employ a secretary to keep a record of its proceedings and two clerks to assist in other office work. Each commissioner was to receive $3,500 a year in lieu of wages, rations, and other pay due him as a naval officer.

During its 27 years of existence the board had five presidents: John Rodgers, 1815-24 and 1827-37; William Bainbridge, 1824-27; Isaac Chauncey, 1837-40; Charles Morris, 1840-41; and Lewis Warrington, 1841-42. The following other commissioners served during this period.

Presidents Chauncey, Morris, and Warrington also served on the board prior to their appointments to its presidency (Chauncey, 1822-24 and 1833-36; Morris, 1823-25, 1826-27, and 1832-39; Warrington, 1827-30 and 1840). James K. Paulding served as secretary of the board from 1815 to 1823, after which he was succeeded by the board's former principal clerk, Charles W. Goldsborough, who held the post until the board's dissolution.

The journal of its proceedings, correspondence, directives, and other records of the Board of Navy Commissioners described here are primarily those inherited by the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repair, one of the five bureaus created by Congress after the dissolution of the board. The act of August 31, 1842 (5 Stat 579), which dissolved the board and created the bureaus, provided that the board's records be distributed to the bureaus according to the nature of their respective duties. The records inherited by the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repair were, in turn, inherited by the Bureau of Construction and Repair established in July 1862. A small part of the records of the board now included in this record group were transferred to the Office of Naval Records and Library by the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy). With the records is correspondence with the Depot of Charts and Instruments, established under the board in 1830. After the dissolution of the board, the Depot of Charts and Instruments was placed under the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography. Also with the board's records are drafts of rules and regulations promulgated for the Navy by members of a special board from 1832 to 1833.

Journals of Meetings

302. Registers of Naval Personnel and Other Persons Mentioned in Journal.
Jan. 1825-Aug. 1842. 6 vols. 8 in.

Each volume covers a chronological period. Entries within volumes are arranged by surname of officer or other individual mentioned in the journal and thereunder chronologically. There are name indexes in the individual volumes.

Entries include date, volume and page numbers on which the reference is found, and a brief description of the subject discussed.

303. Journals of Meetings.
Apr. 25, 1815-Sept. 3, 1842. 20 vols. 3 ft.

Arranged for the most part chronologically, but there is some overlapping and duplication among the volumes. The last volume is identified as "rough minutes" and covers the period February-September 1842.

Entries for each day on which the board met consist chiefly of the names of people to whom the board wrote and the subjects of the communications. Often given are the names of the commissioners present and a brief discussion or indication of other business transacted. Also noted is the presence of the Secretary of the Navy at the meetings and the subjects discussed by him with the board.

Letters Sent

304. Registers of Letters Sent.
July 1817-Aug. 1842. 9 vols. 1 ft.

Volumes are arranged chronologically by time periods but with considerable overlapping in the earlier volumes. The overlapping is the result of carrying the letters for a particular person to the next volume when there was no more room. Entries within volumes are arranged by name of addressee. There is a name index at the beginning of each volume. The second volume, presumably covering about July 1820-November 1823, is missing.

Entries give the date of the letter and a brief description of its contents but not the volume and page on which it was copied among the letters described in entries 305-311.

305. Press Copies of Letters Sent.
Apr. 1815-Aug. 1842. 11 ft.

Arranged for the most part by subject according to the system used by the Office of Naval Records and Library for the U.S. Navy Subject File (entry 502).

Mounted on white backsheets, these letters apparently were intended to be inserted into the Area and Subject Files (entries 500 and 502). Handwritten (fair) copies of some of the letters are in several series of letters sent by the Board of Naval Commissioners (entries 306-311).

306. Letters Sent to the Secretary of the Navy.
Apr. 25, 1815-Aug. 26, 1842. 7 vols. 2 ft.

Arranged chronologically. Registers in the front of the volumes, arranged by name of secretary and thereunder by date of letter, include date, page number, and a brief summary of the contents of the letter.

Included are letters concerning constructing, equipping, and repairing vessels; contracts for food, timber, uniforms, and equipment; selection of sites for navy yards and other shore installations; construction at navy yards (including the drydocks at Boston and Norfolk), naval hospitals, and the Naval Asylum; inventions and scientific projects; and the employment of civilians at navy yards. Many of the letters were prepared in response to congressional inquiries to the Secretary of the Navy.

307. Letters Sent to Commandants of Navy Yards and Naval Stations.
Apr. 28, 1815-Aug. 31, 1842. 14 vols. 4 ft.

Arranged chronologically. There are name indexes that include date, page number, and a brief summary of the contents of the letter.

A large proportion of these letters gave orders or instructions, granted or withheld authority for some action, or requested or gave information. The many subjects of the letters include cloth, steel, iron, and other materials needed at the yards; food, ordnance, and other supplies for use at the yards and stations and on board naval vessels; contracts; constructing, equipping, arming, and repairing vessels; naval hospitals; and returns and other reports submitted to the board. The first volume, April 1815-December 1818, includes letters to commanding officers of squadrons, naval constructors, and other naval officers, including those in command of special expeditions. For a listing of the yards and stations for which there are letters in this series and the time periods covered, see entry 314.

308. Letters Sent to Naval Officers.
Apr. 28, 1815-Aug. 29, 1842. 2 vols. 5 in.

Arranged chronologically. There are name indexes in the volumes.

Most of the letters are addressed to officers in command of vessels, naval forces, and squadrons; inspectors of ordnance; and officers on special assignment. They relate to such subjects as supplies needed at navy yards; dimensions of vessels under construction; the purchase, repair, inspection, and sale of vessels; procurement, inspection, and testing of powder, cannon, and other ordnance and ordnance stores; and the acquisition and sale of property. The second volume contains many letters dated between 1830 and 1842 to Lt. Charles Wilkes and Lt. James M. Gillis at the Depot of Charts and Instruments concerning the issuance of chronometers, compasses, and other nautical equipment and charts for naval vessels and the production of charts and trials of chronometers at the depot. There are also letters to Capt. Thomas Ap Catesby Jones concerning plans for the proposed Pacific exploring expedition.

309. Letters Sent to Navy Agents.
Apr. 28, 1815-Feb. 28, 1842. 5 vols. 1 ft.

Arranged chronologically. There are name indexes in the individual volumes; in the last three volumes (October 1826-February 1842), index entries include date of letter and a summary of its contents.

The letters to Navy agents in U.S. and foreign ports relate to such subjects as receipt and approval of requisitions for money, transmittal and execution of contracts and bonds, payments to contractors, delivery of items purchased under contracts, auction of obsolete equipment and materials, and purchase of supplies and equipment. For a listing of the Navy agencies for which letters are included in this series, see entry 318.

310. Miscellaneous Letters Sent.
May 2, 1815-Aug. 31, 1842. 8 vols. 2 ft.

Arranged chronologically. There are name indexes in the individual volumes.

Most of these letters were sent in response to incoming letters from businessmen holding contracts with the Navy Department or bidding for contracts to furnish beef, pork, and other food supplies, vessel machinery and equipment, and timber. Also included are letters to shipbuilders, timber agents, naval storekeepers, and naval constructors concerning the procurement of supplies for naval shore establishments and for vessels. Letters addressed to Treasury Department officials usually concern the settlement of accounts. For many of the incoming letters from these same correspondents, see entry 313.

311. Letters Sent to Naval Constructors, Steam Engineers, and Civil Engineers.
Jan. 2, 1838-Aug. 27, 1842. 1 vol. 2 in.

Arranged chronologically.

Most of the letters are addressed to naval constructors and concern drafts and capacities of vessels, progress of vessel construction at navy yards, materials needed, and vessel launchings. Much of this correspondence relates to the construction of the first U.S. Navy steam vessels, Missouri and Mississippi. Characteristics and performance of steam engines are the subjects of most of the letters to steam engineers. The few letters to civil engineers Courtenay and Heron relate to the construction of drydocks at the New York and Pensacola Navy Yards.

Letters Received

In some of the series described below, there are letters predating the establishment of the Board of Navy Commissioners. These letters presumably were referred to the board by the Secretary of the Navy at a later date, or they were the result of misplaced enclosures.

312. Registers of Letters Received.
Jan. 1, 1820-Dec. 1837. 5 vols. 7 in.

Each volume covers a chronological period. Entries within volumes are arranged by name of correspondent and thereunder chronologically. The volume for the period September 1825-June 1827 is missing. There is a name index at the beginning of each volume.

Entries are for letters described in entries 313-323, 325-326, and 328. The entries give date of letter and a brief summary of its contents. Registers for the period 1838-42 can be found in the individual volumes of letters received.

313. Miscellaneous Letters Received.
Jan. 7, 1812-Aug. 25, 1842. 62 vols. 9 ft.

Arranged chronologically. No letters have been found for 1817-18 or April-June 1842. There are registers in the volumes for 1838-42, the period after separate registers (see entry 312) were discontinued.

Included are letters of application and recommendation for persons seeking civilian employment with the board and at navy yards, letters from persons offering to sell land to the Navy Department and offering to buy vessels and other excess property, letters from newspapers soliciting the board's advertisements and concerning bills owed them by the board, letters in the form of proposals from businessmen desiring contracts with the Navy Department to furnish supplies and equipment, and letters concerning contracts entered into with the board or bids for building ships. There are also letters on various subjects from other Government agencies and private letters to the president of the board.

314. Letters, Proposals, Reports, and Estimates Received From Commandants of Navy Yards and Naval Stations.
Mar. 1814-July 1842. 259 vols. 37 ft.

Arranged for the most part alphabetically by name of yard or station and thereunder chronologically, except that for some places there are separate volumes for certain kinds of records as noted below and that the letters from the Whitehall and Erie Stations are bound with the letters from Sackett's Harbor. There are registers for some of the volumes for 1836-42; entries include date and number of letter and a brief summary of its contents. For earlier separate registers, see entry 312. The first volume includes personal correspondence of Capt. Stephen Decatur that were left in his desk at the time of his death, March 22, 1820.

Most of the letters concern the construction and repair of vessels, erection of buildings and drydocks, purchase and delivery of timber and other supplies and equipment, and other normal activities at the yards. Other letters relate to contracts, payments of accounts, civilian employees and marines assigned to the yards, shipment of supplies to squadrons at foreign stations, and experiments conducted at the yards and stations. For the most part in separate volumes, there are proposals for improvements at the yards and stations, estimates of expenditures and supplies needed, and various kinds of reports, including reports of vessel surveys and reports of items sent from and received at the yard or station.

Below is a list of yards and stations and the years for which there are letters in this series.

315. Letters Received From the Secretary of the Navy.
Apr. 2, 1814-July 5, 1842. 22 vols. 3 ft.

Arranged chronologically but with a considerable number of letters out of strict order. There are registers in the back of the first 9 volumes and the front of the last 13 volumes (in addition to the separate registers described in entry 312).

In these letters the Secretary frequently requested the board to prepare vessels for cruises, provide estimates of naval expenses and other information requested by congressional committees, consider the procurement of supplies either by direct purchase or by contract, and give opinions on the promotion of officers. Some of the letters were in response to requests for the Secretary's authorization of board actions. For the Secretary's copies of letters to the board dating to August 27, 1842, see entry 15. There are letters in this series that have not been copied in entry 15.

On letters dated after 1837, notations were made on the letters when enclosures were returned to the Secretary's office.

316. Letter Received From Naval Officers.
Sept. 5, 1814-July 5, 1842. 25 vols. 5 ft.

Arranged for the most part chronologically with some overlapping of dates between volumes, but for the years 1827-34 there are separate volumes for "reports, estimates, and surveys." There are registers in the volumes for the years 1838-42, the period after separate registers (see entry 312) were discontinued.

Most of these letters are directly addressed to the President of the Board of Navy Commissioners; the remainder appear to have been forwarded to the board by the Secretary of the Navy. The letters are primarily from Navy captains and lieutenants, but letters from masters-commandant (commanders), midshipmen, surgeons, pursers, and sailing masters (masters) are also included. During the 1830s, there are letters from the commanding officers of the Mediterranean and Brazilian squadrons.

The series is almost entirely made up of letters containing reports of defects in vessels such as leaks, faulty rudders, and damaged hulls and deficiencies in food and clothing supplied to Navy vessels. During June and July 1838 there are letters from Lt. Charles Wilkes regarding alterations, equipment, and apparatus needed for vessels to be used in the forthcoming surveying and exploring expedition to the Pacific Ocean and the South Seas.

317. Letters Received from Naval Constructors and Engineers.
May 9, 1815-July 5, 1842. 10 vols. 2 ft.

Arranged in part chronologically and in part by name of writer and thereunder chronologically. There are registers in the volumes, which usually give date and page number of letter and a brief summary of its contents, for 1838-42, the period after separate registers were discontinued (see entry 312).

The first volume, May 1815-October 1821, contains many letters from naval constructors William Doughty (Washington Navy Yard), Henry Eckard (New York Navy Yard), and Francis Grice (Gosport Navy Yard), and others concerning procurement of timber, estimates for costs of vessel repairs, and prices of equipment and parts needed in ship construction. Also included in the volume are letters from naval constructors John Lenthall and Samuel Hartt. With the exception of these letters, most of the letters for 1815-37 are from Chief Naval Constructor Samuel Humphreys at both the Philadelphia and Washington Navy Yard concerning directions for building, preserving, and repairing vessels. Most of the 1838-41 letters are from (Steam) Engineer-in-Chief Charles Haswell, Principal (Steam) Engineer Charles W. Copeland, Engineer John Faron, and several other engineers concerning the construction of steam vessels at the New York Navy Yard. Other letters relate to the manufacture and testing of engines and other parts of steam vessels. All of the letters in the last volume, September 1841-July 1842, are from civil engineer Edward H. Courtenay discussing dredging operations and plans for the construction of a drydock at the New York Navy Yard.

318. Letters Received from Navy Agents.
May 1815-July 1842. 61 vols. 10 ft.

Divided in two parts: chronologically, 1815-36, and by naval agency and thereunder chronologically, 1815-42. For most volumes, 1837-42, there are registers in which the entries include date, number, and subject of letter. For earlier separate registers, see entry 312.

Most of the letters are from Navy agents at Baltimore, Charlestown (Boston), New York, Norfolk, Pensacola, Philadelphia, Portsmouth (ME), and Washington. Letters from agents at New Castle (DE), New Orleans (LA), Newport (RI), Portland (ME), Middletown (CT), Savannah (GA), and Wilmington (NC) and on the island of Gibraltar are in this series for the period May 1815-October 1818. Letters from agents in foreign ports including Valparaiso, Chile for the period June 1822-December 1834 and Canton, China; Lima and Callao Bay, Peru; Manila, Philippines; Port Mahon, Spain; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the period April 1837-January 1842 are also part of this series.

Many of the letters transmitted reports, returns, and contracts submitted to the board that are not in these volumes. The remainder concern such matters as charters of vessels, procurement of supplies, allocation of contracts, requisitions for money, estimates of the requirements of squadrons on foreign stations, conditions in foreign money markets, and supplies in warehouse at overseas U.S. naval depots. Letters of recommendation for persons seeking civilian positions at navy yards are also included.

319. Letters Received from Inspectors and Assistant Inspectors of Ordnance.
Oct. 2, 1826-Aug. 28, 1842. 4 vols. 5 in.

Arranged chronologically. There are no letters for the period October 1840-June 1842. There are registers in the volumes (entries that give date and number of letter and brief summary of its contents), for 1838-42, the period after separate registers were discontinued (see entry 312). The letters primarily concern the inspection and testing of guns, shells, powder, and other ordnance and ordnance supplies and are frequently accompanied by tables. The following officers were among those who served as inspectors or assistant inspectors during the period covered by the letters: Capt. John Cassin, 1820-27; Capt. Alexander Wadsworth, 1827-29; Capt. Thomas Ap Catesby Jones, 1831-33; Capt. William B. Shubrick, 1834-38; Capt. Edmund P. Kennedy, 1839; Comdr. John L. Chauncey, 1839-40; and Capt. Matthew C. Perry, 1840. For related records, see entry 394.

320. Letters of Application Received for the Position of Clerk and Miscellaneous Documents.
1829-53. 3 in.

Unarranged. There are no letters for 1830 and 1835-52.

The largest portion of these records consists of applications received in 1832 by the board for the clerkship in the commissioners' office made vacant by the death of Robert Slye. The 1853 documents consist of copies of the application of Erastus W. Smith for the position of Engineer-in-Chief of the Navy and of testimonials in Smith's behalf addressed to the Secretary of the Navy and to the President of the United States. Other letters and documents relate to officers' quarters at navy yards, contracts entered into by the board including a contract for ship chandlery at Norfolk, tests of iron and copper at navy yards, cost of anchors made at navy yards, erection of a wall around the Norfolk Navy Yard, and laws of 1809-15 pertaining to procurement of ordnance.

321. Letters Received From the Officer in Charge of the Depot of Charts and Instruments.
June 10, 1831-Aug. 27, 1842. 7 vols. 1 ft.

Arranged chronologically, but a considerable number of letters are out of order. There are no letters for the period June-December 1839. There are chronologically arranged registers for 1838-42, the period after which separate registers were discontinued (see entry 312).

The letters chiefly concern the procuring, storing, and distributing of maps, charts, books on nautical and mathematical subjects, chronometers, compasses, spyglasses, and other scientific instruments. There are also letters describing tests performed on chronometers and the installation of a lithographic press for the production of charts. The successive officers in charge were Lts. Louis M. Goldsborough, 1830-33; Charles Wilkes, Jr., 1833-37; and James M. Gillis, 1837-42. There are also letters from Midshipman William Ward (1836) and Lt. Robert B. Hitchcock (1836-37) who were assigned to the depot.

322. Letters Received From the U.S. Consul at London Concerning Scientific Instruments.
Sept. 30, 1831-Apr. 14, 1835. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically. Letters are registered in entry 312.

The letters are from Consul Thomas Aspinwall with accompanying invoices and other documents relating to the purchase from British firms and delivery of chronometers, sextants, quadrants, spyglasses, and other scientific instruments.

323. Letters Received From the Governor of the Naval Asylum.
Aug. 13, 1838-May 19, 1842. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically. There is a chronological register in the volume, in which entries give the date and page number of the letter and a brief summary of its contents.

Most of the letters transmitted monthly reports submitted by the governor of the asylum; the reports are not in the volume. The other letters concern conditions at the asylum and the status of its accounts.

324. Letters Referred to the Board by the Secretary of the Navy.
Nov. 17, 1838-June 28, 1842. 5 vols. 8 in.

Arranged chronologically but with a considerable number of letters out of order. There are registers of letters in the first two volumes: Entries give name of writer, date and number of letter, and a brief summary of its contents.

Included are letters from shipowners, shipbuilders, and inventors concerning vessel design and repair; from businessmen concerning contracts with the Navy; from naval officers requesting supplies, ordnance, instruments, equipment, and publications; and from the Treasury Department concerning the use of naval vessels with the Coast Survey. The other letters for the most part are from private citizens, naval officers and other public officials recommending individuals for chief engineer, master blockman, and other civilian positions with the Navy. Some letters are from the applicants themselves.

325. Letters Received Concerning Applications for Civilian Positions at Navy Yards and Engineer Appointments.
Dec. 1839-Apr. 1842. 2 vols. 4 in.

Arranged in rough chronological order by date of application. There are many enclosures, some of which are dated as early as July 1838. There is a register in the second volume, but it is for the first volume, December 1839-June 1841. Entries give name of applicant, date of application, page numbers of letters, and position sought.

Letters of application and recommendation for such positions as mechanic, painter, joiner, timber inspector, ropemaker, blacksmith, and clerk. Most of the letters concerning applications for positions as engineers are dated from October 1841 through April 1842.

326. Letters Received From Contractors Relating to Materials, Supplies, and Equipment.
Dec. 1, 1841-June 30,1842. 3 vols. 6 in.

Arranged chronologically. Entries in registers in the first and last volumes include name of writer, date and number of letter, and a brief summary of its contents.

The letters concern proposals for furnishing the Navy live-oak and other types of timber, guns and gunpowder, chains, rope, hemp, coal, whiskey, and steam engines. Letters include specifications required by the board and terms of delivery and payment.

Reports

327. Reports, Returns, and Estimates Received From Navy Agents.
Sept. 1814-Apr. 1834. 7 vols. 9 in.

Arranged for the most part chronologically. There are no records for 1819-23 or 1825.

Included are reports of examinations of hemp and other materials and equipment, reports of naval property sold, quarterly returns of supplies and receipts and expenditures, and estimates of the amounts of money required from naval appropriations. There are also some invoices, receipts, and offers from contractors.

328. Proposals, Reports, and Estimates for Supplies and Equipment.
1814-33. 27 vols. 3 ft.

Arranged for the most part by type of item or service to be furnished and thereunder chronologically. Originally there were 16 volumes. In the process of rebinding, it was necessary to divide most of the volumes into two parts.

This series consists chiefly of proposals received from businessmen located in principal eastern and southern cities, including Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, Baltimore, Washington, and Norfolk, seeking contracts with the Navy Department. The proposals appear to have been made in response to the board's or Navy Department's advertisements in these cities for live-oak and other types of timber; muskets, pistols, cannon, and other ordnance; iron; engines and machinery; food; and clothing. Other proposals were from private shippers soliciting charters to carry provisions to the squadrons. There are also estimates of the amounts of expenditures or quantities of material required to repair ships or to construct buildings at navy yards, reports of surveys of supplies at navy yards, and accounts of sales of Navy property. The 1842 volume contains notes on forms of English ships and on other subjects.

Some of these records are registered in the volumes described in entry 312. For proposals, estimates, and reports for the years 1834-42, also see entry 314.

329. Digests of Reports Concerning Live-Oak Timber.
Oct. 1815-Nov. 1817. 1 vol. 1/2 in.

Arranged by state (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama) and thereunder by date of report.

These are digests of reports of Timber Agents Nathaniel Hutton, Thomas M. Newell, and Abraham Thomas on the quality and quantity of timber suitable for the construction of naval vessels.

330. Estimates and Reports of Expenses of the Navy.
1815-37. 3 vols. 5 in.

The volumes are arranged for the most part by year and thereunder by nature of expense.

There are estimates and reports for vessel repairs, construction and improvement of yards and docks, salaries, supplies and equipment, food, clothing, and other provisions. Included are contract documents, reports on the location and condition of vessels at navy yards, and records concerning the Pacific Exploring Expedition.

331. Report of Timber Agents James L. Cathcart and James Hutton.
Nov. 1818-May 1819. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically.

The report is in the form of a journal of the agents' trip on the USS Nonsuch from Norfolk to New Orleans and then to Mobile and an abstract of the journal of the return trip from Mobile to Baltimore. The two agents reported not only on the timber lands inspected and surveyed but also on weather conditions, bodies of water crossed, towns and cities visited, and other matters. Appended to the journal are some schedules, a recapitulation of the journal, and copies of correspondence. For a report of surveyor John Landreth, who also was on the voyage, see entry 348.

332. Reports of Chief Naval Constructor Samuel Humphreys Concerning the Condition of Naval Vessels.
Mar. 7, 1827-Apr. 22, 1834. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically. There is a name index to vessels.

In usually brief descriptions of the physical condition of the USS Constellation, Independence, Philadelphia, and other vessels at navy yards, Humphreys, who was appointed Chief Naval Constructor in 1826, also recommended the kinds of repairs needed and indicated the methods to be employed. These reports are not duplicated in the letters described in entry 317.

333. Financial Reports of Engineer Loammi Baldwin.
1827-34. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically.

-aldwin was the civil engineer in charge of building the Navy's first two drydocks at the Charlestown, MA, and Gosport, VA, Navy Yards. The records consist mainly of accounts, statements, and "schedules" of the expenditures on the docks for labor and material. They show the particular work done or materials obtained, date, and amount. The names of the suppliers or contractors are sometimes given. Other documents include diagrams of the Charlestown drydocks and copies of letters received by Baldwin. The records in this series were enclosures to letters sent by Baldwin to the board.

334. Reports by Inspector of Naval Ordnance Capt. Thomas Ap Catesby Jones.
Jan. 20, 1834-Feb. 10, 1834. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically.

The first report was submitted on January 20, 1834, in response to orders from the board that a thorough inspection be conducted of all ordnance at each of the navy yards, including armament on naval vessels at the yards. The condition and state of preservation of ordnance are described, but the major part of the first report are the inspection returns completed by Jones for each of the yards (Portsmouth, Charlestown, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Gosport, and Washington) indicating the number and types of ordnance found.

The board partially examined the January 20, 1834, report and requested in a letter of January 29, 1834, that Jones submit additional tabular reports on the number and kinds of guns at the yards. The letter and the requested reports submitted on February 10, 1834, are bound in the back of the volume. Also see entry 319.

335. Statements and Reports Concerning Vessels and Construction Projects at Navy Yards.
1837. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged by name of yard. Entries in a register give date and page number of estimate or report and a brief summary of its contents. The series consists of responses submitted by the commandants of the seven navy yards to a board circular of August 24, 1837, listing the names of vessels "on the stocks" and "in ordinary or under repairs," the cost of "buildings and permanent works at the yards" completed in 1837, costs of similar projects to be undertaken in 1838, and balances due under several appropriations "for articles lent and borrowed, and not returned."

Contract Records

336. Contracts.
July 28, 1794-Dec. 1842. 15 vols. 3 ft.

Divided into two overlapping periods, 1794-1822 and 1815-42, and thereunder arranged for the most part chronologically. There are registers or name (and sometimes subject) indexes in the individual volumes.

These are contracts between private contractors and representatives of the Government (usually the President of the Board of Navy Commissioners beginning in 1815 and earlier by other officials of the War, Treasury, and Navy Departments). Most of the contracts were for the purchase of materials, supplies, and equipment, including cannon, carbines, pistols, gunpowder, swords and cutlasses, iron, turpentine, varnish, anchors, sails, timber, cloth, beef, bread, pickles, whiskey, hats, and shoes. Other contracts were for the lease of land and buildings and the transportation of supplies to overseas squadrons ("charter parties"). For other contracts, see entry 390.

337. Registers of Contract Offers ("Scale of Offers From Bidders").
1815-42. 6 vols. 8 in.

Entries are arranged for the most part chronologically. There are records for 1815-23 and 1827-42. There is a name index in the first volume (1815-20) and lists of items contracted for in the last four volumes (1827-42).

The first volume is in standard register form, with entries giving name of person offering goods, articles offered, date, price, and place and date for delivery. In the other volumes, offers in response to one advertisement are entered together. Most advertisements sought bids for a particular class of goods (such as food or clothing), but they usually were for different types of items and often were for more than one place of delivery. There are notations concerning acceptances of bids.

338. Contractors' Bonds.
Apr. 1820-July 1842. 5 vols. 9 in.

Arranged in rough chronological order. There are name indexes in the individual volumes.

The handwritten and form copies show names of contractor and sureties, amount of bond, a brief description of the contract, and conditions of the obligation.

339. Abstracts of Contracts.
1820-39. 1 vol. 3/4 in.

There are records for 1820-22, with references to contracts as early as 1817, and for 1836-39. The section for 1820-22 has a register arranged alphabetically by name of contractor, which gives page number of abstract, names and residences of sureties, and articles contracted for. Entries in the section for 1836-39 are arranged in rough order by date of contract.

Abstract entries include name of contractor, date of contract, articles contracted for, place of delivery, and, in the first section, scheduled date of completion and amount paid.

340. Annual Contracts.
Dec. 1835-Feb. 1842. 3 vols. 8 in.

There are no contracts for the period February 1837-December 1840. Within each time period, arranged by item contracted for and thereunde for the most part chronologically. There is a name index in each volume.

The volumes contain form contracts awarded for the purchase of commodities during 1836, 1837, and 1842. Items included copper, iron, paints, biscuits, butter, cheese, candles, flour, and whiskey.

341. Ledger for Disbursements Made Under Contracts.
Oct. 1838-Oct. 1842. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged by name of contractor. Entries in a register arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname of contractor include date of contract, brief description of item contracted for, navy yard to which deliveries were to be made, and page number on which disbursements were posted.

Information concerning disbursements includes name of contractor; letter, order, or circular under which contract was proposed; items contracted for; quantity and cost of items; time and place of delivery; quantity delivered; and amount of money disbursed at time of each delivery according to Navy agents' returns. Contracts are for timber, coal and ordnance materials. At the end of the volume is an unidentified 1843 register of letters and reports received, apparently by the Bureau of Construction and Repair, concerning repairs and equipping vessels.

Miscellaneous Records

342. Lists of Dimensions of Masts and Spars.
1813-26. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged by type of vessel.

Lists were prepared by Naval Constructor William Doughty for 74-gun ships of the line and 44-gun frigates. Also included are some lists and notes on deliveries of timber to yards where naval vessels were being built and some circulars.

343. Inventories of Equipment and Supplies at Navy Yards.
Jan. 1814-Dec. 1843. 57 vols. 8 ft.

For the most part divided into two sets arranged by navy yard and thereunder by month, but in two volumes there are entries arranged chronologically or by year and thereunder by kind of stores.

Some inventories were prepared at the navy yards; others apparently were prepared or copied by the board. They report the quantities and costs of such items as anchors, duck and canvas cloth, copper, iron, timber, blocks, oars, sails, and ordnance; for 1814-16 there is an inventory of food kept at the yards. Inventories submitted for the years after July 1842 were sent to the Bureau of Yards and Docks (see entry 62 in Preliminary Inventory No.10).

344. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers.
1815-21. 1 vol. 3 in.

Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname of officer and thereunder in chronological order by date information concerning the officer was entered in the volume. Most of the volume seems to have been compiled in May and June 1815, with additions made later.

Typical entries include officer's name, age, rank and date of appointment to that rank, duty assignment, and a brief comment on his fitness for office furnished by a senior naval officer. Often there is a reference to a letter received from the senior officer. For similar records, see entry 157.

345. Circulars, 1815-42.
June 3, 1823-Aug. 20, 1842. 2 vols. 5 in.

Arranged chronologically. Each volume has a register arranged in three categories--commandants and other naval officers, Navy agents, and miscellaneous.

Most of the circulars give orders, instructions, or information concerning such matters as employment, duties, and pay of civilian workers; submission of reports, inventories, financial statements and other documents; care and preservation of vessels, buildings, docks, and timber and other supplies; the acquisition of books, periodicals and newspapers; procurement of timber, steam engines, and hemp; contract specifications; and advertisements for proposals for provisions and stationery. Included are examples of forms used to report on fiscal and property matters.

346. Journal of James Keen, Supervisor of Timber Cutting on Blackbeard (Sapello) Island, GA.
Nov. 27, 1817-Apr. 5, 1818. 1 vol. 1/2 in.

Arranged chronologically.

A daily records of events. Keen supervised the labor of workmen who shipped with him from Philadelphia to Blackbeard Island and that of slaves hired from their masters in Georgia. The first entries describe the passage from Philadelphia to Georgia. In the back of the volume are lists of workmen and slaves and a set of rules and regulations to be observed by all workers.

347. Estimates of Types and Quantities of Materials Needed for Building Naval Vessels.
1817. 1 vol. 1/2 in.

Arranged by type of material.

The estimates were compiled by William Doughty, naval constructor. Materials include white pine, oak plank, iron, copper, and lead. Vessels included 77-, 44-, and 36-gun ships and also sloops.

348. Journal of Surveyor John Landreth on an Expedition to the Gulf Coast.
Nov. 15, 1818-May 19, 1819. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically.

Landreth served as surveyor of the expedition of Timber Agents James Cathcart and James Hutton to the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to select "unappropriated Lands of the United States as may be found to produce Cedar Timber Suitable or Naval purposes." The agents sailed from Norfolk to New Orleans, on board the US Schooner Nonsuch, commanded by Lt. Alexander Claxton. In addition to surveying data, the journal contains descriptions of the land along the coasts and the varieties of trees found. There are several watercolor sketches of islands visited. The report of Cathcart and Hutton is described in entry 331.

349. Register of Approved Bills ("Account Books").
June 1819-Feb. 1845. 4 vols. 7 in.

Arranged chronologically but with a considerable number of entries out of strict order. There are name indexes in the individual volumes.

Several transactions were often included on one bill. Entries include name of payee, amounts claimed, dates and nature of the expenditures, name of commissioner approving the payment of the bill, and date of approval. The bills approved after August 1842 were contracted by the board and approved for payment by the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, Capt. Lewis Warrington, a former commissioner.

350. Advertisements for Supplies, Equipment, and Services.
Mar. 12, 1827-July 5, 1833. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically. There is a subject index. The volume is identified as "No. 2," but no earlier volume has been found.

These are mostly manuscript copies, but there are some clippings of published advertisements soliciting bids for such items as pistols, cutlasses, timber, cord, copper, iron, canvas, surgical instruments, bread, beef, and pork and for such services as the transport of freight and the construction of wharves and other structures.

351. Requisitions of Navy Agents.
June 1828-Dec. 1841. 25 vols. 3 ft.

Arranged by time period, usually a year, thereunder by city in which the Navy agency was located, and thereunder chronologically.

The requisitions were submitted to the board for approval. They usually indicate object of expenditure, appropriation to be charged, amount, and the board's action (almost always approval but sometimes with a qualification). Estimates for pursers are sometimes enclosed.

352. Abstracts of Receipts and Disbursements Under Ordnance Accounts.
Jan. 1, 1829-Oct. 1, 1837. 2 vols. 1 in. The first volume covers 1829-32; the second volume, 1833-37. Within each period arranged for the most part by kind of account and thereunder chronologically.

Entries are posted under two kinds of accounts: "gradual increase" and "repair." For each specific type of ordnance or ordnance store, entries give number of the item available and its cost. There are entries or different types of cannon, gun carriages, beds and slides, worms and ladles, rammers and sponges, mortars, gun powder, and shot and shell.

353. Register of Improvements and Repairs Made at Navy Yards.
Apr. 1830-June 1836. 1 vol. 2 in.

Arranged by navy yard.

Entered in the register are the date on which the estimate for each improvement or repair was made; purpose; estimated cost; dates of authorization, appropriation, and completion; final cost; and remarks.

354. Register of Approved Requisitions Submitted by Navy Agents.
Apr. 1830-Dec. 1835. 1 vol. 1 in.

Entries are arranged by month. Entries for each month are arranged chronologically.

Entered are the amounts drawn against each appropriation and total amount of requisition. There are monthly totals.

355. Monthly Statements ("Exhibits") of Requisitions Submitted by Navy Agents.
Dec. 1831-Dec. 1841. 5 vols. 5 in.

For 1831-35 arranged by year (December through November), thereunder by location of Navy agency, and thereunder by month. For January-November 1841 arranged by month and thereunder by location. There are no records for 1836-40.

Statements usually showing for requisitions drawn by the agent upon the Secretary of the Navy and the Board of Navy Commissioners, appropriation item and sometimes specific purpose, amount received, amount of payments made, unexpended balance, amount of any overpayments, and amounts of money, if any received for articles sold. Appropriation items include pay and subsistence, Marine Corps pay, provisions, medicines, repairs, "gradual improvement of the Navy," navy yards, ordnance, enlarging and repairing wharves, completing Navy hospitals, building and rebuilding vessels, and contingent expenses. There are records for agencies in Pensacola, Charlestown (1841 only), Norfolk, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Portsmouth, NH.

356. Monthly Statements of Balances of Naval Appropriations.
Jan. 1832-Dec. 1836. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically.

These statements give appropriation items and balances on hand in the Treasury under each. The appropriation headings include pay and subsistence, provisions, repair of vessels, ordnance and ordnance stores, and suppression of the slave trade. Included are letters from the Secretary of the Navy transmitting the statements to the president of the "Navy Board."

357. Drafts of 1833 Revision of the Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Navy.
1832-33. 9 vols. 4 in.

Seven of the volumes bear labels with the name of a member of the revising board. There is a list of contents in eight of the volumes.

The board responsible for the revisions was appointed under the act of May 19, 1832 (4 Stat. 516), "authorizing the revision and extension of the rules and regulations of the naval service." It met from November 1832 until November 1833 and consisted of Comos. John Rodgers, Charles Morris, Charles Stewart, Isaac Hull and Charles G. Ridgely. Each volume contains a draft of portions of the rules and regulations. The texts of some of the chapters and articles appear in more than one volume. For a complete version of the board's revision see American State Papers, Naval Affairs (Washington, DC, 1832-61), vol. 4, pp. 395-427.

358. Minutes of the Board for Testing Ordnance.
Aug. 12, 1836-Oct. 1837. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically.

The board, appointed by the Secretary in July 1836, consisted of Como. Charles A. Morris (also a member of the Board of Navy Commissioners) and Capts. Thomas Ap Catesby Jones, William B. Shubrick, and David Conner It conducted experiments at Old Point Comfort in Virginia to determine the safety and efficiency of certain Navy guns and proposed substitutes. Incorporated with the minutes are copies of correspondence and final reports of the board submitted in September and October 1837.

359. Invoices for Supplies Shipped by Naval Storekeepers.
Jan. 1838-Sept. 1842. 4 vols. 8 in.

Arranged chronologically. Entries in registers in each volume indicate navy yard from which the supplies were shipped, date of shipment, navy yard or other place to which shipped, and name of vessel carrying the supplies.

The invoices include the name and station of the naval storekeeper, name of the vessel on which the supplies were shipped and of its captain, a detailed list of the items shipped, their destination, name of the consignee, and the accounts against which the costs were to be charged.

360. Instructions for Building Ships of War.
n.d. 2 vols. 1 in.

Arranged by subject.

The contents of the volumes are similar but not identical. They cover the relative dimensions of the length of keel and breadth of beams, the depths of hold and rakes of all vessels of war; lengths and diameter of masts, yards, and booms; size of sails; ballast; method of sparring in the British Navy; rules for sparring frigates by Commodore Rodgers; rule made by Commodore Bainbridge for masting and sparring ships presented to the Navy Department in 1809; Commodore Bainbridge's rule for placing masts; proportions of masts and yards for boats, launches, and cutters with lug sails; and dimensions of the masts and spars of a 74-gun ship of the United States as established by the Board of Navy Commissioners.

Naval Inventions Boards

Board for Examination of Naval Inventions

By order of the Secretary of the Navy of December 27, 1861, a board, presided over by Como. William B. Shubrick, was established to review and report on naval inventions and plans submitted to the Navy Department. Other members of the board were Capt. Charles Wilkes and Naval Constructor Samuel M. Pook. In February 1863 this board was replaced by the Permanent Commission on Science and Art.

361. Minutes.
Jan. 2-July 10, 1862. 1 vol. 3/4 in.

Arranged chronologically. There is an index to names of persons mentioned.

The minutes describe each invention and plan submitted and indicate the board's judgment on its practicality and usefulness. Incorporated are copies of letters (reports) from Commodore Shubrick to the Secretary of the Navy giving in some detail the reasons for the board's recommendation. For the originals of the letters, see entry 55.

362. Letters Referred to the Board.
Mar. 1861-July 1862. 1 vol. 3 in.

Arranged in rough chronological order. There is an index to names of writers.

The letters were originally addressed to the Secretary of the Navy or other Navy Department officials or to the President, Members of Congress, and the Secretary of War. The board secretary usually referred them to the board without comment, but sometimes the assistant secretary reviewed them. Letters dated 1861 had not been acted upon by the secretary before the establishment of the board. There are a few letters addressed directly to the board. Most of the letters are from inventors with proposals concerning submarines, gunboats, ironclad steamers and rams, hull plates, floating barriers, and signal systems. Some are accompanied by drawings, sketches, and statistical tables.

Permanent Commission

The Secretary of the Navy established the Permanent Commission on Science and Art by a letter of February 11, 1863. It replaced the Board for Examination of Naval Inventions. The original members were Como. (later Rear Adm.) Charles H. Davis, chairman; Joseph Henry, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; and Alexander D. Bache, Superintendent of the Coast Survey. Later Bvt. Brig. Gen. John G. Barnard of the Corps of Engineers, and Joseph Saxton, Assistant Superintendent of Weights and Measures, joined the commission. The commission was authorized to call in other scientists to aid in their deliberations. It was discontinued in late 1865.

363. Minutes.
Feb. 20, 1863-Feb. 23, 1864. 1 vol. 3 in.

Arranged chronologically.

The minutes include the time and place of the meeting, the names of the members present, and the business transacted. Incorporated into the minutes are copies or abstracts of letters received from the Secretary transmitting plans and inventions, letters of the commission reporting to the Secretary their findings and recommendations, and letters to and from scientists invited to assist the commission in experimenting and testing. For other copies and originals of the correspondence of the commission, see entries 364-366.

364. Press Copies of Letters Sent.
Mar. 31, 1863-Sept. 21, 1865. 2 vols. 2 in.

Arranged chronologically. In each volume there is a list of letters sent that provides the date of the letter, name of addressee, and a brief description of the content of the letter.

These letters were sent to the Secretary reporting on plans and inventions examined and tested, to inventors requesting that they provide exhibits, to scientists inviting them to become associates of the commission, and to members of the commission from the chairman concerning meetings. For other copies of some of these letters, see entries 363 and 57.

365. Letters Received.
Feb. 11-Aug. 4, 1863. 1 vol. 2 in.

Arranged chronologically. Entries in a list of contents provide for each letter its date, name of writer, and a brief description of the content of the letter.

Included are letters received from the Secretary of the Navy transmitting communications sent to his office concerning plans and inventions (see entry 363 for the communications), from scientists accepting invitations to become associates of the commission, and from inventors requesting appearances before the commission to explain their inventions and submitting models, drawings, and other material. Copies of many of the letters are also among the minutes of the commission (see entry 363).

366. Letters Referred to the Commission.
Jan. 11, 1861-Dec. 5, 1865. 3 vols. 9 in.

Two of the volumes form one chronological sequence, January 1861-December 1865. The other volume, identified as "supplemental," is arranged chronologically, February 1862-February 1864. There are indexes to names of writers in the volumes.

Letters, similar to those described in entry 362, addressed to the Secretary of the Navy or other Navy Department official or to the President, Members of Congress, the War Department, the Smithsonian Institution, and state governors and referred to the Secretary and then to the commission. The Secretary initially referred most of the letters dated before 1863 to the predecessor Board for Examination of Naval Inventions, which did not act upon them before it was replaced by the commission. Many of the letters for 1862 in the supplemental volume, however, are for the latter part of the year, when the board was inactive, and probably were held in the Office of the Secretary until the commission was established. There are only two letters dated after September 21, 1865, the date of the last action of the commission.

Naval Policy and Planning Boards

367. Minutes of the Board To Prepare a Code of Regulations for the Government of the Navy.
Aug. 10, 1857-Feb. 19, 1858. 1 vol. 2 in.

Arranged chronologically.

The minutes provide a record of business transacted. The board was appointed by the Secretary of the Navy on August 3, 1857, under provisions of the naval appropriations act for fiscal year 1858 (11 Stat. 314). The members of the board were Capt. William Shubrick, Purser John De Bree, Comdr. J. L. Lardner, Lt. W. L. Maury, and Surgeon Charles W. Maxwell. A Marine Corps officer also attended most of the meetings representing the Commandant.

368. Minutes of the Joint Army and Navy Board on Harbor Defense.
Mar. 1-July 20, 1866. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically.

Noted in the minutes are communications read, resolutions submitted and approved by the board, and officers' appearances before the board. The board's correspondence with the Secretary of the Navy has been copied as part of the minutes and contains extensive reports on harbor defense plans and the board's final report of July 14, 1866.

The board, headed by Rear Adm. Charles H. Davis, was created by order of the Secretary of the Navy on March 1, 1866, to consider and report on methods of defending harbors. Other board members were Rear Adm. J. A. Dahlgren, Capt. James Alden, Bvt. Maj. Gen. John G. Barnard, Brig. Gen. B. S. Alexander, and Brig. Gen. Z. B. Tower.

369. Records of the Board on Navy Yards Appointed in 1876 and the Commission on Navy Yards Appointed in 1882.
Dec. 1876-Dec. 1883. 1 vol. 1 in.

A board was created by Congress in 1876 (19 Stat 65) to make recommendations on the retention or disposal of navy yards and other naval facilities and the acquisition of other naval property. Its report, dated December 5, 1876, is bound in the back of the volume. It includes minutes of board meetings, October 3-December 5, 1876, which incorporate an 1867 report concerning the suitability of League Island, PA, as a navy yard site. The minutes contain detailed discussions of various locations.

Records of a commission established by Congress in 1882 (22 Stat 284, 289), arranged for the most part chronologically, include several reports and memorandums to the Secretary of the Navy and the Congress, January 18-December 1, 1873, with recommendations concerning the retention, discontinuance, and reorganization of navy yards.

370. Records of the Advisory Board To Suggest the Number and Classes of Navy Vessels.
July-Nov. 1881. 1 vol. 2 in.

Arranged by type of record. There is a table of contents.

Included are correspondence, a printed copy of the board's report, a manuscript copy of the minority report with an analysis of it, proceedings, and papers furnished to the board, including tables. Adm. John Rodgers was president of the board and Lt. Edward Very was recorder. The other board members are listed in the Secretary of the Navy's order of June 29, 1881, a part of the report.

Naval War Board

This board apparently originated in informal consultations between the Secretary of the Navy and various officers concerning matters of strategy in the war with Spain. No orders or letters of appointment have been found. During a brief period in April 1898, when an Army officer served on the board, it was known as the Army and Navy Board. Throughout the war the Secretary's correspondence pertaining to strategic operations was in large part drafted by or prepared in collaboration with the board.

371. Press Copies of Letters Sent by the Naval Member of the Army and Navy Board.
Apr. 2-Apr. 18, 1898. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically. Only 17 pages of the volume were used.

These letters were sent by Capt. Albert S. Barker, later a member of the Naval War Board.

372. Press Copies of Letters and Telegrams Sent and Recommended by the Naval War Board.
Apr. 28-Aug. 12, 1898. 2 vols. 2 in.

Arranged chronologically through May 31. Thereafter recommended telegrams are segregated from other communications. There are name and subject indexes.

Included are letters, endorsements, and memorandums to the Secretary of War giving advice concerning the conduct of the Spanish-American War; drafts of letters and telegrams to commanding officers and others that the board recommended be sent by the Secretary; and responses to persons making suggestions.

373. Press Copies of Letters Sent by the "Strategy Board".
Apr. 24-Aug. 12, 1898. 1 vol. 2 in.

Arranged chronologically. There is an index to names and subjects.

This series consists principally of letters sent by Secretary of the Navy to commanding officers, the Secretary of War, the President, and others concerning operations during the Spanish-American War. There does not appear to have been any unit formally known as the "Strategy Board"; these letters and telegrams seem to have been prepared by the Naval War Board for the signature of the Secretary.

374. Report of the Board of Arbitration on the Army and Navy Maneuvers, New London and Naragansett Artillery Districts, September 1-6, 1902.
Oct. 30, 1902. 1 vol. 1/2 in.

The report, addressed to the Secretary of the Navy, describes war games between naval ships and Army coastal defenses. The board was headed by Rear Adm. Stephan B. Luce and consisted of both Army and Navy officers.

Officer Examination Boards

375. Records of a Board for the Examination of Volunteer Officers for Admission to the Regular Navy.
Dec. 5, 1867. 6 vols. 1 ft.

Arranged by type of record.

The board was appointed by the Secretary of the Navy on August 27, 1866, under a provision of an act of July 25, 1866 (14 Stat 222), for the appointment to the Regular Navy of a specified number of volunteer officers. The board considered the claims of the candidates, gave written and oral examinations, and reported to the Secretary on its findings. In addition to the report are the minutes of the board, August 7, 1866-December 5, 1867; correspondence; two somewhat different registers of candidates, one arranged chronologically by for the most part date of application and numbered in sequence (with an index), and the other arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname; records concerning preliminary examinations of officers attached to squadrons; and a register showing the numerical standing of officers who were examined. There are records concerning candidates who waived the examination, failed to appear, withdrew, or were rejected for physical reasons as well as for those whom the board actually examined. There are also minutes for a few meetings from April 21-May 5, 1868, of a second board with the same membership as the first board.

Naval Examining Board for Officers Seeking Promotion

In order to establish and equalize the grades of line officers in the Navy, an act of July 16, 1862, provided for the appointment by the Secretary of the Navy of an advisory board to meet at least once every four years to select the line officers most worthy of promotion.

An act of April 21, 1864, amended the original legislation and provided that no line officer on the active list below the grade of commodore, nor any other naval officer, could be promoted until his mental, moral, and professional fitness was reviewed by an examining board of not less than three naval officers appointed by the President. The board members were picked by the President under the provision of the 1864 act. Most records of proceedings of the boards are among the Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy), Record Group 125.

376. Press Copies of Letters Sent by the Presidents of the Naval Examining Board.
Oct. 1, 1868-Apr. 23, 1869. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically.

These are letters addressed to the Secretary of the Navy on matters connected with the examinations such as requests for documents in Navy Department files needed for review by the board. Capt. W. H. Macomb signed as president until December 17, 1868. He was followed by Capt. J. C. Howell, who was President pro tempore until the assumption of the presidency by Como. T. O. Selfridge on December 22, 1868. Some of the letters transmit copies of questions presented to senior naval officers concerning candidates for promotion, or transmit the proceedings and findings of the board with regard to candidates examined. Enclosures to these letters are not copied in the volume. There are a few letters sent by Captain Macomb and the other officers as President of the Naval Retiring Board that primarily summoned officers to testify before that board.

377. Letters Sent by the Naval Examining Board for Promotion.
Jan. 1870-Dec. 1872 3 vols. 4 in.

Arranged chronologically. The third volume has a name index.

These letters addressed to the Secretary of the Navy are mostly transmittals forwarding the records of proceedings that are not enclosed. The board met at Washington and considered the cases of officers who were candidates for promotion. In some cases, the letters discuss reexaminations of failed candidates or explain why officers failed their exams.

378. Report of a Board To Review Cases of Officers Passed Over for Promotion.
Dec. 21, 1871. 2 vols. 4 in.

Arranged for the most part by case. There is an index to names of claimants.

The board, established under provisions of a joint resolution of Congress of July 1, 1870 (16 Stat 382), examined cases in which officers claimed that they had been improperly passed over for promotion under terms of the act of July 25, 1866 (14 Stat 222). The report consists chiefly of the board's findings on each case together with abstracts of service, letters from the officers, letters of testimonial from senior officers and other exhibits. At the end there are minutes of the board, February 1-December 21, 1871, correspondence concerning persons denied a review, and other letters.

379. Records of a Board To Review Cases of Officers Passed Over for Promotion.
May 1-May 26, 1879. 1 vol. 3 in.

Arranged by type of record. There is an index to names of claimants.

The board (known as the Le Roy Board after its president Rear Adm. William Le Roy) was established under the authority of a joint resolution of Congress of February 5, 1879 (20 Stat 481). It examined the claims of 23 officers, whose cases had not been presented to the 1871 board, that they had been improperly passed over for promotion under provisions of the act of July 25, 1866. The records consist of Senate Executive Document No. 42, 46th Cong., 2d sess., which includes the report of the Secretary of the Navy on each case; the transmittal report of the board; minutes, correspondence, and the board's recommendation and the exhibits for each of the 23 cases.

380. Records of the Board of Examining Professors in Mathematics.
Feb.-May 1881. 1 vol. 3 in.

Arranged by type of record.

Records include minutes, correspondence and examination papers. The board, appointed in compliance with an act of Congress of January 20, 1881, was presided over by Simon Newcomb at the Naval Observatory.

Commission to Ascertain the Cost of Removing the Naval Observatory

The commission was established by an act of Congress of June 20, 1878 (20 Stat. 241), to determine the cost of moving the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, to a new location to be selected by the commission.

381. Minutes and Correspondence.
July 1-Dec. 7, 1878. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged by type of record and thereunder chronologically. There is a table of contents for the minutes and a name index for the correspondence.

382. Letters Sent and Received.
July-Dec. 1878. 2 in.

Arranged chronologically.

Series includes correspondence exchanged between Superintendent of the Naval Observatory Rear Adm. John Rodgers and Rear Adm. Daniel Ammen regarding plans for the removal and estimates of the number of buildings needed on the new observatory site, suggested relocation sites, and estimates of cost of the move. Architectural considerations are discussed in letters to and from Rodgers and architects William Bauman and Joseph C. Hornblower. There are also letters received from private citizens or their attorneys offering land for the new site. A copy of the letter of December 7, 1878, which accompanied the final report of the commission, describes the records created by the commission that were transmitted through the Secretary of the Navy to the President.

Other Boards

383. Minutes and Other Records of the Commission To Oversee the Sale of the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Apr.-Dec. 1875. 1 vol. 1 in.

Arranged for the most part by type of record.

In addition to the minutes, April 12-December 29, 1875, there are plans; an appraisal report on yard property; manuscript and printed copies of newspaper advertisements announcing the auction of the yard property on December 2, 1875; copy of the deed of sale; correspondence; and a manuscript copy of the report submitted by the commission, including appendixes.

384. Letters and Reports Sent by the Gun Foundry Board.
Apr. 5, 1883-Feb. 20, 1884. 1 vol. 2 in.

Arranged chronologically. The board was established to examine navy yards and arsenals and to report to Congress as to which was the best adapted for use as a gun foundry. The correspondence stops in June 1883, when the board traveled to Europe to examine foreign foundries, and begins again upon its return on October 31. Thereafter there are only occasional letters, including a printed copy of the board's report to the House of Representatives (Executive Document No.97, 48th Cong., 1st sess.), which includes the proceedings of the board, April 10, 1883-February 16, 1884. The board was reconvened in May, but the only records for this period are a letter of December 20, 1884, transmitting a supplemental report and a memorandum summarizing the recommendations of the final report which is not in this series.

385. Report of the Steel Inspection Board.
Jan. 1890. 1 vol. 3 in.

This report is divided into three major parts: (1) the introduction, which cites legislation passed by the Congress during the years 1822-87 authorizing the Navy to build ships constructed of steel and notes the establishment of the board in September 1, 1887; (2) printed copies of specifications for cruisers and gunboats and tables showing results of tests and chemical analyses of steel plates constructed by private companies for cruisers and gunboats; and (3) printed copies of specifications for the armored battleships Texas and Monterey and tables showing the results of tests and chemical analyses of steel plates used in the construction of these two vessels. There is also a list of the companies making the steel parts for these two vessels.


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21 June 2005