Letters and Telegrams Sent
1. Registers of Letters Sent.
Dec. 1823-Sept.1884. 97 vols. 17 ft.
Each volume covers a chronological period, usually several months. Thereunder, through July 1843, entries are arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname or title of addressee and thereunder chronologically. Beginning in August 1843, indexes to individual offices and yards or stations were added in separate sections. The volumes are numbered as follows: 1-16, an unnumbered volume, 18-42, 1-15, 18-27, 29-56, and 2 unnumbered volumes.
Registers to parts of the letters described in entries 3-4, 6-10, 12-13, 15-18, and 20-25. Register entries give date of letter; name or title of addressee; usually place of residence, ship, or station; and a brief summary of the contents of the letter. The registers are of limited use because they do not show the particular series in which a particular letter can be found.
2. Register of Letters Sent to Port Admirals and Commandants.
Nov. 1869-Jan. 1877. 1 vol. 3/4 in.
Arranged by name of navy yard and thereunder chronologically. For each navy yard, the register shows the name of the commandant and a list of letters sent to him with the date, a brief summary, and the page number in volume 87 of Entry 3, where the letter appears.
3. Letters Sent to Naval Officers.
Mar. 16, 1798-Nov. 13, 1886. 97 vols. 21 ft.
Arranged chronologically. The volumes are numbered 1-20, 20 1/2, 20 3/4, an unnumbered volume, and 21-94. The individual letters are numbered in volumes 20 1/2, 20 3/4, and the unnumbered volume. A name index prepared contemporaneously by the Secretary's office is in each volume. In addition, volumes 1-3 and 12 have typewritten name and subject indexes prepared by the Office of Naval Records and Library. For registers of letters for the period December 1823-September 1884, see entry 1.
Letters dated from March 1798 to September 1868 are bound in volumes entitled "Letters to Officers, Ships of War." Letters dated 1798-1800 are addressed to all categories of U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps officers, including warrant officers, line officers, medical personnel, commandants of yards, and squadron commanders. Later volumes are progressively less inclusive. Beginning with the volume for 1801, letters sent to Marine Corps officers are not included in this series. Letters to chiefs of bureaus (the bureau system was established in 1842) are not included in this series; however, letters to the Governor of the Naval Asylum (established in 1833) and Superintendent of the Naval Academy (established 1845) are included. For the period 1861-68, letters sent to officers commanding squadrons or flotillas are not included, if they relate to squadron operations. Beginning in October 1868, most of the addressees of the letters were either commandants of navy yards and naval stations or the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy (October 1868-November 1869 and August 1884-November 1886). Although few letters to other officers are included after September 1868, the date coverage of the later volumes and their numbering indicate that they were maintained with the earlier volumes and were considered a single series by the Secretary's office.
A number of letters for the period 1798-1815 order and instruct officers assigned to the command of vessels during the Quasi-war with France, the War with Tripoli, and the War of 1812. Other letters of that period deal with supplies, equipment, and ammunition of a ship; its complement; and the types of reports its commander had to submit to the Department during or after a voyage.
Most the Secretary's letters to naval officers for the period 1815-69 concern personnel appointments and commissions, resignations, discharges, assignments to duty, and disciplinary actions, including courts-martial. Letters give advice to officers expecting diplomatic contacts with foreign governments and instructions for the slave trade interdiction. Beginning in 1856 telegrams were copied into the volumes. Before 1860 general orders, circulars, and other directives were sometimes copied. Some letters deal with such wartime matters as security at navy yards, joint operations with the Army, distribution of prize money, and treatment of foreigners captured in neutral vessels violating the blockade. At the close of the Civil War, there are letters to naval officials relating to the search for John Wilkes Booth and custody of his body during the Lincoln assassination investigation.
In the Secretary's letters to the commandants of navy yards and naval stations after September 1868, he ordered them to carry out sentences of courts-martial, appointed them to retirement and examining boards, and provided instructions on administrative and personnel matters, including pay. Letters to the Superintendent of the Naval Academy relate to such subjects as assignment of naval officers to duty at the Academy, the use of naval vessels there, textbooks, uniforms, exhibits, and assignments, requests for leave, disciplinary actions, and other matters concerning cadets.
The letters in volumes 1-20, 20 1/2, 20 3/4, and 21-84 have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M149, Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Navy to Officers, 1798-1868.
4. Letters Sent to the Secretary of War.
June 20, 1798-June 15, 1824. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is an index to names of addressees and subjects.
The letters fall into the following distinct time periods.
1798-1801--These letters, which amount to over half of the content of the volume, include requests for supplies, powder, ordnance, and the use of Army troops to relieve marine guards on naval vessels and at various towns where French prisoners of war were being held. A letter of March 11, 1800, concerns the establishment of a cannon foundry at Harpers Ferry, VA. Most of the letters for 1801 requested signature of the Secretary of War on Treasury warrants.
1803-12--Most of these letters concern the loan, sale, transfer, or exchange of ordnance between the War and Navy Departments. There are no letters dated 1811 and only one for 1812.
1813-14--Many of the letters are concerned with the problems of delivering cannons to the naval vessels fighting on the Great Lakes.
1815-24--These letters pertain to various subjects, including a military survey of the coast of North Carolina, the detail of Army officers as members of courts-martial convened to try Marine Corps officers, and the transport of Army officers on naval vessels.
For registers, see entry 1. Later letters to the Secretary of War are among those described in entry 20.
5. Name Index to Part of the Miscellaneous Letters Sent.
Dec. 5, 1834-Dec. 9, 1835. 1 vol. 1/2 in.
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname or occasionally position of addressee.
Index to addressees for volume 21 of the letters described in entry 6. Index entries give name or position and page number. This index has been reproduced as part of roll 8 of NARA Microfilm Publication M209, Miscellaneous Letters Sent ("General Letter Books"), 1798-1886.
6. Miscellaneous Letters Sent
("General Letter Books").
June 18, 1798-Nov. 13, 1886. 110 vols. 23 ft. Arranged for the most part chronologically. The volumes are numbered 1-18, 18A, 18B, and 19-107. There are two volumes numbered 32, the second being a corrected version of the first. A typewritten name and subject index prepared by the Office of Naval Records and Library is in volume 1, and name indexes prepared contemporaneously by the Secretary's office are in the other volumes. The indexes are arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname or office in volumes 2-32 and 65-107 and alphabetically by first two letters of surname or office in volumes 33-64. The index for volume 21 is bound separately (see entry 5). The staff of the National Archives and Records Administration has prepared a comprehensive name and subject card index for volumes 1-36. For registers, see entry 1.
The letters were addressed to merchants, inventors, contractors, accountants, families of naval personnel, former naval officers, civilian employees of the Navy Department, U.S. Army officials, state officials, applicants for appointments, and a wide range of other non-U.S. Navy correspondents for the entire period covered by these volumes. The earliest volumes include letters to some naval officials. The volumes include letters sent to Navy agents, 1798-1813 and Members of Congress, except for the years 1820-31.
The contents of the letters are disparate in nature. The subjects for the years 1798-1815 reflect the Secretary's direct involvement in purchasing and transporting timber to build naval vessels, arranging contracts for various supplies, constructing and equipping vessels, authorizing pensions, and appointing officers and civilian personnel. After 1815 many of the letters are to appointment seekers, their friends and relatives, and Members of Congress who had written to the Secretary on their behalf; others are to relatives of enlisted men or to creditors of naval personnel. For the Civil War period, there are letters concerning shipbuilding on the western rivers, distribution of prize money, congressional medals of honor, individuals imprisoned for blockade running, recruiting, and new technologies. Letters to John Ericsson relate the design and contract for USS Monitor.
The letters in these volumes, except those in the first version of volume 32, have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M209, Miscellaneous Letters Sent ("General Letter Books"), 1798-1886.
7. Letters Sent to the Secretary of State.
June 20, 1798-June 14, 1824. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is no index. For registers for 1823 and 1824, see entry 1.
This series contains letters transmitting documents, letters requesting assistance or information, and letters sent in reply to inquiries. The transmittal letters accompanied documents detailing the illegal detention of Americans aboard British vessels prior to the War of 1812, lists of French vessels and property captured between October 1800 and March 1801 by U.S. warships, and letters received from naval officers on matters of interest to the Secretary of State. Other documents that were transmitted are not copied in the volume.
Among the letters of request are letters asking assistance in securing copies of U.S. laws for naval officers and Navy agents, and letters asking for instructions for U.S. Navy commanders on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. There are also letters in reply to inquiries on such matters as complaints made by the British Government against U.S. naval officers and vessels on the Great Lakes.
For later letters to the Secretary of State, see entry 20.
8. Letters Sent to the Treasury Department.
June 22, 1798-June 5, 1821. 2 vols. 3 in.
Arranged chronologically. A brief typewritten history describing Navy Department appropriations for the period 1798-1803, prepared by Rosa Pendleton Chiles, a member of the staff of the Office of Naval Records and Library, precedes the name and subject index in the first volume (June 1798-August 1803). There is no index in the second volume (September 1803-June 1821).
An act of July 16, 1798 (1 Stat. 610), authorized the Treasurer of the United States to disburse money appropriated for the Navy Department by warrant from the Secretary of the Treasury. Most of these letters requested that the Secretary of the Treasury furnish these warrants to the Treasurer. Other letters deal with estimates of expenses, cooperation between officers commanding U.S. naval vessels and revenue officers, the Navy Hospital Fund, and the sale of gunboats. Also included are a number of letters dated from July 1798 to February 1800 sent to Tench Coxe, Purveyor of Public Supplies, directing him to procure food, uniforms, equipment, ammunition, and other supplies requested by commanders of vessels and Navy agents; a few letters to the Principal Clerk of the Treasury Department and the Comptroller of the Treasury concerning the settlement of naval officers' accounts; and a few letters of inquiry to the Auditor of the Navy Department concerning vouchers accounting for contingent expenses.
For later letters sent to the Treasury Department, see entry 20.
9. Letters Sent to the President.
July 6, 1798-June 26, 1824. 2 vols. 3 in.
Arranged chronologically with some overlapping between the two volumes. A typewritten name and subject index prepared by the Office of Naval Records and Library and a register arranged by subject are in the first volume (July 1798-September 1820). A name index with a few subject entries prepared contemporaneously by the Secretary's office is in the second volume (March 1820-June 1824). For registers of the letters for 1823 and 1824, see entry 1. The first volume contains a typed history of the Navy Department, 1798-1820, and notes on early appointments in the Navy. The history was prepared by Rosa Pendleton Chiles, a member of the staff of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
Most of the letters pertain to nominations, appointments, commissions, warrants, courts-martial, and other personnel-related matters. The letters dated between September 1798 and April 1799 include reports of captures of French vessels by U.S. naval vessels commanded by Capt. Samuel Nicholson, Capt. Stephen Decatur, and others and of U.S. naval engagements in the West Indies. There are also a letter of September 16, 1805, discussing U.S. relations with Spain and plans for offensive and defensive war with that country and a letter of December 22, 1806, proposing that the President withdraw Gen. James Wilkinson and U.S. troops from the Sabine River and that letters from Col. Aaron Burr be intercepted.
For later letters to the President, see entry 20. For annual reports to the President, 1824-86, see entry 10.
10. Letters and Reports Sent to Chairmen of Congressional Committees,
Presiding Officers of the House and Senate, and the President.
Dec. 24, 1798-July 28, 1886. 18 vols. 4 ft.
Arranged chronologically, except that from December 1842 to March 1845 letters to Senate officials were copied in a separate volume (9). There are name indexes in volumes 2, 5-7, and 12-17 and name and subject indexes in volumes 1, 3, 4, and 8-11. Volume 18 has both a name and a name and subject index. The name indexes in volumes 12-18 have a brief description of the content of each letter. For registers covering most of the volumes, see entry 1.
More than half of the letters and reports were addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, and the Chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on Naval Affairs and concern such matters as changes in the organization of the Department, increases in rank for naval officers, and pay increases for naval officers and civilian employees. There are also reports of surveys and experiments and of major naval engagements addressed to chairmen of other permanent congressional committees, including the House Committees on Ways and Means and on Appropriations, the Senate Committees on Finance and on Foreign Relations and the House and Senate Committees on Claims. Annual reports of the Secretary to the President with accompanying documents for many of the years from 1824 to 1886 have been copied, and there are a small number of other reports and resolutions addressed to the President.
There are also letters and reports to chairmen of special committees. Examples include the Senate Committee on the Conduct of the War during the 1860s and the House Committee on Reform in the Civil Service during the 1870s.
Many of the documents have been published in American State Papers (Washington, DC, 1832-61), Class VI, Naval Affairs, 4 vols.; the Congressional Serial Set; Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War Between the United States and France (Washington, DC, 1935-38), 7 vols.; or Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars With the Barbary Powers (Washington, DC, 1939-44), 6 vols.
For other letters and reports to Members of Congress for the time period covered by this series, see entries 6 and 18.
11. Letters Sent Concerning Supplies for the Dey of Algiers.
Mar. 26, 1803-May 24, 1808. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. There are only 44 pages of letters, nearly all of them dated before September 1805. There is a name and subject index.
The letters are to Israel Whelen, Purveyor of Public Supplies at Philadelphia; Navy agents, particularly Daniel Bedinger of the Norfolk agency; Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin; representatives of the State Department; and Capt. Thomas Tingey, Superintendent of the Washington Navy Yard. They relate to the procurement and shipment of timber, muslins, shawls, and other supplies for the Dey (ruler) of Algiers. Some of the letters to the Navy agents and State Department representatives concern passports for U.S. merchant vessels transporting the supplies. The supplies were furnished to the Dey as tribute payments in return for his pledges not to attack American shipping.
12. Letters Sent Concerning the Building of Naval Gunboats.
Dec. 21, 1803-Dec. 29, 1808. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index in the volume.
An act of Congress of February 28, 1803 (2 Stat. 206), provided for the construction of not more than 15 gunboats. Additional acts passed during the years 1805-7 increased the number by 263, but only 176 gunboats were actually built.
Most of the letters were addressed to naval officers and Navy agents authorized to make contracts on behalf of the Navy for the construction of gunboats and to supervise their construction. Included are a number of letters to Naval Constructor Josiah Fox and Capt. Thomas Tingey, both at the Washington Navy Yard, regarding construction plans for the gunboats. Other letters were addressed to private shipbuilders constructing gunboats and to naval officers ordered to serve on them.
13. Letters Sent to Commandants of Navy Yards and Naval Stations and to Navy Agents.
Jan. 2, 1808-Dec. 20, 1865. 10 vols. 2 ft.
Arranged chronologically. Name indexes in volumes 1-7 are arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname. In volumes 8-10 they are arranged for the most part by initial letter of name of port or other location to which the agent was assigned, with letters to naval storekeepers usually indexed under the letter "S." For registers of most of the letters, see entry 1.
The letters to commandants, 1808-24, relate to the general administration of navy yards and naval stations, including the convening of courts-martial, but more especially to matters pertaining to the construction and repair of vessels, to supplies, and to personnel. Most of the letters prior to 1812 were addressed to Capt. Thomas Tingey who was in charge of the Washington Navy Yard.
Letters to Navy agents, 1814-65, contain instructions for the purchase of pistols, swords, bunting, provisions (food), copper, lead, and other supplies. They also relate to the sale of disposable vessels. Navy agents were appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for four-year terms and were paid a stated percentage of the money that they disbursed. When the Office of Purveyor of Public Supplies was abolished in March 1812, responsibilities relating to negotiating contracts and making purchases of naval stores and supplies were given to the Navy agents, who had been serving primarily as disbursing officials.
Some letters were addressed to live-oak agents in Florida and Georgia, to companies serving as temporary agents in foreign ports, and to naval storekeepers, pursers, naval constructors, surgeons, and other officers at yards and stations. The letters in these volumes have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M441, Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Navy to Commandants and Navy Agents, 1808-1865. Letters to commandants before 1808 and after 1824 are among those described in entry 3. Letters to Navy agents before 1814 are among those described in entry 6.
14. "Confidential" Letters Sent ("Private Letters").
Feb. 1, 1813-Mar. 26, 1822. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. The volume contains a typewritten name and subject index prepared by the Office of Naval Records and Library and a name index prepared contemporaneously by the Secretary's office. Twelve letters were copied for the period January 2-20, 1840.
Most of these letters were addressed to commanding officers of vessels, squadrons, navy yards, and stations and to Navy agents. A small number were to Members of Congress, the Secretaries of State and War, and private individuals. The majority are dated 1813-15 and include plans for naval operations on the Great Lakes, orders to Navy agents to procure guns and other materials needed on the lakes, and instructions to commanding officers of vessels to intercept British commercial vessels off the European coast and to protect U.S. commerce in the West Indies. A number of 1814 letters addressed to Capt. Joshua Barney concern American defensive operations along the Patuxent River in Maryland and the defense of Washington. Some letters discuss allies of the British.
Most of the letters for the years 1816-22 contain confidential instructions to officers en route to the Mediterranean and to Latin America or discuss the suppression of the slave trade, the relocation of Africans rescued from slave vessels, and conditions in the Mediterranean. Most of the letters for 1840 were addressed to Lt. John S. Paine, commanding the U.S. schooner Grampus, who was ordered to Havana, Cuba, to give testimony concerning slaves captured on the Amistad.
For later confidential letters sent, see entries 23, 24, and 29-31.
15. Letters Sent to the Board of Navy Commissioners.
Apr. 26, 1815-Aug. 27, 1842. 3 vols. 5 in.
Arranged chronologically. The first volume is unnumbered, and the other two volumes are numbered 3 and 4. There are no letters for the period August 12, 1829-December 31, 1835; presumably they were copied in a volume 2, which is missing. Each volume includes name and subject index and an additional index for the second volume (volume 3) has been inserted in the volume. Index entries contain a brief description of the content of each letter. For registers, see entry 1.
Included are requests from the Secretary to prepare vessels for cruises, to provide estimates of naval expenses and other information requested by congressional committees, to consider the procurement of supplies either by open market purchase or by contract, and to give opinions on the fitness of officer candidates for promotions.
Most of the original letters for the missing period are likely among the letters received by the board (see entry 315). There are also press copies of letters to the board for the period January-November 1833 (see entry 16). Enclosures usually were not copied but sometimes are among the letters received (entry 315).
16. Press Copies of Letters Sent to the Board of Navy Commissioners.
Feb. 25, 1832-Nov. 25, 1833. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically. The volume has a name and subject index, arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname, position title, or subject, which contains a brief description of the content of each letter. For registers, see entry 1.
These letters relate to the same subjects as the letters described in entry 15. For the period covered by this series there are no handwritten copies except for a few inserted in this volume. The originals of most of the letters are among those described in entry 315.
17. Letters Sent Relating to African Colonization.
Jan. 17, 1820-Apr. 13, 1840. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically. The volume includes six letters dated from 1843 to 1858. There is a name index in the volume. For registers of the letters from 1823 through 1840, see entry 1.
An act of Congress of March 2, 1807 (2 Stat. 426), prohibited the importation of slaves into the United States after January 1, 1808, and provided that U.S. naval vessels could seize and bring into port any vessels carrying slaves destined for the United States. An act of March 3, 1810 (3 Stat. 532), authorized the President to make regulations and arrangements for the "safe keeping, support, and removal, beyond the limits of the United States" of Africans seized from slave vessels bound for the United States. He also was authorized to appoint agents to reside on the coast of Africa to receive the returned Africans. The responsibility for overseeing the agents was delegated to the Secretary of the Navy.
Included are letters of appointment and instruction to the principal and assistant agents designated to receive Africans at Sherbro Island, Cape Mesurado, and Liberia in western Africa; letters to Navy agents requesting that they procure supplies for the reception centers and vessels to transport the Africans; letters to U.S. district attorneys, U.S. marshals, and other Federal officials involved with the temporary placement of the Africans and claims made upon the Government because of their seizure; and letters to President John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State Henry Clay, Francis Scott Key, bankers, merchants, and officers and agents of the American Colonization Society.
Other letters sent relating to African colonization during the periods 1816-22 and after 1840 are among those described in entries 4 and 6, respectively. The letters sent in this series and the letters received have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M205, Correspondence of the Secretary of the Navy Relating to African Colonization, 1819-1844.
18. Letters Sent to Members of Congress.
Nov. 16, 1820-Dec. 2, 1831. 3 vols. 6 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index in each volume. For registers, see entry 1.
These letters were sent in response to communications received from Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate recommending young men for appointments as midshipmen or naval surgeons or for commission in the Marine Corps; asking the Secretary to settle claims or to reduce courts-martial sentences; or otherwise requesting the Secretary's intervention in matters relating to personnel of the Navy Department.
For earlier and later letters sent to Members of Congress on these matters, see entry 6.
19. Name and Subject Indexes to Part of the Letters Sent to the President
and Executive Agencies.
Apr. 2, 1831-Nov. 10, 1848. 3 vols. 2 in.
Each index is arranged in alphabetical sections for the most part by position of addressee, but there are also entries for subjects of letters, including persons. The indexes cover the first part of volume 2 (April 1831-May 1833), the last part of volume 4 (August 1841-June 1844), and volume 5 (July 1844-November 1848) of entry 20.
In addition to the page number, an indication of the content is noted for most letters. In general, these indexes are more detailed than those in the volumes of letters. They have been reproduced as part of NARA Microfilm Publication M472, Letters sent by the Secretary of the Navy to the President and Executive Agencies, 1821-1886.
20. Letters Sent to the President and Executive Agencies.
July 2, 1821-Nov. 13, 1886. 41 vols. 9 ft.
Arranged chronologically. There are indexes in each volume arranged by position (President and Cabinet Secretaries, Commissioners), most of which give a brief description of the content of each letter. For additional separate indexes for volumes 2, 4, and 5, see entry 19. For registers, see entry 1. For earlier letters to the President, see entry 9; for earlier letters to the Secretary of the Treasury, see entry 8; for earlier letters to the Secretary of State, see entry 7.
Addressees included the President, the Secretaries of War and State, the Attorney General, the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and the Fourth Auditor and other officers of the Treasury Department. After 1829 letters were sent to the Commissioner of Patents, Commissioner of Pensions, and the Postmaster General. There are also some letters to the British Ambassador, the Vice President, and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and letters sent by the Secretary of the Navy, when he was away from Washington, to the Acting Secretary. These letters relate to the mutual responsibilities of the Navy Department, the President, and other executive agencies in the areas of pay, appointment, promotion, and retirement of Navy officers; pensions for former enlisted men; relations with foreign governments; military and naval cooperation; contracts with private firms; and mail delivery. The large number of letters for the Civil War period deal mostly with joint Army-Navy military operations and relations with Great Britain in connection with the blockade. For 1861 and most years after 1870, there are annual reports of the Secretary of the Navy.
These letters have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M472, Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Navy to the President and Executive Agencies, 1821-1886.
21. Letters Sent Relating to the Naval Asylum, Navy Hospitals, and the Navy Hospital Fund.
July 9, 1834-Sept. 30, 1840. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. Attached to the flyleaf is a typewritten index to names of pensioners in Navy hospitals and the Naval Asylum that probably was prepared in the Office of Naval Records and Library. An index to addressees is bound in the volume and arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname. Apparently it was prepared contemporaneously in the Secretary's office. For registers, see entry 1.
A Navy Hospital Fund to be administered by three commissioners, the Secretaries of War, the Navy, and the Treasury, was established by an act of February 26, 1811 (2 Stat. 650). The act required the commissioners to establish hospitals and an asylum for old and disabled seamen and marines. During the more than 20 years before any hospitals were erected, temporary facilities at navy yards were used. Property was acquired in 1826 in Philadelphia for the site of the Naval Asylum, and a building was constructed and opened for occupancy in 1833. An act of March 4, 1840 (5 Stat. 369), transferred all pension business previously handled by the Navy Department to the Office of the Commissioner of Pensions.
Most of the letters were to the commandants of navy yards at Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Norfolk, and Pensacola; the commandant of the naval station at Baltimore; the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Governor of the Naval Asylum; and they authorized the admission of officers, seamen, and marines to Navy hospitals and the Naval Asylum. There are also letters to persons seeking admission to the hospitals and the asylum, to Navy agents who had requested advances to pay transportation costs of seamen and marines; to the Board of Navy Commissioners and private individuals pertaining to the hospitals and asylum; and to the Fourth Auditor and Solicitor of the Treasury concerning rations for employees, the deed to hospital land near Norfolk, and other matters.
Later letters to the Governor of the Naval Asylum are among those described in entry 3. A few letters concerning the hospital fund are with the letters to the Treasury Department (see entry 8).
22. Letters Sent to Chiefs of Navy Bureaus and Offices.
Sept. 10, 1842-Nov. 13, 1886. 7 vols. 4 ft.
Arranged chronologically. There is an index by name of bureau chief or bureau in each volume. A brief description is given of the content of each letter. The letters are also registered in the volumes described in entry 1.
Many of the letters advised the bureau chiefs of changes in assigned duties, legislation passed by the Congress affecting them, and impending inspections of their installations. Others requested information and advice on contracts for equipment and supplies. For the Civil War period, there are many letters concerning the detail, appointment, and removal of naval officers at yards, stations, and the bureaus; the appointment of civilians at navy yards and other shore facilities; the construction and repair of ships; and ordnance and supplies.
For other records concerning the bureaus, see entries 386-422. The letters sent have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M480, Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Navy to Chiefs of Navy Bureaus, 1842-1886.
23. "Confidential" and Other Letters, Telegrams, and Cablegrams Sent to
Commanding Officers of Squadrons and Vessels.
Sept. 12, 1843-Nov. 6, 1886. 13 vols. 3 ft.
Arranged chronologically in volumes numbered 1-9 and 1-4. There are indexes to names of officers in the first 10 volumes and to squadrons or naval forces in the last 3. In the first volume, if there is more than one letter to the same addressee on a page, the number is written above the page number. Indexes in the first 10 volumes give brief descriptions of the content of most letters. For registers, see entry 1. See Appendix B for a list of commanding offices of squadrons for whom there are letters received (see entry 45), along with the dates of coverage and names of their flagships. For earlier letters to commanding officers of squadrons and vessels, see entry 3; for confidential letters to them, March 1861-October 1876, see entry 25.
The communications in these volumes frequently contain orders detailing routes to be followed, ports to be entered, and passengers to be taken on board and instructions regarding the conduct of officers newly assigned to the command of squadrons and the extension of courtesies to American and foreign dignitaries. Courts-martial, promotions, transfers, and the repair of vessels and changes in their names also are discussed. There are also letters to volunteer (acting) officers who commanded ships during the Civil War.
Many of the letters for 1847 and 1848 were sent to the commanding officer of the Home Squadron in the Gulf of Mexico and concern the prosecution of the war with Mexico. During the Civil War period, letters and telegrams regarding the blockade of Southern ports, belligerent rights, "suspicious" or Confederate vessels, contraband, prisoners of war, and prize vessels were addressed to the flag officers commanding the squadrons along the Atlantic coast and the squadrons from the cape of Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. There are also letters and telegrams to the commanding officers of flotillas (Bomb, James River, Western or Mississippi, and Potomac), and letters discussing the formation of these flotillas. The last volume includes letters to officers commanding naval forces, such as Naval Forces Pacific and Naval Forces North Atlantic.
The first four volumes (September 1843-September 1861) were at one time referred to as "confidential" letter books. The first volume (September 1843BFebruary 1849) contains a large number of letters marked "confidential," "strictly confidential," or "secret and confidential." Circular letters are included after 1861. For the most part enclosures have not been copied with the letters.
24. Letters and Telegrams Sent to Naval Officers on Special Duty.
Nov. 16, 1860-Nov. 23, 1886. 18 vols. 4 ft.
Arranged chronologically in volumes numbered 1-15 and 1-3. The last three volumes are identified on the spines as "Letters to Officers Generally." There are name indexes in the individual volumes. For registers through September 1884, see entry 1.
Approximately half of the letters and telegrams were sent to medical and pay officers, engineers, naval constructors, naval attachés and to commissioned officers at various yards and stations and on leave. Other correspondents included the Superintendent, Commandant of Cadets, and professors at the U.S. Naval Academy; the Superintendent of the Hydrographic Office; the Superintendent of the Nautical Almanac Office; and the Governor of the Naval Asylum. They relate to such matters as the detail of officers to boards and special commissions, convening of general and summary courts-martial, courts of inquiry, examination boards, and review boards; charges and specifications brought against officers and court-martial sentences; resignations and dismissals from the service; and pay and accounts of officers. Many of the letters relate to travel orders or travel expense accounts. Letters of admonition and reprimand to officers as well as congratulatory letters are included. Letters to the Superintendent of the Naval Academy relate to the admission of new cadets.
For earlier letters sent to commanding officers of vessels and other commissioned and warrant officers, and the Superintendent and other Naval Academy officials, see entry 3. For letters to the Superintendent of the Naval Asylum, 1834-40, see entry 21.
25. "Confidential" Letters and Telegrams Sent.
Mar. 11, 1861-Oct. 13, 1876. 1 vol. 2 in.
The volume is arranged chronologically but contains an unusually large number of letters copied out of strict chronological order. There are no letters from January 1866 through May 1869, and there are two letters dated May 10, 1878, and December 5, 1879. There is a name index in the volume. For registers, see entry 1.
The letters were addressed to commandants of navy yards; commanders of squadrons or naval forces, flotillas, and vessels; the Commandant of the Marine Corps; and bureau chiefs. The letters often forwarded intelligence reports and consular reports from Great Britain during the Civil War. Most of the letters and telegrams are for the Civil War period and concern operations against the Confederates, movements of blockade-runners, employees suspected of disloyalty, and frauds at navy yards. Some of them contain orders to officers, and a few of the telegrams were sent in cipher.
The volume contains only a small number of letters for each of the years from 1869 to 1876. Many of them deal with Spanish vessels in the waters off Haiti and Cuba, including the capture by a Spanish vessel of the Virginius and the subsequent mobilization of U.S. naval vessels. Other letters concern measures taken to prevent the departure from New York of gunboats built for the Spanish Government. For other confidential letters sent by the Secretary, see entries 14, 23, and 29-30.
26. Register of Telegrams Sent and Received.
June 1861-Apr. 1865. 1 vol. 1 in.
Entries for the telegrams sent and telegrams received are on alternate pages, each arranged chronologically.
Entries give date, name of writer or addressee, place from which or to which sent, and the number of words. Most of the telegrams were exchanged with commandants of naval stations or commanding officers of squadrons. For many of the actual telegrams sent, see entries 3 and 23. For many of the telegrams received see entries 45 and 51.
27. Telegrams Sent to Naval Officers.
Sept. 1, 1869-Sept. 18, 1871. 2 vols. 6 in.
Most of these telegrams were sent through the War Department Telegraph Office by the Secretary of the Navy and his bureau chiefs to naval officers, including commandants of navy yards and the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. They relate to duty assignments, examinations of officers, promotions, and other personnel matters. A few were sent to private citizens on unofficial matters and to Members of Congress regarding midshipmen candidates. On the flyleaves of both volumes appear notations that the volumes were transferred to the Navy Department by the Old Records Division of the Army Adjutant General's Office in February 1928.
28. Translations of Messages Sent in Cipher.
Oct. 1888-Dec. 1911. 4 vols. and 2 binders. 8 in.
Arranged chronologically. The first volume also contains messages received for the period November 3, 1888-December 14, 1897.
Messages are press copies of typed letters originally sent in code. Generally, the letters are addressed to commanders of squadrons or ships or naval attachés in foreign locations. The messages relate for the most part to operations during the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection and to operations in response to the political situation in various parts of Latin America and other parts of the world. Included are messages to Commodore George Dewey at Hong Kong in 1898 containing orders for the distribution of vessels to the blockade of Manila and to Commodore William T. Sampson at Cuba.
29. "Confidential" Communications Sent.
Sept. 27, 1893-July 31, 1917. 10 vols. 1 ft.
Arranged for the most part chronologically, except that there is much overlapping between the first two volumes. Some of the volumes have name and subject indexes, which often contain brief summaries of the letters.
The letters for 1893-1911 are press copies; the letters for 1912-17 are carbons marked "green copies." The letters, telegrams, memorandums, and endorsements are to commanders of fleets and squadrons, commandants of navy yards and other installations, naval attachés in London and Paris, bureaus and offices of the Department, other naval officers, superintending constructors, and inspectors of naval materials, the President, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, private attorneys, and heads of manufacturing companies. They relate to frauds and irregularities in the manufacture of armor, the Secretary's proposed trip to London in 1897 to determine whether a monopolistic combination existed between American and European armor makers, violations by British sealing schooners of the Bering Sea Award Act of 1894 (28 Stat. 52), corrections to codes and war portfolios, visits of foreigners to naval vessels and yards, the disposition of German cruisers held at Philadelphia and interned personnel, war mobilization plans, the Navy's 1918 shipbuilding program, and the sending of cipher messages and confidential publications.
30. "Confidential" Communications Sent Relating to World War I.
July 1, 1917-Aug. 31, 1918. 9 binders. 3 ft.
Arranged in nine binders chronologically by time period and thereunder for the most part alphabetically by initial letter of surname of addressee or name of office. Communications addressed to more than one official are together before the other letters in each binder.
Communications consist of carbon copies (marked "pink copies") of letters, memorandums, and endorsements sent by the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations to Commanders-in-Chief of fleets; force, squadron, division, and detachment commanders; chiefs of Navy Department bureaus; commandants of naval districts and navy yards; the General Board; the Secretary of State; and private owners and shipbuilders. The communications concern the general conduct of World War I, including such matters as the preparation of merchant vessels to receive armed guards, operation of the armed guard vessels, construction of submarines and development of antisubmarine devices, installation of sound detection devices on naval vessels, vessel collisions, intelligence work in the Far East, oil shipments to Great Britain, and the return of disabled soldiers to the United States on naval transports.
31. Press Copies of Communications Sent Concerning the Construction of
Battleships for the Argentine Naval Commission.
Apr. 4, 1910-Apr. 11, 1910. 1 vol. 1 in.
A memorandum to four Navy Department bureaus; two letters to the Presidents of the Argentine Naval Commission and the Fare River Shipbuilding Company of Quincy, MA, respectively; and six endorsements to the Office of Naval Intelligence.
Letters and Telegrams Received
32. Registers of Letters Received.
Dec. 1823-Jan. 1886. 103 vols. 23 ft.
Each volume covers a chronological period. Within volumes entries are arranged for the most part alphabetically by first letter or first two letters of surname or title of writer and thereunder chronologically by date of receipt. Beginning in 1842, separate sections were provided for letters from yards, stations, bureaus, and some other offices.
Entries provide date of letter and date on which it was received; name and usually rank or position of writer; ship, station, or residence of writer; initials or surname of clerk handling the letter; and a one-sentence summary of its content.
Letters from almost every series of letters received by the Secretary of the Navy are registered in these volumes. The registers, however, are of limited use; for they give no indication of the series in which a particular letter can be found.
33. Supplementary Registers of Letters Received.
Aug. 1844-Dec. 1858. 11 vols. 1 ft.
Each volume covers a particular period of time. Within each volume, entries are arranged alphabetically by name of squadron, station, or person and thereunder chronologically by date of receipt.
Most of the entries are duplicates of those in entry 32, but are in a briefer format. Entries include date of letter; date of receipt; surname or title of writer; a one-word subject for the letter; and disposition made of it.
34. Registers of Letters Received That Were Referred to Navy Department
Bureaus and Certain Other Offices.
May 1, 1874-Nov. 1884. 3 vols. 4 in.
Entries in the first two volumes appear to be arranged chronologically by date of referral. Entries in the third volume are arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname of writer and thereunder chronologically by date of receipt of letter.
Entries are for letters referred to Navy Department bureaus, the Marine Corps, the Secretary of War, the Treasury Department, and the Pension Office. They give the name or abbreviation of bureau or other office to which referred, name of writer, and subject of letter. Occasionally noted in both the second and third volumes are the dates on which letters were returned to the Secretary's office after referral. The last volume also includes the date of the letter and of its receipt and the residence or station of the writer. Most of the writers were private citizens. The first volume includes several lists pertaining to newspaper advertisements authorized by the Navy Department.
35. Register of Letters Received From Commandants of Navy Yards and Stations.
Jan. 1877-Oct. 1881. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged by yards and stations, thereunder chronologically.
Entries give the date and an abstract of the content of each letter. Some of the letters registered in this series are in entry 51.
36. Miscellaneous Letters Received.
Jan. 3, 1801-Dec. 31, 1884. 823 vols. 157 ft.
Arranged chronologically. Letters are numbered sequentially within each volume. There are no letters for the period October 1846 through December 1847. There is a name index in every volume except the one for September 1840, which has a typewritten name and subject index prepared by the Office of Naval Records and Library. For registers, see entries 33 and 34.
Most of these letters were received from private citizens and public officials. Except for the very earliest letters, which include letters from some naval officials, the letters are predominantly from non-Navy persons. They include requests for appointments as midshipmen, pursers, and surgeons; for civilian appointments in the Department; and for the Secretary's consideration of various inventions and manufactured goods for possible use by the Navy. Also included are many letters from the friends and families of enlisted men dealing with matters of personal or special interest to them, such as discharges. Members of Congress transmitted inquiries from constituents and sent letters of introduction or recommendation on their behalf. For the Civil War period, there are many letters from U.S. Army officials, such as provost marshals and quartermasters in charge of building Army gunboats. Sometimes letters have enclosed petitions, maps, sketches, or pictures. Plans of the USS Monitor are enclosed with letters from designer John Ericsson.
There are also letters from other classes of correspondents whose letters from earlier or later time periods form separate series. These include letters from the Board of Navy Commissioners, 1815-26 (see entry 43); Navy agents and storekeepers, 1801-42 (see entry 47); the President and executive departments, 1801-37 (see entry 44); and Congress, 1801-25 and 1862-84, transmitting resolutions and requested information (see entry 42). The content of these letters is similar to that described for the separate series. For letters similar to those bound in these volumes for 1798-1800 and for the missing period in 1846-47, see the Area and Subject Files (entries 500 and 502).
These letters have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M124, Miscellaneous Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy, 1801-1884.
37. Letters Received From Commissioned Officers Below the Rank of
Commander and From Warrant Officers
1802-84. 844 vols. 193 ft.
Arranged chronologically. Letters received from long distances after some delay were often bound according to the date received instead of the date of the letter. For 1884 there is a supplemental volume (with a few letters dated as late as 1886) for letters apparently missed during the original binding. There are name indexes in the volumes. For registers, see entries 32 and 33.
Included are letters from lieutenants, lieutenant commanders, ensigns, assistant surgeons, masters (Civil War period), mates (Civil War period), pursers, paymasters, chaplains, and professors of mathematics holding commissions as regular or volunteer officers of the U.S. Navy. Also, there are letters from officers holding warrants as midshipmen (before 1862), boatswains, sailmakers, coopers, carpenters, gunners, and engineers. The supplemental volume for 1884 has some letters from higher ranking officers, including the Colonel Commandant of the Marine Corps; and there are a few letters from officers of higher rank in other volumes.
Many of these letters concern administrative and personnel matters, such as orders for duty, leave or furlough, pay, desertions, resignations, general courts-martial, health, and the settlement of accounts. Letters also include descriptions of naval engagements, epidemics, reports of captures, reports of delays in sailing, arrivals in port, and repairs performed on vessels. After 1865 the Office of Detail, a division of the Bureau of Navigation, handled many of the matters concerning duty assignments and leave for commissioned officers and received the letters from officers on these subjects. There are also post-1860 reports of services performed by chaplains.
For the period 1802-7, the "Officers Letters" include reports from lieutenants assigned to the command of gunboats and other vessels that were part of the American fleet in the Mediterranean. Some of these are published in Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars With the Barbary Powers: Naval Operations Including Diplomatic Background from 1785 through 1807 (Washington, DC, 1939-44), 6 vols.
Among the letters received relating to naval operations are reports of captures of enemy vessels received from lieutenants in command of or assigned to vessels in the Mediterranean during the war with Tripoli and on the Great Lakes or in the Atlantic during the War of 1812 and Lt. John McLaughlin's reports of Indian hostilities during the second Florida Indian War, 1839-42. A number of letters contain reports from lieutenants and passed midshipmen who led or participated in exploring and relief expeditions during the period 1839-84; other such letters are among those described in entry 40.
Scientific matters are the subjects of letters received from officers assigned to the Depot of Charts and Instruments, the Naval Observatory, and the Nautical Almanac Office during the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s. Reports of local political conditions in various parts of Latin America, particularly Mexico, are included in many of the volumes dated immediately before and after the Mexican War. There are reports of Lt. C. G. Hunter from Trieste on the movements of the combined fleet of Sardinia and Naples and the Austrian Army in June 1848 and a letter of April 23, 1850, from Lt. Thomas J. Page describing conditions in China after the death of Emperor Kaou Kwang. Also, lieutenants who traveled to various parts of Europe submitted lengthy reports of their observations of foreign naval vessels and shipyards upon their return to the country.
Enclosures in the form of returns, lists, muster rolls, drawings, and maps are bound with some of the letters, and there are some telegrams after 1850.
These letters have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M148, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy From Commissioned Officers Below the Rank of Commander and From Warrant Officers ("Officers' Letters"), 1802-1884.
38. Letters Received From Commanders.
Apr. 7, 1804-Dec. 28, 1886. 223 vols. 46 ft.
Arranged chronologically. There are no letters for 1822 or 1823. There are name and some subject indexes in the volumes. Some of the indexes give brief descriptions of the content of letters from senders of multiple letters. For registers, see entries 32-34.
In the early letters, masters commandant (as commanders were designated until 1837) acknowledged receipt of their commissions and reported to the Secretary on their preparations to join their ships and their efforts to recruit men to fill their ships' complements. They informed the Secretary of such matters as arrivals in port and transfers or deaths of men serving under them and requested promotions for officers serving under them or for themselves. Many of the more important letters are in the form of reports and relate to the U.S. warships off Tripoli, capture of British vessels during the War of 1812, the second Florida Indian War in 1839, protection of U.S. citizens at Puget Sound against Indians in the 1850s, measures taken to suppress the slave trade during the 1840s and 1850s, and seizures of Confederate blockade runners and other vessels during the Civil War. Post-Civil War letters from officers commanding vessels off the coasts of South America and Africa and in waters off Hawaii, Samoa, and other Pacific islands contain considerable information on local political conditions. There are reports from officers assigned to special duty, including, Comdr. Alexander Murray, commander of a special squadron to Russia in 1866-67; Comdr. Charles Hatfield, head of an expedition to Nicaragua in 1872; and Comdr. S. A. Beardslee, Comdr. Henry Glass, and others who sought to preserve peace between white miners and Indians in the vicinity of Sitka, AK, 1879-82. There are also letters from the first Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, Franklin Buchanan, 1845-47; and from commanders who served as commandants of midshipmen (cadets) at the Academy. Letters from Buchanan's successors are described in entry 49.
These letters have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M147, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy from Commanders, 1804-1886.
39. Letters Received From Captains.
1805-1861, 1866-1885. 413 vols. 88 ft.
Arranged chronologically except for enclosures that are filed with the covering letters. Letters for the years 1862-65 are in entry 54. There are indexes to names and sometimes subjects in the volumes. Often the index entries include descriptions of the contents of individual letters. For registers, see entries 33 and 34. There is an incomplete calendar of the letters from captains relating to South America, 1825-34, in the Subject File (see entry 502).
From 1805 to 1841, there are letters from captains commanding at sea, at navy yards, and at naval stations. In 1841 a separate series was established for letters received from captains commanding squadrons (see entry 45), and in 1848 a separate series was established for letters from captains commanding yards and stations (see entry 51). Letters received from captains during the Civil War period are bound with those from rear admirals and commodores (see entry 54).
Most of the letters from captains commanding at sea consist of despatches or reports concerning shipboard discipline, requests for transfer, desertions, discharges, repair and supply of vessels, arrivals and departures of vessels, and financial matters. Detailed reports of unusual occurrences or disputes between officers and foreign officials are included, frequently accompanied by letters from subordinate officers, U.S. and foreign diplomatic officials, foreign military personnel, and private individuals.
Included for the early 1800s are letters from captains pursuing Spanish privateers and pirates in the Caribbean, captains holding the honorary rank of commodore commanding the Mediterranean Squadron during the period of the Barbary Wars, and captains engaging the British on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. Reports about the Battle of New Orleans in 1814 were enclosed with a 1846 letter from Capt. Thomas Ap R Jones. Letters dated 1826 from Commodores Isaac Hull and James Biddle commanding the Pacific and Brazil Squadrons, respectively, are segregated from other captains' letters for that year. Letters from commandants of navy yards and other shore establishments, 1805-41, among these letters deal with such matters as arrivals and departures of warships, repairs and refurbishments required to make vessels seaworthy, and the opening and closing of recruiting rendezvous.
Letters from captains earlier than 1805 were not bound together but are dispersed among several series, including those described in entries 36, 500, and 502. The letters in this series have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M125, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy from Captains ("Captains' Letters"), 1805-61; 1866-85.
40. Letters and Reports Received From Officers Commanding Cruises and Expeditions.
Jan. 1818-Dec. 1885. 23 vols. 4 ft.
Arranged by cruise or expedition in chronological order and letters within volumes for the most part chronologically. Some volumes have name or name and subject indexes, and many of the letters are registered in the volumes described in entries 32-34.
Cruises were conducted to discover new commercial markets and to strengthen U.S. ties with foreign nations. Expeditions were launched to explore and survey various parts of the world for scientific or other purposes and to provide relief following disasters. The Secretary also assigned officers to investigate incidents that occurred in foreign countries involving the safety of American citizens and property. For descriptions of the records for the individual cruises and expeditions, see Appendix A.
Other letters relating to these and other expeditions are among those described in entries 38 and 39. For records of the North Pacific Exploring Expedition, see entry 397.
41. Letters Received Relating to African Colonization.
Jan. 5, 1819-Mar. 10, 1841. 5 vols. 1 ft.
Arranged for the most part chronologically. In four volumes there are name and subject indexes, which include a brief description of the content of each letter. The other volume, July 1832-April 1836, has a name index. Some of the letters are registered in the volumes described in entry 32.
Included are letters from U.S. agents for captured Africans on the African coast and from officers of the American Colonization Society concerning the slave trade and conditions at the reception agencies at Shebro Island, Cape Mesurado, Sierra Leone, and Monrovia; reports from U.S. marshals along the eastern coast of the United States concerning captured Africans received in their districts; reports from U.S. district attorneys regarding provisions made for Africans in southern states; and reports from the Fourth Auditor of the Treasury, Navy agents, and foreign bankers concerning the sale of captured slave vessels.
These letters have been reproduced as part of NARA Microfilm Publication M205, Correspondence of the Secretary of the Navy Relating to African Colonization, 1819-1844. For later letters received concerning African colonization, see entry 39. For letters sent, see entry 17.
42. Letters and Resolutions Received From Congress.
Dec. 12, 1825-Dec. 24, 1861. 6 vols. 1 ft.
Arranged chronologically with some overlapping between volumes. There are name and subject indexes in the individual volumes.
Most of the letters for the period 1842-46 are from the Chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on Naval Affairs, but beginning in 1827 letters requesting information or the Secretary's opinions on pending legislation were received from the Chairmen of the Committee on Claims and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House and from other committee chairmen and Members of Congress. Occasionally, several representatives from the same state petitioned the Secretary to take action on naval matters affecting their home districts.
The series also includes resolutions passed by the House of Representatives and Senate requesting the Secretary of the Navy to prepare reports on naval matters or to make available proceedings of general courts-martial; lists of officers appointed to the Navy; copies of reports, charts, and other documents received from naval officers who commanded exploring expeditions; and other records pertaining to the Navy Department. The action taken by the Secretary is frequently noted, and sometimes petitions or other enclosures and letters of reply by the Secretary are also included.
For letters received from Congress, 1801-25 and 1862-84, see entry 36. There are also resolutions of Congress among the records described in entry 44.
43. Letters Received From the Board of Navy Commissioners.
Jan. 3, 1827-Aug. 1842. 27 vols. 5 ft.
Arranged chronologically. There are name and subject indexes or lists of subjects of letters in the volumes.
Most of the letters relate to contracts for food, timber, uniforms, and equipment and to the construction and repair of vessels. Other subjects include the placement of advertisements for supplies and equipment, work performed at navy yards, civilian employees at the yards, vessels used in the coast survey, construction of lighthouses, and claims made against the Navy Department. Some of the letters were written in response to requests of the Secretary for the Board's comments on proposals for vessel improvements and inventions submitted to him by Navy officers and private individuals. Included are a few letters, 1837-38, pertaining to supplies for the Wilkes expedition.
For letters received from the Board, 1815-26, see entry 36.
44. Letters Received From the President and Executive Agencies.
May 19, 1837-Dec. 10, 1886. 131 vols. 29 ft.
Arranged for the most part chronologically. There are three "supplemental" volumes for letters apparently missed when the original binding was done. There are name or name and subject indexes in the volumes except those for the years 1882-86. For registers, see entry 32.
These letters not only greatly exceed in number the letters sent by the Secretary of the Navy to the President and other agencies of the executive branch during this period, but they also reveal more about the Navy Department's daily contacts with the President and executive agencies. The majority of the letters predating the Civil War were received from offices of the Treasury Department, including letters forwarded by the Secretary of the Treasury from the Coast Survey Office, and relate to audit and revision of Navy agents' and pursers' accounts, allowances of pay and rations for naval officers, and the detail of officers to the Coast Survey.
Many of the letters from the Secretary of War for the pre-Civil War period concern the transfer of War Department facilities to the Navy Department and the transfer or loan of Navy Department vessels, ordnance, and other equipment to the War Department. During this and later time periods, the Secretary of State addressed the Secretary of the Navy on the need for the presence of U.S. naval vessels in foreign ports to protect U.S. citizens and their property, forwarded despatches received from State Department officials stationed abroad, and requested that naval officers perform diplomatic functions such as securing ratification of treaties. Other letters for the pre-civil War period were received from the Postmaster General, the Commissioner of Pensions, the Commissioner of Patents, the Attorney General, and the President. The number of letters received from the Secretaries of State and War and the President sharply increases during the Civil War period and thereafter. Many letters from President Lincoln concern joint Army-Navy operations and other war-related matters. Numerous despatches or extracts of despatches were forwarded as enclosures to letters from the Secretary of State. These letters were in regard to the activities of Confederate agents in Europe and various parts of the South Atlantic and complaints from foreign governments, particularly Great Britain, over foreign nationals being held by the U.S. Government as prisoners of war (also see entry 187). During the war, the Secretary of the Navy received a number of letters from the Secretary of War concerning prisoners of war and the transport of Army officers and enlisted men by naval vessels. He also received from the Secretary of the Treasury many letters concerning prize money, estimates of funds needed by the Navy, and persons arrested for violations of revenue laws or Treasury regulations. There is also a small number of letters and telegrams received from Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Fox on important matters connected with the war.
In addition to those already mentioned for other time periods, the correspondents for the post-civil War period also include the Commissioner of the General Land Office, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, the Solicitor and Naval Judge Advocate General, and the Vice President. Congressional resolutions are bound with the letters beginning in 1868. During the Andrew Johnson and subsequent Presidential administrations, applications for appointment in the Navy, letters proposing naval inventions, and other requests for Presidential intervention in matters relating to the Navy were usually forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy by the White House and are included in this series. During this period the other executive agency heads continued to address the Secretary of the Navy on matters of mutual concern, such as Secretary of War Robert Lincoln's request of December 13, 1883, for the Navy's cooperation in the organization and conduct of the Greely Expedition to the Arctic.
These letters have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M517, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy from the President and Executive Agencies, 1837-1886. Letters received from the President and executive agencies for the period 1801-April 1837 are among those described in entry 36.
45. Letters Received From Commanding Officers of Squadrons.
Feb. 16, 1841-Nov. 11, 1886. 307 vols. 60 ft.
Arranged for the most part by squadron and thereunder chronologically. There is overlapping for periods when there was a change of command, because a commanding officer's letters from the time of his appointment until the time he returned home following release from command or otherwise ceased all connection with the squadron were filed together. Some volumes have letters from officers during periods of successive commands. There are indexes or lists of contents in most of the volumes. There are many orders, maps, lists, diplomatic communications and reports enclosed with the letters. For registers, see entries 32-34.
The six earliest squadrons established on a permanent basis were the Mediterranean Squadron, the West India Squadron, the Pacific Squadron, the Brazil Squadron, the East India Squadron, and the Home Squadron. All of these squadrons, except the West India Squadron, were still in existence in 1841 when the Navy Department began this series of records. The African Squadron was established in 1843 and the Eastern Squadron in 1853.
During the Civil War six new squadrons were established: the West India Squadron; the Mississippi Squadron; the North and South Atlantic Blockading Squadrons, formed from the Atlantic Blockading Squadron; and the East and West Gulf Squadrons, the former being the successor of the Gulf Squadron. In addition, three detachments of smaller vessels were formed; the Mortar Flotilla, the James River Flotilla, and the Potomac Flotilla. The letters from commanding officers of these flotillas were filed with the letters from commanding officers of squadrons with the exception that letters from the commanding officers of the Potomac Flotilla , October 1862-December 1863, are with records described in entry 51. By the end of 1865, all of these Civil War squadrons and flotillas had ceased to exist.
In the postwar period, the Pacific Squadron, the only prewar squadron to survive the Civil War intact, underwent a number of organizational changes, becoming successively the North Pacific and South Pacific Squadrons, the Pacific Station divided into a Northern and Southern Squadron and later a North Pacific and South Pacific Station, and finally the Pacific Station (without divisions).
The other squadrons created after April 1865 were the South Atlantic Squadron, the European Squadron, the Atlantic Squadron, the Gulf Squadron, the Asiatic Squadron, and the Special Squadron. In 1866 the Atlantic Squadron was replaced by the North Atlantic Squadron. The Gulf Squadron was discontinued in 1867. In 1882 the Training Squadron was established to train apprentice seamen.
The letters and the enclosed maps, reports, orders, newspaper clippings, charts, and treaties relate to diplomatic negotiations with other nations, intelligence gathering around the world, protection of Americans in foreign places, the assignment and deployment of ships in the squadrons, reports of captures or naval engagements, reports of war casualties or illnesses, and other naval activities at sea. The letters of the East India Squadron document Commodore Matthew Perry's cruise to Japan in 1853-54 and his contacts with the Japanese Government. Letters of the African and Home Squadrons include descriptions of the antislavery efforts of the U.S. Navy. Reports from the Civil War blockading squadrons relate to joint military operations with the Army, battles with the Confederate Navy, and shore operations launched from ships.
These records have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M89, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy From Commanding Officers of Squadrons ("Squadron Letters"), 1841-1886. For other letters received from commanding officers of squadrons, see entry 603. For registers to some squadrons, see entries 623-626.
46. Letters Received From the Chiefs of Navy Bureaus.
Sept. 12, 1842-Dec. 5, 1885. 87 vols. 18 ft.
Arranged for the most part chronologically. There are three supplemental volumes for letters apparently missed when the original binding was done. There are two letters from January 1886. There are name and subject indexes in most of the volumes. For registers, see entries 32-34.
Much of the series consists of letters and a few telegrams relating to procurement of supplies, equipment, and ordnance; enlistment of naval personnel; appointment of civilian employees; construction, repair, and lay up of vessels; use of vessels for defense; medical care; and inventions. The U.S. Naval Academy is the subject of some letters after 1850 from the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography and the Bureau of Navigation. From 1851 to 1862, the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography had responsibility for overseeing administrative and financial affairs at the Academy, and from 1862 on, the Bureau of Navigation had much of this responsibility. Also included are reports of boards on which bureau heads served, examples of which are the reports made in April and May 1862 by a board composed of the Chiefs of the Bureaus of Construction and Repair and Yards and Docks, Engineer-in-Chief of the Navy Benjamin F. Isherwood, and Naval Constructor Edward Hartt regarding the use of riverboats for defensive purposes and the use of armored ships for coastal and harbor defense. Enclosures to the letters include newspaper clippings, contracts, circulars, pamphlets, and a few drawings and sketches.
These letters have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M518, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy from Chiefs of Navy Bureaus, 1842-1885. For letters sent to the bureaus during the same period, see entry 22. For other records concerning the bureaus, see entries 386-422.
47. Letters Received From Navy Agents and Naval Storekeepers.
Jan 1, 1843-Nov. 30, 1865. 36 vols. 7 ft.
Arranged chronologically. Originally there were 28 volumes. In the process of rebinding, it was necessary to divide eight of the volumes into two parts. There are name indexes for all of the volumes except the last one: for the divided volumes, the index for both parts is at the beginning of the first part.
Navy agents purchased and disbursed supplies. Naval storekeepers were civilian employees of the Navy Department, but commissioned and warrant officers did sometimes serve as temporary storekeepers in foreign ports. They were in charge of stores at stations and yards and distributed the stores to vessels and to the departments at the installation. Serving under the direction of the commanding officer of the installation, the storekeeper made requisitions upon Navy agents for the purchase of supplies needed and not received at the installation. Most of these letters are from Navy agents and concern appointments to office, purchase and distribution of supplies, and payments to creditors. Enclosures include oaths of office, declarations of citizenships, receipts for supplies, lists of persons entitled to prize money, monthly and quarterly returns of expenditures, materials and labor, abstracts of payments, and newspaper clippings.
These letters have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M528, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy from Navy Agents and Naval Storekeepers, 1843-1865. For earlier letters, see entry 36.
48. Letters and Reports Received From the Engineer-in-Chief.
Jan. 2, 1847-Dec. 20, 1850. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name and subject index in the volume.
The reports on technical matters, submitted either to the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repair and forwarded to the Secretary or directly to the Secretary, concern examinations of boilers, engines, steam pumps, percussion gages, and various inventions proposed by the Engineer-in-Chief or chief engineers for use by the Navy. Several drawings are included with the reports. The letters relate to pay, uniforms, candidates for admission to the Engineer Corps, promotions, and other personnel matters. Most of the letters in this volume were signed or endorsed by Engineer-in-Chief Charles H. Haswell, and the small number remaining, by Benjamin F. Isherwood and Charles B. Stuart. Additional letters and reports for earlier and later time periods are described in entry 391.
49. Letters Received From the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Jan. 4, 1847-Dec. 31, 1884. 55 vols. 11 ft.
Arranged for the most part chronologically in volumes numbered 225-238, 240-243, 245-273, and three unnumbered volumes. Five of the original 50 volumes were divided into two parts in the process of rebinding. There is one supplemental volume for letters apparently missed during the original binding. There are name or name and subject indexes in most of the volumes. For the divided volumes, the indexes are at the beginning of the first parts. Some volumes also have lists of letters. For registers, see entries 32-34.
These letters from the Superintendent of the Academy (known as Naval School until July 1850) relate to admission policy, academic courses, rules and regulations governing discipline, the academic staff and other civilian personnel, naval officers assigned to the Academy, removal of the Academy to Newport, RI, during the Civil War, charges of disloyalty, local political sentiment, enlargement of the Academy after its return to Annapolis, and many other subjects. The Superintendent also forwarded reports of various kinds and letters for or on behalf of midshipmen and cadets and applicants. Included are reports of the Board of Visitors, boards for the examination of midshipmen, investigative boards, summer cruises, relative standing and deficiencies of midshipmen or cadets, and monthly, quarterly, and final class reports.
During the period 1851-53, the Secretary sometimes referred letters to the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, which supervised Academy affairs. Letters received from the first Superintendent of the Academy, Comdr. Franklin Buchanan, from September to December 1845, are described in entry 38.
50. Letters Received Relating to the Naval Asylum.
Feb. 12, 1848-Dec. 2, 1850. 1 vol. 3/4 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index that includes brief descriptions of the individual letters.
Included are letters from or on behalf of men seeking admission to the Asylum, from men wishing to be discharged and granted a pension, and from the Governor of the Asylum relating chiefly to individual residents. For other letters received relating to the Naval Asylum, see entries 54 and 58.
51. Letters Received From Commandants of Navy Yards and Naval Stations.
1848-86. 332 vols. 65 ft.
Arranged by year, thereunder by name of yard or station, and thereunder chronologically. There are no letters for 1885. There are name indexes, name and subject indexes, or lists of letters in most of the volumes. For registers, see entries 32-34.
Following is a list of yards and stations with the years for which there are letters:
Most of the letters concern arrivals, departures, and trial runs of vessels; recruitment, transfer, and discharge of enlisted men; employment of civilian personnel; deaths; and the apprehension of deserters. Other letters relate to such unusual occurrences as the June 1848 explosion in the laboratory at the Washington Navy Yard of fireworks being prepared for the celebration of the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument and the 1877 visit of Grand Duke Alexis of Russia to the Norfolk Navy Yard. Enclosures include reports of boards of investigations, reports concerning prisoners and civilians employed at the yards, and letters from officers commanding vessels at the yards. Many of the letters for the Civil War period were copied in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion (Washington, DC, 1894-1927). They include letters pertaining to the evacuation and destruction of Government property at Norfolk (Gosport) Navy Yard in April 1861 and reports of captures of Confederate vessels and of arrivals of contraband at the yards and stations. Letters received from the Potomac Flotilla for October 1862-December 1863 were bound with the letters from the Commandant, Washington, DC.
For earlier letters from commandants of yards and stations, see entry 39. For letters for the period 1801-13, during which civilians commanded the yards, see entry 36. Letters received in 1883 from the commanding officers of naval stations at New London and Key West and the torpedo station at Newport are with the letters received from the commanding officer of the Training Squadron (see entry 45).
52. Letters Received Relating to Gorham Parks, Former U.S. Consul at Rio de Janeiro.
Mar. 1849-June 1853. 1 vol. 1 in.
These letters in support of Parks's reinstatement as consul were referred by the Secretary of State. They were received from the Board of Underwriters of New York City, merchants, shipowners, shipmasters, and foreign diplomatic officials. Parks was recalled after he removed the masters of four U.S. commercial vessels (Pacific, Xylon, Friendship, Sacramento) in the Port of Rio de Janeiro in 1848 and 1849. Included is a pamphlet defending Parks.
53. Supplementary Letters Received.
Aug. 1860-Dec. 1879. 16 vols. 4 ft.
Arranged for the most part chronologically. There are letters for the years 1860-63 and 1871-79 only. There are name indexes in the individual volumes. Most of the letters are registered in the volumes described in entry 32.
These are letters that seem to have been missed when the records described in entries 37-39, 43, 45-47, 51, and 54 were bound. Most of the letters are from highBranking officers such as admirals and captains. There are also letters from the Commandant of the Marine Corps and other Marine Corps officers. Many of the letters relate to disciplinary actions, accusations about officers and enlisted men, and court-martial charges. Apparently other letters bound in this manner were later removed and incorporated with the records in the Area and Subject Files (entries 500 and 502).
54. Letters and Telegrams Received From the Vice Admiral, Rear Admirals,
Commodores, and Captains.
Jan. 1, 1862-Dec. 30, 1865. 26 vols. 7 ft.
Arranged chronologically. There are no letters from the vice admiral until after that grade was established on December 21, 1864 (13 Stat. 420). There are name indexes, some with brief descriptions of each letter, in the individual volumes. For registers, see entry 32.
Most of the letters concern such matters as transfers of crew, trial runs of vessels, and disposition of prize vessels. There are also many letters from officers acknowledging receipt of orders, requesting transfers or promotions, or reporting on their physical condition. Some letters were written by officers in their capacities as presidents of court-martial boards. There are letters from several officers on the retired list, including Como. Frederick Engle serving as Governor of the Naval Asylum and President of the Naval Retiring Board at the Asylum; Como. Henry Eagle, a U.S. prize commissioner; and Rear Adm. Francis H. Gregory, superintending the construction of ironclads at the New York Navy Yard. Civil War letters include commendations of naval personnel and the recommendation for medals. Capt. John A. Winslow's reports (with maps) of the battle of the USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama are in this series.
Other letters from admirals for this period are with the letters received from commanding officers of squadrons (see entry 45). For earlier and later letters from captains, see entry 39. For later letters from admirals and commodores, see entry 58.
55. Letters Received From the Board of Examiners on Inventions and Plans.
Jan. 4, 1862-July 10, 1862. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index.
The letters are from the Senior Officer of the Board, Como. William B. Shubrick, commenting on inventions and plans submitted for possible use by the Navy and making recommendations for and against their adoption. An ironclad steamer, a floating battery and ram for harbor defense, an "invulnerable gunboat" for sea and river service, a submarine cylinder bomb, and other proposals for improvements in ordnance were considered. All of these letters appear to be negative comments; each letter ends in "not recommended" or "not practical". There are copies of these reports in the minutes of the board (see entry 361).
56. Letters Received Relating to Union Naval Prisoners of War.
May 12, 1862-July 27, 1865. 1 vol. 6 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index in the volume.
Included are many letters from the War Department Adjutant General, Commissary General of Prisoners, and Commissioner for the Exchange of Prisoners concerning the locations at which Union naval prisoners were held and arrangements for their exchange. They are frequently accompanied by lists of Union naval prisoners paroled by the Confederates, announced as exchanged, or still held in the South. Also included are letters from officers whose vessels were captured by the Confederates, Union naval personnel exchanged by the Confederates or who escaped from Confederate prisons, Union officers requesting their early exchange, and family members inquiring about Union prisoners of war. There are also some extracts of declarations of exchange of prisoners, general orders concerning exchanges, newspapers clippings, and a typewritten list of Union naval officers captured during 1863 and 1864 and released at Aiken's Landing on October 18, 1864. Some of the letters from prisoners describe the treatment received or conditions at POW camps. Others describe the naval engagement in which they were captured. Many of the letters are from men reporting that they have arrived home following their release or escape from Southern prisons.
57. Letters Received From the Permanent Commission on Science and Art.
Mar. 31, 1863-Sept. 21, 1865. 1 vol. 3 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index.
In these letters, the commission gave its findings on the practicality of various devices and plans submitted by private inventors to the Navy Department. A torpedo that could be used underwater at the end of a boom, a binocular telescope, a machine for removing piles and chains from harbors, and a plan for iron-plating naval vessels were just some of the inventions and plans considered. Other copies of some of the reports are among the records of the commission (see entries 363-366).
58. Letters Received From the Admiral, Vice Admiral, Rear Admirals, and Commodores.
Jan. 1, 1866-Dec. 27, 1884. 30 vols. 7 ft.
Arranged chronologically. The individual volumes have name indexes, some of which give brief descriptions of the content of each letter. For registers, see entry 32.
Included are letters from officers serving on various boards, the Superintendent of the Naval Observatory, the Governor of the Naval Asylum, port admirals, and commandants of navy yards and naval stations. Many of these officers were on the retired list. The letters relate for the most part to administrative and personnel matters, but there are letters and reports from rear admirals serving on examining boards, boards of inspection, and on ad hoc boards such as the 1884 board appointed by the Secretary to consider the establishment of a postgraduate school for training naval officers.
Many of the letters received from rear admirals at sea during this time period are among the letters received from commanding officers of squadrons (see entry 45). Most of the letters from officers serving as commandants of navy yards and naval stations for this and later time periods are described in entry 51. There are earlier admiral and commodore letters in entries 53 and 54. For later letters from admirals and commodores, see entries 60 and 603.
59. Letters Received From the Permanent Senior Naval Officer at Port Royal, S.C.
Feb. 18, 1876-Dec. 30, 1876. 1 vol. 3/4 in.
Arranged chronologically and numbered in sequence from 1 to 73. There is a list of letters giving subjects.
These letters were written or forwarded by Commodore John M. B. Clitz on board the USS New Hampshire. They relate to arrivals and departures of vessels, including a visit of French Navy vessels, the condition of vessels, personnel matters, precautions against yellow fever, political conditions in Beaufort, SC, and other subjects. For later letters from Clitz in the same capacity, see entry 60.
60. Cipher Messages Received and Translated.
Dec. 17, 1897-Nov. 3, 1912. 6 vols. 9 in.
Arranged chronologically in volumes numbered 2-7. Indexes to names of persons, squadrons, vessels, and installations give a brief description of each message.
The first five volumes contain press copies; the sixth volume contains carbon copies. Nearly all messages were sent by officers in command of squadrons or vessels stationed in the South Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Pacific. Most of the messages were received directly by the Secretary's office; the remainder were received by the Bureau of Navigation and forwarded to the Secretary. The first volume (volume 2), which covers the Spanish-American War period, includes messages from Capt. Charles Sigsbee, commanding officer of the USS Maine, following the explosion of that vessel at Havana in February 1898; and Rear Adm. William T. Sampson, commander of the U.S. fleet in the Caribbean, and Rear Adm. Montgomery Sicard, commander of the U.S. fleet assembled at Key West, FL, discussing the recovery of bodies from the Maine, the care of its wounded, the raising of the vessel, and steps taken to prepare for war against the Spanish Navy in the Caribbean. Messages from Adm. George Dewey at Hong Kong transmit intelligence regarding activities of the Spanish fleet in the Pacific, the blockade of Manila, and the procurement of fuel and supplies for fleet vessels. Other 1898-99 messages provide information concerning the activities of representatives of the Spanish Government in London and Paris.
Messages in the next three volumes transmit information concerning the activities of the French and German Governments, national forces, and insurgent groups in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and other parts of Latin America for the period 1903-10. A few messages reporting on the political situation in other parts of the world, such as relations between the Turks and Armenians and the condition of Armenian refugees in 1909, are also copied.
The last volume (volume 7) contains messages from naval officers of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Asiatic Fleets stationed at or en route to Panama, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Santo Domingo, Cuba, Hawaii, Turkey, and China. There are also a few messages from the commanding officers of the Pacific Reserve Fleet and the Pacific Torpedo Flotilla. For additional messages relating to disturbances in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, Cuba, Honduras, China and other countries, see the correspondence described in entries 282-292.
For translations of earlier ciphers received and ciphers sent by the Secretary of the Navy, see entry 28.
61. Press Copies of Reports Sent Concerning Navy and Marine Corps Service
in the Second Seminole War, 1835-42.
n.d. 1 vol. 1 in.
One report consists of typed press copies of a December 19, 1853 response of the Secretary of the Navy to a request from the Commissioner of Pensions for information that would assist in the adjudication of bounty land claims. In particular the Commissioner wanted to distinguish between service (in the war with the Seminoles of Florida, 1835-42) that was merely cooperation given the Army by the Navy and Marine Corps as separate services and service detached from the Navy and "incorporated with the Army or under its immediate command." The response consists of a transmittal letter and three parts: letters or extracts of letters of instruction to naval officers, reports or extracts of reports from the officers, and a list of vessels used during the war and extracts from their logs. Many of the reports relate to Lt. John Mclaughlin. The reports also mention U.S. Navy ships that surveyed the Florida Coast.
62. Correspondence Concerning Construction of New Vessels.
Apr. 19, 1882-Jan. 13, 1888. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged for the most part chronologically.
This volume includes copies of letters from Congress, the Naval Advisory Board, and Bureau of Construction and Repair, with copies of draft replies. Enclosed with the letters are tables, lists, clippings, printed notices, and other records (some in draft form) relating primarily to plans and specifications for and costs of construction of the cruisers Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago and the dispatch boat Dolphin. The volume was probably compiled by Secretary of the Navy William E. Chandler. Most of the documents have penciled comments with the initials "W. E. C."
63. Correspondence Concerning the Repair and Equipment of Third- and
Fourth-Rate Naval Vessels.
Jan. 1889-Dec. 1890. 2 vols. 2 in.
Arranged by class of vessel and thereunder by vessel. The volume relating to third-rate vessels is for January 1889-November 1890, and that relating to fourth-rate vessels is for July-December 1890.
Copied are the endorsements of the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief Clerk on correspondence received from the bureaus concerning ship repairs, memorandums concerning the repairs being performed on vessels, letters appointing naval officers to boards of survey for naval vessels and the reports of these boards, and correspondence between the commandants of navy yards and naval constructors. The reports and memorandums sometimes include estimates of the costs of the repairs and equipment.
64. Correspondence and Other Records Concerning the Hudson-Fulton Celebration.
May 1909-Oct. 1909. 1 vol. 3 in.
Arranged for the most part by subject. There is a name and subject index.
The series contains copies of letters, reports, endorsements, memorandums, lists, orders, a printed calendar of events, newspaper articles, and other records concerning the Navy's participation in the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the discovery of the Hudson River by Henry Hudson and the 100th anniversary of the first successful use of a steamboat.
65. Memorandums Sent by the Aide for Operations.
Oct. 28, 1910-June 30, 1915. 8 vols. 10 in.
Arranged chronologically in volumes labeled "Miscellaneous Memoranda."
These are carbon copies of memorandums commenting on papers referred by other aides or officials of the Navy Department. Changes to Navy Regulation Number 6 of November 18, 1909, announced the appointment of four aides to assist the Secretary of the Navy: aides for operations, materials, personnel, and inspections. In 1915 these positions were discontinued. There are some memorandums received and occasionally copies of documents referred for comment. Examples of the many subjects dealt with are military characteristics of submarines and destroyers, number and kind of capital ships being built by Japan and other foreign powers, issuance of Navy Department general orders and regulations, use of the cipher code by the Navy, and the design of boat clothes for the President and the Secretary and Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
The correspondence that these memorandums accompanied is interspersed among the general correspondence of Record Groups 24, 38, 80, and 19.
The application of the term "directives" to general orders and circulars issued by the Navy Department is of recent origin. Meaning any communication that initiates or governs action, conduct, or procedure, it accurately describes most of the Navy Department general orders and circulars sent by the Secretary of the Navy to commanding officers of ships, squadrons, yards, and stations and to other naval officers between 1798 and 1913. Throughout most of the period 1798-1862, it appears that the titles "general order," "naval general order," and "general naval order" were used interchangeably. The title "naval general order" was most frequently used between 1813 and 1842. The general orders issued before 1863 were unnumbered and usually not printed, but beginning in 1863 they were numbered continuously within series (with the exception of a small number of unnumbered orders and general orders for the period 1866-97) and printed. Beginning in the 1860s other directives were issued by the Secretary's office in addition to the general orders and circulars, including general court-martial orders, special orders, U.S. Navy regulation circulars, and special circulars.
66. Register of Directives.
Jan. 1863-Oct. 1913. 1 vol. 3/4 in.
Arranged by type of directive and thereunder for the most part chronologically.
Entries for individual directives give date, subject, and, when applicable, number. The entries are grouped in the following sections.
1798-1911. 14 vols. 2 ft.
Arranged in several sets, to a considerable extent by type of copy, and thereunder for the most part chronologically.
The volumes contain handwritten, printed, and press copies of general orders, special orders, circulars, special circulars, general court-martial orders, departmental orders, U.S. Navy regulation circulars, and other directives issued by the Secretary of the Navy. They prescribed policy in such matters as uniform dress, pay, other financial matters, and recruitment and discharge; gave instructions concerning the performance of duties; announced deaths of and tributes to highBranking naval officers and other prominent persons, convening and proceedings of courts-martial, examinations for promotions, appointments, meetings and findings of boards; and transmitted honors and awards, commissions, acts of Congress, and Presidential messages. Occasionally directives issued by the bureaus are included.
Each set of directives has omissions, but together they are the most complete compilation of directives among Navy Department records in the National Archives. Many of the general orders and circulars in this series have been reproduced in NARA Microfilm Publications M977, Navy Department General Orders and Circulars, 1798-1862, and M984, Navy Department General Orders, 1863-1948.
Muster Rolls, Payrolls, Officer Rolls and Related Records, 1798-1889
Pre-Civil War U.S. Navy muster rolls generally include the names of individual officers and crew members, the date and place of their appearance on board, their rank or rating, their ship number (muster number), and the date of muster. If an individual was no longer on board or at the shore establishment (yard or station), the roll indicates whether he was detached (D), dead (DD), or had deserted (R) and includes the date, place, and the reason for the absence. The muster rolls usually include not only the names of officers and of the crew of the vessel, yard, or station but also the names of clerks, marines, supernumeraries, prisoners of war, recruits and recruiting officers, and the personnel on furlough, at rendezvous, and sometimes passengers on board vessels.
U.S. Navy payrolls generally contain the names of officers and crew members, their rank or rating, their muster number, the date of the commencement of their term of service or of the settlement period, their terms of service, the amount of pay due for the period of settlement, and other related details. They usually include similar information for marines and supernumeraries.
Combined muster rolls and payrolls generally include the same kind of information found in the muster rolls and in addition contain details relating to pay. Most combined muster rolls and payrolls are for vessels and date between 1800 and 1830, although there are a few dated as late as 1842. Both payrolls and muster rolls were signed by the commanding officer and by the purser of the ship or station.
The earliest known reference to Navy muster rolls and payrolls is in a letter sent to Capt. Thomas Truxton from the War Office, March 16, 1798, which states in part: "The names of the Marines and Seamen, are to be entered alphabetically, in the Muster and Pay Rolls. . . ." An act of Congress approved March 2, 1799 (1 Stat. 709), states in part:
These regulations relating to pay and muster rolls were amplified by a later act of April 23, 1800 (2 Stat. 45), which states in part:
Apparently these regulations were not followed by all officers of the Navy, including commanding officers of navy yards and stations after 1800, as there were many circulars issued by the Navy Department requesting officers to submit pay rolls and muster rolls.
The regulations relating to pay and muster rolls were changed by a circular of the Navy Department, June 18, 1846, which states:
Before sailing you will transmit to the Department a complete . . . Muster roll of the Officers and men that have been transferred . . . under your command. With the date of their expirations of service annexed. On the first of every second month thereafter, you will cause lists to be made showing all deaths, desertions, discharges, transfers, enlistments and punishments that have taken place since the date of the last returns.
68. Muster Rolls and Payrolls for U.S. Navy Vessels.
1798-1860. 138 vols. 34 ft.
Arranged for the most part according to physical format (bound by single ship, bound together with other ships, miscellaneous bound and unbound), thereunder alphabetically by name of ship, often thereunder by type of roll, and thereunder chronologically. There are rolls of single vessels bound in one or more volumes, 120 volumes, 1798-1845; rolls of several vessels bound in one volume, 18 volumes, 1799-1859; 7 volumes ("miscellaneous"), that are unarranged; and unbound rolls, 1798-1859. If there are two or more volumes for a vessel, usually the muster rolls and payrolls are bound separately. A few of the volumes have typed name indexes. On each muster roll or payroll, names are arranged by ship (muster) number. On most rolls the commanding officer's name is first, followed by the other officers, clerks, and then enlisted men. Usually, marines and supernumeraries are on separate rolls. In rare cases, names are arranged alphabetically. There are very few muster or payrolls for the Mexican War period.
Filed with the muster rolls and payrolls are lists of officers and crews, receipt rolls, accounts, registers of allotments, reports and returns of officers and crews, and various types of abstracts. Office clerks substituted these records when no muster roll or payroll was available for a vessel for a particular timespan. Some of the rolls are only for officers, the crew, or marine guards.
For a list of rolls, see Appendix C. In the list of muster rolls and payrolls, numbers placed in parentheses are used to distinguish between identically named vessels. Some rolls are in the Subject File (see entry 502). Later rolls, dated after 1860, are among the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24. Additional Marine Corps muster rolls are in Records of the U.S. Marine Corps, Record Group 127. Additional Navy payrolls are in Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department the Treasury, Record Group 217. The muster and payrolls, except the unbound ones, are available on NARA Microfilm Publication T829, Miscellaneous Records of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
69. Muster Rolls and Payrolls for Shore Establishments.
1805-69. 51 vols. 12 ft.
Divided into bound rolls, 1805-42, and unbound rolls, 1810-49 and 1859-69. Thereunder arranged for the most part alphabetically by name of shore establishment and thereunder chronologically. Usually, if there is only one volume for a yard or station, there are muster rolls and payrolls bound together. If there is more than one volume, usually the muster rolls and payrolls are bound in separate volumes. For a list of rolls, see Appendix D.
In addition to the officers and crews assigned to the yard or station, other naval personnel who were temporarily there or who were unassigned were sometimes carried on the rolls. These include recruits, officers and men serving on vessels that were to take part in expeditions, and occasionally officers and men attached to a vessel at a yard or station or to a flotilla. Also in this series are reports and returns, receipt rolls, accounts, articles of agreement, and various kinds of lists that were kept in place of or in addition to the muster rolls and payrolls.
Many of the rolls in this series have the Subject File marking "NA," and were probably segregated from that series because of their size. A few rolls still remain in the Subject File (see entry 502). It is not known whether rolls for the missing period exist. The muster rolls and payrolls, except the unbound ones, are available on NARA Microfilm Publication T829, Miscellaneous Records of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
70. Payrolls and Lists of Civilian Personnel at Navy Yards.
1811-79. 1 vol. and unbound records. 2 ft.
Arranged for the most part alphabetically by name of navy yard and thereunder chronologically.
These are chiefly payrolls, with some lists and a few muster rolls.
The following unbound rolls are included.
Gosport Navy Yard, VA, 1819-22
Jefferson Barracks Navy Yard, MO, 1868
Mare Island Navy Yard, CA, 1879
Mound City Navy Yard, IL, 1868-72
New Orleans Navy Yard, LA, 1821-65
New York Navy Yard, NY, 1819-64
Pensacola Navy Yard, FL, 1829-64
Philadelphia Navy Yard, PA, 1822-23
Washington Navy Yard, DC, 1811-55
The single volume contains payrolls of laborers and mechanics at the Navy Yard, Cairo, IL, October 1863, and at the Navy Yard, Mound City, IL, July 1871-July 1873.
Some rolls are in the Subject File (entry 502).
71. Lists of Officers Aboard Vessels on Cruises.
1824-32. 1 vol. 3/4 in.
Arranged by name of vessel. There is a name index to vessels.
These are lists of officers (and sometimes passengers) on board vessels departing for or returning from cruises to the West Indies, South America, the Pacific, and the Mediterranean. There is also information concerning places and dates of departures and returns. For some vessels there is no information.
72. Lists of Officers Aboard Vessels.
1824. 2 vols. 1/2 in.
Arranged by class of ship with the largest classes first. There is a name index to vessels in the first volume.
Only the names and ranks of officers are given. The second volume nearly duplicates information in the first volume.
73. Monthly Returns of Navy and Marine Corps Officers and Civilians at Shore Establishments.
Apr. 1845-Dec. 1889. 25 vols. 7 ft.
Divided into two slightly overlapping time periods. Returns, 1845-77, are arranged by name of establishment, thereunder divided into officers and civilians, and thereunder arranged chronologically. For 1876-89 returns are arranged chronologically, for the most part by year, thereunder by establishment, and thereunder divided into officers and civilians. A supplemental volume for 1874-76 is at the end of the series. The returns for Bay Point, Port Royal, Beaufort, Baltimore, and Jefferson Barracks for April 1845-June 1866 are bound in one volume with the February 1866-December 1872 returns for Mound City. There are returns for Baltimore, Bay Point, Beaufort, Boston, Jefferson Barracks, League Island, Mare Island, Mound City, New London, New York, Norfolk, Pensacola, Philadelphia, Port Royal, Portsmouth (NH), and Washington, DC. For officers, the returns usually give name, rank, type of duty or office to which assigned, and an indication of whether awaiting orders. The information for civilians includes name, rating, department in which employed, date of appointment, and annual salary. For similar records, see Preliminary Inventory 10, Records of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, Record Group 71, entry 27.
74. Lists of Officers and Clerks of Vessels, Squadrons, Fleets, and Flotillas.
July 1859-Jan. 1878. 35 vols. 6 ft.
Arranged for the most part in five overlapping chronological periods and thereunder alphabetically by name of vessel. Most of the lists for the period July 1859BFebruary 1871 (25 volumes) are in one alphabetical sequence. There are smaller sets for the periods July 1864-June 1865 (3 volumes), September 1864-January 1878 (3 volumes), December 1873-December 1875 (1 volume), and January 1876-March 1877 (1 volume). The overlapping probably was a result of erratic binding procedures. There is also a volume for lists of officers assigned to squadrons, fleets, flotillas, and some shore stations, September 1862-October 1872; and a volume for lists of officers assigned to ironclad vessels at League Island, Mound City, and New Orleans, December 1865-December 1872. Some lists for the Civil War period were prepared at a later date by the Treasury Department to fill gaps in the records. There are indexes to names of vessels in most of the volumes.
The lists were prepared by paymasters or assistant paymasters. They were supposed to be submitted quarterly and whenever the vessel returned to the United States. The lists include regular and acting Navy officers, Marine Corps officers, and clerks. Some just record the names and positions of Navy and Marine Corps officers and of passengers, if any. More detailed lists include such information as date of appointment, residence, date and state of birth, and amount of time on vessels. Some have explanations of changes since the previous report, and some list the crew as well as the officers.
Extracts from the lists relating to individual officers are in entry 526. Additional lists for ships in the Mississippi Squadron are in entry 620. Earlier lists of officers on ships are included in Preliminary Inventory 123, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24, entry 181. For later lists, see Preliminary Inventory 123, entry 185. This series is reproduced on NARA Microfilm Publication M1976, Lists of Officers of Vessels of the United States Navy, August 1860-December 1877.
Fiscal Records, 1798-1890
The fiscal records in this record group and in Record Group 80, General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1798-1947, are fragmentary and represent only a part of the records pertaining to finances maintained in the offices of the Secretary of the Navy, the Accountant of the Navy, and the Fourth Auditor and Second Comptroller of the Treasury. More complete records of the Fourth Auditor and the Second Comptroller of the Treasury pertaining to Navy Department fiscal matters are in the Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, Record Group 217.
The Office of the Accountant of the Navy was established on July 16, 1798. The Accountant's principal duty was settling accounts for money advanced and supplies issued by the Navy Department; his records were subject to Treasury Department inspection. On March 3, 1817, the Office of the Accountant of the Navy was abolished and in its place the Office of the Fourth Auditor of the Treasury was established. The Fourth Auditor of the Treasury was concerned only with the Navy Department accounts and for many years had offices in the same building with the Navy Department. The Fourth Auditor examined the accounts, certified the balances, and transmitted the accounts (with their vouchers and certificates) to the Second Comptroller of the Treasury for review. He also (fourth auditor) recorded all warrants drawn by the Secretary of the Navy, reported to the Secretary of the Navy when requested, and reported annually to the Secretary of the Treasury. In 1894 the Fourth Auditor's office became the Office of the Auditor for the Navy Department.
In addition to examining accounts settled by the Fourth Auditor, the Second Comptroller also certified the balances in Navy Department accounts to the Secretary of the Navy and countersigned warrants, reported to the Secretary of the Navy the official forms to be used for disbursing money and the correct manner and form of keeping accounts, and supervised the preservation of the public accounts. The Second Comptroller also reviewed War Department accounts. In 1894 his duties were taken over by the Comptroller of the Treasury.
75. Letters Sent by the Accountant of the Navy.
Sept. 17, 1798-May 4, 1800. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index.
Included are letters to the following: Secretary of the Navy, regarding payment of salaries of Navy Department employees; businessmen and naval officers, informing them of warrants drawn on the U.S. Treasury in their favor; the Auditor of the Treasury, concerning the payment and audit of Navy accounts; and Navy agents and pursers, questioning information in vouchers and accounts that they had submitted, instructing them on procedures to be followed in the keeping of their accounts, and advising them of Navy Department regulations concerning pay.
76. Register of Warrants Drawn on the Treasurer of the United States.
Sept. 20, 1798-Feb. 6, 1809. 3 vols. 4 in.
Entries are arranged chronologically and numbered in sequence. There is a ship, name, and subject index in the first volume and a typed name and ship index in the second volume. Entries give warrant number, date, name of person to whom issued, purpose, and amount. There is also a running total (in pencil). Many warrants are for the pay of officers, recruiting expenses, and ship construction expenses. The warrants often show an officer's promotion date or ship assignment.
77. Abstracts of Records Relating to Pay Arrearages.
May 1800-June 1835. 3 vols. 9 in.
Divided into three overlapping time periods: 1800-13, 1811-27, and 1824-35. Thereunder arranged by vessel or station. The overlapping is the result of some abstracts covering an extended period. There are indexes to names of vessels and, in the last two volumes, to stations.
These abstracts were compiled from vessel and station muster rolls and payrolls after the purser settled his accounts. They show the name of the vessel or station; its commanding officer and purser; and the amount due each man for pay, subsistence, clothing, or spirit rations; and usually the date and place of settlement and the person who made it.
78. Register of Correspondence Relating to Procurement and Payment for
Supplies, Equipment, and Services.
Jan.-Mar. 1802. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname of correspondent. Thereunder, letters received are abstracted on the left of facing pages and letters sent on the right. The location of the corresponding letters is unknown.
79. Receipts for Salaries in Offices of the Accountant of the Navy and the
Fourth Auditor of the Treasury.
Oct. 3, 1808-Jan. 1820. 1 vol. 1 in.
The receipts are for quarterly payments of the salaries of messengers and clerks. Some quarterly summaries are included.
80. Ledger of Navy and Marine Corps Accounts.
Jan. 1811-Jan. 1813. 1 vol. 3/4 in.
Arranged by account and thereunder chronologically.
Some typical accounts are pay, provisions, navy yards, repairs of vessels, medicines, and clothing.
81. Register of Warrants Drawn Upon the Treasury Department.
Dec. 2, 1811-Sept. 29, 1832. 15 vols. 2 ft. Arranged chronologically. There are no entries for the period July 1820-June 1822. In the last volume there are some entries for January-March 1835 arranged by navy yard.
Entries give warrant number, date, name of person to whom issued, often the purpose, and amount broken down by Navy and Marine Corps appropriation items. There are also page totals and recapitulations.
82. Register for Warrants.
May 1, 1816-Sept. 29, 1817. 1 vol. 3/4 in.
The volume is labeled "Treasurer's Daybook," but it is a preliminary version of the last part of one of the registers of warrants described in entry 81. Entries give date, warrant number, name of person in whose favor drawn, amount broken down by appropriation item, and total amount. There is also a running grand total. No other such volumes have been found.
83. Register of Repayment Warrants Drawn Upon the Treasury Department.
Jul. 1, 1822-Sept. 26, 1842. 4 vols. 9 in.
Entries are for warrants for payment of amounts owed to the Navy Department, although usually they are not so identified. The records are on forms used for issuing warrants to persons and give date, warrant number, name of person on whom drawn, amount broken down by appropriation item, and total amount. There are also page totals.
84. Register of Monthly Summaries of Accounts of Navy Agents and Pursers.
Jan. 1824-Jan. 1826. 1 vol. 1/2 in.
Arranged by name of agent or purser and thereunder chronologically. There is a name index.
Individual entries include previous balance, requisition numbers and amounts, total expenditures for the month, and the new balance.
85. Schedules of Navy and Marine Corps Appropriations and Expenditures.
June 1828-Jan. 1831. 1 vol. 3/4 in.
Entered monthly were Navy and Marine Corps accounts for which money was appropriated by the Congress, the amount appropriated for each account for the quarter or year, the balance remaining in each account before money was drawn for the month, the amount drawn by requisition on each account for the month and other figures, and the balance remaining. Information is not complete for January 1831.
86. Register of Bills of Exchange Drawn Upon the Secretary of the Navy
Aug. 1830-May 1865. 3 vols. 3 in.
Arranged chronologically by date of payment.
Information in individual entries varies, but it usually includes date and place at which bill was drawn, name of person or company in whose favor it was drawn, amount, date paid, requisition number, and person or company to whom it was paid. Most of the bills were drawn in foreign ports in favor of naval officers, Navy agents, pursers, and consuls.
87. Register of Expenditures Under Various Shipbuilding and Ordnance Contracts.
Oct. 1838-Aug. 1854. 1 vol. 1 in.
For the shipbuilding accounts, the name and type of vessel, the yard at which the vessel was being built, and the amounts and types of wood and other supplies on hand are recorded. For the ordnance accounts the date of the initial contract and its expiration date, the article contracted for, the quantity delivered, and the place of delivery are given. Following the ordnance accounts is a statement of liabilities under ordnance contracts, July 1, 1854.
88. Ledgers of Contingent Expenses of the Navy Department and Its Bureaus.
May 1845-Dec. 1856. 2 vols. 1 in.
The first volume covers the period May 1845-July 1851; and the second volume, January 1849-December 1856. Thereunder arranged by office or bureau in which the expense was incurred and thereunder chronologically.
Entered in both volumes are the name of the person who served as agent or disbursing official for each office, the date of each expense, person or company to whom payment was made, the articles or services furnished, and the amount of the expenditure. In the second volume, the requisition number was sometimes entered. Payments were made from contingent funds for such services as extra clerical help, housekeeping, washing towels, scrubbing floors, bookbinding, and for such articles as books, periodicals, newspaper, stationery, and postage.
89. Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy From the Fourth Auditor
and the Second Comptroller of the Treasury.
Jan. 2, 1847-Dec. 30, 1884. 59 vols. 12 ft.
Arranged for the most part chronologically. The first two volumes are entirely letters from the Fourth Auditor. In the third volume, there are separate sections for letters from each official. There is also a supplemental volume, apparently for letters missed during the original binding. Except for the last volume, there are indexes to names and some subjects, sometimes with brief descriptions of the content of the letters.
Many of the letters are notifications of the completion of review and certification of accounts by both the Fourth Auditor and the Second Comptroller. Other letters relate to eligibility of former naval personnel, including those at the Naval Asylum, for pensions. The monthly rates of pensions are also included. The Fourth Auditor sometimes gave his opinion on claims brought by naval officers before the House and Senate Committees on Naval Affairs. For earlier letters from the Fourth Auditor and the Second Comptroller and their predecessors, see entries 36 and 44.
90. Ledger of Receipts and Expenditures of Money From War Duties Levied in Mexico.
May 1847-Feb. 1849. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged by name of ship or port in Mexico. There is a name index to naval officers.
The volumes contain accounts of each U.S. naval officer who, during the Mexican War, served as an acting purser of a naval vessel ordered to Mexico or as governor and duty collector in a Mexican port town. Information includes amounts of duties collected, amounts and dates of transfers and expenditures, and purposes of expenditures or persons to whom transfers were made.
91. Monthly Summary Statements of Receipts and Expenditures Submitted by
Navy Agents and Pursers and Officers of the Quartermaster and Paymaster's
Department of the Marine Corps.
Jan. 1849-Dec. 1849. 2 vols. 2 in.
Arranged by name of agent or purser or by department and thereunder chronologically.
Each statement gives the balance at the beginning of the month, receipts and expenditures, appropriations under which the money was drawn, amounts, and balance remaining at the end of the month.
92. Pay and Clothing Accounts for Enlisted Men.
1860-records 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged by name of sailor and thereunder chronologically. There is no index.
Entries include date of transaction, item or service for which money was spent, and amount.
93. Press Copies of Requisitions.
May 1861-June 1864. 3 vols. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically and numbered in sequence (6701-7791).
The requisitions were prepared on forms. These copies are only of the filled-in portions of the form. They give number and date of requisition, amount, purpose for which money was to be expended, and the account on which drawn. They were signed by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles.
94. Press Copies of Vouchers for Contingent and Other Expenditures
Approved by the Secretary of the Navy.
Jan. 2, 1862-June 30, 1863. 1 vol. 1 in.
Many of the vouchers are for expenses charged to the contingent account and do not show the purpose of the expenditure. The remaining vouchers show name of payee, amount and date of payment, purpose, and account on which drawn. Included in this group are vouchers for payments to the American Telegraph company, Robert Smalls and other pilots who served the Navy during 1862-63, the New York Times and other daily newspapers running advertisements for the Navy Department, naval officers for travel expenses, and clerical personnel hired by the Secretary's office and the bureaus.
95. Statements of Receipts and Disbursements of Navy Agents and Paymasters.
Sept. 1862-Sept. 1866. 3 in.
Arranged by station or vessel and thereunder chronologically.
Included are monthly summary statements of Navy agent, Portsmouth, September 1862-July 1865, and quarterly summary statements of Acting Assistant Paymaster, USS St. Mary, December 1863-December 1864. The entry also includes weekly statements of Navy agents: Portsmouth, June and August 1864 and January 1865; New York, February-June 1864; Philadelphia, March-December 1864; and Baltimore, March 1864-July 1865. Monthly summary statements of paymaster, Washington Navy Yard, February 1865-September 1866 are also in this entry. These statements usually include the amounts received and appropriations from which withdrawn, amount of money paid out and to whom paid, purposes of expenditures, and balance on hand.
96. Paymaster's Account Book for Clothing, Small Stores,
and Money Issued at U.S. Naval Depot Port Royal, SC.
1865-66. 2 vols. 4 in.
Arranged by name of individual and numbered sequentially.
Entries contain information as to monthly disbursements for clothing, small stores, and cash monies paid. Sometimes names of vessels and naval ratings are given. The account book was kept by Acting Assistant Paymaster R. W. Allen.
97. Registers of Receipts and Disbursements for Provisions, Clothing,
Small Stores, and Contingent Expenses by the Paymaster at U.S. Naval Depot Port Royal, SC.
1865-74. 2 vols. 4 in.
Arranged by category (provisions, clothing, small stores, and contingent). Under each category, entries are arranged chronologically. There is no register for 1867-72. This register was kept by Acting Assistant Paymaster R. W. Allen.
98. Inventories of Property at Shore Establishments.
1878. 4 vols. 10 in.
Arranged by shore establishment.
The inventories include estimates of the value of land, buildings and other structures, machinery, boilers, and other property, submitted by the Boston, Mare Island, Norfolk, Pensacola, Portsmouth, New York, League Island and Washington Navy Yards; the Key West and New London Naval Stations; the U.S. Torpedo Station at Newport; the U.S. Naval Observatory; the U.S. Naval Academy; and the Marine Barracks in Washington, DC.
The Secretary of the Navy on August 6, 1878, ordered an inventory to provide an estimate of the amount and value of all property, including land, buildings, and vessels, at each establishment or bureau. Most of the navy yards submitted separate inventories for each of the internal departments into which they were divided.
99. Weekly Statements of Purchases by Bureaus.
Jan. 1883-June 1890. 7 vols. 1 ft.
Arranged by time period, thereunder by bureau, thereunder chronologically.
Statements were transmitted by heads of bureaus to the Secretary of the Navy.
100. Form Requests From the Secretary of the Treasury Concerning
Customs Duties on Naval Materials.
Jan.-Nov. 1884. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged in chronologically. Indexed.
Acknowledgment on a printed form of requests from the Treasury to the Navy that specified articles be admitted at ports of entry free of duties or charges for the use of the Navy.
101. Inventories of Office Equipment
("Personal Property") at Navy Department Bureaus and Offices.
Mar. 1885-Mar. 1893. 2 vols. 3 in.
Arranged by name of building or office, thereunder by room number.
The first volume covers March-June 1885; the second is a continuation to December 1887, with an inventory of March 1893. "Personal property" is apparently understood as furniture and office equipment.
Personnel Records, 1803-97
Prior to 1861, control of personnel functions such as appointments, promotions, approvals of resignations, and orders for duty for naval officers rested almost solely with the Secretary of the Navy or the Chief Clerk of the Navy Department acting on his behalf. In 1861 Commodore Silas Stringham was ordered to take over responsibility for assigning and detaching Navy officers and an Office of Detail was established within the Secretary's office. The outbreak of the Civil War and the resulting appointment of a large number of volunteer officers moved Congress to pass an act on July 24, 1861, that ratified and confirmed all previous and subsequent temporary appointments of acting lieutenants, acting paymasters, acting assistant surgeons, acting masters, and master's mates until the return of the vessels in which these officers were serving or until the end of the Civil War. This act was partially revoked by Congress on May 16, 1864, when it passed legislation requiring that all volunteer appointments above the rank of acting master had to be submitted to the Senate for confirmation, just as had been required for regular appointments throughout the war.
The act of July 5, 1862, reorganizing the bureaus gave the new Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting responsibility for enlisting personnel at naval rendezvous points and on board receiving ships and other navy vessels. The new Bureau of Navigation established by the same act assumed an important role in personnel matters when the Office of Detail was transferred to its jurisdiction in 1865. The Chief of the Bureau of Navigation also served as Chief of the Office of Detail. The duties of the Office of Detail following its transfer were enumerated in a letter of August 31, 1865, from the Secretary to the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation.
They included the signing of orders for duty for both regular and volunteer officers; issuing notifications to regular officers that their resignations were approved by the Secretary and approving the resignations of volunteer officers and notifying them of the same; and submitting nominations of officers for command of vessels, duty at the Naval Academy, Naval Observatory, recruiting rendezvous, and ordnance duty, and for lighthouse inspector and minor appointments at shore establishments. In 1889 the responsibility for overseeing the enlistment of naval personnel was transferred from the Bureau of Equipment to the Bureau of Navigation. Throughout the Civil War and until the establishment of the Civil Service Commission in 1883, the selection, hire, and promotion of civilian employees of the Navy Department, its bureaus, and the shore establishments was mainly the responsibility of the Secretary of the Navy, the bureau chiefs, and commandants of yards and stations.
Other records pertaining to the service of Navy officers and enlisted men are part of the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24. Other records pertaining to naval and civilian personnel at shore establishments are with the Records of the Bureau of Yards and Docks in Record Group 71.
Records Relating Primarily to Civilian Employees
102. Letters Sent to Appointees to Civilian Positions.
Dec. 17, 1825-June 16, 1855. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. There are no letters for the period June 1829 to April 1841, when letters of this nature were copied in the miscellaneous letters sent (entry 6). There is a name index with a brief description of the content of each letter.
Included are letters sent by the Secretary of the Navy to civilians appointed as Navy agents, timber agents, U.S. agents on the coasts of Africa to receive liberated Africans, and naval storekeepers; naval constructors appointed to serve at navy yards and on boards of naval construction; professors appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy; and naval officers appointed to serve on the Board of Navy Commissioners. A typical letter announced the appointment and the salary and gave instructions concerning reporting for duty and, when necessary, executing a bond or oath of office. There are also letters revoking or terminating appointments and letters to incumbents notifying them of their replacement. Sometimes in the margin there are cross-references to the docket described in entry 105.
Registers of Letters Received and Other Registers and Lists
103. Registers of Letters Received Relating to the Naval Academy
and to Employment at Navy Yards.
July 1872-May 1875. 2 vols. 4 in.
One volume covers 1872-73, and the other, 1874-75. Thereunder for the most part entries are arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname of writer and thereunder chronologically by date of receipt. There are separate sections for letters from the Superintendent of the Naval Academy and the President.
Entries give date of receipt of letter, name and residence of writer, date of letter, clerk to whom it was assigned, and a summary of its contents. The letters from the Superintendent relate for the most part to the status of midshipmen and sometimes faculty members. Most of the letters from the President referred applications or recommendations for appointments. Most letters from other persons are from or on behalf of applicants for appointments as midshipmen, positions at navy yards, and some other positions. The letters relating to the Naval Academy are in Entry 49. The other letters have not been found.
104. Register of Letters Received Relating to Employment with the Navy Department.
Jan. 1885-Mar. 1887. 1 vol. 2 in.
Entries are arranged in chronological order. The volume contains a name index.
Each entry specifies date of receipt of application letter, applicant's name, date of application, to what clerk referred, action taken, and abstract. The corresponding letters of application have not been located.
105. Register of Navy Agents, Navy Commissioners and Others.
Nov. 1799-June 1854. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged by rank or position and thereunder chronologically by date of first action. There is a index to types of positions.
Entries give name of individual, date of appointment, state of residence, and, when appropriate, dates of promotion, resignation, orders, revoking of appointment, death, and leaves of absence. Some of the entries have cross-references to the letters described in entry 102. There are a few entries for early Marine Corps and Navy officers, but most entries are for Navy commissioners, Navy agents, naval storekeepers, chief naval constructor, naval constructors, blacksmiths, joiners, agents for the preservation of timber, agents to the coast of Africa, general superintendent of timber agencies, civil engineers, agents for the purchase of hemp, professors of ethics and other teachers at the Naval Academy, pyrotechnists, lithographers, Navy pension agents, and bureau chiefs.
106. Register of Applications for Civilian Positions.
Feb. 1834-Dec. 1853. 2 vols. 4 in.
Arranged by application number (534-4807), apparently assigned in chronological order. There are name indexes. No register has been found for numbers 1-533.
Entries give name of applicant, position sought, application number, month and year of application and place from which it was made, names of persons recommending applicant, and sometimes date of examination or appointment. Among the positions sought were Navy agent, storekeeper, live-oak agent, professor, chaplain, civil engineer, purser, clerk, and messenger. There are some entries for applicants for appointment as warrant officers such as carpenters and boatswains and a few for persons who wished to be restored to former positions as petty officers. The actual applications have not been found.
107. Lists, Abstracts, and Other Records Concerning Applicants for Civilian Positions.
1853. 2 vols. 2 in.
Arranged for the most part by type of record and thereunder by position sought, by yard or other location of the position, or alphabetically by initial letter of surname.
Included are lists of applicants seeking various civilian positions; abstracts of recommendations submitted on behalf of applicants for positions at the Portsmouth, Boston, and New York Navy Yards; notes on applicants and incumbents; and lists of applicants for advertising and of newspapers selected for advertisements.
108. Registers of Applications for Civilian Positions and for
Appointments as Volunteer Naval Officers.
Jan. 1854-Dec. 1873. 5 vols. 1 ft.
The first four volumes, through May 1864, are arranged by application number (1-9603), assigned in approximately chronological order. The last volume is arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname and thereunder by application number (9604-10225).
Prior to 1860 most of the applications were for bureau chief, Navy agent, Naval Academy professor, storekeeper, clerk, messenger, and other civilian positions. Thereafter applications for appointments as volunteer officers became more common, particularly acting masters, sailing masters, and master's mates. By July 1862, almost all of the applications were for appointments as acting ensigns or acting master's mates (mates beginning in March 1865). Most entries include name of applicant, application number, position sought, month and year of application, state of residence, and, until October 1862, names of persons recommending the applicant. Dates of appointment are sometimes noted.
109. Register Pertaining to Applicants for Clerkships.
May 1872-June 1874. 1 vol. 2 in.
Applications are registered under three headings: for clerkships of class one, candidates eligible for examination for clerkships, and candidates examined for promotion. There is a name index.
Information in entries includes name of applicant, residence, and age. Other data varies for each of the headings.
Records Relating to Naval Officers' Service
110. Letters to Commissioned and Warrant Officers Transmitting
Appointments and Orders and Accepting Resignations.
May 15, 1813BFeb. 12, 1842. 8 vols. 2 ft.
Arranged for the most part chronologically. There are typewritten name indexes prepared by a member of the staff of the Office of Naval Records and Library. The volume for May 1813-November 1815 also has a name index prepared contemporaneously by the Secretary's office.
These are chiefly letters from the Secretary of the Navy transmitting commissions or warrants and orders concerning duty assignments. There are also letters accepting resignations, giving notice of dismissals, and approving leaves and furloughs. Later letters of a similar nature are in Record Group 24, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (see Preliminary Inventory No. 123, entry 158). These letters are reproduced on rolls 382-384 and 391-395 of NARA Microfilm Publication T829, Miscellaneous Records of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
111. Press Copies of Letters Sent Concerning Naval Appointments and Other Personnel Matters.
Jan. 3, 1832-Nov. 30, 1833. 3 vols. 5 in.
Arranged chronologically. There are name indexes in the individual volumes.
Most of these letters were sent by the Secretary of the Navy in response to requests for appointments as midshipmen received from Members of Congress acting on behalf of constituents, parents writing on behalf of their sons, or the applicants themselves. There are also replies to letters concerning promotions from officers or persons writing on their behalf; letters from individuals seeking appointments as pursers, surgeons, and gunners; and letters from persons wanting civilian positions with the Navy Department. Also included are letters concerning discharges, furloughs, courts-martial, and other personnel matters.
The letters in the first two volumes were copied in volumes 18A and 18B of the letters described in entry 6 after the practice of making press copies was discontinued.
112. Letters of Appointment and Orders Sent to Volunteer Officers.
May 8, 1861-June 5, 1879. 10 vols. 2 ft.
Arranged chronologically. There are name indexes in the volumes.
The volumes contain letters notifying persons of their appointments as volunteer lieutenants, ensigns, masters, assistant engineers, assistant paymasters, assistant surgeons, and boatswains; accepting or declining resignations; revoking appointments; granting discharges; giving assignments to duty; and approving or denying requests for leaves of absence. Most of the letters from 1869 to 1879 are to acting assistant surgeons and acting engineers. The letters were signed by the Secretary of the Navy until September 1865 and thereafter by the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation and Office of Detail.
113. Letters Sent to Mates.
Jan. 1862BFeb. 10, 1890. 3 vols. 6 in.
Arranged chronologically. Most of the letters are dated between 1862 and 1865, and very few are dated after 1873. There are name indexes in the individual volumes.
Letters are from the Secretary of the Navy and concern appointing or discharging mates, accepting or declining their offers of resignation, ordering them to duty, requesting such information as age and length of service, answering inquiries concerning promotions and other matters, and granting or denying them leaves of absence. By an act of March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 539), the title "acting master's mate" was changed to "mate."
Similar letters sent by the Office of Detail are described in entry 117.
114. Letters Sent to Volunteer Officers of the Mississippi Squadron.
Nov. 7, 1862-Dec. 29, 1865. 2 vols. 4 in.
Arranged chronologically. There are name indexes in the volumes.
Included are letters signed by the Secretary of the Navy notifying volunteer lieutenants, ensigns, masters, mates, chief and assistant engineers, assistant paymasters, and assistant surgeons of their promotion or of their dismissal from the service, granting or denying them leaves of absence, and accepting or refusing their resignations. Similar letters, May-December 1865, sent by the Office of Detail to volunteer officers of the Mississippi Squadron are described in entry 116.
115. Press Copies of Letters Sent to Commissioned Officers of the
Regular Navy Relating to Personnel Matters.
Jan. 1865-Aug. 1889. 9 ft.
These letters ordered officers of both the line and staff to shore duty at navy yards, Navy Department bureaus, and the U.S. Naval Academy, or to sea duty aboard naval vessels. They also detached them from duty; granted them leave; notified them to report before medical, naval examining, or retiring boards; accepted their resignations; and announced their dismissal from the service. The orders are signed either by the Secretary of the Navy or by the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation and Office of Detail at the direction of the Secretary.
116. Letters Sent by the Office of Detail to Volunteer Officers of the Mississippi Squadron.
May 13, 1865-Dec. 30, 1865. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index.
These letters are similar in content to those described in entry 114, except that they were signed by the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation and Office of Detail rather than the Secretary of the Navy.
117. Letters Sent to Mates by the Office of Detail.
May 12, 1865-Aug. 4, 1884. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index.
Included are letters transmitting appointments, granting honorable discharges, accepting or rejecting resignations, and dismissing mates from the service. There are also orders assigning mates to vessels and granting them leaves of absence. Similar letters sent to mates signed by the Secretary of the Navy are described in entry 113.
118. Press Copies of Letters Sent to the Commissioner of Pensions.
Dec. 1882-Mar., 1890. 6 vols. 8 in.
Arranged chronologically. The volumes contain indexes to names of ships.
These letters from the Chief Clerk or Office of Detail provide the names of officers on board ships on a particular date in reply to inquiries by the Commissioner of Pensions. The Commissioner of Pensions used this information to locate witnesses to verify the service or disability of pension applicants. Most of the letters show the name of the pension applicant and the pension application number. The lists of officers relate to Civil War ships.
119. Letters of Resignation Received From Commissioned and Warrant Officers.
1803-25. 1 vol. 3 in.
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname of officer and thereunder chronologically. A typed name index is inserted in the volume.
Most letters have an explanation of the reason for the resignation. Sometimes there are warrants, letters from commanding officers, and other enclosures. The resignations are available on NARA Microfilm Publication T829, Miscellaneous Records of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
120. Letters Received Accepting Appointments as Commissioned and Warrant Officers.
1804-11. 3 vols. 8 in.
Arranged alphabetically by surname of appointee. Typed name indexes are inserted in the volumes.
These are letters received from persons receiving appointments with the Navy but not from Marine Corps appointees. Many are accompanied by signed oaths of allegiance. The letters are available on NARA Microfilm Publication T829, Miscellaneous records of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
121. Letters of Acceptance and Resignation Received.
Jan. 1804-June 1826. 1 vol. 1 in.
The volume is divided into three parts: letters of acceptance, 1805-12; letters of resignation or declination, 1804-20; and statements concerning state or territory of birth, appointment, and citizenship, January and June 1836. Thereunder arranged either chronologically or alphabetically by surname of officer.
Most of the acceptances are from appointees as Marine Corps officers; others are from Navy chaplains and purser appointees. Often they are accompanied by oaths. Most of the resignations and letters declining appointments are from midshipmen or midshipmen appointees. The statements concerning birthplace and residences are from chaplains and pursers. For other such statements, see entries 122, 125, 128, 129, and 131.
122. Letters Received Accepting Appointments as Midshipmen.
1809-39. 4 vols. 10 in.
Arranged alphabetically by surname of appointee. Typed name indexes are inserted in the volumes. Often accompanying the letters accepting warrants as midshipmen are signed oaths of allegiance and, after 1826, statements concerning states or territory of birth, appointment, and citizenship. Most of the letters are dated after 1825. For similar letters for 1810-14, see entry 123.
123. Letters Received from Midshipmen Acknowledging Receipt of
Warrants and Enclosing Oaths of Allegiance.
Jan. 25, 1810-Dec. 31, 1814. 1 vol. 4 in.
Arranged chronologically except that the letters for 1813 are first. There is a name index.
Similar in format and content to the letters and oaths described in entry 122; there are few records dated 1810-14 in that series.
124. Letters of Resignation Received from Midshipmen.
1810-25. 2 vols. 5 in.
Arranged alphabetically by surname of midshipman. For the first volume (ABK), a typed name index has been inserted.
The content of these letters is similar to the letters described in entry 126. Sometimes a notation indicating acceptance of the resignation is on the back. The letters are available on NARA Microfilm Publication T829, Miscellaneous Records of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
125. Letters Received Accepting Appointments as Commissioned and Warrant Officers.
Apr. 20, 1812-Oct. 1864. 43 vols. 13 ft.
Arranged chronologically. There are name indexes in the individual volumes.
In addition to letters acknowledging original appointments, there are also some acceptances of promotions. Many letters enclose oaths of allegiance and, after 1826, statements giving state or territory of birth, appointment, and citizenship. Other such statements are among the records described in entries 121, 122, 128, 129, and 131. For the later years the oaths and statements are on the same forms, which also give date of birth. There are some acceptances from acting officers for the early part of the Civil War. Acceptances dated before 1840 are available on NARA Microfilm Publication T829, Miscellaneous Records of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
126. Letters of Resignation Received from Commissioned, Warrant, and Acting Officers.
July 23, 1812-July 19, 1877. 11 vols. 4 ft.
Arranged chronologically. There are name indexes in the volumes.
This is the successor to the series described in entries 119, 121, and 124. Explanations of the reasons for the resignation were gradually given less frequently. Sometimes there are warrants or other enclosures. Often there are notations of acceptance and citations to the registers described in entry 33. Also included are resignations from cadets at the Naval Academy and some resignations from Southern officers who resigned in April 1861. Resignations dated before 1834 are available on National Archives Microfilm Publication, T829, Miscellaneous Records of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
127. Letters Received From the Senate Confirming Appointments and Promotions of Officers.
Oct. 18, 1814-Dec. 27, 1842. 1 vol. 3 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is an index to names of officers.
The volume includes letters of confirmation for captains, masters commandants (commanders), lieutenants, midshipmen, surgeons, surgeon's mates (assistant surgeons), chaplains, pursers, Navy agents, Marine Corps officers, and officers appointed to the Board of Navy commissioners. There are a few rejections.
128. Letters Received Stating Birthplaces of Officers.
Aug.-Dec. 1816. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged alphabetically by surname of officer; there are letters only for officers with surnames starting with C and D.
The letters were received from commissioned and warrant officers or occasionally a relative, in reply to an order of August 1, 1816, from the Secretary of the Navy. Additional letters are with the records described in entry 129.
129. Letters Received Relating to the Birthplace and Residence of Officers.
1816-26. 2 vols. 6 in.
Arranged alphabetically by name of officer. There are records for 1816 and 1826 only.
The form letters were sent in reply to circulars sent by the Secretary of the Navy in 1826 requesting commissioned and warrant officers to furnish the names of the state or territory in which they were born, from which they were appointed, and of which they were citizens. This information was recorded in space provided on the form letters, which were then returned to the Secretary. The same information was returned in letter format by officers who had not received the form letters. There are additional circulars, including later ones, among several series of letters received accepting appointments (see entries 121, 122, 125, 128, and 131).
130. Letters of Resignation Received From Commissioned Officers
at the Outbreak of the Civil War.
1860-61. 2 vols. and unbound papers. 4 in.
One volume is arranged alphabetically by surname of officer. The other volume is arranged chronologically and includes a name index.
These are letters received just before and at the beginning of the Civil War and replies to them. Most are from Southern officers or those opposed to the Civil War. There are a few resignations from warrant officers and Naval Academy professors. The responses in some cases are formal acceptances, but sometimes they merely acknowledge receipt of the resignation and state that the person had been stricken from the rolls. In many cases, there is a notation by the Secretary of the Navy that the officer was dismissed rather than being allowed to resign. In a few cases, there is a notation indicating that the officer was dismissed by order of President Lincoln. The letters are available on NARA Microfilm Publication T829, Miscellaneous Records of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
131. Letters Received Accepting Appointments as Acting Commissioned
or Warrant Officers and Clerks.
May 1861-July 1871. 39 vols. 10 ft.
Arranged by rank of officer and thereunder chronologically. There are comparatively few letters dated later than 1867. There are name indexes in the individual volumes.
Many of these letters to the Secretary of the Navy are on standard forms. The ranks include acting lieutenant commanders and acting lieutenants; acting ensigns; acting masters and sailing masters; acting master's mates; mates; and first-, second-, or third-class acting engineers. There is one volume each for acting assistant paymasters, acting assistant surgeons, clerks, and acting warrant officers (carpenters, sailmakers, boatswains and gunners). There are oaths of allegiance with many of the letters, some with statements of state or territory of birth, appointment, and residence and date of birth. Acting officers were also called volunteer officers.
132. Letters of Resignation Received From Volunteer Officers.
May 1, 1865-Nov. 12, 1875. 2 vols. 5 in.
Arranged chronologically. There are name indexes in the volumes.
Many of these letters received by the Secretary of the Navy are from officers of the Mississippi Squadron, which was abolished following the Civil War. There are endorsements of forwarding officials and a notation of the date of final action. Resignations of other volunteer officers are in entry 126.
133. Letters Received From the Commissioner of Pensions Concerning Officers.
Jan. 1870-May 1872. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged in chronological order with a name index.
The letters consist of requests, chiefly in printed forms, for addresses and service records of officers who had pension claims pending. On the reverse side of the form, there are brief summaries of the officer's service prepared by the Bureau of Navigation and Office of Detail. Most of the requests relate to Civil War officers; however, there are a few for War of 1812 pension claims.
134. Letters Received From Persons Volunteering Services in the Event of a War with Spain.
Nov. 13-Dec. 15, 1873. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index.
Letters of application with some recommendations are for appointment as officers should war with Spain result from the virginius affair, in which Spain captured a vessel running arms to Cuban rebels and executed 53 crew members, including a number of American citizens.
Other Correspondence Concerning Naval Service
135. Correspondence and Lists Concerning Volunteer Naval Officers.
Aug. 31, 1861-Mar. 1873. 1 vol. 3 in.
Arranged in rough chronological order. There is a name index.
Included are letters of application and recommendation, letters of appointment, letters requesting reassignments (including transfers from gunboat positions under War Department authority to equivalent positions with the Navy), letters revoking orders, Senate confirmations of appointments of volunteers, and many lists of officers, including those at various navy yards during the Civil War and those on vessels in the Mississippi Squadron on January 1, 1865.
Registers and Lists Pertaining to Applicants for Positions and Reinstatements
136. Register of Applications for Appointment as Midshipmen.
June 1814-Dec. 1857. 3 vols. 6 in.
Entries are arranged by application number assigned in approximately chronological order. A new set of numbers was started in 1847, probably for applications for admission to the Naval Academy. Registers for the period before 1814 and for the period March 1820-June 1840 are missing from this series. There are name indexes in the volumes.
Entries give application number, name of applicant, month of application, some indication of residence (city, state, congressional district), often names of persons recommending the applicant, and sometimes other information, such as action taken and age of applicant.
137. Register of Applications for Appointment as Assistant Surgeons.
Oct. 1834-Nov. 1875. 2 vols. 4 in.
Entries are arranged sequentially by application number (505-3758), assigned in approximately chronological order. There are name indexes in the volumes. No earlier volume has been found.
Entries include application number, name of applicant, month of application, place of residence (state, city, or both), (until 1863) the names of persons recommending the applicant, and sometimes an indication of the action taken.
138. Registers of Applications for Appointment as Pursers and Paymasters.
June 1837-Nov. 1873. 3 vols. 6 in.
Entries are arranged sequentially by application number (488-4159), assigned in approximately chronological order. There were few applications later than 1865. There are name indexes in the volumes. No earlier volume has been found.
Entries give application number, name of applicant, month of application, residence (usually just state), names of persons recommending the applicant, and sometimes date of appointment or other action. The title of purser was changed to paymaster by an act of Congress of June 22, 1860 (12 Stat.80).
139. Register of Applications for Appointment as Midshipmen.
Jan. 1840-May 1852. 1 vol. 2 in.
Entries are arranged by state and thereunder by application number. For some states, entries for the same applications are further broken down by congressional district. The application numbers are those used in the register described in entry 136.
Entries give application number, month, name of applicant, age, and sometimes an indication of action taken and congressional district.
140. Register of Applications for Appointment as Chaplains, Pursers,
and Marine Corps Officers.
1853-60. 1 vol. 2 in.
Entries are arranged alphabetically by state and thereunder by position.
Most entries give only the name of the applicant and the application number.
141. Register of Applications for Appointment as Engineer Officers.
Sept. 1853-Aug. 1862. 1 vol. 1 in.
Entries are arranged by application number (1-1099), assigned in approximately chronological order. There is a name index.
Most entries give application number, name of applicant, age, month of application, residence (usually just the state), and names of persons recommending the applicant. Sometimes there is information concerning examinations and action taken on the application.
142. Register of Applications of Commissioned, Warrant, and Petty Officers for Reinstatement.
Sept. 1853-May 1868. 1 vol. 1 in.
Entries are arranged sequentially by application number (1-434), assigned in approximately chronological order. There is a name index.
Most entries give application number, name of applicant, rank, month of application, place of residence (usually just the state), and names of persons recommending the applicant. Sometimes there is an indication of reinstatement or other action. There are some entries for applications of Marine Corps officers.
143. Register of Applications for Appointment as Master's Mates,
Acting Masters, and Acting Ensigns.
Apr. 1861-Apr. 1865. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged by rank and thereunder chronologically. The entries for masters and ensigns are combined. There is a name index.
Typical entries give date of application, name of applicant, place of residence, age, amount of previous sea service, names of persons recommending the applicant, and indication of action taken. Some of these items, however, are omitted from many of the entries. At the beginning of the volume is a register, April-May 1861, of applications for active duty, new orders, or for reinstatement to duty. Included are names of applicants, duty or position sought, and action taken upon application.
144. Register of Appointments Made on Recommendations of Members of Congress, ca. 1861-65.
n.d. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged by state and thereunder by name of Member of Congress recommending appointee. There is an index to names of Members of Congress.
Entries show name of appointee, position, and serial number of appointment. Most of the appointments entered in this volume were for acting assistant paymasters but there were a few for clerkships, naval storekeepers, chaplains, Navy agents, positions with the Marine Corps, and other positions.
145. Register of Volunteer Officers Given Permits To Take Promotion Examinations.
Jan. 1863-Apr. 1865 1 vol. 2 in.
A sample permit for volunteer officers to appear for promotion examinations is at the beginning of the volume followed by an alphabetically arranged list of examination candidates.
The sample permit is signed by the Secretary of the Navy and has a blank space for the name of officer and for the date. Following the sample is an alphabetical list of volunteer officers with the date of their permit.
Registers and Lists Pertaining to Orders
146. Register of Applications of Commissioned and Warrant Officers for Service.
Apr. 1823-Sept. 1825. 1 vol.
Arranged by rank of officer and thereunder for the most part by date of application.
Entries include date of application, name of officer, substance of request, and sometimes an indication of assignment actually made.
147. Registers of Orders Issued to Commissioned and Warrant Officers.
Jan. 1828-Apr. 1851. 9 vols. 10 in.
Arranged by chronological period, thereunder alphabetically by initial letter of surname of officer, and thereunder chronologically. There is overlap in the periods of time covered by some of the volumes and some duplication of entries.
Entries give date of order, name of officer, rank or staff position, and the substance of the order. Orders granted commissions and warrants, accepted resignations, ordered dismissals, reassigned officers, ordered them to report, approved leave, and revoked previous orders.
148. Registers of Applications for Service.
Feb. 1838-June 1862. 2 vols. 2 in.
One volume covers the years 1838-55; the other, the years 1856-62. Thereunder arranged by rank of officer and thereunder chronologically.
Entries include name of officer, date of request, present residence or station, and type of service desired. The type of service requested ranges from the general ("sea service") to the specific ("command of the Saratoga").
149. Registers of Revocations of Orders and of Leaves of Absence.
Aug. 1850-Dec. 1860. 1 vol. 1/2 in.
The volume is divided into two parts. The first, a register of orders revoked, August 1850-October 1851, is arranged in rough chronological order. Entries give name of officer affected by order, rank or staff position, date and subject of original order, and often date and reason for revocation.
The second part, a register of approved leaves of absence, August 1856-December 1860, is arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname of officer and thereunder chronologically. Entries give name of officer, rank or staff position, station or vessel, and length of leave granted.
150. List of Commissioned Officers Available for Duty, 1861-65.
n.d. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged by rank of officer.
On the right of facing pages, names of officers are listed under one of three columns: ordnance, navy yard, or other shore duty. On the left page are listed names of these officers who were assigned to a vessel or other duty or who left the service and usually the date of the action. The volume also includes lists of volunteer officers recommended for command, lists of officers on sick reports, and lists of vessels ready for sea duty.
151. Register of Orders Issued to Acting Officers.
Apr. 5, 1861-July 1, 1862. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index.
Included are entries for orders appointing, assigning, detailing, detaching, and dismissing officers. Following the register are lists of officers dismissed, February-June 1864 and November 1864-April 1865, and a list of deaths, January-August 1863.
152. Register of Commissioned Officers Acknowledging Receipt
of Orders and Reporting for Duty.
Mar. 18, 1862-Dec. 1863. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically by date of order. There is a name index.
Entries give date of order, name and rank of officer, place or nature of duty, date of acknowledgment, and date officer reported for duty. Also included in the volume are separate lists of commodores, captains, commanders, lieutenant commanders, lieutenants, and ensigns available for duty in September and October 1862.
153. Record of Officers Assigned to U.S. Vessels
("Detail for Vessels").
1863-64. 1 vol. 1 in.
Indexed by name of vessel.
This listing of officer complements to U.S. Navy vessels, gives the name of the officer assigned and the date of assignment.
154. Register of Leaves of Absence Granted Volunteer Officers.
Nov. 1865-Nov. 1866. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname of officer.
Entries include name and rank of officer, date of original entry into service, date of expiration of leave, and sometimes address while on leave.
155. Listing of Officers of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet
("No. 4, Miscellaneous, U.S.N.")
1869-70. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged alphabetically by the initial letter of the officer's surname.
Each entry contains full name; rank; date of commission, warrant, or appointment; name of vessel assigned; date joined fleet; date left United States; date detached; where ordered; and remarks.
156. Abstracts of Orders to Officers.
Jan. 2, 1872-Aug. 18, 1873. 1 vol. 1 in.
Most of the orders assigned officers to or detached them from naval vessels and stations.
Statements of Service and Compilations of Service
157. Register of Sea Duty Assignments of Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 1815-23.
n.d. 1 vol. 3/4 in.
Arranged by rank of officer and thereunder by date of current commission. The volume covers the period from January 1815 through December 31, 1823, but appears to have been compiled sometime later.
Entries give name of officer, date of entry into the Navy (as early as March 1798), date of current commission (as early as March 1799), vessels to which assigned and dates of service on each vessel. For a register of commissioned and warrant officers, see entry 344.
158. Register of Midshipmen.
1834-47. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged by state or territory of residence.
The names of midshipmen from each state or territory are listed. When an individual ceased to serve, his name was lined out and the reason for the deletion was noted. The reasons included promotion, dismissal, resignation, death, and revocation of appointment. The volume also contains a table showing the apportionment of the House of Representatives under the 1830 census and several memorandums relating to the number of midshipmen allowed and the number of vacancies.
159. Register of Service of Engineer Officers.
Jan. 1842-1903. 2 vols. 3 in.
Arranged in rough chronological order by date of officer's entry into the Navy. There is a name index.
Most entries include name of officer; date of original appointment; dates and nature of assignments; time on sea duty, on shore duty, and unemployed for each assignment; and total time for each of these categories at the end of each assignment. The first volume also contains some letters sent (December 1850) by Chief of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment, and Repair Charles W. Skinner, Secretary of the Navy William Graham, and Engineer-in-Chief B. F. Isherwood, ordering officers to duty. There are some lists for 1858-59 of engineers arranged by rank or by name of vessel to which assigned. The second volume includes the birth and death date of the engineer.
160. Tabular Summaries of Officers' Statements of Service, 1798-1842.
ca. 1842. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged by rank. For captains, commanders, lieutenants, and pursers, thereunder divided into service before and after January 1, 1824. For surgeons, assistant surgeons, chaplains, and midshipmen there is information concerning only service from January 1, 1824. Thereunder arranged by officer. The summaries cover service to March 18, 1842. There are name indexes preceding the summaries for each rank and a comprehensive index near the back of the volume.
Information for each officer includes nature and dates of each duty assignment, length of duty at sea and of other duties for each assignment, and totals. There is also an entry number for each officer, and the same number is used for the same officer in the sections for service before and after January 1, 1824. The indexes refer to these numbers, not page numbers. In the back of the volume is a list of the officers with the amount of sea service and other duty of each. This list is also arranged by rank and uses the same numbers as the summaries. The comprehensive index may have been intended for use with this list rather than for the summaries.
161. Officers' Statements of Service, 1798-1844.
June 1842-Dec. 1844. 2 vols. 5 in.
Arranged by rank of officer and thereunder by individual officer. There are name indexes arranged by initial letter of surname and thereunder by rank of officer.
The statements are on forms sent to officers in June 1842, completed, and returned. There were two forms on a single sheet. Form A is a statement of service from original entry into the Navy (as early as 1798) through December 31, 1841. For each assignment, the officer provided the date of his order, issuing authority, name of vessel or station, type of duty, rank at the time, dates of attachment and detachment, name of official who ordered the detachment, and the length of service performed. Form B, often not completed, is a statement of the departures and arrivals of vessels on which the officer served. Given for each cruise is name of vessel, class, date and place of departure, destination, date and port of return, and the length of the officer's absence from the United States.
Sometimes there are notations on the statements added by the Navy Department that provide explanations of gaps and inaccuracies in the information. Usually there are calculations of totals of the amounts of service, but often these seem to have been made or corrected in the Navy Department. Additional pages have been added to some statements.
Some of the letters transmitting the statements and supplements to the statements are among the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24 (see Preliminary Inventory 123, entry 195).
162. Register of Captain's Clerks, Commander's Clerks, Paymaster Clerks,
and Pay Stewards Who Served from 1844 to 1871.
n.d. 2 vols. 2 in.
Arranged alphabetically by name of clerk or steward. There are name indexes in the volumes.
The entries include name of clerk or steward and of vessel(s), with some indication of dates of service and sometimes date and place of birth.
163. Register of Naval Academy Midshipmen and Related Records.
1850-53. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged by state or territory.
Most of the volume is a register similar to that described in entry 162, with names of midshipmen who ceased to serve lined out. There is also a list of vacancies and appointments for the Academy, some tables showing the number of midshipmen from each state and congressional district, and a list of acting assistant paymasters applying for promotion to the regular service in 1863.
164. Registers of Volunteer (Acting) Officers.
May 1861-ca. 1880. 4 vols. 8 in.
The volumes cover overlapping time periods. Entries in individual volumes are arranged by rank of officer and thereunder alphabetically by initial letter of officer's surname or chronologically by date of appointment.
The same names appear in different volumes but the information is somewhat different. It may include date of commission; states of birth, appointment, and residence; duty assignments; and date of promotion, resignation, death, revocation of appointment, or other action terminating service at that rank. Registered are lieutenant commanders; lieutenants; masters; ensigns; mates; passed assistant surgeons; assistant surgeons; assistant paymasters; boatswains; gunners; carpenters; chief engineers; first, second, and third assistant engineers; and cadet engineers.
165. Registers of Honorable Discharges of Volunteer (Acting) Officers.
Aug. 1861-June 1870. 2 vols. 4 in.
One volume covers the period April 1865-September 1866; the other, August 1861-June 1870. Entries are arranged by rank of officer. There is some duplication between the two volumes. There are name indexes in the volumes.
Entries give name of officer, date of original entry into the service, rank at time of discharge, and date of discharge. In the second volume, there is also information as to the officer's permanent residence when discharged and rank at time of entry into the service.
Registered are officers of the following ranks: commanders, lieutenants, pilots, masters, ensigns mates, master's mates, assistant surgeons, passed assistant surgeons, assistant paymasters, boatswains, gunners, carpenters, chief engineers, first assistant engineers, second assistant engineers, and third assistant engineers.
166. Register of Dismissals of Volunteer Officers with
Surnames Beginning with A or B
("Register of Volunteer Officers, U.S.N., Dismissals")
Dec. 1861-Nov. 1865 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged by first letter of officers' surnames, thereunder in chronological order.
Entries give name, rank, and date of dismissal. The volume is labeled on its front cover as Journal 7 of the Ringgold Expedition, but the contents do not appear to be connected to the expedition.
167. Register of Union and Confederate Officers, Diplomatic Personnel
and Blockade Runners
("Lists of Names, Acting Officers")
1861-65. 1 vol. 3/4 in.
Entries are arranged alphabetically by surname of officer. Confederates are listed on separate pages from Union persons.
Entries give dates and nature of appointment, later occurrences (death, resignation, and the like), and references to document numbers upon which the information is based. The method of citation is too cryptic to permit identification of the actual documents referred to. Some of the references appear to relate to the War Department's Collection of Confederate records. Included are names of Union and Confederate Navy officers, foreign ministers, consular agents, blockade-runners and inventors of naval ordnance. There are tracings of officers' signatures on tissue paper attached to some of the pages. Some of the pages are in red ink and some in black, but it is unknown if there a meaning to the ink color. The volume was probably used in compiling the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion.
168. Register of Acting Officers of the United States Navy.
1861-65. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged in chronological order.
Entries give name of officer, by whom recommended, and station. The name of Capt. Thornton A. Jenkins is on the title page. The register seems incomplete.
169. Register of Service Performed by Officers, 1861-65.
n.d. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged by rank and thereunder chronologically by date of current commission. The volume covers the years 1861-65 but apparently was compiled sometime later.
Entries give name of officer, station, date of birth, state of citizenship, date of entry into the service, date of current commission, amounts of different kinds of service, and circumstances of wounds if applicable.
170. Register of Acting Engineer Officers.
May 1861-Sept. 1865. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged in two subseries. Entries for acting first, second, and third assistant engineers are arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname of officer and thereunder by rank. Entries for acting chief engineers are arranged alphabetically in the second subseries.
The entries show the name, dates of appointment and acceptance, state of birth, state of residence, present duty or station, and remarks noting promotions, resignations, deaths, or revocations of appointments.
171. Lists of Midshipmen Appointments.
1863-75. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged for the most part by year, thereunder by state or territory, and thereunder by nominating official or congressional district. There are no lists for some years. Starting in 1873, there are just lists showing apportionment by congressional district. For the Civil War period, there are sections for appointments to fill vacancies from unrepresented Southern districts and appointments from "Disloyal States."
Information concerning individuals includes name, name or position of nominating official, year of appointment, and sometimes year of graduation, resignation, or other action terminating appointment. For Presidential appointments, the category of appointment is indicated (at large, son of officer, enlisted boy, or apprentice).
172. Compilation of Data Relating to Wartime Service of Naval
and Marine Corps Officers, 1812-1865.
ca. 1867. 3 vols. 9 in.
Arranged by category of officer. The first volume is for Marine Corps officers. The second volume is for commissioned naval line officers, rank of ensign and above. The third volume is for nonline naval officers such as medical officers, engineer officers, and paymasters. Thereunder each volume is arranged by surname of officer. There are name indexes.
These volumes, which were never completed, were intended to provide the date and place of birth, date of appointment, and information about service in wars from the War of 1812 through the Civil War. The data about service concerns battles and wounds rather than administrative matters, such as promotions and duty assignments. The amount of information about an individual varies from nothing to fairly lengthy sketches. For Navy officers, it apparently was compiled from the statements of service described in entry 173. For Marine Corps officers, it was apparently compiled from statements of service that are in Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24 (see Preliminary Inventory 123, entry 196).
173. Statements of Service of Officers, 1812-65.
1867. 3 ft.
Arranged in two groupings according to rank and thereunder alphabetically by name. There are typewritten name indexes prepared by the Navy Department at a later date. One grouping includes statements mostly from line officers (rear and vice admirals, commodores, captains, commanders, lieutenant commanders, lieutenants, masters, ensigns, midshipmen, and ensigns). The other grouping is for nonline officers (surgeons, passed assistant and assistant surgeons, paymasters, assistant paymasters, chaplains, professors at the Naval Academy, and engineers). There are no statements from acting or volunteer officers. Also included are a list of resignations, 1850-54; resignations from the Naval Academy, 1865; withdrawals of resignations, 1861; and midshipmen acceptances, 1861.
The statements were submitted on printed forms in response to a May 24, 1867, circular of the Bureau of Navigation and Office of Detail. Information includes name, station, place and sometimes date of birth, state from which appointed, state of which a resident, date of original entry into the service, date of current commission, amount of time spent on sea service, amount of time on coast survey and other shore duty, naval battles participated in, and nature of any wounds received. Statements of service for Marine Corps officers are among the records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24 (see Preliminary Inventory 123, entry 196).
174. Records Concerning Civil War Pilots.
ca. 1897. 3 vols. 2 in.
Arranged by type of record. There are name indexes in the first two volumes.
These records probably were compiled in connection with claims for pay or pensions of pilots who served during the Civil War but were not regularly appointed in the Navy. The records include an undated alphabetical listing of pilots of the Mississippi Squadron, which gives name, class, dates of appointment and of end of service, and residence; originals and copies of letters of application and recommendation and letters discussing service of pilots, 1854-65; an undated register, arranged alphabetically by name of pilot that gives dates of such events as appointment, transfers, resignation, dismissal, death, and arrests; typewritten copies of correspondence of the Secretary of the Navy, with squadron commanders, 1864-65, concerning status, pay, and entitlement to benefits of those pilots not regularly appointed; and some letters and memorandums, 1894-97, concerning the same subject.
Other Registers and Lists
175. Oaths of Allegiance.
May 1861-July 1865. 3 vols. 6 in.
The first volume is arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname; the second volume is unarranged. There are name indexes in the first two volumes. The third volume is arranged chronologically.
The oaths of allegiance are addressed to the Secretary of the Navy. Most of the oaths for 1861 are in the first volume, and most of those for 1862 are in the second volume. There are no oaths for the period August 1861-June 1862. The third volume has oaths for 1863-65. Most of these oaths are identical to those usually included with the letters received accepting commissions.
Most of the oaths in the first two volumes are from naval officers; but there are also some from enlisted men and civilian employees of the Navy Department, including a number of group oaths. Most of the oaths in the third volume are for civilian workers at the Ordnance Department, Washington Navy Yard.
176. Index to Volume 2 of Warrants of Appointments Issued to Engineers.
Oct. 1860-June 1864 1 vol. 1/2 in.
Entries are arranged by initial letter of engineer's surname, and thereunder in chronological order. Entries predating October 1862 are to a missing volume of warrants.
177. Warrants of Appointment Issued to Engineers.
Oct. 22, 1862-Oct. 27, 1866. 2 vols. 4 in.
Arranged chronologically. There are some warrants dated June 18, 1868. The volumes are labeled "No.2" and "No.3." No volume 1 has been found. There are name indexes in the volumes, and a separate index to volume 2 is described in entry 176.
Printed forms completed with name of appointee, effective date and date of issuance, and rank (first, second, or third assistant engineer). If more than one warrant was issued for a rank on the same day, they were numbered in sequence; and the appointee with the lowest number had the highest ranking.
There are additional warrants in Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group 24, (see Preliminary Inventory 123, entry 166).
178. List of Commissioned Officers Who Resigned or Were Dismissed
Before or After the Start of the Civil War.
n.d. 1 vol. 1/2 in.
Arranged for the most part by rank of officer. The volume covers the period December 1860-December 1861 but apparently was compiled much later. Some of its pages are on the backs of sheets of stationery used in the 1880s.
Entries give name of officer and, as appropriate, date of resignation, date of acceptance, or date of dismissal. Sometimes the state in which the officer resided is included.
Records Relating to Enlisted Men
179. Returns of Boys Entered As Apprentices.
July 1837-Aug. 1842. 2 vols. 3 in.
Arranged by site of naval rendezvous (recruiting station) and thereunder chronologically.
The returns, mostly submitted weekly on printed forms but in several different versions, include name, date of entry, rating, wages, time of expiration of service, and sometimes ship or other duty station to which assigned, date of birth or age, and name of parent or guardian. There are returns for Philadelphia and Kensington, PA; New York, NY; Portland, ME; Boston, MA; and Baltimore, MD. With the Norfolk, VA, returns is a monthly report of the school composed of apprentices and other boys serving on the USS Java, July 1839. The apprentice system was authorized by an Act of March 2, 1837. The purpose of the apprentice system was to train boys in duties of seamanship.
180. Certificates of Enlistment at Charlestown (Boston) Navy Yard
on Receiving Ship Columbus.
Aug. 1839. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged alphabetically by surname of recruit. There is a typed name index prepared by the Navy Department Library.
The certificates are for landsmen, ordinary seamen, and able seamen who enlisted on board the receiving ship Columbus. For each recruit there are four forms: the certificate of enlistment by the recruiting officer, certificate of the commanding officer of the ship that he had reported, certificate of the purser that he had been entered on the ship's books, and the recruit's receipt for bounty or advance pay. Information in these documents includes date of enlistment, rating, amount of bounty or advanced pay, amount of monthly pay, term of service, date of expiration of leave of absence before reporting, and date of reporting on the ship.
Legal Records, 1807-83
Prior to the creation of the Office of Solicitor and Naval Judge Advocate General on March 2, 1865, the Secretary of the Navy held primary responsibility for overseeing the legal business of the Navy department. Within this record group are records created and maintained by the Secretary in the exercise of this function, including records pertaining to contracts, claims, prize vessels and their cargoes, prisoners of war, courts-martial, and courts of inquiry. Under the provisions of the Judiciary Act of 1789, the Secretary requested and received legal opinions on matters affecting the Navy from the Attorney General of the United States (1 stat 73).
During the Civil War, Army officers were detailed to the Navy Department and appointed by the Secretary as special commissioners to aid in the investigation of naval personnel and private contractors involved in frauds and other abuses against the Government. Special counsels were also appointed to aid in the prosecution of those indicted. The correspondence between the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary and the officers detailed from the War Department--Cols. Lafayette Baker and Henry S. Olcott and Maj. George Chandleróis part of this record group, as well as the correspondence with Special Counsels Nathaniel Wilson, H. H. Goodman, and William E. Chandler.
Also in this record group are some of the records kept by the Offices of the Solicitor and Naval Judge Advocate General created in March 1865, the Naval Solicitor and Judge Advocate General of the Navy created in March 1877, and the Judge Advocate General of the Navy established in 1880. By far the greatest part of the records of these offices, particularly those relating to courts-martial and boards of investigation, are in the Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy), Record Group 125.
181. Letters Received from the Attorney General of the United States
Containing Legal Opinions and Advice.
June 1807-Nov. 1825. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. The register of letters received bound in the front of the volume is arranged numerically with each entry consisting of the number of the letter and a brief description of its subject. Some of the letters are also registered in the volumes described in entry 32.
Among the legal matters discussed in these letters are the composition of naval general courts-martial, the awards of prize vessels and prize cargoes, claims involving private contractors with the Navy Department, the right of civil authorities to try servicemen, interpretation of various slave trade laws, and definitions of the duties and powers of the President in naval matters, as well as those of the Secretary of the Navy, and Navy and Marine Corps officers.
Some of the cases and opinions upon which the Attorney General based his responses to the Secretary are in the Opinion Books, 1817-32, which are part of the records of the Office of the Attorney General in the General Records of the Department of Justice, Record Group 60.
These letters have been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M1029, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy from the Attorney General of the United States Containing Legal Opinions and Advice, 1807-1825.
182. Case Files Concerning Claims Against the Navy Department.
Aug. 1846-Oct. 1874. 7 vols. 2 ft.
Arranged in rough order by type of case, thereunder by case, and thereunder for the most part chronologically. There are name indexes in six of the volumes; in three volumes, index entries give a brief description of each letter.
The records consist of letters received, lists, petitions, court orders, powers of attorney, briefs and other legal documents, inventories, transcripts of proceedings of civil courts and of boards or commissions, and documents submitted as evidence. Many of the claims were submitted by naval personnel for prize money. There were also claims for losses of persons who had vessels or cargoes seized or suffered losses because of collisions, for pay of naval officers, for compensation for goods or services furnished, and for violations of patent rights. Other cases concerned such matters as desertion, murder, drunkenness, and unlawful sale or appropriation of Government property. Included are records concerning the proceedings of a court of inquiry to investigate charges by Commodore William D. Porter against Comdr. Donald McN. Fairfax concerning accusations made against Porter by Fairfax in regard to the destruction of the CSS Arkansas by Porter's vessel, the USS Essex.
Similar records concerning claims and other cases are among the Records of the Judge Advocate General (Navy), Record Group 125.
183. Reports Received Concerning Abolition of Corporal Punishment and the Spirit Ration.
Feb. 1850-Mar. 1850. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged by rank of officer submitting report. A list of officers from whom reports were received is at the front of the volume.
These 84 reports were in response to a circular letter issued by the Secretary on January 29, 1850, to captains, commanders, lieutenants, surgeons, and pursers, asking their views and those of "intelligent seamen" concerning the abolition of corporal punishment and the rum ration. A copy of the circular is bound in the front of the volume. The Navy Department abolished flogging in 1855. This volume has been reproduced on roll 451 of NARA Microfilm Publication T829, Miscellaneous Records of the office of Naval Records and Library.
184. Registers of Letters Received Relating to Claims Forwarded
to Other Offices and Bureaus.
Jan. 1865-May 1876. 6 vols. 8 in.
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of surname or position of writer or claimant and thereunder chronologically.
Entries include name of claimant or writer, date of letter, usually the subject of the letter or the nature of claim, and the office or bureau to which it was referred. Letters were referred to other offices and bureaus in the Department, officers presiding over naval boards, the Fourth Auditor of the Treasury Department, the Solicitor for the Navy Department, the Commissioner of Pensions, and the Commissioner of the General Land Office. The claims involve back pay or bounty, personal items lost in shipwrecks, unfinished contracts, and travel expense reimbursement. Many of the letters are from families of deceased officers or sailors claiming final effects.
185. Letters Sent and Endorsements by the Solicitor and Naval Judge Advocate General.
Mar.-June 1865. unbound. 4 in.
Arranged chronologically. Letters are numbered 1-66.
The unbound letters relate to a wide variety of topics, such as investigations, suitability of officers, claims for damage and distribution of prize money.
Records Relating to Blockade Running
186. Correspondence With Consuls Concerning Blockade Runners
and Vessels Fitted Out Abroad for the Confederacy
Sept. 12, 1861-July 18,1863. 1 vol. 5 in.
The volume contains chiefly copies or extracts of letters and despatches originally received by the Secretary of State and subsequently referred by the Secretary of the Navy, but there are some originals (in addition to transmittal letters of the Secretary of the Navy). Most of the letters are from consular offices at London, Liverpool, Bristol, Glasgow, Dublin, Hamburg, Malaga, Havana, and Nassau. The letters relate to the departure of Confederate vessels and blockade runners from ports in Europe and the West Indies. A small number of letters concerning other matters such as the rules of the Federal district court at New York regarding prizes and cargo shipped to the Confederate States from Nova Scotia and Quebec are also part of this series.
For related letters, see entry 44.
187. Letters Received and Other Records Concerning Persons
Captured by Navy Blockading Forces
("Letters From Blockade Runners").
Mar. 1863-July 26, 1865. 4 vols. 1 ft.
Filed with the letters are crew lists, reports, depositions, affidavits, transcripts of proceedings of military commissions, oaths of allegiance, and parole oaths. The records concern civilians and Confederate naval personnel captured on vessels attempting to violate the Union blockade. These records usually include personal descriptions and biographical information about individuals who were released or detained. Some of them were released as foreign citizens, others were released on parole, and others were imprisoned, usually in Northern prisons. Many of the letters have endorsements by the Navy Department recommending the release or continued imprisonment of the captive.
Many letters from Union Squadron commanders transmit names of Confederate naval personnel and civilians taken north on Union naval vessels and describe the conduct of the prisoners during the passage. A large number of letters are from the U.S. Marshals for the District of Massachusetts and the Southern District of New York reporting the delivery of blockade violators to their custody or the transfer of the violators to naval prisons at Fort Lafayette, NY, and Fort Warren, MA. In their letters the marshals also reported the names of civilian prisoners who were administered oaths of allegiance and parole oaths; the oaths are frequently enclosed with the letters.
Many letters are from imprisoned blockade violators or their families requesting their release, and a smaller number of letters are from the Commissary General of Prisoners and prize commissioners concerning civilian prisoners taken from prize vessels and from Army officers in charge of the prisons at which the blockade violators were held. Also included are copies of proceedings of military commissions convened in 1863 and 1864 to make recommendations concerning the disposition of civilian prisoners of war.
188. Register of Persons Captured on Blockade Runners.
May 1863-July 1865. 1 vol. 1 in.
Entries are arranged by date of capture. There is a name index.
Entries, which are in narrative form, include such information as name of prisoner, age, marital status, nationality, occupation, place and sometimes date of capture, activities in which engaged during the war, destination and purpose of voyage, place and dates of detention, date and place of release, and notation of whether willing to take an oath of allegiance. Also noted in some entries is the date on which the prisoner was turned over to the War Department. The volume also contains several lists of naval prisoners confined at Fort Warren, Fort Lafayette, and Fort Jefferson and copies of letters sent to the Secretary of the Navy concerning the transfer of naval prisoners to War Department custody and the release of prisoners. The information in the register does not appear to be complete.
Prize Case Records
189. Rough Lists of Captured and Capturing Vessels.
1861-65. 5 vols. 3 in.
The volumes and their arrangement are as follows.
These volumes appear to be compilations, probably prepared by different clerks for their temporary use.
190. Form Reports of U.S. Marshals and U.S. Attorneys Concerning Prize Cases.
June 1861-July 1867. 7 vols. 2 ft.
Arranged by location of court and thereunder for the most part chronologically. Sometimes the marshal's reports are separate from those of the attorney.
There are chiefly two types of form reports. Returns from marshals on prize vessels (not always present) include, when appropriate, such information as name of vessel, date placed in the marshal's custody, disposition, gross amount realized from sales, expenses, disposition of proceeds, and maintenance costs and appraised value for vessels not sold. Reports of U.S. attorneys on prize adjudications usually include, when appropriate, name and brief description of prize vessel or cargo, date of capture, name of captor, description of cargo and its value, date of libel, date of interlocutory sale, date of district court hearing and the decree concerning disposition of the vessel and cargo (see entry 195), dates of appeals, total amount of sale and disposition of the money and of other actions. Other details are included under the heading "remarks." There are reports for the courts at Boston, Springfield (IL), Key West, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, and New Orleans.
191. Lists of Officers and Crews Entitled to Share of Prize Money
Received From Commanding Officers of Naval Vessels.
July 1861-June 1865. 12 vols. 3 ft.
Arranged in rough chronological order by date of list. The last list is dated March 1866. There is an index to names of U.S. Navy vessels in each volume.
The submission of these lists was made mandatory by an act of July 17, 1862 (12 Stat. 600, 607), which required that the commanding officer of a naval vessel claiming an award of prize money submit as soon as possible after the capture a list of the officers and crew on board his vessel at the time of the capture. Failure to do so would result in the loss of the commanding officer's share of the money and possible punishment by court-martial. Some of the lists are accompanied by explanatory comments or by reports describing the capture. The lists include the rank or rating of the officers and enlisted men and usually their monthly pay.
192. Index to Docket for Prize Cases, 1861-74.
n.d. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged alphabetically by initial letter of name of prize vessel or type of cargo.
Entries give name of vessel, location of court, and docket volume and page numbers.
193. Docket for Prize Cases.
Sept. 1861-Dec. 1874. 15 vols. 3 ft.
Arranged by location of court in which prize adjudication took place. There is an index to names of vessels and types of cargoes in each volume. For a separate index, see entry 192. One volume for Boston is missing.
Information given varies but may include name of prize vessel, name of captor and commanding officer, date of capture, type and value of cargo and its disposition, amount of prize money awarded by the court, dates of libel and other legal actions, and date referred to Fourth Auditor. For most prizes, there is also a list of officers and crew entitled to prize money.
194. Register of Prizes.
Nov. 1861-Nov. 1864. 1 vol. 1 in.
Entries are arranged in rough chronological order by date of capture.
Entries give name and class of prize vessel, date and place of capture, name of captor, cargo, indication of disposition, and usually a citation to the report of the capture. The citations provide the squadron commander's name and page number in the Letters Received From Officers Commanding Squadrons, entry 45.
195. Federal Court Decrees Relating to the Distribution of Prize Money.
Sept. 1862-Dec. 1867. 6 vols. 2 ft.
Arranged by location of court and thereunder in rough chronological order. There are indexes to names of captured vessels.
The decrees show the gross proceeds from the sales of prize vessels and cargoes, the amounts deducted for expenses, and the amounts remaining for distribution among officers and crew of the captor vessels. The names of vessels eligible to participate in the award also are indicated. Often accompanying the decrees are statements of expenses of marshals, district attorneys, prize commissioners, counsels for the captors, and court clerks. Included are decrees handed down by the Federal courts at Key West (FL), September 1862-June 1865 (3 vols.); New York, Springfield (IL), and St. Augustine (FL), September 1862-July 1866 (1 vol.); Philadelphia, December 1862-December 1867 (1 vol.); and Washington, Boston, and New Orleans, October 1863-November 1865 (1 vol.). A few 1866 decrees are included in the last volume for Key West, and a few 1867 and 1869 decrees are included in the volume for Washington, Boston, and New Orleans.
196. Register of Prize Cases.
1862-71. 1 vol. 1 in.
Entries are arranged by initial letter of prize vessel's name or by of type of cargo.
Entries give name and class of prize or type of cargo, names of captor and flag officer, gross proceeds, costs, amount available for distribution, place (court) where adjudicated, and date sent to Fourth Auditor.
197. Summaries of Prize Adjudications in U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York.
Jan. 20, 1863. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically by date on which libel was filed. There is an index to names of captured vessels.
The summaries were prepared by Francis H. Upton, counsel for the Government and for naval captors, of 133 prize cases filed during the period May 1861-December 1862 (with notations for actions up to January 19, 1863). Information provided varies but may include name and a general description of the prize vessel, name of captor vessel, date and place and other information concerning the capture, date on which libel was filed, dates of other legal actions and events, names of legal representatives for both sides, notations concerning appeals to the circuit court and to the Supreme Court, proceeds of sale, costs and disbursements, and the amount available for distribution. Remarks include personal opinions of Upton. There is an undated letter of transmittal to the Secretary of the Navy following the summaries.
198. Records Received Concerning Prize Case Auctions.
1863-65. 1 vol. 3 in.
Arranged in rough order by prize case or other subject. The volume has an index, largely to names of vessels.
There are letters with petitions, reports, inventories, depositions, receipts, lists, and other records concerning the appointment of auctioneers, determinations that vessels had been captured as prizes, appraisals of value of vessels and their equipment and cargoes, processing of cases in U.S. district courts, and sales and handling of proceeds. Many of the letters are from applicants for the position of auctioneer, inspector, or appraiser. Records include several auction posters and catalogs, including those for the prize steamers Georgia and Pearl.
199. Register of Cargo Captured.
1864-65. 1 vol.
Entries are arranged alphabetically by initial letter of name of prize vessel.
Register includes date and place of capture, description of cargo, name of capturing ship, location of prize court, name of squadron commander, and page number of report relating to the capture. The page numbers refer to Letters Received From Officers Commanding Squadrons (see entry 45). Cargoes include cotton, medicines, guns, and clothing.
Records Relating to Navy Yard Cases
200. Letters and Telegrams Received From Special Commissioner
H. S. Olcott, Special Counsel Nathaniel Wilson, and Judge Advocate H. H. Goodman.
Feb. 7, 1864-Dec. 30, 1864. 2 vols. 6 in.
Arranged chronologically. There are lists of names of writers of letters in the volumes.
Most of the letters are from Special Commissioner Henry Steel Olcott, addressed to Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox. Olcott investigated frauds at the navy yards in New York, Boston, Portsmouth, and Philadelphia and arranged for arrest of persons believed guilty. Olcott's letters are written primarily from New York and Boston, where he was conducting investigations into frauds committed against the Navy Department by private contractors for oil, timber, and other supplies. Olcott's letters and telegrams also report progress made in investigations of Navy agents and other civilian navy yard employees suspected of selling permits to sutlers, having interest in companies doing business with the Department, running money brokerage rings, stealing property from the Government, or providing inferior products or insufficient quantities. Affidavits taken by Olcott and his assistants in their investigations frequently accompany his letters. Most of the letters from Special Counsel Nathaniel Wilson and Judge Advocate H. H. Goodman concern the prosecution of persons charged with frauds at New York and Boston.
In the second volume is a copy of Olcott's February 6, 1865, report to Assistant Secretary Fox of his activities up to that time as special commissioner for investigating frauds.
201. Press Copies of Letters Sent by Special Counsel William E. Chandler
and Maj. George H. Chandler Concerning Frauds and Thefts at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Dec. 15, 1864-Apr. 4, 1865. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically. There is a name index.
The letters were sent by William E. Chandler until February 4, 1865, and thereafter, by his assistant, Maj. George H. Chandler, who took charge after William Chandler's departure. There are letters to the Secretary of the Navy, Special Commissioner Henry Steel Olcott (see entry 192), the U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Major Chandler, and others. They relate to the preparation for prosecution of cases against naval personnel, civilian employees of the yard, and contractors accused of being involved in the frauds and thefts. There are letters concerning evidence uncovered, confessions obtained, and recommendations for and against releasing prisoners on bond or parole. The last letter in the volume dated April 4, 1865, is signed by William E. Chandler as Solicitor of the Navy Department.
202. Letters Received by Inspector John. P. Veeder Concerning Navy Yard Accounts.
Oct. 7, 1865-Sept. 2, 1867. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. Veeder was appointed in October 1865 to conduct an investigation into the manner in which the chief accountants at the navy yards were performing their duties. He examined procedures for receiving, inspecting, and disbursing supplies and materials; approving bills; and mustering and paying employees. As a result of the investigation, some of the chief accountants and other employees were replaced and new procedures instituted. Most of the letters are from the chief accountants, but also included are letters from Special Investigator Henry S. Olcott, under whom Veeder originally worked (see entry 207). Later Veeder was under the direct supervision of the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, from whom there are also letters.
Records Relating to Contracts
203. Contracts for Transport of Mail and for Steam Machinery.
Apr. 1847-Aug. 1860. 1 vol. 2 in.
Arranged chronologically. Name index to contractors.
Most of the copies of contracts and related documents copied into this volume were made between the Department of the Navy and private steamship companies for the transport of mail between ports within the United States; among U.S., Latin American, and European ports; and between the Navy Department and engineering companies for the construction and installation of steam machinery on vessels being built at various navy yards. Records include the contract to build the steamer Central America that was lost off the Carolina coast in 1857 with a large cargo of gold.
204. Contracts for the Manufacture and Delivery of Steam Machinery for Naval Vessels.
Aug.-Dec. 1862. 1 vol. 2 in.
No discernable arrangement, but there is an index to names of contractors.
There are copies of contracts, often with specifications are for manufacture and delivery of steam machinery, engines, coal bunkers, and other equipment to be installed on naval vessels. Some are on printed forms; others are handwritten.
205. Letters Sent Relating to Contracts for Work Performed at Navy Yards.
Oct. 1884-Aug. 1886. 1 in.
These are letters sent by the Secretary of the Navy (or Chief Clerk) to contractors, principally John Roach of the Morgan Iron Works, or members of the Naval Advisory Board.
Registers and Other Records Pertaining to U.S. Naval Vessels, 1797-1919
206. Registers of U.S. Naval Vessels.
1797-1845. 2 vols. 3 in.
Both volumes cover 1797-1815. The first volume is arranged by rate (class) of ship; the second volume is arranged alphabetically by vessel name.
Entries for individual vessels give name, rate (class), number and caliber and kinds of guns, name of commander, place and date of construction and name of builder, length of gun deck and keel, breadth of beam, and often current location or disposition of ship. The second volume contains more information concerning the dimensions of each vessel. For a later register, see entry 419.
207. Register of Vessels and Squadrons of the U.S. Navy.
1848-50. 1 vol.
The volume has two segments. The first segment is arranged by class of vessel, and thereunder by number of guns. The second segment is arranged by squadron, and thereunder by class of vessel.
In the first segment, each entry contains name, rate, number of guns, where built, when built, and location (naval station or ocean). Entries in the second segment show name of squadron and name of squadron commander, followed by a list of each vessel in the squadron by class. For each ship, the number of guns, complement of men, time of sailing, and movements are shown.
208. Lists and Registers of U.S. Naval Vessels and Their Officers.
1801-9. 1 vol. 2 in.
The volume is arranged in five parts.
Records of Chief Clerk John W. Hogg, 1875-92
John W. Hogg served as Chief Clerk of the Navy Department from 1875 until his death in 1893. Earlier he had served as disbursing clerk in the Department.
209. Records of Chief Clerk John W. Hogg Concerning Policies and Administration.
ca. 1875-91. 1 vol. 2 in.
No discernible arrangement except that records concerning the same subject sometimes are filed together. There is a typewritten subject index.
The volume consists for the most part of copies of documents assembled for reference purposes by John W. Hogg. Included are letters, memorandums, procedural issuances, and financial statements. The documents relate to a wide range of subjects including the duties of various naval boards and of the "Admiral of the Navy," the names of newspapers subscribed to by the Navy Department, the distribution of work in the Secretary's office, the number of Union and Confederate veterans employed in the Navy Department, and the order of arrangement of the Navy Register. While most of the memorandums and letters included were addressed to Navy officers and heads of bureaus, some represent correspondence between Hogg and the Secretary of the Navy. There are additional records relating to chief clerks in Record Group 80, General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1798-1947.
Records of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1898-1921
An act of Congress of July 11, 1890, provided for an Assistant Secretary of the Navy to be appointed from civil life by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Assistant Secretary of the Navy handled civilian personnel matters and the administration of shore stations, in addition to serving as Acting Secretary of the Navy in the absence of the Secretary. Most records of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy are in Record Group 80, General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1798-1947.
210. Letters Received.
1898-1907. 2 ft.
Arranged alphabetically by surname of correspondent.
For the most part personal and semiofficial letters received from officials and other persons outside of the Navy Department. They relate to such matters as applications for appointment; promotions of officers and other personnel actions; location of Navy personnel; invitations; and requests for information, publications, and tickets to launchings and football games.
211. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt's
Personal Copies of Minutes of the Secretary's Council Meetings.
Mar. 21-Dec. 22, 1921. 1 vol. 1 in.
Arranged chronologically in a three-ring binder. There are subject indexes to some of the minutes.
The council was composed of the Assistant Secretary, the bureau chiefs, the Judge Advocate General, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Chief of Naval Operations, and other high-ranking naval officers. It advised the Secretary on many matters, including treaty arrangements, naval maneuvers and training, appropriations, repair and upkeep of the fleet, and aviation. A set of minutes for 1921-25 is in General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1798-1947, Record Group 80 (see Preliminary Checklist 31, entry 21).
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