Captain William Francis Lynch

1 April 1801 - 17 October 1865

"Orders to Proceed on Expedition"

Navy Department,
31 July 1847.

Lieut. Wm. F. Lynch
U.S. Navy, Washington, D.C.


You will proceed to New York, and procure a copper boat of the dimensions proposed by you, and superintend its construction.

You are also authorized to ship, or select from those already shipped, one petty officer and twelve seamen for the service on which you are to be detailed.

I am respectfully
Your Obt. Serv’t.
J. Y. Mason.

Navy Department.
11 November 1847.

Lieut. W.F. Lynch
Comm’g U.S.S. Supply.


As soon as the U.S. Store Ship “Supply” under your command, is in all respects ready for sea, you will proceed to Smyrna. If at that place you find yourself unable to obtain the Firman [passport], giving you with your party permission to proceed to and explore the Dead Sea, you will leave the ship at Smyrna, and go to Constantinople with the dispatches to Mr. Carr, from the State Department. Should you not obtain the requisite authority from the Turkish Government, you will return to the ship, and proceed in execution of the orders for the delivery of stores to the Squadron. If you obtain the Firman, after having fully explained that your party will carry arms merely for your own protection, you will return to the Ship, at Smyrna, and in her proceed to such point on the coast of Syria, as shall be deemed most advantages for the purpose, and land with your party, consisting of seventeen persons, officers and men as heretofore designated; and the “Supply” under Lieutenant Pennock, will proceed in execution of her orders. You may direct him, on his return from the Squadron, to touch, at such time, and at such point as you may indicate, to take yourself and party on board, on your return to the United States.

After landing you will proceed to the Dead Sea, with your boats, and make the exploration and survey of that interesting sheet of water, suggested in your letters to the Department. The object, with which I have yielded to your request, is to promote the cause of Science, and advance the character of the Naval Service; to accomplish which a more favorable opportunity will probably not occur.

After completing the survey and exploration of the Dead Sea, you may if time permit, and it be necessary for the verification of your previous work, survey the terraces of the river Jordan, the river itself and the lake Tiberias through which it flows. Should some unforeseen cause detain the Ship after the proceeding operations shall have been completed, rather than the officers and men should remain idle, you will employ them in verifying the old, or making new observations, as may seen most expedient.

In your intercourse with the inhabitants you are enjoined to be circumspect, conciliatory and forbearing; paying fairly for all provisions obtained or services rendered; and prohibiting those under your command from committing the slightest act of aggression. You are further enjoined to practive the strictest economy compatible with success, and you will yourself keep an account of each item of expenditure for future settlement.

This interesting special service will not operate your detachment from the command of the Storeship, except for the limited term of your absence from your ship, while in its execution.

Transmitted herewith, for your information, is a copy of a letter from the Department of State, dated 15 October ult. communicating an extract of a dispatch, in relation to your enterprise, addressed to Mr. Carr, our Minister to Constantinople.

A copy of these instructions is entrusted to you, to be transmitted to Commodore Read, supposed to be in command on the Mediterranean Station, if you are not disappointed in obtaining the Firman, without which you will not undertake the journey into Syria.

You will report in detail, the result of your proceedings to the Department.

I am, very respectfully
Your obedient servant
J. Y. Mason.

Source: USS Supply ZC file, Navy Department Library. The documents are typescripts, presumably copies from handwritten documents in Record Group (RG) 45 at the Old Military and Civil Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408, telephone (202) 501-5385.