The Navy Department Library
William Francis Lynch
1 April 1801 - 17 October 1865
Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea
Related Documents in the Navy Department Library
Chronology of Service
William Francis Lynch, US Navy chronology compiled March 22, 1935.
1801 - 1 April - Born in Norfolk, Va.
1819 - 26 January - Appointed Midshipman from the state of Virginia.
1819 - 2 February - Entry on muster roll of USS Congress at Norfolk. Served in the East Indies.
1821 - 22 June - Warrant as Midshipman sent him, dated 26 Jan. 1819. Accepted appointment and took oath the same day. Wrote from Petersburg, Va., 23 June, stating he had accepted the appointment.
1821 - 4 July - Detached from USS Congress.
1821 - 5 July - Ordered to report to Commodore Tingey at Washington for duty on board US Schooner Shark, Lieutenant Matthew C. Perry. Appearance on board Shark at Washington 6 July. Served in the West Indies.
1822 - 31 January - Detached from Shark and granted leave by Lieutenant Commander Perry; leave extended by Department for 3 months.
1822 - 29 April - Reported the expiration of his leave to the Department and requested a furlough of 12 months to make a voyage to China. Furlough granted same day.
1823 - 14 April - Reported himself ready for duty and requested orders to USS Washington at New York.
1823 - 29 April - Ordered to report to Commandant at New York for duty on board USS Washington. Appearance on board Washington same day.
1823 - 5 July - Transferred from USS Washington to USS Cyane at New York.
1823 - 26 August - Wrote from USS Cyane requesting the sanction of the Department for an exchange with another Midshipman in order to be attached to the US Schooner Ferret for service in the West Indies; stated he had the consent of Captain Evans and the commanding officers of the vessels. Wrote again 20 Sept.
1823 - 25 September - Ordered to proceed immediately to Washington and report for duty on board the US Schooner Beagle. Served on vessels of Commodore David Porter’s “Mosquito Fleet” in the West Indies for the suppression of piracy.
1825 - 30 April - Requested detachment from West India Squadron and 1 month’s leave with permission to report to the Department at expiration. Enclosed a letter from Commander Kennedy commending his deportment while attached to USS Hornet, West India Squadron.
1825 - 6 June - Wrote from Norfolk reporting the expiration of his leave that day and requesting orders to the New York Station to pursue a course in mathematics under Mr. Ward. Also requested permission to stay 8 or 10 days in Philadelphia for an operation on his ankle, which had been severely injured while he was attached to the Congress in launching the first cutter.
1825 - 8 June - Granted 2 months’ leave. At expiration to report to Department.
1825 - 9 June - In consequence of his letter of 6 June granted 6 months’ leave with permission either to remain in Philadelphia or to go to New York. At expiration of leave it would be renewed should circumstances permit.
1825 - 24 July - Wrote from Philadelphia requesting orders to the US Frigate Brandywine. Stated he expected within 15 days to be able to perform the duties of his grade, that it was inconvenient to attend the naval school while on leave, and the cruise of the Brandywine would afford desirable combinations.
1825 - 9 August - Ordered to proceed to Washington and report to the commanding officer of the Brandywine for duty. Ship assigned to Mediterranean Squadron.
1825 - 7 September - Appearance on board Brandywine at Washington.
1825 - 31 December - Transferred on shore sick from Brandywine at Port Mahon.
1826 - 10 March - Wrote from New York reporting his return to the United States on sick ticket by order of Commodore Rodgers. Stated he would probably be in Philadelphia; his trouble the injury to his ankle sustained while attached to the Congress.
1826 - 22 April - Granted leave until further orders. Previous correspondence relative to the necessity of a surgical operation in France, and request for an early examination for promotion, as he wished to leave the United States as early as practicable. Stated that if he was not fit for duty within 9 months after his departure his resignation might be considered rendered, as he did not wish to make a convenience of the service.
1826 - 25 November - Ordered to proceed to Boston and report to Captain Crane for duty on board the US Sloop-of-War Warren.
1826 - 27 November - Wrote from Norfolk relative to an examination for Midshipmen of which he had not learned until that morning, having been in the mountains on account of his health. Asked to be included in it, and requested an immediate reply as he was about to put himself in charge of the only physician who could venture an experiment on his ankle.
1826 - 29 November - Informed it was not intended to include Midshipmen of his date in the present examination.
1826 - 5 December - Wrote from Norfolk acknowledging orders to the Warren, and asked to delay reporting on account of treatment, but would proceed with dispatch if necessary. Permission to remain for the present in Norfolk was granted 7 Dec, and in consequence of further correspondence on the state of his health the order to the Warren was revoked 31 Jan. 1827, renewed 3 Feb., and finally revoked 21 Feb.
1827 - 21 February - Orders to Warren finally revoked, and granted leave until further orders.
1827 - 17 April - Requested permission to proceed to the Mediterranean on board the US Frigate Java as a supernumerary. On being informed he must state his reasons in writing. Wrote that he had made the request in order to reduce the expense a trip to Paris for medical advice which had long been recommended.
1827 - 18 April - Granted permission to visit the Mediterranean for the restoration of his health; to report at Boston to Captain Crane as a supernumerary on board the Java. Did not go, as the sailing of the Java was delayed, and he had received notification of an examination for Midshipmen in the summer or fall which he was expected to attend.
1827 - 4 December - Notified that the examination was to take place at Brooklyn immediately; expected to attend.
1828 - 30 January - Ordered to report to Commodore James Barron at New York as Sailing Master on board the US Sloop-of-War Falmouth. Reported.
1828 - 20 March - Detached from Falmouth. Went to Petersburg, Va., to await further orders from Department.
1828 - 17 May - Appointed Lieutenant. Informed his commission would be forwarded at a later date.
1828 - 17 June - Reported his residence at Norfolk.
1829 - 31 March - Commissioned Lieutenant from 17 May 1828, No.4 on list. Commission enclosed dated 26 Mar. 1829. Addressed at New York.
1829 - 15 September - Ordered to proceed without delay to Norfolk and report to Commodore Barron for duty on board the US Sloop-of-War Erie. Addressed at New York.
1829 - 5 October - Appearance on board Erie at Norfolk. Served in the West Indies.
1830 - 18 June - Detached from Erie. Returned to the United States in the Brandywine, arriving 7 July.
1830 - 14 July - Wrote from New Haven, Conn., reporting his residence there; had not reported before because of illness.
1831 - 27 June - Ordered to report to Commodore Chauncey at New York without delay for duty on board the Receiving Ship at New York.
1831 - 19 July - Orders of 27 June revoked at his request. Ordered to proceed without delay to Norfolk and report to Commodore Warrington for duty on the Receiving Ship at Norfolk. Served on board. Cholera in Norfolk and on Receiving Ship in summer of 1832.
1833 - 16 February - Granted 2 months' leave. Residence, Frederick, Md. Later on waiting orders.
1834 - 28 January - Ordered to duty on Brandywine by 1 Mar. On muster roll of Brandywine that date.
1834 - 7 April - Orders to Brandywine revoked on account of his health.
1834 - 17 June - Ordered to proceed to Norfolk and report to Commodore Warrington for duty on the US Sloop-of-War John Adams on 4 July. Served in the Mediterranean.
1835 - 3 February - Wrote from John Adams, Port Mahon, requesting permission to return to the United States by the next January on account of the death of a near relative; to leave on a public vessel in the fall, or if one not returning at that time to be granted leave for 5 months from November; would report by 1 Apr. 1836 for duty with the squadron. His request approved by Commodore Patterson.
1835 - 5 June - Granted permission to return to the United States as requested. On arrival to report to the Department.
1836 - 22 February - Granted 3 months’ leave. At expiration report to Dept.
1836 - 14 March - Wrote from Anchorage, near Frederick, Md., stating he had not availed himself of the permission granted, as the order of 5 June detached him permanently from the John Adams, and other circumstances had made the leave asked for unnecessary. Stated that instead he had effected a transfer to the Delaware, thereby extending his term of sea service to the longest period compatible with his health and efficiency. His health seriously impaired. On muster roll of Delaware from 21 Sep. 1835. Ship arrived at Norfolk in February 1836.
1836 - 8 June - Wrote from Anchorage, near Frederick, Md., reporting the expiration of his leave.
1836 - 10 June - Noted as on waiting orders.
1836 - 12 October - Wrote from Philadelphia reporting for duty and requesting orders to the West India Squadron; stated he would volunteer to go at his own expense but his means were straitened by three trips to Philadelphia and residence there of several months for surgical advice and treatment.
1836 - 16 October - His application for orders to the West India Squadron noted. Informed that in the course of a month or two he could have orders to proceed in a public vessel. No orders found. On leave in Navy Register for 1837.
1837 - 24 October - Ordered to proceed to New York and report to Commodore Ridgely for duty on the US Steamship Fulton. Served on Fulton.
1838 - 1 February - Wrote from Fulton, New York, with the sanction of the commanding officer, for permission to cross the Atlantic in the Steamship Great Western, for the purpose of acquiring information as to the use of steam in vessels on the high seas. Would be absent 3 months.
1838 - 21 April - Having been tendered a passage to England on the Great Western by the Director of Commerce on 12 Mar., permission granted to proceed to England in that ship and return in her to the United States. The vessel expected to leave New York for Bristol about 15 May. During his absence to be on full pay.
1838 - 21 June - Granted 1 months' leave. At expiration to report to the Department.
1838 - 20 July - Wrote from Frederick, Md., reporting the expiration of his leave and requesting an extension, promised by the former Secretary if required, to seek relief from trouble with his right eye. Stated an operation was necessary, which had been delayed by the heat; was awaiting a change in the weather to proceed to Philadelphia.
1838 - 24 July - Granted leave for 1 month from date for reason given in letter of 20 July.
1838 - 26 August - Wrote from Philadelphia reporting the expiration of his leave. Would report again when the object for which he had received was attained or had been given up.
1839 - 13 January - Requested leave for 1 month with permission to report to the Department at expiration; thought he should make room for other officers on the Fulton.
1839 - 18 January - Leave for 1 month from date granted as requested, with permission to report to the Department at expiration.
1839 - 7 February - Ordered to proceed to New York and report to Commodore Ridgely for duty on board Steamer Fulton.
1839 - 3 March - Ordered to proceed to Norfolk and report to Commodore Warrington for command of the US Steamer Poinsett. In command of vessel for remainder of year engaged in fitting her out and testing repairs.
1839 - 30 December - Detached from command of Poinsett and waiting orders.
1840 - 26 May - Wrote from Frederick, Md., requesting to be attached to the Brazil Squadron under Commodore Morgan.
1840 - 11 June - Ordered to proceed to Norfolk by 25 June and report to Commodore Shubrick for a passage in the US Sloop-of-War Cyane for duty in the Brazil Squadron on arrival at that station.
1840 - 28 July - Sailed in the U.S. Sloop-of-War Fairfield for the Mediterranean, where he served in the Mediterranean Squadron under Commodore Morgan. Returned in the fall of 1842 by permission of Commodore Morgan. In a letter of 25 Nov. stated he had been attached to the Brandywine which was about to return to the United States, when ordered to assume command of the Fairfield; when relieved of that command had reported for further duty, but Commodore Morgan having no situation at his disposal authorized him to return to the United States and report to the Department.
1842 - 25 November - Placed on waiting orders by his request. Requested the first vacancy on the Baltimore Station.
1842 - 24 December - Ordered to duty at the Naval Rendezvous at New York.
1843 - 27 February - Wrote from Frederick, Md., requesting an extension for 1 month of leave from the Rendezvous granted 21 Feb., in order to care for the family of his brother, who had gone to the West Indies for his health.
1843 - 6 March - Leave extended 1 month. On 28 Mar. his leave was further extended for 2 months for the same purpose; at expiration to resume his duties at the Rendezvous at New York.
1843 - 15 April - Wrote from Frederick, Md., expressing gratitude for the kindness of the Department in extending his leave. Stated he had lost two brothers, and could not leave for some time.
1843 - 18 April - Detached from the Naval Rendezvous at New York and granted 2 months' leave.
1843 - 7 October - Wrote from Frederick, Md., stating he was advised to spend the winter in a southern clime; would like to visit St. Croix, where his brothers were buried. Asked for passage in a public vessel. Could be addressed at Petersburg, Va.
1843 - 10 October - Granted leave from the United States till May 1844. Did not avail himself of permission to take passage in the St. Lawrence, sudden cold weather making it necessary for him to leave Norfolk for a more southern port.
1844 - 11 May - Wrote from Norfolk reporting the expiration of his leave; reached Norfolk 10 May. Expected to reside at Frederick, Md.
1844 - 8 October - Ordered to command of the US Steamer Colonel Harney. At Philadelphia until latter part of November preparing for cruise; reported arrival at Norfolk in letter of 28 Nov.; thence to Florida, arriving early in February 1845, at Pensacola, and New Orleans on 7 Feb. Throughout his cruise reported on depredations on public timber lands. Was commended in letter of 12 Feb. for his zeal in executing the orders of the Department.
1845 - 9 June - Ordered to Norfolk; on arrival to proceed to the Navy Yard and report to the Department and the Bureau of Construction and Repair. Took the Colonel Harney North, arriving at Philadelphia about 1 July, returning to Norfolk about 14 July. Requested to be detached from Colonel Harney and ordered to Pensacola when a vacancy there. Stated the vessel was unseaworthy, and he himself had incipient disease which had carried off all his family, and wished to avoid a winter in the North.
1845 - 18 August - Detached from Colonel Harney on reporting of successor and on waiting orders.
1845 - 27 September - Ordered to duty at the Pensacola Navy Yard. During the summer of 1846 solicited active service in the Gulf, but continued duty at Pensacola. 28 Sept.1846, requested to be detached, mentioning the death of his only daughter and solicitude for his one surviving child.
1846 - 8 October - Detached from Pensacola Navy Yard and granted 3 months' leave. Renewed his application for service in the Gulf in December, and in January and February 1847.
1847 - 8 May - Wrote from Washington requesting permission to circumnavigate the Dead Sea, and on 27 May was informed that his proposition had been considered, and the Department was disposed to act favorably upon it at the most convenient opportunity.
1847 - 31 July - Ordered to special duty at New York in connection with an expedition to explore the Dead Sea. Ordered to procure a copper boat of the dimensions proposed by him and superintend its construction, and authorized to ship or select 1 petty officer and 12 seamen for the service on which he was to be detailed. Further correspondence to and from during August and September.
1847 - 30 September - Ordered to command of the US Storeship Supply. Sailed about the end of November, and made the exploration. For an account of it see his Narrative of the United States’ Expedition to the River Jordon and the Dead Sea, published by Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia, 1849.
1848 - 9 December - Detached from Supply and from special duty in connection with the expedition to explore the Dead Sea, and granted 3 months' leave.
1848 - 11 December - Ordered to continue on duty till further orders to prepare his report.
1849 - 30 October - Commissioned Commander from 5 Sept 1849.
1849 - 1 November - Wrote from Baltimore acknowledging his appointment, and requesting to be sent the next year in quest of Sir John Franklin. Thought he could raise enough through private sources to charter, strengthen and equip a steamer.
1849 - 16 November - Detached from special duty and waiting orders.
1850 - 2 March - Commissioned Captain.
1852 - 24 February - Applied for permission to make an exploration of the tributaries of the La Plata River.
1852 - 23 October - Wrote from Washington relative to an exploration of the interior of Africa for purposes of colonization.
1852 - 25 October - Ordered to make reconnaissance of the country on the western coast of Africa. Made the reconnaissance. Had instructions to search for a healthy elevated region in the interior not far from the coast. On 1 Mar. 1853, wrote from USS John Adams, Monrovia, Liberia, telling of his explorations. Notwithstanding precautions, had had fever. On 4 May 1853, wrote from Petersburg, Va., reporting his return, and stating he would send his report as soon as possible.
1853 - 5 September - Detached form duty in connection with the expedition to Africa, and orders to command the USS Alleghany by 15 Sept. Reported for command at Norfolk that day. On 17 Oct. wrote from the vessel, requesting that she might be fitted up as a storeship to be sent to bring back animals, plants and seeds to improve the stock and add to the vegetable products of the country. Had written to the Secretary of the Interior on the subject in 1850, and to the Secretary of the Navy at that time and in 1851.
1853 - 27 October - Detached from the Alleghany and to command the USS Germantown by 8 Nov. Served in the Brazil Squadron. In 1856 was engaged in collecting sugar cane plants. Returned to the United States in February 1857.
1857 - 13 February - Detached from command of Germantown and granted 3 months' leave.
1858 -1860 - Waiting orders.
1861 - 21 April - Wrote from Norfolk tendering his resignation as a Captain in the US Navy.
1861 - 13 May - Resignation accepted from 21 Apr. 1861.
William Francis Lynch, Confederate States Navy chronology
1861 - 10 June - Captain, Confederate States Navy. Commanded naval batteries Aquia Creek, Va., 1861.
1861-1862 - Commanded naval defenses of the waters of Virginia and North Carolina.
1862 - 7-8 February - Participated in defense of Roanoke Island, N.C..
1862 - Commanded Mississippi River defenses.
1862-1864 - Commanded naval defenses of North Carolina and in 1864 Richmond Station.
1865 - 3 May - Paroled, Richmond, Va.
1865 - 17 October - Died at Baltimore.
Fuller details of Captain Lynch’s Civil War service can be found in the volumes of Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, which with a general index is obtainable in the Navy Department Library and most large public libraries.
Source: Adapted from "William Francis Lynch" [biography] in William Francis Lynch file, box 137, ZB files, Navy Department Library.
Related Documents in the Navy Department Library
18 January 1846, letter written from Norfolk, Va. to Senator Johnson inquiring about a position for Lynch’s nephew.
12 April 1847, letter written from Norfolk, Va., to Commander George Blake, USN, in reference to correspondence with Mr. Graham.
23 April 1847, personal letter written from Georgetown, D.C., to Commander George Blake, USN, again in reference to correspondence with Mr. Graham
23 September 1861, letter to report to Confederate States Steamer Mobile.
17 December 1861, Confederate States (C.S.) Navy travel voucher for $51.00 and incidentals voucher for $71.20.
13-17 February 1862, C. S. Navy travel voucher from Richmond, Va. to Petersburg, Va. for $14.90.
8 March 1862, letter verifying travel payment.
11 March 1862, sea service pay voucher for $54.57.
24 April - 4 May 1862, C.S. Navy travel voucher for $69.56.
28 June 1862, C.S. Navy pay voucher in the amount of $120.07.
17 July 1862, C.S. Navy travel voucher from Richmond, Va. to Petersburg, Va. and Jackson, Ms. for $134.40.
13 August 1862, C.S. Navy travel voucher from the Confederate States Navy Department to Flag Officer Lynch in the amount of $33.40.
10 September 1862, C.S. Navy travel voucher from Jackson, Ms. to Mobile, Al. for $161.70.
11 September 1862, C.S. Navy receipt for pay for $150.00.
12 September 1862, written copy of a telegram message.
11 October 1862, C.S. Navy travel voucher from Richmond, Va. to Jackson, Ms. in the amount of $125.60.
11 October 1862, C.S. Navy pay voucher at Naval Station Jackson for $26.25.
12 October 1862, C.S. Navy travel voucher to Naval Station at Richmond, Va. in the amount of $499.97.
28 October 1862, letter from Chief of the Bureau, Confederate States Navy, detaching Lynch from Naval Defense of the Mississippi River.
28 October 1862, C.S. Navy travel voucher from Jackson, Ms. to Richmond, Va. for $125.60.
8 November 1862, note to paymaster of Confederate States Navy.
3 December 1862, C.S. Navy travel voucher for Flag Officer pay in the amount of $499.97.
15 December 1862, travel expenses to Petersburg, Va. in the amount of $79.80.
19 December 1862, C.S. Navy travel voucher for $34.80.
19 February 1863, C.S. Navy travel voucher for $78.60.
22 April 1863, C.S. Navy travel voucher from Wilmington, NC to Charleston, SC for $306.40.
30 May 1863, C.S. Navy voucher in the amount of $101.00 for travel from Wilmington, NC to other parts of the state to view construction of gunboats.
10 August 1863, C.S. Navy travel voucher for $104.60.
12 September 1863, C.S. Navy travel voucher for $142.20.
24 November 1863, C.S. Navy travel voucher for incidental travel expenses for $171.30.
August 1864, C.S. Navy travel voucher for $90.00.
1-25 April 1864, C.S. Navy travel voucher for $757.58.
13 September 1864, letter from Office of Orders and Detail, Confederate States Navy, detaching Lynch from Naval Defenses of North Carolina.
19 December 1864, C.S. Navy travel voucher from Wilmington, NC to Richmond, Va. to be on Naval Court of Inquiry in the amount of $20.00.