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The Navy Department Library would like to thank the Early History Branch for assisting in the preparation of this bibliography.

  • Heritage-Customs and Traditions
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Shipboard Life in the US Navy, 1775-1899: A Select Bibliography

Reference Works
Social History of Navy Service
Personal Narratives

Reference Works

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

Bennett, Michael J. Union Jacks: Yankee Sailors in the Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Bolster, W. Jeffrey. Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Brownson, Williard Herbert. From Frigate to Dreadnought. Compiled by Caroline Brownson Hart. Sharon, CT: King House, 1973.

Buenzle, Fred J. Bluejacket: An Autobiography. New York: W.W. Norton, 1939. Reprint, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1986.

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

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

Canney, Donald L. Lincoln's Navy: The Ships, Men and Organization, 1861-65. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1998.

Cordingly, David. Women Sailors and Sailor’s Women: An Untold Maritime History. New York: Random House, 2001.

Evans, Robley D. A Sailor's Log: Recollections of Forty Years of Naval Life. New York: D. Appleton, 1901. Reprint, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1994.

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

Gilje, Paul A. Liberty on the Waterfront: American Maritime Culture in the Age of Revolution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.

Gilliland, C. Herbert. Voyage to a Thousand Cares: Master's Mate Lawrence with the African Squadron, 1844-1846. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2004.

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

Harrod, Frederick, S. Manning the New Navy: The Development of a Modern Naval Enlisted Force, 1899-1940. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1978. [Background material reaches back to the Civil War.]

Karsten, Peter. The Naval Aristocracy: The Golden Age of Annapolis and the Emergence of Modern Navalism. New York: Free Press, 1972.

Lavery, Brian. Nelson’s Navy: The Ships, Men and Organisation, 1793-1815. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1989. [Shipboard life in the 19th century Royal Navy, which was similar to the US Navy experience, is discussed in Chapter 9.]

Lawrence, Alma R. to Commander J.W. McCormick, Serial 261P29 of 11 Aug 1952, “Living Conditions in the US Navy” file, ZV Files, box 6, Navy Department Library, Washington, DC. 

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

Luce, Stephen B. Training Ships. Washington, DC: Naval Historical Foundation, 1964.

Mannix III, Daniel Pratt. The Old Navy. Edited by Daniel P. Mannix IV. New York: Macmillan, 1983.

Marvel, William.The Alabama and the Kearsarge: The Sailor's Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

Masefield, John. Sea Life in Nelson’s Time. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2002. [An excellent account of shipboard life in the Royal Navy which was similar to US Navy shipboard life.]

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

O’Neill, Richard. Patrick O’Brian’s Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey’s World. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2003.

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

Ramold, Steven J. Slaves, Sailors, Citizens: African Americans in the Union Navy. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2002.

Reckner, James. A Sailor's Log: Water-Tender Frederick T. Wilson, USN, on Asiatic Station, 1899-1901. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2004.

Ringle, Dennis J. Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1998.

Roe, F.A. Naval Duties and Discipline, with the Policy and Principles of Naval Organization. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1865.

Schley, Winfield Scott. Forty-five Years Under the Flag. New York: D. Appleton, 1904.

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

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

Still, Jr., William N., ed. The Confederate Navy: The Ships, Men, and Organization, 1861-1865. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997.

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

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

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

US Navy Department. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. 8 vols. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1959-81.

Valuska, David L. The African American in the Union Navy, 1861-1865. New York: Garland, 1993.

Vickers, Daniel. Young Men and the Sea: Yankee Seafarers in the Age of Sail. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005.

Social History of Navy Service

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

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

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

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

Lewis, Michael. A Social History of the Navy, 1793-1815. London: Stackpole Books, 1960. [Although dealing with the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, much of the content is relevant to the experience of the US Navy personnel of that time.]

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

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

Personal Narratives

Burg, Barry Richard. An American Seafarer in the Age of Sail: The Erotic Diaries of Philip C. Van Buskirk, 1851-1870. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994.

Clark, Charles Edgar. My Fifty Years in the Navy. Boston: Little, Brown, 1917. Reprint, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1984.

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

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

Dewey, George. Autobiography of George Dewey: Admiral of the Navy. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913. Reprints, New York: AMS Press, 1969; St. Clair Shores, MI.: Scholarly Press, 1971; Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1987.

Fischer, Annabell F. ed. Experienced and Conquered: Frederick C. Fischer, Musician, US Navy aboard USS Constitution, 1844-1846. Westminster, MD: Peach Originals, 1996.

Fiske, Bradley A. From Midshipman to Rear Admiral. New York: Century Company, 1919.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parker, William H. Recollections of a Naval Officer, 1841-1865. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1883. Reprint, Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1985.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Melville, Herman. White Jacket: or The World in a Man-of-War. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1988.

O'Brian, Patrick. Master and Commander. New York: W.W. Norton, 1970. [This is the first in a popular series of twenty books about the friendship between a Royal Navy line officer and a naval surgeon. All of the books in this series provide a very detailed and accurate account of life at sea in the early 19th century.]

Poyer, David. A Country of Our Own: A Novel of the Confederate Raiders. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003.

_____. Fire on the Waters: A Novel of the Civil War at Sea. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001.

_____. That Anvil of Our Souls: A Novel of the Monitor and the Merrimack. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005.


Published: Wed Dec 30 17:56:44 EST 2020