frigate engraving
Wood engraving from John Frost's The Book of the Navy, 1842.

Guide to the Journal of the U.S.S. Congress, 1816-1817

MS 22

A collection in the
Special Collections & Archives Department,
Nimitz Library

Naval Academy Seal

United States Naval Academy
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5029

Prepared by: Mary R. Catalfamo
Revised by: Jennifer A. Bryan.

May 2004, August 2009

Descriptive Summary

Unknown. Accession No. 13815
1 volume.
Access to the Journal of the U.S.S. Congress is restricted to microfilm.
The Journal of the U.S.S. Congress is the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information
Preferred Citation:
Journal of the U.S.S. Congress, MS 22
Special Collections & Archives Department
Nimitz Library
United States Naval Academy

Scope and Content Note

An unidentified midshipman kept this journal, spanning the period 16 November 1816 to 26 April 1817, as part of his naval training. U.S. Navy regulations required midshipmen to keep regular journals and submit them for examination to their commanding officers at specified periods. Captain Charles Morris (1784-1856) was in command of the Congress; "Ex.d Ch Morris" appears at the foot of the 1 December 1816 entry.

At the front of the volume is a hand-written "Method for working a Lunar Observation by Spherical Trigonometry." A large printed advertisement for Edmund M. Blunt, nautical publisher and author of the American Coast Pilot, is glued to the front paste-down. The Blunt advertisement is partially obscured by two Naval Academy library labels. The sheets that make up the volume are printed as blank forms, two to a side, with "Printed by Edm. M. Blunt, 202 Water-Street, Corner of Beekman-Slip, New York" running at the bottom of each sheet. Thus when bound, the forms run vertically on each page, the printer's information appearing on the recto of each leaf.

The journal begins on 16 November 1816, when the Congress weighed anchor and sailed from Boston for the Gulf of Mexico. The terse entries contain information typically found in a logbook. On 20 December 1816, Captain Daniel Todd Patterson (1786-1839), in command at New Orleans, came on board and left the following day. U.S. Navy vessels mentioned include the hermaphrodite brig Tom Bowline, the ketch Surprise, the schooner Firebrand, the "barge" Bull Dog, and Gun Boat No. 155. On 22 February 1817, the midshipman recorded "from 9 A.M. till 12, the squadron employed in firing at a target." On 1 April, ordinary seaman Woodward Bond died and his body was buried on shore. On 26 April, four midshipmen came on board from New Orleans and "Mid Newcomb was ordered on Board the Gun Boat."

The Special Collections & Archives Department's MS 23 continues this journal, but it is not in the same handwriting.