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

Guide to Remarks Made on Board the United States Frigate Congress, 1817

MS 23

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

August 2004, August 2009

Descriptive Summary

Accession No. 13828
1 volume.
Access to Remarks Made on Board the United States Frigate Congress is restricted to microfilm.
The Remarks Made on Board the United States Frigate 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:
Remarks Made on Board the United States Frigate Congress, MS 23
Special Collections & Archives Department
Nimitz Library
United States Naval Academy

Scope and Content Note

This volume spans the period 27 April 1817 to 11 September 1817, continuing the Special Collections & Archives Department's MS 22. The U. S. S. Congress (frigate), under the command of Captain Charles Morris, had sailed from Boston in November 1816 to the Gulf of Mexico. In July 1817, Morris received orders to proceed to Port-au-Prince with dispatches for the consular agent there, and from thence to Cap-Haïtien with an agent to demand satisfaction from Henry Christophe (1767-1820) for a captured American vessel. Afterwards, Morris was to sail to the coast of Venezuela to gather intelligence on the war for independence from Spain.

The journal pages are printed forms with the running head "Remarks made on board the United States' frigate [Congress Charles] / [Morris Esqr] Commander, of [36] Guns, [ ] day of [ ] 181[ ]," the owner supplying the content within the brackets. There is no evidence as to who kept this journal, although from the handwriting, it is not the same person who kept MS 22. The entries contain the standard information found in logbooks.

On the afternoon of 19 May, the U.S.S. Tom Bowline, a hermaphrodite brig, fired a salute and sailed for New York. Other U.S. Navy vessels mentioned are the schooner Firebrand and the brig Boxer. On 10 June, "Lt Comt Porter and __ Tyler Esqr came on board...At 7 Lt Comt Porter left the ship." Lieutenant John Porter commanded the Boxer, which had sailed from New York in May with Septimus Tyler, the agent designated to negotiate with Christophe.

The Congress stopped a Spanish brig on 30 June, taking "an Amn. Seaman out of her, he having been impress'd in the Havanna [sic]." The frigate arrived at Port-au-Prince on 23 July. After anchoring, she fired a 15-gun salute that was returned from the town. On 1 August, Congress arrived at Cap-Haïtien, called Cape François in the journal. Soon after, the warship was on its way to Venezuela. The remarks for 21 August read, "the town of Pampata [Pampatar] on the Island of Margaretta [Margarita], a poor impverish'd place, the Royalists landed a few days since sack'd the suburbs & reimbark'd after being severely 'drubb'd' as the Patriots report." A week later, the Congress was anchored at Barcelona and Captain Morris left the ship in the gig. He returned the next day "accompanied by a Spanish Officer." The journal ends with the Congress still on its cruise.