Union Fleet, including U.S.S. Brooklyn, off Fort Pickens, 1861.
Union Fleet, including U.S.S. Brooklyn, off Fort Pickens, 1861.

Guide to the Daniel Jones Letters, 1860-1863

MS 317

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: David D'Onofrio
(Original Guide by Mary R. Catalfamo, 1996)

December 2008

Descriptive Summary

Purchase. Accession No. 96-33.
.75 linear inches.
Access to the Daniel Jones Letters is unrestricted.
The Daniel Jones Letters are 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:
Daniel Jones Letters, MS 317
Special Collections & Archives Department
Nimitz Library
United States Naval Academy

Biographical Sketch

Daniel Jones was a career carpenter in the United States Navy. Appointed from Maine on December 9, 1847, Jones served as a ship's carpenter aboard the U.S. Ships Decatur, Macedonian, Brooklyn, and St. Louis, as well as at several shore installations.

Jones was first assigned to U.S.S. Decatur (sloop-of-war), which from February 1848 to November 1849 was deployed to the African Squadron, protecting American commercial interests and tracking slave traders. Following a leave of absence and possibly shore duty, Jones was assigned to U.S.S. Macedonian (frigate) from 1853 to1856. After conversion to a sloop-of-war at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1852 to 1854, Macedonian was deployed with the East India Squadron, and participated in Commodore Matthew Perry's second visit to Japan, which resulted in the Convention of Kanagawa (March 31, 1854).

Following two years of service at the Naval Asylum in Philadelphia, Jones was attached to U.S.S. Brooklyn (sloop-of-war) in 1860 (ca. February or March). Throughout the spring and summer of 1860, Brooklyn ferried American Minister to Mexico Robert M. McLane between various Mexican ports. By August, Brooklyn had been reassigned to a scientific expedition in search of a route across the isthmus of Chiriqui, Panama. Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Brooklyn was stationed off of the mouth of the Mississippi River as part of the Union Navy's early Gulf coast blockading efforts, before being temporarily decommissioned in late fall, 1861.

Shortly after Brooklyn's decommissioning, Jones was attached to U.S.S. St. Louis (sloop-of-war), which departed the Philadelphia Navy Yard on February 24, 1862 for Cadiz, Spain. Operating out of Cadiz and Lisbon, and ultimately under the command of George H. Preble, St. Louis hunted Confederate commerce raiders for over two years, before returning to domestic waters. Returning to Port Royal, South Carolina on November 26, 1864, St. Louis joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Three months later, in February 1865, Jones was detached from St. Louis and stationed at the Navy Yard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Jones retired from the Navy on July 27, 1869 and died eight years later, on June 5, 1877. Daniel Jones was married to Sarah A. Jones. Together, Daniel and Sarah Jones had at least four children, Daniel, Warren, Edwin, and Emily.

Scope and Content Note

The Daniel Jones Letters, consisting of 13 hand-written documents, span from 1860 to 1863. Written during Jones' service aboard the U.S. Ships Brooklyn and St. Louis, the letters focus primarily on domestic and personal matters, especially pertaining to Jones' family.

The letters are arranged chronologically in a single series with no subdivisions, and are addressed exclusively to Jones' wife, Sarah. While Jones does make occasional mention of naval matters, such as personnel changes, pay and allotments, and the transportation of dignitaries, the primary focus is his family. In the letters, Jones frequently references drafts of money for his wife and children, and often offers counsel regarding his children's health, education, and career choices.

Container List

Box Folder  
1 1 May 4, 1860

U.S.S. Brooklyn. Transfer of money to one of his sons, and the need of tenants to pay their rent.

2 May 8, 1860

U.S.S. Brooklyn. Transport of Minister to Mexico Robert Milligan McLane and his counsel to Veracruz.

3 July 15, 1860

U.S.S. Brooklyn. Disembarkation of Robert Milligan McLane, and sailing en route Pensacola.

4 August 3, 1860

U.S.S. Brooklyn. Transport of commissioners to Chiriqui, Panama, inquiries into Emily and Edwin's studies, and suggestion that the children read Rollins' Ancient History.

5 August 11, 1860

U.S.S. Brooklyn. Transfer of $1,200 home, departure and transportation of twelve passengers to Aspinwall [Colon], Panama, and son Edwin's recent illness.

6 December 3, 1860

U.S.S. Brooklyn. Navy not paying its allotments, and possibility of being detached from Brooklyn.

7 August 8, 1861

U.S.S. Brooklyn. Son Edwin's failure to receive Naval appointment, opinions on minimal prospects for peace, and defeat of Union forces in Virginia [First Battle of Bull Run].

8 August 21, 1861

U.S.S. Brooklyn. Ordered north for repairs, and hopes to take leave.

9 May 7, 1862

U.S.S. St. Louis. Hand injury, rendezvous with U.S.S. Constellation, advice for children, professional desires for sons Edwin and Daniel, and disappointment at lack of mail from home.

10 June 15, 1862

U.S.S. St. Louis. Hand wound fully healed, and inability to receive mail in Lisbon.

11 September 11, 1862

U.S.S. St. Louis. Transfer of money home, and likelihood of sons Daniel and Edwin being drafted into the military.

12 January 1, 1863

U.S.S. St. Louis. Prize money for the capture of a bark [Meaer?] that sold for $60,000, transfer of power of attorney for purposes of sale, and a brief letter to his granddaughter.

13 June 5, 1863

U.S.S. St. Louis. Money transfer from Barron Brothers of London, change of command of St. Louis to [George H.] Preble, and hopes that the children will continue their educations.