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

Guide to the Journal of the U.S.S. Franklin, 1818-1820

MS 2

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

May 2004

Descriptive Summary

The Journal of the U.S.S. Franklin was donated to the United States Naval Academy Library by [Letitia Buchanan?]. Accession No. 49336.
1 volume.
Access to the Journal of the U.S.S. Franklin is restricted to microfilm.
The Journal of the U. S. S. Franklin 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. Franklin, MS 2
Special Collections & Archives Department
Nimitz Library
United States Naval Academy

Scope and Content Note

As part of his naval training, Midshipman Franklin Buchanan (1800-1874) kept this journal, a continuation of the Special Collections & Archives Department’s MS 1, from 23 August 1818 to 21 April 1820. The Franklin (ship-of-the-line) was the flagship of the Mediterranean squadron and cruised on station there until March 1820, returning to New York on 24 April 1820. Among the ports of call were Syracuse, Palermo, Naples, Cadiz, Port Mahon, and Leghorn [Livorno].

The volume includes two pencil sketches, one a profile bust of Benjamin Franklin outlined in pen with the Latin motto “Eripuit fulmen coelo, Sceptrumque tyranis” written above, and the other a half-length bust of George Washington. The ship’s captain, Master Commandant Henry E. Ballard, left the Franklin on 15 November 1818 to take command of the U.S.S. Erie (sloop-of-war) and Lieutenant John Gallagher took command of the Franklin. Commanding officers were supposed to examine the midshipmen’s record keeping and the frequency of Gallagher’s signature in the journal indicates that he reviewed Buchanan’s work regularly, whereas the only time “Examined H.E. Ballard” appears is on the date of his departure for the Erie.

Among items of note is Commodore Charles Stewart’s general order of 8 July 1819 suspending from their duties Ballard, Gallagher, Captain Thomas McDonough, commander of the U.S.S. Guerriére (frigate), Master Commandant Joseph J. Nicholson, commander of the U.S.S. Spark (brig), and Lieutenant Benjamin Page, Jr. of the Franklin. From July until the end of the cruise, Lieutenant Joseph Wragg examined Buchanan’s journal. At the end of the volume are a few pages with penciled lists of clothing and on the last page a diagram of " Franklin’s Spirit-room."