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Winfield Scott Schley Naval Papers, 1869-1892: Finding Aid

Published in August 2014

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 3
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Winfield Scott Schley Naval Papers
  • Dates: 1869-1892
  • Size: 1.3 linear feet (8 volumes)
  • Creator: Schley, Winfield Scott, 1839-1911
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Winfield Scott Schley was an Admiral in the United States Navy. The Winfield Scott Schley Naval Papers, which were produced or maintained by Schley, or by those under his command, are the product of Schley's U.S. Navy career between the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War.

Biographical Chronology of Winfield Scott Schley

1839
  • On October 9, is born to John T. and Georgianna Virginia Schley outside of Frederick, Maryland.
1856
  • On September 20, is admitted to the United States Naval Academy.
1860
  • On June 15, graduates from the United States Naval Academy and is commissioned a Midshipman in the United States Navy.
  • In June, is attached to U.S.S. Niagara (Frigate) of the Asiatic Station.
1861
  • In May, is made prize master of the blockade runner C.S.S. General Parkhill.
  • In June, is attached to U.S.S. Keystone State (Side-wheel steamer) during her fitting out.
  • In July, is transferred to U.S.S. Potomac (Frigate), followed by an assignment as Executive Officer of U.S.S. Winona (Gunboat), both of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron.
  • On August 31, is promoted to Master.
1862
  • On July 16, is promoted to Lieutenant.
1863
  • In March, assumes command of U.S.S. Monongahela (Sloop-of-war) of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron.
  • In April, is transferred to U.S.S. Richmond (Sloop-of-war) of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron.
  • In August, is granted a leave of absences.
  • In September, is ordered to the Washington Navy Yard.
  • On September 10, marries Annie R. Franklin.
  • In December, is assigned to the Pacific Squadron's U.S.S. Wateree (Gunboat) as her Executive Officer.
1866
  • In March, is detached from U.S.S. Wateree.
  • On July 25, is promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • In August, is attached to the United States Naval Academy as Acting Assistant Professor of Spanish.
1869
  • In November, is attached to U.S.S. Benicia (Screw sloop-of-war) as Executive Officer.
1872
  • In August, is detached from U.S.S. Benicia.
  • In September, is attached to the United States Naval Academy as Chair of the Department of Modern Languages.
1874
  • On June 10, is promoted to Commander.
1876
  • In September, assumes command of U.S.S. Essex (Screw steamer) of the South Atlantic Station.
1879
  • In October, is detached from U.S.S. Essex.
  • In November, is assigned to special duty.
1880
  • In August, is attached to the Second Lighthouse District, first as Assistant Inspector, and later, as Inspector.
1883
  • In October, is transferred to the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting to direct the apprentice system.
1884
  • In May, assumes command of U.S.S. Thetis (Steamer) and the Greely Relief Expedition.
  • In September, is appointed Chief of the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting.
1888
  • On March 31, is promoted to Captain.
1889
  • In July, assumes command of U.S.S. Baltimore (Protected cruiser : C-3), flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron.
1892
  • In March, is appointed Inspector for the Third Lighthouse District at Tompkinsville, New York.
1895
  • In March, is appointed a member of the Board of Inspection and Survey.
  • In October, assumes command of U.S.S. New York (Armored cruiser : ACR-2), flagship of the North Atlantic Station.
1897
  • In March, is appointed Chair of the Lighthouse Board.
1898
  • On February 6, is promoted to Commodore.
  • In April, assumes command of the Flying Squadron, with U.S.S. Brooklyn (Armored cruiser : CA-3) as his flagship.
  • In June, assumes command of the Second Squadron, with U.S.S. Brooklyn as his flagship.
  • In July, is appointed a member of the Naval Examining Board.
  • In August, is assigned to the Puerto Rico Evacuation Commission.
  • In November, is detached from the Evacuation Commission.
1899
  • On March 3, is promoted to Rear Admiral.
  • In April, is appointed a member of the Naval Examining Board.
  • In May, is granted a leave of absence.
  • In November, assumes command of the South Atlantic Station, with U.S.S. Chicago (Protected cruiser) as his flagship.
1901
  • In April, is detached from the South Atlantic Station.
  • On October 9, is transferred to the Retired List.
1911
  • On October 2, dies in New York City and is subsequently interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
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Description of Contents

The Winfield Scott Schley Naval Papers, comprising 1.3 linear feet of documentation, span from 1869 to 1892. The materials, which were produced or maintained by Schley, or by those under his command, are the product of Schley's U.S. Navy career between the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War.

Included in the papers are letterbooks, a journal, and watch-, quarter-, and station-bills.

The Schley Naval Papers are arranged chronologically into a single records series, and are the product of Schley's service aboard U.S.S. Benicia, tour as Chief of the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting, and commands of U.S.S. Essex and U.S.S. Baltimore. Four of the collection's eight volumes, three letterbooks and a journal, pertain to the service of the Essex while under Schley's command from 1876 to 1879. The letterbooks, which consist of letters both sent and received by Schley, make reference to such matters as crew conduct, personnel actions, the Essex's cruise along the west coast of Africa, and her role in the protection of American interests in the Gulf of Mexico. Two of the collection's volumes, both letterbooks, hail from Schley's command of the Baltimore from 1889 to 1892. As a newly constructed and commissioned vessel, the Baltimore correspondence notes the ship's fitting out, as well as the performance of her modern equipment. While the first volume deals with the Baltimore's cruise to Europe following the death of Captain John Ericsson, the second volume pertains to the ship's deployment to South American waters during the Chilean Revolution. One volume is the product of Schley's tour as Chief of the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting. Labeled as personal correspondence, the contents pertain to Schley's service at the Bureau nonetheless, often dealing with requests received by Schley for recommendations, the training of Navy boys, and Schley's thoughts on the Bureau itself. One final volume, appearing first chronologically in the collection, consists of the watch-, quarter-, and station-, and other similar bills of the U.S.S. Benicia.

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Arrangement

The Winfield Scott Schley Naval Papers are arranged chronologically by duty station.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The Winfield Scott Schley Naval Papers 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.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Custodial History

Watch-, Quarter-, and Station-Bill of the U.S.S. Benicia, 1869-1872 was formerly cataloged as MS 97.

Letterbook of the U.S.S Essex (Outgoing Correspondence), 1876-1879 was formerly cataloged as MS 98.

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Essex (Incoming Correspondence), 1876-1879 was formerly cataloged as MS 102.

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Essex (Incoming Correspondence from the Navy Department), 1876-1879 was formerly cataloged as MS 103.

Journal of the U.S.S. Essex, 1877-1878 was formerly cataloged as MS 99.

Personal Correspondence of W.S. Schley, Chief of Bureau E. & R., 1885-1889, 1891 was formerly cataloged as MS 151.

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Baltimore, 1889-1891 was formerly cataloged as MS 100.

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Baltimore, 1891-1892 was formerly cataloged as MS 101.

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. E.R. Sawtelle in October 1947. Accession Nos. 113181, 113185, 113187, 113188, and unknown.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Four volumes of Schley's personal papers are available at the United States Naval Academy Museum. Smaller selections of material are available at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, the Morgan Library & Museum, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Winfield Scott Schley Naval Papers, MS 3

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:

Cogar, William B. Dictionary of Admirals of the U.S. Navy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1989.>

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in August 2014. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in August 2014.

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Subject Headings

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

Name and Subject Terms

  • Africa, West -- Description and travel
  • Baltimore (Protected cruiser : C-3)
  • Benicia (Screw sloop-of-war)
  • Chile -- History -- Revolution, 1891
  • Courts-martial and courts of inquiry -- United States
  • Essex (Screw steamer)
  • Greely Relief Expedition, 1884.
  • Naval discipline -- United States -- History -- 19th century
  • Naval education -- United States
  • Nichols, Edward Tattnall, 1823-1886
  • Schley, Winfield Scott, 1839-1911
  • Training-ships -- United States
  • Trenchard, Stephen Decatur, 1818-1883
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Chile
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Mexico
  • United States. Navy -- Supplies and stores
  • United States. Navy. Bureau of Equipment
  • United States. Navy. European Station
  • United States. Navy. Pacific Squadron
  • United States. Navy. South Atlantic Squadron
  • Veracruz-Llave (Mexico : State) -- History -- 19th century

Genre Terms

  • Journals (accounts)
  • Letter books
  • Manuscripts
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Contents List

Box 1

Watch-, Quarter-, and Station-Bill of the U.S.S. Benicia, 1869-1872 1 volume (58 leaves)

In addition to the Benicia's watch, quarter, and station bills, the volume includes the crew complement, fire bill, mess bill, boat crew assignments, at-sea routines, and classification of the crew. At the end of the volume is a list of each of Schley's duty stations up through U.S.S. Essex, including the officers of each vessel. The last several pages of the volume have been torn out.

Box 2

Letterbook of the U.S.S Essex (Outgoing Correspondence), 1876-1879 1 volume (235 leaves)

Copies of letters sent by Schley while in command of U.S.S. Essex, cruising in African and South American waters. The letters pertain to personnel issues (transfers, desertions), crew conduct, supplies, landing parties, court martial proceedings, the protection of American interests in the Gulf of Mexico, and operations in and around Veracruz. The volume includes several letters addressed to General John W. Foster, U.S. Minister to Mexico, as well as copies of orders and reports. An index appears at the front of the volume.

Box 3

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Essex (Incoming Correspondence), 1876-1879 1 volume (206 leaves)

Letters received by Schley while in command of U.S.S. Essex. The letters, many of which are from Stephen Decatur Trenchard and Edward T. Nichols aboard the flagship Hartford, pertain to topics such as ordnance, supplies, personnel matters, crew conduct, orders, Essex's speed trials, the ferrying of crews of other vessels, political conditions in Veracruz, the Essex's mission of protecting American interests off the coast of Mexico, the danger of yellow fever in Rio de Janeiro, the relief of the crew of the wrecked Mabel Clark at Tristan de Cunha, and the performance of soundings off Rio de la Plata. Other correspondents include the Danish and Portuguese Consuls and the commander of the British Fleet at Good Hope.

Box 4

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Essex (Incoming Correspondence from the Navy Department), 1876-1879 1 volume (196 leaves)

Letters received from the Navy Department by Schley while in command of U.S.S. Essex. The letters pertain to orders, personnel matters, crew complement, supplies, Essex's speed trials, signals, crew conduct, the forwarding of reports, orders to embark upon a cruise of the West Coast of Africa, the performance of soundings, and excessive punishments aboard Essex.

Box 5

Journal of the U.S.S. Essex, 1877-1878 1 volume (37 leaves)

The journal covers a cruise to Madeira, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde (including St. Vincent and Praia), the west coast of Africa (including Monrovia and Cape Palmas in Liberia and St. Paul de Loanda in Angola), Fernando Po Island (Bioko), and St. Helena. At the end of the volume is a table of U.S.S. Essex's daily positions from October 1876 through October 1878. Pages 68 through 126 of the volume have been torn out.

Box 6

Personal Correspondence of W.S. Schley, Chief of Bureau E. & R., 1885-1889, 1891 1 volume (634 leaves)

Copies of letters sent by Schley while Chief of the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting. Many of the letters take the form of recommendations, or pertain to requests for aid with transfers and appointments, as well as requisitions the procurement of equipment and uniforms. Specific entries include letters regarding the need for new blood among the Bureau's clerks (November 30, 1885); the enlistment of an African American (April 6, 1885); retirement costs (May 23, 1885); Coast Survey and Fish Commission allotments (August 21, 1885); the training of Navy boys and apprentices (November 11, 1886, February 7, 1888, May 29, 1888 and June 7, 1889); opposition to Senator William Chandler's legislation on the promotion of flag officers (February 3, 1888); legislation for the recognition of the Greely Relief Expedition (May 19 and June 7, 1888 and January 18, 1889 remarks on the War College (March 9, 1888); the need for new training ships (May 28, 1888); remarks on how the Navy should not be used as a reform school (November 26, 1888); rebuttal of accusations of bias against Newport (January 19, 1889); the enlistment of foreigner (May 18, 1889), and a description of the Bureau's duties (March 30, 1885). The final letter, dated November 3, 1891, dates from Schley's command of U.S.S. Baltimore. Leaves 439 to 443 comprise a biography of Schley. An index to correspondents is available at the front of the volume.

Box 7

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Baltimore, 1889-1891 1 volume (520 leaves)

Copies of letters sent by Schley while in command of U.S.S. Baltimore. Many of the early letters pertain to such matters as the ship's fitting out, speed trials, crew complement, commissioning, alterations, and the loss of one of the ship's anchors. The remainder of the letter pertain to topics such as crew conduct, courts-martial, personnel matters, the transmittal of enlistment records, Baltimore's visit to her namesake city (May 1890), a collision with U.S.S. Dolphin (August 4, 1890), testing of the Fiske Range Finder (August 1890, January 29, 1891), the conveyance of the remains of Captain John Ericsson to Sweden (August-September 1890), and the Baltimore's service in European waters, with port calls at Stockholm, Copenhagen, Lisbon (including an audience with the King of Portugal on October 28, 1890), Naples, Spezia, Villefranche, Toulon, and Gibraltar, before sailing for Montevideo and Talcahuana en-route to joining the Pacific Fleet at Valparaiso. Commencing on leaf 374 is a history of the ship's coaling. Commencing on leaf 460 is a series of specifications of offenses committed by various crew members.

Box 8

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Baltimore, 1891-1892 1 volume (546 leaves)

Copies of letters sent by Schley while in command of U.S.S. Baltimore on a cruise to South American ports, including Valparaiso, Iquique, Callao, Coquimbo. The volume opens with specifications of offenses committed by and courts-martial against various crew members; additional specifications of charges are found throughout the volume. The remainder of the letters pertain to such topics as supplies, problems with the gun mounts, crew conduct, the transmittal of enlistment records, mission to assist the American Cable Company's steamer Relay (July 1891), protection of the U.S. Consulate in Valparaiso during the Chilean Revolution (August 31, 1891), the provision of asylum to political refugees (September 14, 1891), an October 16 attack upon U.S. sailors in Valparaiso resulting in the deaths of Charles Riggin and William Turnbull (October-December 1891), drills and powder tests (December 1891), and a report on the ship's overall performance over her two year cruise (January 6, 1892). The volume also includes numerous cipher dispatches.

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