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Samuel Woodhouse Naval Papers, 1823-1839 (bulk 1823-1826): Finding Aid

Published in September 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 7
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Samuel Woodhouse Naval Papers
  • Dates: 1823-1839
  • Bulk Dates: 1823-1826
  • Size: 0.8 linear feet (5 volumes)
  • Creator: Woodhouse, Samuel
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Samuel Woodhouse was an American ship captain and an officer in the United States Navy. The Samuel Woodhouse Naval Papers are primarily the product of Woodhouse's commands of U.S.S. Alert and U.S.S. Hornet.

Biography of Samuel Woodhouse

Born in Pennsylvania, Samuel Woodhouse was warranted as a midshipman in the United States Navy on May 2, 1801. On May 22 of that same year, he was ordered to duty aboard U.S.S. Philadelphia (Frigate), where he served for nearly a year before his first furlough. The next seven years of Woodhouse's career saw him stationed in Philadelphia and New York, and also included travel to India. On May 4, 1808, he was commissioned a lieutenant, after which he was attached to the Philadelphia Station.

Following a furlough for health purposes, Woodhouse was attached to U.S.S. Constitution (Frigate) in May 1810. During the latter days of the War of 1812, he was stationed on Lake Erie, before returning to U.S.S. Constitution in November 1815. On April 27, 1816, Woodhouse was commissioned a Master Commandant, but spent the bulk of the next seven years on furlough.

In June 1824, Woodhouse assumed command of the receiving ship U.S.S. Alert (Sloop-of-war), stationed at Norfolk. After several months leave over the summer of 1825, he received command of U.S.S. Hornet (Brig) in September of that year, with orders to suppress piracy in the waters around Cuba. Although he was promoted to Captain on March 2, 1827, Woodhouse spent much of the remainder of his U.S. Navy career either on a leave of absence or waiting orders. When not in the employ of the Navy, Woodhouse served as a merchant mariner.

Samuel Woodhouse was the father of naturalist Samuel W. Woodhouse, who took part in the Sitgreaves Expedition of 1851. The elder Samuel Woodhouse died on July 16, 1843 in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

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Description of Contents

The Samuel Woodhouse Naval Papers, comprising 0.8 linear feet of documentation in five volumes, span from 1823 to 1839, with a majority of the material falling between 1823 and 1826. The materials, which were produced or maintained by Woodhouse, or by those under his command, are primarily the product of his commands of U.S.S. Alert (Sloop-of-war) and U.S.S. Hornet (Brig).

Included in the collection are order books, a letterbook, a logbook, and a register.

The Woodhouse Naval Papers are arranged in rough chronological order by duty station into a single records series. Two of the collection's volumes pertain, at least in part, to the service of the sloop-of-war U.S.S. Alert during her time as a receiving ship under the command of Woodhouse. The Alert's Register of Officers and Men pertains to her role in receiving and transferring U.S. Navy officers and enlisted men, while the order book deals with the health regulations and communications necessitated by such a role. The Alert's order book is accompanied by, and in fact overshadowed in volume by, copies of Woodhouse's correspondence dealing with his finances, pay, and merchant work. The letters in the volume also overlap with Woodhouse's command of U.S.S. Hornet, delving into the operations of that vessel.

The remaining three volumes in the collection are the product of Woodhouse's command of U.S.S. Hornet, including the ship's logbook, order book, and Woodhouse's letterbook. The logbook and letterbook detail the day-to-day operations of the Hornet on her cruise to suppress piracy in the waters around Cuba, and include correspondence regarding the imprisonment of an American sailor in Cuba. The Hornet's order book consists of orders received by the Hornet as part of the West India Squadron, as opposed to orders issued by Woodhouse. Primarily issued by David Porter and Lewis Warrington, the orders include a discussion of claims of ownership of and Porter's relation to the island of Key West, referred to in the documents as Thompson's Island.

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Arrangement

The Samuel Woodhouse Naval Papers are arranged in rough chronological order by duty station.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The Samuel Woodhouse 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

Order Book: U.S. Guard Ship Alert and Samuel Woodhouse Letterbook, 1823-1839 was formerly cataloged as Letterbook and Order-book of the U.S.S. Alert, 1824-1825, MS 79.

Register of Officers & Men Attached & Received on board the U.S. Receiving Ship Alert, 1824-1825 was formerly cataloged as MS 80.

Remarks and Occurrences on board the Unites States Ship Hornet, 1825-1826 was formerly cataloged as MS 81.

Order Book of the U.S.S. Hornet, 1823-1826 was formerly cataloged as MS 82.

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Hornet, 1825-1826 was formerly cataloged as MS 83.

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Samuel W. and Matilda W. Woodhouse in January 1932. Accession Nos. 74188, 74189, 74190, 74191, and 74192.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Samuel Woodhouse's shipping receipt book is available at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Additional material may be available in the Samuel Washington Woodhouse collection, 1743-1858 at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Samuel Woodhouse Naval Papers, MS 7

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1814-.

U.S. Navy Department. Record of Officers. Washington: Navy Department, 1950.

Processing Information

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

  • Alert (Sloop-of-war)
  • Hornet (Brig)
  • Key West (Fla.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • Piracy -- Caribbean Area -- History -- Sources
  • Porter, David, 1780-1843
  • United States. Navy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • United States. Navy -- Registers
  • United States. Navy. West India Squadron
  • Woodhouse, Samuel

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Letter books
  • Manuscripts
  • Orders (military records)
  • Registers (lists)
  • Ships' logs
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Contents List

Box 1

Order Book: U.S. Guard Ship Alert and Samuel Woodhouse Letterbook, 1823-1839 1 volume (44 leaves)

The volume begins with the orders of the U.S.S. Alert, spanning August 26-December 16, 1824, pertaining to Board of Health regulations and communications regulations. The orders are followed by correspondence, spanning June 10, 1825-May 9, 1833, pertaining to Woodhouse's finances and pay, as well as the schooner Remittance. Beginning at the back of the volume is a second sequence of letters spanning May 1823-February 1839, pertaining to Woodhouse's furloughs, his merchant work while on leave from the Navy, the operations and stores aboard U.S.S. Hornet, Woodhouse's finances and pay, and his health.

Box 2

Register of Officers & Men Attached & Received on board the U.S. Receiving Ship Alert, 1824-1825 1 volume (24 leaves)

Manuscript register maintained by Samuel Woodhouse of officers and men received and transferred through the Alert. Information kept in the register includes the men’s' name, rank, where transferred from, entry on board date, for what ship or service, and date and nature of transfer or disposal. Folded into the front of the volume is an index to the register.

Box 3

Remarks and Occurrences on board the Unites States Ship Hornet, 1825-1826 1 volume (131 leaves)

The logbook, which spans from September 29, 1825 to October 26, 1826, is the product of an anti-piracy cruise in the Caribbean and Cuban waters, commencing from Gosport (Norfolk), with stops at Pensacola, Matanzas, Havana, and Key West, before concluding at Norfolk. The logbook notes winds, weather, rigging, crew complement, course, rations, supplies, and encounters with other vessels.

Box 4

Order Book of the U.S.S. Hornet, 1823-1826 1 volume (36 leaves)

Orders, instructions, and circulars received aboard U.S.S. Hornet prior to and during Woodhouse's command. Issued primarily by David Porter and Lewis Warrington, the orders pertain to the operations and duties of the West India Squadron, including its charge of suppressing piracy, the delegation of duties, smallpox vaccination, communication methods, discipline, the rendering of salutes, and the control and administration of Thompson's Island (Key West).

Box 5

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Hornet, 1825-1826 1 volume (22 leaves)

Copies of letters sent by Woodhouse while in command of U.S.S. Hornet between September 1825 and October 1826. The letters pertain to personnel matters, preparations for sea, Hornet's cruising between Havana and Matanzas, the relief of a nearby brig, procurement of a new anchor, the detention of the first officer of the American ship Thalai in Havana, smallpox cases, and the inability to find any evidence of piracy. One additional letter pertaining to the Thalai's first officer appears at the back of the volume.

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