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George M. Bache Journal of the U.S.S. Plymouth, 1860: Finding Aid

Published in April 2020

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 10
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: George M. Bache Journal of the U.S.S. Plymouth
  • Dates: 1860
  • Size: 0.15 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 84 leaves
  • Creator: Bache, George Mifflin, 1840-1896
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: George Mifflin Bache, great-great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1861. The George M. Bache Journal of the U.S.S. Plymouth was kept in 1860. The journal, a partially printed manuscript, was kept by Bache on a summer cruise (June 27 - September 28, 1860) aboard the sloop-of-war U.S.S. Plymouth, a practice ship at the Naval Academy under the command of Thomas Tingey Craven.

Biography of George Mifflin Bache

George Mifflin Bache was born in Washington, D.C. on November 12, 1840, the son of George Mifflin Bache [Sr.], a lieutenant in the Navy, and Eliza (Patterson) Bache, daughter of Commodore Daniel Todd Patterson. Benjamin Franklin was his great-great-grandfather. Bache was also related to Alexander James Dallas, Secretary of the Treasury under President James Madison, and George Mifflin Dallas, Vice President of the United States from 1845 to 1849. Among his uncles were Alexander Dallas Bache, who became superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey in 1843, and naval officer David Dixon Porter, son of Commodore David Porter.

In 1846, the elder Bache was swept overboard during a gale while in command of the U.S.S. Washington (brig), engaged on duty with the Coast Survey. Despite his father 's tragic death at sea, George Mifflin Bache embarked upon a naval career. Undoubtedly, both his father's and mother's connections aided him in his choice of vocation. He served as captain's clerk aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga (sloop-of-war) from August 1855 to May 1857. The same month he left the Saratoga, he was appointed Acting Master's Mate of the Coast Survey schooner Nautilus, under the command of Lieutenant Richard Wainwright, an uncle by marriage. In November 1857, he entered the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating on June 1, 1861.

George Mifflin Bache had a distinguished career during the Civil War. He received his lieutenant's commission in July 1862 and in November took command of the U.S.S. Cincinnati (stern-wheel casemate gunboat). That vessel was involved in the operations against Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1863 and was sunk during an engagement with Confederate batteries defending the approaches to the city. The Secretary of the Navy wrote a letter to Bache commending him and the Cincinnati's surviving officers and crew for their bravery in action. Bache subsequently took command of the U.S.S. Lexington (side-wheel gunboat) and in late 1864 assumed the duties of executive officer aboard the U.S.S. Powhatan (steam sloop-of-war) in the North Atlantic Squadron. That ship was involved in the attacks on Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Bache was wounded in the shoulder while taking part in the land assault on that post.

On July 25, 1866, Bache was commissioned a lieutenant commander. He served as the executive officer of the U.S.S. Sacramento (steam sloop-of-war) from September 1866 until June 1867, when the vessel ran aground on reefs at the mouth of the Godavari River on the east coast of India. All hands survived, but the ship was lost. A Navy General Court Martial held in New York in January 1868 suspended Bache and Captain Napoleon Collins. On March 11, 1869, Navy Department General Order No. 102 revoked the sentence of the court martial and restored Bache's pay.

From 1869 to 1872, Bache served aboard the U.S.S. Juniata (steam sloop-of-war) during that vessel's cruise in European waters. His final post was at the Washington Navy Yard. Bache retired with the rank of commander in 1875. He died on February 11, 1896, and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, D.C. He was survived by his wife, the former Harriet DuBois of Hallstead, Pennsylvania, and three daughters.

The destroyer Bache (DD-470), commissioned on November 14, 1942, was named for Commander George Mifflin Bache.

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History of U.S.S. Plymouth (Sloop-of-war)

U.S.S. Plymouth, a sloop-of-war built by the Boston Navy Yard, departed Boston April 3, 1844 for the Mediterranean, Commander Henry Henry in command. After over a year in European waters, she sailed westward and arrived at New York on October 4, 1846. Following service on the east coast, Plymouth departed New York on February 13, 1848 for the Far East, returning to Norfolk from the East Indies on January 29, 1851. On August 23, 1851, she stood out from Hampton Roads, bound once again for the Orient. After duty on the East Indies Station, she joined Commodore Matthew C. Perry's expedition to Japan, entering Tokyo Bay on July 8, 1853 and departing on the 17th. She returned in February of the following year, and before heading home, put into Shanghai where she sent a party ashore to support a coordinated British-American expedition against hostile forts in the area.

Returning to Norfolk on January 11, 1855, Plymouth began an extended tour in the Atlantic. Assigned as midshipmen training ship during the summers of 1855 and 1856, she tested new ordnance under the command of Commander John A. Dahlgren in 1858 and resumed duties as a training ship for midshipmen during the summers of 1859 and 1860.

Plymouth was at Norfolk for repairs during the secession crises in the winter of 1860-1861. After Virginia seceded from the Union, she was burned and scuttled there on 20 April 20, 1861, to prevent her capture by Confederate forces when the Navy Yard fell into their hands.

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Description of Contents

The George M. Bache Journal of the U.S.S. Plymouth, comprising 0.15 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 84 leaves, was kept in 1860. The journal, a partially printed manuscript, was kept by Bache on a summer cruise (June 27 - September 28, 1860) aboard the sloop-of-war U.S.S. Plymouth, a practice ship at the Naval Academy under the command of Thomas Tingey Craven.

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The George M. Bache Journal of the U.S.S. Plymouth comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use


Patron use restricted to microfilm

Copyright and Permission

The George M. Bache Journal of the U.S.S. Plymouth 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.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Accessioned on February 3, 1872. Accession No. 13808.

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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

This collection also available on microfilm.

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to George Mifflin Bache in this repository includes his Midshipman Conduct Record and the George Mifflin Bache Papers, MS 212. Additional records of the 1860 summer cruise can be found in the George P. Ryan Journal of the U.S.S. Plymouth, 1860, MS 9.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

George M. Bache Journal of the U.S.S. Plymouth, MS 10

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

"Plymouth I (Sloop-of-War)." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2015,

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo. Bache's biographical sketch written by Jennifer A. Bryan in February 2011. Remainder of finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in April 2020.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Bache, George Mifflin, 1840-1896
  • Naval education -- United States
  • Plymouth (Sloop-of-war)
  • Training-ships -- United States
  • United States Naval Academy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Ships' logs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Journal of the U.S.S. Plymouth, 1860

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