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Journal of a Cruise on Board the U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna, 1850-1853: Finding Aid

Published in May 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
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 18
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Journal of a Cruise on Board the U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna
  • Dates: 1850-1853
  • Size: 0.21 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 193 leaves
  • Creator: Boardman, Frederick A.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: U.S.S. Susquehanna was a United States Navy side-wheel steamer. The Journal of a Cruise on Board the U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna spans the period of December 24, 1850-September 24, 1853, during which time Susquehanna was commanded by William Inman and, later, Franklin Buchanan. Susquehanna served as the flagship of Commodores John Aulick and Matthew Perry during the United States Naval Expedition to Japan.

History of U.S.S. Susquehanna (Side-wheel steamer)

The first U.S.S. Susquehanna, a side-wheel steamer, was laid down by the New York Navy Yard in 1847, launched on April 5, 1850, and commissioned on December 24, 1850.

On June 8, 1851 she sailed to become Commodore John Aulick's flagship of the East India Squadron. Aulick's orders included instructions to visit Japan and negotiate a treaty opening diplomatic relations. The following year, Aulick was relieved by Commodore Matthew Perry, and Susquehanna subsequently entered Tokyo Bay as Perry's flagship on July 8, 1853. On February 12, 1854, she returned with the squadron to receive the signed treaty. The steamer departed Japan on March 24, and after operating on the China coast, headed home. She arrived at Philadelphia on March 10, 1855 and was decommissioned on March 15.

Recommissioned on May 5, 1856, she joined the Mediterranean Squadron in July. After serving as flagship, she returned and was laid up on April 18, 1858 at New York. Reactivated on August 17, 1860, she sailed for Veracruz and then preceded to the Mediterranean.

At the outbreak of the American Civil War, she returned home, reaching Boston on 6 June 6, 1861. Susquehanna was then assigned to the Atlantic Blockading Squadron and sailed for Hampton Roads. Late in August, she participated in the joint Army-Navy expedition to Hatteras Inlet, which captured Ports Clark and Hatteras on the August 29. During September, she captured the British schooners Argonaut and Prince Alfred, as well as the Confederate schooners San Juan and Baltimore.

Late in October, Susquehanna joined Flag Officer Du Pont's expedition to South Carolina, which, in November, captured Port Royal Sound and Beaufort, and established a blockade of the Broad River. Susquehanna continued serving with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron until the following spring, operating primarily off Charleston. There, she took British schooner Coquette on April 3, 1862.

On April 27, 1862, Susquehanna was ordered to Hampton Roads to join the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in support of Major General McClellan's drive up the peninsula toward Richmond. With Union forces in the area under threat by the ironclad C.S.S. Virginia, Susquehanna, along with four other Union warships, was ordered to bombard Confederate batteries at Sewell's Point on May 8. When Virginia was blown up by her crew three days later, Susquehanna was freed for duty elsewhere.

Late in May, Susquehanna was assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. En route, she captured the Confederate schooner Princeton on June 11, 1862. On the June 29, she and Kanawha seized British steamer Ann heading for Mobile Bay with a cargo of arms and ammunition. Susquehanna continued to operate in the Gulf of Mexico until ordered to New York for repairs in the spring of 1863. While proceeding north, she captured schooner Alabama coast on April 18. She was decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard on May 14, 1863.

Recommissioned on July 20, 1864, Susquehanna was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. As such, she participated in the Christmas Eve attacks on Ft. Fisher, North Carolina, and in mid-February 1865, she was part of the force which finally took that Confederate stronghold and closed Wilmington, the South's last major port.

Following the end of the Civil War, Susquehanna sailed for Brazil and operated on the Atlantic coast of South America until returning home and decommissioning on June 30, 1866. Recommissioned on November 2, 1866, the ship served as flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron and in the West Indies Squadron. While anchored in the harbor of St. Thomas on November 18, 1867, she rode out the tsunami caused by a nearby magnitude 7.5 earthquake without damage. Decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard on January 14, 1868, Susquehanna was laid up until she was sold for scrapping on September 27, 1883 at New York to E. Stannard of New York City.

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Description of Contents

The Journal of a Cruise on Board the U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna, comprising 0.21 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 193 leaves, spans the period of December 24, 1850-September 24, 1853, during which time Susquehanna was commanded by William Inman and, later, Franklin Buchanan. Susquehanna served as the flagship of Commodores John Aulick and Matthew Perry during the United States Naval Expedition to Japan.

The volume, which includes notations on course, weather, the ship's sails, encounters with other vessels, and personnel movements, spans the Susquehanna's commissioning, sea trials, service in the East India Squadron, and arrival in Edo (Tokyo) Harbor. Included in the volume is a list of officers of the U.S.S. Susquehanna.

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Arrangement

The Journal of a Cruise on Board the U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use

Access

Patron use restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The Journal of a Cruise on Board the U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna 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. 13830.

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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 U.S.S. Susquehanna in this repository can be found in the John H. Aulick Papers, 1809-1996 (bulk 1809-1874), MS 336; the John Cumming Howell Journal, 1836-1887, MS 270; and Bowman Hendry McCalla's Memoirs of a Naval Career, 1910, MS 215.

Official logbooks of U.S.S. Susquehanna may be available in Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships, ca. 1801 - 1940, Record Group 24: Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798-2007 at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Journal of a Cruise on Board the U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna, MS 18

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

"Susquehanna I (Side-wheel Steamer)." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2015, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/susquehanna-i.html.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in May 2020.

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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

  • Aulick, John H., -1873
  • Boardman, Frederick A.
  • Buchanan, Franklin, 1800-1874
  • Inman, William, 1797-1874
  • Perry, Matthew Calbraith, 1794-1858
  • Susquehanna (Side wheel steamer)
  • United States. Navy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • United States. Navy. East India Squadron

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Ships' logs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Journal of a Cruise on Board the U.S. Steam Frigate Susquehanna, 1850-1853

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