Log of the cruise of the U.S. Frigate "Santee", 1861-1862: Finding Aid
Published in May 2020
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 60
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: Log of the cruise of the U.S. Frigate "Santee"
- Dates: 1861-1862
- Size: 0.11 linear feet
- Container Summary: 1 volume of 20 leaves
- Creator: Steever, Charles L.
- Language(s) of material: English
- Abstract: U.S.S. Santee was a United States Navy frigate. The Log of the cruise of the U.S. Frigate "Santee," which is the product of Charles L. Steever and George S. Brimmer, spans from Steever's enlistment in the Marine Corps on February 26, 1861 until June 21, 1862. The log, in the form of a diary, details the Santee's Civil War service in the Gulf Blockading Squadron and, later, the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, under the command of Henry Eagle.
History of U.S.S. Santee (Frigate)
The first U.S.S. Santee, a sailing frigate rated at 44 guns, was laid down in 1820 by the Portsmouth (New Hampshire) Navy Yard, but due to a shortage of funds, was not completed and launched until February 16, 1855. She was commissioned on June 6, 1861, Captain Henry Eagle in command.
Santee departed Portsmouth on June 20, 1861, stopped at Hampton Roads to load ammunition, and resumed her voyage to the Gulf of Mexico on July 10. On August 8, she captured the schooner C. P. Knapp 350 miles south of Pensacola and on October 27, took her second prize, Delta, off Galveston.
Shortly before midnight on November 7, boats left the frigate and entered Galveston Bay hoping to capture and burn the Confederate armed steamer General Rusk, but ran aground. Having lost the element of surprise, the expedition's commander, Lieutenant James E. Jouett, turned instead to capture the Confederate lookout vessel, Royal Yacht. On December 30, boats from Santee captured the Confederate schooner Garonne, which Captain Eagle stripped the prize for use as a lighter.
In January 1862, Santee was assigned to David Farragut's new West Gulf Blockading Squadron. Under the new organization, she continued to blockade the Texas coast, primarily off Galveston, until summer, when an outbreak of scurvy forced her to sail north. She reached Boston on August 22 and was decommissioned on September 4.
Refitted at the Boston Navy Yard, Santee was recommissioned one month later and sailed for Newport, Rhode Island, to serve as a school ship at the United States Naval Academy, which had been moved there from Annapolis for security during the Civil War. At Newport, midshipmen lived, studied, and attended classes aboard the frigates Santee and Constitution.
After the close of the Civil War, the Naval Academy returned to Annapolis, and Santee, carrying midshipmen, sailed from Newport and moored near Fort Severn on August 2, 1865, where she continued her duty as school ship. The following year, she became a gunnery ship. About the same time, the frigate began to be used as a barracks ship for midshipmen being punished and for new plebes receiving their first taste of Navy life, serving in this role for decades.
Then, before dawn on April 2, 1912, Santee sank at her mooring. Efforts to refloat the frigate proved unsuccessful. She was sold to Joseph G. Hitner, of Philadelphia, on August 2, 1912, the anniversary of her arrival at Annapolis. After six months of effort, she was finally raised and, on May 8, 1913, Santee departed the Severn under tow and proceeded to Boston where she was burned for the copper and brass in her hull.
Description of Contents
The Log of the cruise of the U.S. Frigate "Santee," which is the product of Charles L. Steever and George S. Brimmer and comprises 0.11 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 20 leaves, spans from Steever's enlistment in the Marine Corps on February 26, 1861 until June 21, 1862. The log, in the form of a diary, details the Santee's Civil War service in the Gulf Blockading Squadron and, later, the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, under the command of Henry Eagle.
Specific entries include the capture of the schooner C. P. Knapp (August 7, 1861); the capture of the brig Delta (October 27, 1861); a night attack on the steamer General Rusk in Galveston Bay and the capture of the schooner Royal Yacht (November 7, 1861); capture of the Confederate schooner Garonne (December 30, 1861); an attack on Brashas City (January 19, 1862); and demand for the surrender and evacuation of Houston (May 17-19, 1862). The formal journal ends with the Santee's return to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in June 1862. Steever makes frequent mention of other ships involved in the blockade, especially U.S.S. Sam Houston, U.S.S. Rachel Seaman, U.S.S. Midnight, and the schooner Annie Taylor.
At the back of the volume are several poems and registers of letters sent and received. Tucked into the volume is a diary entry for December 18, 1862 and the lyrics to Gentle Jennie Gray.
The Log of the cruise of the U.S. Frigate "Santee" comprises a single volume.
Access and Use
Patron use restricted to microfilm.
Copyright and Permission
The Log of the cruise of the U.S. Frigate "Santee" 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.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Gift of Miller D. Steever in June 1957.
Location of Copies or Alternate Formats
This collection also available on microfilm.
Related Archival Material
Additional material pertaining to U.S.S. Santee in this repository can be found in the Journal of the Officer of the Day, U.S.S. Santee, MS 123 and MS 124.
Official logbooks of U.S.S. Santee 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 been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.
Processing and Other Information
Log of the cruise of the U.S. Frigate "Santee", MS 60
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:
"Santee I (Frigate)." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2015, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/santee-i.html.
This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in May 2020.
Name and Subject Terms
- Santee (Frigate)
- Steever, Charles L.
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Blockades
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Naval operations
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
- United States. Navy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
- United States. Navy. West Gulf Squadron
- Brimmer, George S.