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Logbook of the U.S.S. Trenton, 1877-1879: 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 78
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Logbook of the U.S.S. Trenton
  • Dates: 1877-1878
  • Size: 0.15 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 188 leaves
  • Creator: Fechteler, Augustus F., 1857-1921
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: U.S.S. Trenton was a wooden-hulled screw steamer of the United States Navy. Augustus F. Fechteler was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1877. The Logbook of the U.S.S. Trenton was kept by Augustus F. Fechteler between October 1877 and April 1879, while serving his two years mandatory sea service as a Midshipman aboard U.S.S. Trenton, under the command of John L. Davis.

History of U.S.S. Trenton

U.S.S. Trenton, a wooden-hulled screw steamer, was laid down by the New York Navy Yard in 1875; launched on January 1, 1876, sponsored by Miss Katherine M. Parker; and commissioned on February 14, 1877, under the command of Captain John Lee Davis.

Trenton departed New York on March 8, 1877 for Villefranche, France, and on April 19, became flagship of the European Station, then under the command of Rear Admiral John L. Worden. After Russia declared war on Turkey on April 24, 1877, Trenton and the other ships of the squadron alternated tours of duty in the eastern Mediterranean protecting United States interests. Operating out of Villefranche, she would touch at Smyrna, Piraeus, La Spezia, and Leghorn.

On July 17, 1878, she headed for Gibraltar and exited the Mediterranean. She cruised north, to visit Lisbon, Portugal; Cherbourg, France; and Yarmouth, England before returning to the Mediterranean in mid-October to resume her cruises between Mediterranean ports, adding Genoa, Naples, and Tangiers to her itinerary in the spring of 1879. In June, she left the Mediterranean to visit Portsmouth, England; Terneuzen, Holland; Antwerp, Belgium; and Copenhagen, Denmark. She returned to Villefranche in late September, and in mid-November, sailed to Gibraltar to receive crew replacements in December.

On the April 3, 1880, she sailed for Naples and Alexandria, Egypt, before cruising the Aegean again, with visits to Smyrna, Tenedos, and Chamak Kelessi in Turkey. After calling at Marseilles on June 7, she left the Mediterranean again to cruise to English, Belgian, and Dutch ports. Trenton returned to the western Mediterranean in August 1880 and operated there until September 7, 1881 when she sailed for the United States. She arrived in Hampton Roads on October 12 and then proceeded up the York River for the Yorktown centennial celebration. On October 22, she departed Yorktown for the New York Navy Yard. There, she was decommissioned on November 9, 1881.

Recommissioned on September 18, 1883, Trenton departed New York in November for duty on the Asiatic Station. Steaming via the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, Ceylon, and Singapore, she arrived at Hong Kong on May 1, 1884 to begin a two year cruise. She visited ports in China, Korea, and Japan, carrying out various diplomatic missions, and occasionally sending landing parties ashore in China and Korea to protect American interests. She completed this tour in the spring of 1886 and departed Yokohama, Japan for Hampton Roads on May 9, 1886. She entered the Norfolk Navy Yard on September 9 and was decommissioned for repairs on September 17, 1886.

On May 16, 1887, Trenton was recommissioned and on July 25, she departed Hampton Roads for Brazil. En route, she stopped at St. Vincent in the Windward Islands and entered Rio de Janeiro on September 10 for a two week visit. After touching at St. Thomas on the return voyage, she dropped anchor in New York harbor on November 3, 1887.

On January 30, 1888, Trenton sailed for the Pacific, steaming around Cape Horn. After stops at Panama and Tahiti, she reached Apia, Samoa, on March 10, 1889 and joined other units of the Pacific Squadron. Six days later, while at anchor in Apia harbor, Trenton was wrecked by a hurricane. Before abandoning ship, her crew assisted in the rescue of Vandalia's ship's company. Trenton was declared a total loss, and her name was struck from the Navy list on April 13, 1891.

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Biographical Chronology of Augustus Francis Fechteler

  • Born on September 1 in Paderborn, Prussia to Joseph and Elizabeth Fechteler.
  • Emigrates to the United States.
  • Graduates from the LaSalle Institute of New York.
  • On June 9, admitted to the United States Naval Academy as a Cadet Midshipman on appointment from New York.
  • On June 20, graduates from the United States Naval Academy.
  • In October, attached to U.S.S. Trenton (Screw steamer), flagship of the European Station, for two years mandatory sea service.
  • In April, detached from U.S.S. Trenton and returns to the United States Naval Academy for final examination.
  • On June 18, appointed Midshipman.
  • In September, attached to U.S.S. Shenandoah (Screw sloop) of the South Atlantic Squadron.
  • On November 23, commissioned Ensign.
  • In May, detached from U.S.S. Shenandoah.
  • In June, assigned to coast survey duty.
  • In September, attached to the receiving ship U.S.S. Vermont at New York.
  • In December, attached to the training ship U.S.S. Jamestown (Sloop-of-war).
  • In April, transferred to the training ship U.S.S. Portsmouth (Sloop-of-war).
  • In June, detached from U.S.S. Portsmouth.
  • In July, attached to U.S.S. Essex (Screw steamer) of the Asiatic Station.
  • On March 6, promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade).
  • In November, detached from U.S.S. Essex and ordered home and waiting orders.
  • In January, attached to the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, DC.
  • In May, granted a leave of absence.
  • In November, attached to the Office of Naval Intelligence.
  • In January, assigned to special duty.
  • In February, attached to U.S.S. Mohican (Sloop-of-war) of the Pacific Squadron.
  • On July 21, promoted to Lieutenant.
  • In January, attached to U.S.S. Albatross Steamer of the Fish Commission, operating in the Bering Sea.
  • In October, placed in charge of the San Francisco branch hydrographic office.
  • In September, detached form the San Francisco hydrographic office.
  • In October, attached to U.S.S. Monterey (Monitor: BM-6) of the Asiatic Squadron.
  • In December, transferred to the U.S.S. Concord (Patrol gunboat: PG-3).
  • In August, detached from U.S.S. Concord and assigned to special duty aboard U.S.S. Solace (Hospital ship: AH-2).
  • In October, appointed Aide to the Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard.
  • On March 27, promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • In August, attached to U.S.S. Iowa (Battleship: BB-4) as Navigator, and later Executive Officer.
  • In July, detached from U.S.S. Iowa.
  • In August, assigned to inspection duty at the Union Iron Works in San Francisco.
  • In March, attached to the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, DC.
  • In June, assumes command of U.S.S. Dubuque (Gunboat: PG-17) of the North Atlantic Squadron.
  • On July 1, promoted to Commander.
  • In December, detached from U.S.S. Dubuque and ordered home and waiting orders.
  • In January, assigned to ordnance instruction at the Washington Navy Yard.
  • In June, attached to the Naval War College.
  • In September, ordered home and granted a leave of absence.
  • In November, assigned to duty with Board of Inspection and Survey in Washington, DC.
  • On July 1, promoted to Captain.
  • In October, attached to U.S.S. South Carolina (Battleship: BB-26), fitting out at Philadelphia.
  • In March, assumes command of U.S.S. South Carolina upon her commissioning.
  • In November, detached from U.S.S. South Carolina for duty at President of the Board of Inspection and Survey at Washington, DC.
  • In November, appointed Aide for Inspections to the Secretary of the Navy.
  • In November, ordered to the Naval War College.
  • On July 11, promoted to Rear Admiral.
  • In July, assumes command of the 2nd Division, Atlantic Fleet aboard U.S.S. Florida (Battleship: BB-30).
  • In May, assumes command of the 7th Division, Atlantic Fleet, maintaining his flag aboard U.S.S. Florida.
  • In June, assumes command of the 6th Division, Battleship Force, Atlantic Fleet aboard U.S.S. New York (Battleship: BB-34).
  • In November, transfers his flag to U.S.S. Utah (Battleship: BB-31).
  • In February, appointed Commandant of the Navy Yard and 5th Naval District at Norfolk.
  • Dies on May 26.
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Description of Contents

The Logbook of the U.S.S. Trenton, comprising 0.15 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 188 leaves, was kept by Augustus F. Fechteler between October 1877 and April 1879, while serving his two years mandatory sea service as a Midshipman aboard U.S.S. Trenton, under the command of John L. Davis.

In addition to recording the ship's course, sailing conditions, and daily occurrences, the volume notes the Trenton's operations at Marseilles, Villefranche, Smyrna, Piraeus, Spezia, Leghorn, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Cherbourg, Southampton, and Naples. The logbook was periodically inspected by Captain Davis, and bears his signature in several locations.

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The Logbook of the U.S.S. Trenton comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use


Patron use restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The Logbook of the U.S.S. Trenton 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

Gift of William Morrow Fechteler. Accessioned on September 26, 1930. Accession No. 71586.

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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

This collection also available in microfilm.

Related Archival Material

Additional material in this repository pertaining to August Francis Fechteler can be found in his Midshipman Conduct Record and Alumni Jacket. Additional sources concerning U.S.S. Trenton include the John Cumming Howell Journal, 1836-1887, MS 270 and the Richard H. Jackson Papers, 1802-1988 (bulk 883-1971), MS 432.

Official logbooks of U.S.S. Trenton 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

Logbook of the U.S.S. Trenton, MS 78

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.

"Trenton I (ScStr)." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2015,

Processing Information

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

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Fechteler, Augustus F., 1857-1921
  • Trenton (Screw steamer)
  • United States. Navy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • United States. Navy. Mediterranean Squadron

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Ships' logs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Logbook of the U.S.S. Trenton, 1877-1879

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