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Edward E. Preble Log Book of the U.S.S. Mississippi, 1861: 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 91
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Edward E. Preble Log Book of the U.S.S. Mississippi
  • Dates: 1861
  • Size: 0.15 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 25 leaves
  • Creator: Preble, Edward E.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Edward E. Preble was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1863. The Edward E. Preble Log Book of the U.S.S. Mississippi spans from May 28 to August 29, 1861. The logbook is the product of the Mississippi's blockading duty in the Gulf of Mexico during the Civil War, while under the command of Thomas O. Selfridge.

Biography of Edward E. Preble

Edward Ernest Preble, appointed from Maine, was admitted to the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1863 on November 29, 1859. Preble's time at the Academy was cut short however, by the need for additional officers during the Civil War. Ordered to active duty in May 1861, Preble was attached to U.S.S. Mississippi for blockade duty. Commissioned an Ensign on August 9, 1864 and thereafter promoted to Lieutenant, duty aboard U.S.S. Susquehanna (Side-wheel frigate) followed.

Promoted to Lieutenant Commander on July 25, 1866, Preble was waiting orders on April 1, 1868. Shortly thereafter, he was attached to U.S.S. Dacotah (Steam sloop-of-war) for a cruise lasting until January 1870. Thereafter, he was attached to U.S.S. Nyack (Gunboat). Edward E. Preble resigned from the U.S. Navy on January 21, 1871, and died on November 28, 1881 in Portland, Maine.

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

The first U.S.S. Mississippi, a side‑wheel steamer, was laid down by Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1839, built under the personal supervision of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, and commissioned on December 22, 1841, Captain W. D. Salter in command.

After several years of service in the Home Squadron, during which she performed experiments crucial to development of the steam Navy, Mississippi joined the West Indian Squadron in 1845 as flagship for Commodore Perry. During the Mexican War, she took part in expeditions against Alvarado, Tampico, Pánuco, and Laguna de Términos. She returned to Norfolk for repairs on January 1, 1847, then escorted Perry to Veracruz on March 21. Once on station, she and her men engaged in amphibious operations against Veracruz, supplying guns and their crews for the shore battery which successfully fought the city to surrender. Through the remainder of the war, Mississippi contributed guns, men, and boats to a series of coastal raids on Mexico's east coast, taking part in the capture of Tobasco in June.

Mississippi cruised the Mediterranean during 1849‑51, then returned to the United States to prepare for service as flagship in Commodore Perry's expedition to Japan. The squadron cleared Hampton Roads on November 24, 1852, for Madeira, reaching Shanghai on May 4, 1853. The squadron proceeded to Japan via the Ryukyus and Bonins, and entered Edo Bay on July 8, 1853. Commodore Perry proceeded to negotiate America's first trade treaty with the previously secluded Japanese. After further cruising in the Far East, Mississippi and the squadron returned to Japan, the Treaty of Kanagawa was signed on March 31, 1854.

Mississippi returned to New York on April 23, 1855, and again sailed for the Far East on August 19, 1857, to base at Shanghai and patrol in support of America's burgeoning trade with Asia. As flagship for Commodore Josiah Tatnall, she was present during the British and French attack on the Chinese forts at Taku in June 1859, and two months later she landed a force to quell civil strife in Shanghai at the request of the American consul. She was placed in ordinary at Boston in 1860, but was reactivated when the Civil War became inevitable. She arrived off Key West for blockade duty on June 8, 1861, and five days later made her first capture, the schooner Forest King bound with coffee from Rio de Janeiro to New Orleans. On November 27, off Northeast Pass, Mississippi River, she joined Vincennes in capturing British bark Empress, again carrying coffee from Rio to New Orleans.

The following spring she joined Farragut's squadron for the planned assault on New Orleans. After several attempts, on April 7, 1862 she and Pensacola successfully passed over the bar at Southwest Pass, the heaviest ships ever to enter the river to that time. On April 24, the squadron engaged Forts Jackson and St. Philip, during which Mississippi ran Confederate ram Manassas ashore and wrecking her. Her heavy draft making her less suitable to river operations than lighter ships, Mississippi remained off New Orleans for much of the next year.

Ordered upriver for the operations against Port Hudson, Mississippi sailed with six other ships, lashed in pairs while she sailed alone. On March 14, 1863, she grounded while attempting to pass the forts guarding Port Hudson. Under enemy fire, every effort was made to refloat her by her commanding officer Captain Melancthon Smith, and his executive officer, George Dewey. Unsuccessful, Mississippi was scuttled to prevent Confederate capture.

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Description of Contents

The Edward E. Preble Log Book of the U.S.S. Mississippi, comprising 0.15 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 25 leaves, spans from May 28 to August 29, 1861. The logbook is the product of the Mississippi's blockading duty in the Gulf of Mexico during the Civil War, while under the command of Thomas O. Selfridge.

Compiled by Preble after being ordered to active duty while a Midshipman at the Naval Academy, the log book, bearing the title "Log book voyages of the U.S.S. Mississippi. Commanded by Capt. T. O. Selfridge," on its title page, notes the ship's course, speed, and steaming conditions, as well as operations with other blockading vessels, encounters with vessels attempting to run the blockade, ship's routine, and personnel issues.

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The Edward E. Preble Log Book of the U.S.S. Mississippi comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use


Patron use restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The Edward E. Preble Log Book of the U.S.S. Mississippi 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

Found in Librarian's office. Accessioned on August 14, 1942. Accession No. 95921.

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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 Edward E. Preble in this repository can be found in Preble's Midshipman Conduct Record,and Alumni Jacket, as well as the Office of the Superintendent/Administrative Records: Letters and Reports Received by the Superintendent Relating to Individual Midshipmen, RG 405.2.3 Entry 75.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Edward E. Preble Log Book of the U.S.S. Mississippi, MS 91

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

Callahan, Edward William. List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps, from 1775 to 1900. New York: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1901.

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

United States Naval Academy. Official Register of the Officers and Acting Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1860.

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1860-1871.

Preble, Edward E. Alumni Jacket, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

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

  • Mississippi (Side-wheel steamer)
  • Preble, Edward E.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Blockade
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Naval operations
  • United States. Navy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • United States. Navy. East Gulf Squadron

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Ships' logs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Log book voyages of the U.S.S. Mississippi. Commanded by Capt. T. O. Selfridge, 1861 May 28-August 29

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