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Letterbook of the U.S.S. Atlanta, 1889-1893: 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
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 106
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Letterbook of the U.S.S. Atlanta
  • Dates: 1889-1893
  • Size: 0.19 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 487 leaves
  • Creator: Atlanta (Protected cruiser)
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: U.S.S. Atlanta (Protected cruiser) was an early steel warship in the United States Navy. William H. Harris was a Chief Engineer in the United States Navy from Massachusetts. The Letterbook of the U.S.S. Atlanta spans from September 27, 1889 to July 27, 1893. The letterbook consists of copies of letters sent by the Atlanta's Chief Engineer, William H. Harris. while the Atlanta was attached to the Squadron of Evolution, and later, the North Atlantic Squadron. The letters pertain to the operations of and repairs to the ship's engines, boilers, and machinery; supplies and requisitions for parts and equipment; and engineering department personnel.

History of U.S.S. Atlanta (Protected cruiser)

The second U.S.S. Atlanta, a protected cruiser and one of the first steel warships of the "New Navy," was laid down on November 8, 1883 at Chester, Pennsylvania by John Roach & Sons; launched on October 9, 1884 sponsored by Miss Jessie Lincoln, the daughter of Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln and granddaughter of President Abraham Lincoln; and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on July 19, 1886, under the command of Captain Francis M. Bunce.

Atlanta remained at New York fitting out until July 1887 when she joined the North Atlantic Squadron. For a little over two years, she cruised the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the West Indies. On September 30, 1889, she was reassigned to the Squadron of Evolution with which she voyaged to Europe and the Mediterranean that winter. On the return voyage, she visited the Republic of Brazil before returning to New York at the end of July 1890 to resume duty along the east coast and in the West Indies. Between February and April 1891, she cruised the Gulf of Mexico. From May to October, the ship operated along the Atlantic coast and participated in exercises and maneuvers at Boston and New York, training members of the Naval Militia. Between October 1891 and July 1892, she served successively along the east coast, in the West Indies, and in South American waters.

On September 2, 1892, Atlanta was transferred from the Squadron of Evolution back to the North Atlantic Squadron, to operate in the West Indies protecting American interests between December 1892 and February 1893. In March, April, and May, the warship participated in the naval review held at Hampton Roads, Virginia, after which she returned to the Gulf of Mexico. On July 18, 1893, Atlanta was placed out of commission at Norfolk. She was recommissioned on April 2, 1894 and returned to duty on the North Atlantic station for the next 17 months. On March 8, 1895, she put a landing party ashore at Boca del Toro, Colombia to protect American lives and property threatened by filibusters and a Liberal Party revolt. In September 1895, she was placed out of commission at the New York Navy Yard.

On September 15, 1900, Atlanta was recommissioned at New York, Commander E. C. Pendleton in command. Late in October, she joined the South Atlantic Squadron off the coast of Brazil, cruising those waters until November 1902, when she was transferred to the Caribbean Squadron. She was again called upon to land shore parties to protect American interests, first at Santo Domingo in April 1903 and then at Porto Bello, Panama, the following December. She then made a voyage to the Mediterranean in 1904 before returning to the South Atlantic station that October. She arrived back at Hampton Roads on December 26 and, in January 1905, moved to Annapolis, Maryland, where she was placed in reserve on January 12. Atlanta remained inactive until May 8, when she was returned to service in the Coast Squadron to participate in midshipman training missions.

In November 1905, Atlanta moved to Norfolk where she served as a barracks ship until 1909, at which point she moved to Charleston, South Carolina for similar duty. On March 23, 1912, she was relieved of duty and, on April 24, 1912, her name was struck from the Navy list. The ship was sold at Charleston on June 10, 1912 to Frank Rijsdijk's ship breakers.

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Biographical Chronology of William H. Harris

1861
  • On September 21, appointed Third Assistant Engineer in the United States Navy from Massachusetts.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Sagamore (Gunboat) for his first cruise.
1863
  • In July, first cruise ends.
  • On July 30, promoted to Second Assistant Engineer.
1865
  • As of January 1, serving aboard U.S.S. Niagara (Steam frigate).
1866
  • On October 11, promoted to First Assistant Engineer.
1867
  • In October, attached to U.S.S. Piscataqua (Screw steamer).
1870
  • As of January 1, serving aboard U.S.S. Delaware (Screw steamer).
  • In November, detached from U.S.S. Delaware.
1871
  • As of January 1, at Auburndale, Massachusetts.
1874
  • On February 24, promoted to Passed Assistant Engineer.
1876
  • As of January 1, serving aboard U.S.S. Despatch (Screw steamer).
  • In November, detached from U.S.S. Despatch.
1879
  • As of January 1, attached to the Boston Navy Yard.
1880
  • As of January 1, assigned to special duty.
  • On August 24, attached to U.S.S. Galena (Steamer).
1883
  • In September, detached from sea duty.
1883
  • On December 27, promoted to Chief Engineer.
1881
  • As of January 1, at Auburndale, Massachusetts.
1886
  • As of January 1, serving at the Bureau of Steam Engineering.
1889
  • On March 15, attached to U.S.S. Atlanta (Protected cruiser).
1895
  • On January 22, attached to U.S.S. Columbia (Protected cruiser: CA-12).
1898
  • On March 18, attached to the Bath Iron Works.
1900
  • On June 30, retires from the United States Navy with the Rank of Rear Admiral.
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Description of Contents

The Letterbook of the U.S.S. Atlanta, comprising 0.19 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 487 leaves, spans from September 27, 1889 to July 27, 1893. The letterbook consists of copies of letters sent by the Atlanta's Chief Engineer, William H. Harris. while the Atlanta was attached to the Squadron of Evolution, and later, the North Atlantic Squadron. The letters pertain to the operations of and repairs to the ship's engines, boilers, and machinery; supplies and requisitions for parts and equipment; and engineering department personnel.

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Arrangement

The Letterbook of the U.S.S. Atlanta comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use

Access

Patron use restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The Letterbook of the U.S.S. Atlanta 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 Lieutenant Commander William B. Jupp in April 1949. Accession No. 118423.

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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

This collection also available on microfilm.

Related Archival Material

Official logbooks of U.S.S. Atlanta 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

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Atlanta, MS 106

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

"Atlanta II (Protected Cruiser)." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2015, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/atlanta-protected-cruiser-ii.html.

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1861-1901.

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

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

  • Atlanta (Protected cruiser)
  • Harris, William H.
  • Marine engineering
  • Marine engines
  • Steam-boilers, Marine
  • United States. Navy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • United States. Navy. Squadron of Evolution

Genre Terms

  • Letter books
  • Manuscripts

Additional Creator/Author

  • Harris, William H.
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Letterbook of the U.S.S. Atlanta, 1889 September 27-1893 July 27

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