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Account Book of the U.S.S. St. Mary's, 1853-1856: 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
  • Call number: MS 118
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Account Book of the U.S.S. St. Mary's
  • Dates: 1853-1856
  • Size: 0.23 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 119 leaves
  • Creator: St. Mary's (Sloop-of-war)
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: U.S.S. St. Mary's was a United States Navy sloop-of-war. The Account Book of the U.S.S. St. Mary's spans from 1853 to 1856. The account book is composed of lists of receipts and expenditures for the carpenter's, boatswain's, sailmaker's, and gunner's departments of U.S.S. St. Mary's while she was under the command of Theodorus Bailey.

History of U.S.S. St. Mary's (Sloop-of-war)

The second U.S.S. St. Mary's, a sloop of war built in 1843-44 at the Washington Navy Yard, was commissioned in the fall of 1844, Commander John L. Saunders in command. She was initially designated for duty with the Mediterranean Squadron under Commodore Robert Stockton. However, due to the annexation of Texas, Stockton's Squadron was ordered south in March 1845 to reinforce Commodore David Conner in the Gulf of Mexico.

At the end of April, Stockton's ships sailed to Galveston where they stood by as a Texas convention voted on acceptance of the annexation resolution. On July 4, the Texas convention approved the annexation resolution and St. Mary's headed to New Orleans to escort U.S. Army units under the command of General Zachary Taylor to Texas. After the troops arrived at St. Joseph Island, near Corpus Christi, St. Mary's stood by as Conner's ships took station off Vera Cruz.

In November 1846, St. Mary's was called on to carry a new United States minister, John Slidell, to Mexico. Slidell was disembarked at Veracruz on November 30, but was refused recognition by the Herrera government. Through the winter of 1846, St. Mary's continued to cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. When war broke out, she was ordered to blockade Tampico, taking up station on May 20. She maintained her part in the blockade through the summer, but by September, the climate, disease, limited water and food, and relative inaction led to a near mutiny.

On November 14, she participated in the unopposed occupation of Tampico, then resumed blockade duties. In January 1847, she proceeded to Lobos to cover the movement of General Scott's troops. In early March, she escorted transports and her boats carried assault troops to Collado Beach, where Scott's force was landed. St. Mary's remained in the area of Veracruz through the end of the month to support the siege of the city, which formally surrendered on March 29, 1847. St. Mary's then sailed toward Alvarado to assist in the taking of that town. By the time she arrived, the town had fallen, and she resumed blockade duties. On April 10, she was ordered back to the United States. In early May, she sailed for Norfolk, carrying captured Mexican guns as cargo.

On April 11, 1848, St. Mary's sailed for duty with the Pacific Squadron, where she served for the next five years. In 1853, she returned to the east coast of the United States, underwent repairs at Philadelphia, and returned to the Pacific in 1854. During the next two years, she cruised in the eastern and south Pacific. In December 1856, she put into Panama City where a new crew under Commander Charles Davis relieved that of Commander Theodorus Bailey.

From New Granada (Panama), Davis took St. Mary's to the Jarvis and New Nantucket Islands, then returned to Central America to stand by, off Nicaragua, as filibuster William Walker fought to keep his empire there. On February 6, 1857, St. Mary's anchored at San Juan del Sur, where she remained into the spring as Davis sought to negotiate an end to the fighting. In early May, Walker surrendered to Davis. Walker and the other Americans in his army were taken on board St. Mary's and transported to Panama City en route to the United States.

St. Mary's then resumed her cruise, collecting hydrographic and geologic data as she performed her other duties. In March 1858, she put into Mare Island for a refit, where she remained into the summer. In late August, she set sail again and headed south to cruise off Central America. In February 1859, her officers and crew were relieved at Panama City. She then sailed north to cruise along the Mexican coast as revolution spread in Mexico. In the fall of 1860, she returned to Panama City where she assisted local officials in quelling an insurrection.

Throughout the Civil War, St. Mary's remained with the Pacific Squadron, protecting Union merchant shipping and searching for Confederate raiders. After the war, she cruised the Pacific until September 1866, then put into Mare Island where she was laid up for four years. In the fall of 1870, she returned to active service, and after a cruise to Australia and New Zealand, she returned to Mare Island.

In November 1872 St. Mary's departed for Norfolk, arriving on June 3, 1873. There, she remained in ordinary until 1875. Then transferred to the Public Marine School at New York, she served as a school ship until 1908. In June of that year, she was ordered sold. Two months later, she was purchased by Thomas Butler and Co. of Boston and was scrapped in November.

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Description of Contents

The Account Book of the U.S.S. St. Mary's, comprising 0.23 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 119 leaves, spans from 1853 to 1856. The account book is composed of lists of receipts and expenditures for the carpenter's, boatswain's, sailmaker's, and gunner's departments of U.S.S. St. Mary's while she was under the command of Theodorus Bailey.

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The Account Book of the U.S.S. St. Mary's comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use


Patron use restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The Account Book of the U.S.S. St. Mary's 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


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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

This collection also available on microfilm.

Related Archival Material

Additional material in this repository pertaining to U.S.S. St. Mary's is available in the Log of the United States Sloop St. Mary's, 1853-1855, MS 117

Official logbooks of U.S.S. St. Mary's 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

Account Book of the U.S.S. St. Mary's, MS 118

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

"St. Mary's II (Sloop-of-War)." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2004,

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

Name and Subject Terms

  • St. Mary's (Sloop-of-war)
  • United States. Navy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • United States. Navy. Pacific Squadron

Genre Terms

  • Account books
  • Manuscripts
  • Ships' logs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Account Book of the U.S.S. St. Mary's, 1853-1856

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