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Log of the U.S.S. Hartford, 1884-1885: 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 121
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Log of the U.S.S. Hartford
  • Dates: 1884-1885
  • Size: 0.3 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 262 leaves
  • Creator: Macpherson, Victor
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: U.S.S. Hartford was a United States Navy screw sloop-of-war. Victor Macpherson was a midshipman in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1884. The Log of the U.S.S. Hartford spans from 1884 to 1885. The log was compiled by naval cadet Victor Macpherson aboard U.S.S. Hartford while performing his two years of mandatory sea service prior to commissioning.

History of U.S.S. Hartford (Screw sloop-of-war)

U.S.S. Hartford was launched by the Boston Navy Yard on November 22, 1858 and commissioned on May 27, 1859, Captain Charles Lowndes in command. After shakedown, she sailed for Cape Hope and the Far East as flagship of the East India Squadron. In November she embarked the American Minister to China, John Elliott Ward, at Hong Kong and carried him to various Far Eastern ports to settle American claims and advocate for the Nation's interests.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Hartford was ordered home to be fitted out for wartime service. She departed the Delaware Capes January 28, 1862 as flagship of David G. Farragut and the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. As flagship, she participated in the Union victories at the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, the capture of New Orleans, and numerous other engagements along the Mississippi.

After her service in the Civil War, Hartford decommissioned for repairs in New York. Beginning in July 1865, she served as flagship of a newly-organized Asiatic Station Squadron until August 1868 when she returned to New York and decommissioned. Recommissioned on October 9, 1872, she resumed Asiatic Station patrol until returning home on October 19, 1875. In 1882, as Captain Stephen B. Luce's flagship of the North Atlantic Station, Hartford visited the Caroline Islands, Hawaii, and Valparaiso, Chile, before arriving San Francisco on March 17, 1884. She then cruised in the Pacific until decommissioning on January 14, 1887 at Mare Island for apprentice sea-training use.

From 1890 to 1899 Hartford was laid up at Mare Island, the last 5 years of which she was being rebuilt. On October 2, 1899, she recommissioned, then transferred to the Atlantic coast to be used as a training and practice cruise ship for midshipmen until October 24, 1912 when she was transferred to Charleston, South Carolina for use as a station ship.

Again placed out of commission on August 20, 1926, Hartford remained at Charleston until moved to Washington, D.C., on October 18, 1938. On October 19, 1945, she was towed to the Norfolk Navy Yard and classified as a relic. Hartford sank at her berth November 20, 1956. She was subsequently dismantled. Major components from her are at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Washington (D.C.) Navy Yard, and elsewhere.

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Biography of Victor Macpherson

Victor Macpherson was born on June 22, 1865 in Memphis, Kentucky. Appointed to the United States Naval Academy from Kentucky's 5th Congressional District by Representative Albert Shelby Willis, Macpherson was admitted to the Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1884 on September 22, 1880. Following graduation in 1884, he was assigned to U.S.S. Hartford (Screw sloop-of-war) for his two years of mandatory sea service prior to commissioning. Macpherson subsequently received an honorable discharge from the United States Navy on June 30, 1886.

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Description of Contents

The Log of the U.S.S. Hartford, comprising 0.3 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 262 leaves, spans from 1884 to 1885. The log was compiled by naval cadet Victor Macpherson aboard U.S.S. Hartford while performing his two years of mandatory sea service prior to commissioning.

The logbook, kept while Hartford was under the commands of George H. Perkins and Edward P. Lull, records the ship's course, speed, sailing/steaming conditions, and daily occurrences during her service as flagship of the Pacific Station.

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The Log of the U.S.S. Hartford comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use


Patron use restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The Log of the U.S.S. Hartford 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

Accession No. 132562.

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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

his collection also available on microfilm.

Related Archival Material

Additional material in this repository pertaining to U.S.S. Hartford and her role in training midshipmen can be found in the Watch, Quarter, Fire, Boat, Battalion Station Bills, Etc. of the U.S. Steamer Hartford, 1884, MS 84; Log of the U.S.S. Hartford, the U.S.S. Lackawanna, and the U.S.S. Mohican, 1884-1886, MS 119; Log of the U.S.S. Hartford, the U.S.S. Wachusett, and the U.S.S. Iroquois, 1884-1885, MS 120; and Log of the U.S.S. Hartford and U.S.S. Shenandoah, 1884-1886, MS 122.

Additional documentation pertaining to Victor Macpherson in this repository includes his Midshipman Conduct Record and his Watch, Quarter, Fire, Boat, Battalion Station Bills, Etc. of the U.S. Steamer Hartford, 1884, MS 84.

Official logbooks of U.S.S. Hartford 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

Log of the U.S.S. Hartford, MS 121

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.

"Hartford I." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Naval History and Heritage Command, 2015,

United States Naval Academy. Annual Register of the United States Naval Academy. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1881.

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

  • Hartford (Screw sloop-of-war)
  • Macpherson, Victor
  • Naval education -- United States
  • Training-ships -- United States
  • United States. Navy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • United States. Navy. Pacific Squadron

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Ships' logs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Log of the U.S.S. Hartford, 1884-1885

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