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Log of the U.S.S. Hartford and U.S.S. Shenandoah, 1884-1886: 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 122
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Log of the U.S.S. Hartford and U.S.S. Shenandoah
  • Dates: 1884-1886
  • Size: 0.3 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 291 leaves
  • Creator: Mathews, Albert C.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: U.S.S. Hartford and Shenandoah were United States Navy screw sloops-of-war. Albert C. Mathews was a midshipman in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1884. Log of the U.S.S. Hartford and U.S.S. Shenandoah spans from 1884 to 1886. The logs were compiled by naval cadet Albert C. Mathews while attached to the Pacific Station, 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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History of U.S.S. Shenandoah (Screw sloop)

The first U.S.S. Shenandoah, screw sloop-of-war built by the Philadelphia Navy Yard, was launched on December 8, 1862, and was commissioned on 20 June 1863, Captain Daniel B. Ridgeley in command. She departed on the June 25, searching for Confederate raider Tacony while on trials, and later searched for the Confederate raider Florida. In September, she joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, patrolling off Wilmington and on the blockade runner routes between Nassau and Wilmington.

Shenandoah reached the Bahamas on December 13, 1864 to investigate reports of Confederate privateers fitting out there, then sailed north to join the attack on Fort Fisher at Wilmington. After assisting in the landing of Army troops, she joined the assault that finally led to Fort Fisher's capture. After the fort was captured, she joined the Union siege of Charleston, which fell on February 17, 1865. She then returned to Philadelphia to decommission on April 15.

Shenandoah recommissioned on November 20, 1865 to join the South American Squadron, before departing Rio de Janeiro on April 28, 1866 to join the Asiatic Squadron. She visited Bombay, Calcutta, Penang, Singapore, Bangkok, and Saigon, en route to Yokohama on April 5, 1867, where on the 27th, she embarked Robert B. Van Valkenburgh, U.S. Minister to Japan, for transport to Osaka to negotiate the opening of additional ports to foreign trade. She then engaged in conducting harbor surveys and preparing sailing directions prospective ports. While at Osaka in January 1868, Shenandoah assisted in the search for Rear Admiral Henry H. Bell, whose boat capsized in Osaka harbor.

In February 1868, Shenandoah proceeded to Chefoo, where she received orders to sail for Korea's Ping Yang River to attempt to rescue the crew of the American schooner, General Sherman. Once there, Commodore Goldsborough concluded that none of the passengers and crew had survived. After surveying the river and its approaches, Shenandoah departed on May 18, 1868 to join the Asiatic Squadron in efforts to counter opposition to contact with foreigners in various ports. She departed Hong Kong on November 10, then headed to Boston where she decommissioned on May 2, 1869.

Shenandoah was recommissioned on August 15, 1870, and sailed in September for service on the European Station, where among other duties, she hosted the King and Queen of Greece on Christmas Day of 1872. She departed the Mediterranean on December 12, 1873 for Tangiers, then proceeded to Key West and on to New York, where she decommissioned on April 23, 1874. She recommissioned again on September 8, 1879 to serve as flagship of Rear Admiral Andrew Bryson and the South Atlantic Squadron. She cruised between Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires until February 1882 when she sailed for home to decommission at New York on May 27, 1882.

Her last cruise took Shenandoah to the Pacific coasts of South and Central America. Recommissioned on November 5, 1883, she arrived at Valparaiso, Chile on May 5, 1884, shortly after the Treaty of Valparaiso ended the War of the Pacific. On April 6, 1885 she arrived off Panama to protect American property there during revolts against the Colombia Government. On May 24, 1885, she departed to cruise for protection of the American interests. She arrived in Santa Barbara, California on September 30, 1886, and was decommissioned at the Mare Island Navy Yard on October 23, 1886. She was sold on July 30, 1887 to W. T. Garratt & Company of San Francisco.

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Biography of Albert C. Mathews

Albert Clifton Mathews

Albert Clifton Mathews was born on December 5, 1861 in Dayton, Ohio, son of George Mathews. Appointed to the United States Naval Academy by the Secretary of the Navy, Mathews was admitted to the Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1884 on September 15, 1880 after an earlier failed attempt in September 1879. Following graduation in 1884, he was assigned to the screw sloops U.S.S. Hartford and U.S.S. Shenandoah for his two years of mandatory sea service prior to commissioning. Mathews subsequently received an honorable discharge from the United States Navy on June 30, 1886.

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Description of Contents

Log of the U.S.S. Hartford and U.S.S. Shenandoah, comprising 0.3 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 291 leaves, spans from 1884 to 1886. The logs were compiled by naval cadet Albert C. Mathews while attached to the Pacific Station, performing his two years of mandatory sea service prior to commissioning.

The logbook includes sections for U.S.S. Hartford, spanning July 1, 1884 to March 7, 1885, under the command of George H. Perkins; and for U.S.S. Shenandoah, spanning March 8, 1885 to January 31, 1886, under the command of Charles S. Norton. For each vessel, the logbook records the ship's course, speed, sailing/steaming conditions, and daily occurrences.

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The Log of the U.S.S. Hartford and U.S.S. Shenandoah 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 and U.S.S. Shenandoah 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. 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, 1884-1885, MS 120.

Additional documentation pertaining to Albert C. Mathews in this repository can be found in his Midshipman Conduct Record.

Official logbooks of the two vessels 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 and U.S.S. Shenandoah, MS 122

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,

"Shenandoah I (ScSlp)." 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

  • Mathews, Albert C.
  • Hartford (Screw sloop-of-war)
  • Naval education -- United States
  • Shenandoah (Screw sloop)
  • 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 and U.S.S. Shenandoah, 1884-1886

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