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Log of U.S.S. Pensacola, 1881-1883: 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 140
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Log of U.S.S. Pensacola
  • Dates: 1881-1883
  • Size: 0.17 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 201 leaves
  • Creator: Sutton, Francis E.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: U.S.S. Pensacola was a United States Navy screw steamer. Francis E. Sutton was an officer in the United States Marine Corps and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1881. The Log of U.S.S. Pensacola spans from October 1, 1881 through March 14, 1883. The volume, a practice log, was kept by Sutton during his two years mandatory sea service prior to commissioning while attached to U.S.S. Pensacola, under the commands of William P. McCann and Joseph Fyffe.

History of the U.S.S. Pensacola

The U.S.S. Pensacola, a screw steamer named for the city of Pensacola, Florida, was launched by the Pensacola Navy Yard on August 15, 1859. After the installation of machinery, the ship was finally fully commissioned on September 16, 1861, Captain Henry W. Morris in command.

After joining Flag Officer David Farragut's West Gulf Blockading Squadron in January 1862, Pensacola sailed past the batteries of Fort St. Phillip and Fort Jackson en route to the taking of New Orleans by the Union Navy in April 1862. Following the fall of New Orleans, Pensacola spent two years guarding the lower Mississippi River, until a brief decommissioning in April 1864.

Recommissioned on August 16, 1866, Pensacola joined the Pacific Squadron, cruising along the west coast of North and South America until being decommissioned again in 1884. Between April 1885 and February 1888, the ship operated in European waters, before returning to American waters, serving on the Atlantic coast until May 1890 and in the Pacific again until April 1892.

Pensacola served briefly as a training ship between 1898 and 1899, before serving her final assignment as a receiving ship at the Yerba Buena Training Station in San Francisco from July 1901 until December 1911. After being struck from the Navy Register, Pensacola was burned and sunk by the Navy in May 1912.

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Biography of Francis E. Sutton

Francis Eskridge Sutton was admitted to the United States Naval Academy as a Cadet Midshipman from New York on June 21, 1877, age 16 years, 6 months. After graduating in 1881, Sutton transferred to the Marine Corps. He was subsequently commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on July 1, 1883 and promoted to First Lieutenant on March 9, 1888. Sutton died on March 16, 1889 when U.S.S. Vandalia (Screw sloop-of-war) sank during the Apia cyclone at Apia, Samoa.

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Description of Contents

The Log of U.S.S. Pensacola, comprising 0.17 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 201 leaves, spans from October 1, 1881 through March 14, 1883. The volume, a practice log, was kept by Sutton during his two years mandatory sea service prior to commissioning while attached to U.S.S. Pensacola, under the commands of William P. McCann and Joseph Fyffe.

Attached to the Pacific Squadron, the Pensacola made calls at Callao, Payta, Valparaiso, Talcahuano, Coquimbo, Iquique, and Panama. The logbook records the ship's course, speed, weather/sailing conditions, location, and daily occurrences aboard ship.

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The Log of U.S.S. Pensacola comprises a single volume.

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Access and Use


Patron use restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The Log of U.S.S. Pensacola 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 pertaining to Francis E. Sutton in this repository can be found in his Midshipman Conduct Record. Additional practice logs by members of the Class of 1881 comprise MS 130, MS 131, MS 132, MS 133, MS 134, and MS 135.

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 U.S.S. Pensacola, MS 140

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.

"Pensacola I (Screw Steamer)." 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, 1877.

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

  • Naval education -- United States
  • Pensacola (Screw steamer)
  • Sutton, Francis E.
  • 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 U.S.S. Pensacola, 1881-1883

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