Hints to a Gunnery Officer, 1838 (approximate): Finding Aid
Published in April 2020
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 183
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: Hints to a Gunnery Officer
- Dates: 1838 (approximate)
- Size: 0.09 linear feet
- Container Summary: 1 volume of 25 leaves
- Creator: Caffin, James Crawford, 1812-1883
- Language(s) of material: English
- Abstract: James Crawford Caffin was an officer in the Royal Navy. James Crawford Caffin's "Hints to a Gunnery Officer" was written around 1838, while Caffin was a Lieutenant stationed at the shore installation and gunnery school, H.M.S. Excellent. The volume, which is signed by Caffin, offers a series of suggestions to gunnery officers upon their attachment to a new station, including ascertaining the number of guns, inspecting each gun's gear, the preparation of range tables, and the organization and training of gun crews.
Biography of James Crawford Caffin
Sir James Crawford Caffin was born on March 1, 1812 to William and Bethia Caffin. In August 1824, he joined the Royal Navy. Early in his career, was aboard H.M.S. Cambrian (Frigate) when she wrecked off the Greek island of Grabusa [Gramvousa] while engaged in piracy suppression operations. In October 1834, three years after passing his examinations, he was assigned to H.M.S. Excellent, the shore establishment on Whale Island off Portsmouth which served as a gunnery school. Following gunnery duty in the Mediterranean, he returned to H.M.S. Excellent for another three years upon his promotion to Lieutenant on June 28, 1838.
After promotion to Commander on March 7, 1842, Caffin served in several investigatory roles, including investigations into the dubious inventions of Samuel Alfred Warner and the efficacy of screw propellers. He was promoted to Captain on October 11, 1847, and during the Crimean War, commanded H.M.S. Penelope (Frigate) in 1854 and H.M.S. Hastings (Frigate) in 1855. Following the war, he served in various roles in the administration of stores and ordnance, including as Director-General of Naval Ordnance.
Caffin retired from the Royal Navy in 1868, at which time he was made a Civil K.C.B., and advanced in retirement to Vice Admiral on November 2, 1871 and Admiral on August 1, 1877. During his retirement, he also served as a magistrate for Kent. Sir James Crawford Caffin died at his home in Blackheath on May 24, 1883.
Description of Contents
James Crawford Caffin's "Hints to a Gunnery Officer," comprising 0.09 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 25 leaves, was written around 1838, while Caffin was a Lieutenant stationed at the shore installation and gunnery school, H.M.S. Excellent. The volume, which is signed by Caffin, offers a series of suggestions to gunnery officers upon their attachment to a new station, including ascertaining the number of guns, inspecting each gun's gear, the preparation of range tables, and the organization and training of gun crews.
Hints to a Gunnery Officer comprises a single volume.
Access and Use
Access is unrestricted.
Copyright and Permission
Hints to a Gunnery Officer 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.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Acquired in 1878. Accession No. 20550.
Related Archival Material
There are no other known collections of papers of James Crawford Caffin.
Materials Cataloged Separately
No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.
Processing and Other Information
Hints to a Gunnery Officer, MS 183
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:
Laughton, J. K. and Roger Morriss. "Caffin, Sir James Crawford (1812-1883)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in April 2020.
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
- Caffin, James Crawford, 1812-1883
- Great Britain. Royal Navy -- Handbooks, manuals, etc
- Gunnery -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.