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Bartlett Jefferson Cromwell Papers, 1861-1891: Finding Aid

Published in January 2014

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 330
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Bartlett Jefferson Cromwell Papers
  • Dates: 1861-1891
  • Size: 3.33 linear feet (2 manuscript boxes, 3 clamshell boxes, 1 oversize folder)
  • Creator: Cromwell, Bartlett Jefferson, 1840-1917
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Bartlett Jefferson Cromwell was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1861. The Cromwell Papers consist of correspondence, letterbooks, and a crew register. The papers pertain primarily to Cromwell's service as executive officer or captain of the U.S.S. Powhatan, U.S.S. Rio Bravo, U.S.S. Ticonderoga during that ship's circumnavigation of the globe and subsequent decommissioning, and U.S.S. Omaha while attached to the Asiatic Station.

Biographical Chronology of Bartlett Jefferson Cromwell

  • On February 9, is born near Springplace, Georgia to Andrew Forgison and Sarah Ragon Cromwell.
  • On September 21, is admitted to the United States Naval Academy with the rank of Acting Midshipman.
  • On June 1, graduates from the United States Naval Academy and is assigned the rank of Midshipman.
  • Following graduation, serves aboard U.S.S. Iroquois (Steam sloop-of-war), St. Lawrence (Frigate), and Quaker City (Side-wheel steamer), assigned to both special service and the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
  • On July 16, is promoted to Lieutenant.
  • In October, is attached to Conemaugh (Side-wheel steamer) of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
  • In June, is attached to the prize vessel Atlanta.
  • In October, is attached to Proteus (Steamer) of the East Gulf Blockading Squadron.
  • In May, is detached from U.S.S. Proteus.
  • In June, is appointed executive officer of U.S.S. Shawmut (Steamer) of the Brazil Squadron.
  • On July 25, is promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • On December 31, marries Lizzie H. Huber.
  • From December through January 1867, is without orders.
  • In January, is assigned to the Naval Academy as an instructor in Ethics and English Studies.
  • In October, is attached to U.S.S. Miantonomoh (Monitor) of the North Atlantic Station.
  • In July, is attached to U.S.S. Plymouth (Sloop-of-war) of the European Squadron.
  • In March, is transferred to U.S.S. Juniata (Sloop-of-war).
  • In May, is granted a leave of absence.
  • In September, is assigned to torpedo duty at Newport, Rhode Island.
  • In June, is without orders.
  • In September, is appointed executive officer of U.S.S. Powhatan (Side-wheel steamer).
  • In September, is assigned to duty as Inspector of Ordnance at League Island Navy Yard.
  • On October 24, is promoted to Commander.
  • In February, received command of U.S.S. Rio Bravo (Side-wheel steamer).
  • In October, relinquished command of Rio Bravo (Side-wheel steamer).
  • In November, receives command of U.S.S. Ticonderoga (Screw sloop-of-war).
  • In September, is granted a leave of absence until January 1882.
  • In February, is appointed Inspector of Ordnance at the Portsmouth Navy Yard.
  • In October, receives command of the Naval Rendezvous, Philadelphia.
  • From May until June, is without orders.
  • In June, is assigned to court-martial duty at Boston.
  • From August until December, is without orders.
  • In December, is attached to the League Island Navy Yard.
  • On March 26, is promoted to Captain.
  • In December, is assigned to ordnance duty at Philadelphia and Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • In February, receives command of U.S.S. Omaha (Screw sloop-of-war), flagship of the Asiatic Station.
  • In June, is granted a leave of absence until August.
  • In September, is appointed captain of the League Island Navy Yard.
  • In October, is appointed captain of the Norfolk Navy Yard.
  • From October until December, is home without orders.
  • In December, receives command of U.S.S. Atlanta (Protected cruiser) of the North Atlantic Station.
  • In September, is assigned to court-martial duty.
  • On August 10, is promoted to Commodore.
  • In December, is appointed commandant of the Naval Station at Havana, Cuba and commanding officer of U.S.S. Resolute (Auxiliary cruiser).
  • On March 3, is promoted to Rear Admiral.
  • In November, is appointed President of the Naval Retirement Board.
  • In March, is appointed commandant of the Naval Station at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
  • In April, receives command of the South Atlantic Station, U.S.S. Chicago (Protected cruiser) flagship.
  • In July, receives command of the European Station, U.S.S. Chicago flagship.
  • On February 9, is placed on the Retired List.
  • On June 24, dies in Montrose, Pennsylvania and is subsequently buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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Description of Contents

The Bartlett Jefferson Cromwell Papers, comprising 3.33 linear feet of documentation, span from Cromwell's final year at the Naval Academy in 1861 through his command of U.S.S. Omaha, which he relinquished in 1891. The Cromwell Papers represent three formerly disparate collections: Cromwell's correspondence with his wife originally comprise all of MS 330; the U.S.S. Ticonderoga Letterbook formerly comprised MS 304; and the U.S.S. Omaha Letterbook formerly comprised MS 306.

Included in the collection are both loose and bound incoming and outgoing letters, maps and charts, navigational documents, advertisements, and a crew muster roll.

Series 1: Correspondence consists of letter exchanged between Cromwell and his wife, Lizzie Huber Cromwell, as well as several other individuals. Most of Cromwell's letter date from his service as executive officer of the side wheel steamer U.S.S. Powhatan (1873-1874), as commanding officer of the side wheel steamer U.S.S. Rio Bravo (1878), and as commander of the screw sloop-of-war U.S.S. Ticonderoga (1878, 1880-1881). The series also includes several letters from earlier in Cromwell's U.S. Navy career. The letters written by Lizzie H. Cromwell are almost exclusively domestic in content, while those written by Bartlett J. Cromwell contain a varying mix of domestic and naval matters. The letters from Cromwell's time aboard Rio Bravo are particularly rich in their discussion of naval matters and Texas history.

Series 2: Letterbooks and Enclosures consists of two letterbooks and related documents from Cromwell's duties aboard the screw sloops-of-war U.S.S. Omaha and U.S.S. Ticonderoga. The U.S.S. Omaha Letterbook spans from January 1890 through May 1891, during which time the Omaha was attached to the Asiatic Station, where she was noted for aid offered in fighting a fire in Hodogaya, Japan in February 1890. The correspondence held therein pertains to typical shipboard matters, such as muster rolls, personnel transfers, courts-martial, ship's ordnance, marine meteorology, Omaha's steam log, stores and supplies, expenditures, and certain topics relating to Japan. Some of the correspondence bears the signature of George Dewey, then serving as Chief of the Bureau of Equipment. Found among the correspondence of the Omaha Letterbook, and now housed separately, are printed maps and charts of Civil War naval battles, as well as navigational readings taken by Cromwell and submitted as part of his studies in Navigation at the United States Naval Academy.

The Ticonderoga Letterbook spans from November 1878 through 1881, during which time she was embarked upon a two year-long cruise around the world promoting U.S. commerce among foreign nations, making her the first U.S. steam vessel to circumnavigate the globe. Ports visited by Ticonderoga during the cruise include Madeira, Monrovia, Cape Town, Aden, Bombay, Penang, Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, Nagasaki, Fusan, Honolulu, and San Francisco. The correspondence held within the letterbook concern such topics as personnel matters (ratings and disratings, leaves of absence, transfers, promotions), stores and supplies, equipment procurement, physical surveys of the ship's magazines and shell rooms, medical reports, misconduct reports, courts-martial, conduct of prisoners, crew complements, refitting of the Ticonderoga, payroll discrepancies, shell experiments, gale damage, the conduct of LT E.W. Sturdy in Bombay, and an 1879 crew melee at Freetown (Sierra Leone). The letterbook concludes in September 1881 with preparations for Ticonderoga's decommissioning.

Included with the Ticonderoga's letterbook is her Crew Register. The register comprises an alphabetical list of crew members, with their ratings, listing any misconduct or offenses, as well as changes of status such as discharge.

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The Bartlett Jefferson Cromwell Papers are organized into the following two series:

  • Series 1: Correspondence, 1866-1882
  • Series 2: Letterbooks and Enclosures, 1861-1891
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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Bartlett Jefferson Cromwell Papers are 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

Custodial History

Cromwell's logbook of U.S.S. Ticonderoga was formerly cataloged separately as MS 304.

Provenance and Acquisition

Gifts of Harry R. Skallerup and Dr. Robert Beerstecher in February 1986 and January 1997, respectively. Accession Nos. 86-7 and 97-11.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Cromwell's service aboard U.S.S. Rio Bravo can be found in the Letters of Rear Admiral Bartlett Jefferson Cromwell at Louisiana State University Libraries. Documents pertaining to Cromwell's time as a midshipman at the Naval Academy may be found in his Conduct Record in Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Bartlett Jefferson Cromwell Papers, MS 330

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

Cogar, William B. Dictionary of Admirals of the U.S. Navy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1989.

Processing Information

Cromwell's correspondence was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1997. The letterbooks were processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1995. Finding aids combined and revised by David D'Onofrio in January 2014.

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Subject Headings

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

  • Cromwell, Bartlett Jefferson, 1840-1917
  • Omaha (Screw sloop-of-war)
  • Powhatan (Side wheel steamer)
  • Rio Bravo (Side wheel steamer)
  • Texas -- History
  • Ticonderoga (Screw Sloop-of-War)
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Maps
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Naval operations
  • Voyages around the world

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Letter books
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps (documents)
  • Muster rolls
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Contents List

Series 1: Correspondence, 1866-1882 Boxes 1-2

Series Description

Incoming and outgoing letters between Bartlett Jefferson Cromwell and his wife, Lizzie H. Cromwell. The letters pertain largely to Cromwell's service in the U.S. Navy aboard U.S.S. Shawmut, Miantonomoh, Plymouth, Powhatan, Rio Bravo, and Ticonderoga.

Series Arrangement

Arranged by sender, thereunder arranged chronologically by Cromwell's duty station or command.

Box 1 Folder 1

Bartlett J. Cromwell to Lizzie H. Cromwell, 1866, 1870-1871, undated 6 letters

Aboard U.S.S. Shawmut (1866), Miantonomoh (1870), and Plymouth (1871). Includes mentions of activities and conditions aboard ship, including friction and lack of civility among Plymouth's officers.

Box 1 Folder 2-5

Bartlett J. Cromwell to Lizzie H. Cromwell, 1873 October 8-1874 September 10 65 letters

Aboard U.S.S. Powhatan. Includes mentions of Cromwell's role as executive officer of Powhatan, Powhatan's activities and itinerary, Captain Beaumont and his wife, Captain J.E. Jonett, and various other naval officers. Three letters bear a Philadelphia postmark.

Box 1 Folder 6-8

Bartlett J. Cromwell to Lizzie H. Cromwell, 1878 February 17-August 4 31 letters

Aboard U.S.S. Rio Bravo. Includes mention of the rotten state of Rio Bravo, problems with the officers and crew, Cromwell's suggestions on more suitable vessels for riverine operations, effect of U.S.-Mexico relations on the U.S. Navy, Brownsville (Texas) and environs (inhabitants, social life, etc.), ship's launch traveling the flooded Rio Grande, military actions in response to unsettle political conditions in Mexico and Texas, General Alexander, Army and Navy officers and their families, ship readiness and Cromwell's improvements to the ship, risky journey up and down river, Brownsville ferry accident, Rio Bravo's unsuitability for remaining in commission, and Cromwell's attempts to be relieved of duty.

Box 1 Folder 9

Bartlett J. Cromwell to Lizzie H. Cromwell, 1878 November 15-December 7 11 letters

Aboard U.S.S. Ticonderoga. Includes discussions of Cromwell's command of Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga's activities, ship's grounding, problem with pilot, ship readiness, and the ship's engines.

Box 1 Folder 10-14

Bartlett J. Cromwell to Lizzie H. Cromwell, 1880 November 11-1881 September 3 57 letters

Aboard U.S.S. Ticonderoga. Discussions of Cromwell's command of Ticonderoga, repairs to Ticonderoga at Mare Island Navy Yard from November 1880 to March 1881, Cromwell's efforts to be detached from Ticonderoga and ordered home, naval officers and wives, the ship's crew, and the ship's ball. A letter from December 3, 1880 is addressed to Cromwell's daughter Anna.

Box 1 Folder 15-16

Bartlett J. Cromwell to Lizzie H. Cromwell - Envelopes, 1866-1881

Box 2 Folder 1

Lizzie H. Cromwell to Bartlett J. Cromwell, 1870 May 13-June 28 22 letters

Aboard U.S.S. Miantonomoh.

Box 2 Folder 2-4

Lizzie H. Cromwell to Bartlett J. Cromwell, 1873 September 18-1874 August 29 93 letters

Aboard U.S.S. Powhatan.

Box 2 Folder 5

Lizzie H. Cromwell to Bartlett J. Cromwell, 1874 September 6-September 8 2 letters

At Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Box 2 Folder 6-7

Miscellaneous Correspondents to Bartlett J. Cromwell and Lizzie H. Cromwell, 1873-1882, undated 25 letters

Correspondence from relatives, U.S. Navy associates, and others. A letter from November 3, 1873 pertains to U.S.S. Rio Bravo.

Box 2 Folder 8-9

Lizzie H. Cromwell to Bartlett J. Cromwell - Envelopes, 1870-1874

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Series 2: Letterbooks and Enclosures, 1861-1891 Boxes 2-5

Series Description

The series consists primarily of the Letterbook of U.S.S. Omaha while she was assigned to the Asiatic Station, and the Letterbook and Crew Register of the U.S.S. Ticonderoga during her two year, around the world cruise to promote and expand U.S. commerce. Both vessels were under the command of Cromwell. The series also includes ten Civil War battle maps, some of Cromwell's navigational assignments while a midshipman at the Naval Academy, and two advertisements, all of which were originally housed as enclosures of the Omaha Letterbook.

Series Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by document type and title.

Box 2 Folder 10

Advertisements, undated

Includes an advertisement for C.S. Merriman's waterproof life saving dress.

Civil War Maps and Charts, 1964-1965

Published as part of the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, submitted to the 39th Congress.

Box 2 Folder 11
Broad River and Its Tributaries, S.C. From a Reconnaissance made under Direction of Rear Admiral J.A. Dahlgren, Commanding S.A.B. Squadron, 1864
Box 2 Folder 11
Line of Rebel Works, Smith's Island, N.C., Evacuated January 16th 1865. Taken possession of by Naval and Military Forces January 17th 1865, 1865 January
Box 2 Folder 11
Fort Johnston, Smithville, N.C., Evacuated January 16, 1865. Taken possession of by Naval and Military Forces January 17th 1865, 1865 January

Civil War Maps and Charts, 1864-1865, undated

Published as part of the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, submitted to the 39th Congress.

Drawer MSOS Folder 1
"Causten's Bluff" Fort, undated
Drawer MSOS Folder 1
Defences of Charleston, S.C. Fortifications on Sullivan's Island, No. 3, 1865
Drawer MSOS Folder 1
Defences of Charleston, South Carolina, No. 4, 1865
Drawer MSOS Folder 1
First Attack Upon Fort Fisher by the U.S. Navy under Rear Admiral D.D. Porter, 1864 December 24-25
Drawer MSOS Folder 1
Part of Federal Point Entrance to Cape Fear River. Sketch Showing Line of Rebel Fortifications Captured by the Combined Naval and Military Forces Under Command of Rear Admiral D.D. Porter, U.S.N. and Major General Terry, U.S.A., 1865 January 15
Drawer MSOS Folder 1
Plan of the Attack by Gun-Boats on Forts Strong and Lee, Cape Fear River, N.C. Under Rear Admiral D.D. Porter, 1865 February 20-21
Drawer MSOS Folder 1
Second Attack Upon Fort Fisher by the U.S. Navy under Rear Admiral D.D. Porter, 1865 January 13-15
Box 2 Folder 12

List of Apprentices, undated

List of apprentices transferred from U.S.S. Ticonderoga.

Box 2 Folder 13

Navigational Readings, 1861 February-May

Readings taken by Cromwell while a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy.

Box 2 Folder 14

Public Law No. 206, 1883

Entitled "An Act making appropriations for the naval service for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and eighty three, and for other purposes.

Box 3

U.S.S. Omaha Letterbook, 1890 January-1891 May

Box 4

U.S.S. Ticonderoga Letterbook, 1878 November-1881 September

Box 5

U.S.S. Ticonderoga Crew Register, 1878-1881

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