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John Irwin Notebook, 1854 (approximate): Finding Aid

Published in March 2019

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 487
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: John Irwin Notebook
  • Dates: 1854 (approximate)
  • Size: 0.02 linear feet (1 folder)
  • Creator: Irwin, John, 1832-1901
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: John Irwin was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1853. The John Irwin Notebook, comprising a single volume, was written by Irwin in approximately 1854. The notebook was kept by Irwin while a Passed Midshipman, possibly while stationed aboard U.S.S. Fulton (Sidewheel steamer).

Biographical Chronology of John Irwin

1832
  • Born on April 15 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1847
  • On September 9, appointed to the United States Naval Academy from Pennsylvania as a member of the Class of 1853.
  • In October, attached to U.S.S. Cumberland (Frigate) of the Home Squadron.
1848
  • In March, granted leave of absence.
  • In June, attached to the receiving ship U.S.S. Pennsylvania.
  • In July, reports to U.S.S. St. Lawrence (Frigate) of the Mediterranean Squadron.
1850
  • In November, granted leave of absence until February 1851.
1851
  • In March, attached to the Africa Squadron, first aboard U.S.S. John Adams (Frigate) and later aboard U.S.S. Porpoise (Brig).
1852
  • In July, detached from the Africa Squadron.
  • In October, returns to the Naval Academy for the final year of his classroom instruction.
1853
  • In June, graduates from the United States Naval Academy.
  • On June 10, commissioned a Passed Midshipman.
  • In June, attached to U.S.S. Fulton (Sidewheel steamer) of the Home Squadron.
1855
  • On September 15, commissioned a Master.
  • On September 16, promoted to Lieutenant.
1856
  • In July, granted leave of absence.
  • In October, attached to the Coast Survey.
1858
  • In July, reports to U.S.S. Savannah (Frigate) of the Home Squadron.
1860
  • In November, granted leave of absence.
1861
  • In April, attached to receiving ship U.S.S. Pennsylvania at Norfolk.
  • In April, assigned to the Navy Yard in Washington, DC.
  • In May, attached to U.S.S. Wabash (Screw frigate), flagship of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
1862
  • On July 16, promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
1863
  • In May, detached from U.S.S. Wabash and waiting orders.
  • In August, assigned to ordnance duty at the Boston Navy Yard.
  • In November, transferred to ordnance duty at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
1864
  • In January, assumes command of U.S.S. Katahdin (Screw gunboat) of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. Later assumes command of U.S.S. Genesee (Steamer).
1865
  • In July, detached from U.S.S. Genesee and waiting orders.
  • In August, assigned to special duty in Philadelphia.
1866
  • On July 25, promoted to Commander.
1867
  • In January, detached and waiting orders.
  • In January, assumes command of U.S.S. Lenapee (Steamer) at Wilmington, North Carolina.
  • In October, detached from U.S.S. Lenapee following her decommissioning and waiting orders.
  • In November, assumes command of U.S.S. New Berne (Supply ship) of the North Atlantic Squadron. Later assumes command of U.S.S. Gettysburg (Steamer).
1869
  • In October, detached from U.S.S. Gettysburg and waiting orders.
1870
  • In February, assumes command of U.S.S. Yantic (Screw gunboat) of the North Atlantic Fleet.
1871
  • In March, detached from U.S.S. Yantic and waiting orders.
  • In October, attached to the Naval Station, League Island, Pennsylvania.
1873
  • In March, assumes command of the receiving ship U.S.S. Sabine at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
1875
  • On May 15, promoted to Captain.
  • In October, detached from U.S.S. Sabine and waiting orders.
1876
  • In March, assumes command of U.S.S. Pensacola (Screw steamer), flagship of the Pacific Station.
1879
  • In January, detached from U.S.S. Pensacola.
  • In February, assumes command of the receiving ship U.S.S. Independence at Mare Island, California.
  • In May, appointed Officer in Charge of the Mare Island Navy Yard Navigation Department.
1881
  • In April, appointed Captain of the Yard, and later Commandant, of the Mare Island Navy Yard.
1883
  • In November, relieved as Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard.
  • In November, appointed senior member of the Board of Inspection, Mare Island.
1886
  • On March 4, promoted to Commodore.
1888
  • In January, detached from the Board of Inspection and waiting orders.
1889
  • In March, appointed member of the Board of Examination.
1891
  • On May 19, promoted to Rear Admiral.
  • In June, appointed Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard.
1893
  • In June, assumes command of the Pacific Station aboard the flagship U.S.S. Philadelphia (Protected cruiser: C-4).
1894
  • On April 15, transferred to the Retired List.
1901
  • Dies on July 29 in Washington, DC.
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Description of Contents

The John Irwin Notebook, comprising a single volume, was written by Irwin in approximately 1854. The notebook was kept by Irwin while a Passed Midshipman, possibly while stationed aboard U.S.S. Fulton (Sidewheel steamer).

The John Irwin Notebook consists of two sections, each beginning from opposite ends of the notebook. Beginning from the front cover, the notebook opens with notes on steam engineering, including the properties of heat, the elastic forces of steam, and methods for calculating steam pressure. The steam notes are followed by a set of station bills, a ledger of supplies, and the results of target practice. Beginning from the back cover, the notebook lists the deck and gun layout of an unidentified frigate, followed by a series of seamanship questions regarding the various procedures for manning the masts and sails, tacking, mooring, launching and hoisting boats, anchor handling, and navigating in a number of hypothetical scenarios.

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Arrangement

The John Irwin Notebook comprises a single volume, with sections beginning from opposite ends.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The John Irwin Notebook 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

Custodial History

The John Irwin Notebook was originally donated to the United States Naval Academy Museum, date unknown.

Provenance and Acquisition

Transferred from the United States Naval Academy Museum in February 1975.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to the Irwin Family in this repository includes the Log of the Cruise of the United States Steamer Thetis, MS 105, by Irwin's son, John Irwin, Jr.

Additional material pertaining to the career of John Irwin is available in Series 52 of the Naval History Society Collection, MS 439, at the New-York Historical Society.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

John Irwin Notebook, MS 487

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

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in March 2019. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in March 2019.

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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

  • Irwin, John, 1832-1901
  • Naval education -- United States
  • Seamanship
  • Steam engineering

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Notebooks
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

John Irwin Notebook, 1854 (approximate)

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