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Daniel S. Stellwagen Signal Book, 1814: Finding Aid

Published in September 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 527
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Daniel S. Stellwagen Signal Book
  • Dates: 1814
  • Size: 0.1 linear feet (2 folders)
  • Creator: Stellwagen, Daniel S., -1828
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Daniel S. Stellwagen was a Sailing Master in the United States Navy. The Daniel S. Stellwagen Signal Book was compiled in 1814. The volume consists primarily of the signals used by Commodore Thomas Macdonough's forces on Lake Champlain leading up to the Battle of Lake Champlain/Battle of Plattsburgh during the War of 1812.

Biography of Daniel S. Stellwagen

Daniel S. Stellwagen was born on November 6, 1774 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After attending schools in Philadelphia, Stellwagen embarked upon a career as a merchant mariner, captaining and owning his own vessel. It is in this role that Stellwagen was captured by the British on March 15, 1813, when the vessel under his command, the Concord, ran aground in Delaware Bay while attempting to run a British blockade. On the 18th of that month, Stellwagen managed to retake his ship from the British prize crew and dock at Philadelphia.

On May 14, 1814, Stellwagen was warranted as a Sailing Master in the United State Navy. Shortly thereafter, he was attached to Commodore Thomas Macdonough's forces on Lake Champlain. In command of the Third Division of Galleys, consisting of the galleys Alwyn, Ballard, Ludlow, and Wilmer, Stellwagen took part in the Battle of Plattsburgh, blunting British advances from Canada. Stellwagen remained in the Navy until his death on November 6, 1828.

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Description of Contents

The Daniel S. Stellwagen Signal Book, comprising 0.1 linear feet of documentation, was compiled in 1814. The volume consists primarily of the signals used by Commodore Thomas Macdonough's forces on Lake Champlain leading up to the Battle of Lake Champlain/Battle of Plattsburgh during the War of 1812.

The canvas-bound signal book was the property of Daniel S. Stellwagen, Commander of the Third Division of Galleys of Thomas Macdonough's forces on Lake Champlain. The first sixteen pages of the volume consist of an alphabetical index of signals. Following the index are several pages of procedures, orders, and correspondence, including: instructions in the use of signal flags; an index of night signals and signal guns; a communication from Stellwagen to Macdonough concerning Stellwagen's inspection of his galleys; the organization of the galley divisions; the order of anchoring off Crab Island and Gravelly Point; order for sailing in a line; and procedures for exercising the galleys by division. Several of the communications are badly faded and have been copied for legibility.

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Arrangement

The Daniel S. Stellwagen Signal Book is organized into two folders.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Daniel S. Stellwagen Signal Book 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

Gift of Mrs. T. S. Wilson in 1929. Accession No. 102532.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material from Stellwagen's service during the War of 1812 can be found in the Daniel S. Stellwagen Papers, 1814-1827 at the Library of Congress Manuscripts Division.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Daniel S. Stellwagen Signal Book, MS 527

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

Blanchard, Charles, ed. The Progressive Men of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Vol. II. Logansport, IN: A. W. Bowen & Co., 1900.

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1817.

Processing Information

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

  • Lake Champlain, Battle of, N.Y., 1814
  • Signals and signaling
  • Stellwagen, Daniel S., -1828
  • United States -- History -- War of 1812 -- Naval operations
  • United States. Navy -- Communication systems

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Notebooks
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Signal Book, 1814

Box 1 Folder 2

Excerpts (Photocopies), 1814 June-August

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