Contents and Arrangement

Series 7: U.S. Navy Department: Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, 1847-1852

1 box

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists chiefly of official correspondence and a few documents related to the operations of the Philadelphia Navy Yard starting in the 1830s and leading up to the Civil War. The collection numbers over 500 letters and orders written by personnel of various U.S. Navy Department bureaus and its Commissioner's Office to commanders of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, providing a very clear picture of the function of the various bureaus in the construction and outfitting of naval ships. The correspondence deals with personnel enlistments, desertions, and recruitments; with accounts, purchase contracts, inventories, general supplies and provisions, as well as supplies needed for the construction and repair of ships such as copper and oak; and with authorizations to pay contractors and orders for the transfer of men or weapons from Philadelphia to the New York or Norfolk Navy Yards. It also includes specifications for the construction of gun carriages, the application of steam to naval sailing vessels, and directions for supplying the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. There is correspondence with detailed information about the construction of the USS Princeton, which was supervised by Capt. Robert F. Stockton, and the construction of the frigate Wabash. Also present are specifications and drawings for adding steam to the frigate Raritan. Other ships mentioned are the Jamestown, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Mississippi, Susquehanna, St. Mary, Trenton Union, and Water Witch, the sloops of war Dale and Yorktown, the schooner Ann, the coast survey steamer Bibb, and the British barque Eleanor.

Commanders of the Navy Yard represented include William Bainbridge, James Barron, David Connor, Jesse D. Elliott, Samuel Humphrey, Charles Norris, George C. Read, John Rodgers, William Shubrick, Charles Stewart and Cornelius K. Stribling. Secretaries of the Navy and Assistants include Mahlon Dickerson, John Y. Mason, James K. Paulding, A. Thomas Smith, Abel Upsher, and Levi Woodbury, and Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, commandant of the New York Navy Yard.


Arranged chronologically.

Collection History

Custodial History:

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.

Archival Appraisal Information:

No appraisal information is available.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Series 7: U.S. Navy Department: Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography; Philadelphia Navy Yard Collection, C0545, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 2