This collection (1 linear foot) contains correspondence, documents, financial records, reports, and other items pertaining to Gilbert L. Thompson. The material relates to Thompson's work as the United States Navy's chief engineer from 1842-1844, and his involvement in the coal and transportation industries.
The Correspondence series (155 items) is mostly made up of incoming business letters to Gilbert L. Thompson; outgoing drafts by Thompson and business letters between other persons are also present. The first group of items concern Thompson's service as the United States Navy's chief engineer from 1842-1844, addressing many topics related to naval engineering and United States Navy vessels. The remaining correspondence, dated 1850-1861 and 1865-1872, largely pertains to Thompson's business interests and his stake in various ventures. Thompson wrote and received letters about coal and oil industries, railroads, domestic commerce, and attempts to establish regular steamship trade between the United States and Europe after the Civil War. Many of the latter items pertain to the Norfolk and St. Nazaire Steam Navigation Company and to commerce in the South during the early years of Reconstruction. Thompson's prominent correspondents included Secretary of the Treasury Walter Forward, Secretary of the Navy Abel Parker Upshur, and Virginia governor Francis Harrison Pierpont.
The Documents series is divided into two subseries. The Legal Documents (34 items), which include copies of legislation, by-laws, indentures, and other items, pertain to naval engineering, transatlantic trade between the United States and Europe, and Gilbert L. Thompson's business affairs. Several items relate to the Norfolk and St. Nazaire Steam Navigation Company and to the American Iron Shipbuilding, Mining, and Manufacturing Company. One indenture relates to land that Thompson and his wife owned in Fairfax County, Virginia, and includes a manuscript map of the property (December 13, 1844). Financial Documents (14 items) are made up of accounts and other items pertaining to the Western Virginia Coal Company, the Coal Oil and Paraffin Company of Baltimore, steamship construction and operation, the USS Missouri , and other subjects.
Reports and Drafts (53 items) pertain to the Norfolk and St. Nazaire Steam Navigation Company, steam boiler explosions, coal lands in Pennsylvania and Virginia, the United States Navy, and transportation. Some memorials addressed to the United States Congress mention relevant legislation.
The Notes and Drawings series (90 items) contains technical drawings, manuscript maps, and notes about steam engines, mining and drilling equipment and practices, and other subjects.
Three Newspaper Clippings from the early 1870s concern the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, a property dispute involving General Bradley T. Johnson, steamships, and the sale of an iron furnace.