William Harrison Barber papers  1861-1883
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This volume (463 pages) contains ships' logs pertaining to George M. Ransom's service on the United States Navy ships Erie (pp. 2-101), Kineo (pp.105-283), Mercedita (pp. 286-339), Grand Gulf (pp. 340-441), and Muscoota (pp. 442-463) in the early 1840s and early 1860s. The logs were written in several hands, and each contains standard information about winds, the ship's course, and the ship's location.

The log of the sloop Erie (January 16, 1843-September 19, 1844) concerns the ship's journey from the Charlestown Navy Yard to Cape Verde, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Hawaii, Tahiti, and back to Norfolk, Virginia. Entries contain detailed notes regarding the use of sails and unusual occurrences such as encounters with other ships at sea and in port, changes in personnel, and attempts to avoid shoals and other dangerous areas. The final entry concerns the transfer of prisoners and mutineers from a whaling vessel.

Material regarding the gunboat Kineo includes 17 pages of "Articles for the Internal Regulations of the U. S. Steam Gun Boat Kineo " (undated) and log entries (February 8, 1862-February 20, 1863). The regulations pertain to aspects of sailors' and officers' personal behavior and official duties. The ship's log entries concern the Kineo 's Civil War service between the Mississippi River Delta and Vicksburg, Mississippi; the Kineo was primarily stationed at New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Donaldsonville, Louisiana, and Warrenton and Grand Gulf, Mississippi. Many entries refer to and provide details about military activities, including the ship's participation in the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, encounters and engagements with Confederate ships and shore batteries, and the capture of hostile vessels (including one carrying a large number of cattle intended for Confederate use, early October 1862). The log also refers to other Union vessels, the progress of the land war, ship maintenance, and issues related to the Kineo 's crew. Two entries contain copies of a letter of thanks from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells (July 8, 1862) and a U.S. House of Representatives resolution praising Admiral David Farragut (August 18, 1862).

The log of the steamer Mercedita (April 18, 1863-August 18, 1863) largely relates to the ship's service in the Caribbean, where it visited ports in Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas. Many of the entries report on other ships in the area, including foreign vessels, and on activities such as target practice and ship maintenance. The entry of May 26, 1863, concerns two crewmembers' imprisonment by the United States consul in Haiti following their encounter with the captain of a French merchant vessel. The entries of July 30 and 31, 1863, pertain to the death and funeral of Master's Mate Granville W. Fogg.

The third log concerns the steamer Grand Gulf , particularly its activities as part of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron off of the North Carolina coast and along the Cape Fear River (September 28, 1863-November 25, 1864). The first entries concern the intake of officers and final preparations for the ship's launch from the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Grand Gulf was stationed primarily near Wilmington and Beaufort, North Carolina, though many entries are dated "at sea." The log reports on the ship's encounters with other blockading vessels and its chase and capture of several blockade runners, including the British ship Mary Ann (March 6, 1864), the Banshee , and the Young Republic (May 6, 1864); these and similar entries list apprehended cargo. Other topics include crew discipline and ship maintenance.

The final section concerns the steamer Muscoota (June 5, 1865-May 17, 1865). Under Ransom's command, the ship was stationed in and around the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Norfolk Navy Yard. Log entries pertain to the ship's officers and incoming personnel, maintenance issues, and collisions with other vessels in port. The final pages of the volume include notes on navy personnel (May 1, 1843-June 27, 1844) and a quote from the Iliad.

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