This collection contains a letter, a journal, and a sketchbook belonging to Midshipman Edwin Osgood Carnes, pertaining to his service in the United States Navy in the early 1850s.
The letter, signed "Bill H." and dated April 6, 1853, is three pages long and describes the author's financial situation and "real California life" in San Francisco. Bill mentioned his recent employment at a quartz mine and brickyard, and went into detail about his finances, offering Carnes the use of his bank account after the sailor's return to California.
The journal (71 pages), kept by Edwin Osgood Carnes between 1850 and 1851, chronicles his service on the USS Falmouth (January 4, 1850-May 24, 1850, pp.1-24) and on the United States Store Ship Fredonia (May 25, 1850-January 18, 1851, pp. 31-68); he also intended to keep a journal of his time on board the USS Porpoise , beginning in June 1853, but wrote no entries following the emph page (pp. 69-71). Carnes kept a daily chart of wind type, speed, and direction; weather conditions; and barometric readings, applying a personal set of abbreviations to the wind and weather. Entries from his time on the Fredonia also track the ship's daily latitude and longitude. The Falmouth , commanded by Thomas Petigree, left San Francisco on January 4, 1850, and traveled along the western coasts of the United States and Mexico, stopping at several islands along the way. Occasional notes record encounters with other ships, most frequently English or American vessels, and on one occasion the ship "Saluted the Mexican flag with 21 guns. It was returned" (March 4, 1850). Carnes was reassigned to the Fredonia on May 24, 1850; the ship sailed around Cape Horn to the Atlantic Ocean and north to Sandy Hook, New Jersey. During this journey, Carnes mentioned observing the national salutes celebrating the Chilean Independence Day (September 18, 1850) and lowering the Fredonia 's flags to half-mast to honor deceased President Zachary Taylor (September 25, 1850). He included several illustrations of scenery, naval personnel, and the logo of the Porpoise for its 1853 surveying and exploring expedition.
The sketchbook contains 8 drawings, primarily in pencil, portraying several islands near Japan, a naval officer, and "a patent 'quick working,' 'time saving' steam sextant." For lists of illustrations in the journal and sketchbook, see "Additional Descriptive Data" below.