R. Henderson, Journal of a Cruise on the U. S. Ship Lexington (1832-1833)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Cheney J. Schopieray, August 2019
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: R. Henderson, Journal of a Cruise on the U. S. Ship Lexington
Creator: Henderson, R.
Inclusive dates: 1832-1833
Extent: 35 pages (1 volume)
Abstract:
R. Henderson, a sailor aboard the U. S. sloop of war Lexington was assigned to keep a journal of the sloop's activities during his voyage with the Brazil Squadron for the Falklands Expedition. This journal covers the period from December 13, 1832, to September 24, 1833, and Henderson's frequent (but not daily) entries provide an account of a sailor's life aboard the American warship.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

2017. M-7043.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copyright

Copyright status is unknown

Preferred Citation

R. Henderson, Journal of a Cruise on the U. S. Ship Lexington , David P. Harris Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan

Arrangement

The R. Henderson journal is in custom housing, with donor David P. Harris' transcriptions, notations, and essays.

History

"The Lexington was one of five U. S. Navy sloops-of-war built in 1825 or the years immediately following. Laid down in 1825 at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn and commissioned the next year, she had a length of 1127 feet, a beam of 33 feet six inches, and a complement of 190. Her armament consisted of 24 24-pounder guns.

She was first stationed off Labrador to protect American fishing vessels, and in 1826 she was sent to Trinidad to return the body of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to America. In 1827, she began a three-year cruise to the Mediterranean." (David P. Harris, "R. Henderson, Journal of a Cruise on the U. S. Ship Lexington ...," the sloop-of-war Lexington , accompanying the R. Henderson journal).

"An American expedition to the Falkland Islands was launched in late 1831, when the U. S. sloop of war Lexington was sent to Puerto Soledad in the Falklands to investigate the capture of some American whalers, leading to the so-called Falklands' Incident. In this way, the Lexington temporarily became part of the Brazil Squadron, which was finally assigned to the Pacific Coast to protect American commerce there (David P. Harris, "R. Henderson, Journal of a Cruise on the U. S. Ship Lexington ...," historical background of the text, accompanying the R. Henderson journal).

The Lexington remained attached to the Brazil Squadron until 1836. "Next, the vessel sailed around Cape Horn to protect American commerce on the Pacific coast, returning to the American east coast in 1840, where she was converted to a supply ship with a new armament of six 32-pounder carronades. In 1843, she was again sent to the Mediterranean, serving there for two years.

The outbreak of the U.S. War with Mexico in 1846 found the Lexington operating along the West Coast of North America, transporting troops and assisting in the transition to U. S. control and the opening months of the 1849 gold rush.

Returning to the American east coast in 1850, the Lexington operated on the eastern seaboard until she joined Commodore Matthew Perry's expedition to Japan (1852-1854), after which she returned to New York where she was decommissioned in early 1855 and sold five years later (David P. Harris, "R. Henderson, Journal of a Cruise on the U. S. Ship Lexington ...," the sloop-of-war Lexington , accompanying the R. Henderson journal).

Collection Scope and Content Note

R. Henderson, a sailor aboard the U. S. sloop of war Lexington was assigned to keep a journal of the sloop's activities during his voyage with the Brazil Squadron for the Falklands Expedition. This journal covers the period from December 13, 1832, to September 24, 1833, and Henderson's frequent (but not daily) entries provide an account of everyday life aboard the American warship.

Henderson's entries are irregular, documenting weather, direction, and shipboard activities on a non-daily basis. Variously he recorded musters of the crew, the cleaning and repairing of the ship, the detention of deserters, and work with the sails. He made notes about the arrivals of American, French, and English ships bearing salt, government officials, money, and troops; the transportation of Danish Governor Peter Carl Frederick von Sholten; the drinking and singing of "liberty men" released briefly from ship duty; and celebrations and salutes for various occasions, including George Washington's birthday, Brazilian independence, Catholic holidays, and others. He also remarked on the arrival and movements of consuls from England, France, Russia, and America.

Subject Terms

Subjects:
  • Falkland Islands--History--19th century.
  • Lexington (Sloop)
  • Logbooks.
  • Sailors--United States--History--19th century.
  • Sailors--United States--Social life and customs.
  • United States. Navy. South Atlantic Squadron.
Genre Terms:
  • Journals (accounts)
  • Logs (records)

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Volume   14, David P. Harris Collection  
R. Henderson, Journal of a Cruise on the U. S. Ship Lexington ,   December 14, 1832-September 24, 1833 [series]

Additional Descriptive Data

Bibliography

This finding aid draws heavily on original research done by the collection's donor, David P. Harris.