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Collection Reference Number GLC05911.03
From Archive Folder Journals and log books of Edward Simpson Sr. and Edward Simpson Jr. 
Title Captain's Letter Book, including reports, letters and orders, U.S. practice ship John Adams.
Date 1862
Author Simpson, Edward (1824-1888)  
Document Type Book
Content Description The John Adams was a training ship for midshipmen at the Naval Academy. As such, the daily orders have many references to extra duties and "watch" dealt out as punishment for minor ("smoking", "for not having hammocks up in time") and more serious ("throwing salt cellar at sevt", "kicking a servant") offenses. The John Adams returned to New York in January 1862 after operations in the Pacific and Far East. She was then sent to Newport, Rhode Island, the wartime location of the Naval Academy, to serve as a training ship midshipmen. In mid-1863, she joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Quarter calf, marbled boards. [26 June 1862; Simpson at sea] "…Acting Midn. F. Morris, reported for throwing a salt-cellar at a servant, while at mess …The indignity offered to the servant in this act shows that the young gentleman had forgotten the respect due to his own position, for whenever a gentleman condescends to bawdy words, or deal in blows, with an inferior, he lowers himself to the level of him with whom he contends …" [16 July 1862; Simpson to John P. Hale, U.S. Senate, Chairman of the Naval Committee] "…In reply to the interrogatories of the resolution adopted by the U.S. Senate relative to the loyalty of the Supdt. & officers of the U.S. Naval Academy, I reply on my honor that to the best of my knowledge and belief, 'manifestation or exhibition of feelings or sentiments hostile to the government of the United States' have not been 'allowed or countenanced' by the 'Supdt or any of the officers connected with the government of, or instruction at, the Academy' in the young men under their charge, and I farther add that, to the best of my knowledge, none such have ever been manifested by the young men …The outrage committed by a mob in Baltimore upon a regiment from Massachusetts, is a subject of history; every government post became, at once, an object of excited interest, and I have every reason to suppose that the attack on the Frigate Constitution and the armory of the Naval Academy, was agitated by landless men in Baltimore, of the inhabitants of Annapolis I never had any suspicion. Every free action was taken by the Supdt. to guard against and prepare for such attack; although system of defense was matured for the Constitution, and if this had proved to be insufficient, arrangements were made for the destruction of the ship, the foregone conclusion being that she should never fall into the hands of men hostile to the Government. I respectfully submit to the Committee that these were not such acts as would be expected from disloyal men …I feel that a great wrong has been done to the reputation of the officers of the Academy, and especially to the Supdt. who enjoys the entire confidence of the Navy Department. There is not an officer at the Academy who has remained at it of his own free will & accord; to a man, they have desired and applied for active service during the struggle, but have, against their own inclination, been forced to remain on shore; doing duty, however, which they have been assured by the Navy Department was considered second in importance to none that was being done afloat …" [8 August 1862; Simpson's Order] "…The Comdt of Midn desires to express his commendation and admiration of the heroic conduct of Acting Midn D.R. Cassel, C M Chester, & D.R. Bell, in risking their own lives for the purpose of rescuing a shipmate from a watery grave…" [23 August 1862; Simpson to G.S. Blake, Superintendent of U.S. Naval Academy] "…Since leaving Newport on the 18th ult., I have visited, with this vessel, the cities of New London, & New Haven in Conn., & the towns of Oyster Bay & Greenport in L.I. The impression made by the officers & Midn of this ship on the people, was evidently favorable, & I have every reason to believe that the visit of this ship to Ports along our own Coast, has a good effect in interesting the people in the Navy & the Naval Academy." [31 August 1862; Simpson's Order] In reference to the heroic actions of the crew in saving a sailor's life: "…A very earnest man said, when giving instruction to his soldiers, 'trust in God, & keep your powder dry' implying, that though trusting in God, we must make the best use of means in our power; a paraphrase of these instructions, suited for exercise on shipboard, may not be without usefulness: trust in God, and look out for your hand hold." [30 Sep, 1862; Simpson to G.S. Blake, Superintendent of U.S. Naval Academy] "…On the 11th of June I sailed from Gardiner's Bay, and on the 16th arrived at Hampton Roads, where I anchored near Fortress Monroe, and sent the Midn. on shore to examine the Fortress. I called on Rear Admiral S.M. Goldsborough, who recommended that I should take the ship up the York River …I sailed for Yorktown, where I arrived on the afternoon of the same day, and made arrangements with Brigadier Genl. Van Allen for landing the Midn. on the following day for the purpose of examining the works at Yorktown, as well as those thrown up with such masterly skill by Major General G.B. McClellan …On the 3d of July we anchored at Port Royal, South Carolina, where the Midn had the opportunity of visiting the U.S. Frigate Wabash, commanded by Commander C.R.P. Rodgers, and bearing the flag of Rear Admiral S.F. DuPont …" [Additional excerpts available.]
Subjects Military History  Navy  Maritime  Letterbook  US Naval Academy  Education  Tobacco and Smoking  Servant  Confederate States of America  Union Forces  Civil War  Congress  Mobs and Riots  Baltimore Riot  USS Constitution (Old Ironsides)  Government and Civics  Bravery  Union General  
People Simpson, Edward (1824-1888)  Adams, John (1735-1826)  
Theme The American Civil War; Government & Politics; Education; Naval & Maritime
Sub-collection The Gilder Lehrman Collection, 1860-1945
Copyright The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Module Civil War, Reconstruction and the Modern Era: 1860-1945