Aug 23

Battle of Flamborough Head

Monday, August 23, 2010 12:00 AM

On 23 September 1779, off the east coast of England, a four-ship Continental Navy squadron, comprising a 40-gun ship, a 36- and a 32-gun frigate, and a 12-gun brig, encountered forty-one British merchant ships arriving from the Baltic laden with precious commodities, convoyed by two British warships, of 44 and 20 guns. At the conclusion of the ensuing battle, the two British warships had struck their colors. Although the American flagship to which the British 44 was closely grappled was in a sinking condition, the heavily damaged British ship struck because it still faced the undamaged American 36-gun frigate.

The American squadron lost the 40-gun ship, which sank owing to battle damage, and failed to capture a single one of the merchant ships. Richard Pearson, the commander of the British convoy, was knighted for his gallant and successful defense of the convoy. Because of his stubborn refusal to accept defeat, and despite his shortcomings as a squadron commander and the appalling loss of life on board his flagship, the American commander, John Paul Jones, is honored for having given “our Navy its earliest traditions of heroism and victory.”

Jun 9

Historical Manuscripts at the Navy Department Library

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 9:04 AM

In previous posts we’ve highlighted many of the incredible books we have in our collections here at the Navy Department Library, but did you know that we have a very nice historical manuscripts collection as well? This collection is composed of US Navy-related original letters, documents and manuscripts from the 18th to the 20th century. Highlights include John Paul Jones’ calling card collection from French and Russian acquaintances; a log from the frigate HMS Lizard during the Revolutionary War; documents relating to the service of Naval hero Asa Curtis during the War of 1812; and a scrapbook of Seaman 1st Class William G. Kelly, who served in the Yangtze Patrol in the 1930s. Other items include a wide range of signed documents and letters written by and to personages such as William Bainbridge, John Dahlgren, George Dewey, David Farragut, Isaac Hull, Abraham Lincoln, Matthew Maury, James Monroe, Matthew C. Perry, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thomas Tingey, Thomas Truxton, and Gideon Welles.

Manuscript materials are unavailable for loan and must be consulted in the library. Photocopying of manuscripts, as well as fragile items, is generally prohibited, though the use of digital cameras by researchers to reproduce non-copyrighted materials is permitted. Permission to photocopy a few pages may be granted by the reference staff, contingent upon the physical state of items. All photocopying of materials shall be done by the reference staff, or under their close supervision. The use of personal scanners by non-library staff personnel must be approved by the reference staff on a document-by-document basis.

There are wonderful primary source materials waiting for you right here at the Navy Department Library. Come in to view our manuscripts and let us help you tell your story.

Apr 18

This Week in U.S. Navy History: 18-24 April

Sunday, April 18, 2010 5:55 AM

April 18

1906 – Navy assists in relief operations during San Francisco earthquake and fire

1942 - USS Hornet launches Doolittle’s Army bombers for first attack on Japan

USS Hornet (CV-8) launches Army Air Force B-25B bombers, at the start of the first U.S. air raid on the Japanese home islands, 18 April 1942. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

1988 – Navy destroys 2 Iranian surveillance platforms, sinks one frigate and one patrol ships, and severely damages a second frigate in retaliation for attack on USS Samuel B. Roberts

April 19

1955 – USS Albany and USS William Wood begin to provide disaster relief to citizens of Volos, Greece, ending 21 April

1989 – an explosion occurred in turret 2 of the battleship USS Iowa (BB 61) as the ship conducted gunnery practice near Puerto Rico. The explosion, which began in the gunpowder charge of the center gun, spread through the three gun rooms and much of the lower levels of the turret. Forty-seven Sailors died. RIP Shipmates. You Stand Relieved. We have the watch.

April 20

1914 – In first call to action of naval aviators, detachment on USS Birmingham sailed to Tampico, Mexico.

1942 – USS Wasp (CV-7) launches 47 British aircraft to reinforce Malta

British Royal Air Force Spitfire V fighter takes off from the carrier, after a 200-foot run, May 1942. Probably taken during Wasp's second Malta aircraft ferry mission. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

1953 – USS New Jersey shells Wonsan, Korea from inside the harbor.

1964 – USS Henry Clay (SSBN-625) launches a Polaris A-2 missile from the surface in first demonstration that Polaris submarines could launch missiles from the surface as well as from beneath the ocean. 30 minutes later the submarine launched another Polaris missile while submerged.

April 21

1861 – USS Saratoga captures slaver, Nightingale.

1898 – U.S. at war against Spain

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Jan 22

The Wilkes Exploring Expedition Discovers the Antarctic Coast in January 1840

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 3:05 PM

 “The Wilkes Exploring Expedition: Its Progress Through Half a Century” was originally published in the September/October 1914 issue of Proceedings magazine by Louis N. Feipel:

Portrait of Charles Wilkes by Thomas Sully

Portrait of Charles Wilkes by Thomas Sully

The important expedition known as the Wilkes, or South Sea, Exploring Expedition, fitted out in 1838 by national munificence, was the first that ever left our shores, and the first to be com­manded by an officer of the United States Navy. But although organized on a most stupendous scale, and shrouded in a most in­teresting history, this expedition is to-day comparatively unknown.

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Jan 17

Navy-Themed Sheet Music of the WWI Era (1914-1919)

Monday, January 17, 2011 12:01 AM

Navy-Themed Sheet Music of the WWI Era (1914-1919) as drawn from Bernard S. Parker’s World War I Sheet Music. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2007. 2 vols.

The purpose of this list is to provide basic information on Navy-themed sheet music of the WWI period (1914-1919) as drawn from Parker’s work. The term “Navy-themed” refers to the cover illustration of the sheet music. In order to be considered “Navy-themed”, the cover illustration must be totally or mostly related to a Navy theme–sailors, warships, etc. While the Navy appears on a great many of the 9,670 items listed in Parker, it is usually in a minor role—a sailor standing next to a soldier, a warship in the background, etc. These have not been included in this list, nor have sheet music with words only on the cover.

1. Admiral Dewey. (1917) Lyricist: M.W. Murray

2. All For The Red, White, and Blue. (1919) Lyricist: Samuel E. Carter

3. All Hail To America. (1917) Lyricist: Peter Philip Bilhorn

4. America Awakes. (1918) Lyricist: Allen W. Woodruff

5. America Home Sweet Home. (1917) Lyricist: Carrie M. Brooks

6. America Is Ready. (1917) Lyricist: Josephine B. Cassidy

7. America Leads The Way. (1917) Lyricist: Addison A. Dart

8. American War March. (1917) Lyricist: S.J. Trietel

9. America’s Call. (1918) Lyricist: Edward F. Larkins

10. (Army) Yankees On The Rhine, (Navy) Yankees On The Brine. (1918) Lyricist: F.N. Graves

11. Battle Ship Rag. (1915) Lyricist: Thos S. Allen

12. Battleship Connecticut. (1919) Lyricist: James M. Fulton

13. Beacon Lights. (1918) Lyricist: M.T. Donovan

14. Boys In Navy Blue. (1918) Lyricist: Tom W. Sageman

15. Boys Of The USA. (1918) Lyricist: Elizabeth Kelly

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