Thursday, December 30, 2010

Artifact Spotlight: Bowl Made from MK 6 Mine

---Joshua Howard, Curatorial Volunteer



Mines were used as weapons since the dawn of naval warfare and have held a prominent place in all of the major conflicts in American history. This week’s blog is about a copper bowl made from a MK 6 mine used during the North Sea Mine Barrage of the First World War.

During the late months of 1917 and early months of 1918 over 76,000 MK 6 mines were laid across the North Sea in a joint Anglo-American operation. The "minefield" stretched some 230 miles between the coasts of Scotland and Norway.  The barrage was designed to trap the German submarine force operating and resupplying in the North Sea and prevent them from attacking Allied shipping lanes in the Atlantic Ocean. The field was finished shortly before the war ended and is credited with sinking at least four submarines.

Officially retired in 1985, the MK6 mine is one the US Navy’s longest-serving weapons.   The bowl in the museum collection  is actually made from part of the float used to suspend a copper antenna attached to the mine itself. When a steel warship struck the wire, the resulting electrical charge detonated the submerged mine's 300 pounds of TNT.

The bowl, donated in 1975 by Mrs. Alexander Thompson, was part of a gift to the Naval Historical Collection that included the papers of Chester T. Minkler.  Minkler was an ordinance engineer who worked at the Naval Torpedo Station and experimented with  new types of depth charges and mines from 1917 to 1952. 
 
The outside of the bowl bears the inscription, “North Sea Barrage, 14 Submarines, 1918”

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Artifact Spotlight: USS BROOKLYN Christmas Menu, 1903

Far from home on cruises all over the globe, naval officers and enlisted men have always celebrated the  holidays with special meals. This 1903 menu for Christmas dinner shared by the officers of the USS Brooklyn (CA-3) is just one of several interesting Christmas holiday-related documents in the Naval War College Museum collection. 

The famous armored cruiser, well-known for her role at the Battle of Santiago (1898) and for carrying the remains of John Paul Jones from Cherbourg, France to Annapolis, Maryland (1905), was on station with the newly reformed European Squadron at the time. Not content to simply list the evening's courses, the menu is annotated with quotes from Shakespeare, Lord Byron, the New Testament, and others.



Click on the image to enlarge

 The menu was donated to the Naval War College Museum in 1997 by the late Ambassador Dwight Dickinson.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Artifact Spotlight: Silk Banner from the Great White Fleet

--Joshua Howard, Curatorial Volunteer

On the 103rd anniversary of the departure of the Great White Fleet for its cruise around the world, this week's blog focuses on a recent acquisition tied to the epic voyage.


Painted Scene of the Great White Fleet from Silk Banner
On 16 December 1907, sixteen new battleships steamed out of Hampton Roads, Virginia on a journey that led them straight into the pages of naval history. These steel ships, painted white and adorned with gilded scroll work made up the new Atlantic Fleet created under President Theodore Roosevelt. Their circumnavigation of the globe was a demonstration of  America's military might and growth as a world power.



The Great White Fleet's fourteen-month journey brought them to over twenty ports of call. At San Francisco, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans the original commander of the fleet was replaced by Rear Admiral Charles Sperry due to illness. Sperry, who previously served as President of the Naval War College (16 November 1903- 24 May 1906) broke his flag on board USS Connecticut and the fleet steamed on across the Pacific for Australia, Japan, and the Far East.  The fleet made a number of stops in the Pacific before heading through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean. After passing the Strait of Gibraltar, the fleet steamed home and arrived back in Hampton Roads on 22 February 1909.


"In Memory of Our Famous
 Cruise Around the World."

The museum collection includes a silk banner acquired by sailor Joseph Pomelek as a souvenir during the voyage. Embroidered panels such as this were produced in Asian ports and sold to sailors eager to commemorate the voyage and arrival of the Great White Fleet.  Pomelek likely acquired the banner between 18 October 1908 and 3 January 1909 when his ship the USS Connecticut made a number of stops throughout the Far East. The banner is titled, "In Memory of Our Famous Cruise Around the World,"  and is dominated by a majestic eagle perched above a decorative array of American flags. Depictions of stacked shot, a life raft, two crossed naval guns and the motto, E Pluribus Unum adorn the bottom of the piece. The array of flags form a frame  for three photographs and a painted scene of the Great White Fleet in Asian waters.

The center photograph is of President Theodore Roosevelt. To the left is a portrait of Rear Admiral Charles Sperry. Appropriately, Pomelek has recorded his participation  in the global event by also inserting a photograph of him and his wife on their wedding day. It was very common for sailors to personalize these panels with something from their own lives or an experience from their journey with the Great White Fleet. It is probable that the oval on the right originally contained a photograph of  Rear Admiral Robley Evans, the first commander of the Great White Fleet. Pomelek, originally from Czechoslovakia, began his tour with the Navy here at the Newport Naval Training Station and upon retiring settled in Newport. The silk banner was graciously donated to the museum in 2008 by Pomelek’s great-grandson Eric Vaas and his wife Jean Vaas. Visitors to the museum can see it on display in the Sailors and Scholars exhibit.


               


Images courtesy of the Naval War College Museum


--Post has been updated since its original publication

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Artifact Spotlight: Medals and Awards of VADM Bernard L. Austin

--Kassie Ettefagh, Curatorial Volunteer
--John Pentangelo, Curator/Registrar


One of the strengths of the Naval War College Museum collection is the wealth of uniforms, medals, and personal items related to the careers of the Presidents of the Naval War College. From the officer’s sword belonging to second president, Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (recently featured in this blog) to a portrait bust of the college’s fifty-second (and current) president, Rear Admiral James P. Wisecup, these artifacts are crucial in interpreting college history because they often reveal how the personal lives and careers of these officers shaped their administrations as well as “naval thought” in general.


VADM Bernard L. Austin
Vice Admiral Bernard L. Austin was the president of the Naval War College from 30 June 1960 to 31 July 1964. A collection of his uniform items, medals, ribbons, and other personal effects was recently transferred to the museum from the Curator Branch of the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington DC. The collection was originally donated to the Naval Historical Foundation in 1979.

The college’s thirty-second president, Austin’s tour was the longest in college history up to that point. During World War II, he served as a destroyer captain and squadron commodore and later joined the staff of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet. Between 1951 and 1954 he played an important role in creating the college’s Naval Command College for international officers. He attained the rank of vice admiral while serving as Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, DC. Prior to his command at the college, he was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Plans and Policy).

This collection contains 160 items, most of which are uniform accessories, medals, or ribbons. Additionally, there are belts, buckles, shoulder boards, pins, identification tags, and uniform buttons. His medals and ribbons denote participation in the American, African-European-Middle Eastern, and Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns of World War II. Other medals include the United Nations Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and a Bronze Star. Austin was awarded the Navy Cross with gold star (for second award) as well as a Silver Star for his gallantry as commander of Destroyer Division FORTY-SIX during actions in the Solomon Islands in November of 1943.


Bar of medals worn by VADM B.L. Austin

Of immediate interest is his Navy Distinguished Service Medal with two gold stars for subsequent awards (second from left). The President of the United States awarded Austin his second award of the Distinguished Service Medal for his service as President of the Naval War College. According to the citation, “Vice Admiral Austin drew upon his great wealth of wisdom and experience in a dedicated effort to enrich the postgraduate education of students at the Naval War College in the field of maritime strategy and its relationship to overall national and allied objectives and strategy.” The award also recognized Austin’s role in the development of a program of annual conferences of Presidents and Directors of the War Colleges of the Americas. These conferences, the citation reads were, “highly beneficial to professional and diplomatic relationships among the participants.” Austin’s Second Gold Star (third award) recognized his service as Chairman of the Inter-American Defense Board from 1964-196. The board fostered collaboration of member nations in security issues that affected the region. These medals remind the reader of the Naval War College tradition of international partnership and an artifact’s ability to tell a larger story.

Images courtesy of the Naval War College Museum

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Artifact Spotlight: Pearl Harbor Drawing

--Joshua Howard, Curatorial Volunteer


1. Pencil Drawing of the Attack on Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor
 As we approached the 69th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, museum staff searched for an appropriate artifact in the collection for this week's artifact blog. After pouring through a small group of photographs, artifacts, and documents, we settled on an artist's depiction of this monumental event that brought the United States into the Second World War.

The Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor was designed to cripple the U.S. Pacific Fleet's ability to play a decisive role in the empire's future actions in Southeast Asia. Two waves of Japanese aircraft completely destroyed almost two hundred airplanes, sunk or damaged eight battleships in addition to several cruisers and destroyers, and killed 2,402 servicemen. The sketch above shows the devastation on Battleship Row and Ford Island. The battleships, in view are (from left to right) USS California, USS Maryland, inboard of a capsizing USS Oklahoma, and USS Tennessee inboard of USS West Virginia.

USS California was struck by two torpedoes causing massive flooding before a bomb hit exploded her ammunition magazine and tore a large hole in the bow.  It took three days for California to sink to the harbor bed.  California was later re-floated and re-entered the war with a redesign that used as much of the original hull and ship components as could be salvaged. The artist has placed California closer to the other ships than she actually was on that day.

The USS Maryland was protected from torpedo attack by the USS Oklahoma but took two bomb hits during the raid. Flooding from one of these hits, the ship stayed afloat and sent out rescue and firefighting crews to its neighboring vessels. After the raid, USS Maryland made it to the repair docks and returned to the war in February, 1942.

The USS Oklahoma, shown turning over while crewmen jump overboard, was struck by five torpedoes during the attack. The first three hits forced the evacuation of the ship. Many of the crew swam over to the neighboring USS Maryland where they continued the defense. The last two torpedoes hit in quick succession and caused the battleship to completely roll over with her masts pinning the ship in its overturned position. Over 400 of the crew were killed but 32 sailors were rescued as their fellow servicemen cut holes through the hull to free them.
USS West Virginia, shown on the sketch engulfed in smoke and flames, was hit by six to seven torpedoes as well as two bombs. Over 100 of her crew perished in the attack and the ensuing fires. West Virginia sunk where she was moored, pinning the USS Tennessee in place between Maryland and USS Arizona. When West Virginia was raised and sent for repair, workers discovered the bodies of crew members in a sealed supply compartment. The men lived off rations until December 23 when their oxygen ran out.

Tennessee sustained two bomb hits but suffered severe damage when USS Arizona's  forward magazine took a direct hit and exploded. Large amounts of Arizona's oil  rained onto both Tennessee and West Virginia's decks and caused massive fires. As depicted in the sketch, large pools of oil from the damaged vessels of Battleship Row had formed all along the harbor and often caused further destruction. After the raid, Tennessee maneuvered out of her position and was sent for repairs. The battleship later took part in actions off Saipan, Guam, Leyte, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Awarded 10 service stars, Tennessee was placed out of commission in 1947 and scrapped in 1959.


2. Japanese aerial photo of Ford Island and Battleship Row
looking east. Swan's location was in the vicinity of the
hammer-head crane in the top right of the photograph
The sketch was donated to the museum in 1987 by  Lieutenant James E. Wilkie. The artist, known only as "Selley" from his signature, gave the sketch to the donor's father, Buren B. Wilkie, who served in the navy from 1929 to 1949. According to museum records, the artist was a crew member of the tender USS Swan (AVP-7) during the attack. On December 7, Swan was sitting on a marine railway across the water from Ford Island while undergoing boiler repairs. The image of the devastation depicted by "Seeley" appears to be from a vantage point he may have had from this section of the Navy Yard. Swan joined the fight with her 3” anti-aircraft guns, shooting down one confirmed plane and firing on two others that went down in the harbor. The tender received minor damage from machine gun fire and was underway again by mid afternoon. After the attack, Swan remained at Pearl Harbor aiding in the salvage operation of all the damaged and partially sunken vessels. She was decommissioned at Newport Naval Station in 1946.

This sketch offers a personal glimpse into the horrors and destruction of that day, as well as the courage of men in uniform as they fearlessly defended their ships and risked life and limb to save their fellow servicemen.



1. Naval War College Museum
2. Naval History and Heritage Command

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Artifact Spotlight: Thanksgiving Menus, 1913 and 1918

 A Happy Thanksgiving to all.  

Please enjoy these two Thanksgiving Day menus in the museum collection.
Click on the images to enlarge.

Menu and Program of Activities
for the Thanksgiving Celebration at Naval Training Station, Newport in 1913.
The program was a gift of Mr. Robert Walker in 1995.






 Menu  for Thanksgiving Dinner at the Naval Torpedo Station, 1918

A Gift of Loren Weinberg, whose grandfather, Walter Weinberg
 attended the Seaman Gunner's Course in 1918.

Monday, November 22, 2010

FDR's Grandson Offers Insight into World War II Leaders

--John Kennedy, Director of Museum Education and Public Outreach

On 2 November, Curtis Roosevelt,  the grandson of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, lectured on his recent book Too Close to the Sun: Growing Up in the Shadow of My Grandparents. During his youth, he either lived in the White House on the third floor or in close orbit around the world of his grandparents. Curtis was often included during meetings or meals and observed national and world leaders as they interacted with the president.


Curtis Roosevelt and Heath Twitchell
During his talk, Mr. Roosevelt gave brief descriptions of many of those leaders: Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall (brilliant but reserved), British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill (viewed as interfering by his military but often came up with good ideas), Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King (extremely influential and had an intimate rapport with FDR), advisor Harry Hopkins (very adaptable, every energetic), and Chief of Staff Admiral William D. Leahy (always kept FDR informed). Roosevelt noted that his grandfather was the ultimate arbiter and a master politician who had the amazing ability to keep multiple personalities and programs engaged.

After the lecture, Mr. Roosevelt answered numerous questions from the audience. Questions ranged from the role of the Navy prior to World War II and then the rise of air power during the war. Other questions sought amplification on the many personalities that were in Washington during the war, including Harold Ickes, Harry Hopkins, and Douglas MacArthur.

The lecture was part of the museum's popular 8 Bells Lecture Series. Please click here for a list of upcoming lectures or visit the museum's facebook page.

Image courtesty of the Naval War College Museum

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Artifact Spotlight: Lt. Commander J.H. Wellings's Watch, c.1943

--John Pentangelo, Curator/Registrar
--Joshua Howard, Curatorial Volunteer


1. LCDR J.H. Wellings aboard USS Strong, 7 Aug 1942

Among the many personal items donated to the museum by the men and women who served in the United States Navy is a broken wrist watch with an amazing story to tell. It's owner, Rear Admiral Joseph H. Wellings (1903-1988) had a close tie to the region during his career. Born into a naval family in Massachusetts, he was a student and staff member at the Naval War College (1946-48), served as commander of the Newport Naval Base (1953-55) and twice served as commandant of the First Naval District (1954-55, 1962-63).


2. USS Strong under way
Before America's entry into World War II, Wellings was sent to London to serve as Assistant Naval Attaché. While in this post he served as Chief Operations Officer on the HMS Rodney during the search and eventual sinking of the German battleship Bismarck in May 1941. In 1942 Lt. Commander Wellings took command of a newly built Fletcher-class destroyer, the USS Strong (DD-467). Strong was sent to the Pacific and was involved in a number of engagements including the sinking of a Japanese submarine. On the 5 July 1943, Strong  was operating in Kula Gulf as part of a force of destroyers and cruisers supporting a pre-dawn marine landing on Rice Anchorage, New Georgia.

3. A crew member on USS Helena photographs
 USS Strong exploding after the torpedo attack.
Shortly after midnight on the 5 July, when the ships ceased their bombardment, a Japanese torpedo slammed into Strong's port side, destroying a fire room and engine room and ripping a hole in the side of the ship. The damaged destroyer began taking on water and listing. Explosions set fires below decks and some main deck plates collapsed. With a list of almost 45 degrees, Wellings gave the order to prepare to abandon ship. Moments later, at 0113, the USS Chevalier (DD-451) steamed into view and slammed into the side of  her sinking sister ship. She had cargo nets hanging over the sides in order to rescue as many of  the crew as possible. Taking heavy fire from the shore during the rescue, Chevalier saved the majority of the crew (234 enlisted men and seven officers) before being forced to head off. Certain his surviving crew were safe, Wellings decided to leave his command. At 0124, Wellings and a quartermaster, who refused to abandon ship until his commanding officer was ready, stepped into the water. Moments later Strong broke in two and sunk beneath the waves.

 The two men did not have long to reflect as a 300 pound depth charge from the sunken vessel exploded and briefly knocked Wellings unconscious. The men climbed on one of Strong's floater nets and attempted to make their way toward land when finally rescued by USS Gwin (DD-433) at 0510. By Wellings's recollection, 46 of his men were lost during the attack.


4. The Wellings Wrist Watch
Wellings recovered and returned to the Pacific Theater, ultimately taking command of Destroyer Squadron 2 in 1944. In 1963, after a long and distinguished career in the United States Navy, Rear Admiral Wellings retired and settled in Newport. In 1980, he donated the wrist watch he wore the night Strong went under to the Naval War College Museum. The stainless steel, Swiss-made watch manufactured by the Pierce Watch Co.  is missing its protective crystal. The dial is damaged and the hands are frozen when the watch stopped working in the waters of Kula Gulf on 5 July 1943, but it remains a powerful reminder of the cost the United States bore to capture Rice Anchorage in 1943 and defeat Japan two years later.


5. CDR Wellings points to a map indicating where USS Strong sunk


 1, 3, 5. Naval Historical Collection (NWC Archives)
         2. Naval History and Heritage Command
         4. Naval War College Museum

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Artifact Spotlight: Admiral Colbert Hard Hat, c. 1970

---Joshua Howard, Curatorial Volunteer


Vice Admiral Richard G. Colbert (1915-1973) was the 35th President of the Naval War College (1968-1971). Under his leadership, the College embarked upon innovative programs and a significant expansion to its curriculum and campus. He presided over the beginning of a massive building project that ultimately added three new buildings to the campus and modernized earlier structures.



The Colbert Hard Hat

This hard hat was worn by Vice Admiral Colbert during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Naval War College expansion program in October, 1970. The hat, manufactured by E.D. BULLARD Co. of San Francisco, is painted blue, and adorned with 3 stars, his surname, and rank.
The expansion proposal began before Colbert's presidency with a goal to increase enrollment to 700 students by 1980 and to allow more line officers the opportunity to study at the College. Following his predecessors' plan, Colbert found funding and began the three-building expansion in 1970. Spruance Hall, completed in 1972, is the College's state of the art auditorium. Conolly Hall, completed two years later, holds administrative offices as well as academic spaces.  Hewitt Hall, completed in 1976, was established as a building for additional study areas, classrooms, and now houses the College library.

The modern Spruance and Conolly Halls near completion
as the foundation for Hewitt Hall is prepared, c. 1974.
Vice Admiral Colbert was deeply involved in the design and construction phases of these three buildings. He met with sculptor Felix de Weldon and the Head of the National Gallery of Art, Carter Brown to discuss design. They decided to use granite facings from a quarry previously used in the construction of older buildings on campus so that the newer buildings would weather into the same hue as Luce, Mahan, and Pringle Hall . 

Despite his guidance during the expansion, Colbert is better known for other achievements. He was deeply interested and experienced in fostering cooperation in the international naval community. Before becoming President of the Naval War College, he became the first Director of the Naval Command Course/College in 1956. NCC invited senior foreign officers to come to the Naval War College for one year of study. Colbert  also conceived and hosted the first International Seapower Symposium, a meeting between the chiefs of the world's navies held biannually at the College since 1969. Finally, he established the Naval War College Foundation, a nonprofit organization funded by philanthropy of local businesses and corporations in order to support College activities that were not officially funded.
Admiral Richard G. Colbert

The hard hat, donated by Harold E. St. John in 1974, is a very significant artifact for the museum because it is a connection to the most ambitious  expansion in College history and was worn by one of the most influential College presidents. The artifact is currently being prepared for display in the exhibit: Sailors and Scholars: The History of the Naval War College.


Images are courtesy of the Naval War College Museum

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Artifact Spotlight: The Newport Naval Station Plaque, c. 1962

---Joshua Howard, Curatorial Volunteer




As most who serve or work for the U.S. Navy know, plaques are everywhere. Among the many commemorative plaques, gift plaques, and ship plaques in the museum collection is one that is certainly more than meets the eye.  It is a wooden shield that mounts a circular design of a 3-masted,  square-rigged ship over a gold anchor inscribed, "Service From 1883."  The plaque bears the emblem of Naval Station Newport , a design created by Louis Maurano for the 1962 Naval Station plaque contest. Maurano's submission took first place and earned him a $25 savings bond prize. This plaque, or an identical one, held a place of honor in the Fleet Room of the Officers’ Club here at the Naval Station.

Louis Maurano (1920-1994) worked at the Newport Naval Station with distinction for over 39 years. During this service he was the Director of Base Facilities and worked tirelessly at the Naval Education and Training Center. His hard work and dedication helped the Station win 3rd place in the national 1977 Keep America Beautiful Program. Maurano was decorated with the Meritorious Civilian Service Award  in 1969 and upon his retirement in 1978. This award is the second highest award given to a civilian by the Navy.


2. Capt. Oliver D. Finnigan (left)  presents the plaque for the O Club
with Maurano (center) looking on.
 Prior to his service here at the Naval Station, Maurano served in the Army’s 789th Field Artillery Battalion. While serving in Manila he received the American Theater Campaign Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, Bronze Service Star, Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. Although Maurano was born in Delaware, he was raised and educated in Providence and moved to Tiverton in 1954. Last year, Maurano’s plaque as well as a collection of photographs documenting naval station activities during his career were generously donated to the Naval War College Museum by his daughter  Patricia Christiansen and her husband Wayne.

The Naval Station at Newport was founded on June 4, 1883 after the Navy acquired Coasters Harbor Island as the site of the first recruit training station. In 1952, the Naval Training Station at Newport was disestablished as a result of the transfer of recruit training to Bainbridge, Maryland (all recruit training now takes place at Naval Station Great Lakes).  Today, NAVSTANewport is home to more than 50 naval and defense commands and activities including Officer Candidate School, the Naval War College, Surface Warfare Officer's School, and the Supply Corps School recently relocated from Athens, Georgia.  Though the base has changed dramatically in the last 48 years, Maurano's emblem remains the official logo of NAVSTA Newport.

1. Courtesy of the Naval War College Museum
2. Navalog, 31 Aug 1962

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Artifact Spotlight: The Fish Torpedo

--Joshua Howard, Curatorial Volunteer

Fish Torpedo
As the Naval War College Museum interprets the history of the navy in Narragansett Bay, the history of the Naval Torpedo Station and its successor commands (the Naval Underwater Systems Center and Naval Undersea Warfare Center), has always been a strong element in the museum's exhibits.  In 1869, the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport's Goat Island was established to develop torpedoes, explosives, and other equipment associated with their operation. Since the late 1980s the Fish Torpedo, the first automobile torpedo designed and built at the station, has been a focal point of the museum's Torpedo Gallery.

The concept of sinking ships by damaging them below the waterline has been a naval strategy since ancient times. The ancient navies of the Mediterranean used large metal rams attached to the bows of their ships to punch holes into enemy vessels. Eventually stationary mines (then called torpedoes) came into use as a defensive weapon. During the nineteenth century, mobile torpedoes such as the spar torpedo, turned the device into an offensive weapon. In the late 1860s, Austria developed the first automobile torpedo based on the invention of Robert Whitehead. The so-called Whitehead Torpedo, driven by a compressed-air engine, was offered to the world's navies in 1868.

Fish Torpedo Cutaway Diagram
The Naval Torpedo Station, located on Goat Island, was established in 1869 and quickly became America’s leading center for torpedo design and testing. The Fish torpedo was the first torpedo tested in Newport in 1871.  With a range of 200 yards, the bronze torpedo was 12 feet long, carried a 100 pound dynamite charge, and travelled at a speed of  up to 8 knots. The Fish was powered by a compressed air tank and was the first torpedo with a propeller drive. Another innovation of this model was a hydrostatic bellows system to control the depth that the torpedo traveled. According to naval records of the time, the Fish sometimes moved in a circular motion, causing the launching ship to move quickly or risk being hit. By 1873, the development of the Fish was discontinued and the station moved on to new and improved designs.
Undated Full Length Photograph of the Fish Torpedo

The Fish Torpedo represents a significant part of both American and local naval history. It demonstrates the importance the United States Navy placed on torpedo development as well as the growing importance of Newport and Narragansett Bay as an ideal location for naval installations. Torpedo development here in Newport stimulated innovation in naval design and tactics and bolstered the local economy. Most of the torpedo parts and the vessels using them were built locally around the Bay. The museum currently displays the only surviving model of a  Fish Torpedo with other innovative designs including a Howell Torpedo and a Mark 14. Please visit this gallery to learn more about the torpedoes developed in Newport, Rhode Island.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Museum Acquires A.T. Mahan’s Civil War Era Officer's Sword


Lt. A.T. Mahan's M1852 Officer Sword

Last month, the Naval War College Foundation received Lt. Alfred Thayer Mahan's sword as gift from the estate of Neill H. Alford, Jr.

Lt. A.T. Mahan, 1862


Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914)  is most famous for his seminal book The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. The book, published in 1890, was drawn from lectures he gave at the Naval War College as the first instructor of naval history and tactics. Mahan went on to serve as the College's second president from1886 to1889, with a second tour from1892 to 1893. His writings on naval strategy drew attention to the College and influenced a generation of world leaders and strategists during the dawn of the twentieth century.


Scabbard Detail

The Model 1852  U.S. naval officer’s sword, manufactured by the Ames Manufacturing Co. of Chicoppe Massachusetts, has a blade decorated with etchings of American naval motifs. The sword's scabbard is engraved with Mahan's name and the date of his promotion to Lieutenant, 31 August 1861. Immediately after his promotion he reported to USS Pocahontas for combat duty with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Less than a year later in September 1862, Mahan was assigned to the Naval Academy staff at Newport, Rhode Island, where he served in the Seamanship Department under Lieutenant Commander Stephen B. Luce. A local sword conservator will conserve the sword, using funds provided by the Naval War College Foundation. Upon completion, the sword will become a permanent part of the new “Naval Academy in Newport, 1861-1865” display in the Naval War College Museum. Here it will be an iconic artifact that links the Naval Academy and the Naval War College through the key figures that taught and studied at the Naval Academy during the Civil War and later went on to become the early leaders of the Naval War College.


Intended for permanent display in the Naval War College Museum, the late Professor Neill H. Alford, Jr., of the University of Virginia, directed in his will that the sword be donated in memory of Vice Admiral Bernard L. Austin, who had been the President of the Naval War College at the time that Professor Alford held the Stockton Chair of International Law at the War College in 1961-62.


Images are courtesy of the Naval War College Museum






Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Season Begins for the Museum's 8 Bells Lecture Series

 The Museum's 2010-2011 8 Bells Lecture Series starts today with a lecture by Milan Vego on his book Operational Warfare at Sea: Theory and Practice. Cutting across levels of knowledge and interest, this volume is a comprehensive look at the key components of operational warfare from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to today. By analyzing the objectives of naval warfare, the book explains the specifics of operating in a maritime environment, in both peacetime and during war. It is a comprehensive analysis of both the theory and practice of operational warfare at sea.

The format of the Eight Bells Lecture Series has the author speaking about 40-45 minutes on the topic of his or her book and the facts leading to its publication. The last 15-20 minutes are dedicated to questions on the topic.  Those able to remain after the allotted hour can stay and discuss the book further or have the book signed. Copies of the books are on sale in the Naval War College Foundation's Museum Gift Shop. As always, this event is a brown-bag affair which is free and open to the public. For those without Department of Defense ID cards, please call the Museum at least one work day in advance at 841-2101 to make reservations for any of these events or to visit the Museum.

Here is a list of upcoming lectures:

2010

September 23  Red Star Over the Pacific:  China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy
                         by Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes

Combining a close knowledge of Asia and an ability to tap Chinese language sources with naval combat experience and expertise in sea power theory, Yoshihara and Holmes assess how the rise of Chinese sea power will affect US maritime strategy in Asia. Viewing China as a challenge to US maritime presence in Maritime Asia, their book is a study of current strategic thought about sea power in China and how that is shaping the modern, Chinese Navy.


October 14  To Train the Fleet for War: The US Navy Fleet Problems, 1923-1940
                    by Albert A. Nofi

The eighteenth edition in the Naval War College's Historical Monograph series, To Train the Fleet for War is based research of the Naval War College archives and examines each of the U.S. Navy’s twenty-one “fleet problems” conducted between World Wars I and II. Dr. Nofi elucidates the patterns that emerged, finding a range of enduring lessons, and suggests their applicability for future naval warfare. The book is available for sale by the Government Printing Office’s online bookstore.


October 28   Islamic Militant Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat  CANCELLED

October 27- The Guide to the American Revolutionary War in Canada and New England
by Norman Desmarais:

Speaking about his research and how it compares with previous research, he will discuss the tools he used and the research process and use examples from Newport to illustrate salient points. The Guide covers 403 battles, raids and skirmishes of the Revolutionary War, most of which do not get covered, even in the most detailed history books. The book, which is part of a projected 6-volume set, intends to provide comprehensive coverage of the confrontations of the American War for Independence and to serve as a guide to the sites.




November 2  "Roosevelt’s Relations with his Lieutenants"
                        by Curtis Roosevelt

Mr. Roosevelt’s book, Too Close to the Sun: Growing Up in the Shadow of my Grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor, provides a starting point for looking at the relationships that developed between FDR and his subordinates, both military and civilian. While FDR tried to limit his role to those military decisions that had political implications, it was not always possible. Although the presentation will be limited by the time constraints of the lecture series, there is a unique opportunity to hear about the different ways FDR related to Admiral Ernest J. King, Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, Admiral William D. Leahy, and General Henry "Hap"Arnold, among others. Mr. Roosevelt’s remarks will be laced with personal memories, from lunch with Adm. Leahy at FDR’s desk in the Oval Office to his grandfather’s personal remarks about Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Gen. de Gaulle, Chiang Kai-shek, and more.


November 18  Unmanned Combat Air Systems: A New Kind of Carrier Aviation
                         by Norman Friedman

The US Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System aircraft currently in development will transform naval aviation, extending its reach while dramatically reducing the cost and performing in ways that manned aircraft cannot duplicate. The X-47B is an extension of the evolving networked form of drone warfare that is capable of a wide variety of missions. Mr. Friedman is an internationally respected defense analyst and historian who spoke at an 8 Bells Lecture in 2009 on his book Network-Centric Warfare: How Navies Learned to Fight Smarter Through Three World Wars.


December 2  One Hundred Years of US Navy Air Power
                      edited by Doug Smith

With the centennial celebration of naval aviation occurring in 2011, it is only fitting that we begin with a review of naval air from its earliest days through the modern jet ear. The book profiles early pioneers, the early bureaucracy that surrounded its development, and discusses the evolution of carrier aviation doctrine and tactics.


2011

January 14      Passport Not Required: U.S. Volunteers in the Royal Navy, 1939-1941                  
                         by Eric Dietrich-Berryman

Prior to December 7, 1941, there were twenty-two U.S. citizens who volunteered and were commissioned to serve in the Royal Navy. Less well known than the Americans who fought with the RAF, these naval volunteers fought in the Battle of the Atlantic and on other fronts following initial training at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. As foreign military service was against the laws of the United States, their names were never made public and the story of their contributions is being told for the first time.


January 28  Admiral “Bull” Halsey: The Life and Wars of the Navy’s Most
                   Controversial Commander
                    by John Wukovits

The press dubbed him “Bull” and his series of raids played well on the home front. In his 8 Bells Lecture, military historian John Wukovits discusses Halsey’s potentially disastrous decisions in October 1944 at Leyte Gulf, and later recklessness during two typhoons while making a good case that Halsey was the much-needed warrior for America’s darkest hour. While some would say that the WWII hero has grown tarnished or unfashionable, the author stresses Halsey’s ability to inspire loyalty and respect in his men, his skills as a trainer, and his success in developing harmonious inter-service and inter-allied relationships. His mistakes at Leyte Gulf, while not trivial, reflected commitment to decisive action.


February 10  Digesting History: The U.S. Naval War College, The Lessons of World War Two,
                      and Future Naval Warfare, 1945-1947
                      by Hal M. Friedman

Published as the Naval War College Historical Monograph Series, number 17, this book is a study of the contribution of the Naval War College, especially in the presidency of Admiral Raymond Spruance, to strategic thought during the first critical postwar years (between the end of the war and the formulation of the U.S. policy of containment). This transition period is especially valuable as a window to explore institutions such as the College as the nation transitioned from a hot war to a cold one. While seminal studies exist of the College's work in the interwar years, none have been published on this period. The book is available for sale by the Government Printing Office’s online bookstore.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

John Hope House Visits Museum

---John Kennedy, Director of Education and Public Outreach

The Naval War College Museum hosted a group of 25 children from the John Hope Settlement House on Thursday, 19 August. Many of the students were second-time visitors since they had visited the museum last year as a part of the same program and they arrived with anticipation of doing some of the same activities. When asked what they remember most from last year, they quickly responded that it was the handling of the Civil War cutlasses and they wanted to do that again.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the JHSH was only able to send their 11-12 year old students. Normally, there would be 8-9 year old students as well. The enthusiasm brought by these students is infectious as they are willing and eager to respond and be a part of any interactive discussion or task. Since the last visit of these students, the museum  has enhanced many of the exhibits. The presentations of new artifacts built nicely upon what the students already knew about the Museum. The new exhibit of underwater artifacts, on loan from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, let them view items that were used during the Revolutionary War. The story behind the collecting of these shards of pottery, grenades, musket balls, and cannon held their interest and prompted many questions.

In a lively discussion concerning the diet of sailors on board a ship during the late 1700s, the children were quick to point out problems associated with lack of refrigeration, no fresh water, and limited food supplies. Examples of such food as hardtack and beans, as well as examples of the size of portions allotted to the men, helped them to visualize the conditions that the sailors endured. This led to a discussion of how not having a proper, well-balanced diet led to disease and illness, most often scurvy, which could be fatal.

But then it was time to hold out the cutlasses again. In a scene that was a repeat of last year, they would hold the cutlass up at arm’s length and realize how heavy the weapon would be to carry in a boarding of another ship. Added to the cutlass this year were several cavalry sabers which proved to be not only heavier but also longer and more difficult to control. It proved to be a fun contest as each tried to outdo the other and demonstrate their individual strength. In the end, however, they all would agree that even a light object can become quite heavy and cause arms to become fatigued.

The mission of John Hope Settlement House has long been to work with children and youth as they develop their personal potential. Serving families that live in inner city Providence neighborhoods, JHSH has the reputation for offering a wide range of social services and programs supporting health education, financial and tax services, and childcare. The students are looking forward to another visit in the spring during school vacation.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rededication of Kempenaar Park, Home to Constellation Anchor


RADM J.P. Wisecup addresses crowd at the dedication
On Thursday August 19, Naval War College President Rear Admiral James. P. Wisecup rededicated the newly renovated Kempenaar Park in front of an audience of staff, faculty, students and members of the Kempenaar Family. The park was first dedicated to Esau Kempenaar in 1976 in recognition for the family's friendship to the Naval War College. Since 1956, the Kempenaars have welcomed each incoming Naval Command College Class to Newport with a traditional New England style clambake. The park is also home to the anchor of USS Constellation, the stationary training vessel berthed at Newport from 1894 until 1946. It is worth taking a step back to revisit the anchor's long history with the the naval station and the college.
USS Constellation, launched on August 26, 1854, was the second of three U.S. Navy ships named for the constellation of stars in the national flag. The 22-gun sloop of war, the last all-sail vessel designed and built by the navy, served  two missions in the Mediterranean to show the flag and protect American interests. From 1859-1861, she served as flagship of the African Squadron, a force mandated to protect legal American shipping and suppress the transatlantic slave trade off the coast of West Africa.  Prior to her arrival in Newport, the sloop was assigned to the United States Naval Academy from 1871 to 1893 as a practice ship for midshipmen.

In Newport, the ship was used to train naval recruits at the Naval Training Station. The apprentices learned rope splicing, sail handling, seamanship, and naval discipline during their time on board the permanently-moored vessel. After several years of duty as a receiving ship, Constellation was designated relief flagship of the Atlantic Fleet under Admiral Ernest J. King. On January 19, 1942, after King left for Washington as the new Chief of Naval Operations, Vice Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll transferred his flag to Constellation for the next six months while the navy readied the gunboat Vixen (PG-53) for flag service. In 1946, the old sloop of war was towed to Boston for preservation as a naval relic.  The navy decommissioned Constellation in 1955 and transferred her to a nonprofit organization in Baltimore where she remains today. Though she was then believed to be the Baltimore-built frigate Constellation (1797) she is now restored to her proper Civil War-era configuration.

When first commissioned in 1855, Constellation carried six anchors ranging from 5500 to 7500 lbs. Museum records indicate that this anchor was removed and placed at South Dock in 1906. In 1924, the 13-foot-long/6,000-lb anchor was pulled by a team of horses to Quarters A, the former residence of the Training Station's commander. It rested there until 1978 when the Naval Education and Training Center transferred the anchor to the museum and NWC facilities workers moved it to its current location in Kempenaar Park. This precious artifact is a constant reminder of the rich history of both the Newport Naval Station and the Naval War College.
Constellation anchor at the newly designed Kempenaar Park

Kempenaar Park, c. 1979

The anchor resting behind the Naval Station Administration Building
(original Site of the Naval War College, now the location of the museum).
The anchor at rest on the lawn in front of Quarters A, c. 1947
A vintage postcard showing Constellation and  two of her anchors, c. 1939
The Training Ship USS Constellation
at her berth during a drill on Dewey Field, c. 1918


All images appear courtesy of the Naval War College Museum

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Exhibit of Contemporary Navy Art Opens at Museum

The Launch of the Springfield
On Wednesday August, 4 a new exhibit of contemporary art opened at the Naval War College Museum. Museum staff welcomed Naval War College faculty and members of the Naval War College Foundation as they received their first look at Painting the Navy: An Exhibit by Wilma Parker. This exhibit of eighteen paintings by Parker, a 1963 graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design who is currently based in San Francisco, offers visitors a unique perspective on today's United States Navy. Work on exhibit includes commissioned pieces such as The Launch of the Spingfield and scenes of families and historic ship visitors such as Art Class aboard USS Hornet.

The exhibit is open through November 30, 2010 in the museum's new second floor temporary exhibit gallery. For more information on the artist and her work please visit her website.
Art Class aboard USS Hornet

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Object Mounts Installed for Revolutionary War Artifact Case

--John Pentangelo, Curator/Registrar




Last May the museum borrowed artifacts from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission for an exhibit on the American Revolution in Newport. The loan includes items recovered from the shipwrecks of two British frigates; HMS Cerberus and HMS Orpheus. On 29 July 1778, a French fleet under Admiral Comte d’Estaing arrived in Narragansett Bay as allies of the Americans in their war for independence. While preparing to attack British-occupied Newport, French warships moved to intercept four Royal Navy frigates operating in the bay. On 5 August, the British commanders burned and sunk all four ships, including the 28-gun Cerberus and 32-gun Orpheus, to avoid capture.

The artifacts include an iron swivel gun, artillery projectiles, grenades, wooden blocks and sheaves, and personal items such as pottery and clothing. Each unique object provides a meaningful connection with the past. Evidence of the ships' burning before going under is found in the charred wooden blocks (below, right) on display.



Jon Litwin of Artifact Intact, a professional artifact mount maker based in Rhode Island(seen below, left installing the mount for a British grenade), designed and constructed individual conservation mounts for each artifact as part of the museum’s long-range improvements in collections care and best practices for exhibitions.

Using a system of brass armature supports, sueded polyethylene, and an inert linen fabric, Litwin has protected the fragile artifacts from vibration, case movement, scratching, and negative chemical reactions produced by fabrics and paints not meant for museum use. Richard "Schooner" McPherson of Service Craft Company built the base and pedestals used to elevate the objects and support the brass mounts.

Visitors to the exhibit will also find a rare chart of Rhode Island and Narragansett Bay produced by J.F.W. Des Barres in 1776 and revised and reprinted during the American Revolution. This map, the first hydrographic chart of the bay, has survived in nine different states published between 1776 and 1781. J.F.W. Des Barres first printed it in 1776 before British troops and warships arrived in Newport to occupy the city. Later versions added details learned during the three-year occupation. This version documents the events of 1778 including the Battle of Rhode Island, the arrival of the French fleet, and the sinking of HMS Cerberus and HMS Orpheus.

The artifacts were excavated in the 1970s by the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Ocean Engineering which included Bob Cembrola, the curator of the Naval War College Museum. These and other similar items recovered from the wrecks are under the care of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. The museum wishes to thank the state for the generous loan of these precious reminders of Rhode Island's place in the history of the American Revolution.

Click Here to read more about the HMS Cerberus and the wrecks of other British frigates in Narragansett Bay.



All photographs taken by Elisabeth Lobkowicz. Courtesy of the Naval War College Museum.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Perry Family of Newport

--John Kennedy, Director of Education and Public Outreach


As people are apt to tell you, we live in an historic time. That being said, it is easy to view periods of historic significance that occurred in the past with a bit of a jaundiced eye and overlook the events and sacrifice that made those times significant.

The opportunity of the annual Black Ship Festival held in Newport from July 15-18 is such a case. The festival was and continues to be an excellent venue for a variety of activities and highlights the close relationship that has developed over the years between the sister cities of Shimoda, Japan, and Newport, Rhode Island. The opening ceremony is held in Touro Park beneath the towering statute of Matthew C. Perry and each of the speeches this year spoke to the fact that Perry led the expedition to Japan that ultimately led to the Treaty of Kanagawa. Time is of the essence at such an opening and it is understandable that an individual speaker does not take an hour to deliver his remarks. Yet, the expedition to Japan was such a short period of time in career of Matthew C. Perry and, although it is seen as an individual act of great importance, it is, in reality, the culmination of a lifetime devoted to the sea. On an even larger canvas, Matthew (left, in a nineteenth century Japanese print) is one of many Perrys that contributed to the early history of our country and, more significantly, to the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Perry family ancestors are found arriving on the Mayflower, as signers of the Mayflower Compact, and in positions as spiritual and political leaders in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. There are two lines of the Perry family that rise to prominence in the 17th century in Rhode Island. The Samuel Perry line is associated with the Colony of Kings Towne where he had a mill and large land investments extending from what is now South Kingstown to the towns of Richmond and Hopkinton. This family married into the Eastons (first governor of Rhode Island) and had inventors of such mechanical devices as a hay tedder (used to facilitate drying of the hay), mowing machines, and sausage filling machines. Other prominent names in Rhode Island associated with this branch are the Hazards, Wells, and Goulds.

The Benjamin Perry line, brother to Samuel, produced the more “famous” side of the family. Benjamin’s son, Judge, married Mercy Hazard and their third child was Christopher Raymond, father to Oliver Hazard and Matthew Calbraith Perry. Christopher lived from 1760-1818 and was one of the first captains in the United States Navy. He fought during the Revolution, first as a soldier in the Kingstown Reds and then as a privateer. He was captured twice and spent nearly two years as a prisoner of war. Following the Revolutionary War, he married Sarah Wallace Alexander whom he had met while being held as a prisoner in Newry, County Down, Ireland. Christopher Perry continued to go to sea on various merchantmen until the Quasi War with France in 1798 when he saw considerable service while in command of the frigate General Greene with his son, Oliver Hazard, serving as a midshipman. General Greene was built in Bristol, Rhode Island, and outfitted in Newport prior to putting to sea.



Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819) was in charge of a gunboat fleet operating out of Newport at the beginning of the War of 1812. It was from here that he was transferred to Presque Isle on Lake Erie and was placed in charge of building a fleet of ships to counter the British, under the command of Commander Robert Heriot Barclay, operating on the lake. On September 10, 1813, the two fleets met and Perry’s flagship, Lawrence, was nearly destroyed during the first two hours of heavy fighting. Unable to fight the Lawrence further, Perry rowed to the Niagara (scene depicted above), commanded by Captain Jesse Elliott and which had not engaged the enemy at that point, took command of the vessel and caused the British to strike their colors within fifteen minutes.

With his victory, Oliver Hazard Perry sent his famous message, “We have met the enemy and they are ours” and became immortalized in American naval history. Christmas 1814 saw an end to the war and Oliver Hazard took up the duties of a naval captain on ships sailing the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. In July of 1819, while in command of a squadron off Venezuela, he contracted yellow fever and died at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on August 23, 1819.

Eight years younger than Oliver Hazard was Matthew Calbraith Perry (1794-1858). He was born in Newport, Rhode Island, April 10, 1794. He entered naval service in 1809 as a midshipman was with his brother at the Battle of Lake Erie. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1813. Over the next forty-nine years he was involved in several key events in history. He participated in the Second Barbary War under the command of Commodore William Bainbridge, cruised off West Africa and the West Indies in operations to suppress piracy and the slave trade, and claimed the Florida Keys for the United States.

Matthew Calbraith Perry is recognized for his efforts to modernize the Navy. He was keen in his support of naval education, promoting both an apprentice system for new seamen and establishing a worthy curriculum for the United States Naval Academy. Matthew oversaw the construction of the USS Fulton and became its first captain, ushering in the use of steam power and earning the title, “the Father of the Steam Navy”. He was also instrumental in organizing the first corps of naval engineers and establishing the first naval gunnery school.

During the 1840s, he was promoted to commodore and placed in a post-captain billet as commandant of the New York Navy Yard. Later in the decade, he was in command of the African Squadron enforcing the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. 1845 and the Mexican-American War found him actively involved as second-in-command to Commodore David Connor. Later, as Connor’s replacement, he supported Winfield Scott during the siege of Veracruz and, as Scott moved inland, Perry attacked various ports, capturing Tuxpan and Tabasco, actually leading the landing force ashore during the latter attack.

Trade with Japan was restricted to only Dutch and Chinese vessels, under the policy of sakoku. Between 1800 and 1849 several attempts had been made by the United States to open trade but negotiations were not successful as requests often fell on deaf ears. Following the 1849 visit by Captain James Glynn, the recommendation was made that future negotiations to open Japan be supported by a strong naval presence, one that would project power and force a resolution to the impasse.

Matthew Calbraith Perry was carefully chosen to lead the expedition to Japan. Assigned to command the East India Squadron in December of 1851, he spent the next several years preparing for the assignment, reading all available material regarding Japan and interviewing people familiar with the country and its customs. Perry was not about to make the same mistakes committed by previous naval missions. Well aware of the diplomatic and ceremonial responsibilities that would fall to him, care was given to selection of food, wine and spirits as well as to the providing of appropriate entertainment. A bandmaster, a French chef, botanists, and artists were enlisted to provide support to Perry as he set out to impress the Japanese with the full majesty and power of the United States Government.



Commodore Perry arrived at Uraga Harbor in July 1853. Told that he would have to leave and sail to Nagasaki, the only Japanese port open to foreigners, he refused and ordered a limited bombardment to demonstrate US naval power and resolve. Forced to allow Perry ashore, delegates of the Japanese emperor were presented a letter by Perry on July 14, 1853, in what is present day Yokosuka. Perry then departed and promised to return for the reply.

In February 1854, Perry returned with great pomp and even more ships. He found a treaty waiting for signature that acquiesced to nearly all of the demands by the US Government. Known as the Treaty of Kanagawa, it was signed by Perry on March 31, 1854. The Perry expedition, an achievement that reflected his strategic planning and implementation, culminated in a treaty of amity and trade with Japan. It has been described as one of the major American diplomatic successes of the 19th century. When he returned to the United States, Commodore Perry was awarded $20,000 by Congress for his service and a further $360,000 was appropriated to enable him to write his account of the mission to Japan. The three volume set entitled Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, performed in the years 1852, 1853, and 1854, under the command of Commodore M.C. Perry, United States Navy, by order of the Government of the United States was authored by Francis L. Hawks, D.D. L.L.D, and was compiled from the original notes and journals of Commodore Perry and his officers. Perry served as the editor and approved the final version of the work.

Matthew Calbraith Perry died March 4, 1858. Originally buried in New York City, his remains now reside near his father, Christopher, and his brother, Oliver Hazard Perry, at Island Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island. A new exhibit at the Naval War College Museum (below) focuses on the Perry Family's contributions to American naval history.




The first three images in this blog post appear courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog