Journal of a Cruize in the USS Independence, Commodore William Bainbridge's Flag Ship, Capt. William M. Crane, Commander, from Boston, July 2nd, 1815 (3 July–15 November 1815), compiled by an anonymous crew member, which describes the first overseas mission of the first ship of the line commissioned by the United States Navy, to deal with the piratical acts of the Barbary Powers against American merchant commerce in the Mediterranean Sea, bound in original calf leather over marbled boards, entries clean and legible; also a letter from William M. Crane, Commanding Officer, USS Delaware, Port Mahon (20 September 1829) to Lt. William N, McKean, U.S. sloop Warren, ordering him to report to Lt. Thomas M. Newell, commander of the U.S. schooner Porpoise.
The USS Independence was the third U.S. Navy vessel to bear this name. The third Independence, the subject of this collection, was the first ship-of-the-line (i.e. battleship) commissioned in the United States Navy. After launching on 22 June 1814, she was immediately armored and assigned to protect the port of Boston during the War of 1812. On 3 July 1815, commanded by Captain William M. Crane, Independence began her first overseas voyage to help combat the piratical acts of the Barbary Powers in the Mediterranean Sea. The Barbary Pirates had already agreed to peace terms when the ship arrived in the Mediterranean, but Independence helped maintain the peace by traveling and docking in harbors and displaying the U.S. flag. Independence returned to Newport, Rhode Island, on 15 November 1815, where she became the flagship of Commodore John Shaw until placed in ordinary service (i.e. storage) in 1822.
Independence remained in ordinary status at Boston from 1822 until the Mexican War. In 1837, she was cut down to one covered fighting deck with poop and forecastle. Upon the outbreak of war with Mexico, the Navy recommissioned her and she departed Boston on 29 August 1846 for the coast of California, where she became the flagship of the Pacific Squadron. After the war, Independence returned to ordinary service for most of her remaining life. In 1857, she proceeded to the Mare Island Navy Yard in California. There she served as receiving ship, where the Navy inducted recruits into naval service. She remained there until the Navy decommissioned her on 3 November 1912. Her name was struck from the Navy List on 3 September 1913. The Navy then sold her and her buyers partly dismantled her for scrap. On the night of 20 September 1919, the 98-year-old USS Independence was burned on the Hunter's Point mud flats to recover her metal fittings.
This collection documents the voyage of the USS Independence from 3 July 1815 to 13 November 1815. The collection contains the ships holograph log which provides information about the ship's voyage from July to November of 1815. The log was kept by an unknown sailor aboard the ship. The log contains daily entries citing the ship's direction, wind direction, distance traveled, and the longitude of the ship's first overseas voyage. The log also provides daily comments on weather, other ships encountered, and land spotted. The log also comments on the crew's exercise and any other significant events that take place. According to the log, the ship was at the following locations during the corresponding date periods. 3 July–31 July 1815 (Boston, Island of Corvo, Havana, Gibraltar, Rotterdam, St. Vincent, Cape Trafalgar and Newfoundland.) 1 August–31 August 1815 (Havana, Alicant, Cape of Gatt, Island of Alboran, Carthaginia, Tirana, Cape Gobia, Town of Pantelleria, Town of Tripoli and Island of Lauladosa.) 1 September–30 September 1815 (Island of Pantelleria, Cape Gobia, Cape Carthage, Cape Famina, Island of Zembua, Cape Farina, Island Blanco, Cape Serra, Velez Malaga and Menedaga.) 1 October–31 October 1815 (Bay of Gibraltar.) 1 November–15 November 1815 (New Haven.)
The collection also contains a letter dated 20 September 1829 written by Commanding Officer William M. Crane of the USS Delaware to Lt. William N. McKean, of the U.S. sloop Warren. In the letter, Crane orders McKean to report for duty on board the U.S. schooner Porpoise.
Purchase (Special Manuscript Fund, Sara S. Batten Special Collections Endowment Fund, Bodo Nischan Manuscript Endowment Fund, Naval History Endowment), Ten Pound Island Book Co., Gloucester, Mass.
Encoded by Mark Custer, April 25, 2008
Processed by Carmen Fernandez, April 2010
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.