• CSA Admiral Franklin Buchanan Ship's Log Prior To Civil War, Punished Drunken Men

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    Confederate Admiral FRANKLIN BUCHANAN (1800-1874) enlisted in the navy as midshipman in 1815. He was chief advisor in planning the Naval Academy and was its first superintendent (1845-47). He fought in the Mexican War and commanded the flagship in Perry’s expedition to China and Japan (1852-1855).  Buchanan was named to command the Washington Navy Yard as Captain in 1859 but resigned on April 22, 1861 and had second thoughts when Maryland didn’t secede.


    He was commissioned captain in the Confederate Navy on September 5, 1861 and was named Chief of Orders and Details.  He took command of the Chesapeake Bay Squadron early in 1862.   Buchanan was wounded and his brother, Paymaster McKean Buchanan, was lost when the Congress was sunk.  Buchanan was appointed Admiral on August 22, 1862.  Later that year, Farragut defeated him at Mobile Bay. 


    Buchanan is most known for his actions on the first day of the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 8, 1862. In command of the ironclad CSS Virginia, Buchanan attached the wooden Union warships blockading the harbor. The Virginia was able to sink the USS Cumberland and destroy the USS Congress. Buchanan was wounded by a gunshot to the thigh.  On August 5, 1862, he was on board the CSS Tennessee during the Battle of Mobile Bay. During the battle, he was wounded and taken prisoner. He was exchanged in February of 1865 but remained on convalescent leave through the remainder of the war.


    Following the war, he was president of Maryland State Agricultural College.


    4 pp, manuscript document signed “Ex[amined] Frank’n Buchanan, Commander, a portion of a ship’s journal, including the U.S.S. Vincennes, which sailed to the West Indies and cruised off the Mexican coast. Buchanan had been ordered to prevent any attempted invasion by Mexico of the new Republic of Texas, which didn’t materialize.


    The log begins on March 21, 1843, and concludes on March 26th.


    The tightly written log includes a variety of reports with a large focus on the weather, but includes repair work and concludes with the punishing of drunken men, “Crew employed to painting ship...fresh breeze...pleasant weather...At 6 inspected the crew at quarters...Rec’d 190 pounds of fresh beef and a quantity of vegetables for the crew...Blacking the guns...At 4 sent the first cutter to market and the letter bag to the Falmouth...Boarded the American barge 23 days from New York...At 11:40 the Falmouth get underway and stood out to sea with our whale boat in tow...Crews variously employed [on the] bulwarks...Rec’d 190 lbs of beef for the crew...At 11 musters the crew at quarters...Rec’d from the USS Falmouth 7 lbs of pork, 2 boxes of candles, 5 gallons of turpentine...on board on spy [plank]...Allowed our men to visit the Falmouth and the Island at sunset. Inspected the crew at quarters...Crew members painting guns and carriages, armor...Brought the 3rd cutter from the Island...Called all hands [to] witness punishment and punished the following men 12 lashes for drunkenness...Jno Williams, Hy Pachenhouse, Wm Harris, Jno Duge, Wm Daily, Hy Hudson...”


    A couple of small margin holes, one small fold tear. Expected toning.


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