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Newly digitized at the Burns Library


The U.S.S. United States, along with the U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides), was one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794.  The U.S.S. United States log for 1842-1844 is held by the Burns Library and is also available in a new digital version.

The U.S.S. United States left Virginia bound for duty in the Pacific via Cape Horn as the flagship of the Pacific Squadron. Herman Melville enlisted as a seaman in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1843. The ship came to Boston, Massachusetts in 1844 for repairs. The frigate later saw service as part of the Mediterranean Squadron and was ultimately dismantled by the Navy in 1865.

The manuscript contains information from the ship's log and descriptions from several of the ports of call (Funchal, Island of Madeira; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Valparaiso, Chili; Lima, Peru; Coquimbo, Chili; Monterey, California; Mazatlan, Mexico; the Hawaiian Islands; Nuka Hiva; and, Tahiti). The manuscript was written by two unknown individuals in two distinct hands.