Skip to main content

Samuel Lockwood papers

Call Number: MS 726
Scope and Contents

Commodore Samuel Lockwood was born on January 24, 1803, in Norwalk, Connecticut, son of Thomas St. John and Hannah (Whitlock) Lockwood. The following summary of his naval career is reproduced from Frederic A. Holden's History of the Lockwood Family (Philadelphia, 1889):

Appointed midshipman, New York July 12, 1820; served in the West Indies four years and nine months; on board the sloop Hornet from March, 1821, two years and two months; frigate Congress, six months, 1823; in 1825 seven months in frigate Constellation, where he had yellow fever; sailed from Boston, 1826, in sloop Warren, for the Mediterranean, where she was actively engaged in ferreting out Greek pirates, for one year and three months, ordered to the frigate Constitution, to return to the United States for examination---three months attached to her.

Promoted to Lieutenant in 1828; served on the Brazil Station, on board the frigate Hudson and sloop Vandalia, 1831-1832, one year and six months; sloop Fairfield, Pacific Station, two years and ten months, 1836-1837; frigate Macedonia, ten months, 1837-1838; Commodore Jones's Exploring Expedition, sloop Cyane (First Lieutenant), Mediterranean, 1838-1839, one year and six months; Ohio, Commodore Hull, 1839-1841, one year and eight months; rendezvous Boston, 1843-1844; Navy Yard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1845-1846, frigate Potomac (First Lieutenant) Home Squadron, 1846-1847; blockading Vera Cruz, in command of steamers Petrita and Scourge, 1847-1848; assisted in the capture of Vera Cruz, Tuspan, Tobasco, and blockaded Tobasco River for six months.

Commissioned as Commander, 1850; rendezvous Boston, 1853-1855; commanding sloop Cyane, Pacific Station, 1858-1860, two years and three months; commanding steamer Daylight, one year and four months, North Atlantic Squadron, 1861-1862, during the Rebellion; blockaded during that time Wilmington and Beaufort, North Carolina, York River and Newport News, and off Cape Henry, Virginia; while at the latter station he had an engagement with a shore battery at Lynnhaven Bay, --- succeeded in silencing the rebel battery and rescued a Baltimore ship; while blockading Beaufort, North Carolina, Commander Lockwood, commanding the flotilla station there, assisted, with a portion of the army, in the capture of Fort Macon, and the terms of surrender were signed, on the part of the United States, by General Parks and Commander Lockwood, and on the part of the rebels, by Colonel White, their commander.

Commissioned as Commodore in 1867, to rank with those of his original date; on special duty, Philadelphia, 1864-1865. [pp. 693-694]

The Samuel Lockwood Papers consist of correspondence, letter books, orders, journals, log extracts, mess receipts, reports, handbooks of rules and regulations, and other papers relating specifically to various phases of the naval career of Commodore Samuel Lockwood and to naval life in general. The papers date from 1822 to 1885, and hence touch on nearly every aspect of Lockwood's service in the United States Navy, though some aspects are more completely documented than others. These include especially his service druing the War with Mexico, his command of the sloop Cyane in the Pacific Squadron off the coast of Central and South America, 1858-1860, and his command of the steamer Daylight during the Civil War blockading the coast of North Carolina and Virginia.

Papers of interest relating to Lockwood's service in the War with Mexico, include various general orders from Matthew C. Perry and G. J. Van Brunt, and accounts of battles and the blockade of Vera Cruz and Tobasco.

It is for the period while Lockwood was serving with the Pacific Squadron that the record here is perhaps most detailed. Not only are there a great many incoming letters and orders, but his official letterbook for the years 1858-1861 has also been preserved. There is a great deal of correspondence between Lockwood and Secretary of the Navy Isaac Toucey and between Lockwood and Flag Officers John C. Long and John B. Montgomery; this correspondence gives a fairly detailed and complete picture of the movements and activities of the Pacific fleet during this period. Included in this correspondence are numerous reflections and observations on the political situations in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, Baja California, Chile, Panama, and Peru. Also of interest for this period is the rather complete picture of life aboard the Cyane as reflected in the various reports, duty schedules, watch and station bills, and even detailed descriptions of the ship herself.

It is Lockwood's service as part of the Union blockade of the Confederate coast during the Civil War that he is perhaps best remembered for. Papers for this period include correspondence with and orders from Gideon Welles, blockade reports, lists of vessels expected to run the blockade, a list of contraband Negroes received on board the Daylight in 1861, and lists of officers and crew entitled to share in prizes.

Part of the correspondence in this collection has been individually cataloged. Other correspondents of note include John Percival (29 letters between June 1838 and October 1839); William Kay Latimer (22 letters between 1839 December and April 1840); Matthew Calbraith Perry (13 letters between march and September 1847); Isaac Toucey (numerous letters for 1858 and 1859 plus many from Lockwood in his letterbook); Gideon Welles (ca. 14 letters between April 1861 and March 1865); Gershom J. Van Brunt (ca. 8 letters between July 1847 and January 1848, also one letter November 1861); John B. Montgomery (ca. 28 letters between August 1859 and December 1860). Notable correspondents from the Civil War period include Samuel L. Breese, Garret Pendergrast, Louis M. Goldsborough, Silas Stringham, and Augustus Ludlow Case.

For a more detailed and discursive description of some of these papers (especially for the Pacific Squadron years), see the various descriptions received with these papers in the Manuscripts and Archives register file, Manuscript Group Number 726.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

In part gift from Charles Eberstadt, 1973; a portion of this collection was part of the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book Library.

1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Related Names
Lockwood, Samuel, 1803-1893
Language of Materials