2 Replies Latest reply on Jan 21, 2021 2:09 PM by V Hermann

    Records of foreign military ships docking in NY

    V Hermann Newbie

      I am looking to see if there were any records of foreign military ships docking in New York during the Civil War, specifically a French Naval ship arriving on or about 10 August 1864. If these exist, where might I start looking? Thank you

        • Re: Records of foreign military ships docking in NY
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear V. Hermann,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Registers of Letters Sent, 12/1823 - 9/1884 in the Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library (Record Group 45) that potentially could include a reference to a foreign ship docking in an American port, but there would be no guarantee.  For more information, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at Archives1reference@nara.gov.


          We also located Domestic Letters, 1784 - 1906 and Letters Received, 1789 - 1906 in the General Records of the Department of State (Record Group 59) that may include a mention of the ship, but again there is no certainty that it would be there.  For more information, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at Archives2reference@nara.gov.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1 and RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          There may have been something mentioned about the ship in various New York newspapers of the time. We suggest reviewing the Library of Congress Chronicling America for information about accessing historical newspapers.  There are also a number of online subscription newspaper repositories. 


          The New York City Municipal Archives and the New York Public Library may have additional recommendations. We also suggest that you contact the National Archives of France to inquire about any French naval records.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Records of foreign military ships docking in NY
              V Hermann Newbie

              Thank you for this information.  I had already checked the newspapers with no success.  However I did find, through a Google Books search, a small mention in the Army, Navy, Air Force Journal & Register, Volume 1, 13 August 1864 that said that the French steam frigate Guerriere was in the Newport Habour RI at the time in question.  It mentioned that the frigate's officers were invited to the Naval Academy building for dinner.  I learned that during the Civil War the Naval Academy was moved for security reasons to Newport.


              This moves me along my theory that the person I am seeking may have deserted from the French navy whilst docked in the USA during this time period.