M 0977
NAVY DEPARTMENT GENERAL ORDERS AND CIRCULARS,1798‑1862
IN NATIONAL ARCHIVES (2 ROLLS)

 

[Note: Only those rolls covering Constitution's period of Naval Academy service were researched. Only those "folders" containing pertinent information are listed below; all "folders" were inspected.]

 

(GO) = General Order

(C) = Circular Letter

 

Roll 1 (General Orders, December 20, 1799 ‑ March 7, 1842, and Circulars, September 11, 1798 ‑ April 22, 1842)

 

28 May 1798 ‑ (GO) President Adams orders naval units to take action against French warships and privateers operating against American commerce, and to recapture any American ships taken by them.

 

29 Dec 1798 ‑ (GO) Commanders are not to allow their ships to be stopped or searched by ships of any foreign power.

 

13 Mar 1809 ‑ (C) Notes the Act of 3 Mar 1809 requires Pursers to give bond ($10,000 for those aboard ship).

 

6 Jun 1809 ‑‑ (C) Pursers to be limited to 5% profit on slops, not 10%. Tobacco, coffee, tea, etc., are to be furnished "at reasonable prices" controlled by the commanders, not the pursers. Strict compliance is required.

 

7 Jul 1809 ‑‑ (C) Commanders are not to attempt to train or employ Marines as seamen.

 

27 Jul 1809 ‑ (C) Pursers may be allowed 50% profit on tobacco, tea, sugar, and coffee, which are denominated luxuries. All other articles not covered by the 5% rule may have a 25% profit. Groceries procured by pursers for resale may realize a 5% profit.

 

6 Aug 1809 ‑‑ (C) Inspect command immediately and minutely to insure readiness for war, and report deficiencies found. Discharge any non‑rated men who are sub‑caliber, and recruit proper replacements. Ensure crews are trained in all evolutions. Suggests that 3 buckshot be added to each musket and pistol cartridge.

 

7 Aug 1810 ‑‑ (C) Pursers may not provide advances or payments other than those due, except that 2 months pay may be advanced prior to short voyages, and 3‑4 months pay for long ones.

 

27 Aug 1812 ‑ (C) John Mitchell is our designated Agent for prisoners at Halifax, NS, to whom you will report all captures made, together with lists of prisoners and dispositions made of them. Mitchell will arrange exchanges.

 

28 Aug 1812 ‑ (C) Do not stop American ships coming home from Britain; help them get in safely.

 

2 Oct 1812 ‑‑ (C) Get to sea when expedient. Protect our commerce and annoy the enemy.

 

22 Feb 1813 ‑ (C) Strike at the enemy from Cape Clear to the Cape of Good Hope and make him disperse. Encourages single ship cruises.

 

29 Jul 1813 ‑ (GO) Exert every effort to break up intercourse between Americans and the British blockaders of our coasts.

 

19 May 1814 ‑ (C) Directs Purser Pottinger [among others]to renew his bond, which should have been done in 1812.

 

21 Mar 1816 ‑ (GO) All officers not under orders for duty or employed upon the Station or Ships of the USN, from this date are considered to be on half pay. (Reissued 1 Jul 1816.)

 

22 Mar 1819 ‑ (GO) Midshipmen are to be examined prior to promotion to lieutenant. Examination of midshipmen with seniority prior to 1 Jan 1813 will be examined at New York Navy Yardon 4 Oct next.

 

10 Feb 1820 ‑ (C) Medals for GUERRIERE action presented to Isaac Hull, Charles Morris, Alexander S. Wadsworth, Beekman V. Hoffman, George C,

Reed [sic], Amos A. Evans, John D. Armstrong, Thomas Chew, and John Contee.

 

10 Feb 1820 ‑ (C) Medals for JAVA action presented to William Bainbridge, Beekman V. Hoffman, Amos A. Evans, John D. Armstrong, Robert C.

Ludlow, John Contee, and William H. Freeman.

 

10 Feb 1820 ‑ (C) Medals for the CYANE/LEVANT action presented to Charles Stewart, Henry E. Ballard, Beekman V. Hoffman, William B.Shubrick, William M. Hunter, John Tayloe, John A. Kearney, Benjamin Austin, Robert Pottinger, Archibald Henderson, and William H. Freeman.

 

1 May 1820 ‑‑ (C) No‑one is to hoist a broad command pendant without the acknowledgement of the Secretary.

 

1 Jul 1820 ‑‑ (GO) Midshipmen dating prior to 1 Jan 1814 will stand for examination on 9 Oct next at New York.

 

31 Mar 1821 ‑ (C) Commanding officers will report the material condition of their commands in detail to the BNC immediately upon arrival in a US port from overseas.

 

6 Aug 1821 ‑‑ (GO) A 1st class frigate in ordinary will be attended by 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 3 midshipmen, 1 boatswain, 1 gunner, 1 carpenter, 2 carpenter's mates, 6 seamen, 6 ordinary seamen, and 4 boys.

 

1 Feb 1822 ‑‑ (GO) The title of "Commodore" is abolished.

 

15 May 1822 ‑ (GO) All midshipmen dating prior to 1 Apr 1815 who have not passed must be examined on 4 Oct next at New York or be considered out

of service.

 

26 Jun 1822 ‑ (GO) Midshipman who have been passed for promotion will wear a gold star centered in the gold diamond on their collars.

 

20 Aug 1823 ‑ (GO) Any member of the BNC is to get a 15‑gun salute.

 

14 Oct 1824 ‑ (C) No‑one to be appointed Acting Midshipman without SecNav authority. No other acting appointments are to be made without SecNav authority unless the service requires it. Such appointments are to cease upon that person's detachment. No‑one shall wear the uniform of the "acting" grade.

 

18 Nov 1824 ‑ (C) All future communications with the Department to be on "foolscap," and with a 1 1/4" margin. This is to facilitate the planned binding ofreceived correspondence.

 

12 Mar 1825 ‑ (C) Commanders are to submit reports on their subordinate officers on 1 Jul next and semi‑annually thereafter.

 

19 Sep 1825 ‑ (C) Notes that none of the above‑mentionedreports had yet been received.

 

30 Dec 1825 ‑ (C) The authorized crew for a 1st class frigate is: 1 captain, 5 lieutenants, 18 midshipmen, 1 surgeon, 2 surgeon's mates, 1 purser, 1 chaplain, 1 sailing master, 1 schoolmaster, 1 captain's clerk, 1 boatswain, 1 gunner, 1 sailmaker, 1 carpenter, 12 quarter gunners, 8 quartermasters, 3 yeomen, 1 coxswain, 1 steward, 1 cooper, 1 armorer, 1 master‑at‑arms, 2 ship's corporals, 1 cook, 150 seamen, 170 ordinary seamen, 15 boys, 2 Marine lieutenants, 4 sergeants, 4 corporals, 1 drum, 1 fife, and 45 privates ‑ 457, total.

 

1 Apr 1826 ‑‑ (C) Amend the foregoing complement to include 3 boatswain's mates, 2 gunner's mates, 2 carpenter's mates, and 1 sailmaker's mate.

 

10 Aug 1826 ‑ (C) A 1st class frigate is allowed 1 (petty officer) master of band ($15/mo.), 4 musicians (seamen) ($12/mo.), and 3 musicians (ordinary seamen)($10.mo.)

 

25 Jun 1827 ‑ (GO) No midshipman younger than 14. A 20‑year‑old midshipman with 5 years of service (3 at sea) is entitled to promotion examination and, if passing, to be ranked as Passed Midshipman. Failing midshipmen, or those who pass up 2 examination opportunities, will be dismissed. Passed midshipmen to be paid $25/mo. and 2 rations.

 

21 Feb 1828 ‑ (GO) Vessels henceforth are to allowed one Boy between 14 and 18 for every 2 guns the vessel carries.

 

12 Jan 1831 ‑ (C) Flag captains are not to be appointed except by departmental authority.

 

15 Jun 1831 ‑ (GO) Persons wishing pay in lieu of the spirit ration shall be credited with 6 cents per ration.

 

26 Sep 1831 ‑‑ (C) "...the first resort [to punishment], in the case of offences by seamen, is recommended to be always had to pecuniaryfines, badges of disgrace, and other mild corrections, rather than the humiliating practice of whipping; and that never on the same day, by punishing under an Officer's own authority, two offences at once, should the stripes, limited by law, be exceeded in number, or be inflicted otherwise than in the presence and under the sanction of the commanding officer of the vessel or station."

 

17 Dec 1833 ‑ (GO) Assistant surgeons completing 5 years service (2 at sea) will henceforth stand for examination for promotion.

 

21 Jan 1834 ‑ (GO) Naval officers will accept no present of any kind under any circumstance unless previously consented to by the Congress.

 

28 Nov 1838 ‑ (GO) "The practice of bringing home in the public Vessels of the United States various animals, such as Horses, Asses, Mules and other quadrupeds, formerly authorized by this Department, having been found by recent experiment productive of great inconvenience, and liable to abuse is hereby strictly prohibited." J. K. Paulding.

 

29 May 1840 ‑ (GO) Corporal punishment to be administered only by order of a court martial or the written order of a commanding officer or commandant, specifying the offense(s) for which authorized and the extent of the punishment. Said punishment is to be inflicted only in the presence of the officers and seamen of the command. All such orders shall be logged and a quarterly report made to the Department, stating person's name, offense(s), and punishment, and any remarks deemed pertinent.

 

Roll 2 (General Orders, July 8, 1842 ‑ December 12, 1862, and Circulars, May 10, 1842 ‑ December 18, 1862)

 

31 Aug 1842 ‑ (Regulation) Port Captains are to hoist the blue broad pendant. Navy yard commanders are not entitled to pendants. Only the senior pendant to be flown in a squadron or port.

 

8 Sep 1842 ‑‑ (Regulation) Port Captains and Receiving Ship Commanders may not keep their families on board.

 

16 Dec 1844 ‑ (Regulation) Assistant Surgeons are to berth and mess with wardroom officers.

 

10 Apr 1845 ‑ (Regulation) No officer under the rank of Captain may hoist a broad pendant unless specifically sanctioned by SecNav, and then it is to be the blue pendant. Overseas, when several officers authorized to hoist a broad pendant are in company, the senior shall wear the blue, the next, red, and the junior, white.

 

24 Nov 1845 ‑ (C) Commodores to be allowed a secretary, but no clerk, as heretofore.

 

18 Feb 1846 ‑ (GO) Henceforth, "port" is to be substituted for "larboard" because the latter sounds so much like "starboard."

 

17 Aug 1846 ‑ (GO) Henceforth, no person shall be warranted a boatswain, gunner, carpenter, or sailmaker without passing a board examination.

 

31 Aug 1846 ‑ (GO) Henceforth, surgeons of the fleet and surgeons of more than 12 years service will rank with commanders; surgeons of less than 12 years with lieutenants; passed assistant surgeons next after lieutenants; and assistant surgeons next after masters. Commanding and Executive Officers outrank all medical officers.

 

16 Feb 1847 ‑ (C) The Rogers & Black Semaphoric Dictionary has been adopted for the use of the Navy.

 

19 Mar 1847 ‑ (C) Frigates, as at present, are to have 3 chronometers and 3 sextants. They also shall have deck time pieces and comparing watches. One of the sextants shall be a lunar sextant.

 

24 Mar 1847 ‑ (Regulation) Ship's stewards henceforth to be paid $24/mo. [Petty officers.]

 

27 May 1847 ‑ (GO) Pursers of over 12 years service to rank with commanders; those of less than 12 years, with lieutenants; they will rank with surgeons based on dates of commissions. Commanding and Executive Officers are senior to all pursers.

 

23 Jan 1850 ‑ (GO) Sanitary regulations for the African Squadron:

1. No‑one allowed ashore before sunrise or after sunset; none to sleep ashore. Applies both to the continent and the Cape Verde Is.

2. African rivers will not be ascended unless imperative.

3. Boat excursions up rivers, or hunting parties ashore, are forbidden.

4. Ships will anchor as far offshore as possible.

5. Sick are to be invalided home ASAP.

6. When the general health of the crew of a ship on or below the Equator is impaired, the ship is to be sent to the Canaries or other windward islands to recover.

7. Boat and shore duties to be performed by Kroomen, insofar as possible.

8. Close inspection is to be kept over diet, clothing, and ventilation.

9. These regulations are considered permanent, to be transferred to succeeding ships.

 

1 Jul 1850 ‑ (GO) Requires that commanders ensure that all "notices to mariners" found in newspapers anywhere be entered on their charts. All such information gained is to be turned in to the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography at the end of a cruise.

 

17 Dec 1850 ‑ (GO) All boat guns and field pieces are to be of bronze, of howitzer form, and chambered. Frigates are to have one 24 pdr weighing 1200 lbs, and a 12 pdr field piece on carriage weighing 750 lbs. All are to be of Dahlgren's pattern.

 

25 Mar 1851 ‑ (C) No‑one is to be enlisted at higher than seaman. Petty officers are to be rated by ship's commanders as they choose.

 

18 Jul 1851 ‑ A practice ship for the Naval Academy shall be manned by 1 lieutenant, 1 purser, 4 passed midshipmen, 1 boatswain, 1 gunner, 1 carpenter, 1 sailmaker, 1 assistant surgeon, 1 yeoman, 1 ship's steward, 1 MAA, 2 boatswain's mates, 1 gunner's mate, 1 ship's cook, 4 quartermasters, 3 quarter gunners, 2 captains of the forecastle, 2 captains of the tops, 2 captains of the afterguard, 1 captain of the hold, 1 surgeon's steward, 1 ship's corporal, 1 cabin steward, 1 cabin cook, 1 officers' steward, 1 officers' cook, 26 seamen, 12 ordinary seamen, 9 landsmen and boys, and 14 Marines ‑ 100 total.

 

18 Jul 1851 ‑ "Regulations for the Practice Ship

Regulations for the Practice Ship attached to the Naval Academy, equipped and to be kept in order for Sea Service and Gunnery practice.

1. The Act for the better government of the Navy, and such rules, regulations, general orders and circulars now in force, or which may hereafter be issued by the navy Department are to be strictly observed and complied with.

2. The Quarter deck being the Military parade of the Ship, all officers and others are required to pay the usual Military Salute when entering on it from below, and in coming on board the Ship. No lounging about deck will be permitted, nor work of any kind will be permitted on the quarter deck, except such as may be absolutely necessary and usual in a regular man of war.

3. The Practice Ship being intended for the instruction of the 'Students of the Academy in Seamanship and gunnery,' (Art. 3, chap. 6 of the Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Naval Academy) all else is to be considered subservient to this object except the cleanliness and Safety of the Ship.

4. Two hours each day, Sundays excepted, at regular intervals are to be devoted to the instruction of the Students in Seamanship by reefing, parting, making and taking in Sail, tacking, wearing &c. A little portion of time to be devoted to the exercise of the great guns, by loading and firing and performing with care and accuracy all the duties connected with a thorough knowledge of range, depression and elevation. Shot will be fired on favorable occasions of wind and weather.

5. During the intervals between the exercises in Seamanship and Gunnery, the Students are to practice the use of instruments for determining Latitude and longitude, and perform the various calculations necessary for this purpose.

6. The instruction in Seamanship is to be under the personal supervision and direction of the Commandant of Midshipmen, and that of Gunnery under the direction of the Professor of Gunnery, and Infantry tactics. All that relates to Navigation to be under the direction of the Professor of Mathematics. The Commandant of Midshipman will exercise a general supervision over the entire course of instruction.

7. The Students will be divided into regular watches ‑ the Midshipmen to be examined in October to perform the duties of officers of the deck ‑ the others will be stationed in the various parts of the Ship.

8. When entering or leaving port, the Students are to be practiced in heaving the lead, are required to note the various land marks, so as to acquire a knowledge of the entrances to the different ports they may viisit during the cruise.

9. When in port, the Students are to be exercised in all the ordinary duties of a man‑of‑war in port, and no one will be permitted to perform any duty negligently or with indifference.

10. The Students will be permitted to visit the Shore, once only, during each stay in port, and must return on board by Sunset. No deviation from this rule will be permitted, except under peculiar circumstances to be determined by the Commandant of Midshipmen.

11. The deportment of Students will receive the Strictest attention ‑ no profane swearing will be permitted ‑ politeness and courtesy will be insisted upon at all times and under all circumstances.

12. Chapters 19, 20, and 23, of the Rules and Regulations of the Naval Academy are to be observed and complied with, so far as circumstances will permit.

13. The use of Tobacco in any form is strictly prohibited.

14. Meal hours are to be regular, and sufficient time is to be allowed for each meal. The Students are to be divided into two equal Messes and will live upon the government Navy ration to the extent that may be required. No commutation of rations or parts of ration will be allowed. The Students will not be allowed to take on board live Stock of any kind as sea Stores. The caterer of each mess will be held responsible for the good order and cleanliness of the Mess apartments.

15. Unless detained by stress of weather, the Practice Ship will not remain in any port longer than one week, nor remain at Sea a longer period.

16. No other labor or duty will be performed on Sundays than such as cleanliness and the requisite duty of the Ship render necessary.

17. The officers of the Naval Academy including the Midshipmen and Acting

Midshipmen will not be considered as entitled to any change in their compensation while embarked for purposes of instruction on board the Practice Ship. The officers and men attached to the Practice Ship in charge to keep the vessel in order and prepared for the practical instruction of the Midshipmen and acting Midshipmen will be entitled to Sea pay."

 

11 Aug 1854 ‑ (GO) New partial pay scale:

Yeoman in frigate--$40/mo.

Armorer in frigate--$25/mo.

Ship's Steward--$0/mo.

Boatswain's, Gunner's, Carpenter's Mates, & MAA--$25/mo.

ip's Cook, Coxswain, Quartermasters, Captains of Forecastle, & Surgeon's Stewards--$24/mo.

All other Petty Officers--$20mo.

Seamen--$18/mo.

Musicians 1st Class--$15/mo.

Ordinary Seamen--$14/mo.

Landsmen & Musicians 2nd Class--$12/mo.

Boys--$8 ‑ 9 ‑ & $10/mo.

 

21 Aug 1856 ‑ (GO) The ration is valued at 25 cents.

 

18 May 1858 ‑ (GO) Henceforth, a plain blue flag is to be substituted for the broad command pendant. Commodores with over 25 years as Captain shall wear it at the fore; all others, at the mizzen.

 

26 Sep 1858 ‑ (GO) The Senior flag Officer of the Navy will wear his flag at the main.

 

2 Mar 1861 ‑‑ (GO) When flag officers are in company, thesenior shall wear the blue flag, the next in rank a red one, and the junior a white one.

 

17 Jul 1862 ‑ (GO) Spirit ration abolished as of 1 Sep 1862; pay will be increased 5 cents/day in commutation thereof.
 

The Captain's Clerk
1989, TGM