A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 36794
Library of VirginiaThe Library of Virginia
800 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000
Phone: (804) 692-3888 (Archives Reference)
Fax: (804) 692-3556 (Archives Reference)
© 2005 By the Library of Virginia. All rights reserved.
Processed by: Craig S. Moore
Collection is open to research.
There are no restrictions.
Virginia Navy Department, 1861-1862. Accession 36794. State records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
Acquisition information unknown.
The Navy of Virginia was established by an ordinance of the Convention of Virginia on April 27, 1861. The ordinance called for the enlistment of two thousand seamen and marines to serve terms of three and four years respectively. As a result of a shortage of warships, most of these seamen were employed in the construction and manning of harbor and coastal defense batteries. Robert E. Lee was named commander in chief of the Military and Naval forces of Virginia. The Advisory Council appointed numerous officers to serve on a Joint Commission for the purpose of inviting Virginia army and navy officers into Virginia service. Appointments in the Virginia State Navy included Captain Samuel Barron, Sidney Smith Lee, W. C. Whittle, John Randolph Tucker, among others. French Forrest accepted an appointment by Governor John Letcher as Flag Officer, the highest rank in the Virginia Navy, at the Norfolk or Gosport Navy Yard which was abandoned by the U.S. Navy on 20 April 1861. In order to create a navy to defend Richmond, the Navy Department salvaged the frigate United States, which later became the receiving ship Confederate States. Additionally, Virginia purchased several steamers including the Empire, Northampton, Thomas Reaney, Jamestown, and Yorktown, which was renamed Patrick Henry as the flagship of the James River Squadron.
Another ordinance was passed by the Convention on April 30, 1861, creating a board of commissioners consisting of George W. Munford, J.R. Tucker, and J. M. Bennett, to better regulate the accounts of the Army and Navy and for the audit and settlement of accounts and claims. This Auditing Board continued to pay some officers and settle claims after Governor Letcher issued a proclamation on June 6, 1861, transferring "all officers, seamen, and marines of the Provisional Navy of Virginia" to the Confederate States.
The records of the Virginia Navy Department include accounts, correspondence, pay rolls, transfer rolls, requisitions, returns, vouchers, and other sundry items between 1861 and 1862. The records document expenses accrued by the Provisional Navy during the early part of the Civil War, primarily between April and June of 1861. Vouchers are the most prevalent and provide the name of the vendors and list the supplies along with the quantity and cost. Some vouchers include an abstract which provides a summary of all the vouchers submitted during a specific time. The number on the abstract corresponds with the number of the voucher. Whenever an abstract exists for the vouchers, those vouchers are arranged in order by voucher number. Unnumbered vouchers are simply arranged in chronological order. The vouchers document a wide variety of expenses, but are mostly for supplies, pay, rations, transportation, ammunition, and other items.
The correspondence in this collection primarily relates to financial matters including payment for services, the settlement of accounts, etc. Much of the correspondence originates from Edward H. Fitzhugh and J. Bell Bigger, Clerks of the Auditing Board. There is also a good deal of correspondence to Samuel Barron at the Office of Detail and Equipment in Richmond, Virginia. Noteworthy correspondents include John Randolph Tucker, French Forrest, Richard Taylor, William H. Peters, William C. Whittle, and J. R. Anderson.
Pay rolls make up a substantial part of the Navy Department records. There are pay rolls for the frigate United States and the batteries around Norfolk, the receiving ship United States, and various steamers employed by Virginia's Navy. These pay rolls provide the name, rank, date, expiration of pay, amount of pay, etc. The pay rolls were signed by the individual receiving pay and approved by the commanding officer. Some of the pay rolls were created by Richard Taylor, Paymaster of the Virginia Navy.
Also included in these records are various returns for clothing, provisions, and small stores from the frigate United States and other Virginia Navy vessels. These returns document the quantity and value of the items purchased. The returns were approved by the commanding officer and completed by Richard Taylor as Paymaster. In addition, there are transfer rolls which contain similar information as the pay rolls, but consist of men who were transferred from one vessel to another. Included are transfer rolls for men transferred from the receiving ship United States and the steamer Yorktown. Lastly, various documents including a coasting license certify ownership of the schooner Henry Read which was taken by the City of Norfolk and sunk into the Elizabeth River.
Arranged in alphabetical order.
Box 1Folder 1Correspondence, 1861-1862
Box 1Folder 2Requisitions for Clothing, 1861
Box 1Folder 3Schooner Henry Read, 1861
Box 1Folder 4April-June
Box 1Folder 5July
Box 1Folder 6August-October
Box 1Folder 71862 January-February
Box 1Folder 8Nos. 1-17, 18618
Box 1Folder 9Nos. 1-46, 1861
Box 1Folder 10Forrest, French - Nos. 1-63, 1861
Box 1Folder 11Johnson, John, 1861
Box 1Folder 12Loyall, George - Nos. 1-58, 1861
Box 1Folder 13Page, Hugh N., 1861-1862
Box 1Folder 14Peters, William H., 1861
- Box 2Folder 1Account Current of Richard Taylor, 1861
- Box 2Folder 2Coasting Licenses, 1861
- Box 2Folder 3General Pay & Receipt Roll, 1861
- Box 2Folder 4Requisitions for Small Stores on Board the Frigate United States & Steamer Empire, 1861
- Box 2Folder 5Steward's Weekly Return of Provisions for Receiving Ship United States, 1861
- Box 2Folder 6Transfer Roll of Officers from Receiving Ship United States, 1861
- Box 2Folder 7Vouchers, 1861
- Box 3Folder 1Final Return of Provisions for Frigate United States, 1861
- Box 3Folder 2Final Return & Requisitions for Clothing for Frigate United States, 1861
- Box 3Folder 3Final Return of Small Stores for the Frigate United States & the Steamer Empire, 1861
- Pay Rolls
Box 3Folder 4Frigate United States 1861
Box 3Folder 5Receiving Ship United States, 1861
Box 3Folder 6Schooner James Buchanan, 1861
Box 3Folder 7Steamer Empire, 1861
Box 3Folder 8Steamer Jamestown, 1861
Box 3Folder 9Steamer Northampton, 1861
Box 3Folder 10Steamer Thomas Reaney, 1861
Box 3Folder 11Steamer Yorktown, 1861
- Box 3Folder 12Transfer Rolls from Receiving Ship United States & Steamer Yorktown, 1861
- Box 3Folder 13Vouchers, 1861