POTOMAC

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Cachets should be listed in chronological order based on earliest known usage. Use the postmark date or best guess. This applies to add-on cachets as well.


Ship Name and Designation History

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

  1. USS POTOMAC Frigate

USS Potomac was laid down by the Washington Navy Yard in August 1819, was launched March 1822. Fitting out was not completed until 1831, when Captain John Downes assumed command as first commanding officer.
     On her first overseas cruise, Potomac departed New York 19 August 1831 for the Pacific Squadron via the Cape of Good Hope. On 6 February 1832, Potomac shelled the town of Quallah Batoo, Sumatra in punishment for the capture of merchantman Friendship of Salem, Massachusetts and the massacre of her crew in February 1831. Of the 282 sailors and Marines who landed, two were killed while 150 natives, including the chieftain, Po Mahomet died. After circumnavigating the world, Potomac returned to Boston 23 May 1834.
     The frigate next made two cruises to the Brazil Station, protecting American interests in Latin America from 20 October 1834 to 5 March 1837, and from 12 May 1840 to 31 July 1842. From 8 December 1844 to 4 December 1845, she patrolled in the West Indies, and again from 14 March 1846 to 20 July 1847 in the Caribbean and the Gulf. During this latter period, she landed troops at Port Isabel, Texas, on 8 May 1846 in support of General Zachary Taylor’s army at the Battle of Palo Alto. She also participated in the siege of Vera Cruz, 9 March to 28 March 1847.
     Potomac served as flagship for the Home Squadron 1855–1856. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, she departed New York 10 September 1861 for the Gulf Blockading Squadron off Mobile Bay. At this time, William Thomas Sampson served aboard her until 25 December 1861 when he transferred to the Water Witch as executive officer. The Potomac became the stores ship for the squadron and remained at Pensacola Navy Yard as a receiving ship until 1867, when she was sent to Philadelphia. She remained at League Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia until she decommissioned 13 January 1877. She was sold to E. Stannard & Company 24 May 1877. {DANFS}



 

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GregCiesielski Potomac Frigate 18411229 1 Front.jpg

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1841-12-29
USPOD CDS
Portsmouth VA

Letter From
Fleet Surgeon Augustus A. Adee.

Note:


 

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GregCiesielski Potomac Frigate 18411229 1 PG1.jpg

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1841-12-29
USPOD CDS
Portsmouth VA

Letter From
Fleet Surgeon Augustus A. Adee.

Note:


 

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GregCiesielski Potomac Frigate 18411229 1 PG2.jpg

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1841-12-29
USPOD CDS
Portsmouth VA

Letter From
Fleet Surgeon Augustus A. Adee.

Note:


 

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GregCiesielski Potomac Frigate 18411229 1 PG3.jpg

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1841-12-29
USPOD CDS
Portsmouth VA

Letter From
Fleet Surgeon Augustus A. Adee.

Note:


 

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GregCiesielski Potomac Frigate 18411229 1 PG4.jpg

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1841-12-29
USPOD CDS
Portsmouth VA

Letter From
Fleet Surgeon Augustus A. Adee.

Note:


3-1/2 pp. letter dated U.S. Frigate POTOMAC, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Midnight Dec 29 1841, from Augustus A. Adee, Fleet Surgeon, U.S. Navy, to his wife, Amelia Adee, Care of George T. Adee, New York with red Portsmouth, Virginia, Feb 22 (1841) postmark and blue 25c manuscript postal marking on address panel. The letter reads, in part, as follows: "I take my departure, most gladly, from this station tomorrow morning, in the good and excellent Brig ESCALUS, bound direct and in the shortest possible time for the Christian port of New York. How long ... the time may be, I know not, but I think it quite probably that we shall be at least fifty days on the passage. This letter goes by the MONTEVIDEO, which vessel will sail tomorrow morning in company with us. As she is a faster vessel than ours, she will probably arrive a few days before us, and you will thus have information of my being on the way home. I would have gone in the Montevideo, had I know before that she was to sail so soon. Her captain told me some days ago that she would not leave Rio for three or four weeks. So Mr. Marston, Mr. Kennedy & myself engaged to take passage with Captain Taylor in the ESCALUS, a fine brig, with good accomodations, formerly a packet between New York and Savannah or New Orleans. Captain Taylor has given me his stateroom, and I shall be very comfortable. The season in which we shall arrive upon our coast will be rather unfavorable as regards the weather and we may be arrested on our passage by strong, contrary winds. But we have a strong vessel and a good temperate, steady & well informed Captain. We have, besides Captn. Marston and Lieut Kennedy, and a weather beaten Doctor, who has seen something of the sea, and with such a combination of nautical talent, we hope, with the blessing of Providence, to reach our long wished for homes in safety & in health. The terms of our passage are these: one hundred dollars for the transfer of our bodies to the port of New York, paid in advance, & twenty dollars for extra stores, including luxuries, making in all the sum of $120. Mr. Marston has performed the duties of caterer in small stores to our perfect satisfaction,. The Captain has himself devoted one half of the passenger money towards the purchase of pigs, geese, ducks, fowl, turkeys, beef, mutton, potatoes, butter, rice, codfish, squashes, pickles, bread, crackers, flour, Indian meal, bananas, limes, oranges, plantains, and some crockery. In addition to these, our small stores consist of extra ducks, geese, turkeys & chickens, with their eggs, sardines, sweetmeats, arrow root, tea, extra butter, Cheshire cheese, pickles, oysters, salmon, pilot bread, porter, one box of claret, raisins, almonds, spices, [and], as we are all Harrison men [referring to the current President], a box of cider has been bought to complete the list of necessaries. So you see we shall not starve on the way. If this letter should arrive before me, I wish you to speak to George, or my father, about the payment of a draft made upon myself, payable in New York 10 days after presentation & in favor of Saml. P. Todd, our purser, for the sum of 250 dollars, which he, Mr. T., had the kindness to loan me, that I might be able to return home. A Mr. Todd will send the draft by the MONTEVIDEO, it may be presented for payment at my father's store before my arrival, in which case I would wish the debt to be discharged. If you can, without inconvenience, deposit the sum in the hands of my Brother George from any available source, I would be very glad, and will promise you o keep out of debt hereafter, if I can. I have already, in former times, received so much from my brother & father kind charity that I cannot with anything like decency again throw myself upon their pecuniary bounty. If, however, you have not the amount (250 dollars) by you, please ask George to lend it to you for the purpose of meeting the daft, and we will be sure to pay it & hope other sums too, soon after my return. What a misery it is to be poor! My expenses have been necessarily great in Rio & I do not know how I could well have got along with less disbursement. I hope I may arrive after this letter, for I am very anxious to see you, and cannot get home too soon. Kiss our dear children most affectionately for me & tell them I am on my way to kiss them myself and to stay at home with them ... We shall be so happy ... [signed] Augustus A. Adee."



Augustus A. Adee (c1805-44) of New York graduated from Yale Medical School in 1821, and entered the U.S. Navy at age 19 as a surgeon's mate in USS JOHN ADAMS. In time, Adee rose through the ranks to become an eminent U.S. Navy Fleet Surgeon . This letter, from reading the content, perhaps was written upon his retirement. He died in 1844.
Transcribed and researched by Glenn Smith.

 


 

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