SPECIAL TOPICS CONTRIBUTIONS BY JOHN G. SHARP

List of Gosport Navy Yard Employees Military and Civilian, 1846

Introduction: The following transcribed List of all Person’s Employed in the U S Navy Yard Gosport Va. with their Names, Salaries & duties was originally composed of sixteen pages of 369 employee's names, occupations, annual and per diem pay rates, and duties assigned. The list was compiled and forwarded by the commandant of Gosport (Norfolk) Navy Yard Commodore Jesse Wilkinson at the direction of Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft on 2 January 1846. The list was part of Wilkerson’s answer to Bancroft’s queries about recently approved “writer” jobs. These writer positions were approved by the newly created (1842) Bureau of Yards and Docks. In his response, Wilkerson noted the new jobs existed solely at the behest of the Bureau.1 Today this surviving 1846 Employee List allows modern historians and genealogists to closely study the economic and social relationship of a fascinating and bygone era.

Discussion: Wilkerson’s reply to Bancroft included three enclosures all transcribed below. These are, the 1846 Employee List, the “Quarterly List of Writers employed” (2nd table below), and a copy of a 20 December 1845 message (2nd letter below) from the Bureau of Yards. For modern scholars the most important is the 1846 Employee List. During the Civil War, countless significant records of early Gosport Navy Yard were destroyed. The exceptional preservation and survival of this1846 list, is a direct consequence of the document being filed with the papers of the Secretary of the Navy.2

Commanding Gosport Navy Yard in 1846 was the Commandant, Commodore Jesse Wilkerson. As Commandant, Wilkerson’s word was law. However, while the position of commanding officer gave him near absolute authority, the directives of the Department of the Navy and recently created bureau system placed significant restrains on his discretion to create and fill jobs. Working closely with Wilkerson was Commander David G. Farragut, his able executive officer. From the beginning civilians outnumbered military personnel and performed the greatest share of the actual labor. Naval officers assigned to Gosport typically served two and three year tours (Wilkerson 1843-1846) while the majority of the civilian workplace remained at Yard throughout their adult lives. Some officers like Commodores John Cassin 1812-1821 and Lewis Warrington 1831-1840 remained for a long period, but they were the exceptions.

For continuity, civilian workers looked to their Foremen and the Chief Clerks for work direction. These individuals provided the essential leadership stability amidst an ever changing military management cadre. Military/civilian relations reflect the hierarchal nature of both the shipyard and the larger society. Civilian workers had only limited if any social interaction with officers. Naval officers who had spent large parts of their careers at sea often found civilian concerns puzzling. Naval officers who were used to instant obedience often chafed at having to explain actions to their civilian subordinates; so for many, relations remained cordial but distant. At times politics and economics created friction between the two groups, especially the imposition of political patronage and worker demands for higher pay and job security.

At the apex of Gosport civilian employment were the appointed clerks. These individuals owed their appointments either to relationships or at the behest of powerful politicians. Many of the 1846 clerks were similar to modern administrative officers. Men like Samuel B. Brown 1st Clerk to the Commandant, Lewis W. Beutwell 1st Clerk to the Store Keeper, Benjamin W. Palmer Clerk to the Purser, and Henry W. King all exercised considerable authority within their domain, and enjoyed relative job security with fixed annual salaries, unlike the mechanics and tradesman who were paid wages on daily or per diem basis. Some new clerk jobs had neither security nor annual salary. These new jobs labeled “writer” were solely clerical. Their requisite qualifications were accurate, neat and rapid penmanship. Such per diem writer jobs quickly proliferated within the new Bureau system.

The 1846 Employee List reflects that Gosport still had a large contingent of traditional nautical trades such as, ship carpenters, caulkers, block-makers, and sail- makers. Transportation on the shipyard remained the province of horses and oxen. Teamster Samuel Haffler was paid $1.25 per day to take care of the horses, while black laborers like Dempsey Camel who earned 75¢ per day drove the horse and ox carts, and wheelwright David Edwards earned $1.62½ per day to keep them rolling. The future of employment was represented by steam engineers like George W. Webb and Joseph Mayo who operated the dry docks new mechanical steam engines at $2.00 and $2.62 per day respectively.

The day to day management and supervision of the shipyard civilian workforce however relied on master mechanics. Each trade had a master mechanic, e.g., ship carpenter, ship joiner, caulker, painter, mason. These individuals were recognized experts in their specialty and each usually had many years of trade experience. The master mechanics often supervised large numbers of employees. Within each shop, it was a master mechanic such as, master carpenter John Richardson, who gave overall work direction. Master mechanics like Richardson were formidable figures for they had the power to not only direct work but to hire and dismiss mechanics and laborers. Given the sheer size of the navy yard and number of carpenters, Richardson exercised authority through Quarterman who directed several work crews. At Gosport the quartermen were Edward Williams, John Rhodes, and John Staples. These three relayed Richardson orders and made sure they were carried out. Next in the shipyard hierarchy were the lead man or small crew leader, then trade mechanics.

The term “mechanic” in the early nineteenth century referred to a skilled tradesman who had successfully completed a five or six year trade apprenticeship in a particular field. Respectively each trade had such fully qualified or “journeyman” workers. Typically these men were proficient with all the tools of their trade and had shown their tradecraft in a multitude of demanding work assignments. Journeymen wages depended on market conditions and scarcity. At the high-end 1st class carpenters, ship caulkers, and mason’s earned $2.00 per day while armorers earned $1.67½. Apprentices were usually allowed to begin their training at about age 16 and would continue to work and learn under the tutelage of master mechanic until they had successfully completed their indenture. During this era records of certain jobs became family affairs; nepotism especially in the trades, was prevalent and it is common for the same surname to appear, again and again. The records of the Gosport Navy Yard reflect that preponderance of mechanics were able to read, write and use basic shop mathematics. Each master mechanic took on so many trainees or apprentices such as Thaddaeus Woodward apprentice sailmaker, Josiah Knapp apprentice mast maker, Howard Salem apprentice boat builder, and John Dickerson apprentice plumber. These apprentices were young workers in training. Each apprentice or parent/guardian signed a binding legal agreement typically with a master mechanic to return designated service in exchange for being taught his trade.

Laborers were below the mechanics, they were unskilled men who performed heavy but necessary work such as, digging, pile driving, and pulling or hauling of ships and ship parts. In January 1846 there were about one hundred and twenty laborers on the shipyard work rolls. At Gosport laborers like Wells Myers worked rowing the shipyard Porter, Dempsey Manning, to Norfolk each day with the mail. While James Bell’s job was to clip and wind tread for the sailmakers. The laborers carried material or supplies to tradesman such as wood to the carpenters or mortar to the masons. The shipyard could rapidly engage workmen during the peak spring and summer months. For example in May of 1846 the overall employee population swelled to six hundred and fifty mechanics and laborers as the navy readied for war with Mexico.3

Enslaved labor made up a significant though generally unacknowledged part of the workforce. At Gosport African Americans, free and enslaved, were confined to unskilled skilled and low payed work. White laborers were paid one dollar a day while the twenty nine African American laborers enumerated on the list as “blk laborer,” were paid 75¢ per day. Black men such as Jerry Wilson drove teams of horses; others like Lewis Gordon carried water to workers, while workers like America Nash were employed as “scavengers” or all-purpose cleaners. The exact status of these men is uncertain; early employee records such as musters and payrolls were created solely for financial purposes and rarely identify race or enslaved status. What records we have reveal at Gosport, blacks were confined to unskilled work. Indeed in 1839 Commandant, Commodore Lewis Warring reassured the Secretary of the Navy, “that no Slave is allowed to perform any mechanical work in the [Gosport] Yard, all such being necessarily reserved for the whites; this keeping up the proper distinction between the white men & slave.”4

Numerous African Americans are not enumerated on this list for they worked in the shipyard “Ordinary” where they were deceptively enumerated as “Landsman” or “Ordinary” Seaman. The “Ordinary” was designated for ships held in reserve, or for later need. Normally these were vessels like the USS Pennsylvania that had seen hard service and were awaiting restoration, or used for other purposes, but due to the small naval appropriations of the era, repairs were not possible. To maintain these ships required a substantial number of men to keep the vessels preserved and secure. The seamen assigned to the Gosport Ordinary were stationed on the shipyard either temporarily or for indefinite duration. Both groups were responsible for the maintenance of these laid up ships and the shipyard. The men of the Ordinary were under the under the command of the ship yard commandant i.e. Commodore Jesse Wilkerson. On a day to day basis the Ordinary was under the charge of Lieutenant Alexander M. Penncok. The Gosport Ordinary also included a small group of specialized officers, such as the Purser and Storekeeper In keeping with naval regulations those assigned to the Gosport Ordinary were required to muster periodically for record keeping and pay purposes. The number of men assigned varied but regularly consisted of a half dozen officers and 20 to 40 enlisted seamen. Enslaved workers were also assigned as “Landsmen” and “Ordinary Seamen' on the payrolls of "the Ordinary". On 6 December 1845 Commodore Wilkinson confirmed this long standing practice to the Secretary of the Navy, “that a majority of them [blacks] are negro slaves, and that a large portion of those employed in the Ordinary for many years, have been of that description, but by what authority I am unable to say as nothing can be found in the records of my office on the subject – These men have been examined by the Surgeon of the Yard and regularly Shipped [enlisted] for twelve months"5 George Teamoh, a former enslaved laborer, ship caulker, and carpenter who toiled at the Norfolk Navy Yard Ordinary in the 1840s, spoke for many when he pointed to the unpleasant but undeniable truth, "The government has patronized, and given encouragement to Slavery to a greater extent than the great majority of the country has been aware. It had in its service hundreds if not thousands of slaves employed on government work”. He recalled "Slavery was so interwoven at that time in the very ligaments of that to assail it from any quarter was not only a herculean task, but on requiring great consideration caution and comprehensiveness."6 Despite sporadic protests, the Navy Department continued to "hire large numbers of bondsmen and by 1848 one third of the 300 of the workers at Gosport [Norfolk] navy yard were hired slaves."7 At Gosport the presence of slaves in the workforce proved a check on free workers wage demands and kept “affairs cool.” In yards where slavery was present, wages were lower than in the shipyards where enslaved labor was not allowed.8

The life of workers at Gosport was governed by a few basic facts. First all workers, white and the few free blacks, were in law, day laborers; that is they were paid a per diem wage only for days actually worked. The Civil Service or Pendleton Act of 1883 was still decades away and retirement for federal workers would only become law in 1920. Like other American workers, shipyard employees worked a six-day week and ten hour day, with no retirement or health care plans, still many were able to improve their lot. Workers lives were often filled with hard and unpleasant uncertainties.9 In 1846 an injury or death at the shipyard meant no wages. Even for those who died on the job, their families received no compensation. For the Yard mechanics and laborers a steady number of naval ships to build or overhaul was key to employment. Typically the supply of work followed the seasons with the Yard taking on more mechanics and laborers in the spring and summer months and the workers being laid off, especially laborers, in the fall and winter as the cold weather, rain and snow made work in the open air impractical. Most Yard workers had little savings on which to fall back and imprisonment for debt within the Gosport community continued as a daily reality experienced by many workers each year.

Sometimes national political and economic issues directly affected naval appropriations and employment levels as occurred in the mild recession of 1845.10 In 1842 the navy yard was the subject of an extensive Congressional investigation, the “1842 Reports of the Commissioner appointed to make an investigation at the Gosport Navy Yard, &c.” http://www.usgwarchives.net/va/portsmouth/shipyard/nnypuba1.html The inquiry came to no definitive conclusions regarding alleged improprieties and misuse of government property but left a lingering residue of distrust. However by May of 1846 the shipyard saw a dramatic rebound in employment as the navy yard increased to six hundred and fifty mechanics and laborers. This was the result of the Navy Department effort to refurbish older ships for a coming conflict with Mexico.11 In summary we are fortunate that Commodore Wilkerson’s answer to Secretary Bancroft included the 1846 Employee List. For this list was safely stored in Washington for over one hundred and fifty years, now gives us our most extensive overview of the Navy Yard and its officers and employees at midcentury. As historian Gordon Wood has noted such finds allow us the opportunity to “see the participants of the past in a comprehensive way in the context of their own time."12

Transcription: This transcription was made from digital images of letters and documents dated 2 January 1846 sent by Commodore Jess Wilkinson received by the Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, NARA, M125 “Captains Letters” Letter Received from Captains, 1Jan 1846 – 31 Jan 1846, letter number 6, National Archives and Records. In copying all passages from the letters and memorandum, I have striven to adhere as closely as possible to the original in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and abbreviation, superscripts, etc., including the retention of dashes, ditto marks e.g. and underlining found in the original. Words and passages that were crossed out in the letters are transcribed either as overstrikes or in notes. Words which are unreadable or illegible are so noted in square brackets. When a spelling is so unusual as to be misleading or confusing, the correct spelling immediately follows in square brackets and italicized type or is discussed in a foot note. The names of naval ships, vessels and signatures are italicized.

John G. Sharp 15 March 2019

* * * * * *

U.S. Navy Yard
Gosport 2d January 1846


Sir,

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 29th Ultimo – I am fully aware of the responsibility of my Command, and have ever, and shall continue to use every exertion in my power to prevent to promote the interest of the Government, by the most rigid economy and exertion of duty from me and my Command-

For the authority of allowing a Second Clerk to the Purser under the name of “Writer” and also to the Clerk of the Yard, I respectfully refer you to the Chief of the Bureau of the Yards & Docks, as all such appointments are under his control, and existed before I took command, though under a different name, and a regular return is made to him as per enclosed copy13 – The Clerk of the Yard had two assistants, till recently, when, by the authority of the Bureau, I has one of them discharged, and also the Purser’s Steward, had been discharged, since the Ordinary had been has been dispensed with, and consequently no rations to issue – There are four men attached to what is called the Porters Boat, and have been, as I am informed, for great number of years, that have done little or nothing but row to Norfolk for the mail, and take over requisitions, that cost the Government upwards of $1,200 a year whereas, the Ferry can be taken for one dollar per month for the Porter and the object attained - There is also a Teacher of Languages on board the Pennsylvania who has nothing to do in the line of his profession –

I have the honor to be
very respectfully
Your Obt. Servant
J. Wilkerson

The Honorable
George Bancroft
Secretary of the Navy
Washington

* * * * * *

Bureau of Yards & Docks
20 Dec. 1845

Sir,
Your letter of the 18th inst. has been received. There can be but one assistant to the Clerk of the Yard and you having discharged one of the two employed is approved – The Clerk of the Naval Constructor should attend with Clerk of Yard to check the muster which was his duty originally but not to write in the Clerk’s office as an assistant, see circular of 6 May 1824 –

Respectfully
Your obt Servant
L. Warrington 

Comm J. Wilkinson
Commg Navy Yard Norfolk

* * * * * *

List of all Person’s Employed in the U S Navy Yard Gosport Va. with their Names, Salaries & duties.

Enclosure 1
Click links for full page originals

NAMES
PAY
RANK
DUTIES
Jesse Wilkinson 14
IM1
Per annum 3,500
Captain
Commanding the Yard and Station
David G. Farragut 15
2,100
Commander
Performing Execution duty of Yard
John A Davis 16
1,500
Lieut.
First Lieutenant of Yard
Alexr M. Pennock 17
1,500
Do
Second Lieut. & has charge of Ordnance
James Cornick 18
2,500
Surgeon
Medical Officer of Yard
Saml Forrest 19
2,500
Purser
Disbursing Government Officer
Benjm W. Palmer 20
500
Clerk to Purser
Assisting the Purser in making the calculation of the Rolls of Mechanics & others of the Yard
Matthew H. Manning
P. day 1.50
Writer
Making out the Pay Rolls of the Officers &c attached to the Yard, Hospl & leave of absence, & in making Payments &c &c
Henry A.F. Young21
1000
Master
Has charge of articles in Master dept. & performs duty of Master of the Yard
John Freeman22
1000
Master
Has charge of Rigging loft, Cuts & fits all rigging -
George Marshall 23
1000
Master
Has charge of the Gunners loft Superintends all out fits in Gunners department
Henry P. Leslie24
800
Carpenter
Superintend the receipt & delivery of Carpenters Store
Elazar Foster 25
800
Boatswain
Attends in Rigging Loft under Mr. Freeman
Saml G. City 26
  800
Gunner
Attends in  Gunners  do   under Mr. Marshall
John Alexander 27
  750
2nd Asst. Engineer
Has charge of Steam Engine at Dry Dock & other Engines in the Yard
John Rudd 28
2,100
Commander
Inspector of Provisions, Small Stores & Clothing -
Geo. W. Latham 29
1,200
Chaplin
Performs Service on board the Recg Ship & Visit the Sick at Hospital
Foster Rhodes
IM 2
2,300
N. Constr
Supervising generally the Mechanical operation so of the Yard
Henry W. King
650
Clk. to Constructor
Classifying & writing out reports of Surveys, Copying letters, making semimonthly reports to Bureau of Construction &c of the State & Construction progress made &c in repairs of all Vessels. Making int. Consolidated Reports of the cost of building & repairing vessels &c
Merit Jordan 30
1,700
N.S. Keeper
See Store Keeper report enclosed  and marked A
Lewis W. Beutwell
1,150
1st Clrk. to S. Keeper
do
Nathl
600
2nd  do
do
Thos. W. Jordan
500
3rd   do
do
Westen H. Forbes
$1.75 per day
Writer
do
Wm Richardson
1.50
do
do
Will Cooper
1.50
do
do
Henry Howard
1.50
do
do
James Jarvis
Pr annum 1,050
Inspector of Timber
Inspects Timber, keeper of records of receipts & Expenditures  of Same
Lewis Thomas
$200 per day
Asst  do
Attends to the planks at the saw pit, receiving wood & delivering timber & assists the inspector generally
Saml B. Brown
900
1st  Clk to Commandant 
Attending to the Correspondence Making Monthly Reports &c
Wm H. Peters
IM 3
2nd Clk to Commandant 
Copying letters, Contracts, papers, recording requisitions, keeping account of the Yard requirements &c
Rob W. Young
900
Clk of the Yard
Musters the men & making required  returns  -
H.J. Manning
Pr. day $1.88
Writer
In the Clerk of the Yard Office Assisting him in his duties.
Phillip Anspach
Pr. annum 480
Keeper of Magazine
Attending to the Keeper of the magazine
Dempsey Manning
Pr. annum 300 -
Porter
Crossing to& from Norfolk boat provided for the purpose of the mail & carrying letter to vessels of war on the [illegible]
Tapley Portlock
Pr. day $1.75
Writer
Employed in the Rigging Loft, the writing of it, besides making a daily report of the detail to the Commandant & a consolidated one some months to the Clerk of the Yard
John Richardson
IM 4
$3.00
Master Carpenter
Superintending Carpenters
Edwd Williams
2.25
Quarterman
Foreman of gang of Carpenters
John Rhodes
John Staples
John Macklin
2.00
1st class Carpr
Jacob Owens
William Browne
Willm Armistead
Nathl Owens
Nathan Saul
David Williams
James Emerson
Jas Marriset
John Barzton
Edward Frugan
John Gaskins
Boar Grant
James Shannon
Madison Grant
George Topping
Jas Porter
John Rusket
William Wood
William White
Jesse Culpepper
Laurence Hubert
Isaac Bromley
John Roby
Thos White
IM 5
200
1st Rate
Saml Phllips
1.87
2nd do
James Matthews
1.75
3rd do
John Parham
3.00
Master Caulker
Superintending Caulkers
J Skidmore
2.00
Caulker
Wm Bougham
"
"
Jas Hardwick
"
"
Shilesh  Brainard
"
"
Robt Polet
"
"
Charles Hughes
"
"
Loven Tyler
"
"
William Casse
"
"
William Hampshire
"
"
John Knapp
"
"
John Bourne
"
"
William Blixen
50
Spinner
Alonzo Dunham
"
"
John Branson
"
"
George Jones
"
"
Merit Moon
3.00
Master Block maker
Superintending G.C.[Gun Carriage] Makers & charge also of the Block Maker department
William Gleason
1.75
Block Maker
John Hall
"
"
Saml Wood
"
"
Giles Edwards
"
"
Jon Smith
"
Turner
David Edward
IM 6
162 ½
Wheelwright
George Gay
2.00
G.C. Maker
Merit Parsons
1.75
"
Michl King
"
"
Henry Tabb
"
"
Wilson Butt
1.62
"
 
 
Robt Tatem
3.00
Master Boatbuilder
Superintending Boatbuilders
William Archer
1.75
Boatbuilder
John Archer
1.75
"
Howard Salem
.87 ½
Apprentice to boatbuilder
William Herbert
"
"
William Linn
.58
" to Government
 
 
John B Davis
3.00
Master Mast Maker
 
Noah Hoffman
2.00
Mast Maker
 
Eben Thompson
"
"
 
John Mahoney
"
"
 
Francis Russ
"
"
 
James Mahoney
"
"
 
Francis Russ
"
"
 
Jos  Knapp
1.00
Apprentice
 
William  James
  .67
 
 
 
Chs A Grice
3.00
Master Smith
Superintending Smiths & Plumbers
William Jones
1.87 ½
1st  rate Plumber
 
Fred Rieger
1.75
2nd rate smith
 
John Peakson
1.25
3rd   "     "
 
Elias Ridge
1.25
"
 
Thos Culpeper
1.25
"
 
John Dickerson
1:41
Apprentice
 
Chas Sneed
1.25
"
 
Chas Meyers
2.25
Plumber
 
Chas Meyers
IM 7
1.50
Plumber
 
Saml Walker
1.25
 
Jas Watson
1.25
 
 
 
John Hobday 31
3.00
Master Painter
Superintending Painters
Peter Williams
1.87 ½
Painter
 
John West
"
"
 
William Clarke
"
"
 
John Singleton
"
"
 
Jas Holiday
"
"
 
John Pollard
"
"
 
Thos Rice
"
"
 
Smith Parker
"
"
 
George Collins
"
"
 
James Nichols
"
"
 
John Allen
"
"
 
John Cooper
"
"
 
John White
"
"
 
William Burns
"
"
 
Benj Bailey
"
"
 
Henry Claridge
"
"
 
William Merins
"
"
 
Richd Lord
"
"
 
Jos Epps
"
"
 
Jos Perdan
"
"
 
John Hodges
"
"
 
John Durlan
"
"
 
William Dorney
"
"
 
 
 
Francis Herbert
IM 8
$ 3.00
Master Armourer
Superintending Armourers & Tinners32
Thaddeus Dickinson
1.67 ½
Armourer
 
John Grover
 
Cornels Forbes
 
Thos Herbert
 
Monroe Henderson
 
Richd Grigg
 
Augustine Moore
 
William Bingham
 
John Wilder
1.50
 
George Randolph
1.62 ½
Tinner
 
Anthony Bolkin
 
Edward Kearns
 
 
 
James Williams
3.00
Master Ship Joiner
Superintending Ship Joiners
Leml Williams
1.75
Ship Joiner
 
Saml Turner
 
John  Doans
 
George Scott
 
Josiah Thomas
 
Wilson Williams
 
 
 
Patrick Williams
$ 3.00
Master House Joiner
Superintending the Construction & repair of buildings
Thos Marry
3.00
Master Cooper
Superintending Coopers& is present at the inspection of all salt provisons.
George Marry
1.87 ½
 
Joseph Reynolds
 
James Simmons
 
James Hill
 
William Whitehurst
 
Leml Higginbottom
 
Pern Bosworth
94¢
apprentice
 
 
 
Saml M. Latimer
IM 9
3.00
Master Mason
Superintending Masons
James Haurahan
2.00
Mason
 
John Moon
 
 
 
Charles Cassell
3.00
Master Sail maker
To draft & cut sails , inspect canvass & supervision of  sail makers
Willm Spencer
2.00
Foreman
Canvess & Superintend Sailmakers
Willm Whithly
1.87 ½
Sailmaker
 
Jas White
 
James Browne
 
David Ballentine
 
David Baylor
 
John Roser
 
Thoms Deans
 
Henry Gardner
 
Henry Barrett
 
William Maloney
 
Saml Odem
 
Alexr Cassell
 
Thaddaeus Woodward
94¢
apprentice
 
William Ethridge
67 ½ ¢
do
 
 
 
Moses Taylor
162 ½
Rigger
 
John Nichols
 
William Burton
 
 
 
John Littleton
1.50
Gunners crew
Fitting Breeching  &c &c  and keeping Ordnance books
Thos Butler
1.37 ½
 
George Gerard
Driving fuse &c
Robt Smith
 
George  Towgard
 
Joseph Stansbury
 
William Bernier

Pay per day 1.00

Gunner Crew
 
John Dense
IM 10
 
Isaac Sears
 
Matthew McCoy
 
Jas Littleton
50¢
 
 
 
Saml Staples
1.25
Axman
Boring & driving bovets
Richd McCoy
 
John Foster
 
Robt Williams
 
Jas Scaff
 
Jordan Cuiling
 
 
 
Charles Goslave
1.00
Carps Labr
At Saw Mill
Edward Cartwright
do
John Bernard
Assisting Carpenter
William Foster
at Grind Stone
David Hozer
Assisting Carpenters at work on Frigate Potomac33
William Herbert
 
William Miller
 
Simon Halstead
 
Jas Cherry
 
Willis Creekmure
 
Chrostoan Seaford
 
Saml King
 
William Smith
 
William Lorre
 
Timothy Mead
 
William Bloxen
At Pitch House boiling Pitch
Michael Syles
Assisting Carpenters at Work on Potomac
William Browne
 
 
 
Nachl Taylor
IM 11
50
Laborer
Water Carrier  Carpenter
 
 
William Fleming
2.00
Sawyer
Attends to the Saw Shed
 
 
Thomas Cooke
1.37
Overseer of Laborers
Overseeing gangs of Laborers
Wright Eastwood
"
"
do
Edwin Webb
"
"
do
Saml Newby
"
"
do
William Harper
"
"
Has charge of Dredging men
 
 
William Venebord
1.00
Laborer
Rows in Porter or Mail
Saml Manning
"
"
do
Wells Myers
"
"
do
Thos Stewart
"
"
do
Thos Rogers
"
"
Runner in Commodore’s  Office
Saml Haffler
1.25
Teamster
Disbursing Provender & goods
 
 
*George Copland
1.00
Laborer
* Making Tanks, taking them to ships Holds & making  for Master
#James Pleasant
"
"
 
˚Anthony Schneider
"
"
 
David Wood
"
"
# Has charge of Battery lights & has charge of signals
Thomas Grimes
"
"
 
˚Henry Humphreys
"
"
˚ Clips & Winds twine in Sail loft
William Collins
"
"
 
 
 
Richd Dale
"
"
 
□Littleton Cone
"
"
□Bringing Coal, Water , putting out firs & shutting doors in Smiths department
+Jesse Arrington
"
"
+ Brings Water, Cleans shop in ship Joiners department
Wilson Bailey
"
"
 
̎ Thos Pettet
"
"
 
Benson Nelson
"
"
 
 
 
Robt Baines
IM 12
1.00
Laborer (White)
 
Saml Richardson
"
"
*These men preform the various laboring duties of the Yard, but have no specific duties assigned them, except as detailed to them in gangs, from day to day, by the officer of the Yard. -
Levy Melson
"
"
 
John Nottingham
"
"
 
Richd Burter
"
"
 
William Creekmore
"
"
 
Willis Gwinn
"
"
 
John King
"
"
 
James Brittain
"
"
 
Albert Henley
"
"
 
Mitchel Noel
"
"
 
John Flemming
"
"
 
Saml Ives
"
"
 
Batson Holmes
"
"
 
William Cooke
"
"
 
Patrick Cobman
"
"
 
George Davidson
"
"
 
Henry Waterman
"
"
 
John Howard
"
"
 
John Peterson
"
"
 
Thos Wrenn
"
"
 
John Lengo
"
"
 
Saml Eastwood
"
"
 
Elias Bullock
"
"
 
William Carey
"
"
 
William Bullock
"
"
 
William Wood
"
"
 
Willaim Greene
"
"
 
Jos Geofrey
"
"
 
John Montage
"
"
 
William Matthews
"
"
 
Chicestor Walker
"
"
 
Henry Jones
IM 13
1.00
Laborer (White)
 
Benj Parnell
"
"
 
William Anderson
"
"
 
William Pebworth
"
"
 
Anas Browne
"
"
 
John Henley
"
"
 
John Parker
"
"
 
John Powell
"
"
 
Jas Foster
"
"
 
John Gallop
"
"
 
Jos Hayden
"
"
 
John Flemming
"
"
 
Henry Reed
"
"
 
John Robbins
"
"
 
Harrison Bland
"
"
 
William Ward
"
"
 
Thos Randolph
"
"
 
James Hayes
"
"
 
Thomas Buckhannon 
"
"
 
John Jarvis
"
"
 
William Howard
"
"
 
Babel Kellum
"
"
 
Jos Fowler
"
"
 
William Diggs
"
"
 
Saml Ballentine
"
"
 
Bartlett Powers
"
"
 
James Broughton
"
"
 
Edward True
"
"
 
John Ashbury
"
"
 
William Gimes
"
"
 
William Foutress
"
"
 
Saml Maulbone
"
"
 
Lewis Hall
IM 14
"
"
 
George Y. Webb
Pay per day
$2.62 1/2
Engineer (Civil)
Attend at & has charge of Irrigation Superintends excavation , & Coffer dam &c &c  
James Mayo
  2.00
"
Employed at Steam Engine dry dock
Josiah Stephens  
  1.75
"
do
William Young
1.75
"
do
John Cherry
  1.50
"
do
John Walker
1.50
"
do
William Stephens
1.50
"
do
 
 
Edward Lee
1.12 ½
Capt. of Watch
 
Vincent Walker
"
"
 
John Morrissett
"
"
 
Edward Whitehurst
1.00
Watchman
These men are divided into watches and a Captain of Watch the head of each, and stationed over the Yard in protection.
William Reed
"
"
 
John Stubblin
"
"
 
Jas Chamberlain
"
"
 
John Roane
"
"
 
William Moore
"
"
 
Turner Wallan
"
"
 
Joseph Hozier
"
"
 
Richard Drake
"
"
 
Thos Stokes
"
"
 
Robt Austin
"
"
 
Overton Matthews
"
"
 
Charles Martins
"
"
 
Richd  Montague
"
"
 
Lhem Loomis
"
"
 
Jos Robert
"
"
 
Isiah Nichols
"
"
 
Henry Hall
"
"
 
Robert Barnard
IM 14-A
1.00
Watchman
 
Isaac Anderson
"
"
 
Sherman Matthews
"
"
 
 
 
Dempsey Camel
IM 15
75 ¢
Blk. Laborer
Driving & Attending Team
Jerry Wilson
"
ditto
Dick Langley
"
do
Dick Langley
"
"
do
Argyle White
"
"
do
Isaac Browne
"
"
do
Ned Freeman
"
"
do
America Nash
"
"
Scavenger, employed Cleaning Yard 
James Murdaugh
"
"
Runner in Commodore Off. Making fires
Dick Murdaugh
"
"
do  - in Pursers & Clk. of the Yard Off
Lewis Gordon
"
"
Carries Water for & cleans Mast shed
Glascon Collins
"
"
Turns Wheel & Blows Bellows “Armourers”
George King
"
"
Makes Putty & cooks oils “Painter’
David Brown 
"
"
Recg & delivering articles  N. Store
Miles Pickson
"
"
Opens & shuts doors “Timber Sheds”
Jack Cooper
"
"
Scavenger employed Cleaning Yard
Ned Young
"
"
Scavenger employed Cleaning Yard
Jim Cooke
"
"
Recg & delg articles for “Navy Store”
Jim Hudson
"
"
Carries Water  Gunner loft
William Howard
"
"
"
William Johnson
"
"
Scavenger Employed Cleaning Yard 
Adam Wilson
"
"
Carries Water & Cleans for G. Carriage Shop
Philipp Cruze
"
"
Recg & delg  for “Navy Store”
Jack Browne
"
"
Turns Wheel & blows Bellows “Armorer "
Henry Carson
"
"
Scavenger Employed Cleaning the Yard
Jim Harper
"
"
Attends and passes bails in “Rigging Loft”̎
Jerry Hudgens
"
"
Mixing mortar & carrying it to masons also the bricklayers etc.
Lewis Web
"
"
Mixing mortar & carrying it to masons also the bricklayers etc.
James Ivory
"
"
Mixing mortar & carrying it to masons also the bricklayers etc.
Peter Hinton
"
"
Mixing mortar & carrying it to masons also the bricklayers etc.


The Following is a Quarterly list of the “Writers” employed
in the U.S. Navy Yard Gosport, ending on the 31st of December 1845

IM-16

Names
DailyPay
How Employed
J.L. Manning
$1.55
Assisting the Clerk of the Yard in making out the Muster books and Rolls – Some Monthly Summaries of the Pay Roll, to the different Bureaus & doing the duties of the Office generally should the Clerk of the Yard be sick or absent -
* Chester H. Forbes
$1.75
* In the Store Keeper Office, Assisting the 1st Clerk in making of the Monthly Returns to the different Bureaus a quarterly return also; and in keeping the Books, from which it is necessary to make these returns.
*Willis Cooper
1.50
 
*Henry Howard
1.50  
 
Wm. Richardson
$1.50
In the Store Keeper office – Assisting the 2nd Clerk in attending to the reception and delivery  of all articles for the Ships Store or materials for manufacture into the Yard, and when so received, to keep them in their proper order, & to render a correct account to the Store Keeper of the receipt & delivery -
Tapley Porttock
$1.70
In the Riggers department  –  Makes returns & reports of the daily detail of the labor to the Commandant, 1st Lieutenant  of the Yard, also a consolidated report of the labor to the Clerk of the Yard, under the various heads of appropriations, keeping the time of the Riggers &c
Matthew Manning
$1.50
In the Pursers Officer assisting in preparing the Pay Rolls of the Mechanics & Laborers &c &c

 


Purser Samuel Forrest USN paid all shipyard civilian in coin. The first image is an 1844 one half cent coin. The per diem day rate
for some employees such as David Edwards, wheelwright, was $1.62 1/2 per day and apprentice boat builders William Salem
and William Herbert were paid .87 1/2 cents per day. In 1846 pay was computed to the half cent which meant that Samuel Forrest
needed a supply of small coins. The second image is an 1836 dollar. In 1846 $1.00 per day was the standard pay rate for most
white laborers. All employees were paid in coin. There were state and local bank notes, but in 1846 shipyard employees
preferred coin and were distrustful of paper currency.

Endnotes:

Names, ranks, dates of naval and marine officers, listed below are unless otherwise specified, from Naval History and Heritage Command Officers Continental and US Navy and Marine Corps 1775 -1900 https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/o/officers-continental-usnavy-mc-1775-1900.html

1 The Bureau of Yard and Docks was created by Congress and was one of five Bureaus’ to replace the old Board of Naval Commissioners. This Congressional Act created five new reporting requirements for Gosport

2 Wilkinson to Bancroft  2 January 1846,  NARA M125 “Captains Letters” Letter Received from Captains 1805 -1885, 1 Nov 1845 – 31 Dec 1845, dated 6 Dec 1845, letter number 6

3 Richmond Enquirer 27 May 1846, 2

4 Warrington to Paulding 21 June 1839 NARA M125 “Captains Letters” 1 June 1839 -30 June 1839, letter number 77 http://www.usgwarchives.net/va/portsmouth/shipyard/nnysharp6.html

5 Wilkinson to Bancroft 6 December 1845 NARA M125 “Captains Letters” Letter Received from Captains 1805 -1885, 1 Nov 1845 – 31 Dec 1845, dated 6 Dec 1845, letter number 84, 1-2

6 George Teamoth, God Made Man Man Made the Slave The Autobiography of George Teamoh editors F.N. Boney, Richard L. Hume and Rafia Zafar (Mercer University Press: Macon 1990), 83

7 Robert  S. Starobin, Industrial Slavery in the Old South, (Oxford University press: New York 1972), 32

8 For “useful check” of enslaved labor on white employees see Thomas Johnson, David Stuart, and Daniel Carroll, Commissioners to Thomas Jefferson Jan. 5, 1793 District of Columbia Commissioners Letter book Vol. I, 1791--1793, NARA RG 351 and the effect of the practice on WNY see Linda M. Maloney, The Captain from Connecticut: The Life and Naval Times of Isaac Hull (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1986), 421-422 and Bob Arnebeck, Through a Fiery Trial Building Washington 1790-1800 (New York: Madison Books:, 1991), 597-598.

9 In 1840 President Martin Van Buren, by Executive Order changed work hours in federal naval ship yards from 12 to 10 per day. The order as implemented stated "By Direction of the President of the United States all public establishments will hereafter be regulated as to working hours by the "ten hour System". The hours for labor in this Yard will therefore be as follows viz: From the 1st day of April to the 30th day of September inclusive from 6 o'clock a.m. to 6 o'clock p.m. -- during this period the workmen will breakfast before going to work for which purpose the bell will be rung and the first muster held at 7 o'clock -- at 12 o'clock noon the bell will be rung and then home from 12 to 1 o'clock p.m. allowed for dinner from which to 6 o'clock p.m. will constitute the last half of the day.From the 1st day of October to the 31st day of March the working hours will be from the rising to the setting of the Sun -- the Bell will then be rung at one hour after Sunrise that hour being allowed for breakfast -- at 12 o'clock noon the bell will again be rung and one hour allowed for dinner from which time say 1 o'clock till sundown will constitute the last half of the day. No quarters of days will be allowed." General Orders for the Regulation of the Navy Yards.

10 Victor Zamowitz Business Cycles: Theory, History, Indicators, and Forecasting. (University of Chicago Pres: Chicago,1996), 222

11 Richmond Enquirer 27 May 1846, 2

12 Gordon S Wood, The Purpose of the Past Reflections on The Uses of History Penguin Press New York 2008.p 11

13 The Bureau of Yards and Docks was the branch of the United States Navy responsible from 1842 to 1966 for building and maintaining navy yards, dry-docks, and other facilities relating to ship construction, maintenance, and repair. The Bureau was established on August 31, 1842 by an act of Congress (5 Stat. 579), as one of the five bureaus replacing the Board of Naval Commissioners established in 1815. Originally established as the Bureau of Naval Yards and Docks, the branch was renamed the Bureau of Yards and Docks in 1862. The Bureau was abolished effective in 1966 as part of the Department of Defense's reorganization of its material establishment, being replaced by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC).  Commodore Lewis Warrington was the first Chief of the Bureau 1842 -1846.

14 Commodore Jesse Wilkinson USN entered the navy as a Midshipman, 4 July, 1805. He was promoted to Lieutenant, 10 April, 1810, Master Commandant, 18 April, 1818 and Captain, 11 March, 1829. Wilkinson was in command of Gosport Navy Yard from 1843 -1847. He entered the reserved list, on 13 September, 1855. Commodore Wilkinson died 23 March, 1861 and was buried in Norfolk Virginia

15 Admiral David G. Farragut USN. Appointed   Midshipman, 17 December, 1810. Lieutenant, 13 January, 1825. Commander, 8 September, 1841. Captain, 14 September, 1855. Rear Admiral, 16 July, 1862. Vice Admiral, 31 December, 1864. Admiral, 26 July, 1866. The Admiral died 14 August, 1870.

16 John A. Davis, Midshipman, 4 March, 1823. Passed  Midshipman, 23 March, 1829. Lieutenant, 27 February, 1833. Died in Washington City, 14 January, 1854

17 Alexander M. Pennock   Midshipman, 1 April, 1828. Passed Midshipman, 14 June, 1834. Lieutenant, 25 February, 1841. Commander, 15 December, 1855. Captain, 2 January, 1863. Commodore, 6 May, 1868. Rear Admiral, 19 July, 1872.  He died 20   September, 1876.

18 James Cornick, Surgeon's Mate, 28 March, 1820, Surgeon, and 5 March, 1825. Cornick retired 18 June, 1861. He resigned 3 August, 1861. Wilkerson had a rocky relationship with Cornick and complained about him to Secretary Bancroft that the surgeon was often away from work “inconsequence of the fear manifested by him of the unhealthiness of the Yard and leaving his family in Norfolk.” Wilkerson to Bancroft dated 1 December 1845 “Captains Letters” M125 letter number 66.

19 Samuel Forrest, Purser USN, appointed 8 October, 1836. Forrest died 15 March, 1860  his address in Norfolk Va. was 15 was Southgate, Row E Freemason

20 Benjamin W. Palmer was a clerk in Purser's office, of Gosport Navy Yard. Palmer was  a fortunate man for he came down with yellow fever during the great 1855 epidemic which killed off 3000 people, nearly a third of Norfolk’s population. Palmer was erroneously reported dead in the local papers. The story of his death though was later revised as: “sick 8-18, not dead 8-25, 8-31.”  See, Yellow Fever in Norfolk and Portsmouth , Virginia, 1855, as reported in the Daily Dispatch Richmond, Virginia Donna Bluemink,  editor /transcriber,
http://www.usgwarchives.net/va/yellow-fever//yfinindex.html#generalindex retrieved 14 March 2019

21 Henry A. F. Young, Sailing Master, 16 May, 1829, entered reserved list, 14 September, 1855. Resigned 15 May, 1861

22 John Freeman Master, 11 May, 1839. Resigned 26 August, 1846

23 George Marshall Gunner, 15 July, 1809. Master, 19 February, 1841.  He resigned 26 August, 1846. Gunner from 15 July, 1809, to 7 December, 1846. He died 2 August, 1855.

24 Henry P. Leslie, Carpenter, 15 October, 1833. He entered the retired List, 12 February, 1876 and died 20 May, 1887.

25 Eliezer Foster Boatswain, 4 August, 1841. Dismissed  26 January, 1849.

26 Samuel G. City Gunner, 15 September, 1835. Died 5 September, 1860

27 John Alexander, First Assistant Engineer, 4 March, 1842.  Alexander was disrated to Second Assistant Engineer, 28 July, 1845. First Assistant Engineer, 26 February, 1851. Alexander died 26 January, 1863

28 John Rudd Midshipman, 30 November, 1814. Lieutenant, 13 January, 1825. Commander, 8 September, 1841. Captain, 14 September, 1855.  He entered the retired list, 21 December, 1861. Commodore, Retired List, 16 July, 1862. He died 12 October, 1867.

29 George W. Latham, Chaplain USN 14 April, 1845, died 22 January, 1847.

30 For Naval Store Keeper, Merit Jordan, see: 1842 Reports of the Commissioner appointed to make an investigation at the Gosport Navy Yard, &c. “The last allegation that of incompetency, was not sustained by the evidence. On the contrary, Commodores Warrington and Shubrick, under whose immediate command Mr. Jordan has acted ever since his appointment, certify to his fidelity, capacity, and attention to duty; and the master workmen, who had been referred to prove his incompetency, either speak favorably of Mr. Jordan, or know nothing to his prejudice in this particular.”  

http://www.usgwarchives.net/va/portsmouth/shipyard/nnypuba1.html retrieved 19 March 2019

31 John Hobday Master Painter see: 1842 Reports of the Commissioner appointed to make an investigation at the Gosport Navy Yard, &c. http://www.usgwarchives.net/va/portsmouth/shipyard/nnypuba1.html retrieved 19 March 2019  “Mr. Hobday had requested a postponement, in the first instance, on the plea that he wanted time to obtain some documents essential to his defence, and it was granted. Only two witnesses appeared, and they were both in the public service. One testified that he had never paid to Mr. Hobday any portion of his wages, and the other that he was still an apprentice, and did not draw his own wages. Mr. Wills Cowper, of Portsmouth, did not appear. In an interview subsequently held with him in his own store, I understood that his testimony would not have tended to criminate Mr. Hobday of any official misconduct. He consequently had declined attending. Mr. J. M. Miles, of Portsmouth, appeared, in compliance with the summons, and made representations of Mr. Hobday's treatment towards him while he was employed in the yard, accused him of prejudice, partiality, and favoritism, as well as of incompetency for the duties of his station. As Mr. Miles appeared to know nothing, of his own knowledge, of the specific complaints alleged against Mr. Hobday, and as his professional competency was not a subject of inquiry, Mr. Miles's testimony was not taken. Mr. Miles requested that Mr. J. D. Cooper, of the painter's department, might be summoned and examined, and he was accordingly sent for. Mr. Hobday objected to Mr. Cooper's competency as a witness, on the ground that he had been recommended as his successor, and was therefore an interested witness. Upon advisement, Mr. Hobday consented that Mr. Cooper should be examined; he was then interrogated, and it appeared that all he knew was derived from the information of others, corroborated by concurrent circumstances, but that he knew nothing of his own knowledge, or from Mr. Hobday's admissions, concerning the alleged complaints. Of the three remaining witnesses, Powers did not appear at all on any occasion; Perry and Hutchinson attended, on a previous day, by invitation, and stated informally what they knew, but they did not attend on the day of examination, although they promised to do so. In connection with these investigations, I take leave respectfully to state that it was intimated to me that some of the workmen would not willingly testify, being apprehensive that, if they stated anything to the prejudice of the master workmen, it would draw down upon them their displeasure, which would render their situations uncomfortable, and finally lead to their discharge from the yard upon the first plausible pretext. Whenever I found the least reluctance of this kind, I took upon myself the responsibility of assuring to the persons the protection of the Department from any injurious consequences to themselves, resulting, or apprehended to result, from their testimony. I think it my duty to make known to the Department the assurance thus given by me, to afford it the opportunity to adopt precautionary measures, should it seem advisable.”

32 A  “tinner” more commonly a  tinsmith, also known as a whitesmith, tinker, tinman, or tinplate worker is a person who makes and repairs things made of tin or other light metals.. At the navy yard the tinsmith worked on ship stoves the “cambose” and related piping. Unlike blacksmiths (who work with hot metals), tinsmiths did the majority of their work on cold metal (although they might use a hearth to heat and help shape their raw materials). Tinsmiths also fabricate items such as water pitchers, forks, spoons, and candle holders.

33 USS Potomacwas a frigate laid down by the Washington Navy Yard in August 1819 and launched in March 1822. Fitting out for the Potomac was not completed until 1831 In 1846 she was in Gosport Navy Yard for overhaul and repairs, and l
ater played a significant part in the Mexican - American War.

 

* * * * * *

John G. “Jack” Sharp resides in Concord, California. He worked for the United States Navy for thirty years as a civilian personnel officer. Among his many assignments were positions in Berlin, Germany, where in 1989 he was in East Berlin, the day the infamous wall was opened. He later served as Human Resources Officer, South West Asia (Bahrain). He returned to the United States in 2001 and was on duty at the Naval District of Washington on 9/11. He has a lifelong interest in history and has written extensively on the Washington, Norfolk, and Pensacola Navy Yards, labor history and the history of African Americans. His previous books include African Americans in Slavery and Freedom on the Washington Navy Yard 1799 -1865, Morgan Hannah Press 2011. History of the Washington Navy Yard Civilian Workforce 1799-1962,  2004. 
https://www.history.navy.mil/content/dam/nhhc/browse-by-topic/heritage/washington-navy-yard/pdfs/WNY_History.pdf
and the first complete transcription of the Diary of Michael Shiner Relating to the History of the Washington Navy Yard 1813-1869, 2007/2015 online:
https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/d/diary-of-michael-shiner.html
 
His most recent work  includes Register of Patients at Naval Hospital Washington DC 1814 With The Names of American Wounded From The Battle of Bladensburg 2018,
https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/r/register-patients-naval-hospital-washington-dc-1814.html
The last three works were all published by the Naval History and Heritage Command. John served on active duty in the United States Navy, including Viet Nam service. He received his BA and MA in History from San Francisco State University. He can be reached at sharpjg@yahoo.com

 

* * * * * *

Norfolk Navy Yard Table of Contents

Birth of the Gosport Yard & into the 19th Century

 Battle of the Hampton Roads Ironclads

The Norfolk Navy Yard into the 20th Century

Image Index