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Intructions from Mathew C. Perry to William J.W. Clancy regarding his voyage on the Powhattan to China. Perry directs Clancy to stop in Madeira to refuel and then again at the Cape of Good Hope, and again at Mauritius or Isle of France. Perry also discusses other details of the voyage. November 23, 1852. Norfolk, Virginia, abourd the U.S Mississippi.


[recto] [pencil annotation: “Dated the day before he sailed for his expedition to Japan”] U.S. Steam Frigate Mississippi Norfolk Virginia November 23d 1852 Sir When the US SteamFrigate Powhattan to the command of which You have been assigned is ready for Sea, and You have authority for sailing from the Secretary of the Navy, You will proceed with her with all despatch to Madeira and there replenish Your coal, and spending as little time as possible at that Port, Sail from thence for the Cape of Good Hope there again to replenish your coal, sailing thence with all expedition You will proceed to Mauritius or Isle of France, and again filling up your coal at Mauritius proceed to Macau-China, where you will find further instructions from me. I shall sail tomorrow in this ship with the intention of pursuing precisely the same track designated to you and will come to be held in readiness at the abovenamed Ports provisions of Coal etc so that You will meet with little delay. It is possible that you may reach the Cape of Good Hope before the MIssissippi, as the Powhattan is [addressee:] Captain Wm J W Clancy Appointed to Command US SteamFrigate Powhattan [verso] the fastest Steamer of the two; Should such be the case You will await my arrival there, employing the time in preparing You ship for sailing and having coal and water ready for the MIssissippi on her arrival. It is not unlikely that You will again be compelled to take in a supply of coal at some intermediate place between Mauritius and Macau. It is therefore left to your discretion to stop at such Port as you may deem most desirable having in view the greatest chance of obtaining the quantity desired, and selecting one of those resorted to by the English Steamers. Probably Singapore is to be preferred._ On leaving Madeira, it will be well in view of saving coal to remove the immersed floats of the Powhattan and run the Trades down under canvass resuming steam to carry the vessel across the Equatorial Latitudes, and again resorting to canvass in the South East Trades; but upon this point much must be left to Your own judgement and discretion. You are probably aware that Coal vessels have been despatched from New York to the Cape of Good Hope and Mauritius, to meet the outward bound Steamers of my command, and you will receive your supplies from those vessells or from a Stock left on shore. Before leaving the United States You [recto 2] will transmit to the Navy Department full muster Rolls with separate lists of the offices attached to your ship. Wishing you an agreeable and prosperous passage to China I am Sir Most Respectfully Your obedient Servant [signed] M.C. Perry Com East India Squadron

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United States

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U.S. Steam Frigate Mississippi, Norfolk, Virginia, 23 November 1852, 1852, Matthew C. Perry, Powhattan, voyage, China, Com East India Squadron, Navy department, William J.W. Clancy

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Date Digital

April 2014

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Military History | United States History


Wofford College

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800ppi 24-bit depth color; Scanned with an Epson 15000 Photo scanner with Epson Scan software; Archival master is a TIFF; TIFFs converted to PDF with Adobe Acrobat XI Pro.


The original from which this digital representation is taken is housed in The Littlejohn Collection at Wofford College, located in the Sandor Teszler Library.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Letter from Matthew C. Perry, in Norfolk, Virginia aboard the U.S. Steam Frigate Mississippi, to William J.W. Clancy, commanding U.S. Steam Frigate Powhattan, directing him on the route by which he shall sail to Macau (China). November 23, 1852.

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