Report on State of & Activities At Portmouth Navy Yard

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CollectionPeabody Essex Museum: Josiah Fox Papers view image
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Document Information
Date June 9, 1795
Author Name Josiah Fox (primary) Location: Portsmouth
Recipient Name Timothy Pickering (primary)
Summary Letter, discusses arrival at Portsmouth Naval Yard; describes declivity of keel; discusses employees and arrangement of yard. Encloses account of work done in the yard to 1st of June 1795.
Document Format Letterbook Copy
Document Notes Cited in Humphreys to Pickering, 06/22/1795, and Pickering to Fox, 06/23/1795, and War Department to Fox 06/23/1795.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Josiah Fox; Negroes; African Americans;
Related Places Portsmouth; ;
Keywords keel; fore; midships; river; block; mud; timber; clerk; molds; steward; meals; bell; scarphs; scarfs; rabbit; letter of introduction; yard; wind; weather; futtocks; sternpost; transom; joiner; ;
Key Phrases lower part of the keel at the fore end rises 6 feet & half above the ground; ground form the midships of the keel forward is a dead level; direction of the keel as it now stands reaches nearly 1/2 way across the river before it strikes the surface of the water which is something more than the ship's length from the after block; she would have to run over soft mud; submit the impropriety of so much blocking forward as will be required if the keel should be lifted to the declivity directed; lowering the after part of the keel will be more eligible; great part of the blocks to be new laid & some of the ground removed; timber that has arrived is of the first quality; no account has been taken by the clerk of the contents of the pieces; when they landed we are under the necessity of being guided by the invoices for those timbers already sided; entered several additional hands; most of those already employed are negroes very few of whom can work the timber to the moulds; enclosed is a list of what had been done before my arrival; little progress has been made; depend on my exertions to keep pace with the other yards; remedied by appropriating a small place for his office at one end of the store house; recommend to have a steward under the clerk to take care of the provision of the men & serve out their meals; occupies a great portion of the clerk's time; when more men are employed, the clerk's attention will be entirely taken up in serving out the provisions; want of a bell to call the men to & from their meals; found the vessel laid on the blocks the scarphs bolted & rabbit partly trimmed out; require some alteration as the declivity by no means agree with Mr. Humphreys directions; delivered my letter of introduction; appeared ready to afford every assistance necessary for conducting the business; yard is well situated for the purpose of building vessels of war; extensiveness of the enclosure renders it convenient for laying timbers to advantage for work; clerk's office being some distance from the yard; frequently attended with great inconvenience; exertions for the public service will be such as to merit your approbation; immediately on my arrival I waited on Mr. Pennock; instructions requiring me to represent to you the state of the yard at my arrival have taken the first leasurable hour of complying therewith; unarranged state the yard was in at my arrival made me anxious to sett every thing in a regular train as soon as possible; expected to have been here at least a week sooner but was so unfortunate as to be detained some days at Boston by contrary wind & unfavorable weather; acct. of work done in the yard; keel trimmed, scarphed, bolted & blocked; floor timbers laid; futtocks; top timbers; none of which are moulded; pieces of keels on square to 18 inches; upper fashion pieces laid; deck; transoms sided; white men great parts of whom are shipwrights; joiner; blacks; sternpost trimmed; inner post on & fastened; wing transom trimmed & bolted to the post; upper fashion pieces trimmed; futtocks & top timber sided;
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