Thursday, July 5, 2018

Navy Muster Rolls via Fold3

Fold3 Image - 624396008

From The National Archives, Miscellaneous Records of the Navy Department courtesy of Fold3, "Muster Roll / U. S. S. United States / 1823-1844" page 95 with the name of Herman Melville: #572, enlisted as O. S. = Ordinary Seaman for "3 years or Cruize."

As shown here, Melville entered the service at Oahu with Griffith Williams #573 on August 17, 1843. The next name immediately below Griffith Williams is that of William H. Carter who joined October 7th at "Nookahiva." Did Melville even dream of eloping, again, at the Marquesas?

Flipping back a few pages brings us to #513, none other than the "matchless Jack Chase" of Melville's White-Jacket, enlisted here as
"John J. Chase   Capt. Top."
Fold3 Image - John J. Chase

The name "John Chase" first appears on the Muster Roll of the United States in 1809, enlisted April 11th as Ordinary Seaman at the Washington Navy Yard.
First and foremost was Jack Chase, our noble First Captain of the Top. He was a Briton, and a true-blue; tall and well-knit, with a clear open eye, a fine broad brow, and an abounding nut-brown beard. No man ever had a better heart or a bolder. He was loved by the seamen and admired by the officers; and even when the Captain spoke to him, it was with a slight air of respect. Jack was a frank and charming man.  --White-Jacket; Or, The World in a Man-of-War

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