The Photographic History of the Civil War

Taken from: The Photographic History of the Civil War-Volume  6 – 1911 George Bancroft-Founder of the Naval Academy
by Francis Trevelyan Miller and Robert S Lanier

George Bancroft-Founder of the Naval Academy

Already notable as a historian in 1845, Bancroft signalised his entrance into President Polk’s cabinet as Secretary of the Navy, by founding the naval school, later the Academy at Annapolis.


Here is a sight the like of which never will be seen again—the U. S. sloop-of-war “Portsmouth” at anchor and drying out her sails.  An honorable record did this old corvette leave behind her.  Of the type of vessel that had fought in the War of 1812, she had gone through the Mexican War, and hail chased and captured many a slaver.  But a year or so ago, she was still afloat as the training-ship of the New Jersey state militia.  The Sloop-of-War “Portsmouth”She has every sail up except her head-sails and studding sails.  As can be seen at a glance, she was a very lofty craft, and though clewed up, she has her sky-sails, her royals, her topgallant-sails, her topsails, set on every mast. “Excellent, whether sailing, steering, working, scudding, lying to, or riding at anchor in a seaway, she sometimes got her sternboard in stays.”   With this single exception, reported Commander Armstrong, “she possesses the finest qualities of any ship I ever sailed in; rolls as easy as a cradle, and stands up under her canvas like a church.”  Lying under her stern is the captain’s gig: her other boats seem to have been called away; probably one of the watches has gone ashore.

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