[1867-1887]. Manuscript journal. Square 4to. 353 pp. of entries in a legible hand, approx. 65,000 words, plus an additional 80 pp. of notes, lists of officers and ships, and tables of ships coordinates. Contemporary calf backed cloth, chipping and wear to spine and edges, all page edges marbled. Bartlett's ink name and other notes on spine. Laid in are three silver albumen prints depicting Bartlett at various points in his career, a letter from the Secretary of the State in Schuylkill, America's oldest gentleman's club, as well as handwritten copies of correspondence between Willard Bartlett and W.C. Whitney, and three small broadsides of General Orders, likely printed aboard ship. A small oval photo of the U.S.S. Sacramento in March 1867 is laid down on the ms. title page. Three small hand-colored illustrations of of natives from sketches by M. Hypolite Silvaf are laid in or laid down in the text.
Bartlett used this journal over the course of two decades, during tours of duty as a U.S. Marine aboard the USS Sacramento from Cape Town to Ceylon, Pondicherry, Madras, etc. in 1867; aboard the US Flag Ship Contoocook bound for Havana from 1868-69; on the US Flag Ship Hartford on the Asiatic Station in China and Japan from 1872-75; and on the USS Trenton in China, Japan and Korea, 1883-86. He records in some detail life aboard ship and at the various ports he visited. During his time on the Asiatic Station he also acted as a Judge Advocate at on board court martials. Following the Civil War, the U.S. Navy, along with the Marine Corps was expanding its influence and its reach around the globe. Of particular note is Bartlett's tour with the USS Trenton just as the first US diplomats were making inroads in Korea. Item #64248
Henry Bartlett was born in Rhode Island, son of John Russell Bartlett, an ethnologist and well known author of "The Dictionary of Americanisms," published in 1848, who also served for many years as Rhode Island's Secretary of State. Henry Bartlett saw service in the Civil War, commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1861. He was put in command of the Marine Guard aboard the iron-clad "New Ironsides," involved in actions in Charleston Harbor and later was part of the expedition to capture St. Augustine.
By 1867, when this journal commences, he was aboard the USS Sacramento bound for India. In short, near daily entries (later less frequent), Bartlett records the weather, ports visited, interactions with other international ships in the harbors, etc. He mentions encountering a French Corvette bound for New Caledonia, with 200 convicts aboard, including twelve women. He notes the presence of two American whalers, and an outbreak of yellow fever at Mauritius. In Ceylon, he mentions meeting the American Consul, going hunting and sightseeing, and dining well on several kinds of curry. The account ends somewhat abruptly when the ship runs aground. [Apparently while sailing en route from Madras to Calcutta, the Sacramento was stranded on an uncharted shoal. Makeshift rafts were constructed, and Bartlett boarded the last of these to leave the ship. Bartlett's raft suffered the misfortune of drifting miles away from the wreck, and for two days the small craft with it's 29 passengers was hopelessly lost at sea until rescued by the steamer Madras.]
Bartlett resumes his record in September 1868 with his new post aboard the US Flag Ship Contoocook, bound for Havana. Anchored in the harbor there by mid-November, Bartlett observes: “Havana is a strange looking place, a great number of old tumble down forts at the entrance to the harbor, mounting any number of guns. We found two large Spanish vessels in port, & one English Man-of-War the “Jason.” The Governor General Lersundi still holds out for the Queen. He had sixteen thousand troops in the city of Havana for which reason this place is very quiet- the island is much excited. We hear of fighting near us.” In January he mentions that Captain General Dulce has little or no control over the Volunteers. "A force of Marines from the vessels lying here went on shore during the afternoon to try and keep quiet in the City. Cohner an American citizen was shot Sunday night while walking near his house.” By June 1869 the Captain General Dulce had been driven from office and the city was under the control of an armed mob. Yellow fever and cholera were also constant threats to the health of locals and sailors. Despite the turmoil Bartlett managed to see a bull fight, buy cigars, and tour the sugar estate of the Arriettas known as "Flor de Cuba."
The journal recommences in September 1872, with Bartlett's next post aboard the US Flag Ship Hartford bound for Hong Kong, China, and Japan. By spring they were moving from port to port in the Far East, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chin Kiang, and Canton. Bartlett describes visiting some of the local sights in Canton, the Temple of Longevity, Flowery Pagoda, the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha, etc. and dining on Birds Nest Soup, shark fins, and seaweed stew. He also mentions that a great crowd of American missionaries came on board to visit the ship while it was in port in Canton. In early 1874, the Hartford was in Yokohama. He and some of his shipmates toured Osaka and Nagasaki. In August he records what he was told was the most severe typhoon ever to hit Nagasaki, with nearly every building in the city suffering some damage. In early 1875, he visited the Chinese Arsenal in Canton where he watched them making Remington and Spencer rifles "on a mammoth scale," 8 foot rifles requiring three men to fire them, plus the manufacture of gatling guns and torpedos. While aboard the Hartford Bartlett received an appointment as a Judge Advocate and was often called upon to be one of the judges for the General Courts Martial which took place on board. The Hartford was ordered home in mid-1875. The ship stopped at Tripoli in August on its return trip, and the Consul came on board complaining of his ill treatment by a group of Egyptian sailors and demanding help. Bartlett says: “I think the whole matter will be quietly settled in a few days. Our Consul is a Frenchman from New Orleans, a quick fiery fellow and no doubt much to blame for the course he has pursued. He got himself in trouble only a year ago and stands in very bad order with the Egyptian Government.” Bartlett returned to the United States, married in November 1875, and took a stateside post in Washington, DC for a time. His wife Edith died in June 1877.
By 1883, he takes up his journal again to record a final overseas posting, this time aboard the USS Trenton. Bartlett records the ship's itinerary from Naples to Rome, through the Suez Canal, and on to Bombay, Formosa, and Nagasaki. In June 1884, the USS Trenton is in port in Seoul, Korea. The ship provided an escort for the US minister General Foote to visit Seoul at the invitation of the King of Korea. Although Bartlett was not a member of the escort detail, he did do some sightseeing around the city. He toured the grounds of the New Palace which had been partially destroyed by fire seven years before, and where the local population felt superstitious about living. Bartlett also continued his service as a Judge Advocate though in at least one case, he was asked by a sailor to defend him in front of the courts martial. Laid in is the small broadside printing of the General Court-Martial Order No. 11, dated Yokohama, Japan, July 29, 1884, convicting Passed Asst. Paymaster James A. Ring of drunkenness. The sentence of the court found Ring suspended from rank and duty for two years, but allowed to retain his present number on the list of Passed Assistant Paymasters during that time. Evidently Bartlett did a good job defending Ring. The printed broadside notes "[t]he sentence is deemed by the Revising Authority as altogether inadequate to the offence, but is approved in order that the offender may not entirely escape punishment." Bartlett records in his private journal that Ring was very grateful to him and presented him with a "very handsome present' as payment, a Heizen Teapot, cup and saucer.
The USS Trenton was again called back to Seoul in December 1884. Both the Chinese and the Japanese were contending for influence in Korea. Early in December word had arrived of an insurrection in Seoul, with a number of the Japanese backed Korean Cabinet killed by anti-government Chinese troops. The US minister General [Lucius] Foote sent word that he needed protection and assistance and the USS Trenton was dispatched to his aid. Arriving in Chemul'po on Dec. 18, two officers and a detachment of ten men left the ship, armed with 2000 rounds of cartridges and six days of rations to act as a guard for the US Consulate and escort Gen. and Mrs. Foote to safety. Rumors about the fate of some of the Korean government officials were abundant- Min Yong Ik was brutally attacked and there appeared to have been a slaughter of all Japanese found in the city. U.S.Naval Attache George Faulk was away in Fusan, but the sailors successfully got the General and his wife aboard ship. Tensions in the region continued for most of the rest of the USS Trenton's time on the Asia Station. The ship sailed for home in June 1886, arriving back in the United States in September. Bartlett continued to serve in the Marine Corps, taking a post at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in April 1887 in command of the Marine Corps Barracks there. He retired in 1898. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Bartlett also compiled some 80pp. of notes and lists at the back of the journal, including names of Americans he knew or met in Shanghai, China, Japan, and Hong Kong, lists of the "open parts" of Japan and China, lists of officers aboard the Hartford, the Contoocook, the Sacramento, plus the occasional recipe for curry or milk punch.