CHARLES LACEY PAPERS

SCOPE NOTE: The Charles Lacey Papers consist of seven letters dated between 1809 and 1814 received by Charles Lacey, an American naval officer during the War of 1812. Lacey's cash book dating to 1809-1810, which he used as a midshipman on board the U.S.S. "John Adams," is also preserved in this collection. Although they comprise but eight folders, the Charles Lacey Papers document some interesting incidents during the War of 1812, especially its naval aspects. The correspondence in the Lacey Papers contains numerous references to prominent American naval officers who served during the War of 1812. For example, one letter written in January 1814 describes the reception received by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819) in New York City. That same letter mentions the arrival of Commodore Isaac Chauncey (1772-1840) in that city. News of the exploits of David Porter (1780-1843) and other sailors are reported to Lacey. Ample references to naval actions involving ships such as the U.S.S. "Congress," the U.S.S. "Constitution," the H.M.S. "Epervier," the U.S.S. "Frolic," the H.M.S. "Orpheus," the U.S.S. "Peacock," and the U.S.S. "President" are present. Not only is the domestic side of the war documented by mention of the embargo and economic conditions in Philadelphia and New York, but also war news from places including Fort Niagara is reported. Moreover, overseas fighting by Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington is mentioned. There is a fine commentary comparing the life of a seaman and a land soldier during the War of 1812. In short, this collection is rather rich despite its small size.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: There appears to be no published information about Charles Lacey. The documents in this collection shed some light onto the man and sailor he was and the life he led. Lacey's cash book from the U.S.S. "John Adams" lists items he purchased and cities to which he travelled from April 1809 until July 1810. Launched in 1799, the U.S.S. "John Adams," a small frigate, was one of only 14 U.S. vessels ready for sea service at the outbreak of the War of 1812. At least one of the letters retained in this collection was sent to Lacey while he was serving on board that vessel, and references to it are made in several other letters. Lacey served as a midshipman on the "John Adams." Lacey also served as a midshipman on board the U.S.S. "Madison." A 24-gun corvette launched early in the war only 45 days after its keel was laid, the "Madison" was the handiwork of Henry Ecford, a master shipbuilder working out of the American naval base at Sacket's Harbor, New York. The "Madison" took part in the landing of the army of General Zebulon Pike in Upper Canada in 1813. A few of the letters were adressed to Lacey at Sacket's Harbor. Lacey's letters suggest that he battled illnesses, presumably related to his maritime duties. They also suggest that he was a relative of Revolutionary War veteran John Lacey (1755-1814), who died in New Mills, New Jersey. Some of the letters were sent to Lacey from New Mills and provide information about conditions there during the Wa of 1812. It appears John Lacey was Charles Lacey's uncle.

The Charles Lacey Papers were donated to Georgetown University by Charles H. Trunnel, a Georgetown resident and the nephew of Charles Lacey. These papers were previously part of the Historical Manuscripts Collection (Box 4 Folder 4) at Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division. Chalres H. Trunnel also donated a minute book of the Columbian Debating Society, a Georgetown citizens group that first met on February 21, 1827. In addition, Trunnel gave the library a large number of books, including the first edition of "The Federalist" (1788).

Our Special Collections Division holds a number of other collections related to American naval history. Among them are the Causten Family Papers, the Stephen and Susan Decatur Papers, and letters to John Rodgers (1813-1815); all collections which relate to the War of 1812; and the Jackson McElmell Papers, which pertain to the Civil War.

The following book was very helpful in the processing of this collection: Gardiner, Robert, ed. "The Naval War of 1812." London: Chatham (in association with the National Maritime Museum), 1998.

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ABBREVIATIONS:

AM - Autograph Manuscript.
ALS - Autograph Letter Signed.

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ACCESSION DATA:

Status: Open access.
Photocopies: Permitted.
Provenance: Gift of Charles H. Trunnel (nephew of Charles Lacey).
Processed by Scott S. Taylor, April 2000.

BULK DATES: 1809 - 1814
SPAN DATES: 1809 - 1814
EXTENT: 1 box, 0.25 l.f.

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FOLDER DESCRIPTIONS

Box 1 Folder 1
Charles Lacey's Cash Book
Date: 4/10/1809 - 7/23/1810
Description: 1 AM: "C[harles] Lacey's Cash Book on Board the U.S. Ship John Adams, April 1809," 11 pages. Lists goods purchased by Lacey, including clothes, books, dirks, and other items. Prices included. Also reveals to which cities Lacey sailed. The book indicates that Lacey received a leave of absence on 7/23/1810. A note, presumably written by Charles H. Trunnel at a later date, states, "Charles Lacey was my Mother's brother."

Box 1 Folder 2
Date: 4/11/1809 Description: 1 ALS dated 4/11/1809 from J. Lacey [perhaps John Lacey (1755-1814), the Revolutionary War veteran who died in New Mills, New Jersey] to his nephew Charles Lacey, midshipman on board the U.S.S. "John Adams," regarding Charles' latest orders from his Captain. Sent from New Mills, New Jersey to the City of Washington.

Box 1 Folder 3
Date: 7/26/1811
Description: 1 ALS dated 7/26/1811 from Saml[?] Stritch[?] to Charles Lacey, in regard to Stritch[?]'s sister. Reference to U.S.S. "John Adams." Sent from New Mills, New Jersey.

Box 1 Folder 4
Date: 2/1813
Description: 1 ALS dated 2/1813 from W.[?] H. Bradford[?] to Charles Lacey, U.S. Navy, New York, with discussion of the War of 1812. References to Sacket's Harbor, New York; threat of an attack; a skirmish on the Canadian shore with mention of a few casualties by name and casualty estimates; and the U.S.S. "John Adams." Sent from Buffalo, New York. Writing badly faded and very difficult to read.

Box 1 Folder 5
Date: 1/1/1814
Description: 1 ALS dated 1/1/1814 from J. Lacey [perhaps John Lacey (1755-1814), Revolutionary War veteran] to Charles Lacey, midshipman on board the U.S.S. "Madison" in Sacket's Harbor, New York, with lengthy discussion of the War of 1812. Compares lot of land soldiers versus naval men during the war, suggesting that sailors have a preferable existence despite hardships. Makes reference to conditions in New Mills, New Jersey; news from Philadelphia; the embargo; the prospects of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821); the marriage of Daniel Newbold to Miss Lowry; and the marriage of Jane Lacey to Jona Hough. The postscript reports the fall of Fort Niagara to the British with a loss of 300 casualties, criticizes the American generals leading the war effort, and makes reference to General James Wilkinson. Signed "Your Uncle, J. Lacey." Sent from New Mills, New Jersey.

Box 1 Folder 6
Date: 1/9/1814
Description: 1 ALS dated 1/9/1814 from E. Ward to Charles Lacey, on board the U.S.S. "Madison" in Sacket's Harbor, New York, with lengthy discussion of the War of 1812, especially its naval aspects. References to the embargo, the prospects for a peace settlement, the setbacks suffered by Napoleon I at the hands of the Russians, the prospects of Napoleon's campaign, high prices for consumer goods, the sailing of the U.S.S. "Constitution" on a cruise from Boston with Captain Charles Stewart (1778-1869) at the helm, the U.S.S. "President," the return of the U.S.S. "Congress" to Portsmouth having taken but a few merchant vessels, the success of Captain David Porter (1780-1843) against the British in the Pacific Ocean, the readiness of the U.S.S. "Peacock" to proceed to sea, and Charles' Lacey's illness. The postscript mentions the arrival of Commodore Isaac Chauncey (1772-1840) in New York City and describes briefly the reception received by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819); who arrived in New York, was given a rousing cheer at a theater, and will be honored at a public dinner. Sent from New York City.

Box 1 Folder 7
Date: 4/14/1814
Description: 1 ALS dated 4/14/1814 from E. Ward to Charles Lacey, with lengthy discussion of news from the War of 1812. References to Sacket's Harbor, New York; Charles Lacey's illness; economic conditions in New York City during the war; the embargo; President James Madison (1751-1836, President 1809-1817); prospects for a peace settlement; fighting in Europe; Napoleon I (1769-1821); Duke Wellington (1769-1852); the U.S.S. "President" being repaired; the U.S.S. "Constitution" arriving at Salem; the U.S.S. "Peacock" missing; and the U.S.S. "Frolic" being chased by the H.M. Frigate "Junon." Sent from New York City.

Box 1 Folder 8
Date: 5/14/1814
Description: 1 ALS dated 5/14/1814 from E. Ward to Charles Lacey, midshipman on the U.S.S. "Madison" in Sacket's Harbor, New York; providing news from the War of 1812. References to the U.S.S. "Peacock," captained by Lewis Warrington, capturing the H.M.S. "Epervier" (includes comparative casualty estimates); the arrival of the U.S.S. "Peacock" in Savannah, Georgia; the capture of the U.S.S. "Frolic," captained by Joseph Bainbridge, by the H.M.S. "Orpheus;" and the Allies' seizure of Paris. Sent from New York City.


INDEX

INDEX TERM - DECSRIPTION (DATE) BOX FOLDER

BAINBRIDGE, JOSEPH - REFERENCE (1814) 1 8
BONAPARTE, NAPOLEON - SEE: NAPOLEON I 1 5
BRADFORD[?], W.[?] H. - CORRESPONDENCE TO LACEY, CHARLES (1813) 1 4
BUFFALO - NEW YORK - CORRESPONDENCE FROM, DURING WAR OF 1812 (1814) 1 4
CANADA - REFERENCE TO SKIRMISH IN WAR OF 1812 (1814) 1 4
CHAUNCEY, ISAAC - REFERENCE TO ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK CITY (1814) 1 6
"CONGRESS" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 6
"CONSTITUTION" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 6
"CONSTITUTION" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 7
EMBARGO - REFERENCE DURING WAR OF 1812 (1814) 1 5
EMBARGO - REFERENCE DURING WAR OF 1812 (1814) 1 6
EMBARGO - REFERENCE DURING WAR OF 1812 (1814) 1 7
"EPERVIER" (H.M.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 8
FORT NIAGARA - REFERENCE: FALLS TO BRITISH (1814) 1 5
"FROLIC" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 7
"FROLIC" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 8
HOUGH, JONA - REFERENCE TO MARRIAGE TO LACEY, JANE (1814) 1 5
"JOHN ADAMS" (U.S.S.) - CASH BOOK OF LACEY, CHARLES (1809) 1 1
"JOHN ADAMS" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1809) 1 2
"JOHN ADAMS" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1811) 1 3
"JOHN ADAMS" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 4
"JUNON" (H.M.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 7
LACEY, CHARLES - CASH BOOK ON BOARD U.S.S. "JOHN ADAMS" (1809) 1 1
LACEY, CHARLES - CORRESPONDENCE FROM BRADFORD[?], W.[?] H. (1813) 1 4
LACEY, CHARLES - CORRESPONDENCE FROM LACEY, J. (1809) 1 2
LACEY, CHARLES - CORRESPONDENCE FROM LACEY, J. (1814) 1 5
LACEY, CHARLES - CORRESPONDENCE FROM STRITCH[?], SAML[?] (1811) 1 3
LACEY, CHARLES - CORRESPONDENCE FROM WARD, E. (1814) 1 6
LACEY, CHARLES - CORRESPONDENCE FROM WARD, E. (1814) 1 7
LACEY, CHARLES - CORRESPONDENCE FROM WARD, E. (1814) 1 8
LACEY, CHARLES - PAPERS (1809-1814) 1 1
LACEY, CHARLES - REFERENCE TO ILLNESS (1814) 1 6
LACEY, CHARLES - REFERENCE TO ILLNESS (1814) 1 7
LACEY, J. - CORRESPONDENCE TO LACEY, CHARLES (1809) 1 2
LACEY, J. - CORRESPONDENCE TO LACEY, CHARLES (1814) 1 5
LACEY, JANE - REFERENCE TO MARRIAGE TO JONA HOUGH (1814) 1 5
LACEY, JOHN - CORRESPONDENCE TO LACEY, CHARLES (1809) 1 2
LACEY, JOHN - CORRESPONDENCE TO LACEY, CHARLES (1814) 1 5
"MADISON" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 5
"MADISON" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 6
"MADISON" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 8
MADISON, JAMES - REFERENCE TO EMBARGO DURING WAR OF 1812 (1814) 1 7
NAPOLEON I - REFERENCE (1814) 1 5
NAPOLEON I - REFERENCE (1814) 1 7
NAPOLEON I - REFERENCE TO SETBACKS VERSUS RUSSIANS (1814) 1 6
NAPOLEONIC WARS - REFERENCE TO ALLIES' SEIZURE OF PARIS (1814) 1 8
NAPOLEONIC WARS - REFERENCE TO FIGHTING (1814) 1 7
NEW MILLS - NEW JERSEY - REFERENCE (1809) 1 2
NEW MILLS - NEW JERSEY - REFERENCE (1811) 1 3
NEW MILLS - NEW JERSEY - REFERENCE TO CONDITIONS IN WAR OF 1812 (1814) 1 5
NEW YORK CITY - REFERENCE TO ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN WAR OF 1812 (1814) 1 7
NEW YORK CITY - REFERENCE:ARRIVAL OF NAVAL OFFICERS,WAR OF 1812 (1814) 1 6
NEWBOLD, DANIEL - REFERENCE TO MARRIAGE TO MISS LOWRY (1814) 1 5
NIAGARA, FORT - SEE: FORT NIAGARA 1 5
"ORPHEUS" (H.M.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 8
PACIFIC OCEAN - REFERENCE TO NAVAL ACTIONS OF PORTER, DAVID (1814) 1 6
"PEACOCK" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 6
"PEACOCK" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 7
"PEACOCK" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 8
PERRY, OLIVER HAZARD - REFERENCE TO RECEPTION IN NEW YORK CITY (1814) 1 6
PHILADELPHIA - REFERENCE TO CONDITIONS IN WAR OF 1812 (1814) 1 5
PORTER, DAVID - REFERENCE TO SUCCESS VERSUS BRITISH IN PACIFIC (1814) 1 6
"PRESIDENT" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 6
"PRESIDENT" (U.S.S.) - REFERENCE (1814) 1 7
SACKET'S HARBOR - NEW YORK - REFERENCE (1814) 1 5
SACKET'S HARBOR - NEW YORK - REFERENCE (1814) 1 6
SACKET'S HARBOR - NEW YORK - REFERENCE (1814) 1 7
SACKET'S HARBOR - NEW YORK - REFERENCE (1814) 1 8
SACKET'S HARBOR - NEW YORK - REFERENCE (1814) 1 4
STEWART, CHARLES - REFERENCE (1814) 1 6
STRITCH[?], SAML[?] - CORRESPONDENCE TO LACEY, CHARLES (1811) 1 3
TRUNNEL, CHARLES H. - REFERENCE (1809) 1 1
WAR OF 1812 - CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING (1814) 1 5
WAR OF 1812 - CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING (1814) 1 6
WAR OF 1812 - CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING (1814) 1 7
WAR OF 1812 - CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING (1814) 1 8
WAR OF 1812 - CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING (1814) 1 4
WAR OF 1812 - REFERENCE TO A SKIRMISH IN CANADA (1814) 1 4
WAR OF 1812 - REFERENCE TO HIGH PRICES FOR CONSUMER GOODS (1814) 1 6
WAR OF 1812 - REFERENCE: CRITICISM OF AMERICAN GENERALS (1814) 1 5
WARD, E. - CORRESPONDENCE TO LACEY, CHARLES (1814) 1 6
WARD, E. - CORRESPONDENCE TO LACEY, CHARLES (1814) 1 7
WARD, E. - CORRESPONDENCE TO LACEY, CHARLES (1814) 1 8
WARRINGTON, LEWIS - REFERENCE (1814) 1 8
WELLINGTON, DUKE OF - REFERENCE (1814) 1 7
WILKINSON, JAMES - REFERENCE (1814) 1 5


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