Samuel Gordon: Naval log book

Scope and Content

A naval log book covering 17 June 1797 - 10 June 1798, c. 270 pages, describing Gordon's service aboard HMS Veteran in the North Sea, including an account of the Battle of Camperdown. The volume includes a series of exercises in nautical mathematics and navigation, with diagrams and illustrations.

Administrative / Biographical History

Samuel Gordon (1775-1826), son of Thomas and Catherine Gordon of Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, was baptised in the local Protestant church on 24 June 1775. He entered service with the Royal Navy as an able seaman with HMS Artois in 1794, and joined HMS Duke as a midshipman in 1796, transferring to HMS Veteran, a third rate of 64 guns, as master's mate in 1797. Between 1797 and 1798 the Veteran served in the North Sea with the fleet under Admiral Lord Duncan (1731-1804). During the Battle of Camperdown, 11 October 1797, the ship was part of a fleet of sixteen that engaged Admiral de Winter's Dutch fleet of fifteen ships, which had been lying behind the Texel. After an engagement lasting two hours, half the Dutch fleet was captured, although many of the prizes were severely damaged. During the battle, the Veteran successfully engaged the Gelijkheid, and captured and took in tow the Delft, which later sank after its masts collapsed overboard. After returning to Yarmouth and the Nore for lengthy repairs, the Veteran rejoined the fleet stationed off the Texel, then engaged in blockading the Dutch remnants.

In 1799 the Veteran was turned into a prison ship, and 1809 it is was hulked. Gordon passed as a lieutenant in February 1801, aged 25, but served as a midshipman on HMS London during the Copenhagen expedition of that year. His rank as lieutenant was confirmed in July 1801. Following a series of acting commissions, he was given a permanent post as a lieutenant on HMS Prince Frederick with the Channel fleet in 1803. Gordon served as lieutenant on HMS Sprightly, 1805-1810, before he was appointed lieutenant of the cutter Dwarf, stationed at Plymouth. Under his command, the Dwarf captured an American schooner, the Charlotte, on 4 November 1813. Gordon was paid off on 28 August 1818, and granted the rank of commander on 19 July 1821. He died at the Royal Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, in November 1826.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased at Sotheby's, 15-16 July 1998.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

There is a detailed description of the collection in the Additional Manuscripts Catalogue, available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.