Sanford, United States Exploring Expedition

Scope and Content

  • MS 466/19;MJ Journal, 19 August 1838 to 22 July 1841 [Kept on board Vincennes and Porpoise] microfilm

Administrative / Biographical History

The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 (Senior commander Charles Wilkes) undertook a major exploration of the southern oceans including the Polar Regions. The expedition consisted of six ships, Vincennes, Peacock, Porpoise, Sea Gull, Flying Fish and Relief. The expedition was the first to delineate a substantial length of Antarctic coastline, enough to establish that immediately behind lay a landmass of continental size. The published charts of the expedition were the earliest to use the term Antarctic Continent. Relief was sent home when it became clear she was unfit for the rough seas of the southern oceans. Sea Gull was lost with all hands off the Chilean coast in 1839 while Peacock sank off the Pacific coast of North America in 1841.



Alternative Form Available

This is a copy.

Related Material

See SPRI collection GB 015 United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 for a more comprehensive list of archival collections held by the Institute containing material on this expedition.

Location of Originals

The originals in United States National Archive, Washington, U.S.A. (1982)