Washington: McGill & Witherow, 1864. 56pp. Gathered signatures, stitched. Last leaf detached, first four leaves slighty soiled, uniform browning. Good. Item #WRCAM29595
Charles Wilkes' defense against charges of insubordination, disrespect, disobedience, and behavior unbecoming an officer stemming from his short temper and repeated personal conflicts with the Naval Department. While serving as acting rear admiral in the West Indies during the Civil War, Wilkes proved ineffective in capturing rebel ships harassing northern traders, though he became adept at offending foreign ministers who claimed he repeatedly violated neutrality laws. This behavior led to his being recalled to Washington. Shortly thereafter it was discovered that Wilkes was actually three years older than his official records stated, and he was subsequently demoted from commodore to captain. This demotion, combined with an already strained relationship with Secretary of the Navy Welles, led to repeated conflicts of the sort that yielded the present court-martial. Wilkes defends his actions on the grounds that at no point did the Secretary ever communicate his displeasure with Wilkes directly, and that Wilkes' communications with Welles were firm and direct, but not disrespectful. An eloquent explanation in Wilkes' own words of an important chapter in the famous explorer's post-expedition career. EBERSTADT 155:207. DAB XX, p.217.