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U.S.S. Bonita Mexican War Journal

Identifier: MSN/EA 8006

Scope and Contents

A personal journal of 147 handwritten pages kept by the (unidentified) purser of U.S.S. Bonita during the U.S.-Mexican War. The volume is 32 cm. in height. Bonita, built in 1846, was a 59-foot schooner-gunboat with one 32-pound carronade and a crew of forty; she saw very active service along the Gulf coast of Mexico in 1846-47, as a member of the light-draft "mosquito fleet" attached to the Navy's Home Squadron. The journal contains daily entries running from 25 June 1846 (when the author came on board Bonita at New York) to 25 July 1847 (when he returned home). The author was a young Brooklynite, educated and with literary tastes; as purser, he was responsible for maintaining the ship's stores, and for keeping her books. The journal is first and foremost a narrative of personal experience; the length of its entries varies substantially, with the perceived eventfulness of the day (the average length is perhaps 100 words, but there are entries of 500 words and more). The military content of the journal is significant. Most of the actions in which Bonita participated were attacks on the cities of the Mexican Gulf coast. Among those described are: the second attack on Alvarado (15 October 1846); the first Tabasco expedition (16-27 October 1846); the capture of Tampico (14 November 1846); the capture of Laguna del Carmen (20 December 1846); the landings at Veracruz (9 March 1847); the bombardment of Veracruz (22-23 March 1847); the capture of Alvarado and the Alvarado River expedition (1-2 April 1847); the capture of Tuxpan (18 April 1847); and the second Tabasco expedition (14-22 June 1847). In May 1847 the author transferred to the frigate U.S.S. Raritan for the voyage home; before leaving, he served during the second Tabasco expedition as "acting volunteer Lieutenant" in the army. In addition to the journal entries, the volume contains two pages of poetry and a three-page "List and description of places visited." There are also two untitled (and unattributed) manuscript maps, which were loosely inserted in the volume when it was received. The larger of these was probably copied by the author on 27 January 1847, and shows the Mexican coast around Tabasco. The second appears to be the plan of the Castle of San Juan de UlĂșa at Veracruz.


  • Creation: 1846-1847

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.


3 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



A personal journal kept by the purser of the schooner-gunboat U.S.S. Bonita during the U.S.-Mexican War, 1846-1847.


The two maps are held separately from the journal, in an oversize (F3) folder.

U.S.S. Bonita Mexican War Journal MSN/MN 8006
George Rugg
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556