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Collection Number: 01591

Collection Title: George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 90 items)
Abstract George Beall Balch (1821-1908) of Tennessee received an appointment in 1837 from Alabama as midshipman in the U.S. Navy. On the Princeton and the Falcon he took part in the Mexican War. As a lieutenant on the Plymouth he was a member of the Perry expedition to Japan. Balch remained in the Navy through the Civil War, commanding the Pocahontas and the Pawnee in operations along the east coast from Jacksonville, Fla. to Georgetown, S.C. After the war, Balch held a series of posts with the Navy, retiring as a rear admiral in 1883. This collection contains official orders, reports, correspondence, and other records of the naval service of George Beall Balch. The collection includes a log of the U.S.S. Cyane in the Mediterranean, 1838-1840; a few papers pertaining to service in Latin American waters and the Perry expedition to Japan in the 1850s; order and letter books of the U.S.S. Pawnee, 1862-1865, commanded by Balch in South Carolina coastal operations, and other Civil War papers; scattered postwar papers related to various duties and to personal affairs at Baltimore, Md.; clippings about and a few brief writings by Balch; and a manuscript novel about the Naval Academy.
Creator Balch, George Beall, 1821-1908.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the George Beall Balch Papers, #1591, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Mrs. George W. Lay of Chapel Hill, N.C. and Mr. Malcolm K. Gordon of N.Y., 1949
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed in folder 1a.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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George Beall Balch (1821-1908) of Tennessee received an appointment in 1837 from Alabama as midshipman in the U.S. Navy. On the Princeton and the Falcon he took part in the Mexican War. As a lieutenant on the Plymouth he was a member of the Perry expedition to Japan. Balch remained in the Navy through the Civil War, commanding the Pocahontas and the Pawnee in operations along the East coast from Jacksonville, Fla. to Georgetown, S.C. After the war, Balch held a series of posts with the Navy, retiring as a rear admiral in 1883 and living in Baltimore, Md. Admiral Balch was twice married: to Julia Grace Vinson in 1844, and to Mary Ellen Booth in 1865.

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This collection contains official orders, reports, correspondence, and other records of the naval service of George Beall Balch (1821-1908). The collection includes a log of the U.S.S. Cyane in the Mediterranean, 1838-1840; a few papers pertaining to service in Latin American waters and the Perry expedition to Japan in the 1850s; order and letter books of the U.S.S. Pawnee, 1862-1865, commanded by Balch in South Carolina coastal operations, and other Civil War papers; scattered postwar papers related to various duties and to personal affairs at Baltimore; clippings about and a few brief writings by Balch; and a manuscript novel about the Naval Academy.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1830-1849 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 1

Includes orders assigning Balch to various ships, recommendations to the examining board by various people under whom Balch had served, and copies of correspondence about the prize ship Merchant.

Folder 2

1850-1859 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 2

Includes orders regarding assignments at sea, including the Perry expedition.

Folder 3

1860-March 1864 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 3

Includes a letter regarding the sinking of the Payano commanded by Lt. Balch, off the Mexican Coast, an account of the accident written by Balch in later years, reports of the activities of the Pocahontas including a report of the successful blockading of Maffitt's Channel, Charleston, S.C. in 1862, and a report of an engagement of the Pawnee and the Marblehead in the Stono River with a Confederate battery near Legareville, S.C.

Folder 4

April 1864-1869 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 4

Includes orders appointing Balch to the Navy Department at Washington, D.C., and Balch's marriage license and certificate with Mary Ellen Booth.

Folder 5

1870-1874 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 5

Includes order appointing Balch Governor of the Naval Asylum, Philadelphia, Pa.

Folder 6

1875-1879 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 6

Includes orders to duty as a member of the Lighthouse Board, to the Naval Examining Board, and to the superintendency of the Naval Academy, and Balch's appointment as rear admiral.

Folder 7

1880-1889 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 7

Includes a letter of thanks from the Japanese Minister on behalf of the Japanese cadets graduated from the Naval Academy in 1881, and correspondence and a report about the rescue of Japanese sailors by ship.

Folder 8

1890-1898 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 8

Includes personal correspondence.

Folder 9

1900-1924 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 9

Includes correspondence regarding Balch's death, and a manuscript, "Remininscences of Commodore Perry's Japan Expedition," written by H.P. Goddard, as told to him by Balch.

Folder 10

Undated #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 10

Includes clippings chiefly about Balch's career.

Folder 11-12

Folder 11

Folder 12

Genealogy #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 11-12

Includes genealogical letters from 1880-1959.

Folder 13

Clippings #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 13

Miscellaneous clippings about Balch's career.

Folder 14

Volume 1 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 14

Journal and other records of the U.S.S. Cyane, 1838-1840.

Folder 15

Volume 2 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 15

Order book for U.S.S. Pawnee, 1862-1865.

Folder 16

Volume 3 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 16

Lettercopy book, 1863-1865.

Folder 17

Volume 4 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 17

Notebook of various correspondence, reports, clippings, and genealogical information.

Folder 18

Volume 5 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 18

Notebook with clippings and copies of letters and reports.

Folder 19

Volume 6 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 19

Manuscript of a novel written by Balch, Old Naval Academy Days.

Folder 20

Volume 7 #01591, Series: "George Beall Balch Papers, 1830-1924 and undated." Folder 20

Copy of letter from James Booth (1789-1855) to his father James Booth.

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Adam Fielding, Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, September 2010

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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