John M. Brooke
Naval Scientist and Educator


Front Cover, Dust Jacket

Brooke, Jr., George M.:
John M. Brooke, Naval Scientist and Educator, Charlottesville, University of Press of Virginia, 1980, 8vo, navy blue cloth, dust jacket, 2 maps, 33 black and white illustrations, 372 pages.

This detailed and well documented biography chronicles John Mercer Brooke's (1826-1906) long and illustrious career as a Naval officer, scientist and inventor. Brooke's United States Naval service spanned the period from 1841 to 1861. During the 1850s and up to the time he resigned his commission to join the Confederate Navy, Brooke was deeply involved in United States Naval activities in the Pacific region.

Originally scheduled to serve on the Powhatan with the Perry Expedition to Japan, Brooke was transferred to the Fenimore Cooper and participated in the North Pacific Surveying Expedition under Ringgold and Rogers (1853-1856). This voyage included stops in Okinawa and Japan in late 1854 and early 1855.

In late 1858 Brooke commanded the Fenimore Cooper on a voyage to survey a route from San Francisco to Hong Kong. He arrived in Hong Kong in May of 1859. The return trip followed a route via Okinawa and Japan.

While in Japan, Brooke was reassigned to duty as a technical advisor aboard the he Japanese steamer, the Kanrin Maru, during that ship's voyage to the United States in conjunction with the Japanese commissioners who were traveling separately on the Powhatan (February 1860).

Brooke's career brought him in contact with such noted figures as Joseph Heco, Nakahama Manjiro and Townsend Harris, to name just a few.

While the American Squadron under Commodore Perry was flexing American naval and military power to open Japan to our trade, scientists like Brooke were quietly and methodically performing the technical oceanographic surveying, charting and research that would be critical to support that maritime trade. This book provides a unique perspective to this aspect of the opening of Japan.

In 1861 Brooke resigned his US Navy commission and soon thereafter took a commission in the Virginia Navy. For the Confederacy, he was involved in the development of ordnance and the design and supervision of the conversion of the burned steam frigate Merrimack into the ironclad CSS Virginia.

The book traces Brooke's post Civil War life as an instructor at VMI and naval scientist and inventor.

Related Book:

Brooke, John M. (Journal Writer)
Brooke, Jr., George M. (Editor):
John M. Brooke's Pacific Cruise and Japanese Adventure, 1858-1860, Honolulu, University of Press of Hawaii Press, 1986, 8vo, gray cloth with gold title on spine, dust jacket, maps extending across inside covers to adjoining pages, dust jacket, frontispiece portrait of Lt Brooke, 2 maps and 15 black and white illustrations (photographs, sketches and drawings), 265 pages. This book contains John M. Brooke's journals for his Pacific cruise to survey the route from San Francisco to Hong Kong aboard the Fenimore Cooper and return aboard a Japanese warship, the Kanrin Maru. For more information on the book, click here.

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