Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room

February 12, 1853
Commodore Perry's Squadron


(click on the picture for an expanded view)

Author Unstated:
Gleasonís Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, Boston, February 12, 1853, Volume IV, No. 7, Whole No. 85, pages 97-112. The St Valentine's Day edition of the paper. Includes a two page (center page -- 15.75 x 22.75 in - 40 x 58 cm) engraving (woodcut I presume) of the Perry Expedition Squadron. The engraving is titled, "A Superb View of the United States Japanese Squadron, Under the Command of Commodore Perry, Bound for the East." The engraving was by J.W. Orr from a drawing by Wade, both of New York. The engraving shows the ships assembled and most with full sail showing. Commodore Perry is seen standing in a long boat headed to board his flag ship, the Mississippi. The drawing was not based on an actual scene but represented the artist's conception of what the assembled squadron would have looked like. The engraving lists 12 ships of Perry's "United States Japanese Squadron." The ships are the Mississippi (Perry's Flag Ship), Vermont, Saratoga, St. Marys, Macedonian, Plymouth, Vandalia, Susquehanna, Princeton, Alleghany, Powhatan and Supply. In addition to the engraving there is a short article (60% of a 1/3 page) on the "Japan Expedition" which presents statistics about the ships of the squadron. This article can be seen here. The article presents this listing of the Japan Squadron as it was envisioned in 1852 before the expedition actually began:

This is may well be one of the earliest widely circulated illustrated article on the expedition. The print often has faults (folds, staining, foxing, paper thinned or broken at folds) which are typical of its age. It is sometimes found with hand coloring added.

Buy the Item -- To order this item on-line, click here

The article published the below list of statistics from "... from the best authority.". I note that several of the ships (4 of the 12 listed) did not participate in the Expedition to Japan.


Vessels Class Tons Men Guns

Vermont 74 Line of Battle Ship 3000 800 96
Saratoga Sloop, 1st Class 1000 190 22
St. Mary's Sloop, 1st Class 1000 190 22
Macedonian Razee 1400 450 22
Plymouth Sloop of War 1000 190 22
Vandalia Sloop of War 800 190 22
Mississippi Steamer 1700 375 10
Susquehanna Steamer 2500 350 10
Princeton Propeller 1200 190 10
Alleghany Propeller 1000 190 10
Powhatan Steamer 2500 375 10
Supply Store Ship 800 40 4

Chart published in the Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, Boston, February 12, 1853, Volume IV, No. 7, Whole No. 85, pages 97-112 at page 109. Underlining has been added. The underlined ships did not actually participate in the Expedition to Japan.

The article notes that 700 Marines would accompany the expedition. It concludes that with the marines and ships' complement the expedition will have "an effective force of 4000 men, and above 300 guns, mostly heavy ordnance." The actual figures were approximately 60% of these. Based on Commodore Perry's journal, there was 2500 men (1800 ships' complement and 700 Marines) and 180 guns. The number of ships never exceeded 9.

The expectation of future articles is created by the statement that:

We have also secured the services of an able and experienced officer connected with this expedition, who will enable us to keep our readers well informed in every respect upon the subject, both as it regards news of the movements of the same, and illustrations of such matters of note as the expedition may meet with in their intercourse with this strange people.
Considering Commodore Perry's prohibition of this type of activity, it is interesting to speculate who this person is. I suspect that it was Bayard Taylor. In the preface to his 1855 book, (A Visit to India, China and Japan In The Year 1853), Taylor noted:
The account of my visit to Loo-Choo and Japan, however, is less full and detailed than I could have wished. In accordance with special regulations issued by the Secretary of the Navy, I was obliged to give up my journals to the Department of Defense at the close of my connection with the Expedition. .... As my accounts of the most interesting events which I witnessed had already been published, and therefore common property, I made application to Government for the favor of being allowed to copy portions of my journal--especially that part relating to Loo-Choo...." (at page vi-vii) (emphasis added)
For more information on the actual ships in the Squadron, click here.

Other articles/illustrations in this issue of Gleasonís Pictorial Drawing- Room Companion (Boston, February 12, 1853, Volume IV, No. 7, Whole No. 85, pages 97-112):

Page 97

Illustration - Masthead (1/3 page)
Illustration - St. Valentine's Day (1/3 page)
Article - St. Valentine's Day
Pages 98-9
Article - Rosalthe: The Pioneers of Kentucky, A story of Western Life by Dr. J.H. Robinson (continued, starts at Chapter XII).
Pages 100
Illustration - Allegorical Representation of St. Valentine's Day (full page)
Pages 101
Illustration - Annual Celebration of Christmas Holiday, by the Expressmen of New York (full page)
Pages 102
Poem - Never Look Down by Owen G. Warren
Article - The Packet by Rev. Henry Bacon (full pages, extends onto page 103)
Pages 103 (several short items, no illustrations)
Poem - To Poesie by Annie Johnson
Article - The Eternal "Parcae" (short)
Poem - Sonnet, by Wm. Edward Knowles (short)
Article - Ghosts (short)
Article - Waifs from Washington, No. VI, by Ben Perley Poore (1/3+ page)
Poem - To Mary--A Valentine by William T Hilsee (short)
Pages 104~5
Illustration - A Superb View of the United States Japanese Squadron Under the command of Commodore Perry, Bound for the East
Pages 106
Poem - Burning the Letters by Phoebe Carey (short)
Article - Carrie Carlton's Valentine by Anges Leslie, Chapters I to IV (1+ page, extends onto page 107)
Pages 107
Article - Carrie Carlton's Valentine by Anges Leslie, Chapters I to IV (1+ page, continued from page 106)
Article - Education (short)
Poem - The Advancing Light by Mrs. C.E.D. Mansfield
Article - Velocity and Magnitude of Waves (short)
Poem - Sunset and Twilight
Article - Crucifixion (short)
Poem - Random Pearls
Poem - Wellingtons Funeral Sonnets, No II by Henry Wm Herbert
Article - Advice to Wives (short)
Article - Forward Children (short)
Pages 108
Illustrated Article - Printers, Types of Mind, or Fac-similes of the Hand-writing of Eminent Persons, No 7, by Ben Perley Poore
Pages 109
Publishers information with small illustration
List of Contributors
Contents of Next Issue
Article - Trade in Insects (short)
Article - Relief for Madeira (short)
Poem - Splinters
Article Japan Expedition - related to illustrations at pages 104~5 (1/6+ page)
(This article can be seen here)
Miscellaneous short items
Pages 110
Poem - To an Afflicted One, Miss Julia Wallace
Article - Stories of Gods and Goddesses, No. VII, the Seige of Troy by T. Bulfinch (2/3 page)
Poem - Inconsistency by J. Hunt, Jr.
Pages 111
Article - Expressmen's Celebration (1/3 page)
Article - Wayside Gatherings (short)
Article - Foreign Items (short)
Poem - Sands of Gold
Poem - Joker's Budget
Miscellaneous advertisements
Pages 112
Illustrated Article - Phalon's Saloon (1/3+ page)
Illustration, Interior View of Phalon's New Saloon, in the St. Nicholas Hotel, New York (1/4 page)
Illustration, Shipwreck of the Packet Ship Corneliud Grinnell, on Squam Beach

For general information on Gleason's, follow the links below:

Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room
& Other 19th Century Illustrated Newspapers

- General Information Links -
Basic Information.      Layout of the Paper.
Illustrations.   Woodcut Engravings - Size - Color Added Later
Contents.   Title Page - Page By Page Review - Centerfold
Bound Volumes.   Semi-Annual - 1851~1855 - Vol I~VIII
Condition.   Comments Regarding General Condition
Perry Expedition.   Articles Concerning the Perry Expedition to Japan
Japan.   Articles Concerning Japan other than Perry Expedition
Other.   19th Century Illustrated Newspapers w/ Japan Related Articles
Illustrated Weeklies.   Info on the Illustrated Weeklies of the 1840s~60s

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