His behavior led to two convictions by court-martial, one stemming from the massacre of almost 80 Fijians on Malolo in 1840. Wilkes was born in New York City, on April 3, 1798, as the great nephew of the former Lord Mayor of London John Wilkes. His mother was Mary Seton, who died in 1802 when Charles was just three years old. As a result, Charles was raised by his aunt, Elizabeth Ann Seton, who would later convert to Roman Catholicism and become the first American-born woman canonized a saint by the Catholic Church.
When Elizabeth was left widowed with five children, Charles was sent to a boarding school, and later attended Columbia College, which is the present-day Columbia University. He entered the United States Navy as a midshipman in 1818, and became a lieutenant in 1826. In 1833, for his survey of Narragansett Bay, he was placed in charge of the Navy's Department of Charts and Instruments, out of which developed the Naval Observatory and Hydrographic Office. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1843.
During the 1820s, Wilkes was a member of the prestigious Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences, which counted among its members presidents Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams and many prominent men of the day, including well-known representatives of the military, government service, medical and other professions. USS Vincennes in Disappointment Bay, Antarctica, during the Wilkes expedition. In 1838, although not yet a seasoned naval line officer, Wilkes was experienced in nautical survey work, and was working with civilian scientists.Upon this background, he was given command of the government exploring expedition... For the purpose of exploring and surveying the Southern Ocean...
As well to determine the existence of all doubtful islands and shoals, as to discover, and accurately fix, the position of those which [lay] in or near the track of our vessels in that quarter, and [might] have escaped the observation of scientific navigators. The US Exploring Squadron was authorized by act of the Congress on May 18, 1836. Departing from Hampton Roads on August 18, 1838, the expedition stopped at the Madeira Islands and Rio de Janeiro; visited Tierra del Fuego, Chile, Peru, the Tuamotu Archipelago, Samoa, and New South Wales; from Sydney sailed into the Antarctic Ocean in December 1839 and reported the discovery "of an Antarctic continent west of the Balleny Islands" of which it sighted the coast on January 25, 1840.After charting 1500 miles of Antarctic coastline,  the expedition visited Fiji and the Hawaiian Islands. In Fiji, the expedition kidnapped the chief Ro Veidovi, charging him with the murder of a crew of American whalers.  And, in July 1840, two sailors, one of whom was Wilkes' nephew, Midshipman Wilkes Henry, were killed while bartering for food on Fiji's Malolo Island. Wilkes' retribution was swift and severe. According to an old man of Malolo Island, nearly 80 Fijians were killed in the incident.
From December 1840 to March 1841, he employed hundreds of native Hawaiian porters and many of his men to haul a pendulum to the summit of Mauna Loa to measure gravity. Instead of using the existing trail, he blazed his own way, taking much longer than he anticipated.
The conditions on the mountain reminded him of Antarctica. Many of his crew suffered snow blindness, altitude sickness and foot injuries from wearing out their shoes. Pacific Northwest: 1841 Map of the Oregon Territory from Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition. He explored the west coast of North America, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, the Columbia River, San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento River, in 1841.
He held the first American Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi River in Dupont, Washington, on July 5, 1841. The United States Exploring Expedition passed through the Ellice Islands and visited Funafuti, Nukufetau and Vaitupu in 1841. He was acquitted on all charges except illegally punishing men in his squadron. For a short time, he was attached to the Coast Survey, but from 1844 to 1861, he was chiefly engaged in preparing the report of the expedition. His Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition (5 volumes and an atlas) was published in 1844.
Alfred Thomas Agate, engraver and illustrator, was the designated portrait and botanical artist of the expedition. His work was used to illustrate the Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition.  Wilkes' 1841 Map of the Oregon Territory pre-dated John Charles Fremont's first Oregon Trail pathfinder expedition guided by Kit Carson during 1842. Moreover, the specimens and artifacts brought back by expedition scientists ultimately formed the foundation for the Smithsonian Institution collection.
In addition to many shorter articles and reports, Wilkes published the major scientific works Western America, including California and Oregon in 1849 and Voyage round the world: embracing the principal events of the narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition in one volume: illustrated with one hundred and seventy-eight engravings on wood in 1849, and Theory of the Winds in 1856. Charles Wilkes in The champions of the Union, lithograph by Currier & Ives, 1861. Wilkes was promoted to the rank of commander in 1843 and that of captain in 1855. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, he was assigned to the command of USS San Jacinto to search for the Confederate commerce destroyer CSS Sumter.
Acting on orders, Wilkes remained in port for nearly a week aboard his flagship, USS Wachusett, violating the British rule that allowed American naval vessels (of either side) to remain in port for only a single day. While Wilkes remained in port, his gunboats USS Tioga and USS Sonoma blockaded Saint George's harbor, a key Confederate blockade runner base.
When Wilkes learned that James Murray Mason and John Slidell, two Confederate commissioners (to Britain and France, respectively), were bound for England on a British packet boat, RMS Trent, he ordered the steam frigate San Jacinto to stop them. A party from San Jacinto led by its captain then boarded Trent and arrested Mason and Slidell, a further violation of British neutrality.The diplomats were taken to Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. The actions of "The Notorious Wilkes, " as Bermuda media branded him, were contrary to maritime law and convinced many that full-scale war between the United States and the United Kingdom was inevitable. He was officially thanked by Congress "for his brave, adroit and patriotic conduct".  However, his action was later disavowed by President Lincoln due to diplomatic protests by the British government (Mason and Slidell were released).
His next service was in the James River flotilla and he was placed on the retired list on December 21, 1861. Subsequently, after reaching the rank of commodore on July 16, 1862, he was assigned to duty against blockade runners in the West Indies. Wilkes acquired a reputation for sometimes acting arrogantly and capriciously, perhaps partly because of his open conflict with Gideon Welles, who was the Secretary of the Navy. Welles recommended that Wilkes had been too old to receive the rank of commodore under the act then governing promotions.Wilkes wrote a scathing letter to Welles in response. The controversy ended in his court-martial in 1864. He was found guilty of disobedience of orders, insubordination, and other specifications.
He was sentenced to public reprimand and suspension for three years. However, Lincoln reduced the suspension to one year, and the balance of charges were dropped. On July 25, 1866, he was promoted to the rank of rear admiral on the retired list. Admiral Charles Wilkes when retired.
Some historians speculate that Wilkes' obsessive behavior and harsh code of shipboard discipline shaped Herman Melville's characterization of Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick.  Such speculation is not mentioned in the U.
In addition to his contribution to U. Naval history and scientific study in his official Narrative of the Exploration Squadron (6 volumes), Wilkes wrote his autobiography.Wilkes died in Washington, DC, with the rank of Rear Admiral. In August 1909, the United States moved his remains to Arlington National Cemetery. His gravestone says that he discovered the Ant-arctic continent. Admiral Charles Wilkes plaque at United States National Arboretum.  An oceanographic survey vessel, USS Wilkes (T-AGS-33), was launched in 1969, sponsored by Mrs.
Hollis Lyons Joy (Deborah Wilkes Joy), Wilkes' great granddaughter. Wilkes Land in Antarctica is named after him. In 1923, Wilkes Island, one of the three islands surrounding the lagoon at Wake Atoll was named for Wilkes by Alexander Wetmore, lead scientist of the Tanager Expedition.Captain Charles Wilkes Elementary in Bainbridge Island, Washington is his namesake. Wilkes Boulevard in Columbia, Missouri, is named in his honor, as is the Hawaiian plant genus Wilkesia. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Militaria\Civil War (1861-65)\Original Period Items\Photographs". The seller is "civil_war_photos" and is located in this country: US.
This item can be shipped worldwide.