Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842

Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842

Nathaniel Philbrick

Language: English

Pages: 480

ISBN: 0142004839

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"A treasure of a book." -- David McCullough

A New York Times Notable Book

America's first frontier was not the West; it was the sea, and no one writes more eloquently about that watery wilderness than Nathaniel Philbrick. In his bestselling In the Heart of the Sea Philbrick probed the nightmarish dangers of the vast Pacific. Now, in an epic sea adventure, he writes about one of the most ambitious voyages of discovery the Western world has ever seen--the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842. On a scale that dwarfed the journey of Lewis and Clark, six magnificent sailing vessels and a crew of hundreds set out to map the entire Pacific Ocean and ended up naming the newly discovered continent of Antarctica, collecting what would become the basis of the Smithsonian Institution. Combining spellbinding human drama and meticulous research, Philbrick reconstructs the dark saga of the voyage to show why, instead of being celebrated and revered as that of Lewis and Clark, it has--until now--been relegated to a footnote in the national memory.

Winner of the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize

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of the terrors of the bar of the Columbia,” Wilkes wrote. “[A]ll who have seen it have spoken of the wildness of the scene, and the incessant roar of the waters, representing it as one of the most fearful sights that can possibly meet the eye of the sailor.” Even today, now that a series of dams has done much to tame the fury of the Columbia, the waters between Cape Disappointment and Point Adams are a war zone. The river might be compared to a colossal 1,243-mile-long water cannon firing, on

Pacific Islands,” p. 17. For information about Pickering and Brackenridge in Fiji, I have also relied on Richard Eyde’s “Expedition Botany: The Making of a New Profession” in MV, p. 30. James Dana tells of how Darwin’s insights “threw a flood of light” on his own thinking about coral reefs in the preface to his Corals and Coral Islands, p. 7. Daniel Appleman’s “James Dwight Dana and Pacific Geology” provides an excellent account of Dwight’s use of Darwin’s insight about coral reefs, MV, pp.

shells, when a group of natives appeared from the island’s interior. With the help of the New Zealander John Sac, who served as an interpreter, Underwood began bartering for food. One of the natives claimed there were four big hogs at Sualib, his village on the southwestern side of Malolo, but they would have to bring a boat around the southern point of the island to pick them up. Underwood insisted that one of the natives, who claimed to be the chief’s son, serve as a hostage to ensure his own

given, he had only three. In addition to the Fijian hostage, he brought along Sac as an interpreter. As Underwood and his men pushed off from the beach, Alden called out to him, “in a jocose manner, to, ‘Look out for the Fijis.’” Emmons added that Underwood had better take a life preserver—after all the water was all of a foot deep. The Leopard soon grounded on the shoals that connected the southern tip of Malolo to Malololailai. While Underwood stayed aboard to guard the hostage, his men jumped

learn this until some of the people in his division, led by George Sinclair, had already begun to storm the barricade. Sinclair scurried across a narrow causeway that led to a gate. There he saw a warrior about to hurl a long spear. “I gave him the contents of the left barrel of my gun,” Sinclair wrote, “fifteen buckshot, which sent him to Kingdom Come.” Ringgold shouted out to Sinclair to return, but Sinclair quickly realized that the gate he had partially entered was constructed like a fish

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