p. 11, when in 1821 Charles Wilkes was assigned to the Franklin for a cruise to the Pacific: The Franklin proved to be just the ship for an officer of Wilkes’s interests. On the gun deck there was a library, and Wilkes, with the help of an assistant became the librarian.
p. 63, on Wilkes’s flagship, the Vincennes, newly redone for the USExEx, the aft cabin “was a new thirty-six-foot-long space that significantly increased the ship’s functionality. In addition to staterooms for Wilkes and several scientists, this new stern cabin contained a large reception room equipped with drafting tables, a library, and a large conference table. The stern cabin would serve as the command center of the squadron or the duration of the cruise.”
p. 132, Wilkes had reread Cook’s Narrative in preparing to visit Tahiti.
p. 156, while off Antarctica in 1840, during perpetual daylight: During his watch from midnight to four A.M., some of the officers were reading Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers.
p. 267: The cruise was particularly exasperating for those aboard the schooner. While the officers of the Peacock were allowed to visit native villages, Hudson almost never permitted those aboard the Flying Fish to go ashore. In the last 180 days, Reynolds had spent exactly twelve hours and fifteen minutes on land. “This Schooner kills me,” he wrote. “No more exercise to be had, than a large bird might find in a small cage, and without this I cannot enjoy life. No society & no books. It worries my very soul, with nothing around us but Sea & sky.”