The Wilkes Expedition: Tthe First United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842).

p. 41, Titian Peale quoted from letter to his daughters about his stateroom: I have a little bed over and under which is packed clothes, furs, guns, Books and boxes without number, all of which have to be tied to keep them from rolling and tumbling about, and kept off the floor as it is sometimes covered with water.

p. 151, in 1840 when Wilkes shared some information with James Clark Ross about his coterminous expedition: He decided to write him [Ross] regarding his experience with winds, currents, nearness to magnetic pole, etc., and to enclose a copy of his chart of the area traversed by the Squadron. Ross received this letter in August, 1840, along with a copy of the Herald’s announcement of Wilkes’ discovery of an Antarctic Continent. Since he did not believe there was enough evidence to claim such a discovery, he did not bother to acknowledge receipt of the letter.

Wilkes explained to [Navy] Secretary Paulding why he sent the letter and chart to Ross, contrary to his orders which explicitly prohibited giving to anyone not on the Expedition copies of “any journal, charts, plan, memorandum, specimen, drawing, painting, or proceedings of the Expedition.” [The US habit of political secrecy goes back a long way.] It was in return for assistance given him by Ross and other Englishmen when he had been abroad procuring scientific instruments and because he felt he was anticipating “the wishes of the President and yourself to afford all and every assistance in my power” for the furtherance of the objects of the Expedition.

p. 153, Wilkes’ charting of 1000 miles of Wilkes’ land: was a real achievement considering that the exploration was accomplished in vessels not built for combating ice and subject to the vagaries of Antarctic winds….Whether or not the Expedition beat d’Urville by first seeing land on January 16 is of less importance than the determination that this was a continent and not a chain of islands—this was the great achievement of the Expedition and it is fitting that this portion of Antarctica should be generally designated as “Wilkes Land.”