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Caldwell family papers

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 CAL
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Caldwell family papers
Date(s): 1730-1865
Level of description: Collection
View subfonds/series records

Name of creator(s): Abdy | Sir William | 1733-1803 | 6th Baronet | Captain RN
Caldwell | Henry | 1815-1868 | Captain
Caldwell | Sir | Benjamin | 1737-1830 | Knight | Admiral
Osborn | Henry | 1694-1771 | Admiral


Administrative/Biographical history:

Abdy began his career by serving in the East India Company's ships TRUE BRITON, 1750 to 1752, on a voyage to China and Stafford,1753, to India. He then entered the Navy and was commissioned as lieutenant in 1758. He was promoted to commander in 1761 and served in the BEAVER, 1761 to 1766, in home waters and then in the West Indies. In 1766 he was promoted to Captain of the ACTAEON in the West Indies, but he returned home before the end of the year and did not serve again because of ill-health.

Henry Caldwell, grandson of Sir Benjamin Caldwell (q.v.), entered the Navy in 1828 as a volunteer on board the DARTMOUTH and became a midshipman in the PRINCE REGENT in 1830. He served for the next five years on the coast of South America in the CLIO, SPARTIATE and HORNET and then in the PEMBROKE and VANGUARD on the Mediterranean Station. After this he spent three years in the brigs PANTALOON and RAPID, tenders to the Royal George yacht. Caldwell was promoted to lieutenant in 1841 and for two years attended courses in the EXCELLENT on gunnery and at the Royal Naval College on steam. He then served in the INCONSTANT on the Mediterranean Station from 1843 until 1846, when he joined the EXCELLENT and PRINCE REGENT, home waters. From the latter ship he was promoted to commander in 1847. In 1848 he joined the POWERFUL on the Mediterranean Station and returned to the PRINCE REGENT in 1851. He was promoted to captain in 1853 and after studying steam at Woolwich dockyard, became Flag Captain to Rear-Admiral Hon. R.S. Dundas (1802-1861), Commander-in-Chief Baltic, in the DUKE OF WELLINGTON, and remained in her until 1857. Caldwell joined the MERSEY in 1859 for three years, serving in the Channel and on the North American and West Indies Station. After a short period in the ROYAL ADELAIDE at Devonport, he joined, in 1864, the ASIA, guardship of the steam reserve at Portsmouth. Finally Caldwell was aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria from 1866 until his death.

Sir Benjamin Caldwell entered the Navy in 1754 and was made a lieutenant in 1760. After service in the Channel during the Seven Years War, he became a commander in 1762 and a post captain in 1765. He then commanded the ROSE in North America, 1768 to 1771, and the EMERALD, 1775 to 1779, on that station and on convoy duties. He was appointed in 1780 to the HANNIBAL and convoyed the East India Company ships home. In April 1781 he was transferred to the AGAMEMNON in the Channel; she then sailed with Admiral Rodney (1719-1792) to the West Indies and was present at the battle of the Saints, 1782. The Agamemnon remained on the West Indies and North American Stations until 1783. Caldwell commanded the ALCIDE in 1787 and the BERWICK during the mobilization of 1790. In 1793 he was promoted to rear-admiral and served in the CUMBERLAND under Admiral Howe (q.v.). He transferred his flag in 1794 to the IMPREGNABLE and took part in the battle of First of June. In July of the same year he became a vice-admiral and was sent to the Leeward Islands in the Majestic under Admiral Jervis (q.v.); shortly after this Jervis returned home and Caldwell acted as Commander-in-Chief. His active career ended in 1795 and he was promoted to admiral in 1799.

Henry Osborn served in the Mediterranean before becoming a lieutenant in 1717. In 1718 He took part in the action off Cape Passaro in the Mediterranean and the following year served in a squadron on the north coast of Africa. His first command was the Squirrel in 1728. In 1734 he commanded the Portland in the Channel and in 1738 the Salisbury in the Mediterranean. He was appointed to the Prince of Orange in 1740, returning to England in the Chichester in 1741, when he moved to the Princess Caroline, Channel, until 1743. Osborn was promoted to rear-admiral in 1747 and in 1748 was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Leeward Islands; in the same year he became a vice-admiral. He was promoted admiral and appointed Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, in 1757 but after blockading the French fleet in 1758, he suffered a stroke and saw no more active service. Osborn was Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire, 1758 to 1761.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sir Willam Abdy, comprising logs, 1750 to 1753, and two combined letter and order books, 1761 to 1766. There are also copies, made by Abdy in his retirement, of despatches describing actions, 1778 to 1782 and 1793 to 1797, and of the Agamemnon's log, 1782 to 1783.

Papers of Capt Henry Caldwell, including one letter to Mary Caldwell, Henry's sister, written in 1865. Other than the papers include watch bills 1848 to 1851, 1856; a night order book, 1859 to 1862; printed papers; exercise books for the period at the Royal Naval College and remark books and notes relating to his various ships.

Papers of Sir Benjamin Caldwell comprising two collections. In the first collection consist of logs, 1768 to 1771, 1775 to 1777, 1780 to 1782, 1794 to 1795; letterbooks, 1776 to 1782, 1788, 1793 to 1795, and order books 1775 to 1783, 1788, 1794 to 1795. There is an account of the battle of the Saints. The second collection includes in-letters, 1775 to 1779, 1794 to 1795; a prize hook, 1777 to 1795; documents relating to the Agamemnon; Lord Howe? 5 signals, 1790; letters relating to the disagreements after the battle of First of June, and a personal signed copy of Rodney's defence of his conduct at St. Eustatius, 1781.

Papers of Henry Osborn comprising five logs, 1730 to 1742, and an order book, 1747 to 1757.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in four sub-fonds.

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Edited by Sarah Drewery, Jun 2011.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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