Charles Fleury Bien-aime Guillou was born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in 1813. His father, Victor Gabriel Guillou escaped to America during the French Revolution and settled in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Charles attended the military academy and then graduated from University of Philadelphia medical school in 1836. In 1837, he was appointed assistant surgeon for the USS Porpoise, commanded by Lieutenant William Ramsay, in the US Navy. He also served on the USS Peacock, the USS Columbus, the USS Constitution and many others.
In 1840, Charles was aboard the USS Peacock when the first sighting of Antarctica, the southernmost continent encapsulating the South Pole, was documented. Since 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice at least 1 mile thick, the ship got stuck and had to go to Sydney, Australia for repair.
In 1841 the ship docked in Honolulu Hawaii for the winter. Upon its arrival, many sailors requested to leave the ship. Charles Wilkes, commander of the United States Exploring Expedition, which was for the purpose of exploring and surveying the Southern Ocean, was not a likeable man. He dismissed many officers and demanded to see all the sailors’ journals and personal writings of the expedition. When Charles Guillou took a few pages from his journal before surrendering it to the commander, he was suspended by Wilkes and officially put under arrest. President John Tyler reduced his sentence to one year. Guillou then filed formal charges against Commander Wilkes of regular mistreatment of his subordinate officers and for excessive punishment of his sailors in which he was only found guilty of illegal punishment.
Once his year was up, Charles served on the USS Columbus under Commodore James Biddle, Commander of the East Indies Squadron. This ship was sent on a diplomatic mission to Canton, China where ratified copies of the first American commercial treaty with China were exchanged. The Mexican-American War, an armed conflict between the United States and...