This six-ship squadron sailed around the world between 1838 and 1842 collecting innumerable artifacts and measurements. A wonderful overview of this voyage is by Nathaniel Philbrick. (He wrote the Sea of Glory that deals with the U.S. Ex Ex. I recommend it most highly.)
Primary source material abounds:
Narrative texts, scientific texts, and atlases are fully accessible online.
Cultural artifacts have their own separate database.
The commander of this record-breaking endeavor was Charles Wilkes; here is his Autobiography of Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes, U.S. Navy, 1798-1877.
An officer in the expedition, George Colvocoresses published Four years in the government exploring expedition; commanded by Captain Charles Wilkes….