Lewis Randolph Hamersly.

The records of living officers of the U. S. navy and Marine corps: with a history of naval operations during the rebellion of 1861-5, and a list of the ships and officers participating in the great battles online

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Online LibraryLewis Randolph HamerslyThe records of living officers of the U. S. navy and Marine corps: with a history of naval operations during the rebellion of 1861-5, and a list of the ships and officers participating in the great battles → online text (page 1 of 42)
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Cornell University

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(Jfarncll Intoeraitg Uibrarg

Jttjara. Sfem ^orb














Lewis R. Hameesly,

(Late Lieutenant United States Marine Corps.)


187 0.




A ^ ■-: I'j % A, '-^

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
L. R. HameesI/Y and F. R. Haebahgh,

In the Clerk'a Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.










Philadelphia, Febetjaey, 1870.

Navy Depaktment,

11th January, 1870.
Dear Sib ;

I have examined tbe proof sheets of your work on the Records of the
Living Officers of the Navy, and am of opinion that it will supply a want, and
be a useful book to the service and to the country.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,


Secretary of Navy.
Lewis R. Hamerslt, Esq.,

Editor of the Records of Living Officers.

Navy Department,

Washington, January 11th, 1870.

This seems to be a concise statement of the services of the Living Officers
of the Navy, as shown by the records of this Department.


Vice Admiral.


The late Rebellion, wHeh elicited so much impulsive valor and such well-
applied skill, found the United States almost without an army and navy. We
had only 16,000 regular troops, dispersed over a wide expanse of territory, and
only 94 war vessels of all classes, designed to carry 2,415 guns. Only 43 of
these ships were in commission. Many of these had been sent to distant seas :
so, for the defence of our whole Atlantic seaboard the sole available force was
the Brooklyn, of 25, and the store-ship Relief, of 2 guns. Of seamen and
marines there were only 7,000. The military deficiency was supplied by a vol-
unteer force; a navy had to be created. Six hundred vessels were provided,
which not only maintained a strict blockade for four years, from the Capes of the
Chesapeake to the Rio Grande, but captured blockade-runners, chiefly with
British owners, to the value of $30,000,000. Over 200 war ships were con-
structed, and 418 merchant vessels, (of which 313 were steamers,) were converted
into ships-of-war. Mechanical skill, developed by encouragement, greatly im-
proved the ordnance and produced the Monitor, which rendered such unexpected
and efficient service at. a most critical time. Our soldiers were nobly supported
in the great contest, not alone at Mobile, Pensacola, Key West, along the Florida
Coast, Charleston, Fortress Monroe, and Norfolk, but even at Forts Henry and
Donelson, Shiloh, and, along the Mississippi river, especially at Vicksburg, Port
Hudson, and New Orleans.

The services of army officers have been recorded by several authors, but those
of the Navy and the Marine Corps have been wholly neglected — the Official
Registers merely giving the name, place of birth, date of last commission, and
present station. Much more is required, not alone in justice to these gallant
patriots, but as part of our national history ; as an incitement to others to pursue
the career in which, while performing duty, they won renown. The present
volume endeavors to supply this want. For the conductors of the public press,
who may have occasion to write about these brave men, living or dead, (for,
though glory is immortal, those who obtain it must submit to the common
destiny of their race,) this work will be a treasury of facts, accurate in its full
details. Henceforth, when an Officer of the Navy or Marine Corps passes to th^
better land, the recording journalist can draw upon these pages for the substan-
tial facts of his public service, and not, as hitherto, make mere mention of his

Here are the records of Living Officers of the United States Navy and Blarine
Corps, (from the grade of Admiral down to that of Lieutenant-Commander,



inclusive, not omitting full Surgeons, Paymasters, Engineers, and Marine
Officers,) as they appear in the Navy Register for 1870 ; also, a History of the
Naval Operations daring the Eebellion of 1861-5, with the names of the vessels
and a list of the officers participating in the great battles. These records have
been generally verified by collation with the books of the Navy Department.
Occasionally, information has been obtained from the officers themselves.

In the cases of such Eetired Officers as had entered the Navy early in the
present century, it has often been difficult, sometimes impossible, to obtain
a correct record of their first services. The first Navy Register was pub-
lished in 1816, and, for some years later, all Paymasters' Accounts, with the
Muster and Pay-rolls, were filed in the office of the Comptroller of tbe Treasury,
and perished when that edifice was destroyed by fire in 1833. To explain why,
in the cases of some of the Retired naval officers, the commission of Captain
follows that of Lieutenant, the intermediate grades of Lieutenant-Commander
and Commander being omitted, it should be known that the law of 1867 pro-
vided that officers on the Retired List should be promoted with officers of the
same date on the active list. Thus, officers who had for many years been Lieu-
tenants on the Retired List were promoted at once, in pursuance of this law, to
the rank of Captain, and even of Commodore.

The second portion of this volume is a History of the important Naval opera-
tions of the different squadrons during the late war, chiefly compiled from the
annual reports of the Secretary of the Navy and the official reports of the com-
manding officers. As far as practicable, the language of these reports, at once
graphic and terse, has been retained, and the Commanders' own words are also
given, with no more alteration than was necessary in placing the events in clear
chronological order.

The closing section contains the names of officers and vessels participating in
the great Naval battles of the Rebellion. It is the only complete list of this
character ever published.

Officers of the Navy and Marine Corps are requested to send to the author,
(in care of his publishers, J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia,) any addenda,
corrections or suggestions which he can make use of in subsequent editions.

Philadelphia, February, 1870.

Records of Living Officers of the U. S. Nayy.


Born at Campbell's Station, East Tennessee, 1801. Appointed Midshipman
" at large" December 17th, 1810 ; commissioned as Lieutenant January 13th,
1825; attached to receiving ship at Norfolk, Va., 1827; serving on board
sloop of war Vandalia, Brazil Squadron, 1829 and 30 ; attached to sloop of
war Natchez, Brazil Squadron, 1834 ; commissioned as Commander September
8th, 1841 ; commanding sloop of war Decatur, Brazil Squadron, 1843 ; attached
to Norfolk Navy Yard 1846; commanding sloop of war Saratoga, Home Squad-
ron, 1847-9 ; serving at Norfolk Navy Yard 1850 ; commissioned as Captain
March, 1851 ; on Ordnance duty 1851-54 ; commanding Mare Island Navy
Yard, California, 1856-58 ; commanding sloop of war Brooklyn, Home Squad-
ron, 1859-60; waiting orders 1861 ; commissioned as Rear Admiral July 16th,
1862; as Vice Admiral December 21st, 1864; as Admiral July 25th, 1866.
He has had twenty-five years' sea service ; eighteen years' shore duty, and has
been fourteen years unemployed.

The name of David Glascoe . Farragut is one of the most famous in the
annals of the United States Navy. When a boy of nine years, his father pro-
cured him an appointment as Midshipman, and his first cruise was in the
frigate Essex, Commodore Porter. While serving in the Essex he participated
in the engagement which resulted in the capture of H. M. ship Alert. On
March 28th, 1814, after a desperate and bloody fight of three hours, the
frigate Essex was captured in the Bay of Valparaiso by H. M. ships Phoebe, of
thirty-six guns, and Cherub, of twenty-eight guns.

Midshipman Farragut, twelve years of age, was wounded, the only wound he
ever received, being knocked down the hatch by a falling man, and severely
bruised. In his official report to the Secretary of the Navy, Commodore
Porter made special and honorable mention of the lad, saying with appropriate
regret that " the boy was too young for promotion."

Under Commodore Porter, in the West Indies, Midshipman Farragut took
part in the attack on the rendezvous of pirates, at Cape Cruz, on the south side
of the Island of Cuba, July 23, 1823. The United States naval force con-
sisted of the schooner Grey-Hound, Lieut. Commander L. Kearney, and
schooner Beagle, Lieut. Commander L. S. Newton. The attack lasted twelve
hours. The boats of the pirates were captured and their village burned.

From this time, for nearly forty years, he was sailing about the world, or
quietly serving at different naval stations ; and at long intervals, rising by
seniority from grade to grade.

When the Rebellion began, Captain Farragut was sixty years of age, and had
been in the service forty-eight years. He was living at Norfolk, Virginia,
where he had married, and being a native of the South, it was hoped by the


rebels that lie would cast his fortunes with the seceding States. His firm
determination to remain true to the flag, called forth no unmeaning threats.
He was plainly informed that it would not be safe for him to remain in the
South with the sentiments he held. He left Norfolk on the 18th of April,
1861, the night before the burning of the Navy Yard and government vessels.

Captain Earragut's first appointment during the Rebellion was to the com-
mand of the naval espedition organized for the caj)ture of the city of New
Orleans. His orders reached him January 20, 1862, and on the 3d of Febru-
ary following he sailed from Hampton Roads, in his famous flag-ship Hartford,
for Ship Island, which place the fleet reached in safety, and there- made final
preparations for the attack on the defences of New Orleans. These defences
consisted of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, mounting one hundred and twenty
guns of long range and heavy calibre, a fleet of twenty armed steamers, and
four powerful steam iron-clad rams, one of them of four thousand tons, with a
battery of sixteeen heavy guns, and, in addition, chains, rafts, and fire ships.
On the 24th of April, Farragut attacked and passed the forts, encountered and
destroyed the rebel fleet, under J. K. Mitchell, and ascended the Mississippi
River. On the 25th attacked the Chalmette batteries, on each side of the
river, three miles below New Orleans, drove the enemy from their guns, took
possession of the forts, and on the same day captured the city. June 24th,
1863, the Admiral, with his fleet, passed Grand Gulf; on the 28th commenced
the attack upon, and passed Vicksburg and its surrounding batteries. On the
16th of July, to the mortification of the Admiral, the rebel iroQ-clad ram
Arkansas made its appearance, having escaped out of the Yazoo River, passed
through the fleet exchanging shots, and reached the cover of the Vicksburg
batteries. At 7 P. M. the fleet passed down the river, engaging the batteries
and ram at Vicksburg. The army having failed to co-operate with the fleet,
and Farragut not having sufficient force to make a land attack on Vicksburg,
he was compelled to proceed to New Orleans, as it had become necessary to
repair most of the vessels of his squadron. In March, 1863, Farragut was
ordered to open communication with Rear Admiral Porter, of the Mississippi
Squadron, and General Grant, both of whom were operating against Vicksburg.
He therefore moved up in strong force from Baton Rouge, and on March 14th
the fleet attempted to pass the batteries at Port Hudson, but only the flag-ship
Hartford and the Albatross were successful. With these he succeeded in
approaching Vicksburg, and in communicating with Rear Admiral Porter across
the Peninsula.

This gallant act of Rear Admiral Farragut being efiected, the navy had com-
mand of the river between Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and was enabled to
establish a blockade of Red River, and thus intercept the supplies from Texas
destined for the rebel armies. This accomplished, the Admiral left his flao -
ship, the Hartford, and returning below, by way of the Atchafalaya, he
resumed operations for a final assault on Port Hudson.

May 24th he engaged the batteries at Port Hudson, and from that time until
July 9th, when the garrison surrendered, he gallantly and efficiently co-operated
with the army in its investment of the place. The river being now open Far-
ragut turned over to Rear Admiral Porter the entire control of the western
waters above New Orleans. Deeming that his long service and useful labors of
eighteen months entitled this gallant officer to special consideration, the depart-
ment tendered him a leave of absence, which he accepted.

August 5th, 1864, the fleet under Rear Admiral Farragut passed the forts at
the entrance of Mobile Bay, and engaged the rebel iron-clad Tennessee and her
consorts. After a desperate fight of several hours' duration the rebel fleet sur-


rendered to the United States naval forces, and the fall of Mobile became a
mere question of time ; Fort Powell was blown up August 6th, Fort Gaines sur-
rendered August Sih, and Fort Morgan August 23d.

In September, 1864, Vice Admiral Farragut was offered the command of the
naval expedition, then fitting out for the attack upon the defences of Wilming-
ton, North Carolina; but impaired health obliged him to decline. In the
summer of 1867, Admiral Farragut was ordered to the command of the
European Squadron. He sailed from Brooklyn, New York, in the frigate
Franklin, in 1867, and returned to the United States in the fall of 1868.
During this cruise Admiral Farragut was everywhere received with respect
and courtesy. The crowned heads and titled nobility of Europe seemed to
vie with their humblest subjects in doing honor to this noble specimen of
the American naval officer.


David D. Pouter is a native of the State of Pennsylvania. Appointed Mid-
shipman from that State, February 2d, 1829; attached to frigate Constellation,
Mediterranean Squadron, 1830 ; frigate United States, same squadron, 1833-34;
attached to ship-of the-line Delaware, Mediterranean Squadron, 1835 ; promoted
to Passed Midshipman, June 4th, 1836 ; ou Coast Survey duty, 1837-40 ; com-
missioned as Lieutenant, February 27th, 1841 ; frigate Congress, Mediterranean
Squadron, 1843-45 ; Naval Observatory, Washington, D. C, 1846. Lieutenant
Porter was attached to Home Squadron, 1847, and actively engaged in the war
with Mexico; was present at the two attacks on Vera Cruz and one on Tuspan, and
one at Tobasco ; participated also in a land fio;ht at Tamultee, and a similar en-
gagement at Chiflon ; on Coast Survey duty, 1848-49; on leave of absence, 1850;
commanding Pacific Mail Steamer Georgia, 1851-53 ; on leave of absence, 1854 ;
commanding store-ship Supply, 1855-57; attached to Portsmouth Navy Yard, N.
H., 1858-60 ; promoted to Commander, April 22d, 1861 ; commissioned as
Rear Admiral, July 4th, 1863 ; as Vice Admiral, July 25th, 1866.

Vice Admiral Porter was actively employed from the beginning to the close
of the rebellion. As early as April, 1861, he sailed from New York in the
Powhatan for Fort Pickens, and remained on the coast of Florida until ordered
North to assume command of the mortar fleet fitting out to co-operate with
Admiral Farragut in his attack on the defences of New Orleans. He dis-
played great energy in hastening the sailing of these vessels, and when Farra-
gut arrived at the Southwest Pass, Porter's vessels were at their stations and
ready to commence the attack.

On the 11th of April, 1862, he began the bombardment of Forts Jackson
and St. Philip. The mortar flotilla kept up a steady fire, with but slight ces-
sation, for six days and nights, at the end of which time both of the forts,
powerful as they were, and desperate as was their resistance, had become so
weakened and the garrison so demoralized, as, in the judgment of the Flag Officer,
to render the passage of the fleet possible.

On April 28th, Brigadier General Duncan, commanding the coast defences,
and Lieutenant Colonel Higgins, commanding Forts Jackson and St. Philip,
surrendered to Commander Porter. From this time until July, 1862, he re-
mained in command of the mortar flotilla, actively, zealously, and efficiently co-
operating with Admiral Farragut in his operations on the Mississippi, from New


Orleans to Vicksburg. Commander Porter was soon after appointed Acting
Rear Admiral, and ordered to the command of the Mississippi Squadron. The
true character of his natural endowments and professional attainments may be
seen in his creating a fleet of one hundred and twenty-five vessels — a number
far exceeding that commanded by any other officer in the history of naval war-
fare — out of the material afforded by ordinary river steamboats, which he plated,
armed and equipped, making them formidable and efficient war vessels. In the
squadron there were more than thirteen hundred officers ; of these not more than
twenty-five were of the regular navy, the rest consisting mainly of Western
steamboat men, utterly without naval training, but who, under the rigid dis-
cipline and inspiring example of their commander, soon became valuable and
trustworthy officers. In January, 1863, Admiral Porter's fleet captured Ar-
kansas Post, on the Arkansas river, and in the month of May following he de-
stroyed the formidable rebel batteries at Grand Gulf. Invaluable aid was ren-
dered to the army under General Grant by Admiral Porter in the reduction of
Vicksburg, which surrendered July 4, 1863.

During the siege of Vicksburg his mortar fleet were forty days without inter-
mission throwing shells into the city and even into the works beyond it. Thir-
teen heavy guns were landed from the vessels, and men and officers sent to
man thenl. Before the city capitulated, sixteen thousand shells were thrown
from the mortars, gunboats, and naval batteries.

In addition to these successes. Admiral Porter obtained control of the Yazoo
river, sweeping from its channel the net-work of torpedoes and contrivances for
submarine warfare near its confluence with the Mississippi. These efi'orts were
followed by. the novel and singular Yazoo Pass expedition, and the expeditions
of Steele's Bayou and Deer Creek. The Cumberland and "rennessce rivers were
actively patrolled by his vigilant officers, and the exciting chase of Slorgan by
the steamers on the Ohio river, over a distance of five hundred miles, intercept-
ing bim and his band when attempting to escape, naturally attracted the atten-
tion of the country.

In jMarch, 1864, a portion of the Mississippi Squadron, under Admiral
Porter, ascended the Eed river to form a junction with the army under General
Banks at Alexandria, La. From this point, with some of his most formidable
iron-clads, Admiral Porter penetrated some fifty miles further up the river, to
Springfield Landing. While at Springfield Landing he learned that the army
under General Banks had met with a reverse, and was falling back to Pleasant
Hill, some distance below. Pi,ear Admiral Porter was therefore compelled to
turn back, his retracing steps harassed at every available point by the enemy,
flushed with their recent success against the army.

On the 14th of April, Admiral Porter reached Graud-Ecore, where he found
the vessels he had left at that point still detained above the bar. The river
instead of rising as customary at this season, had fallen during his absence, and
the destruction of the best portion of the Squadron seemed inevitable. But in
the words of the Admiral, " Providence provided a man for the occasion."
Lieut. Col. Bailey, Acting Engineer of the 19th army corps, constructed a
series of dams across the river at the falls, and the water risinn- to a sufficient
height, the imperiled boats passed safely over the bar.

itear Admiral Porter, who had displayed ability of the hio-hest order and as
commander of the Mississippi Squadron, had met with marked success in his
operations against the enemy, and who, moreover, enjoyed the entire confidence
of the department and the nation, was detached from the Jlississippi and
ordered to the command of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron which
embraced within its limits Cape Fear river and the port of Wilmin"-ton.'


A fleet comprising all the available vessels at the disposal of the department,
and commanded by officers who had distinguished themselves in the earlier
operations of the war, was assembled at Hampton Roads. In the early part of
December the fleet sailed for Beaufort, N. C, where they were to rendezvous. Final
preparations for the attack were then made. On the 24th of December, 1804,
Rear Admiral Porter, with a force of thirty-five vessels, five of which were iron-
clads, and a reserve force of nineteen vessels, commenced the bombardment of the
forts at the mouth of Cape Pear river, and silenced them in an hour and a:
quarter. On the following day the fleet renewed the attack, and seriously
damaged the enemy's works.

General Butler, who commanded the military forces, after a reconnoissanoe, de-
cided that the place could not be carried by assault. He, therefore, after inform-
ing Rear Admiral Porter of his intention, returned with his command to Hamp-
ton Roads. Admiral Porter, aware of the necessity of reducing the works, and
the great importance of closing the port of Wilmington, and confident that with
adequate military support the fort could be carried, earnestly requested that the
enterprise should not be abandoned. On the suggestion of the President,
Lieutenant-Geueral Grant was advised of the confidence felt by RearlAdmiral
Porter, chat he could obtain complete success, provided he should be sufliciently
sustained. Such military aid was therefore invited as would secure the fall of
Fort Fisher. A second military force was promptly detailed, composed of about
8,500 men, imder command of Maj. Gen. A. H. Terry, and sent forward.
This force arrived off Fort Fisher on the 13th of January. Oflensive opera- ,
tions were at once resumed by the naval force, and the troops were landed and
entrenched themselves, while a portion of the fleet bombarded the works. These
operations were continued throughout the 14th with an increased uutnber of
vessels. The 15th was the day decided upon for the assault.

During the morning of that day, forty-four vessels poured an incessant fire
into the fort. There was besides a force of fourteen vessels in reserve. At
3 P. M. the signal for the assault was made. Desperate fighting ensued ; tra-
verse after traverse was taken, and by 10 P. M. the works were all carried.

Fourteen hundred sailors and marines were landed, and participated in the
direct assault. Seventy-five guns, many of them superb rifle pieces, and nine-
teen hundred prisoners were the immediate fruits of the victory.

In 1866, Vice Admiral Porter was appointed Superintendent of the Naval
Academy at Annapolis, which institution, under his excellent management, has
acquired the highest standing. He is now on duty at the Navy Department.


Was born in Washington, D. C, February 18th, 1805. Appointed Midship-
man from District of Columbia, June 18th, 1812; commissioned as Lieutenant,
January 13th, 1825, and ordered to Mediterranean Squadron; attached to
schooner Porpoise, Mediterranean Squadron, 1827-29. In 1827, Lieut. Goids-

Online LibraryLewis Randolph HamerslyThe records of living officers of the U. S. navy and Marine corps: with a history of naval operations during the rebellion of 1861-5, and a list of the ships and officers participating in the great battles → online text (page 1 of 42)