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Alden, James (31 March 1810–06 February 1877), naval officer, was born in Portland, Maine (then part of Massachusetts), the son of James Alden, a ship owner, and Elizabeth Tate. Nothing is known of his early life or education, and no information is available about his marriage or children, if any....

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Ammen, Daniel (16 May 1819–11 July 1898), naval officer, author, and inventor, was born in Brown County, Ohio, the son of David Ammen and Sally Houtz, farmers. While still a boy, Ammen exerted an unanticipated influence on later national affairs when he pulled his friend and schoolmate ...

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Bailey, Theodorus (12 April 1805–10 February 1877), U.S. Navy rear admiral, was born at Chateaugay near Plattsburg, New York, the son of William Bailey, a judge, and Phoebe Platt. He was the nephew and namesake of Theodorus Bailey (1758–1828), who was a congressman, U.S. senator, and postmaster of New York City. Raised in New York State on the western shore of Lake Champlain, the scion of a prominent family, Bailey attended Plattsburg Academy and joined the U.S. Navy only four years after Commodore ...

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Bridge, Horatio (08 April 1806–20 March 1893), naval officer and author, was born in Augusta, Maine, the son of James Bridge, a judge and financier, and Hannah North. He attended local schools in Augusta before entering Hallowell Academy and then Bowdoin College, from which he graduated in 1825. At Bowdoin, Bridge was a classmate of ...

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Brownell, Henry Howard (06 February 1820–31 October 1872), author and naval officer, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Pardon Brownell, a physician, and Lucia de Wolf. His father’s brother Thomas Church Brownell was bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Connecticut and also president of Washington (later Trinity) College, in Hartford, Connecticut. After attending public schools in Providence and East Hartford, Brownell enrolled in Washington College, graduating in 1841. He moved to the South in order to improve his health and taught school in Mobile, Alabama. Brownell returned to Hartford, where he read for the law. He was admitted to the bar in 1844, practiced for a short time, and then returned to teaching. He joined his brother in literary pursuits, contributing to magazines and publishing ...

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John B. Hattendorf and Patrick G. Williams

Collins, Napoleon (04 March 1814–09 August 1875), naval officer, was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Little is recorded of his parents or youth. He never married. Appointed a midshipman in 1834, he served with the West Indies Squadron until September 1839. Completing his examinations at the Naval School at Philadelphia, Collins was promoted to passed midshipman in July 1840. He subsequently served aboard the sloop of war ...

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Colvocoresses, George Musalas (22 October 1816–03 June 1872), naval officer, was born on the Greek island of Chios, the son of Constantine Colvocoresses and Franka Grimaldi. In 1822 he was kidnapped by Turks, who massacred most of the Greek population of the island, and was taken to Smyrna. His father, who survived the slaughter, ransomed him with the assistance of relatives. Seeing little hope for the boy’s future in Greece, the elder Colvocoresses seized an opportunity through the Greek Relief Committee to put his son on board the U.S. brig ...

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Craven, Thomas Tingey (20 December 1808–23 August 1887), naval officer, was born in the District of Columbia, the son of Tunis Craven, who held minor posts in the navy, including purser and naval storekeeper at the navy yards in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Brooklyn, New York, and Hannah Tingey. His grandfather on his mother’s side was Commodore ...

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Craven, Tunis Augustus MacDonough (11 January 1813–05 August 1864), naval officer, was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the son of Tunis Craven, a merchant, navy purser, and storekeeper, and Hannah Tingey. After his father became a storekeeper at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Craven attended grammar school at Columbia College in New York City. Craven’s maternal grandfather was Commodore ...

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Cushing, William Barker (04 November 1842–17 December 1874), naval officer, was born in Delafield, Wisconsin, the son of Milton Buckingham Cushing, a physician, and Mary Barker Smith. Having moved his family to Chicago in 1844 because of his poor health, Milton Cushing died of pneumonia three years later. His widow and her four sons then settled in Fredonia, New York, where Mary Cushing established a school....

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John A. Dahlgren. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1862).

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Dahlgren, John Adolphus Bernard (13 November 1809–12 July 1870), naval officer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Bernard Ulric Dahlgren, a merchant and diplomat, and Martha Rowan. Dahlgren received his early education at a Quaker school in Philadelphia. Because of his father’s position as Swedish consul, the Dahlgrens were a well recognized and respected family. When the elder Dahlgren died suddenly in 1824, the family was left in financial difficulty. Though initially denied entrance, thanks to family connections in February 1826 Dahlgren was granted an appointment as a midshipman in the U.S. Navy. His first assignment was to the frigate ...

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Charles Henry Davis. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-104940).

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Davis, Charles Henry (16 January 1807–18 February 1877), naval officer and hydrographer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Davis, solicitor general of Massachusetts, and Lois Freeman, the sister of James Freeman, the first Unitarian minister in New England. Davis entered Harvard College in 1821 but left two years later to become a midshipman and did not complete his degree until 1841. From 1824 to 1840 Davis served in the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the West Indies, the South Atlantic, and the Pacific; made warm friends, including ...

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George Dewey. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105269).

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Dewey, George (26 December 1837–16 January 1917), naval officer, was born in Montpelier, Vermont, the son of Julius Yemans Dewey, a prominent physician and insurance company president, and Mary Perrin. His mother died when Dewey was just five years old. After study at Norwich University, Dewey entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1854. The rambunctious plebe accumulated 113 demerits during his first year at the academy, but he graduated in 1858, fifth in his class of fifteen. After a cruise in the Mediterranean on the new frigate ...

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Drayton, Percival (25 August 1812–04 August 1865), naval officer, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Ann Gadsden and William Drayton (1776–1846), a lawyer and, later, U.S. congressman and president of the Second Bank of the United States. Percival Drayton was heavily influenced by his father’s nationalistic and antinullification views, and like his father, he would eventually call Philadelphia home....

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Samuel Francis Du Pont. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114880).

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Du Pont, Samuel Francis (27 September 1803–23 June 1865), naval officer, was born at “Goodstay,” Bergen Point (now Bayonne), New Jersey, the son of Victor Marie du Pont, an importer who had been consul of France in Charleston, and Gabrielle Joséphine de La Fite de Pelleport. He was the only grandson of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours to spell his name with a capital ...

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Erben, Henry (06 September 1832–23 October 1909), sometimes spelled Erban, naval officer, was born in New York City, the son of Henry Erben, a renowned organ builder. His mother’s name is unknown. He was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1848 and, after several periods of absence, graduated in 1855. His early sea service proved unspectacular except for helping to transport camels from Egypt to Texas in 1856 for the War Department’s experiment with the use of that animal in the Southwest. He also served aboard the ...