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Melancton Smith
May 24, 1810 – July 19, 1893
A-Melancton Smith-1a.jpg
Melancton Smith III
Place of birth New York City, New York
Place of death Green Bay, Wisconsin
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1826–71
Rank Rear Admiral
Unit USS Massachusetts
USS Wabash
Battles/wars Seminole Wars
American Civil War

Melancton Smith (May 24, 1810 – July 19, 1893) was a United States Navy officer who served during the Seminole Wars and the American Civil War.


Early life

Melancton Smith III was born in New York City, the was the son of Col. Melancton Smith, Jr., an army officer during the War of 1812, and grandson of Melancton Smith, a Continental Congressman. The third Melancton joined the U.S. Navy at a young age.

Civil War service

At the outbreak of the American Civil War Smith commanded the USS Massachusetts and on June 9, 1861 he captured the British blockade runner Perthshire with cargo of cotton near Pensacola, Florida. He also took part in the battles for Forts Jackson and St. Philip in April 1862. He was appointed captain and took part in the naval part of the Siege of Port Hudson in May to July, 1863. Smith was senior naval officer of a small fleet in Albemarle Sound where he attacked the Confederate ram CSS Albemarle at the Battle of Albemarle Sound in May 1864.

In his own words describing the havoc caused by one well-placed shot with the Massachusetts rifled pivot gun, at the CSS Selma October 1861.

It entered the starboard side abaft the engine five feet above the water line, cutting entirely through 18 planks of the main deck, carried away the table, sofas, eight sections of iron steam pipe, and exploded in the stateroom on the port side, stripping the bulkheads of four rooms, and setting fire to the vessel ... 12 pieces of the fragments have been collected and weigh 58 pounds.

He was in command of the frigate USS Wabash during both attacks on Fort Fisher in December 1864 and January 1865. In Real Admiral David Dixon Porter’s, Report to the U. S. Navy, dated January 28, 1865, from his flagship USS Malvern, on the Cape Fear River, in commendation of officers of his command the North Atlantic Squadron, the following was written about Melancton Smith:

Captain Melancton Smith, in the Wabash, has performed his duty well. He has also made a good record at the Department, and has been actively engaged in fighting since the rebellion first broke out. His old ship has done good service here, and if he had done nothing more than assist, as he has done in the capture of this place, he deserves promotion, which I hereby recommend.

Post Civil War

After the war Smith was chief of the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting in the Department of the Navy from September 17, 1866 to July 17, 1870. He was then in charge of the New York Naval Shipyard at Brooklyn, New York until his retirement on May 24, 1871. Smith died in Green Bay, Wisconsin.[1]

Appointments and ranks

See also


  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.


  1. ^ Eicher, pp. 497-8.

External links



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