Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes

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“Rear Admiral Wilkes, born in New York city, April 3rd, 1798, died in Washington, D. C., February 8th, 1877. He entered the navy as a midshipman, January 1st, 1818, and was promoted to lieutenant, April 28th, 1826. He served several years in the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. In 1843 Wilkes was on coast survey duty, being commissioned commander, July 13th, 1843; captain, September 14th, 1855; and placed in command of the sloop of war San Jacinto in 1861, on the outbreak of the Civil War. His first duty was the pursuit of the Confederate war vessel Sumter. On November 8th the San Jacinto encountered the English mail steamer Trent, which was on its way from Havana to St. Thomas, West Indies, having on board the Confederate Commissioners to France and Great Britain- John Slidell, of Louisiana, and James M. Mason, of Virginia- with their secretaries. On overtaking the Trent Wilkes ordered Lieutenant Fairfax to bring them off. The officials were removed to the San Jacinto, in which they were taken to Fort Warren, in Boston harbor. In 1862 Wilkes commanded the James River Flotilla, and shelled City Point. He was promoted to commodore on July 16th, 1862, and took charge of a special squadron in the West Indies. He was placed on the retired list, because of age, June 25th, 1864, and promoted to rear admiral on the retired list, July 25th, 1866."— Frank Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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