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Commander C. H. Rockwell, U.S.N.


Commander C. H. Rockwell was born in Chatham, Massachusetts, April 29, 1840, and entered the naval service as acting master July 5, 1862. Attached to the " North Carolina," and then ordered to the steamer " Penguin," East Gulf Squadron, as executive-officer. In May, 1863, ordered to the U. S. schooner "Wanderer." In July of the same year he was ordered to command the U. S. schooner " Two Sisters." During the time he held this command active and important services were performed on the west coast of Florida, calling forth a commendatory letter from the commander-in-chief, who recommended Rockwell for promotion. On December 16, 1863, the Navy Department promoted him to acting volunteer_ lieutenant, " in consideration of good service," and a few days afterwards Lieutenant Rockwell was detached from the " Two Sisters" and ordered to command the bark " Gem of the Sea." This command he retained until November, 1864, when he was ordered to the command of the U. S. steamer " Hendrick Hudson." While in this command, and of the force blockading St. Mark's, Florida, he organized and directed an expedition against rebel salt-works, dispersing the armed force at the entrance of the river, and destroying a large amount of property. This called forth another letter of commendation from the commander-in-chief. On February 22, 1865, an expedition under Brigadier-General John Newton was organized to operate about St. Mark's, and, at the request of General Newton, Lieutenant Rockwell was ordered to the expedition as naval aid on the staff of the general, being placed in charge of the transportation of the troops. The forces landed at St. Mark's, and had an engagement at Newport, followed by a bloody battle at Natural Bridge, eight miles below Tallahassee. Upon the return of the expedition, Lieutenant Rockwell received a letter of thanks for his services from General Newton. He resumed command of the " Hendrick Hudson," and on March 27, 1865, was promoted to the grade of acting volunteer lieutenant-commander. Remained in command until August 8, 1865, when he was granted four months' leave of absence, and was honorably discharged from the naval service December 8, 1865.

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In November, 1866, Lieutenant-Commander Rockwell was examined for the regular service, and appointed acting master at once. He served for nearly a year on board the " Osceola," in the West Indies, and then went to Brazil as a passenger in the " Idaho," joined the flagship "Guerriere," and served in her until her return home in July, 1869. In 1868 he was made master, and in December of the same year commissioned as lieutenant. After a short service in the receiving-ship " Vandalia," at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he was ordered to the U. S. S. " Palos," and proceeded in her to China, commanding her until October, 1872, when he returned to the United States in the " Alaska." During his command of the " Palos" participated in the actions with the Corean forts, in Admiral John Rogers's expedition. From March, 1873, to September, 1874, he was on duty at the Portsmouth Navy-Yard ; then served some months on the " Plymouth" and " Colorado," and in June, 1815, became light-house inspector of the Fourteenth District.

On June 1, 1876, was ordered as executive-officer of the U. S. S. " Adams." On February 26, 1878, was promoted to lieutenant-commander, and served at the Torpedo School. In May, 1878, joined the " Jamestown" as executive, and served in Alaska in that ship until September, 1881. Then he was on duty at the Boston Navy Yard until October, 1882. In 1883 attached to the receiving-ship " Franklin," at Norfolk, Virginia. In Sept., 1884, took a large draft of men to the Isthmus for the Pacific Squadron. Was at the Torpedo School again in 1885, and at the War College. From April, 1886, to Oct., 1888, served on the training-ship " Minnesota," at New York. On Oct. 31, 1888, was promoted to commander, and in Feb., 1889, took command of U. S. S. "Yantic."

Commander Rockwell is at present in command of the receiving-ship " St. Louis," at the navy-yard, League Island, Pennsylvania.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.


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