James Harmon Ward

James Harmon Ward

Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Death 27 Jun 1861 (aged 54)
King George County, Virginia, USA
Burial Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Plot Section E / Lot 10
Memorial ID 19082 · View Source
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Civil War Union Naval Officer. When the Civil War started, he had 39 years of experienced service in the United States Navy, having entered the service as a 17-year old midshipman in 1823. Became one of the mid-19th Century's foremost authority on naval tactics and ordnance, and wrote several influential manuals on both subjects. He was one of the driving forces in the establishment of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, and was named its executive office when the Academy opened in October 1845. Commanded the U.S.S. Cumberland in the Mexican War, which was Naval Commander Commodore Matthew Perry's flagship. At the outbreak of the Civil War he urged the formation of a flotilla to patrol the Potomac to protect Washington, DC. He was given commander of that flotilla when it was officially formed in May 1861. On June 1, 1861 his commanded successfully silenced Confederate shore batteries stationed at Aquia Creek, Virginia. Later that month his flotilla was called upon to prevent Confederate artillery batteries to be positioned on Matthias Point. He sent a shore party to erect fortifications in the area, which were then attacked by infantry when they attempted to withdraw. Commander Ward was shot in the abdomen while he was sighting the guns of one of his ships to repulse the attacking rebels. He died within an hour of his wounding, thus becoming the first Union Naval officer to die in combat during the Civil War, and was the only Union fatality in the action.

Bio by: Russ Dodge

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 18 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19082
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Harmon Ward (25 Sep 1806–27 Jun 1861), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19082, citing Old North Cemetery, Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .