Ciivl War Union Navy Rear Admiral. Born in the District of Columbia, he was the son of a chief clerk in the Naval Department. His younger brother was John R. Goldsborough who would serve as an officer in the Union Navy. At the age of 7 and with war imminent, he solicited an appointment as a midshipman from the Secretary of the Navy himself. He received the appointment, however, his father wouldn't allow him to draw Navy pay without earning it. Later, his father met with the Secretary of the Navy and declined his son receiving pay until capable of active service. He finally went to sea in 1817. He saw varied foreign service, and received his commission in 1825 promoting him the rank of Lieutenant. He commanded a steamboat expedition in the Seminole War. He left the Navy for a time but returned and saw action in the Mexican War, commanding the ship of the line Ohio. He then served as Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy from 1853 to 1857. He held the rank of Captain in 1861. On the outbreak of war he was appointed to command the Atlantic Blockading Squadron and, when it was divided, the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Commanding the fleet that in February 1862 attacked Roanoke Island, North Carolina, he earned the Thanks of Congress for the capture of the island and the closing of the North Carolina sounds. He was subsequently criticized for not being present at the Battle of Hampton Roads when the Confederate ironclad Virginia attacked units of his squadron, as well as for his policy during Major General George B. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign. When in July 1862 the James River Flotilla, an independent command, was created from his squadron, he asked to be relieved from command of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The day after he requested this relief, he was promoted to Rear Admiral. From September 1862 until April 1865 he performed administrative duties for the Navy Department in Washington D.C. In February 1865 the department decided to reestablish a squadron in European waters and appointed him to the command. His major responsibility was to destroy the Confederate commerce cruisers Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Tallahassee and the ironclad ram Stonewall. Though the Civil War was over by July, when he reached Europe, he was ordered to seize any former "rebel vessels." None was captured, however, and after 2 years he relinquished command of the squadron and returned to the United States. He retired in 1871, died in Washington, DC six years later, and was interred in the family vault of his father-in-law, former United States Attorney General William Wirt, in Washington, DC's Congressional Cemetery. A cenotaph exists for him in the Saint James the Less Episcopal Churchyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Bio by: Ugaalltheway