John Mercer Brooke

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John Mercer Brooke

Hillsborough County, Florida, USA
Death 14 Dec 1906 (aged 79)
Lexington, Lexington City, Virginia, USA
Burial Lexington, Lexington City, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 8383821 · View Source
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Confederate States Naval Commander, Inventor, Professor. He was born at an army base near Tampa, Florida. He entered the United States Navy as a midshipman in 1841 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1847. As a result of his surveying work, he invented a deep-sea sounding apparatus for mapping the ocean bottom. Promoted to Lieutenant in 1855, he was using his invention to survey North Pacific waters when the Civil War began. Resigning his commission on April 20, 1861, he entered the Virginia state navy, then the Confederate navy, with the rank of Lieutenant. Early in June, he met with Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory to discuss the possible use of ironclads. After he assured Mallory that the South was capable of building its own, the secretary appointed him his inspecting officer for the conversion of the USS Merrimack into an armored ship. He found that armor placed at an angle of about 38 degrees from the horizontal offered good protection against projectiles traveling along a flat trajectory. With this discovery, the Merrimack could become the CSS Virginia, the South's first ironclad. During the project, friction developed when the ship's constructor, John L. Porter, claimed credit for the Virginia's design. Though Mallory interceded to credit him, he loss of interest in the ironclad program. Promoted to Commander on September 13, 1862, he became chief of the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography in March 1863, an office he held until war's end. He also was the inventor of the Brooke Rife. After the war, he was professor of physics and astronomy at the Virginia Military Institute until 1899.

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 13 Feb 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8383821
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Mercer Brooke (18 Dec 1826–14 Dec 1906), Find a Grave Memorial no. 8383821, citing Oak Grove Cemetery, Lexington, Lexington City, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .