Melancton Smith (May 24 1810 – July 19 1893) was a United States Navy officer who served during the Seminole Wars and the American Civil War.
Melancton Smith III was born in New York City
, the was the son of Col. Melancton Smith, Jr.
, an army officer during the War of 1812
, and grandson of Melancton Smith
, a Continental Congressman
. The third Melancton joined the U.S. Navy at a young age.
Civil War service
At the outbreak of the American Civil War
Smith commanded the USS Massachusetts
and on June 9 1861
he captured the British blockade runner Perthshire
with cargo of cotton near Pensacola, Florida
. He also took part in the battles for Forts Jackson and St. Philip
in April 1862. He was appointed captain
and took part in the naval part of the Siege of Port Hudson
in May to July, 1863. Smith was senior naval officer of a small fleet in Albemarle Sound
where he attacked the Confederate ram CSS Albemarle
at the Battle of Albemarle Sound
in May 1864.
In his own words describing the havoc caused by one well-placed shot with the Massachusetts rifled pivot gun, at the CSS Selma October 1861.
He was in command of the frigate USS Wabash during both attacks on Fort Fisher in December 1864 and January 1865. In Real Admiral David Dixon Porter’s, Report to the U. S. Navy, dated January 28 1865, from his flagship USS Malvern, on the Cape Fear River, in commendation of officers of his command the North Atlantic Squadron, the following was written about Melancton Smith:
Post Civil War
After the war Smith was chief of the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting in the Department of the Navy from September 17, 1866 to July 17, 1870. He was then in charge of the New York Naval Shipyard at Brooklyn, New York until his retirement on May 24, 1871. Smith died in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Appointments and ranks
- Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.