Born in New York City, MacKenzie was appointed midshipman September 29, 1855. Serving in Hartford on the China Station at the outbreak of the Civil War, he returned to the United States and joined Kineo, in which he served during Farragut's daring dash past Forts Jackson and St. Philip on the lower Mississippi to capture New Orleans in 1862.
During 1863 and 1864 he participated in the blockade of Charleston and the attacks on Fort Sumter and Morris Island. After the end of the war, he returned to the Far East in Hartford, in which he served until 1867, when he was killed in Kenting, Taiwan while leading a reprisal attack against those responsible for the deaths of the entire crew of the American merchant bark Rover.
Three ships of the Navy have been named USS MacKenzie in his honor.
Herman Melville, Matthew Perry, and the narrative of the expedition of an American squadron to the china seas and Japan.
Oct 01, 2006; On his return journey from Japan to the United States in 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry visited Nathaniel Hawthorne in Liverpool...