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Samuel Francis Du Pont

Du Pont, Samuel Francis, 1803–65, American naval officer, b. Bergen Point, N.J.; grandson of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours. Appointed a midshipman in 1815, he saw his first active duty in the Mediterranean (1817) and served in the Mexican War. As commander of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron in the Civil War, Du Pont directed (Nov., 1861) the successful naval attack against Port Royal, S.C., for which he won a rear admiral's commission. He secured further footholds for the Union on the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The blockade Du Pont organized was generally successful, except at Charleston. Against Du Pont's advice the Dept. of the Navy ordered him to attack Charleston with ironclad monitors. When the attack failed (Apr. 7, 1863), Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles blamed Du Pont and, at Du Pont's request, relieved him of his command (July, 1863). A congressional investigation followed, but its findings were inconclusive.

See his Civil War Letters, ed. by J. D. Hayes (3 vol., 1969); biography by his nephew H. A. du Pont (1926).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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