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US Navy Rear Admiral Louis M. Goldsborough


Item No. CV29056 Category


Goldsborough was given command of the Atlantic Blocking Squadron in September 1861. In October of that year the Atlantic squadron was split into the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and South Atlantic Blocking Squadron; Goldsborough took command of the North squadron. On January 3, 1862, Goldsborough was promoted to the newly created rank of Flag Officer (equivalent to the rank of Commodore which would be created 5 months later). During his command of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, which he commanded from its inception to September 1862, he led his fleet off North Carolina, where in cooperation with troops under General Burnside, he captured Roanoke Island and destroyed a small Confederate fleet. After aiding the capture of Roanoke Island, Goldsborough and his command were sent to Hampton Roads at the request of General McClellan to help protect Union forces landing on the Virginia Peninsula at the start of the Peninsular Campaign. Goldsborough refused to be placed under McClellan’s direct command, telling Assistant Secretary of the Navy that he would instead cooperate with McClellan. After sending six of his vessels to attack the Gloucester Point batteries, Goldsborough withdrew them, saying the area was too dangerous for his ships—even though none of them sustained any damage—and fearful of a return appearance by CSS Virginia, which had laid waste to a Union naval force in Hampton Roads while Goldsborough was at Roanoke Island. At the start of the Seven Days Battle, Goldsborough was asked again, this time by President Lincoln, to come to McClellan’s aid. Goldsborough continued to hold back his fleet, forcing Lincoln to accept a recommendation by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells to detach ships under Goldsborough’s command and place them under Commodore Charles Wilkes, who as a lieutenant had relieved Goldsborough at the Depot of Charts and Instruments, and who would report directly to Welles. This move, coupled with newspaper accounts critical of the Navy, so seriously hurt Goldsborough that he requested that he be relieved. He was promoted to rear admiral in August 1862, and in September passed command of the squadron to Acting Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee. Goldsborough would finish the war performing administrative duties in Washington, D.C. Very nice view of the rear admiral. Back marked out of Boston

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