FULL STANDING CDV OF ADMIRAL SAMUEL F. DU PONT

$75.00

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Item Code: 259-34

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Image shows DuPont cradling his sword in his left arm. He wears a dark double-breasted waist length coat with brush epaulettes and three wide bands on each cuff. His trousers are also dark with a wide light leg stripe. At his waist is his sword belt with two piece tongue and wreath Navy plate. In his right hand he holds his bicorn with hat device on the side.

Image is grainy with scattered areas of light contrast. All details are visible. Mount and image are clean.

Reverse is blank except for pencil inscription “DUPONT.”

Samuel Francis Du Pont was born at Goodstay, his family home at Bergen Point, New Jersey. He was enrolled at Mount Airy Academy in Germantown, Pennsylvania, at age 9 but due to financial difficulties he was encouraged to enlist in the U.S. Navy. His family's connections helped secure him an appointment as a midshipman at the age of 12, and he first set sail aboard the 74-gun ship of the line FRANKLIN out of Delaware in December 1815.

As there was no naval academy at the time, Du Pont learned mathematics and navigation at sea and became an accomplished navigator. In 1821 he was assigned to the CONSTITUTION. He then served aboard the frigate CONGRESS in the West Indies and Brazil. Soon after his promotion to Lieutenant in 1826, he was ordered aboard the schooner PORPOISE, returned home for two years after his father's death in 1827, and then served aboard the sloop ONTARIO in 1829.

From 1835 until 1838, he was the executive officer of the frigate CONSTELLATION and the sloop WARREN, commanding both the latter and the schooner GRAMPUS in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1838 he joined the ship OHIO in the Mediterranean until 1841. The following year he was promoted to Commander and set sail for China aboard the brig PERRY, but was forced to return home and give up his command because of severe illness. He returned to service in 1845 as commander of the CONGRESS reaching California by way of a cruise of the Hawaiian Islands by the time the Mexican War had begun.

Du Pont was given command of the sloop CYANE in 1846 and quickly showed his skill as a naval combat commander, taking or destroying thirty enemy ships and clearing the Gulf of California. Du Pont transported troops to San Diego, where they captured the city. He then continued operations along the Baja coast, including the capture of La Paz, and burnt two enemy gunboats in the harbor of Guaymas under heavy fire. He led the main line of ships that took Mazatlán on November 11, 1847, and on February 15, 1848, launched an amphibious assault on San José del Cabo that managed to strike three miles inland and relieve a besieged squadron, despite heavy resistance.

After the war he served as head of the Naval Academy. In 1853, Du Pont was made general superintendent over what is typically considered the first World's Fair in the United States—the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, held in New York City. Despite international praise, low attendance caused the venture to go into heavy debt, and Du Pont resigned.

Du Pont was promoted to captain in 1855. In 1857 he was given command of the steam frigate MINNESOTA and in 1860 he was made commandant of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. He expected to retire in this post, but the outbreak of the Civil War returned him to active duty.

When communication was cut off with Washington at the start of the Civil War, Du Pont took the initiative of sending a fleet to the Chesapeake Bay to protect the landing of Union troops at Annapolis, Maryland. In June 1861 he was made president of a board in Washington formed to develop a plan of naval operations against the Confederacy. He was appointed flag officer serving aboard the steam frigate WABASH as commander of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. On November 7, Du Pont led a successful attack on the fortifications at Port Royal harbor in South Carolina. This victory enabled Union naval forces to secure the southern waters of Georgia and the entire eastern coast of Florida, and an effective blockade was established. Du Pont received commendations from U.S. Congress for his brilliant tactical success, and was appointed rear admiral on July 16, 1862.

Towards the end of 1862, Du Pont became the first U.S. naval officer to be assigned command over armored "ironclad" ships. Du Pont was then given direct orders from the Navy Department to launch an attack on Charleston, South Carolina. Though Du Pont believed that Charleston could not be taken without significant land troop support, he nevertheless attacked with nine ironclads on April 7, 1863. Unable to navigate properly in the obstructed channels leading to the harbor, his ships were caught in a blistering crossfire, and he withdrew them before nightfall.

The Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, blamed Du Pont for the highly publicized failure at Charleston. Du Pont was relieved of command on July 5, 1863, at his own request. An ultimately inconclusive congressional investigation into the failure essentially turned into a trial of whether Du Pont had misused his ships and misled his superiors. Du Pont's attempt to garner the support of President Abraham Lincoln was ignored, and he returned home to Delaware. He returned to Washington to serve briefly on a board reviewing naval promotions.

However, subsequent events arguably vindicated Du Pont's judgment and capabilities. A subsequent U.S. naval attack on the city failed, despite being launched with a significantly larger fleet of armored ships. Charleston was finally taken only by the invasion of General Sherman's army in 1865.

Du Pont died on June 23, 1865, while on a trip to Philadelphia and is buried in the du Pont family cemetery. The cemetery is located near the Hagley Museum in Greenville, Delaware.  [ad]

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