Joel Abbot

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This article is about United States Navy officer in the War of 1812. For the member of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Georgia, see Joel Abbot (politician).
Joel Abbot
Born (1793-01-18)January 18, 1793
Westford, Massachusetts
Died December 14, 1855(1855-12-14) (aged 62)
Hong Kong
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service (1812-1855)
Rank USN cpt rank insignia.jpg Captain, Flag Officer
Commands held captured pirate ship Mariana (1818)
Boston Navy Yard (1838)
USS Decatur (1843)
USS Macedonian (1852)
Flag Officer, East India Squadron (1854)
Battles/wars War of 1812

Joel Abbot (January 18, 1793 – December 14, 1855) was a U.S. naval officer who served notably in the War of 1812, and commanded a squadron during Commodore Perry's 1852 visit to Japan.

Military Career[edit]

Born in Westford, Massachusetts, Abbot entered the Navy as midshipman at the beginning of the War of 1812.[1] He served first on the frigate USS President and next on Lake Champlain with Commodore Macdonough, who, when he asked Abbot if he were ready to die for his country received the reply "Certainly, sir; that is what I came into the service for." Abbot was then ordered to enter the British lines as a spy and destroy a number of spars which had been stored at Sorel[citation needed]. For his success in this dangerous exploit, and for his bravery in the engagement at Cumberland Head on 11 September 1814, the young officer received a sword of honor from Congress and was commissioned a lieutenant. In 1818, he was given charge of the captured pirate ship Mariana.

Abbot was promoted to commander in 1838, and the following year was given command of the Boston Navy Yard.

In 1843 he took command of the sloop-of-war USS Decatur, one of Commodore Perry’s African squadron. On 3 October 1850, Abbot was promoted to captain. In 1852, when Commodore Perry was entrusted with power to select the officers to accompany him on his famous Japan expedition, he chose Captain Abbot in command of the sailing frigate USS Macedonian. In 1854, he was appointed Flag Officer of the East India Squadron. He died in Hong Kong in 1855.[2]

His remains were returned to the United States and he is buried in the Abbot family tomb in Warren, Rhode Island.

Family Life[edit]

He married Mary Wood in January 1820. He later married Laura Wheaton on Nov. 29, 1825. He had 10 children.[3] His son, Walter Abbot, served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. His grandson, Charles Wheaton Abbot, Jr., was a career Army officer and rose to become the Adjutant General of Rhode Island with the rank of brigadier general. Both of the above individuals were Companions of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.


Two ships of the US Navy were named USS Abbot in his honor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Who Was Who in American History - the Military, Marquis Who's Who, 1976, page 1.
  2. ^ Who Was Who in American History - the Military, Marquis Who's Who, 1976, page 1.
  3. ^ Who Was Who in American History - the Military, Marquis Who's Who, 1976, page 1.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
  • Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1967.
Military offices
Preceded by
Matthew C. Perry
Commander, East India Squadron
6 September 1854–15 October 1855
Succeeded by
James Armstrong