A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Ingraham was appointed Midshipman in the United States Navy on 18 June 1812 at the age of 10. After years of distinguished service, he was commissioned Captain 14 September 1855. While in command of the sloop-of-war St. Louis in the Mediterranean, in July 1853, he interfered with the detention by the Austrian consul at Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) of Martin Koszta, a Hungarian who had declared in New York his intention of becoming an American citizen, and, who had been seized and confined in the Austrian ship Hussar. For his conduct in this matter he was voted thanks and a Gold Medal by Congress.
He resigned from the U.S. Navy 4 February 1861 to enter the Confederate States Navy with the rank of captain. He served as Chief of the Ordnance Bureau from 1861 to 1863, and as Commandant of the Charleston naval station from 1862 to 1865.
Ingraham died at Charleston 16 October 1891.
Four ships of the US Navy have been named USS Ingraham in his honor.
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