Edward Lea

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Edward Lea
Born (1837-01-31)January 31, 1837
Baltimore, Maryland
Died January 1, 1863(1863-01-01) (aged 25)
Galveston, Texas
Buried Trinity Episcopal Cemetery, Galveston, Texas
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1851–1863
Rank USN lt com rank insignia.jpg Lieutenant Commander
Battles/wars American Civil War
 • Capture of New Orleans
 • Battle of Galveston Harbor
 • Battle of Galveston 
Relations Albert Miller Lea (father)
Pryor Lea (uncle)

Edward Lea (January 31, 1837 – January 1, 1863), was an officer in the United States Navy during the American Civil War. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Galveston and died in the arms of his father, who was on the opposing side in the conflict.


Lea was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Army engineer Albert Miller Lea and Ellen Shoemaker.[1] He entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis[2] on October 2, 1851, graduating on June 9, 1855, with the rank of midshipman.[3] Lea was employed in active service on various stations,[2] receiving promotion to passed midshipman on April 15, 1858, to master on November 4, 1858, and to lieutenant on November 22, 1860.[3]

Lea was serving aboard the Hartford, flagship of the East India Squadron, when the Civil War broke out in 1861. The ship was recalled, eventually arriving in Delaware Bay[2] in December.[4] Lea was soon reassigned to the Harriet Lane, then attached to the Potomac Flotilla, but was soon reassigned in her to the Gulf Blockading Squadron, where he took part in operations leading to the capture of New Orleans in April 1862.[2] Lea was subsequently promoted to lieutenant commander on July 16, 1862.[3] Harriet Lane pushed further up the Mississippi that July to engage enemy batteries around Vicksburg, and was then assigned to the blockade of Galveston, which she helped capture in October 1862 in the Battle of Galveston Harbor.[5]

When Confederate forces retook Galveston on 1 January 1863, Lea, serving as the first officer (XO) of Harriet Lane, was wounded in the abdomen and side.[6] He subsequently succumbed to his wounds in the arms of his father, who was serving as a major of artillery in the Confederate Army, and who had witnessed the capture of the Harriet Lane by the gunboat CS Bayou City from shore, and had rushed to the ship to find his son dying.[1]

Lea and his captain, Jonathan M. Wainwright were buried together at the Trinity Episcopal Cemetery in Galveston. After the war Wainwright was re-interred at the Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, but when a relative suggested that Lea's remains be reburied next to his mother in the Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Albert Lea refused, stating that his son would have preferred to remain where he had fallen in battle.[1]


The destroyer USS Lea (DD-118) was named for him,[7] as is Camp #2 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in Houston.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Block, W. T. (1993). "A Towering East Texas Pioneer: A Biographical Sketch Of Colonel Albert Miller Lea". East Texas Historical Journal. XXXII (2): 23–33. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "A Tribute to Lieut. Edward Lea". The New York Times. New York: NYTC. February 8, 1863. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Callahan, Edward W., ed. (1901). Officers of the Continental and US Navy and Marine Corps: 1775-1900. New York: L. R. Hamersly. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Hartford". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Harriet Lane". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  6. ^ United States Naval War Records Office (1905). "West Gulf Blockading Squadron (July 15, 1862 - March 14, 1863)". Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. 19. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. p. 443. 
  7. ^ "Lea". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 
  8. ^ "Lt Cmdr Edward Lea Camp". Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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