Garrett J. Pendergrast

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Garrett Jesse Pendergrast
Commodore Garrett J. Pendergrast - NARA - 529702.jpg
Commodore Garrett J. Pendergrast, studio portrait by Mathew Brady
Born (1802-12-06)December 6, 1802
Died November 7, 1862(1862-11-07) (aged 59)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Buried Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1812–1862
Rank USN commodore rank insignia.jpg Commodore
Commands held
Battles/wars War of 1812
Action of 2 March 1825
Mexican-American War
American Civil War
Relations Austin Pendergrast (nephew)

Commodore Garrett Jesse Pendergrast (December 5, 1802 – November 7, 1862) was an officer in the United States Navy, who served at the beginning of the American Civil War.

His nephew was Lieutenant Commander Austin Pendergrast, who during the Civil War took command of USS Congress when she was sunk by CSS Virginia.

Early life and career[edit]

Pendergrast entered the navy as a midshipman on January 1, 1812, was promoted to lieutenant on March 3, 1821, and to commander on September 8, 1841.[1]

On 27 October 1843 he recommissioned the sloop Boston at Boston, sailing to the South Atlantic to join the Brazil Squadron, where he remained for over two years, finally returning to the New York Navy Yard in February 1846.[2]

Promoted to Captain on May 24, 1855,[1] he commissioned the frigate Merrimack on February 20, 1856.[3] The ship would later become the CSS Virginia.

On September 24, 1860, Pendergrast sailed from Philadelphia aboard the sloop Pawnee in order to assume command of the Home Squadron, then operating off the coast of Mexico.[4]

Civil War[edit]

At the outbreak of war in 1861, Flag Officer Pendergrast was in command of the frigate Cumberland at the Norfolk Navy Yard, having just returned from Vera Cruz, Mexico.[5]

At the age of 58, Pendergrast was one of the oldest officers in service. A native of Kentucky, he was married to Virginia Barron, the daughter of Commodore James Barron. Upon the Secession, she reportedly refused to accompany her husband in his allegiance to the United States and swore she would never live with him again.

The first significant victory for the U.S. Navy during the early phases of the Union blockade occurred on April 24, 1861, when Pendergrast and the Cumberland, accompanied by a small flotilla of support ships, began seizing Confederate ships and privateers in the vicinity of Fort Monroe off the Virginia coastline. Within the next two weeks, Pendergrast had captured 16 enemy vessels, serving early notice to the Confederate War Department that the blockade would be effective if extended.[6]

Promoted to commodore on July 16, 1862,[1] Pendergrast was assigned to command the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and was holding that position when he died of a paralytic stroke on November 7, 1862. He is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "US Navy Officers: 1778-1900 (P)". 2006. Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "USS Boston (IV)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. 2006. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "USS Merrimack". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. 2004. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "USS Pawnee". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. 2004. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "USS Cumberland". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. 2004. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Time-Life, p.24.
  7. ^ "Garrett J. Pendergrast (1802-1862)". 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  • The Civil War. The Blockade: Raiders and Runners. Time–Life Books, 1983.

External links[edit]