George Colvocoresses

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George Musalas Colvocoresses
Nickname(s) Colvos
Born (1816-10-22)October 22, 1816
Chios, Ottoman Empire
Died June 3, 1872(1872-06-03) (aged 55)
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1832–1872
Rank Union Navy captain rank insignia (1864-1866).png Captain
Commands held
Battles/wars American Civil War

George Musalas "Colvos" Colvocoresses (October 22, 1816 – June 3, 1872) was a United States Navy officer who commanded the Saratoga during the American Civil War. From 1838 up until 1842, he served in the United States Exploring Expedition, better known as the Wilkes Expedition, which explored large regions of the Pacific Ocean. Three separate geographical features, two on the west coast of the United States and another in Antarctica, were named for Colvocoresses.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born on the island of Chios in the Greek Archipelago on October 22, 1816. As a member of a prominent Greek family, he was kidnapped along with his mother and two sisters and ransomed from the Turks after the massacre of the Greek population of the island in 1822, during the Greek War of Independence. His family's fortunes were devastated by the massacre. Most close relatives, including six brothers, were killed. He was enslaved at 6 years of age, but his father managed to buy back his freedom.

By 1824, Colvocoresses was sent to Baltimore, Maryland in the United States by his father.[1] He became the adopted son of Captain Alden Partridge, the founder of the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy (later Norwich University) in Norwich, Vermont. Colvocoresses entered the Navy after graduating from the Academy in 1831. Several generations of his family, including his son, great-grandson, and great-great-granddaughter, have also graduated from Norwich and followed military careers.

Naval career[edit]

In 1832, he was appointed a midshipman, and in 1836-1837 attached to the frigate United States on the Mediterranean Squadron. From 1838 up until 1842, he served in the United States Exploring Expedition, better known as the Wilkes Expedition of the Pacific Ocean. Colvocoresses later authored a work on the Wilkes Expedition, entitled Four Years in a Government Exploring Expedition (New York, 1852). He was promoted to Lieutenant on December 7, 1843 and to Commander on July 2, 1861.

On January 29, 1862, the vessel Supply, under his command, captured the Confederate schooner Stephen Hart off the south coast of Florida, carrying assorted cargo. In early August 1864 with 115 men in 7 boats from his sloop Saratoga, he conducted an expedition to gather intelligence and capture enemy prisoners. Two week later, at South Newport, Georgia, Colvocoresses led 130 men in boats, capturing a lieutenant and 38 privates of the Third South Carolina Cavalry, six overseers of saltworks he had destroyed, and 71 slaves.

He was promoted to captain and placed on the retired list on April 4, 1867.

Colvocoresses was robbed and murdered in Bridgeport, Connecticut on June 3, 1872 while on his way to New York. The case was never solved.[2]

Colvocoresses' legacy[edit]

Colvocoresses was married twice. From his first union, with Adeline Maria Swasey, he had four children, including Frank E. and George P. His second marriage was with Eliza T. Halsey.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ilich, Miljan Peter (2012). "The Chian Federation - Children of the Chios Massacre". Retrieved March 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ Ross, Greg (January 12, 2011). "An Obscure Exit". Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "NU grad's family traces roots to school's founder". Norwich University. 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 


  • Chryssis, George C., "A Concise History of the Hellenic Presence in America from 1528 to Present." Hellenic News of America, Inc. As retrieved on 2 June 2006 09:37:01 GMT. [1]
  • Dwyer, John B., "Observations from the Edge of the World," Naval History (Annapolis, June 2008), 52-57

External links[edit]