James A. Greer

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James Agustin Greer
James A Greer.jpg
Admiral Greer in 1902
Born(1833-02-28)February 28, 1833
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
DiedJanuary 17, 1904(1904-01-17) (aged 70)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Place of burialArlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1848–1895
RankRear admiral
Commands heldUSS Carondelet
USS Benton
USS Black Hawk
USS Mohongo
USS Tuscarora
USS Tigress
USS Constitution
USS Constellation
USS Hartford
European Squadron
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

James Agustin Greer (28 February 1833 – 17 January 1904) was a rear admiral in the United States Navy, who served during the Civil War.

Early years[edit]

Greer was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.[1] He enlisted into the Navy on 10 January 1848, joining the sloop Saratoga as a midshipman.[2] He entered the United States Naval Academy in 1853, and graduated as a passed midshipman the following year. After participating in the Paraguay Expedition, he cruised the west African coast until the outbreak of the Civil War.[1]

Civil War[edit]

Greer was serving as a lieutenant[2] on board the San Jacinto on 7 November 1861, when she stopped the British steamer Trent and removed the Confederate diplomatic commissioners on their way to Britain, thereby nearly drawing Great Britain into the war on the Confederate side.[1] This incident became celebrated as the Trent Affair.

Greer was promoted to lieutenant commander[2] and served on the St. Louis from 1862 to 1863, and then was attached to Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter's Mississippi Squadron. While in command of the ironclads Carondelet and Benton, he participated in the Vicksburg campaign and the shelling of Grand Gulf as well as the abortive Union Red River expedition[1] in early 1864.

After commanding the Naval Station at Mound City, Illinois, he assumed command of the Black Hawk,[1] flagship of the Mississippi River Squadron under Samuel Phillips Lee,[2] and was then in charge of conveying Army transports up the Tennessee River.[1]

In 1866 he was elected a companion of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS). He was assigned MOLLUS insignia number 160.

Post-war service[edit]

A tour of duty as Assistant to the Commandant at Annapolis after the war[1] was followed by promotion to commander on 25 July 1866[2] and appointment to command of Mohongo with the Pacific Squadron, where Greer was commended for "defending American interests" in Mexico.[1] He then commanded the Tuscarora.[2] After a tour of duty at the Naval Academy between 1869 and 1873, Greer returned to the Pacific Station. In 1873, he commanded the Tigress when that ship was sent to find and aid the ship Polaris. The Polaris was wrecked on an Arctic expedition which had been led by Charles Francis Hall.[1]

Greer was promoted to captain in 1876.[2] After special service in Constitution during the 1878 Paris Exposition,[1] Greer commanded the ships Constellation and Hartford.[2]

He held a variety of shore posts[1] and was promoted to commodore in 1886[2] before serving as commander of the European Squadron from 1887 to 1889.[1]

Greer served as president of the "Board of Organization, Tactics, and Drill", and of the "Examination and Retiring Board".[2]

He was promoted to rear admiral in 1892, and retired on 28 February 1895. Admiral Greer died in Washington, D.C.,[1] and is buried in Arlington Cemetery.[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "USS Greer". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. 2004. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "After Valuable Service Rear Admiral Greer to be Placed on the Retired List" (PDF). The New York Times. New York: NYTC. February 28, 1895. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  3. ^ "James Agustin Greer, Rear Admiral, USN". arlingtoncemetery.net. Retrieved 14 August 2010.