Joseph Berry Breck
|Joseph Berry Breck|
July 12, 1828|
|Died||July 26, 1865
San Francisco, California
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1863–1864|
|Commands held||USS Niphon|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
Breck was born in Maine, the son of Benjamin Dunton Breck and Jane S. Simmons. Breck had a successful career in the American mercantile marine as a shipmaster and businessman, and at the outbreak of the Civil War was engaged in the Pacific and China trade, but soon offered his services to the Navy Department. He was eventually commissioned as an Acting Ensign on 27 February 1863. From 24 April 1863 he commanded the screw steamer Niphon, taking a prominent part in the destruction of the saltworks at Masonboro Inlet, North Carolina, on 27 August 1864, and on many other expeditions ashore. He received rapid promotion; to Acting Master on 8 August 1863, to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant on 16 November 1863, and to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Commander on 25 November 1864.
Although his health was much impaired, Breck remained in command of Niphon until invalided out of the service by a medical board in November 1864. (His younger brother Lowell Mason Breck (1839–1863) who served under him aboard Niphon, was also invalided out of the Navy suffering from "consumption", from which he soon died.) Seeking a climate conducive to his recovery Lt-Cdr. Breck travelled to San Francisco, California, but died on 26 July 1865, soon after his arrival there. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Breck was married twice, firstly to Fredonia Gaston, and after her death to Ellen Francis Newell, by whom he had four children; twin daughters, who died in infancy, and two sons. The eldest son, John Leslie Breck (1860–1899) became a noted impressionist painter, while the younger, Edward Breck (1861–1929) was a scholar, journalist, champion golfer and fencer, and an officer of U.S. Naval Intelligence during the Spanish–American and First World Wars.
The destroyer Breck (DD-283) (1919–1930) was named for him.
- Mann, Raymond A. (12 December 2005). "USS Breck". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- Breck, Samuel (1889). Genealogy of the Breck family : descended from Edward of Dorchester and his brothers in America : with an appendix of additional biographical and historical matter, obituary notices, letters, etc., and armorial bearings : and a complete index. Omaha: Rees Printing Co. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- "US Navy Officers: 1778-1900 (B)". Naval Historical Center. 2006. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- Slater, Sharon (29 April 2011). "John Leslie Breck, Impressionist Painter". The Governor's Academy Archives. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
- Gillmeister, Heiner (2013). "Edward Breck, Anglo-Saxon Scholar, Golf Champion and Master Spy". Department of English, American, and Celtic Studies, University of Bonn. Retrieved 3 August 2013.