Richard Wainwright (American Civil War naval officer)

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For other people named Richard Wainwright, see Richard Wainwright (disambiguation).
Richard Wainwright
Born 1817
Charlestown, Massachusetts
Died 10 August 1862
New Orleans, Louisiana
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1831–1862
Rank Commander
Commands held USS Merrimack
USS Hartford
Relations Cousin of Comdr. Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright II
Father of Comdr. Richard Wainwright

Commander Richard Wainwright (15 January 1817 – 10 August 1862), a cousin of Comdr. Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, was an officer in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.


Born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on January 15, 1817, the son of Robert Dewar Wainwright and Maria Montresor Auchmuty.

Wainwright was commissioned in the United States Navy on 11 May 1831. He attended the naval school at Norfolk, Virginia in 1837-38, and became a passed midshipman on 15 June 1837. From 1838 to 1841, he served on the Coast Survey in the brig Consort. He was commissioned lieutenant on 8 September 1841 and commanded the steamer Water Witch on the Navy's Home Squadron from 1848 to 1849, served again on Coast Survey from 1851 to 1857, and cruised in the steam frigate Merrimack on special service from 1857 to 1860. He was stationed at the Washington Navy Yard on ordnance duty from 1860 to 1861.

Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Wainwright was promoted to commander on 24 April 1861 and commanded Hartford, flagship of Admiral David G. Farragut's West Gulf Blockading Squadron. During the passage of the forts below New Orleans, Louisiana on the night of 24 and 25 April 1862, he performed gallant service in extinguishing a fire on Hartford while continuing the bombardment of the forts. Commended by Admiral Farragut for his actions, Wainwright later participated in the squadron's operations below Vicksburg until taken ill with fever.

Marriage and family[edit]

He married on March 1, 1849 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sarah "Sally" Franklin Bache, who was born November 8, 1824, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and died on February 28, 1880, at Washington, D.C. Richard and Sarah Wainwright's eldest son, also named Richard Wainwright, was a naval officer in the Spanish–American War. Their son Dallas Bache Wainwright was an officer with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Their daughter Maria Campbell Wainwright married Adm. Seaton Schroeder.

Sally Bache Wainwright was the daughter of Richard Bache, Jr., who served in the Republic of Texas navy and was elected to the Texas state legislature and Sophia Burrell Dallas, the daughter of Arabella Maria Smith and Alexander J. Dallas an American statesman who served as the U.S. Treasury Secretary under President James Madison. She was also granddaughter of Sarah Franklin Bache and Richard Bache, and the great-granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin.


He died at Donaldsonville, Louisiana, on 10 August 1862 aboard the Hartford.


Three ships have been named USS Wainwright for Richard, his cousins, son and grandson.