William H. Face

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William H. Face
Born (1827-08-02)August 2, 1827
Died August 16, 1894(1894-08-16) (aged 67)
Allegiance  Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Navy
Rank Confederate States of America Master strap-Navy.png Acting Master

William Haley Face (1827-08-02 - 1894-08-16) served as Acting Master of CSS Teaser during the Battle of Hampton Roads (March 8–9, 1862).

Battle of Hampton Roads[edit]

Face was recognized in the official report of the battle by Franklin Buchanan, Flag Officer, Confederate States Navy. Buchanan, the captain of the ironclad CSS Virginia during the battle, cited Teaser for actions in support of Virginia's attack on the Federal fleet:

"Lt. Commanding Webb (William A. Webb) specially notices the coolness displayed by Acting Master Face... when facing the heavy fire of artillery and musketry from the shore..."

Teaser took an active part in both days of the battle, acting as tender to Virginia. She received the thanks of the Congress of the Confederate States for this action.

Face had previously commanded the boat (June 1861 - January 1862).

Teaser was built at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Purchased at Richmond, Virginia by the State of Virginia in 1861, she was assigned to the naval forces in the James River with Lieutenant James Henry Rochelle, Virginia State Navy, in command prior to June 1861.

Postwar career[edit]

After the War, Capt. Face became a founder of the Virginia Pilot Association, which represents the ship pilots who guide all commercial shipping... and some military shipping... through the navigable waters of the state of Virginia.


William H. Face was the son of Edward Face[1] (1808–1840) and Catherine Heffley Face[2] (1805–1876).

Edward Face was the chief carpenter at Fortress Monroe while 1st Lieutenant Robert E. Lee was stationed there (1831–34). Lee played a major role in the final construction of both Fortress Monroe and its opposite, Fort Calhoun, later renamed Fort Wool. Both forts would later provide great vantage points for the Battle of Hampton Roads but neither played an important part in the action.

William H. Face married Sarah E. Dunbar[3] (1828–1889) in Norfolk County, Virginia on April 10, 1850.

His brother, Edward Webster Face[4] (1829–1907), Private, Company H, 54th Virginia Militia, CSA, married Sarah Dunbar's sister, Elizabeth Widgeon Dunbar[5] (1831–1913) on March 27, 1851.

The brothers, their wives and many of their descendents are buried in Elmwood Cemetery[6] in Norfolk, Virginia.

A nephew, Sgt. Samuel T. Face,[7] Longstreet's Command, Semmes' Brigade, McLaws' Division, 32nd Virginia Infantry, CSA (1843–1862), was killed on the bloodiest day of the American Civil War, September 17, 1862, the second day of the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) and was buried near the battlefield.


  • The War of the Rebellion (June 16, 1880)
  • Virginia Pilot Association archives
  • Newport News, Va. Daily Press archives
  • Coski, John M., Capital Navy: The Men, Ships and Operations of the James River Squadron, (1996), Campbell, CA: Savas Woodbury Publishers
  • "The Home Bulletin" of the Hampton, Va. Soldiers Home, July 10, 1886
  • Virginia Marriage Records
  • findagrave.com

External links[edit]