Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MURRAY, Alexander, naval officer, born in Chestertown, Maryland, in 1755; died near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 6 October, 1821. His grandfather, an adherent of the Pretender, settled in Barbadoes, and his father was a physician of Chestertown, Maryland. The son went to sea at an early age, commanded a vessel in the European trade when eighteen years old, and in 1776 was appointed lieutenant in the American navy; but, having no vessel, served in the 1st Maryland regiment in the battles of White Plains and Platbush, and was promoted captain. About the time of the evacuation of New York he was severely wounded by the bursting of a piece of ordnance in a battery at which he was stationed. He was placed in command of a privateer at the close of 1777, was captured by a British squadron, and after his exchange volunteered as lieutenant on the frigate "Trumbull" and was again taken prisoner after an engagement off the capes of Delaware, in which he was wounded. On his exchange and recovery a second time he was appointed 1st lieutenant of the frigate "Alliance," and at the termination of the war had participated in thirteen engagements on sea and shore. On the organization of the American navy in 1798 he was commissioned captain, commanded the corvette "Montezuma," of twenty guns, and subsequently the frigates "Insurgent" and "Constellation." In 1820 he was sent with a squadron to the Mediterranean, where with his ship alone he fought a flotilla of seventeen Tripolitan gun-boats and drove them into their harbor. His last appointment was the command of the Philadelphia navy-yard, and at his death he was the senior officer of the United States navy.--His son, Alexander, naval officer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816 ; died in Washington, D. C., 10 November, 1884, entered the United States navy in 1835, became lieutenant in 1847, commander in 1862, captain in 1866, commodore in 1871, and rear-admiral on the retired list in 1876. He was in service on the BaSt coast of Mexico in 1846-'7, participated in the capture of Alvarado, where he was wounded, and fought at Tampieo, Tobasco, Tuspan, and Vera Cruz. He commanded the steamer "Louisiana," of the North Atlantic squadron, in 1861-'2, defeated the Confederate steamer " Yorktown" off Newport News, fought the battle of Roanoke Island, destroyed the Confederate fleet under Captain William F. Lynch, was in charge of the naval forces at Kingston, North Carolina, and the expedition up York and Pamunkey rivers, destroying twenty-seven vessels in May, 1862. He was on duty in the North Carolina sounds in 1863, and on special service in 1866-'7, was light-house inspector in 1873-'6, and after retirement served on the naval board.
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