Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BELL, Charles H., naval officer, born in New York, 15 August 1798; died in New Brunswick, New Jersey, 19 February 1875. He entered the United States navy as midshipman, 12 June 1812, and served with Com. Decatur in 1813 and in Com. Chauncey's squadron on Lake Erie in 1814. In the war with Algiers he was again with Decatur on board the "Macedonian." He became a lieutenant in 1820, and in 1824 commanded the schooner "Ferret," which capsized at sea. After remaining twenty-one hours on the wreck, he was saved, with other survivors, by Com. McKeever. He was attached to the "Erie," in the West Indies, in 1829, and commanded one of the boats that cut out the piratical schooner "Federal" from under the guns of the forts at Guadeloupe. In 1839 he commanded the brig "Dolphin," which ascended an African River and compelled a chief to pay for goods taken from an American vessel. He was promoted commander on 20 September 1840, and in 1844-'6 commanded the sloop "Yorktown," on the coast of Africa, and captured three slavers, one of them with 903 slaves on board. He was commissioned captain in 1854. He commanded at Norfolk navy yard in 1859, in 1860 was assigned to the Mediterranean squadron, and was ordered home at the beginning of the civil war. After the capture of the British mail-steamer "Trent," in November 1861, he was sent to Panama to take command of the Pacific squadron, in anticipation of difficulties with England, and there he remained for nearly three years. The rank of commodore was given him 16 July 1862. He returned shortly before the close of the war, and was assigned to special duty on the James river. He took command of the Brooklyn navy yard in May 1865, and held it three years. He was commissioned rear-admiral, 25 July 1866, and placed on the retired list after sixty-two years and eight months' service.
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