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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Christian Febiger

FEBIGER, Christian, soldier, born on the Island of Fiinen, Denmark, in 1746; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 20 September 1796. His father died when the son was about sixteen years old, and the boy, after receiving a military education, went to Santa Cruz on the staff of his uncle, who had been appointed governor of that island. He traveled through the American colonies on a tour of observation in 1772, and in the following year engaged in commerce in the eastern states. He joined a Massachusetts regiment on 28 April 1775, became its adjutant shortly afterward, and distinguished himself at Bunker Hill. He was in Arnold's Quebec expedition, was taken prisoner at the storming of that City on 31 December 1775, and was sent to New York with other prisoners in September 1776. On 13 November he was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia line. He joined his regiment, the llth Virginia, on being exchanged, 1 January 1777, and fought in the Philadelphia campaign, being made colonel of the 2d Virginia on 26 September after the battle of the Brandywine.

He was on the right of Greene's wing at, Germantown, led 4,000 men, with two guns, at Monmouth, and commanded the right column in the attack on Stony Point, where he distinguished himself, taking the British commander prisoner in person. He was sent to Philadelphia on 1 September 1780, to forward stores to the army, and was afterward on recruiting duty in Virginia, though he was in the field at intervals, and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis. He retired from active service on 1 January 1783, was brevetted brigadier general on 30 September and then settled in Philadelphia, where he engaged in business. During his military service Febiger bore the sobriquet of "Old Denmark." He was treasurer of Pennsylvania from 13 November 1789, until his death.

His grandson, John Carson Febiger, naval officer, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 14 February 1821, entered the navy from Ohio as a midshipman, 14 September 1838, and was in the "Concord," of the Brazil squadron, when she was wrecked on the eastern coast of Africa in 1843. He became passed midshipman, 20 May 1844, and lieutenant, 30 April 1853. He was on the "Germantown," of the East India squadron, in 1858'60, and on the sloop "Savannah " in 1861, and on 11 August 1862, was commissioned commander, and assigned to the steamer "Kanawha," of the Western gulf blockading squadron.

After commanding various vessels in that and the Mississippi squadron, he was given the "Mattabeset," of the North Atlantic squadron, in 1864, and in that steamer took part, on 5 May 1864, in the fight between the little fleet of wooden vessels, under Captain Melancton Smith, and the Confederate ram "Albemarle," in Albemarle sound, N.C. In this engagement the ram was defeated, and her tender, the "Bombshell," captured, and Febiger was commended for his " gallantry and skill" by Captain Smith and Rear Admiral Samuel P. Lee. He commanded the "Ashuelot," of the Asiatic squadron, in 1866'8, and on 6 May of the latter year was promoted to captain. He was inspector of naval reserve lands in 1869'72, was made commodore, 9 August 1874, was a member of the board of examiners in 1874'6, and commandant of the Washington navy yard in 1876'80. He was promoted to rear admiral, 4 February 1882, and on 1 July 1882, was retired on his own application, having been in the service over forty years.

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