Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ROE, Francis Asbury, naval officer, born in Elmira, New York, 4 October, 1823. He entered the navy as midshipman, 19 October, 1841, and was at the naval academy at Annapolis in 1847-'8. He left the service for eleven months from June, 1848. In 1851-'2 he served in the mail-steamer "Georgia," on the New York and West India line. He was attached to the brig "Porpoise" in the North Pacific exploring expedition. He was commissioned master, 8 August, 1855, and lieutenant, 14 September, 1855. In 1857-'8 he served in the coast survey. In 1862 he was executive officer of the "Pensacola" in Farragut's squadron, and, on account of the illness of his commanding officer, took charge of the ship in passing Fort , Jackson and Fort St. Philip. He was commissioned lieutenant-commander, 16 July, 1862, had charge of the steamer "Katahdin" in 1862-'3 in the operations on Mississippi river, defeated General John C. Breckinridge's attack on Baton Rouge, and assisted in the destruction of the Confederate ram "Arkansas," 7 August, 1862. In 1864 he commanded the steamer "Sassacus" in the North Atlantic blockading squadron, and captured and destroyed several blockade runners in the sounds of North Carolina, and co-operated in the defeat of the Confederate iron-clad ram "Albemarle," 5 May, 1864. In this engagement Roe gallantly rammed the iron-clad, which then fired a 100-pound rifle-shell through the "Sassacus," killing and scalding many of the crew by exploding in the boiler. In the confusion that was caused by escaping steam, Roe skilfully handled his ship and compelled the "Albemarle's" consort, the "Bombshell," to surrender. After the war he commanded the steamer "Michigan" on the lakes in 1864-'6. He was commissioned commander, 25 July, 1866, and in 1866-'7 commanded the steamer "Tacony" on a special mission to Mexico. His firmness as senior officer prevented a bombardment of Vera Cruz. On 3 August, 1867, he was detached, and in recognition of his services was ordered as fleet-captain of the Asiatic station, where he served until December, 1871. He was commissioned captain, 1 April, 1872, and was attached to the Boston navy-yard in 1872-'3. His last cruise was in command of the "Lancaster" on the Brazil station in 1873-'5. He was attached to the naval station at New London in 1875-'6, on special duty at Washington in 1879-'80, and promoted to commodore, 26 November, 1880. In 1883-'4 he was governor of the Naval asylum at Philadelphia. He was commissioned rear-admiral, 3 November, 1884, and placed on the retired list, 4 October, 1885.
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