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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BUCHANAN, Franklin, naval officer, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 17 September, 1800; died in Talbot County, Maryland, 11 May, 1874. He entered the navy as a midshipman, 28 January, 1815, served some years at sea, and before reaching the age of twenty-one served as acting-lieutenant on a cruise to India. He became lieutenant, 13 January, 1825, and in July, 1826, commanded the frigate " Baltimore," built for the emperor of Brazil, on her voyage to Rio Janeiro. On his return he sailed in the Pacific, part of the time being attached to the "Peacock." On 8 September, 1841, he was promoted to master-commandant, having charge of the "Mississippi," and afterward of the "Vincennes." In 1845 he was selected by the secretary of the navy to organize the naval academy at Annapolis. The same year he opened the school as its first superintendent, but in 1847 left the place for the command of the " German-town," in which he took part in the Mexican war, participating in the capture of Vera Cruz. In 1852 he commanded the " Susquehanna," flagship of Com. Perry's Japan expedition, which opened China and Japan to the commerce of the world, and on 14 September, 1855, was made captain. He was made commandant of the Washington navy-yard in 1859, but on 22 April, 1861, after the attack on the Massachusetts troops in Baltimore, resigned his commission. Finding that his state did not secede, he wrote to Gideon Welles, secretary of the navy, withdrawing his resignation, and asking to be restored, but his request was refused. He entered the confederate navy in September, 1861, with the rank of captain, superintended the fitting out of the "Merrimac," and commanded her in the attack on the federal fleet in Hampton Roads, when the " Cumberland" was sunk and the "Congress" blown up. He was so severely wounded in this action that he could not take command of his vessel in her subsequent combat with the "Monitor." For his gallantry at this time he was thanked by the confederate congress, and promoted to full admiral and senior officer of the confederate navy. Subsequently he was placed in command of the naval defenses of Mobile, and there superintended the construction of the iron-clad ram "Tennessee," which he commanded during the action with the union fleet in Mobile bay, 5 August, 1864. His vessel finally surrendered after her armor had been Infiltrated and her steering apparatus disabled, and Admiral Buchanan was again wounded and taken prisoner of war, but was exchanged in February following. After the war he was for a time president of the Maryland agricultural College, and afterward was for a few months an agent for a St. Louis life insurance company.
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