Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PENDERGRAST, Garrett Jesse, naval officer, born in Kentucky, 5 December, 1802; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 7 November, 1862. He entered the United States navy, 1 January, 1812, and saw twenty-two years of sea service, becoming lieutenant in 1821, commander in 1841, and captain in 1855. In 1860 he was appointed flag-officer of the home-squadron. At, the beginning of the civil war he was in command of the West India squadron, and subsequently he was appointed to the frigate "Cmnberland" at Norfolk navy-yard, Virginia, and protected the waters of Hampton Roads. Before the surrender of Norfolk to the Confederates the authorities of Virginia endeavored to get possession of the United States ships-of-war lying off that city by sinking obstructions in the mouth of the channel in order to prevent their egress. Among other vessels that were thus blockaded was the "Cumberland," then under Commander Pendergrast's command. Finding himself in danger of being hemmed in, he sent word to the authorities that if the obstructions were not removed within a specified time he would open fire on the city. This message had the desired effect, and, the channel being cleared, the " Cumberland" and other vessels were brought out in safety. Soon afterward he was appointed commandant of the Philadelphia navy-yard, which post he filled until two days before his death. Under the reorganization of the navy he was twelfth commodore on the retired list, which rank he attained on 16 July, 1862.--His son, Austin (1829-'74), entered the navy in 1848, and had attained the rank of commander at his death.
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