Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BROWN, George, naval officer, born in Indiana, 19 June, 1835. He was appointed midshipman from his native state, 5 February, 1849, was attached to the frigate "Cumberland," and in 1851 to the "St. Lawrence," cruising in both vessels. He was pro-meted to passed midshipman, and afterward to master, in 1856. On 2 June, 1856, he became lieutenant, and served in the Brazilian and African squadrons until 1860, when he was ordered to special service on the steam sloop "Powhatan," and in 1861 transferred to the "Oetorora" gunboat, which was attached, as flag-ship, to Com. Porter's mortar-boat flotilla. He participated in the hazardous ascent of the Mississippi River under Farragut, and in the first attack on Vicksburg in June, 1862, and for his conduct on this occasion was commended in the official report. The fleet dropped down the River to avoid the season of low water, and the " Octorora" was ordered to blockading duty off Wilmington, North Carolina Lieutenant Brown was promoted lieutenant-commander 16 July, 1862, and shortly afterward placed in charge of the "Indianola" iron-clad, of the Mississippi squadron. The batteries at Vicksburg and Warrenton were successfully passed 14 February, 1863. An engagement took place near upper Palmyra Island, on 24 February, 1863, between the " Indianola" and four Confederate gun-boats, manned by more than a thousand men. The fight lasted an hour and twenty-seven minutes, and Lieutenant-Commander Brown, severely wounded, surrendered, with his ship in a sinking condition. The officers and crew were exchanged a few months afterward, and Lieutenant Brown was assigned to the steam gun-boat "Itasca," of the western gulf blockading squadron, which he commanded in the action of 5 August, 1864, in Mobile bay, and in the naval operations against Spanish Fort and the defenses of Mobile, in March and April, 1865. He was promoted commander, 25 July, 1866, and stationed at the Washington navy yard until 1867, when he was granted leave of absence to serve as agent for the Japanese government in command of an ironclad man-of-war purchased from the United States. He was promoted captain 25 April, 1877, and placed in command of the United States navy-yard at Norfolk, Virginia, in 1886.
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