Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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SANDS, Joshua Ratoon, naval officer, born in Brooklyn, New York, 13 May, 1795; died in Baltimore, Maryland, 2 October., 1883. His father, Joshua Sands, was collector of the port of New York, and a representative in congress in 1803-'5 and 1825-'7. The son entered the navy as a midshipman, 18 June, 1812, and immediately entered upon his duties in Commander Chauncey's squadron on Lake Ontario. He participated in the action with the "Royal George," 5 November, 1812. The next season he was attached to the " Madison," and in the action that resulted in the capture of Toronto he carried the orders of the commodore by pulling in a small boat to the different vessels until the enemy surrendered. In May, 1813, he served in the "Pike," and fought several engagements with the British squadron under Sir James Yeo. In 1814 he was with a battery on shore and in the frigate " Superior" until peace was proclaimed in 1815. He was commissioned lieutenant, 1 April, 1818, and commander, 23 February, 1841. During the Mexican war he had charge of the steamer " Vixen," in which he assisted at the capture of Alvarado, Tabasco, and Laguna. He was governor of the last-named place until the investment of Vera Cruz, where he rendered service by taking the "Vixen" close under the batteries and to the castle of San Juan d'Ulloa. He co-operated in the capture of Tuspan, and in 1847 brought home the flags, trophies, and brass cannon, with a complimentary letter to the navy department for his creditable services. In 1851 he commanded the frigate "St. Lawrence" with the government exhibits for the World's fair at London, and prior to his departure he was given a banquet and presented by the citizens of Brook-lvn with a sword and epaulets, which he gave to t;he Historical society of Brooklyn, together with a gold snuff-box inlaid with diamonds that had been presented to him by Queen Victoria. He assisted in laying the submarine cable in 1857, took part in the expedition to Central America against the filibusters, was promoted to captain, 25 February, 1854, and was flag-officer in command of the Brazil station in 1859-'61. He was retired on 21 December, 1861, as he was more than sixty-two years of age, but was commissioned commodore, 16 July, 1862, and served as light-house inspector on the lakes until 1866. He was promoted to rear-admiral, 25 July, 1866, and was port-admiral at Norfolk from 1869 till 1872. After that he resided at Baltimore until his death, at which time he was the senior officer of the navy on the retired list.
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