Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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COLLINS, Napoleon, naval officer, born in Pennsylvania, 4 May, 1814; died in Callao, Peru, 9 August, 1875. He entered the navy in 1834 as midshipman, became a lieutenant in 1846. was attached to the sloop "Decatur" during the Mexican war, and was present at Tuspan and Tobasco. He commanded the steamer "Anacosta" in the Potomac squadron in 1861, and took part in the engagement at Acquia Creek on 31 May in that year. He afterward received command of the gun-boat "Unadilla," and for nearly a year was with the fleet stationed off the coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, and took part in the battle of Port Royal and in various expeditions along the coast. In July, 1862, he was made commander of the steamer "Octorara" in the West Indian squadron. In 1863 he was transferred to the steam sloop " Wachusett" and sent in pursuit of Confederate privateers. On 7 October, 1864, he bore down on the Confederate steamer "Florida" in the harbor of Bahia, Brazil, intending to sink her, but demanded her surrender, and, as the captain and half his crew were ashore, the lieutenant in command deemed it best to comply. In an instant the "Florida" was boarded, a hawser was made fast, and the captor put out to sea, making no reply to u challenge from the Brazilian fleet, and unharmed by three shots fired from the fort. After the" Wa-chusett" and her prize arrived in Hampton Roads in November, while negotiations for the return of the "Florida" were in progress she was run into at her anchorage by a steam transport and sunk. Brazil having complained that her neutrality had been violated in this affair, Sec. Seward disavowed the act of Commander Collins and ordered him to be tried by court-martial. On 25 July, 1866, he was promoted captain and placed in command of the steam sloop "Sacramento." He was made a commodore on 19 January, 1871, and on 9 August, 1874, was raised to the rank of rear-admiral and placed in command of the South Pacific squadron.
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