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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BREEN, Patrick, pioneer, born in Ireland" died at an advanced age, in California, in 1868. He is especially noted in connection with the Donner party, who, during the winter of 1846-'7, were snowed in in the Sierras. Breen himself finally escaped with all his family, after great suffering. He kept a diary during the time of the imprisonment of the party in the mountains, and this is the only contemporary record of their remarkable and traffic experiences. The manuscript of the diary is still extant, and more or less extensive extracts from it are to be found in all the published accounts of the Donner party.
--BEGIN-Kidder Randolph Breese
BREESE, Kidder Randolph, naval officer, born in Philadelphia, 14 April, 1831; died 13 September, 1881. He was appointed a midshipman from Rhode Island in 1846, and served during the Mexican war in the "Saratoga," Commander Farragut, on the coast of Mexico. As passed midshipman he served in Com. Perry's Japan expedition and was on the "Macedonian," which visited the northern end of Formosa to search for coal and inquire into the captivity of Americans on that island. He also served in Preble's Paraguay expedition, from which he returned in September, 1859, with isthmus fever. He next served on the "San Jacinto," which captured 1,500 slaves on the coast of Africa, and took Mason and Slidell from on board the " Trent" in November, 1861. He was ordered to Porter's mortar flotilla in December, 1861, and took part in the attacks on New Orleans and Vicksburg in 1862. Promoted lieutenant-commander, on 16 July, 1862, at the time of the establishment of that grade, he joined Porter's Mississippi squadron in October, 1862, took command of the flag-ship "Black Hawk," and participated in the important operations in the Mississippi and the Red river. When Admiral Porter was placed in command of the North Atlantic blockading squadron in September, 1864, he selected Breese as his fleet-captain, in which capacity he served until hostilities came to an end in May, 1865. He was engaged at the Fort Fisher fights and in the attack on Fort Anderson; and in the naval assault on Fort Fisher, on 15 January, 1865, he commanded the storming party, which gained the parapet, but was unable to maintain the position, owing to lack of support from the marines. He was recommended for promotion for services on that occasion, promoted commander 25 July, 1866, and captain, 9 August, 1874. After the war he was employed in the testing of breech-loading arms, and in other ordnance duties, and commanded the "Plymouth," of the European squadron, and afterward the "Pensacola."
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