Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CARTER, Samuel Powhatan, naval officer and soldier, born in Elizabethtown, Carter County, Tennessee, 6 August, 1819. He was educated at Princeton, but was never graduated, and on 14 February, 1840, became a midshipman in the navy. He was promoted to passed midshipman, 11 July, 1846, assigned to the "Ohio," and served on the eastern coast of Mexico during the Mexican war, being present at the capture of Vera Cruz. From 1851 till 1853 he was assistant instructor of infantry tactics at the naval academy. He was made lieutenant 18 April, 1855, assisted in the capture of the Barrier forts near Canton, China, in 1856, and was complimented for gallantry on that occasion. He was ordered again to the Annapolis naval school as assistant instructor of seamanship in 1857. On 11 July, 1861, he was temporarily transferred to the war department, for the special duty of organizing troops from east Tennessee. He was appointed colonel of the 2d Tennessee volunteers, was given the appointment of acting brigadier-general of volunteers in September, and received his full commission 1 May, 1862. He was at Zollicoffer's repulse at Wild Cat, Kentucky, in October, 1861, at Mill Spring in January, 1862, commanded in the operations against Cumberland Gap, and was at its capture, on 17 June, 1862. In December, 1862, he commanded a cavalry expedition which cut the east Tennessee railroad, destroying nearly 100 miles of the track, besides inflicting other damage, and received the thanks of the general-in-chief of the army. He commanded the division of central Kentucky in March, 1863, was assigned to the command of the cavalry division, 23d army corps, in July, 1863, and had the advance when Burnside occupied east Tennessee. He defeated Morgan, 28 August, 1863, and Smith, 29 August, and was present at the siege of Knoxville, December, 1863. He commanded a division under Schofield in the North Carolina campaign of 1865, and was brevetted major general on 13 March. He was mustered out of the army in January, 1866, and returned to the navy, becoming commander 23 June, 1865 ; served as commandant of the naval academy at Annapolis from 1869 till 1872, being promoted to captain 28 October, 1870 ; was a member of the light-house board from 1876 till 1880; was commissioned commodore 13 November, 187'8, and retired 6 August, 1881. On 16 May, 1882, he was made a rear-admiral.
Samuel Carter was in the first class to graduate from Annapolis. He entered after he had become a midshipman, after leaving Princeton. He was in the same class as William Nelson, and they were both in Kentucky training troops in 1861 when Nelson was murdered.
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