Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GODON, Sylvanus William, naval officer, born in Philadelphia, 18 June, 1809; died in Blois, France, 10 May, 1879. He was appointed midshipman in 1819, and, after serving at sea in various parts of the world, was promoted passed midshipman in 1827, and lieutenant in 1836. He accompanied Commander Isaac Hull to the Mediterranean on the flagship " Ohio " in the years 1839,1840, and 1841, was actively employed during the Mexican war, and was present in the bomb-vessel " Vesuvius" at the reduction of Vera Cruz. He was made commander in 1855, and captain in 1861, at the beginning of the civil war. In command of the "Mohican " he took part in the attack on Port Royal by the fleet under Admiral Du Pont. He placed his ship, in position to secure an enfilading fire on the fort on Hilton Head, and materially assisted in silencing the batteries of the enemy. In 1863 he was promoted commodore; and commanded the 4th division of Admiral Porter's fleet at both bombardments of Fort Fisher, North Carolina, in December, 1864, and January, 1865. In the report of the latter action he was specially commended for the support rendered the commander-in-chief, and for the Good discipline and accurate firing of his ship, the "Susquehanna." At the close of the war he was made rear admiral, and commanded the South Atlantic or Brazil squadron in 1866-'7. His last active employment was as commandant of the Brooklyn navy yard in 1868-'70. He was retired on account of age in 1871.
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