Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PHELPS, Thomas Stowell, naval officer, born in Buckfield, Maine, 2 November, 1822. He was graduated at the United States naval academy in 1846, became lieutenant in 1855, served in the Indian war in Washington territory in that year and in 1856, and in the Paraguay expedition in 1858-'9. At the beginning of the civil war he was attached to the expedition that was sent to the relief of Fort Sumter, and in June, 1861, was selected to co-operate with the army and navy in preparing a survey of Potomac river. He was transferred in September to the steamer " Corwin" for secret service, examined five of the inlets of North Carolina, surveyed and buoyed Hatteras inlet for the introduction of expeditions into the interior waters of that state, skirmished with Confederate gun-boats in Pamlico sound, and engaged the gun-boat "Curlew" in Hatteras inlet on 14 November. He was in three engagements with Yorktown and Gloucester point batteries, caused the destruction of two of the enemy's vessels, and thwarted that of White House Bridge in April and May, i862. At the battle of West Point he prevented the conjunction of a large force of Confederates with the main army. He became lieutenant-commander in July, 1862, was subsequently engaged chiefly in surveying and examining dangers in the way of blockades and transports, and commanded the "Juniata " in the Fort Fisher fights in 1865. He was commissioned commander in that year, captain in 1871, commodore in 1879, and rear-admiral in 1884, and retired in 1885. He has published " Reminiscences of Washington Territory" (New York, 1882).
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