Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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McCANN, William Penn, naval officer, born in Paris, Kentucky, 4 May, 1880. He was appointed midshipman in the United States navy, 1 November, 1848, and, having been promoted through the various grades, became lieutenant-commander, 16 July, 1862. He was stationed at Vera Cruz on the first hostile demonstrations at Pensacola, Florida, and re-enforced Fort Pickens with sailors and marines on 14 and 15 April, 1861. He remained off the fort 127 days, and in June assisted in landing additional re-enforcements under Colonel Harvey Brown. In 1862 he operated on York, Pamunkey, and James rivers in co-operation with the Army of the Potomac, and captured, on 4 July of that year, the Confederate gun-boat "Teazer," with plans of batteries, torpedoes, and defences of Richmond. Having been ordered to the command of the "Hunchback " in the following October, he was present at New Berne, 14 March, 1863, when the Confederate forces, with eighteen guns and several thousand infantry, attacked that vessel and Camp Anderson. After an action of an hour and a half he silenced the enemy's guns and compelled him to withdraw. After further service on the North Carolina coast, McCann was ordered to the "Kennebec," and had thirteen months' active blockade service before Mobile, participating in several engagements with the batteries and Fort Morgan while attacking stranded blockade-runners. He captured at sea three of the latter loaded with cotton, together with forty-five of the officers and crew. The vessels and cargoes were subsequently sold for half a million dollars. During the battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August, 1864, the " Kennebec" was lashed to the " Monongahela," fifth in line of battle. McCann was relieved from the " Kennebec" in December, 1864, and was engaged in various routine duties until 8 December, 1867, when he was commissioned commander. He was promoted captain, 21 September, 1876, and commodore, 26 January, 1887, and is now (1888) commandant of the Boston navy-yard.
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