Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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RADFORD, William, naval officer, born in Fincastle, Botetourt county, Virginia, 1 March, 1808. He was appointed midshipman on 1 March, 1825, and became lieutenant on 9 February, 1837. During the war with Mexico he served on the western coast of that country, and commanded the party that cut out the "Malek Adel," a Mexican vessel-of-war, at Mazatlan in 1847. He was made commander on 14 September, 1855, assigned to the "Cumberland" in 1861, and became captain on 16 July, 1862, and commodore on 24 April, 1863. He served on court-martial duty at Fort Monroe, and commanded the "New Ironsides" and the iron-clad division of Admiral Porter's squadron at the two attacks on Fort Fisher in December, 1864, and January, 1865. Admiral Porter wrote : "Com. Radford has shown ability of a very high order, not only in fighting and manoeuvring his vessel, but in taking care of his division. His vessel did more execution than any other in the fleet, and I had so much confidence in the accuracy of his fire that even when our troops were on the parapet he was directed to clear the traverses of the enemy in advance of them. This he did most effectually, and but for this the victory might not have been ours." He was appointed rear-admiral on 25 July, 1866, commanded the European squadron in i869-'70, and was retired on 1 March, 1870.
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