Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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SAMPSON, William Thomas, naval officer, born in Palmyra, New York, 9 February, 1840. He was graduated at the United States naval academy in 1861, and attached to the frigate " Potomac" with the rank of master. I51 July, 1862, he was commissioned as lieutenant, and in 1862-'3 he served in the practice-sloop "John Adams." During 1864 he was stationed at the naval academy, and he then served in the "Patapsco" with the South Atlantic blockading squadron in 1864-'5, and was in that vessel when she was destroyed in Charleston harbor in January, 1865. He served in the flag-ship "Colorado," of the European squadron, in 1865-'7, and was at the naval academy in 1868-'71. Meanwhile he had been commissioned lieutenant-c.mmander on 25 July, 1866. His next service was in the" Congress" on special duty in 1872, and on the European station in 1873, after which, in 1875, he had the "Alert," and was commissioned commander on 9 August, 1874. During 1876-'9 he was at the naval academy, and in 1880 was given command of the "Swatara," of the Asiatic squadron. He was assistant superintendent of the United States naval observatorv in Washington in 1882-'3, and in September, 1886, was appointed superintendent of the United States naval academy. Commander Sampson was a member of the International conference at Washington in October, 1884, for the purpose of fixing a prime meridian and a universal day, and in 1885 was appointed a member of the board to report upon the necessary fortifications and other defences for the coast.
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