Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/James Harman Ward

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 15
James Harman Ward

by Thomas Francis Meehan

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, 1806; killed in attack on Matthias Point, Virginia, 27 June, 1861. He was the first Union naval officer to fall in the Civil War. One of the founders of the United States Naval Academy under its present system, his books on naval science had an important effect on the modern development of the service. He was a convert to the Catholic Faith, and his funeral from St. Patrick's church, Hartford, was made the occasion of a memorable war-time demonstration. Educated at the Vermont Military Academy, and at Trinity College, Hartford, he was appointed a midshipman in the navy 4 March, 1823, and promoted lieutenant 3 March, 1831. In this rank he served several years on the coast of Africa and there compiled is "Manual of Naval Tactics" (1858). He gave a course of lectures on gunnery in Philadelphia in 1842, and urged the establishment of the naval school, in which, when it was opened, he was an instructor (1845-47). His series of lectures, "Elementary Instruction on Naval Ordinance and Gunnery", attracted much attention, as did also his book "Steam for the Milion". In 1853 he was promoted commander, and in 1857 appointed to the charge of the receiving ship "North Carolina" at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. When the Civil War broke out he was called to Washington to counsel the navy department, and organized the Potomac flotilla, of which he was given command, 16 May, 1861. In directing its operations against the batteries the Confederates had erected along the river banks he was killed at Matthias Point.

FUREY in U.S. Cath. Hist. Soc., Historical Records and Studies (New York, 1912); Annual Am. Cycl. (New York, 1861), 748; Cyclo. Am. Biog., s.v.

THOMAS F. MEEHAN