A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Woodriff, John Robert

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WOODRIFF. (Commander, 1848. f-p., 22; h-p., 23.)

John Robert Woodriff is brother of Commander Dan. Jas. Woodriff, R.N.

This officer entered the Navy, 29 Oct. 1802, as Midshipman, on board the Calcutta armée en flûte, commanded by his father, Capt. Dan. Woodriff under whom he sailed with convicts for Port Philip, and was present at the founding of the settlement at Hobart Town. On his return to England, after having circumnavigated the globe, he was received, in July, 1805, on board the Aurora 28, Capts. John Wentworth Loring and Hon. Geo. Elliot; in which frigate he cruized for a time off the Western Islands and then visited Bermuda and Gibraltar. At the latter place he removed, 22 Oct. in the year last mentioned, to the Donegal 74, Capt. Pulteney Malcolm. In her he assisted at the capture, a few days afterwards, of El Rayo, one of the ships recently defeated at Trafalgar. He was sent with others on board the prize and remained in her until she was wrecked near San Lucar, on which occasion those who were not drowned were taken prisoners. In the course of 1806 (he had returned home from Gibraltar in the Colossus 74, Capt. Jas. Nicoll Morris) he joined in succession the Glory 98 and Sampson and Diadem 64’s, bearing each the flag of Rear-Admiral Chas. Stirling. While in the Diadem in the Rio de la Plata, whither he had proceeded in the Sampson (the Glory had been stationed in the Channel), Mr. Woodriff served on shore, and was the very first person that landed, at the storming of Monte Video in Feb. 1807. During Lieut.-General Whitelocke’s unfortunate attack upon Buenos Ayres he was attached with 2 3-pounders to the brigade of seamen under Capt. Josias Rowley of the Raisonnable 64. He was subsequently employed under the flag of Vice-Admiral Albemarle Bertie at the Cape of Good Hope and off the Isle of France as Midshipman, Master’s Mate, and Acting-Lieutenant in the Leopard 50; in which ship he made a voyage also to Bombay. While off the Isle of France he was sent in charge, in 1809, of a slave-ship to the Cape and suffered much on the passage from the want of provisions and water. On 26 April, 1811, he was confirmed to the rank of Lieutenant (he had been acting as such) in the St. Albans 64, Capts. Edw. Brace, Grant, and John Ferris Devonshire; and in the same year he was actively employed, in charge of a gun-boat. No. 4, at the defence of Cadiz; where, in rowing guard, he made prize of two French boats. From Sept. 1812 until Feb. 1813, and from June in the latter year until Aug. 1814, he served in the Channel and again at the Cape of Good Hope in the Savage 16, Capt. Wm. Bissell, and Laurel 38, Capt. Hon. Granville Leveson Proby; and from 4 Nov. 1836 until rewarded for his services with the rank he now holds 1 Jan. 1848, he had charge of a station in the Coast Guard.

Commander Woodriff is Senior of 1848. He married, in 1837, Jesse, youngest daughter of Capt. Bradley, and has issue five children. Agents – Messrs. Ommanney.