Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Caldwell, Charles Henry Bromedge

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CALDWELL, Charles Henry Bromedge, naval officer, b. in Hingham, Mass., 11 June, 1823; d. in Waltham, Mass., 30 Nov., 1877. He entered the navy as midshipman 27 Feb., 1838, and became lieutenant 4 Sept., 1852. With a detachment from the “Vandalia,” he defeated a tribe of cannibals at Wega, one of the Feejee islands, and burned their town, 11 Oct., 1858. In 1862 he commanded the gun-boat “Itasca,” of the western gulf blockading squadron, and took part in the bombardment of Forts Jackson and St. Philip. On the night of 20 April his gun-boat, with the “Pinola,” was sent on an expedition under the command of Fleet-Capt. Bell, to make a passage for the fleet through the chain obstructions near the forts. Lieut. Caldwell and his party boarded one of the hulks that held the chains, and succeeded in detaching the latter, in spite of the heavy fire to which they were subjected. The “Itasca” was then swept on shore by the current, in full sight of the forts, and it was half an hour before she was afloat again. She was unable to pass the forts with the rest of the fleet, owing to a shot that penetrated her boiler. Lieut. Caldwell was in the action at Grand Gulf, 9 June, 1862, and was promoted to commander on 16 July. He commanded the iron-clad “Essex,” of the Mississippi squadron in 1862-'3, and took part in the operations at Port Hudson, from March to July of the latter year, in command of the “Essex” and the mortar flotilla. He commanded the “Glaucus” of the North Atlantic blockading squadron from 1863 till 1864, and the “R. R. Cuyler,” of the same squadron, from 1864 till 1865. He became captain, 12 Dec., 1867, chief of staff of the North Atlantic fleet in 1870, and commodore on 14 June, 1874.