Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Febiger, Christian

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FEBIGER, Christian, soldier, b. on the island of Fünen, Denmark, in 1746; d. in Philadelphia, Pa., 20 Sept., 1796. His father died when the son was about sixteen years old, and the boy, after receiving a military education, went to Santa Cruz on the staff of his uncle, who had been appointed governor of that island. He travelled through the American colonies on a tour of observation in 1772, and in the following year engaged in commerce in the eastern states. He joined a Massachusetts regiment on 28 April, 1775, became its adjutant shortly afterward, and distinguished himself at Bunker Hill. He was in Arnold's Quebec expedition, was taken prisoner at the storming of that city on 31 Dec., 1775, and was sent to New York with other prisoners in September, 1776. On 13 Nov. he was appointed a lieutenant-colonel in the Virginia line. He joined his regiment, the 11th Virginia, on being exchanged, 1 Jan., 1777, and fought in the Philadelphia campaign, being made colonel of the 2d Virginia on 26 Sept., after the battle of the Brandywine. He was on the right of Greene's wing at Germantown, led 4,000 men, with two guns, at Monmouth, and commanded the right column in the attack on Stony Point, where he distinguished himself, taking the British commander prisoner in person. He was sent to Philadelphia on 1 Sept., 1780, to forward stores to the army, and was afterward on recruiting duty in Virginia, though he was in the field at intervals, and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis. He retired from active service on 1 Jan., 1783, was brevetted brigadier-general on 30 Sept., and then settled in Philadelphia, where he engaged in business. During his military service Febiger bore the sobriquet of “Old Denmark.” He was treasurer of Pennsylvania from 13 Nov., 1789, until his death. — His grandson, John Carson, naval officer, b. in Pittsburg, Pa., 14 Feb., 1821, entered the navy from Ohio as a midshipman, 14 Sept., 1838, and was in the “Concord,” of the Brazil squadron, when she was wrecked on the eastern coast of Africa in 1843. He became passed midshipman, 20 May, 1844, and lieutenant, 30 April, 1853. He was on the “Germantown,” of the East India squadron, in 1858-'60, and on the sloop “Savannah” in 1861, and on 11 Aug., 1862, was commissioned commander, and assigned to the steamer “Kanawha,” of the Western gulf blockading squadron. After commanding various vessels in that and the Mississippi squadron, he was given the “Mattabeset,” of the North Atlantic squadron, in 1864, and in that steamer took part, on 5 May, 1864, in the fight between the little fleet of wooden vessels, under Capt. Melancton Smith, and the Confederate ram “Albemarle,” in Albemarle sound, N. C. In this engagement the ram was defeated, and her tender, the “Bombshell,” captured, and Febiger was commended for his “gallantry and skill” by Capt. Smith and Rear-Admiral Samuel P. Lee. He commanded the “Ashuelot,” of the Asiatic squadron, in 1866-'8, and on May of the latter year was promoted to captain. He was inspector of naval reserve lands in 1869-'72, was made commodore, 9 Aug., 1874, was a member of the board of examiners in 1874-'6, and commandant of the Washington navy-yard in 1876-'80. He was promoted to rear-admiral, 4 Feb., 1882, and on 1 July, 1882, was retired on his own application, having been in the service over forty years.