The New Student's Reference Work/Worden, John Lorimer

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Word′en, John Lorimer, American naval officer, was born at Ossining, N. Y., on March 12, 1818. In 1835 he entered the navy as a midshipman and eleven years later gained a lieutenancy. Early in 1861, after bearing dispatches to Fort Pickens, he was captured by Confederate troops. Towards the close of the year he was exchanged, and subsequently took part in superintending the construction of The Monitor (q. v.). When that famous ironclad was completed, Worden was given command. At Hampton Roads, on March 9, 1862, he gave battle to the Confederate ram Merrimac (or Virginia), then endeavoring to destroy northern warships. In the historic encounter between the two vessels neither was seriously injured, though a hot cannonade was maintained for two hours and over, in which Worden was temporarily blinded by the explosion of a shell on the pilot-house of The Monitor. Receiving the thanks of Congress for his service on the occasion, the captain also obtained a step in rank, while he was transferred to the command of The Montauk. On the latter ironclad Commander Worden destroyed the Confederate privateer Nashville, which had taken shelter under the guns of Fort McAllister, and later took part in the bombardment of Charleston (April 7, 1863). He subsequently was on special duty at New York City, and, as commodore, was head of the Naval Academy from 1870 to 1874. In 1872 he was commissioned rear-admiral, and in 1886, at his own request, he was retired. He died at Washington, D. C., on Oct. 18, 1897.