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Captain James Harman Ward
Captain James Ward
Captain James Ward
Captain James Ward
American, 1806 - 1861
Biography: Captain James Ward of Hartford, Connecticut, is thought to have been the first naval officer to be killed during the Civil War. He was born on 25 September 1806 in Hartford, Connecticut. He was graduated from the Norwich Military Academy (Norwich University) in Norwich, Vermont, in 1823, and was commissioned midshipman, 4 March 1829. He cruised in the "Constitution," 1824-28; and was promoted passed midshipman, 23 March 1829, and lieutenant, 3 March 1831. He delivered a course of lectures on "Gunnery" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1842 and 1843, with the intention of the government founding a naval academy, and upon the establishment of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, he was elected to a professorship, serving from 1845 to 1847. Ward was attached to the gulf fleet during the Mexican war where he commanded the "Vixen" from 1849-1850; he was promoted to commander on 9 September 1853. He organized the Potomac flotilla in May 1861 for Civil War service. This originally comprised the steamers "Thomas," "Freeborn," and the tugs, "Anacostia" and "Resolute." He participated in the engagement against the Confederate batteries at Aquia Creek, 31 May and 1 June 1861, clearing the Virginia banks of obstructions and opening the river. In the bombardment of Mathias Point, June 27, the party was fired upon by the 40th Virginia Infantry, and Captain Ward was hit on board his flagship. As he was sighting a gun on the shore, Captain Ward was struck by a minie ball and died within an hour, being the first naval officer killed in the Civil War. He died at Mathias Point, Virginia, on 27 June 1861. He published: "Elementary Instructions on Naval Ordnance and Gunnery" (1845, enlarged edition, 1861); "Manual of Naval Tactics" (1859), and "Steam for the Millions" (1860).