Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
John Henry Upshur
Upshuróborn in Northampton County, Virginiaówas appointed a midshipman on 4 November 1841 and initially served at sea with the Mediterranean Squadron. During the war with Mexico, Upshur was assigned to St. Mary's as that brig participated in operations against Tampico. He also served ashore with the naval battery during the attacks against Vera Cruz in March 1847.
In the years preceding the Civil War, Upshur carried out assignments in the Mediterranean, the West Indian , and the African Squadrons. He also performed brief tours of duty at the Naval Academy and at the Washington Navy Yard as an ordnance officer. From 1853 to 1856, Upshur served in Supply during Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry's expeditions to Japan which opened that nation to the west.
During the Civil War, Upshur participated in the capture of the Southern forts at Hatteras Inlet which opened the Carolina sounds to Union forces. He was executive officer of Wabash during the expedition which wrested Port Royal, South Carolina, from Confederate hands. Later on, he served in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron during operations against Charleston. He returned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron in time for the abortive joint expedition against Fort Fisher late in December 1864. He was also in the expedition which finally carried the Southern works guarding Wilmington in mid-January 1865.
After the Civil War, Upshur served in a succession of sea and shore billets, culminating in his service as commander of the Pacific Squadron from 1882 to 1884. Rear Admiral Upshur retired in 1885 and died in Washington, D.C.
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