Percival Drayton, born 25 August 1812 in Charleston, S.C., was appointed a Midshipman 1 December 1827. During the Civil War, he commanded Pocahontas in the expedition against Port Royal, S.C., in October 1861. As Fleet Captain of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Drayton served gallantly in command of Admiral D. G. Farragut's flagship Hartford during the Battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. He was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Navigation in April 1865 and died in that post 4 August 1865.
(DD-23: dp. 742; l. 293'11"; b. 27'; dr. 8'4"; s. 30 k.; cpl. 89; a. 5 3", 6 18" tt; cl. Paulding)
The first Drayton (DD-23) was launched 22 August 1910 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Miss E. G. Drayton, niece of Captain Drayton; and commissioned 29 October 1910, Lieutenant Commander H. C. Dinger in command.
Drayton arrived at Key West, Fla., 21 December 1910, to cruise in Cuban waters and on the east coast in exercises and development problems. She sailed from Key West 9 April 1914 to serve on blockade duty off Mexico and take refugees out of the troubled areas, returning to New York 1 June, and to Newport 1 August.
Drayton served on neutrality patrol and conducted torpedo and gunnery exercises out of Newport and in the Caribbean. Calling at Jacksonville, Fla., 5 to 11 April 1917, she took over the German steamer Frieda Leonhardt and interned her crew in accordance with a Presidential proclamation issued upon American entry into World War I. Drayton arrived at Norfolk 12 April and the next day reported for duty with the Patrol Force off the east coast serving until 4 May 1917 when she entered Boston Navy Yard to fit out for distant service.
Drayton departed Boston 21 May 1917 and sailed by way of St. John's, Newfoundland, to Queenstown, Ireland, arriving 1 June. She patrolled along the coast of Ireland, escorting both inbound and outbound ships. On 20 June she searched for the submarine which had torpedoed SS Bengore Head then rescued 42 survivors who were landed at Bantry, Ireland. Between 26 June and 4 July she escorted a transport convoy to St. Nazaire and took part in a submarine hunt with two French cruisers. On 15 December with Benham (DD-49) she picked up the survivors of the mined SS Foylemore, 39 in all.
Transferred to Brest and U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, Drayton left Queenstown 15 February 1918. She continued her escort and antisubmarine operations out of this port until 16 December when she sailed for the United States, arriving at Boston 2 January 1919 for overhaul. Drayton cruised along the east coast on various exercises and maneuvers until 18 July when she reported to Philadelphia Navy Yard in company with seven other destroyers destined for decommissioning. Drayton was decommissioned 17 November 1919: On 1 July 1933 her name was dropped and she was known as DD-23 until sold 28 June 1935.