Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Kell, John McIntosh

Kell, John McIntosh

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Commander, Confederate States Navy, (1823-1900)

Born in McIntosh County, Georgia, in 1823, John McIntosh Kell entered the U.S. Navy in September 1841 as a Midshipman. Over the next two decades he served in several ships, was active in California during the war with Mexico and participated in Commodore Matthew C. Perry's expedition to Japan. When Georgia seceeded from the Union in early 1861, Lieutenant Kell resigned from the United States' Navy. In April 1861, he briefly commanded the Georgia state gunboat Savannah, but received a Confederate States Navy commission as First Lieutenant the following month and was sent to New Orleans. There, he helped Commander Raphael Semmes fit out the cruiser CSS Sumter. He served as Executive Officer during her commerce raiding cruise in 1861-62.


First Lieutenant Kell was Semmes' Executive Officer on CSS Alabama throughout her career, and was present when she was sunk by USS Kearsarge in June 1864. He was rescued by the British yacht Dearhound and taken to England. Promoted to the rank of Commander in that month, he commanded the ironclad CSS Richmond in the James River Squadron in 1865. After the end of the Civil War, Kell returned to Georgia and became a farmer. In later years, he served as Adjutant General of Georgia. John McIntosh Kell died in 1900.


This page features all our pictures of Commander John M. Kell, CSN.