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Tucker, John Randolph

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Captain, Confederate States Navy (1812-1883)

Captain John Randolph Tucker, Confederate States Navy, (1812-1883)


John Randolph Tucker was born in Alexandria, Virginia, on 31 January 1812. He became a U.S. Navy Midshipman in 1826 and had service afloat in the Mediterranean and Brazil Squadrons prior to his promotion to Lieutenant in late 1837. During the Mexican War, he served in the Gulf of Mexico until illness forced him to return north. From 1849 until 1855 he was assigned to the Home and Mediterranean Squadrons' flagships. He received the rank of Commander in 1855 and afterwards served as Commanding Officer of the receiving ship Pennsylvania and as Ordnance Officer at the Norfolk Navy Yard.


Commander Tucker resigned from the U.S. Navy when Virginia seceded from the Union in April 1861, becoming a Commander in the Virginia Navy and, in June, the Confederate Navy. He was Commanding Officer of CSS Patrick Henry during 1861-62, participating with her in several combat actions. During the Federal Navy's attack on the Drewry's Bluff fortifications in May, he commanded one of the defending batteries.


In July 1862, Tucker was ordered to Charleston, South Carolina, where he took command of the ironclad Chicora. The following January, he led his ship in a successful attack on Union warships off that port. He became commander of the Confederate warships at Charleston in March 1863, remaining in that post until the city fell in February 1865. During that time, he was promoted to Captain and aggressively pursued spar-torpedo warfare against U.S. warships. During the Civil War's last weeks he served in the defenses of Richmond, Virginia, and with the Confederate army as it withdrew to its final destiny at Appomattox. He surrendered in the field on 6 April 1865.


In 1866, after peace returned to the United States, Tucker became a Rear Admiral in the navy of Peru, serving with the combined fleet of that nation and Chile in their war with Spain. He later surveyed the upper Amazon River. John Randolph Tucker died at Petersburg, Virginia, on 12 June 1883.


This page features our only pictures of Captain John Randolph Tucker, CSN.