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Adapted from the biographical sketch for Samuel Elbert, ZB Files, Navy Department Library, Naval History and Heritage Command.

Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • Barbary Wars 1801-1805, 1815
  • Quasi War with France 1798-1801
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Samuel Elbert

17?? - 1812

Place and date of birth not found. In nomination for appointment as Lieutenant, referred to as 'of Georgia.'

Dates of Service

1798 1 December 'Appointed to the Ganges say the Frigate United States.' (As there are no muster rolls of either the Ganges or the United States of that period, it is impossible to interpret the above statement.)
  11 December Warranted Midshipman. Warrant delivered to Captain Thomas Tingey, commanding USS Ganges.
  13 December Accepted appointment personally.
1799 9 March Captain Tingey at Norfolk directed to receive him on board USS Ganges. Served in the West Indies, Naval War with France.
  14 November Furloughed for six months from date if not wanted. Directed to settle his accounts before leaving Washington up to the date he left the Ganges and to keep the Department informed of his address.
1800 14 May Captain John Mullowney, commanding USS Ganges, directed to receive him on board. Served again in the West Indies, Naval War with France.
  25 October Ordered from USS Ganges to USS United States, Captain John Barry. United States sailed in December to the West Indies, as the flagship of the Guadeloupe Station, returning to Washington in April, 1801.
1801 13 May Ordered to Norfolk for duty on USS President. Addressed as present.
  22 May Appearance on board USS President at Norfolk. The President, commanded by Captain John Barron, sailed from Hampton Roads 1 June 1801, for the Mediterranean, as the flagship of Commodore Richard Dale, arriving at Tunis in July. Participated in the War with Tripoli.
1802 18 January Transferred from USS President to USS Boston in the Mediterranean. The Boston arrived at Washington 27 October 1802, and was laid up in ordinary.
  9 November Permission granted to go on furlough. Informed he would be on half pay until ordered to actual service. Addressed at present.
1803 16 February Request for furlough in letter of 29 January declined, as his services might be required in a short time. Directed to hold himself in readiness to obey immediately when called upon. Addressed at Savannah, Georgia.
  4 March Commissioned Lieutenant. Notified of appointment 7 March, and commission enclosed. Addressed at Savannah, Ga.
  24 May Ordered to Boston immediately for duty on USS Constitution, Captain Edward Preble.
  21 July Appearance on board USS Constitution at Boston. Served in the Mediterranean in Commodore Preble's Squadron, War with Tripoli.
1804 28 October Transferred from USS Constitution to USS John Adams, for return to the United States.
  11 November On muster roll of USS John Adams as a supernumerary.
1805 26 February Detached from USS John Adams at New York.
  11 March Ordered to Charleston, South Carolina, to take of Gunboat No. 9 when ready for service, and pursue such orders as he might receive from the Department.
  29 April Assumed command of Gunboat No. 9 at Charleston, South Carolina.
  7 May Sailed for Mediterranean in company with Gunboat No. 2. Had expected to sail 1 May, but was delayed by easterly winds.
  7 June Arrived at Gibraltar, 27 days from Charleston, 12 hours after Gunboat No. 2 and 1 hour after Gunboat No. 8. Reported arrival to Department on 8 June; stated he was waiting at Gibraltar for Gunboat No. 8, which needed supplies. Stated no. 9 was a good sea boat and sailed well. Was informed by the Consul that two Tripolitan cruisers of 10 and 8 guns were out. Served in Mediterranean.
1806 22 July Wrote from Charleston, South Carolina, informing Department of arrival of Gunboat No. 9 at that place after a passage of 48 days from Gibraltar. Left in company with USS Vixen, but parted company with her at sea. His crew all in good health.
  25 July Furloughed for 1 month.
  30 August Wrote from Savannah, Georgia, reporting expiration of his furlough, and readiness for duty. Orders to be addressed to him at Savannah.
  24 December Ordered to proceed immediately to Charleston, South Carolina, and take command of the gunboats there and have them immediately prepared for actual service except for the crews. Addressed at present.
1807 7 January Wrote from Charleston, South Carolina, reporting his arrival the evening before. Had examined the gunboats and found caulking and other trifling repairs needed that could be done in five or six days. No time would be lost in getting them ready for their crews.
  26 January Reported the gunboats ready to receive their crews.
  14 February Letter of 26 January acknowledged. Informed that the President had not determined on what services the gunboats would be ordered.
  20 March Ordered to dismantle the gunboats and lay them up.
  11 June Reported that Gunboats 2, 3, and 9 had been dismantled.
  3 July Ordered to prepare the gunboats immediately for service except for their crews.
  15 July Wrote from Charleston stating that at the earnest request of the citizens together with the advice of the Navy Agent he had prepared the gunboats for the defence of the harbor, but did not feel authorized to ship any additional number of men until he knew the Secretary's wishes.
  18 July Wrote from Charleston acknowledging the orders of 3 July, received the day before; stated the gunboats were ready for their crews.
  28 July Letter of 15 July acknowledged. Directed to enter as many men for the gunboats as sufficient to work the guns, and when entered to accustom them to the use of the guns; to enter them for 2 years.
1808 January Superseded in command at Charleston by Master Commandant John H. Dent, commanding USS Hornet, as Senior Officer. Ordered by captain Dent to cruise in Gunboat No. 2 between the Fort and Sullivan's Island daily and board outbound vessels and examine their clearance papers.
  28 February Secretary informed by Captain Dent that he had ordered Lieutenant Elbert to St. Mary's River with Gunboat No. 2 in response to a request from the Collector at Savannah dated 11 February, to assist in enforcing the Embargo laws.
  30 April Sent an impression of the medal awarded Commodore Preble in pursuance of the resolution of Congress of 3 March 1805, as one of the officers of Commodore Preble's squadron who participated in the attacks on the town, batteries and naval forces of Tripoli in 1804.
  2 May Addressed at St. Mary's, Georgia, a copy of the Embargo Laws enclosed. Directed to dispose his force to seize vessels of American citizens found violating or attempting to violate them, and foreign vessels violating or attempting to violate them within the jurisdiction of the United States.
  3 June Wrote from Gunboat No. 2 at St. Mary's acknowledging letter of 2 May. Stated that Gunboat No. 3 arrived 1 June; No. 9 had sailed with her but had not yet arrived. Reported having captured the schoner Maggie before being detached from the Charleston Station for violation of the Embargo Laws; stated she had been libelled and sent to Savannah for trial at the request of the Attorney General. Stated that on 30 May he had taken posssession of the Spanish canoe boat Naiad with 19 bales of cotton, about 60 yards from Cumberland, and said to be bound to Florida.
  10 June Wrote from St. Mary's informing the Secretary where he had stationed Gunboats No.s 3 and 9. Stated that the Commandant of Florida had demanded the return of the Naiad; had replied that he could not do so without orders from his government, to which application must be made.
  20 June Protest of the Captain of the Maggie relative to her seizure forwarded to him. Directed to send a report of the circumstances of the seizure, on which the reply of the Secretary of State to the Spanish Minister might be based.
  30 June Addressed at St. Mary's and informed that it was intended that the gunboats at St. Mary's should have been sent to Charleston and laid up in ordinary. Directed to do so now.
  8 July Wrote from St. Mary's acknowledging letter of 20 June. Stated he would send the report of the seizure of the Maggie by the next mail; was awaiting the arrival of important documents in connection with the case; felt sure the Secretary would approve his seizure of the vessel. (Report not found; probably turned over to the State Department.)
  9 July Wrote from Gunboat No. 2 at Charleston stating that not having received instructions relative to the gunboats on the St. Mary's Station and thinking Captain Ingraham might have been advised, he had proceeded to Charleston; had seen a letter from the Secretary to Captain Ingraham mentioning that they had been ordered to Charleston, and had sent word to the commanders of the others to proceed there immediately. Stated that he had received a letter from General Hampton requesting him to proceed to Savannah to remove troops to Charleston, and would go immediately; the trip would take five or six days; on his return he would await the Department's orders.
  31 July Wrote from Charleston acknowledging orders of 30 June to bring Gunboats Nos. 2, 3 and 9 to Charleston. Stated they were all there and being dismantled as fast as possible.
  10 August Addressed as Commanding at Charleston. Letter of 31 July acknowledged.
  15 November Directed to open a rendezvous at Charleston.
1810 6 February Ordered by Captain Campbell, commanding at Charleston, to take charge of three gunboats for the St. Mary's Station.
  24 March Ordered to proceed to St. Mary's with all despatch with Gunboats 3, 156 and 162, by Captain Campbell.
  3 April Addressed at St. Mary's. Ordered to report to the Department on persons trespassing on Blackbeard and Grovers Islands.
  12 June Furloughed for 3 weeks.
  26 October Captain Campbell directed to order the three gunboats at St. Mary's to proceed immediately to New Orleans for duty; if necessary they might stop at Charleston for provisions.
  27 November Wrote to Department tendering his resignation. (Letter of resignation not found.)
  28 November Ordered to Washington.
  30 November Department informed by Captain Campbell that the gunboats from St. Mary's had arrived at Charleston, and that No. 162 would need another commander, as Lieutenant Elbert had resigned.
  11 December Letter of 27 November acknowledged. Informed that his resignation would be accepted when his accounts were settled.
1811 11 January Wrote from St. Mary's acknowledging letter of 11 December. Stated he would set out for Washington as soon as he could get his papers arranged.
  9 April Wrote from Washington requesting to be allowed to return to duty. Commission restored same date. Directed to settle his accounts as speedily as practicable and await further orders.
  31 December Permitted to go to St. Mary's. (Ill, see letter of 10 May 1812.)
1812 16 May Wrote from St. Mary's stating the Secretary had been good enough to allow him to go to St. Mary's and remain until his health was established. Was much better than when he arrived, but still unable to undertake a journey to Washington. Would like some duty, but not able to undertake hard duty.
  30 May Ordered to place himself under the command of Captain Campbell.
  29 August Wrote from St. Mary's acknowledging orders to place himself under the command of Captain Campbell. Would like some active employment.
  28 November Department informed by Captain Campbell that he had been placed in command of four gunboats to cooperate with the Army.
  22 December Died at St. Mary's. (no letter found giving particulars of death.)
Published: Thu Nov 12 09:11:27 EST 2020