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Adapted from "Rear Admiral William E. Le Roy, U.S. Navy," produced by Office of Naval Records and Library, not dated, located in William E. Le Roy ZB file, Navy Department Library.

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  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • Civil War 1861-1865
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William Edgar Le Roy

24 March 1818 - 10 December 1888

William E. Le Roy
Chronology of Naval Service

Born in New York, 24 March 1818.

Appointed Midshipman 11 January 1832 from state of New York. Attached to the frigate Delaware, Mediterranean Squadron.

1833-36: Attached to the brig Dolphin, Brazil Squadron.

Passed Midshipman 23 June 1838.

1839-40: Attached to the frigate Constitution, Pacific Squadron.

1842-43: Attached to the store-ship Erie.

Made Lieutenant 13 July 1843.

1846: Attached to the steamer Mississippi, Home Squadron.

1847: Attached to the steamer Princeton, Home Squadron, engagement with Mexican soldiers at Rio Aribique while assisting to water the Princeton.

1849-51: Attached to the sloop Savannah, Pacific Squadron.

1853-55: Attached to the frigate Savannah, Brazil Squadron.

1857-58: Detailed to Naval Station, Sackett's Harbor, New York.

1859: Attached to the frigate Sabine, Brazil Squadron.

1861: Commanding steamer Mystic, off coast of Africa.

Civil War:
1862-63. Attached to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, in command of the Keystone State. Took part in the capture of Fernandina, Florida, and operations and engagements in Charleston Harbor, the most notable being the engagement with the Confederate ironclads Palmetto State and Chicora on the morning of 31 January 1863. The Keystone State made a gallant fight but was disabled by a shot from the enemy which passed through both steam chests, disabling the boilers and rendering the ship powerless. She was struck ten times by rifle shot and at one time the escaping steam hid the captain from view, where he stood on the bridge, and he was thought to have been killed. His skillful management kept the ship afloat until one of the other vessels of the squadron could come to her aid and tow her to Port Royal. Twenty of the crew of the Keystone State were killed and twenty wounded in this battle, and the other vessel directly attacked was disabled and forced to surrender.

Admiral Du Pont commended captain Le Roy's handling of his vessel and attempt to run down his adversary saying "had not your ship been unfortunately disabled at a most critical time, you would have succeeded in destroying one of the ironclads, even at the risk of losing your vessel."

1864-65: Commanded the Ossipee, West Gulf Blockading Squadron. In the Battle of Mobile Bay the Ossipee was struck many times. Was about to run down the Confederate ironclad Tennessee when she surrendered 5 August 1864.

1867: Fleet Captain of the European Squadron.

1874-1880: made Rear Admiral 5 April 1874. Commanded first the South Atlantic, then the European Squadron. On Retired List 24 March 1880.

Died at New York 10 December 1888.


Published: Fri Jan 31 08:28:15 EST 2020