Monday, July 16, 2012

16 July 1862: Congress Authorizes the Rank of Admiral

On this day 150 years ago, Congress authorized the rank of Rear Admiral (Two Stars), with not more than (9) active duty officers.  David Glasgow Farragut would become the first Rear Admiral in the United States Navy.  He would later make Vice Admiral (Three Stars) in December 1864. 

These findings were originally published in the 1863 version of the Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy.

Rear Admiral Active List, as of 1863:
David G. Farragut (Commanding West Gulf Blockading Squadron) - 16 July 1862
Louis M. Goldsborough (Special Duty, Washington) - 16 July 1862
Samuel Francis Du Point (Waiting Orders) - 16 July 1862
Charles Henry Davis (Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron) - 7 February 1863
David D. Porter (Commanding Mississippi Squadron) - 7 February 1863

The retired list of Admirals is a "who's who" of the Navy's old guard.  One officer in particular, Charles Stewart, had a service record dating back to the Quasi-War with France.   He is listed in 1863's Naval Register as "Waiting Orders." 

Rear Admiral Retired List, as of 1863:
Charles Stewart
William B. Shubrick
Joseph Smith
George W. Storer
Francis H. Gregory
Silas H. Stringham
Samuel L. Breese
Hiram Paulding

In the 1878 edition of the Register, the rank of Admiral had a yearly salary of $13,000, vastly different from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles' annual wartime salary of $8,000 in 1863.  It is interesting to note that, unlike any other rank, Admirals pay did not change with their status (i.e. at sea, on shore duty, or on leave waiting orders).  The number remained at $13,000.  The lowest paid sailor in the United States Navy was the Warrant Officer's cook, earning just $15.50 a month ($214.50 per annum).  The oddest (and poorly paid) position in 1878 was that of the apothecary, who earned $360.00 per annum.

Throughout the Civil War, the Confederacy authorized four billets to Admiral, giving two of these to Franklin Buchanan (August 1862) and Raphael Semmes (January 1865). 

1 comment:

  1. Warrant Officers had their own personal cook???? I knew I was born too late. I got stuck eating with the JO's. Those ensigns are much to much into burgers and fries. Whenever they got a decent meal they would end up in foodfights firing mashed potatoes and spinach greens around like ASROC.

    Good on Farragut, well deserved!