Joseph B. Smith
|Joseph B. Smith|
8 March 1862 (aged 35–36)|
off Newport News, Virginia
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1841–1862|
|Commands held||USS Congress|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
Early life and education
Born in Belfast, Maine, Smith was appointed midshipman on 19 October 1841. After graduating with the Class of 1847, he served at the Washington Navy Yard, in Mississippi and with the U.S. Coast Survey. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1855, and soon afterwards was assigned to the steam frigate Merrimack, his station until 1857. Smith next had ordnance duty at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C.
In 1860, he was ordered to frigate, Congress as her first lieutenant. He was in acting-command of Congress on 8 March 1862, when she was attacked and destroyed by the Confederate ironclad, CSS Virginia, and lost his life in the action. When his father, Captain Joseph Smith, heard of the surrender of Congress, he said, "Then Joe is dead," feeling that she never would have surrendered while his son lived.
Two ships have been named, USS Smith for him.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the Naval History & Heritage Command document "Lieutenant Joseph B. Smith, USN, (1826-1862)".