Thornton A. Jenkins

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Thornton Alexander Jenkins

Thornton Jenkins.JPG

Thornton Jenkins
Born(1811-12-11)11 December 1811
Orange Court House, Virginia
Died 9 August 1893(1893-08-09) (aged 81)
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1822-1836).svg  United States United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 18281873
Rank USN Rear Admiral rank insignia.jpg Rear Admiral
Commands held

Thornton A. Jenkins (11 December 1811 9 August 1893) was an officer in the United States Navy, who served during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War. He later served as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation and as President of the United States Naval Institute. Jenkins retired as a Rear Admiral.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

The U.S. Navy's Bureau of Navigation was established in 1862 as part of the reorganization of the Navy Department. Principal responsibilities were to provide nautical charts and instruments and to oversee several activities involved navigation research, including the Naval Observatory. In 1889, the Bureau gained responsibilities for personnel management, and this eventually became its primary function. In 1942, the Bureau was renamed the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BuPers), under which name it continues today.


Early life and career

Born at Orange Court House, Virginia, Jenkins entered the Navy as a midshipman on 1 November 1828, and served first in the West Indies in an expedition against pirates and slavers. Examined for a commission as lieutenant, he placed first among 82 candidates. In 1831 Jenkins helped to suppress Nat Turner's slave rebellion.

Orange, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Orange is a town in, and county seat of, Orange County, Virginia, United States. The population was 4,721 at the 2010 census, representing a 14.5% increase since the 2000 census. Orange is 28 miles (45 km) northeast of Charlottesville, 88 miles (142 km) southwest of Washington, D.C., and 4 miles (6 km) east of James Madison's plantation of Montpelier.

A midshipman is an officer of the junior-most rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Canada, Australia, Bangladesh, Namibia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.

West Indies Island region in the Caribbean

The West Indies is a region of the North Atlantic Ocean in the Caribbean that includes the island countries and surrounding waters of three major archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles and the Lucayan Archipelago.

Prior to the Mexican-American War, Jenkins served with the Coast Survey and with the Brazilian and Mediterranean Squadrons. During the war with Mexico, as executive officer of Germantown, he led landing parties from his ship at Tuxpan and Tabasco. Later, he commanded the store-ship Relief and the Supply Station at Salmedena Island. In the interval between the wars, he served in the receiving ship at Baltimore, returned to the Coast Survey, and was Secretary of the Lighthouse Board.

U.S. National Geodetic Survey

The National Geodetic Survey (NGS), formerly the United States Survey of the Coast (1807–1836), United States Coast Survey (1836–1878), and United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS) (1878–1970), is a United States federal agency that defines and manages a national coordinate system, providing the foundation for transportation and communication; mapping and charting; and a large number of applications of science and engineering. Since its foundation in its present form in 1970, it has been part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), of the United States Department of Commerce.

Mexico country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

USS Germantown was a United States Navy sloop-of-war in commission for various periods between 1847 and 1860. She saw service in the Mexican–American War in 1847–1848 and during peacetime operated in the Caribbean, in the Atlantic Ocean off Africa and South America, and in East Asia. Scuttled at the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, she was captured and refloated by the Confederate States of America and placed in service with the Confederate States Navy as the floating battery CSS Germantown before again being scuttled in 1862.

Civil War service

Thornton A. Jenkins - Brady-Handy.jpg

His Civil War record was distinguished. In 1861 Jenkins performed secret services for President Lincoln, until he became ill in 1861. After this, Jenkins became a captain and served primarily in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron of David Farragut, he commanded Oneida. He served as chief of staff to Farragut, and was later wounded while commanding a convoy escort group. As Senior Officer Present, in command of Richmond, he received the surrender of Port Hudson on 9 July 1863. Admiral Farragut had temporarily gone to New Orleans on business at the time. Jenkins later commanded a division of the Squadron. He was present at the Battle of Mobile Bay and heard Farragut utter the famous line "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Though, according to Thornton, what Farragut actually said was “Go ahead sir and damn the torpedoes!” [1]

Abraham Lincoln 16th president of the United States

Abraham Lincoln was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.

David Farragut United States Navy admiral

David Glasgow Farragut was a flag officer of the United States Navy during the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and admiral in the United States Navy. He is remembered for his order at the Battle of Mobile Bay usually paraphrased as "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" in U.S. Navy tradition.

USS <i>Oneida</i> (1861)

The second USS Oneida was a screw sloop-of-war in the United States Navy. During the Civil War, she destroyed the CSS Governor Moore and served in blockade operations. She was attached to the Asiatic Squadron from 1867–1870. She sank in 1870 outside Yokohama, Japan after collision with the British steamer Bombay. The Court of Inquiry found the officers of Oneida were responsible for the collision. Bombay's captain was blamed for not staying at the scene to render assistance - a decision that caused some controversy. Japanese fishing boats saved 61 sailors but 125 men lost their lives. The American government made no attempt to raise the wreck and sold it to a Japanese wrecking company. The company recovered many bones from the wreck and interred them at their own expense. The Japanese erected a memorial tablet on the grounds of Ikegami Temple in Tokyo and held a Buddhist ceremony in the sailor's memory in May 1889.

Post-war activities

Jenkins was Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, from 1865 to 1869. He became a Real Admiral in 1870 and commanded the Asiatic Squadron from 1870 until his retirement in 1873. Rear Admiral Jenkins was President of the Naval Institute from 1883 to 1885, and died on 9 August 1893. Jenkins was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Asiatic Squadron

The Asiatic Squadron was a squadron of United States Navy warships stationed in East Asia during the latter half of the 19th century. It was created in 1868 when the East India Squadron was disbanded. Vessels of the squadron were primarily involved in matters relating to American commerce with China and Japan, though it participated in several conflicts over 34 years of service until becoming the Asiatic Fleet in 1902.

United States Naval Institute private military association

The United States Naval Institute (USNI), based in Annapolis, Maryland, is a private, non-profit, professional military association that seeks to offer independent, nonpartisan forums for debate of national defense and security issues. In addition to publishing magazines and books, the Naval Institute holds several annual conferences.

Arlington National Cemetery Military cemetery in the United States

Arlington National Cemetery is a United States military cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., in whose 624 acres (253 ha) the dead of the nation's conflicts have been buried, beginning with the Civil War, as well as reinterred dead from earlier wars. The United States Department of the Army, a component of the United States Department of Defense (DoD), controls the cemetery.


Two ships in the United States Navy have been named USS Jenkins for Rear Admiral Thornton A. Jenkins.

Thornton Jenkins Hains American writer

Thornton Jenkins Hains (1866-1953) was an American sea novelist best known today for his role in the murder of William Annis. Hains later used the pen name Mayn Clew Garnett.

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  1. "The Battle of Mobile Bay". The Washington Post. 25 April 1881.
Military offices
Preceded by
John Rodgers
Commander, Asiatic Squadron
1 September 187212 December 1873
Succeeded by
Enoch Greenleafe Parrott