Battle of First Bull Run Online Exhibit
Flag-officer Silas H. Stringham
Caption: Flag-officer [Silas H.] Stringham (from a photograph)
Source: Illustration and text from Harper's Weekly, August 17, 1861, page 516.
Commanding the Atlantic Blockading Squadron
Commodore Silas H. Stringham, whose portrait we publish [here], is a native of the State of New York, and was born near Newburgh, Orange Co. He has been connected with our Navy and in active service since the year 1809, when he entered as midshipman, at the age of eleven. His advancement has been by the regular course of promotion, his present commission dating September, 1841. The Department at Washington have always had the fullest confidence in his ability, as is shown by the many and important commands in which he has been placed. Since holding his present rank he has successively been Commandant of the Brooklyn Navy-yard, followed by a cruise to the Brazils; then Commandant at the Norfolk Navy-yard, then a cruise as Commodore of the Mediterranean squadron, from whence he returned in July, 1855; was soon ordered to the Charlestown Navy-yard as Commandant, holding that position some four years; upon leaving there he was the recipient of various testimonials of esteem and regard from those under his command. Upon the incoming of the present Administration, he was early ordered to Washington on special duty, and upon deciding to blockade all the Southern ports, he was ordered to his present command, reaching from Key West on the south to Cape Charles, at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, on the north, with the Minnesota, a forty-gun steamer, as the flag-ship, and some twenty-five vessels in all, manned by 3500 sailors and marines. The fleet is the most important ever put in commission by the Department (although not yet as large as it should be to be entirely effective).
In person, the Commodore is of medium height, and a compact, athletic frame, of manly bearing and frank demeanor; in manner, a pleasing mixture of gentleman-like refinement and sailor-like frankness, with a character of high moral tone, "without fear and without reproach." No officer is more beloved and respected by those who serve under him than Commodore Stringham, while we of the Empire State know our honor, and that of the flag of our Union, is in safe keeping while under his care.