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BORN: 1800 in Baltimore, MD.
DIED: 1874 in Talbot City, MD.
CAMPAIGNS: Mobile Bay.
Franklin Buchanan was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 17, 1800. At the age of 14, he became a midshipman, and was promoted to lieutenant in 1825. Selected the first superintendent of the US Naval Academy, and commanded the "Susquehanna" in the Perry Expedition to Japan. In 1855, he was appointed a captain. Believing that his home state of Maryland would be soon seceding from the Union, he tendered his resignation from the US Navy on April 22, 1861. When he realized that Maryland was not going to leave the Union, he asked Navy Secretary Gideon Welles if he could withdraw his resignation. Welles refused to accept Buchanan into the US Navy again, and dismissed him from the service. Buchanan tried to remain neutral, but eventually joined the Confederate navy as a captain. After serving chief of the Confederate Bureau of Orders and Detail until February of 1862, he left administration and returned to combat service. Commanding the CSS "Virginia" ("Merrimack"), he surprised Union troops at Hampton Roads, destroying several ships. Wounded by bullet, he was unable to command the "Virginia" in its battle with the "Monitor" the next day. Promoted to August 26, 1862, Buchanan was promoted to admiral, and was placed in charge of naval forces at Mobile, Alabama. He fought fiercely in the Battle of Mobile Bay in August of 1864, until he was forced to surrender. Held prisoner until February of 1865, he was assigned to Mobile again, arriving in time to surrender the city. After the Civil War, Buchanan was made president of the Maryland Agricultural College (1868-69), and worked as an insurance executive in Mobile. Buchanan died at his home in Talbot County, Maryland, on May 1, 1874.