Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr.

Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr. bigraphy, stories - United States Navy admiral

Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr. : biography

6 February 1836 – 4 February 1924

Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr. (6 February 1836 – 4 February 1924), son of Thomas O. Selfridge, was an officer in the United States Navy.

Born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, Selfridge graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1854.

Civil War

At the beginning of the American Civil War, he helped with efforts to destroy the untenable Norfolk Navy Yard; and he then escaped from that burning and beleaguered base in Cumberland, helping to save the sloop of war for the Union Navy. He participated in the capture of the Hatteras forts and was on board Cumberland on 8 March 1862 when she was sunk by Confederate ironclad, Virginia. He then briefly commanded Monitor, after Lieutenant John L. Worden was wounded; and commanded Alligator, an experimental submarine, in testing operations based at the Washington Navy Yard.

In August, he joined the Mississippi Squadron, and subsequently commanded Cairo and Conestoga when those ships were sunk in action. Late in the war, he returned to the Atlantic where he commanded Huron in the attacks on Fort Fisher; and he participated in the ensuing bombardment of Fort Anderson and the capture of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Namesake ships

USS Selfridge (DD-320) was named for the elder Rear Admiral Selfridge, while USS Selfridge (DD-357) was named for both officers.


His postwar service included command of Nipsic, Enterprise, and Omaha—the last two on the Asiatic Station—and duty as Commander in Chief of the European Squadron from 1895 to 1898.

Like his father he was a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and the Military Order of Foreign Wars.

Rear Admiral Selfridge retired on 6 February 1898 and died on 4 February 1924.


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