Du Pont, Samuel Francis

Du Pont, Samuel Francis,

1803–65, American naval officer, b. Bergen Point, N.J.; grandson of Pierre Samuel du Pont de NemoursDu Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel
, 1739–1817, French economist, one of the physiocrats. Early in his career he attracted the attention of François Quesnay and edited the Journal de l'agriculture in 1765–66 and the
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. Appointed a midshipman in 1815, he saw his first active duty in the Mediterranean (1817) and served in the Mexican War. As commander of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron in the Civil War, Du Pont directed (Nov., 1861) the successful naval attack against Port Royal, S.C., for which he won a rear admiral's commission. He secured further footholds for the Union on the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The blockade Du Pont organized was generally successful, except at Charleston. Against Du Pont's advice the Dept. of the Navy ordered him to attack Charleston with ironclad monitors. When the attack failed (Apr. 7, 1863), Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles blamed Du Pont and, at Du Pont's request, relieved him of his command (July, 1863). A congressional investigation followed, but its findings were inconclusive.


See his Civil War Letters, ed. by J. D. Hayes (3 vol., 1969); biography by his nephew H. A. du Pont (1926).

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du Pont, Samuel Francis

(1830–65) naval officer; born in Bergen Point, N.J. (grandson of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours). He commanded Commodore Robert Stockton's flagship in California operations during the Mexican War. In 1861 he became the commander or "flag-officer" of the South Atlantic blockading squadron. He led a successful fleet assault that captured Port Royal, South Carolina (1861). After failing to capture Charleston using the same methods, he turned over his command (1863). Du Pont Circle in Washington, D.C., is named for him.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.