Mallory, Stephen Russell

Mallory, Stephen Russell,

c.1813–73, U.S. Senator, secretary of the navy in the Confederacy, b. Trinidad, West Indies. He was raised in Key West, Fla., where he practiced law and was a customs official. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1851 and reelected in 1857, Mallory served until Florida seceded. Long chairman of the Senate committee on naval affairs, he became (Feb., 1861) secretary of the navy in the Confederacy. Mallory ardently advocated ironclad warships for the navy. However, efforts to secure ironclads from England and France proved futile, and of the few constructed in the Confederacy the most outstanding, the Virginia (see Monitor and MerrimackMonitor and Merrimack,
two American warships that fought the first engagement between ironclad ships. When, at the beginning of the Civil War, the Union forces abandoned the Norfolk Navy Yard at Portsmouth, Va., they scuttled the powerful steam frigate Merrimack.
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) and the Mississippi, had to be destroyed to prevent their falling into Union hands. Mallory was captured in flight with Jefferson Davis in 1865 and was imprisoned. On his release in 1866, he resumed the practice of law in Florida.
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Mallory, Stephen Russell

(1812–73) secretary of Confederate navy; born in Trinidad. He served in the U.S. Senate (Dem., Fla.; 1851–61) and became the secretary of the Confederate navy in 1861. He worked feverishly to convert the USS Merrimac into the CSS Virginia. He anticipated the coming era of torpedoes and submarines.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.