Rear Admiral Andrew H. Foote

Courtesy of Find-a-Grave--Cheryl Loomis

 (September 12, 1806 June 26, 1863) was an American naval officer who was noted for his service in the American Civil War and also for his contributions to several naval reforms in the years prior to the war. When the war came, he was appointed to command of the Western Gunboat Flotilla, predecessor of the Mississippi River Squadron. In that position, he led the gunboats in the Battle of Fort Henry. For his services with the Western Gunboat Flotilla, Foote was among the first naval officers to be promoted to the then-new rank of rear admiral.

Foote was born at New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Senator Samuel A. Foot (or Foote) and Eudocia Hull. As a child Foote was not known as a good student, but showed a keen interest in one day going to sea. His father compromised and had him entered at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York  Six months later in 1822, he left West Point and accepted an appointment as a midshipman in the United States Navy.

When the American Civil War began in 1861, Foote was in command of the New York Navy Yard. On June 29, 1861 Foote was promoted to Captain. From 1861 to 1862, Foote commanded the Mississippi River Squadron with distinction, organizing and leading the gunboat flotilla in many of the early battles of the Western Theater of the American Civil War. Even though Foote was an officer in the United State Navy, the Western Flotilla was under the jurisdiction of the Union Army. In early February 1862, now holding the rank of Flag Officer (equivalent to the modern Commodore), he cooperated with General Ulysses S. Grant against Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. Despite heavy damage to one of the gunboats, Foote was able to quickly subdue the fort. Several days later Grant and Foote moved against Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. Hoping for a repeat of the success at Fort Henry, General Grant urged Foote to attack the fort's river batteries. Fort Donelson's guns, however, were better placed than Fort Henry's were. Three of Foote's gunboats were damaged including the flagship, USS St. Louis. Foote himself received an ironic wound in his foot. For his service at Forts Henry and Donelson, Foote received the Thanks of Congress. After repairing his flotilla, Foote joined with General John Pope in a campaign against Island Number Ten on the Mississippi River. In July 1862 Foote received a second Thanks of Congress, this time for the battles of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and Island Number Ten.

Later in 1862, Foote was promoted to rear admiral. In 1863, on his way to take command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, he suddenly died. His untimely death in New York shocked the nation. He was interred at Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven.

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