Charles H. Bell

U.S. Navy Commodore.  James River Patrol.  Promoted Rear Admiral.

Taken in the Elmwood Cemetery, New Brunswick, Middlesex County, N.J.

Rear Admiral Charles H. Bell (August 15, 1798 February 19, 1875) was an officer in the United States Navy who served during the War of 1812, the Second Barbary War, and the American Civil War.

Born in New York, Bell served as a midshipman on Lake Ontario. Later, Bell served on the Macedonian, under the command of Stephen Decatur, against Algiers.

In 1824, he was in command of the schooner USS Ferret, which capsized at sea. He (and other survivors) remained with the capsized vessel for twenty-one hours before being rescued. Five crew members died.

In 1839 the brig Dolphin, under his command, ascended an African river and compelled a native chief to pay for goods that had been taken from a U.S. vessel. In the 1840s he commanded U.S. Navy ships in the suppression of the slave trade. He captured three slavers off the African coast, one of them transporting more than 900 slaves.

His commands included the Constellation in 1855, and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard from 30 April 1859 to 1 August 1860. At the beginning of the Civil War he was in command of the Mediterranean Squadron of the U.S. Navy, but he received command of the Pacific Squadron in 1861, which he held for three years.

He was promoted to commodore on July 16, 1862, and in 1864 was transferred to the command of ships serving on the James River in Virginia. He was promoted to rear admiral on July 25, 1866. He retired in 1868, after serving for three years as commander of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He died in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1875 at the age of 76.

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