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Stephen C. Rowan

Stephen Clegg Rowan
Stephen C. Rowan in 1862
Born (1808-12-25)December 25, 1808
Dublin, Ireland
Died March 31, 1890(1890-03-31) (aged 81)
Washington, D.C.
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1826–1889
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held Pawnee
New Ironsides
Asiatic Squadron

Mexican–American War

American Civil War

  • Action of 5 October 1863

Stephen Clegg Rowan (25 December 1808–31 March 1890) was a Vice Admiral in the United States Navy, who served during the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War.[1]


Born in Dublin, Ireland, Rowan came to the United States at the age of 10 and lived in Piqua, Ohio. Rowan was a graduate of Miami University. Appointed midshipman in the U.S. Navy on 1 February 1826, he took an active role in the Mexican-American War, serving as executive officer of the sloop Cyane during the capture of Monterey, California on 7 July 1846, and in the occupation of both San Diego and Los Angeles.[1]

Captain of the steam sloop Pawnee at the outbreak of the American Civil War, he attempted to relieve Fort Sumter and to burn the Norfolk Navy Yard. In the fall of 1861, he assisted in the capture of the forts at Hatteras Inlet; then, taking command of a flotilla in the North Carolina sounds, he cooperated in the capture of Roanoke Island in February 1862. Promoted to captain for gallantry, he then supported the capture of Elizabeth City, Edenton, and New Bern. During the summer of 1863, he commanded the broadside ironclad New Ironsides on blockade duty off Charleston, South Carolina and the following August assumed command of Federal forces in the North Carolina sounds. During this time the rebel semi-submersible CSS David attacked the New Ironsides' with a spar torpedo. In the ensuing explosion, one man was killed and a large hole was torn into the ironclad but she continued her blockading duties.[1]

Commissioned rear admiral on 25 July 1866, Rowan served as Commandant of the Norfolk Navy Yard until 1867, when he assumed command of the Asiatic Squadron. Returning in 1870, he was appointed vice admiral in August of that year and served as Commandant of the New York Navy Yard from 1872 to 1876, as Governor of the Naval Asylum at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1881, and as Superintendent of the Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., from 1882 until his retirement in 1889.[1] It is worth noting that Rowan was one of the very few post Civil War Navy officers allowed to serve on active duty after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 62.

He was a Veteran Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and was also eligible for membership in the Aztec Club of 1847.

Rowan died in Washington, D.C.[1]


See also


  • This article incorporates text from the here.

External links

  • Biography of Vice Admiral Stephen C. Rowan, USN, (1808-1890)
  • Biography of Vice Admiral Stephen C. Rowan, (1908-1890)
  • Vice Admiral Stephen Clegg Rowan Historical Marker
Military offices
Preceded by
John R. Goldsborough
Commander, Asiatic Squadron
18 April 1868–19 August 1870
Succeeded by
John Rodgers

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