Battle of Mathias Point, Commander James Harmon Ward, Fort Ward, Mathias Point, Virginia

Commander James Harmon Ward – The First Navy Officer To Die In The U.S. Civil War

Commander James Harmon Ward was part of a Union blockade of the Confederate Port Conway, while aboard the USS Thomas Freeborn. On June 27, 1861, during the Battle of Mathias Point, James H. Ward became the first Navy Officer die from the U.S. Civil War.

Engagement at Mathias Point, U.S.S. Thomas Freeborn is on the left. Sketch by Alfred Waud, 1861 (Library of Congress).

The World War 1 naval ship the USS Ward (DD-139) was named after Commander James Harmon Ward. In addition, Fort Ward, one of the 166 forts defending, Washington during the American Civil War, was named after Commander Ward.

Photograph of the USS Ward (DD-139) in 1918.

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