Friday, February 10, 2012

Duncan Nathaniel Ingraham

Duncan Nathaniel Ingraham.

Birth: Dec. 6, 1802, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina. 
Death: Oct. 16, 1891, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina. 

US Navy Captain, Civil War Confederate Navy Commodore. Born into a seafaring family, he was the son of Nathaniel Ingraham, who was a volunteer and shipmate of John Paul Jones in the Revolution and later a close friend of George Washington. Young Ingraham received his midshipman warrant in the United States Navy in 1812, when barely ten years of age, and was taught his craft at sea (the Naval Academy wasn't founded until 1845). He served in the Navy throughout the war of 1812 and was present when the Spanish transferred Florida to the American flag. In 1825 he was promoted to lieutenant and in 1838 to commander. During the Mexican-American war he commanded the brig "Somers" blockading the port of Vera Cruz. From 1850 to 1852 he was stationed at the Philadelphia Navy yard, and was then given command of the sloop-of-war "St. Louis" for duty in the Mediterranean.

With this ship, in July 1853, Ingraham performed the boldest deed done to assert the inviolability of American citizenship since the US went to war with England in 1812. This came to be known as the "Kosta Affair". Martin Kosta, a Hungarian refugee, had declared his intentions of becoming an American citizen, but while in the Turkish port of Smyrna he was kidnapped by a group of Austrians and carried on board the Austrian brig of war, the Hussar. The American consul protested and launched negotiations for his release. Ingraham questioned Kosta, and brushing aside the fact that the victim was not yet a US citizen, flatly stated, "Do you want American protection? Very well, you shall have it". Negotiations continued for several days with the threat of military action ever present. The Austrians finally relented and Kosta was released to a French emissary. The incident and Ingraham's spirited conduct became world famous. President Franklin Pierce called the action justified in a message to Congress, and Ingraham was awarded a Congressional gold medal.

He is considered the first American to have uttered the now famous query, "If you seek America's protection you shall have it". When the Civil War commenced Ingraham returned from his assignment in the Mediterranean and resigned his commission. He immediately entered the naval service of the Confederate States, receiving the appointment of Commodore of the Confederate States Navy and was assigned to duty at Richmond as chief of the bureau of ordnance. Subsequently he was ordered to Charleston and assumed command of the naval forces and naval operations at that port. At the conclusion of the Civil War he retired to private life and would live to the age of 88. To recognize his achievements and his memory the United States Navy has commissioned four ships in his honor. (bio by: Saratoga)

Nathaniel Ingraham (1759 - 1818)
Louisa Hall Ingraham (1773 - 1849)

Harriott Horry Laurens Ingraham (1813 - 1888)

Elizabeth Rutledge Ingraham Buist (1832 - 1904)
Louisa Ingraham Whiting (1834 - 1885)
Henry Laurens Ingraham (1837 - 1878)
Caroline Burney Ingraham King (1851 - 1931)

Burial: Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina. 

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