John Randolph Tucker
[[Image:200px|center|200px|border]]Captain John Randolph Tucker, CSN
Personal Information
Born: January 31, 1812(1812-01-31)
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Died: June 12, 1883 (aged 71)
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Allegiance: United States of America 1826-1861
Confederate States of America 1861-1865
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Battles: American Civil War
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John Randolph Tucker (January 31, 1812 - June 12, 1883), who served as an officer in the navies of three nations, was born in Alexandria, Virginia. His parents were John Tucker, originally from Bermuda, and Sara Douglas.

United States Navy[edit | edit source]

Tucker became a United States Navy Midshipman on June 1, 1826 and had service afloat in the Mediterranean and Brazil Squadrons prior to his promotion to Lieutenant on December 20, 1837. During the Mexican-American War, he served as a Lieutenant Commander in the Gulf of Mexico, commanding USS Stromboli until illness forced him to return north. From 1849 until 1855 he was assigned to the Home and Mediterranean Squadrons' flagships. Tucker received his commission as Commander on September 14, 1855 when he became commanding officer of USS Pennsylvania. He later served as Ordnance Officer at the Norfolk Navy Yard.

Confederate States Navy service[edit | edit source]

File:CSSChicoraAndPalmettoState.jpg

CSS Chicora, with John Randolph Tucker in command, and CSS Palmetto State attacking Union warships in Charleston Harbor, January 31, 1863

Commander Tucker resigned from the U.S. Navy when Virginia seceded from the Union in April 1861, becoming a Commander in the Virginia Navy and, in June, the Confederate States Navy. He was commanding officer of CSS Patrick Henry during 1861-62, participating with her in several combat actions. During the Federal Navy's attack on the Drewry's Bluff fortifications in May, he commanded one of the defending batteries.

In July 1862, Tucker was ordered to Charleston, South Carolina, where he took command of the ironclad CSS Chicora. The following January 31, he led his ship in a successful attack on Union warships off that port. He became commander of the Confederate warships at Charleston in March 1863, remaining in that post until the city fell in February 1865. During that time, he was promoted to Captain and aggressively pursued spar-torpedo warfare against U.S. warships. During the U.S. Civil War's last weeks he served in the defenses of Richmond, Virginia, and with the Confederate States Army as it withdrew to its final destiny at Appomattox, Virginia. He surrendered in the field on April 6, 1865 at the Battle of Sayler's Creek, and remained a prisoner of war until July 24. After his release, he returned to the South to work as an agent of the Southern Express Company of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Peruvian Navy and later service[edit | edit source]

In 1866, the Peruvian Minister to the United States contacted Tucker to arrange an interview in Washington, D.C.. Peru and Chile were at war with Spain, and the Peruvians invited Tucker to join their Navy as a Rear Admiral, bringing with him two staff officers of his choice. Tucker accepted and went to Peru with Captain David Porter McCorkle and Commander Walter Raleigh Butt. Although some Peruvian Naval Officers objected to a foreigner in command of their fleet, Tucker did his best until several Peruvian navy officers (including Miguel Grau Seminario, later known as "the Knight of the Seas" at the War of Guano and Salitre 1879-1883), resigned their commissions due to Tucker's appointment. Tucker resigned as commander in chief but remained a rear admiral in the Peruvian Navy, mainly because of the support of President Prado. Prado had planned for Tucker to lead the allied fleet to victory over the Spanish at Puerto Rico, Cuba and Las Filipinas.

Tucker resigned from the Peruvian Navy in 1871. He was then appointed president of the Peruvian Hydrographical Commission of the Amazon, which surveyed the upper Amazon River and its tributaries. This expedition discovered two new rivers, the Trinidad and the Herrera-yacu. Tucker traveled to New York upon completion of the expedition to have maps and atlases made from the Commission's findings.

John Randolph Tucker died at Petersburg, Virginia, on June 12, 1883. His collected papers are in the library of Old Dominion University.

See also[edit | edit source]

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Template:Start box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #CF9C65;" | Military offices

|- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Josiah Tattnall |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Commander of the James River Squadron
April 19, 1862 - May 1862 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
Sidney Smith Lee |- |}

sl:John Randolph Tucker

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