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Roswell H. Lamson

Roswell Hawks Lamson (30 March 1838 – 14 August 1903) was an officer in the United States Navy during the American Civil War.


Born in Burlington, Iowa, Lamson accompanied his natal family as Oregon Trail pioneers of 1847. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy on 20 September 1858, the first Oregonian to receive an appointment. After graduating in 1862, completing his training on active duty, he saw action in the Civil War. He commanded USS Mount Vernon in joint Army-Navy operations on the Nansemond River, and he played an important role in the capture of batteries at Hill's Point.

While in command of USS Gettysburg, he was in the forefront of the attack on Fort Fisher, and he gallantly piloted the powder boat USS Louisiana in under the fort. On January 15, 1865, Lamson led a landing party of sailors and U.S. Marines from the Gettysburg in an assault on Fort Fisher which was taken that day. He resigned from the Navy in 1866 and returned to Oregon, where he was appointed to be clerk of U.S. Customs.

In 1895, he was appointed lieutenant and placed on the retired list.

Lamson died in Portland, Oregon. He is the featured subject of an article in Oregon Magazine Storming the Ramparts


Three ships have been named USS Lamson for him.


  • Roswell Lamson at Find a Grave Retrieved on 2009-05-04
  • Lamson of the Gettysburg: The Civil War Letters of Lieutenant Roswell H. Lamson, U.S. Navy, James M. and Patricia R. McPherson, eds. (Oxford Univ. Press 1999)

This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.