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Benjamin F. Sands
[[Image:File:Benjamin F. Sands - Brady-Handy.jpg|center|200px|border]]Benjamin F. Sands
Personal Information
Born: February 11, 1811(1811-02-11)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: June 30, 1883 (aged 72)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Navy
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Rear Admiral
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Unit: Various
Commands: {{{commands}}}
Battles: engagement at Fort Caswell,
First Battle of Fort Fisher,
Second Battle of Fort Fisher
Relations: {{{relations}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Rear Admiral Benjamin F. Sands (February 11, 1811 – June 30, 1883) was an officer in the United States Navy during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.

U.S. Navy career[]

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Sands was appointed Midshipman in the United States Navy on April 1, 1828. By 1834, he had served on the Brazil Station and in the West Indies and Mediterranean squadrons. From 1834 to 1841, he was engaged in coastal survey work and during the mid-40's was attached to the Bureau (Depot) of Charts and Instruments at the Naval Observatory.

During hostilities between the United States and Mexico, he was attached to the Home Squadron and served off Tabasco and Tuxpan. In the 1850s, he commanded the steamer Walker in the Gulf of Mexico on coast survey duty and invented a deep sea sounding apparatus and other hydrographic instruments. Commissioned Captain in 1862, he served off the west coast on survey duty until 1863, then joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron as commander of Dacotah.

In February of that year, he participated in the engagement at Fort Caswell. He remained off the Carolinas for another two years, commanding the steamer Fort Jackson during the attacks on Fort Fisher. In February 1865, he was transferred to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and assigned to duty off the Texas coast. Through the end of the American Civil War, he commanded a division off that coast; and, on June 2, 1865, took formal possession of Galveston, Texas for the Union.

After the war, Sands, appointed Commodore in July 1866, served at the Boston Navy Yard until returning to Washington, D.C. as Superintendent of the Naval Observatory. Commissioned Rear Admiral on April 27, 1871, he remained at the Observatory until he retired in 1874.


Rear Admiral Sands belonged to a prominent military family. His uncle, Lt. Col. James Harvey Hook (1791–1841), served in War of 1812 and was later Assistant Commissary General of the U.S. Army. His son, James H. Sands, also achieved the rank of Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy. while another son, George Henry Sands, was a colonel in the US Army and served in Cuba during the Spanish American War. A daughter, Marion, married Rear Admiral Samuel Rhoads Franklin. Sands' eldest brother, Lewis Hook Sands (b.1805), was a colonel in the US Army and served as an Indian agent in the Midwest. A nephew, James Hook Sands, was a captain in the Indiana Cavalry during the Civil War who later served in the regular army during the Indian Wars.

Honored in ship naming[]

Two ships were named USS Sands for him and his son, James H. Sands:

  • Sands (DD-243/APD-13), a Clemson-class destroyer, commissioned in 1920
  • Sands (T-AGOR-6), an oceanographic research ship, placed in service in 1965

Arlington National Cemetery Notes on Sands[]

See also[]


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.