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George Mifflin Bache (November 12, 1840 – February 11, 1896) was an officer in the United States Navy, fighting on the Union side in the American Civil War and continuing to serve for a decade after the war's end.


Early life and ancestors[]

He was born in Washington, D.C., the son of George Mifflin Bache and Elizabeth Catherine Patterson. He was the grandson of Richard Bache, Jr., who served in the Republic of Texas Navy and was elected as a Representative to the Second Texas Legislature in 1847 and Sophia, the daughter of Arabella Maria Smith and Alexander J. Dallas an American statesman who served as the U.S. Treasury Secretary under President James Madison. He was also great-grandson of Sarah Franklin Bache and Richard Bache, and more notably he was the great-great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin as well as a nephew of George Mifflin Dallas the 11th Vice President of the United States, serving under James K. Polk.

Education and career[]

He entered the Naval Academy in 1857, graduating in 1861, a year after the outbreak of the Civil War. During the war, he served aboard the USS Jamestown. Later, he served briefly in the steam sloop Powhatan before transferring to the squadron on the Mississippi River late in 1862. On 8 November 1862, he received orders to assume command of the stern wheel, casemate gunboat Cincinnati. Lt. Bache commanded the gunboat during operations leading up to the fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi, early in July 1863. During those operations, however, his ship was sunk on 27 May 1863 while dueling Confederate batteries defending the river approaches to the city.

That summer, he took command of the sidewheel gunboat Lexington and led her in a number of engagements with Confederate forces. In 1864, he returned to the Atlantic blockade as executive officer of Powhatan. While assigned to that ship, Lt. Bache participated in both the unsuccessful and successful assaults on Fort Fisher, carried out in December 1864 and January 1865. In the latter attack, he was wounded but not severely.

Following the Civil War, he served in Sacramento until she was destroyed on a reef at the mouth of the Godavary River, Madras, India, on 19 June 1867. Between 1869 and 1872, Lt. Comdr. Bache was assigned to the steam sloop Juniata on the European Station. After that, he went ashore to ordnance duty at the Washington Navy Yard until his retirement on 5 April 1875. Comdr. Bache died unmarried on February 11, 1896 at Washington, D.C.

USS Bache (DD-470) was named for him.

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

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