Civil War Wiki

Commodore Guert Gansevoort (7 June 1812 – 15 July 1868) was an officer in the United States Navy during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.


He was born into an aristocratic Dutch-American family in Gansevoort, New York, near Albany. The area was named for his paternal grandfather, Peter Gansevoort, a prosperous businessman who had served in the Continental Army and later become a brigadier general in the United States Army. Guert was the son of Peter's son Leonard. Peter's daughter, Maria, was the mother of author Herman Melville.

Gansevoort was appointed a Midshipman in the Navy 4 March 1823. Subsequently he served in the Mediterranean Sea on board Constitution, North Carolina, and Ohio. He served onboard USS Somers and participated in a court-martial which resulted in the execution of three sailors. His first cousin, Herman Melville, wrote the novella Billy Budd based on the events.

During the Mexican-American War, he took part in attacks on Tuxpan and Tabasco. Gansevoort landed seamen and Marines from Decatur in January 1856 to defend Seattle, Washington Territory from Native Americans.

Gansevoort was in charge of ordnance at the New York Navy Yard from 1861-63 helping fit out ships which had been acquired for blockade duty. He commanded the ironclad Roanoke in the last year of the Civil War.

He retired 28 January 1867 and died 15 July 1868 at Schenectady, New York.


The destroyer USS Gansevoort (DD-608) was named for him.


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