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'Jacob Zeilin'
[[Image:File:Jacob A. Zeilin.jpg
File:Appletons' Zeilin Jacob signature.jpg|center|200px|border]]7th Commandant of the Marine Corps (1864-1876)
Personal Information
Born: July 16, 1806(1806-07-16)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: November 18, 1880 (aged 74)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Marine Corps
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: File:US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Commands: Commandant of the Marine Corps
Battles: Mexican-American War
*Battle of Rio San Gabriel
*Siege of Los Angeles
*Battle of La Mesa
*Battle of Guaymus
*Battle of San Jose
*Battle of Mazatlán
American Civil War
*First Battle of Manassas
Relations: {{{relations}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Brigadier General Jacob A. Zeilin (July 16, 1806 - November 18, 1880) was the first United States Marine Corps non-brevet general. He served as the seventh Commandant of the United States Marine Corps from 1864 to 1876.


Jacob Zeilin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 16, 1806. He entered the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant on October 1, 1831 after several years of study at the United States Military Academy. After completing the preliminary training of a Marine officer in Washington, D.C., his first tours of duty were ashore at the Marine Barracks, Philadelphia, and at Gosport (Portsmouth), Virginia.[1]

He first went to sea on board the sloop of war Erie in March 1832, which was followed by a tour of duty at Charlestown (Boston), Massachusetts. In August 1834, he again joined the sloop Erie on a long and eventful voyage which lasted for more than three years. He was promoted to first lieutenant on 12 September 1836.

From September 1837 to April 1841, 1stLt Zeilin served at Charlestown, Massachusetts, and New York. In February 1842, he returned to sea duty, on board the USS Columbus, and during the cruise that followed spent several months on the Brazil station. Upon the conclusion of this tour of sea duty, and after again serving at important Marine Corps stations on the east coast of the United States from 1842 to 1845, he was transferred to duty aboard the frigate USS Congress of the U.S. Pacific Squadron. Between 1845 and 1848, 1stLt Zeilin cruised on the Columbus and Congress.

During the Mexican-American War, he commanded the Marine detachment embarked in Congress, which ship was attached to Commodore Robert F. Stockton's force. He took part in the conquest of California (1846–1847) and was brevetted to the rank of major (two grades above his rank at the time) for gallantry during the action at the San Gabriel River crossing on January 9, 1847. Later, he took part in the capture of Los Angeles and in the Battle of La Mesa.

On 28 January 1847, Zeilin was appointed Military Commandant of San Diego and served in that capacity until the completion of the conquests of California. In September 1847, he served with the forces that captured Guaymas and those that met the enemy at San Jose on the 30th. For the remainder of the war, Mazatlán was his center of activity, and he fought in several skirmishes with the Mexicans in that area. He was promoted to the regular rank of captain on 14 September 1847. During the following few months, Capt Zeilin, with the Marines of the Pacific Squadron, participated in the capture of important ports in lower California and the west coast of Mexico, and served as Fleet Marine Officer of the Pacific Squadron.

After the close of the war with Mexico, he proceeded to Norfolk, Virginia, where he served for a time, thence to New York. He remained at New York until June 1852, when he was selected to accompany Commodore Perry as Fleet Marine Officer in the famous expedition to Japan — serving with the Marine detachment in USS Mississippi in which ship he cruised to Japan with Commodore Matthew C. Perry's expedition. With elaborate ceremonies, the Marines under command of Capt Zeilin took a prominent part. He was the second person to set foot on shore at the formal landing of the naval forces at Yokohama, Japan, on 14 July 1853, and was one of those later accorded special honor for his part in the expedition that opened the doors of Japan to the outside world.

Upon his return from Japan, he was again stationed at Norfolk. This duty was followed by his being placed in command of the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. After remaining for a time at Washington, he again went to sea, this time aboard the frigate Wabash, on the European Station, until the year 1859.

Civil War[]

During the early part of the American Civil War, he was on garrison duty in command of Marine Barracks, first at Philadelphia and later at Washington, D.C. Five days later, he was appointed to the regular rank of major. On July 21, 1861, Zeilin commanded a company of Marines during the First Battle of Manassas and received a slight wound.

In 1863, Maj Zeilin was given command of the battalion of Marines sent to support the naval force whose mission was the capture of Charleston, South Carolina, but, because of illness, he returned after a few weeks of this duty to garrison duty at Marine Barracks, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Later, he went to sea again, serving with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron under Rear Admiral John Dahlgren.

In 1864, Zeilin assumed command of the Marine Barracks at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On June 10, 1864, he was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Marine Corps in the rank of colonel. On 2 March 1874, Zeilin became the Marine Corps' first general officer when he was promoted to brigadier general.

After the war, BGen Zeilin officially approved of the design of the "Eagle, Globe, and Anchor," as the emblem for the Marine Corps.

Brigadier General Zeilin retired from the Marine Corps on November 1, 1876 after serving over forty-five years as a Marine Corps officer. Four years later, on 18 November 1880, he died in Washington, D.C. He is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Two ships in the United States Navy have been named USS Zeilin in his honor: USS Zeilin (DD-313) in 1920 and USS Zeilin (AP-9) in 1941.

See also[]

File:Acw bs 7a.png American Civil War portal
[[File:Template:Portal/Images/Default|32x28px|alt=]] United States Marine Corps portal


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
This article incorporates text in the public domain from the United States Marine Corps.

External links[]

  • Template:Cite Appleton's

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
Col John Harris |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
1864–1876 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
Col Charles G. McCawley |- |} Template:US Marine Corps navbox Template:CMC

sl:Jacob Zeilin