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Stephen C. Rowan, 1862

Stephen Clegg Rowan (1808 – 31 March 1890) was an admiral in the United States Navy who served during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.


Born in Dublin, Ireland, Rowan came to the United States at the age of 10 and lived in Piqua, Ohio. Rowan was a graduate of Miami University. Appointed midshipman in the U.S. Navy on 1 February 1826, he took an active role in the Mexican-American War, serving as executive officer of Cyane during the capture of Monterey, California on 7 July 1846 and in the occupation of both San Diego and Los Angeles.

Captain of the steam-sloop Pawnee at the outbreak of the American Civil War, he made gallant attempts to relieve Fort Sumter and to burn the Norfolk Navy Yard. In the fall of 1861, he assisted in the capture of the forts at Hatteras Inlet; then, taking command of a flotilla in the North Carolina sounds, he cooperated in the capture of Roanoke Island in February 1862. Promoted to captain for gallantry, he then supported the capture of Elizabeth City, Edenton, and New Bern. During the summer of 1863, he commanded New Ironsides on blockade duty off Charleston, South Carolina and the following August assumed command of Federal forces in the North Carolina sounds.

Commissioned rear admiral on 25 July 1866, Rowan served as Commandant of the Norfolk Navy Yard until 1867, when he assumed command of the Asiatic Squadron. Returning in 1870, he was appointed vice admiral in August of that year and served as Commandant of the New York Navy Yard from 1872 to 1876, as Governor of the Naval Asylum at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1881, and as Superintendent of the Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., from 1882 until his retirement in 1889.

Vice Admiral Rowan died in Washington, D.C.


Four ships have been named USS Rowan for him and a building at Miami University is named Rowan Hall in his memory. Public Elementary school in San Diego, CA named Stephen Rowen Elementary.

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