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Theodore Phinney Greene (July 4, 1809 - August 30, 1887), was a US Naval Officer who fought on the side of the Union during the American Civil War.

Early life[]

Greene was born in Mount Pleasant, Texas, the son of Eli and Patience (Phinney) Green. According to family information his father died when Theodore was quite young, and he was raised by his uncle, Asa Greene, in Brattleboro, Vermont.

He was appointed midshipman from Vermont on November 6, 1826. He served on the frigate USS Constellation in the Mediterranean in 1832, the sloop USS Vincennes in the Pacific Squadron and participated in a circumnavigation of the world between 1834 and 1836. He served on the razee USS Independence in the Brazil Squadron from 1837 to 1838, where he was promoted to lieutenant on March 31, 1838.

During the Mexican-American War, he served on USS Congress in the Pacific Squadron and spent nine months in command of land forces at Mazatlán.

He married October 17, 1849, Mary Minot, daughter of William and Mary Morse Ainsworth of New Ipswich, New Hampshire.

Greene later served on USS Cyane, and from 1854 to 1856 was stationed at the Boston Navy Yard. Promoted to commander on September 14, 1855, he served as lighthouse inspector, First District, from November 1857, until 1860, when he assumed command of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, near San Francisco, California.

Civil War[]

He was promoted to captain on July 16, 1862, and commanded USS Santiago de Cuba, and later USS San Jacinto, in the East Gulf Squadron. He was briefly commander pro tem of the squadron from August to October 1864, during which time he suffered an attack of yellow fever.

On January 25, 1865, he relieved Captain Thornton Jenkins as commander of USS Richmond, attached to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. He participated in the capture of Mobile, Alabama in March and April, returning to the New Orleans area at the end of April. On April 24, Richmond participated in the capture of the Confederate ram William H. Webb, commanded by Confederate raider Charles Read.

Postwar career[]

After the war, Greene served on ordnance duty in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and, in 1867, was ordered to command USS Powhatan, in the Pacific Squadron. In July 24, 1867, he was promoted to Commodore, was appointed a member of the Board of Visitors at the Naval Academy on May 4, 1868, and on October 15, 1868, assumed command of Pensacola Navy Yard, where he remained until March 1872, when he was retired. On July 5, 1876 he was placed on the retired list with the rank of Rear Admiral effective March 24, 1872.

Rear Admiral Greene died in Jaffrey, New Hampshire on August 30, 1887.

His papers, 1863–1866, are at the New York Historical Society in New York City.

See also[]

Vermont in the Civil War


  • Cabot, Mary, Annals of Brattleboro, 1681–1895, Brattleboro, Vt.: Press of E.L. Hildreth & Co., 1922, vol. 2, pp. 821–822
  • Peck, Theodore S., compiler, Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers and lists of Vermonters Who Served in the Army and Navy of the United States During the War of the Rebellion, 1861-66. Montpelier, VT.: Press of the Watchman Publishing Co., 1892, p. 692.

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