Civil War Wiki
William Francis Lynch
[[Image:File:William Francis Lynch wmm.jpg|center|200px|border]]'
Personal Information
Born: April 1, 1801(1801-04-01)
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Died: Template:Death date
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Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America, Confederate States of America
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Branch: Virginia State Navy
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Rank: Captain
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Battles: American Civil War
led defenses of Aquia Creek, Virginia
Roanoke Island
naval forces at Vicksburg
Fort Fisher, North Carolina
Awards: paroled 3 May 1865 in Richmond, Virginia
Relations: {{{relations}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

William Francis Lynch was born in Norfolk, Virginia, 1 April 1801. He died on October 17, 1865 in Baltimore, Maryland. On June 2, 1828 Lieutenant William Francis Lynch, USN, married Virginia Shaw, the youngest daughter of a senior navy officer and sister-in-law of another. They were married in New Haven, Connecticut. The wedding was held just one month after Lynch was promoted to lieutenant in the United States Navy and they had two children.

U.S. Navy service[]

He was appointed a midshipman 26 January 1819, and first saw service in Congress and next in U.S. schooner Shark under Lt. Mathew Perry. Subsequent service included duty with Commodore Porter’s “Mosquito Squadron” in the West Indies and in the Mediterranean.

Middle East Operations[]

William Francis Lynch had his first command, the Poinsett, from 3 March to 30 December 1839. In 1847, he proceeded to the Jordan river, transportating overland, by camels, a copper and a galvanized iron boat, each boat "assembled" and then placed on a carriage. His expedition ended with the successful exploration of the Dead Sea.

He published in 1847 and (again in 1849 an enhanced version of) his travels, "Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea"

In 1849 he was commissioned commander and in 1850 was promoted to captain. In 1852, he requested permission to explore the interior of Africa for purposes of possible colonization. In his exploration in west central Africa, he caught a fever, and was forced to return to the United States.

Joining the Confederate cause[]

On 21 April 1861, he resigned from the U.S. Navy. He was initially appointed captain in the Virginia Navy and on 10 June 1861, captain in the Confederate States Navy. He commanded naval batteries at Aquia Creek, Virginia, during their shelling by Union gunboats in May 1861, was in charge of the defense of Roanoke Island in February 1862, and led Confederate naval forces at Vicksburg, Mississippi from March to October 1862.

Later in command of ships in North Carolina waters, he commanded southern forces during the Union attack on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, in December 1864 and January 1865.

Post-war retirement[]

After the defeat of the Confederacy, he was paroled 3 May 1865 in Richmond, Virginia. He died in Baltimore, Maryland, on 17 October of the same year.


The USS Lynch (T-AGOR-7) was named in Lynch’s honor.

See also[]

s:Narrative Of The United States Expedition To The River Jordan And The Dead Sea Narrative Of The United States’ Expedition to the River Jordan and The Dead Sea by Lieutenant William Francis Lynch, U.S.N., 1849. (Book)


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.