(June 19, 1835-June 29, 1913). Born in Rushville, Indiana, Brown moved to Indianapolis with his family at the age of one. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy on February 2, 1849, beginning his service as a midshipman aboard the frigate USS Cumberland. After service in a variety of naval vessels, he rose to the rank of lieutenant before the outbreak of the Civil War.

Brown was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander in July 1862, and later commanded the ironclad USS Indianola, which was sunk by Confederate naval forces on February 24, 1863. He and his crew were captured but were later exchanged. Subsequently, Brown held various commands during the Battle of Mobile Bay and served in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean until the war’s end.

Brown attained the rank of commander in 1866. In 1867, he delivered the Confederate ram Stonewall Jackson to Japan. The Stonewall was the first warship acquired by the Japanese, and Brown spent two years training them to operate it. The emergence of the Japanese navy dates from this visit.

Brown later held a variety of commands ashore and afloat, being promoted to the rank of captain (1878), commodore (1887), and rear admiral (1893), then the Navy’s highest rank. Brown retired on June 19, 1897, and returned to Indianapolis, residing in Irvington until his death.

Revised February 2021

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