James Edward Jouett
Rear Admiral, United States Navy
Admiral James Edward Jouett (7 February 1826 – 30 September 1902) was an
officer in the United States Navy during the Mexican-American War and the
American Civil War. His father was Matthew Harris Jouett, a notable painter,
and his grandfather was Revolutionary War hero Jack Jouett.
Born near Lexington, Kentucky, Jouett was appointed Midshipman 10 September 1841. He served on the African coast in Decatur with Matthew C. Perry and in John Adams during the Mexican War.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Jouett was captured by Confederates at Pensacola, Florida but was soon parolled. He then joined the blockading forces off Galveston, Texas, distinguishing himself during the night of 7 to 8 November 1861 in the capture and destruction of Confederate schooner Royal Yacht. Jouett later commanded Montgomery and R. R. Cuyler on blockading duty and in September 1863 took command of Metacomet.
In the Battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864, his ship was lashed to Admiral David Farragut's flagship Hartford as the gallant ships entered the bay. Monitor Tecumseh was sunk by an underwater "torpedo", but the ships steamed boldly on, inspired by Farragut's famous command: "Damn the torpedoes! Four bells! Captain Drayton go ahead! Jouett full speed!" Metacomet was sent after two Confederate gunboats, and in a short chase Jouett riddled Gaines and captured Selma.
Jouett had various commands ashore and afloat after the Civil War, taking command of the North Atlantic Squadron in 1884. In 1889 he commanded a naval force which forced the opening of the isthmus of Panama, threatened by insurrection. Rear Admiral Jouett retired in 1890 and lived for most of his remaining years at "The Anchorage," near Sandy Springs, Maryland. He died therein 1902 and was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemeery.
Three ships in the United States Navy have been named USS Jouett for him.
REAR ADMIRAL JOUETT DEAD
Retired Naval Officer with Brilliant Record Dies at His Home in Maryland
WASHINGTON, October 1, 1901
Rear Admiral James E. Jouett, United States Navy, retired, died at his home, The Anchorage, Sandy Spring, Maryland, this morning.
The funeral will take place at 11 o’clock on Friday from the home of Colonel J. M. Morgan, in this city. The interment will be made at Arlington with full military honors. Admiral Dewey and a number of prominent naval officers and also Senator Blackburn have been invited to act as pallbearers.
Rear Admiral James Edward Jouett, who was popularly known throughout the Navy as “Fighting Jim Jouett of the American Navy,” had a long and distinguished record as a naval officer and was one of the best known men connected with the service.
He was a member of a well known Kentucky family and was born in Lexington, the center of the Blue Grass region, February 27, 1928.
Admiral Jouett entered the Naval Academy in 1841, graduating in 1847.
Throughout the navy Admiral Jouett’s reputation for clearness of perception and quick action was second to that of no officer who ever served under the American fag. As an executive officer he enjoyed the reputation, in his day, of being the best sailor in the service, his ability to handle a ship under any circumstances still being often referred to by the older naval officers as a model for the younger officers to follow.
During the Civil War Admiral Jouett was one of the officers attached to the fleet commanded by Farragut at the battle of Mobile, and his conduct that this battle was one of the bright particular pages in Admiral Jouett’s career. As a Lieutenant Commander, commanding the Metacomet, a vessel to receive the highest praise from his distinguished commander and the Navy Department at Washington. The Metacomet in that engagement was lashed to the side of the Hartford, Admiral Farragut’s flagship, as a matter of protection.
At Galveston, in 1861, Admiral Jouett gained National notoriety for an especially brilliant and hazardous expedition to capture the Confederate vessels Royal Yacht and General Rush. In launches, with forty men under his command, Jouett went after the rebel craft and after a severe engagement, succeeded in boarding and destroying the yacht. For this action Jouett was ordered to Washington so that he might be given a command worthy of his gallantry, as the Secretary of the Navy expressed it.
Admiral Jouett commanded the American forces on the Isthmus of Panama in 1885 and succeeded in quelling one of the most serious revolutions in the history of the Isthmus.
Admiral Jouett was a son of Matthew H. Jouett, a celebrated artist. In 1852 he married Miss Galane Stockett of Howard County, Maryland. With her son, James Stockett Jouett, she survives the Admiral.
Admiral Jouett was retired from the Navy in
1890, Congress by a special act granting him full pay for the remainder
of his life as a reward for his brilliant services to the country.
Posted: 5 November 2006 Updated: 16 December 2007 Updated: 16 February 2010
Photos Courtesy of Holly, December 2007