Franklin Wharton

Franklin Wharton (July 23, 1767 – September 1, 1818) was the third Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.

Franklin Wharton
Franklin Wharton.jpg
Born(1767-07-23)July 23, 1767
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedSeptember 1, 1818(1818-09-01) (aged 51)
New York City, New York
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1798–1818
RankUS-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel
Commands heldCommandant of the Marine Corps
Battles/warsWar of 1812
Commandant Wharton's gravestone


Wharton was born into a prominent Philadelphia, Pennsylvania family, the son of Joseph Wharton. He had forsaken a successful business career to become the Lieutenant of Marines for the frigate United States, which was still part of the War Department. He was quickly promoted to captain in August 1798 and served as officer in charge of the vessel's Marine Detachment until the close of the Quasi-War with France in 1801.

At age 36 and a Marine officer for only five years, he became Lieutenant Colonel and Marine Corps Commandant on March 6, 1804. He was the first Commandant to occupy the Commandant's House, Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.

As Commandant, Lt. Col. Wharton ordered a detachment of Marines to Georgia and Florida in 1811 to cooperate with United States Army troops in an attempt to subdue an Indian uprising.

Under Wharton's leadership, Marines participated in many important engagements during the War of 1812. They saw action at Annapolis, Fort McHenry, Portsmouth, Craney Island, Bladensburg and New Orleans, and fought under General Henry Dearborn on the northern frontier. At sea, they participated in virtually every important naval battle, serving aboard warships and privateers on the Great Lakes, the Atlantic, and the Pacific.

Marines fought under Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry on Lake Erie and under Commodore Isaac Chauncey on Lake Ontario. Aboard the frigate USS Constitution, Marines were important factors in its victorious battles against HMS Guerriere, HMS Java, HMS Levant, and HMS Cyane. Those aboard USS Wasp saw action in the vessel's engagements with HMS Cyane, HMS Reindeer, and HMS Avon. Marines serving aboard the frigate USS United States were commended for their efficiency in its fight with HMS Macedonian.

Lieutenant Colonel Commandant Wharton died in office on September 1, 1818, in New York City and was buried in New York's Old Trinity Church Yard.

See alsoEdit


  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  • "Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Wharton, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
  • Allan Reed Millett; Jack Shulimson, eds. (2004). Commandants of the Marine Corps. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. pp. 36–44. ISBN 978-0-87021-012-9.

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Lt. Col. William W. Burrows
Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
Succeeded by
Col. & Bvt Brig. Gen. Archibald Henderson