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Sylvanus William Godon

Sylvanus William Godon (June 18, 1809 – May 10, 1879) was an American naval officer who served in the Mexican–American and American Civil Wars.

Sylvanus William Godon
Born(1809-06-18)June 18, 1809
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedMay 10, 1879(1879-05-10) (aged 69)
Blois, France
Place of burial
Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1819–1871
RankUSN Rear Admiral rank insignia.jpg Rear Admiral
Battles/warsMexican–American War
American Civil War

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Godon entered the Navy in 1819 as a midshipman, and, after serving at sea in various parts of the world, was promoted passed midshipman in 1827, and to lieutenant in 1836. He served in the Ohio, flagship of Commodore Isaac Hull's Mediterranean Squadron from 1839 to 1841. Godon was actively employed during the Mexican–American War, in command of the bomb vessel Vesuvius at the reduction of Veracruz in 1847.[1]

He was made commander in 1855. In 1860 Godon, in command of the steam sloop of war Mohican, was assigned to the Africa Squadron. On August 8, 1860, he captured the slaver Erie, commanded by Nathaniel Gordon, off the Congo and forced that ship to unload its captive cargo at Monrovia, Liberia. He remained on station until sailing for home on August 13, 1861.[1]

Promoted to captain he took part in the attack on Port Royal by the fleet under Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont. He placed Mohican in position to secure an enfilading fire on the fort on Hilton Head, and materially assisted in silencing the batteries of the enemy. In 1863 he was promoted to commodore; and commanded the 4th Division of Admiral David Dixon Porter's fleet at the first and second battles of Fort Fisher, North Carolina, in December 1864 and January 1865. In the report of the latter action he was specially commended for the support rendered the commander-in-chief, and for the good discipline and accurate firing of his ship, the Susquehanna.[1]

At the close of the war he was made rear admiral, and commanded the South Atlantic or Brazil Squadron in 1866-1867. His last active employment was as commandant of the Brooklyn Navy Yard from May 1, 1868 until October 15, 1870. He retired from the Navy in 1871. Godon died in Blois, France.[1] He was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Wilson & Fiske 1887, pp. 670–671.
  2. ^ Find-a-Grave. "Sylvanus William Godon". Retrieved April 18, 2009.