In a distinguished career, Hitchcock was present at the taking of California from Mexico, was captain of the USS Merrimac which would battle the Monitor in the Civil War, and commanded the USS Constitution
Commodore Robert B. Hitchcock entered the navy from Connecticut as a midshipman on January 1, 1825. He passed midshipman on June 4, 1831 and was promoted to Lieutenant on March 3, 1935. He did duty on board the frigate Ohio in the Atlantic and on the Savannah in the Pacific. During the...
Commodore Robert B. Hitchcock entered the navy from Connecticut as a midshipman on January 1, 1825. He passed midshipman on June 4, 1831 and was promoted to Lieutenant on March 3, 1935. He did duty on board the frigate Ohio in the Atlantic and on the Savannah in the Pacific. During the Mexican War he was assigned to the Pacific Fleet and was present at Monterey for one of the most significant events in the annals of American history, when Commodore John Drake Sloat, Commander of the United States Navy’s Pacific Squadron of which he was a part, landed U.S. Marines on the Monterey Peninsula on July 7, 1846. The next day he occupied Monterey and then San Francisco, and declared California to be American territory.
In 1853 Hitchcock was placed in command of the ship Relief. Attaining the rank of Commander in 1855, he was detailed to ordinance duty, and was then placed in command of the steam frigate Merrimac of the Pacific squadron, in which post he continued during 1858-60. The Merrimac was seized by the Confederacy in 1861, and from its hull was built the historic ironclad CSS Virginia, which engaged in the famous battle of the ironclads with the USS Monitor in 1862.
In 1861, as Inspector of Ordinance, Hitchcock received his commission as Captain. At the start of the Civil War he was in command of the USS Constitution and charged with its evacuation from Norfolk. On July 16, 1862, he became a Commodore. He commanded the steam sloop Susquehanna of the Western Gulf squadron in 1862-63, and was for some time senior officer of the blockading fleet off Mobile, Alabama. He was credited with capture of the CSS Florida late in the war. In 1864, he was assigned to ordinance duty, and became commandant of the Norfolk Navy Yard in 1866.
Document signed, Washington, March 9, 1835, naming Hitchcock a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. The document is countersigned by Secretary of the Navy Mahlon Dickerson.
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