Gwinn, John, 1791-1849

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Naval officer.

From the description of Papers of John Gwinn, 1815-1864 (bulk 1825-1849). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 78240390

Biographical Note

  • 1791, June 11: Born, Taneytown, Maryland
  • 1809: Appointed midshipman Duty in John Adams (frigate)
  • 1814: Duty in Frolic (sloop of war), West India Squadron Prisoner of war, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • 1815: Duty in Boxer (brig), Mediterranean Squadron
  • 1817: Duty in Hornet (sloop of war), European Squadron
  • 1819: Duty in Independence (ship of the line)
  • 1823: Married Caroline S. Lynch
  • 1823 - 1825 : Duty at United States Navy Yard, Charlestown, Mass.
  • 1826: Duty in Macedonian (frigate), Brazil Station
  • 1829 - 1832 : Executive officer, United States Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 1837: Commanded Vandalia (sloop of war), Home Squadron
  • 1839 - 1842 : Master commandant, United States Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 1842: Promoted to captain
  • 1844 - 1845 : Commanded Potomac (frigate), Home Squadron
  • 1848: Commanded Constitution (frigate), Mediterranean Squadron
  • 1849, Sept. 4: Died, Palermo, Sicily

From the guide to the John Gwinn Papers, 1815-1864, (bulk 1825-1849), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

The frigate Potomac was constructed at the Washington Navy Yard between 1819 and 1822 and entered active service in 1831. In the 1830s and early 1840s, the Potomac sailed to Asia, where it participated in the shelling of Quallah Battoo, Sumatra. After its return to Boston in 1834, the ship traveled twice to Brazil. Captain John Gwinn (1791-1849), a native of Maryland and previously the commander of the Vandalia, commanded the ship between October 1844 and December 1845, as the Potomac sailed along the Atlantic coast and to ports in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. During the Mexican-American War, the Potomac landed troops at Port Isabel, Texas, and in the Siege of Veracruz. The Potomac was later the flag ship of the Home Squadron (1855-1856) and part of a naval blockade in the Gulf of Mexico during the Civil War. The ship remained in the service of the United States Navy until 1877, when it was sold.

John Gwinn served in the United States Navy for much of his adult life and was promoted to captain by President John Tyler in August 1842. After commanding the Potomac, he assumed command of the USS Constitution . Gwinn died while serving in Palermo Bay, Italy, in 1849. He was initially buried in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his remains were later transferred to Arlington National Cemetery.

From the guide to the US Frigate Potomac collection, Potomac, US Frigate collection, 1844-1847, 1844-1845, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bainbridge, William, 1774-1833. person
associatedWith Bancroft, George, 1800-1891. person
associatedWith Biddle, James, 1783-1848. person
associatedWith Bolton, William Compton, d. 1849. person
correspondedWith Conner, David, 1792-1856. person
associatedWith Constitution (Frigate) corporateBody
associatedWith Crane, William Montgomery, 1784-1846. person
associatedWith Crowninshield, Benjamin Williams, 1772-1851. person
associatedWith Gosport Navy Yard (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Mackenzie, Alexander Slidell, 1803-1848. person
associatedWith Mason, John Y. (John Young), 1799-1859. person
associatedWith Potomac (Frigate) corporateBody
associatedWith Preston, William Ballard, 1805-1862. person
associatedWith Southard, Samuel L. (Samuel Lewis), 1787-1842. person
associatedWith Thompson, Smith, 1768-1843. person
associatedWith Todd, Alexander. person
associatedWith Todd, Alexander. person
associatedWith United States. Navy. corporateBody
associatedWith Winthrop, William. person
associatedWith Woodward, Ashbel, 1804-1885. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Port Royal (Jamaica)
Philadelphia (Pa.)
Norfolk (Va.)
Pensacola Navy Yard (Fla.)
Havana (Cuba)
Port-au-Prince (Haiti)
Veracruz (Veracruz-Llave, Mexico)
Courts-martial and courts of inquiry
Sailing ships
Naval discipline
Naval officers


Birth 1791-06-11

Death 1849-09-01



Ark ID: w61z5dmq

SNAC ID: 32943632