Christopher H. Howard

Captain of the Forecastle, USS Cincinnati

Christopher H. Howard was born c1838 in Alsace (France) and enlisted in Chicago as a seaman on 13 April 1864 for a two year term.[1],[2] Per his rendezvous index card, he first served aboard the USS Undine. After the loss of that vessel to Confederate forces, he was attached to the USS Cincinnati on 11 November 1864[3] where he was rated as a petty officer with the rating of Captain of the Forecastle[2] (some sources list Howard as "Captain of the Top", however the Cincinnati's muster roll says otherwise).

On 13 April 1865, Howard was a member of a three-man working party that was tasked with minesweeping the Mobile River in front of the city when one of the mines they retrieved accidentally exploded, killing all three. From the CO of the Cincinnati, LCDR George Brown, report to Acting RADM Henry K. Thatcher of the incident:

United States Iron-Clad Cincinnati
Sir, I deeply regret to have to report the blowing up of the launch of this vessel by a torpedo yesterday afternoon.

By this sad accident three lives were lost. Their names are as follows: Acting Master's Mate Leon De Wolf, Captain of Forecastle C. H. Howard, Ordinary Seaman John Dreon. The launch had caught a torpedo, and had weighed it to within about two feet of the surface of the water, when the mooring parted, and the strain on the drag-rope brought the torpedo against the stern of the boat, exploding it.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant
George Brown
Lieutenant Commander [4]

Christopher Howard was about 26 years old and had been in the Navy for one year. He left behind a widow and two children.




Amelia Howard (wife)
Josephine Howard (daughter, born 1862)
Christopher Henry Howard, Jr. (son, born 1864)

Awards and Memorials



[1] Return of the United States Naval Rendezvous, Chicago, IL for the week ending April 16 1864

[2] Third Quarter 1865 Muster Log of USS Cincinnati

[3] NARA T1099. An index to rendezvous reports during the Civil War, 1861-1865.

[4] Letter from George Brown to H. K. Thatcher. NARA M89. Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy from Commanding Officers of Squadrons("Squadron Letters"), 1841-1886