Thomas Oliver Selfridge, Jr.

Thomas Oliver Selfridge, Jr.Thomas Selfridge was born on February 6, 1836, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of Captain Thomas O. Selfridge, Sr., a distinguished naval officer. An 1854 graduate of the Naval Academy, he was assigned to the Independence.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Selfridge was stationed on the Cumberland, and participated in the battle against the Virginia on March 8, 1862. Selfridge was given command of the Monitor by Secretary of the Navy Welles, relieving Lieutenant Greene on March 10, 1862. His command lasted only four days after it was found that Commodore Goldsborough had already passed the command of the Monitor to Lieutenant William Jeffers. In his short command, Selfridge ordered that a new pilot house be built to replace the one destroyed in battle. On March 13, 1862, Lt. William Jeffers took command of the Monitor.

For the remainder of the war, Selfridge saw almost constant action aboard several ships. He is best remembered for his command of the Union gunboat Cairo, which was lost to a Confederate torpedo on the Yazoo.

Selfridge retired from the navy in 1898. He died in 1924.

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From the heart breaking accounts of life aboard the ironclads to thrilling descriptions of the battles recounted by those who witnessed them you're sure to learn something new!