Awarded: January 17, 1958
down: April 23, 1959
Launched: May 11, 1960
Commissioned: February 7, 1962
stricken November 20, 1992; then laid up at
Pearl Harbor NISMF;
finally sunk as a target during exercise
- born at “Auchentorlie,” in Baltimore, Md., on 17 September 1800 - was
appointed a midshipman in the Navy on 28 January 1815 and initially served in
the frigate Java under Capt. Oliver Hazard Perry. After tours of duty in a
succession of ships, mostly in the Mediterranean, Buchanan obtained
permission from the Navy Department to enter the merchant service and worked
for five years as a mate in a merchantman on a voyage to China. Following
that interval, Buchanan returned to the Navy and spent the next six years in
a series of ships engaged in the suppression of piracy in the West Indies.
Having been appointed a lieutenant on 13 January 1825, Buchanan delivered the
frigate Baltimore to the Emperor of Brazil the following July.
Following another Mediterranean cruise in the frigate Constellation, he then
served as first lieutenant in the ship-of-the-line Delaware, which bore the
United States minister to France, Edward Livingston, to his diplomatic post;
and Buchanan was among the officers invited to dine with King Louis Philippe.
Buchanan then went ashore post at the Philadelphia Navy Yard to perform duty
involving the testing of cannon after which service he commanded the
receiving ship at Baltimore. He joined the frigate Constitution in April 1839
and sailed for the Pacific where he later served on board the sloop Falmouth.
Buchanan returned home to the United States in June 1840. Promoted to the
rank of commander on 8 September 1841, he received command of the steam
frigate Mississippi. Shortly thereafter, however, he was transferred to
command of the sloop Vincennes in which he spent almost two years hunting
slave traders and pirates.
Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft had ordered Buchanan to submit a plan
for organizing a new naval school at Annapolis, and on 14 August 1845, he was
appointed the first superintendent of what would become the United States
Naval Academy. He occupied that post from the school's formal opening on 10
October 1845 until 2 March 1847. In establishing the academy's high standards
of discipline and efficiency, Buchanan earned Bancroft's praise for his
"precision and sound judgment," and his "wise adaptation of
simple and moderate means to a great end...."
His application for active service in the Mexican War accepted, Buchanan
commanded the sloop Germantown, which, during his time in command,
participated in the operations against Tuxpan on 18 April 1847 and at Tabasco
on 16 June 1847. After another tour ashore, this time in Baltimore, Buchanan
took command of the steam frigate Susequehanna, which he commanded when she
served as flagship for Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry's expedition to
Made a member of the Board of Officers to Promote Efficiency in the Navy on
his return from Japan, Buchanan soon thereafter became commandant of the
Washington Navy Yard. On 14 September 1855, he received promotion to the rank
of captain. He was holding that rank when, under the impression that Maryland
would secede from the Union, he submitted his resignation from the Navy on 22
April 1861. Soon convinced that North and South could achieve a
reconciliation, however, he wrote the Navy Department asking to withdraw his
resignation. Nevertheless, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles dismissed
Buchanan from the service on 14 May 1861.
Appointed a captain in the Confederate Navy on 5 September 1861, Buchanan
served as the Chief of the Bureau of Orders and Detail until 24 February
1862, when he assumed command of the Chesapeake Bay Squadron. Flying his
pennant in ironclad CSS Virginia, Buchanan surprised a Union squadron in
Hampton Roads on 8 March 1862. Virginia destroyed the frigate Congress, the
sloop Cumberland, and three smaller steamers. Late in the action, Capt.
Buchanan, enraged at Union troops who violated naval etiquette by firing on
his men when they tried to take the surrender of Congress, went topside to
return the fire with a Sharps carbine, but a Union sharpshooter’s Minié ball
shattered his left thigh. The wound prevented him from exercising command the
following day when Virginia met the Union ironclad Monitor in Hampton Roads.
Commended nonetheless for his "gallant and meritorious conduct,"
Buchanan was promoted to rear admiral on 26 August 1862. Thus becoming the
ranking officer in the Confederate States Navy, he was given command of the
South's naval forces at Mobile Bay. Wearing his flag in the ironclad ram
Tennessee, Rear Admiral Buchanan led a daring single-ship attack against Rear
Admiral David Glasgow Farragut's entire squadron in the Battle of Mobile Bay
on 5 August 1864 after all his other ships had been either captured or driven
off. Damage to his flagship compelled Buchanan, who had again been seriously
wounded, to surrender. He remained a prisoner of war until exchanged in
Returning to his home in Maryland's Talbot County, "The Rest,"
after the war, he later became president of the Maryland Agricultural College
(later the University of Maryland) in September 1868. He remained in that
post until June 1869, after which time he served as secretary of the Alabama
branch of the Life Insurance Company of America. After about a year in that
line of work, he once again returned to "The Rest," where he
ultimately died on 11 May 1874.
-- USS Buchanan
history wanted --
Decommissioned Oct 1, 1991 at San Diego
Located at Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF) Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii from 1991 to 2000
Stricken to be disposed of by Navy sale November 20, 1992
Changed to SINKEX June 1999 and used as target ship for exercise RIMPAC 2000
American, Canadian and Australian forces tried to sink her for more than 24
hours. She took 3 hits from Hellfire missiles, 3 Harpoon missiles and one
GBU-24 laser guided bomb. After a Mk-48 torpedo, fired from USS Buffalo (SSN
715), Buchanan stayed still afloat.
On June 14, 2000 an EOD Team placed 200 pounds of C-4.
Buchanan sank at 21:26:30Z (11:26:30 AM HST) approx. 64 miles off Hawaii
(22:54.38N, 160:27.68W) in a depth of 2540 fathoms.