TATTNALL, aerial, Josiah, American naval officer: b. Bonaventure, near Savannah, Ga., 9 Nov. 1795; d. Savannah, Ga., 14 June 1871. He was educated in England and in 1811 returned to the United States, where the next year he was appointed midshipman in the navy. He was engaged in the battle of Bladensburg and served in the Algerine war in Decatur's squadron. He was promoted lieutenant in 1818 and was engaged in the suppression of the West Indian piracy under Porter in 1823-24. He was promoted commander in 1838, placed in charge of the Boston navy yard and at the outbreak of the Mexican War was assigned to the command of the Spitfire and joined the squadron at Vera Cruz. He took charge of the Mosquito division, with which he covered the landing of General Scott's troops, and after the fall of Vera Cruz led the attack on the forts at Tuspan. He became captain in 1850 and in 1857 was appointed flag-officer of the Asiatic squadron, where he participated in an attack with the French and British on the Chinese. Although a violation of neutrality, he
was sustained by public opinion and also by the government. In 1861 he resigned from the United States navy and his services to the governor of Georgia. He was appointed captain in the Confederate navy, took command of the Merrimac after the engagement with the Monitor in 1862 and set out for Hampton Roads. After the surrender of Norfolk and the navy yard he withdrew with the Merrimac, and on 11 May 1862 to prevent her capture sunk her off Craney Island. The court-martial, which he requested, after a thorough investi gation acquitted him from all blame. He then engaged in the defense of Savannah River, but in 1865 was compelled to destroy his ves sels. In 1870 he returned home and was ap pointed inspector of the port of Savannah, a post which he occupied until his death. Con sult Jones, C. C., 'Life of Commodore Tatt nail) (1878).