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First Name: William

Last Name: Jeffers

Birthplace: Swedesboro, NJ, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Nicholson

Date of Birth: 06 October 1824

Date of Death: 23 July 1883

Rank or Rate: Commodore

Years Served:
William Nicholson Jeffers

•  Mexican-American Wars (1846 - 1848)
•  American Civil War (1861 - 1865)


William Nicholson Jeffers

Commodore, U.S. Navy

William Nicholson Jeffers was born on 6 October 1824 in Swedesboro, NJ.

Jeffers joined the U.S. Navy as a Midshipman in September 1840, serving on the frigates USS United States and USS Congress for five years. Graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1846, he took part in Mexican War combat operations as an officer of the steamer USS Vixen. He was an instructor at the Naval Academy during the later 1840s and engaged in survey work in Central and South America in the 1850s.

As Lieutenant, he was Commanding Officer of the steamer USS Water Witch when she was fired upon by a Paraguayan fort in 1855. From 1858-60, he served as Gunnery Officer on the USS Plymouth and sloops USS Brooklyn and USS Saratoga. During the Civil War, he commanded the steamer USS Philadelphia on the Potomac River. He was an officer on the frigate USS Roanoke, then commanded the steamer USS Underwriter in operations on the North Carolina Sounds in 1861. In May 1862, he served on USS Monitor during her historic action with the Confederate CSS Virginia and as her commander in the action with Fort Darling.

Promoted to Commander in July 1862, he was employed on technical ordnance duties for the rest of the war. Commissioned as a Captain in July 1870, he became Navy Chief of the Bureau of Ordinance in April 1873. He was made Commodore of the Navy on 28 February 1878, and from 1881 until his death, had special duty in Europe.


The Destroyer USS Jeffers (DD-621) was named in his honor in 1942.

Death and Burial

Commodore William Nicholson Jeffers died on 23 July 1883 in Washington, DC. He is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD.

Honoree ID: 2677   Created by: MHOH




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