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First Name: John

Last Name: Montgomery

Birthplace: Allentown, NJ, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Berrien

Date of Birth: 17 November 1794

Date of Death: 25 March 1873

Rank or Rate: Rear Admiral

Years Served:
John Berrien Montgomery

•  War of 1812
•  Mexican-American Wars (1846 - 1848)


John Berrien Montgomery
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

John Berrien Montgomery was born on 17 November 1794 in Allentown, NJ. Montgomery joined the Navy in 1812, several days before the outbreak of the War of 1812. Assigned at the rank of Midshipman, he served with distinction throughout the war, including service aboard the USS Niagara during the 10 September 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1818.

His commands included the sloop-of-war USS Portsmouth in 1844, in the Navy's Pacific Fleet. With the outbreak of the Mexican War, in early June 1846, Montgomery and Portsmouth was ordered to Northern California where she anchored in the San Francisco Bay, then part of the Mexican province of Alta California. As a result Montgomery was involved, albeit as a witness only, in the events of the Bear Flag Revolt in which foreign residents, mostly American, revolted against the Mexican authorities. As a Naval Representative of the U.S. Government, he was approached by representatives of the Revolt, by representatives of the Mexican Provincial Government and by other representatives of the U.S. On 16 June 1846, Montgomery sent a mission to Sonoma to investigate the conditions there, following the Revolt.

On 9 July 1846, Montgomery and his detachment from the Portsmouth, without firing a shot, raised the American flag over the plaza in the town of Yerba Buena, whose name was changed to San Francisco, CA, in 1847. At his direction, Lt. Joseph W. Revere also lowered California's famous Bear Flag flying at Sonoma, CA, north of San Francisco Bay and raised the U.S. Flag. The lowered Bear Flag ended up in Montgomery's possession and, in 1848, he delivered it to naval authorities in Boston. Ultimately, in 1855, the flag was returned to California.

Promoted to Captain in 1853, he took command of the steam frigate USS Roanoke in 1857. In 1859, he commanded the Pacific Squadron until relieved on 2 January 1862. He was promoted to Commodore in 1862 and assigned as commander of the Boston Navy Yard until 1863, when he took command of the Washington Navy Yard.

He remained in active service and by the outbreak of the Civil War, was in command of the Pacific Fleet. At war's end, he was promoted to Rear Admiral and given command of the Naval Station at Sacket's Harbor, NY; a post he held until his retirement in 1869.


Montgomery Street, a notable street in downtown San Francisco, is named for him.

Death and Burial

Rear Admiral John Berrien Montgomery died at Carlisle, PA, on 25 March 1873. His remains were interred at Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC.

Honoree ID: 2872   Created by: MHOH




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