Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: John

Last Name: Sloat

Birthplace: Sloatsburg, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Drake

Date of Birth: 26 July 1781

Date of Death: 26 November 1867

Rank or Rate: Commodore

Years Served:
John Drake Sloat

•  War of 1812


John Drake Sloat
Commodore, U.S. Navy

John Drake Sloat was born on 26 July 1781 at the family home of Sloat House in Sloatsburg, NY. He was of Dutch ancestry and was orphaned at an early age. His father, Captain John Sloat, had been mistakenly shot and killed by one of his own sentries two months before he was born, and his mother died a few years later. Sloat was brought up by his maternal grandparents.

Appointed midshipman in the Navy in 1800, he was sailing master of the frigate USS United States under Commodore Stephen Decatur during the War of 1812, and was promoted to Lieutenant for conspicuous gallantry in the capture of the frigate HMS Macedonian. Sloat then commanded the schooner USS Grampus during which he fought the action of 2 March 1825 against the pirate ship of Roberto Cofresí. He later served on the ships USS Franklin and USS Washington and from 1828 commanded the sloop USS St. Louis with the rank of Master Commandant, to which he had been promoted in 1826. He was promoted to Captain in 1837 and from 1840-44 was in charge of the Portsmouth Navy Yard.

In 1844, Sloat was appointed to command the Pacific Squadron and, in 1845 as tensions with Mexico grew, he was instructed to land in Alta, CA, and claim it for the U.S. if war broke out. Receiving a report of fighting on the Texas border while off Mazatlán, he raced north (the British were reportedly interested in California too), engaged in a skirmish called the Battle of Monterey, raised the flag over the Customs House at Monterey on 7 July 1846, and issued a proclamation announcing that California was now part of the U.S. He was a Military Governor of California for only seven days, before handing over the office to Robert F. Stockton.

Later, his poor health forced Sloat to take commands ashore, where he commanded the Norfolk Navy Yard, 1847-51; directed the construction of the Stevens Battery in 1855; and helped plan the Mare Island Navy Yard. After his retirement in 1866, he was promoted to Rear Admiral.

Sloat was a Freemason and belonged to St. Nicholas lodge No. 321 in New York City.


Two destroyers have been named USS Sloat in his honor as well as a WWII Liberty ship, the SS John Drake Sloat.

A major street, Sloat Boulevard, and Commodore Sloat Elementary School, both in San Francisco, are named after him. Local streets in Monterey, CA; Sacramento, CA; and the Carthay Circle neighborhood of Los Angeles also bear his name. An elementary school in Sacramento is also named for him.

There is a large monument erected in his honor on the Presidio of Monterey U.S. Army post.

Death and Burial

Commodore John Drake Sloat died on 26 November 1867 in New Brighton, NY. He is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY

Honoree ID: 3088   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image