From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Alexander MacKenzie '59

Date of birth: January 24, 1842

Date of death: June 13, 1867

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.

Naval Academy Register

Alexander Slidell MacKenzie was admitted to the Naval Academy from New Jersey on September 28, 1855 at age 13 years 9 months.


Circa 1865.

From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Alexander Slidell MacKenzie was born in New York on 24 January 1842, the son of a Navy Commander of the same name. Appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1855, he graduated in June 1859 and was assigned to the newly-completed steam sloop of war Hartford. During the next two years, Midshipman MacKenzie served in that ship with the East India Squadron. Promoted to Lieutenant in August 1861, he was an officer of the gunboat Kineo during the conquest of the lower Mississippi River in 1862. Later transferred to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, MacKenzie served off Charleston, South Carolina, in the steam frigate Wabash and monitor Patapsco, taking part in combat operations against Fort Sumter and Morris Island. Later in the Civil War he commanded the gunboat Winona, also in the waters off South Carolina. In July 1865 MacKenzie received the rank of Lieutenant Commander and soon began a second Far Eastern deployment in USS Hartford. He was killed in action on 13 June 1867, during a punitive expedition ashore in southern Formosa.

He is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall under the heading "Formosa Expedition 1867."


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Acting Midshipman, 29 September, 1855. Midshipman, 9 June, 1859. Lieutenant, 31 August, 1861. Lieutenant Commander, 29 July, 1865. Killed in battle 13 June, 1867.

From the August 1962 issue of Shipmate; the article is a much longer one on Alexander's father:

Alexander Slidell Mackenzie, Jr. graduated from the Naval Academy in 1859 (graduate no. 370) in the same class as Mahan. His first cruise was in the Hartford, flagship of the East Indian Squadron. In the papers of S.F. DuPont in the Eleutherian Mills Historical Library, Wilmington, Delaware, there is a letter from his widowed mother asking her friend. Captain Du Pont, for the itinerary of the Hartford ordered home in 1861. She wanted to get letters to her son to counteract the secession sentiment she feared was rampant in the wardroom and steerage of the ship. Her fears were unfounded. The Hartford and Mackenzie arrived home in time to take part in the battle of New Orleans. He was in the ironclad New Ironsides in the attack on Fort Sumter, 7 April 1863. He did a tour as instructor in seamanship at the Naval Academy in Newport and then became executive of the Hartford. He was killed in action 13 June 1867 on the island of Taiwan while in command of a force that had gone ashore to punish savages for the murder of members of the crew of an American whaling ship. The tribute he received from his commander, Rear Admiral H. H. Bell, was perhaps even great than that given his brother. "The Navy could boast no braver spirit, no man of higher promise."


USS MacKenzie (Torpedo Boat No. 17), USS MacKenzie (DD 175), and USS MacKenzie (DD 614) were all named for him.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

January 1857

Acting Midshipman, Third Class, Naval Academy

Others at this command:

January 1860

Midshipman, Steam Sloop Hartford

Others at this command:

September 1861

Lieutenant, Steam Sloop Hartford

Others at this command:

September 1862

Lieutenant, "ordered to Washington"

January 1863

Lieutenant, Steam Frigate Wabash

Others at this command:

January 1864

Lieutenant, Iron-clad Steamer Patapsco

January 1865

Lieutenant, Naval Academy

Others at this command:

January 1866

Lieutenant Commander, Hartford

Others at this command:

July 1867

Lieutenant Commander, Hartford

Others at this command:

Class of 1859

Alexander is one of 5 members of the Class of 1859 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.