JOSEPH D. DANELS, LCDR, USN
Joseph Daniels '47
Date of birth: 1828
Date of death: March 23, 1865
Lieutenant Commander Joseph D. Daniels, born in Baltimore, was the son of a commodore in the Columbian Navy and was a student in Saint Mary's Seminary when appointed to the Navy in 1841. He was on duty at the Naval School in 1846, but was ordered to sea at his own request and served throughout the Mexican War, receiving a letter of commendation from Secretary of the Navy Bancroft. In a moment of impulsiveness he resigned from the service in 1861 while on duty in Baltimore, but volunteered the following year and participated in both attacks on Fort Fisher, commanding the final landing force while in the last stages of tuberculosis. His strength failed him and he had to fall out of the line, but he remained on the field until the action was over. He died in 1865, while on sick leave.
He was born in, and appointed to the Naval Academy from, Maryland.
He was survived by his wife.
He is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall.
From researcher Kathy Franz:
The last name is really Danels – without the i. He died at age 37, making birthyear 1828.
From 1842 through 1845, Joseph served on the Independence, the Columbus, and the Cumberland. From 1846 through 1853, he was on the frigate United States, the Constitution, the Dolphin, the Lawrence, and the Saranac. In 1856 while on the Saranac, he was in Genoa, Italy, when he received his commission as lieutenant, and in December, he was ordered to the Coast Survey steamer Nautilus. In 1858 he had temporary duty on the Despatch, and in 1859, he served on the Rendezvous. In 1860 while on the Supply, he made a $70/month allotment for his family.
In 1861 he was on the Allegheny, and when the war broke, he resigned for a few months. When he returned, he was ordered to the Vanderbilt. At 7 a.m. on November 19, 1862, the Vanderbilt encountered the barque Symmetry of Dundee. Joseph and two others wrote a report that when within hailing distance, she was told to put down her helm which she did not do. At 8:20 a.m., she came afoul of the Vanderbilt’s starboard wheel and caused damage with her bowspirit being carried away. It was repaired by the Vanderbilt crew after six hours, and the Symmetry was sent on her way to Belfast, Ireland.
On March 19, 1865, Joseph was detached from the Vanderbilt and wrote that he was living at Grundy Street, 4th door from McMechen Street, Baltimore. He died four days later. In May, Joseph’s wife Julia applied for a pension. Their children at that time were: Juliana P. B., 6, Joseph almost 5, and Esther Eugenie 2 ½. During the pension hearing, Charly O’Donovan, M.D., reported Joseph died of acute tubercular consumption developed after the last Fort Fisher expedition. The Navy Doctor P. J. Horwitz testified that he observed Joseph on the Vanderbilt the whole time, and although ill, he did participate in the on-shore attack of Fort Fisher. However, Joseph actually contracted the disease in 1861 in Chesapeake Bay.
The newspaper reported that Joseph’s commission as lieutenant commander had just reached the city the morning of his death. Joseph’s father was the flamboyant privateer Commodore John Daniel Danels who served in the Venezuelan and Colombian Navies in 1821. Joseph and all his brothers attended the elite St. Mary’s school in Baltimore.
Midshipman, 19 October, 1841. Passed Midshipman, 10 August, 1847. Master, 14 September, 1855. Lieutenant, 15 September, 1855. Resigned 23 April, 1861. Acting Master, 5 September, 1862. Acting Lieutenant, 3 June, 1863. Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Commander, 18 May, 1864. Lieutenant Commander, 16 July, 1862. Died of wounds 23 March, 1865.