From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Thomas Wainwright '47

Date of birth: 1824

Date of death: August 14, 1850

Age: 26


Thomas Bacot Wainwright died of fever on August 14, 1850, while "aboard the sloop John Adams at sea." (Cause of death discovered by researcher Kathy Franz.)

His father's burial monument has the following inscription: "Passed Midn Thomas Bacon Wainwright, Acting master of the U.S. ship John Adams. Died at sea August 14, 1850, off the coast of Africa in the 26th year of his age. Third son of the late Colonel Wainwright. U.S. Marine Corps. His remains were committed to the deep."

From researcher Kathy Franz: "his mother was Maria. Brothers Robert, Richard, and Samuel. Sisters Ann, Maria, Henrietta and Joanna."

Thomas was born in Middlesex County, Massachusetts and appointed to the Naval Academy from South Carolina.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 21 September, 1841. Passed Midshipman, 10 August, 1847. Died 4 August, 1850.

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.

September 1842

Midshipman, Steamer Union

January 1843

Midshipman, Steamer Union

October 1843

Midshipman, waiting orders, Washington, D.C.

January 1844

Midshipman, Frigate Cumberland

Others at this command:

January 1847

Midshipman, waiting orders

January 1849

Passed Midshipman, Observatory, Washington

January 1850

Passed Midshipman, Sloop John Adams

Class of 1847

Thomas is one of 32 members of the Class of 1847 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.