From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Thomas Broadhead '47

Date of birth: 1829

Date of death: February 20, 1855

Age: 27


Thomas Waterman Brodhead died of yellow fever on February 20, 1855 "at sea, on board the Falmouth." He was acting master at the time. The ship was cruising the West Indies from mid-December 1854 to August 1855 in an unsuccessful search for news of Albany, which had been missing since September.

He was born in, and appointed to the Naval Academy from, New Hampshire.

From researcher Kathy Franz:

In the July 1850 census, Thomas is 21, USN. Birthyear 1829. Parents were John Montgomery and Mary Josephine Brodhead. John was a physician, born in New Hampshire, who became the 2nd Comptroller of the Treasury for many years. When you look closely at the monument inscription, you will see the names of their three sons - Thomas, Fred and Arthur.

With Lieutenant Thomas Hunter, Thomas brought in a slaver from Brazil and testified about it in July 1849. In December, he was ordered to the Morris, but he wrote that his testimony would soon be needed about the slaver Susan brought in by him and Lieutenant Thornton Jenkins. He had been with Jenkins on the Coast Survey during the summer and could still help him, and Professor Bache approved. In 1850 he served on the steamer Ohio after classmate Albert Allmand took his place on the Dale. In 1853 he also served on the Vandalia.

He was 27 when he died. He was buried in the Protestant Cemetery at Port au Prince. He was married to Eliza R. Barry on January 5, 1854.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 3 March, 1841. Passed Midshipman, 10 August, 1847. Acting Master, 2 December, 1854. Died 20 February, 1855.

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, Delaware, 74

January 1843

Midshipman, Delaware, 74

October 1843

Midshipman, Delaware, 74

January 1844

Midshipman, Delaware, 74

Others at this command:

January 1846

Midshipman, leave of absence

January 1848

Passed Midshipman, waiting orders

January 1849

Passed Midshipman, Frigate Brandywine

Others at this command:

January 1850

Passed Midshipman, Observatory, Washington

Others at this command:

January 1851

Passed Midshipman, Sloop Dale

January 1852

Passed Midshipman, Sloop Dale

January 1853

Passed Midshipman, receiving ship, Philadelphia

January 1854

Passed Midshipman, Mail Steamer Ohio

January 1855

Passed Midshipman, acting master, Sloop Falmouth

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.