From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Thomas Broadhead '47

Date of birth: unknown

Date of death: February 20, 1855

Age: unknown

Lucky Bag

The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.

Life & Loss

Unable to find any details about Thomas' life or loss, except that it occurred 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 the Naval History and Heritage Command:

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

Memorial Hall Error

Thomas' last name is spelled "Brodhead" in all contemporaneous reports and documents. "Broadhead" is the spelling in Memorial Hall, the US Naval Academy Graduates' Association alumni register of 1904, and this history of the Naval Academy.

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 1848

Passed Midshipman, waiting orders

January 1849

Passed Midshipman, Frigate Brandywine

Others at this command: PASSED MIDN Simeon Bassett '47 and PASSED MIDN Theodoric Walker '47.

January 1850

Passed Midshipman, Observatory, Washington

Others at this command: PASSED MIDN Richard Price '47 and PASSED MIDN Thomas Roney '47.

January 1852

Passed Midshipman, Sloop Dale

January 1855

Passed Midshipman, acting master, Sloop Falmouth

Class of 1847

Thomas is one of 31 members of the Class of 1847 on Virtual Memorial Hall.