Re: Rear Admiral Sylvanus W. Godon
By t j August 10, 2004 at 01:01:46
Sylvanus Godon was ten years old when he enlisted, and was accepted, into the US Navy, perhaps one of the youngest members of the US Navy in its entire history, certainly the youngest Cajun.
Godon was appointed Captain at the start of the US Civil War and commanded the Mohican. At one point, the Prussian prince from London and certain collaborators in the US mocked the Union naval fleet`s efforts to stop the flow of weapons being shipped to the war-profiteers of the Industrial Revolution.
But Rear Admiral David Porter and Captain Godon quickly ended the mad German`s dreams of relying on collaborators to subjugate the United States. Rear Admiral David Porter understood the worth of one particular battle involving foreign suppliers when he wrote to Captain Godon, "the death knell of another fort is booming in the distance. Fort Caswell with its powerful batteries is in flames and being blown up, and thus is sealed the door through which this [US Civil War] is fed."
Captain Godon then moved up the coast to assist in finishing off the German navy from London, during one naval battle placing his own ship between the enemy and the flagship of US Navy Fleet Commander Admiral Samuel DuPont, thereby both protecting Admiral DuPont`s flagship and also in "materially silencing the batteries of the enemies" during the attack. Cited for his actions, Captain Godon was promoted to Commodore.
The following year, Commodore Godon commanded the ship Susquehanna under Admiral Porter`s fleet from December 1864 to January 1865 wherein, “In the report of the latter action he was specially commended for the support rendered the commander-in-chief, and for the Good discipline and accurate firing of his ship, the Susquehanna.” Godon then was promoted to the rank of Admiral and subsequently placed in command of the US Navy`s South Atlantic Fleet.
Four years later, at age 62 and following over half a century of active duty, Admiral Sylvanus William Godon retired from service and died eight years later, on May 10, 1879 in France whereupon his body then was returned to the United States for a burial with full military honors. Godon was buried in Plot: Section F, Lot 14 at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia alongside such notables as Thomas Godfrey (who invented the mariner's quadrant in the 1700s), Charles Thomson (secretary of the Continental Congress), Thomas McKean (Signer of the Declaration of Independence) and other early American heroes. (Source: Famous Americans)