Francis H. Baker
Dates of Service: 8/2/1879 - 9/25/1879
Birth Date: 4/1832
Death Date: 3/2/1880
Francis H. Baker was born in Abbeville, South Carolina in April 1832. He became a midshipman on October 12, 1848 and was of the U.S. Naval Academy Class 1854. He served first on Constitution during her final Mediterranean deployment from 1848 to 1851, and then joined the sloop-of-war Jamestown on the Brazil station from 1851 to 1853. As a passed midshipman, he served in the sloop-of-war John Adams in the Pacific Squadron from 1854 to 1858, being promoted to lieutenant during that period. He went back to the Brazil Squadron in the steamer Water Witch from 1869 to 1860, then again in the Pacific aboard the steam sloop Narragansett until 1863, becoming a lieutenant commander in 1862. He then transferred to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron for the remainder of the American Civil War, commanding the steam gunboat Huron and the steamer Vicksburg. While in the former, he captured the British blockade runner Sylvanus in Doboy Sound, Georgia. After a short postwar tour at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Baker commanded the steamer Unadilla in the Asiatic Squadron from 1866 to 1868, becoming commander during this tour. From then until 1879, he briefly commanded the screw sloop-of-war Wyoming and served in a variety of shore stations.
Baker promoted to captain on November 30, 1878 and took command of Constitution at Philadelphia on August 2, 1879. At the time the ship was an apprentice boy training vessel. He was a sick man, however, and soon requested sick leave. He transferred to the Naval Hospital at Brooklyn on September 25.
Captain Baker died on March 2, 1880.
Courtesy Naval History & Heritage Command