George Washington Rodgers II
Dates of Service: 9/20/1860 - 9/23/1861
Birth Date: 10/30/1822
Death Date: 8/17/1863
George Washington Rodgers was born on October 30, 1822 in Brooklyn, New York. Many members of his extended family had served in the U.S. Navy. Appointed a midshipman on April 30, 1836 at the age of 14, he successfully served until promoted to passed midshipman on July 1, 1842. He served in the West Indies, African, and Mediterranean Squadrons. During the Mexican War, Rodgers served as acting master on the steamer Colonel and frigate John Adams. Rodgers served with the Coast Survey from 1849 to 1850 and was promoted to lieutenant on June 4, 1850. Rodgers sailed on the sloop Germantown from 1851 to 1853.
Rodgers served on Constitution from September 20, 1860 to September 23, 1861. In April 1861, the ship was used to transport Naval Academy midshipmen to the newly relocated Naval Academy in Newport, Rhode Island. The Academy was temporarily moved north to avoid Confederate forces during the American Civil War. While at Newport, Constitution was employed as a stationary school ship. Rodgers’ position was that of senior instructor, never commanding officer.
In 1861, Rodgers became commandant of midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy. He was promoted to commander on January 16, 1862. In 1863, seeking an active post in the Union Navy, Rodgers took command of the gunboat Tioga and patrolled the James River. Rodgers was promoted to captain and took command of the monitor Catskill on February 24, 1863. On March 5, 1863 ,Catskill reported for duty at Port Royal, South Carolina and spent the rest of the war blockading Charleston Harbor. Catskill routinely took part in attacks against the batteries and ships protecting Charleston from the sea. Captain Rodgers was fatally wounded on August 17, 1863 while directing fire on Charleston.