Greene, Theodore Phinney
Age: 0, credited to Montreal, PQ, CanadaVITALS
Birth: 11/01/1809, Montreal, PQ, CanadaADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Old Burying Ground, Jaffrey, NH
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Theodore P. Greene
Theodore Phinney Greene was born in Montreal, Canada, November 1, 1809, the son of Eli and Patience (Phinney) Greene. According to family information his father died when Theodore was quite young; he was raised by his Uncle Asa Greene, in Brattleboro, Vt.
He was appointed Acting Midshipman from Vermont in November 1826. From November 1826 to November 1831, he served in the Mediterranean Squadron, on the sloop-of-war Warren, the frigate Java, the sloop-of-war Ontario, the frigate Brandywine and the frigate Constellation.
After an 18-month leave of absence, he was ordered to the sloop Vincennes, Pacific Squadron, in August 1833. During this cruise, Vincennes visited Fiji, China, Guam, Singapore, Sumatra, Capetown and St. Helena, returning to Hampton Roads, Va., on June 5, 1836.
Greene was stationed at the New York Navy Yard from December 1836 to January 1837, then served on the razee Independence, Brazil Squadron, until April 1840. He was promoted to Lieutenant in December 1837.
From October 1840 to January 1842, Lieutenant Greene was attached to the receiving ship Columbia, in Boston. From January 1842 until May 1844, he served on Grampus, Home Squadron, on St. Louis, in Norfolk, and on Lexington, Mediterranean Squadron.
In August 1845, he was ordered to Congress, Pacific Squadron, and served with her until January 1849. During the Mexican-American War, he spent six months in command of land forces at Mazatlan.
Lieutenant Greene served on Cyane, Home Squadron, from September 1851 to October 1853, and at the Boston Navy Yard, from November 1853 to October 1857; he was promoted to Commander on September 14, 1855. He then served as an inspector at the 1st Lighthouse District, Portland Me., from October 1857 to December 1860.
At the beginning of the Civil War, he was stationed at Mare Island Navy Yard, from May 1861 to March 1863; he was promoted to Captain there, on July 16, 1862.
He was ordered to command Shenandoah in May 1863, but within a month, transferred to command of the side-wheel steamer Santiago de Cuba, which he commanded, while part of the "Flying Squadron," until December 1863.
Captain Greene commanded the screw frigate San Jacinto, East Gulf Squadron, from April to December 1864. Soon after he assumed command he was ordered to latitude 21" 35' N. and longitude 89" 35' W., on the northwest side of the Yucatan Peninsula, "where you will anchor (in about 12 fathoms water) and lie with banked fires for the purpose of intercepting" several rebel sailing ships flying English colors, bound from Bremen for Sisal, on the Yucatan Peninsula. He remained in that area until June 16, when he was ordered to return to Key West, "cruising for a few days, in a position to intercept blockade runners from Sabine Pass to Galveston."
On July 1, Greene was at Sand Key, Florida, but by mid-month was again cruising in the Gulf of Mexico. On July 25, he was ordered to return to Key West to assume temporary command of the squadron, pending the arrival of a new commander.
He was commander pro tem from August 7 to October 12. From September 3 to 14, Greene was suffering from a bout of yellow fever, and "was unable to attend to the business of the squadron," Commander R. Handy fulfilled his duties during this period.
On September 23, Commodore Cornelius K. Stribling was designated to relieve Captain Greene, who "can be retained in the squadron in an appropriate capacity should you desire his services, or return home if it should be his wish to do so." Stribling assumed command of the squadron on October 14, and Greene went home to Brattleboro, Vt., on leave.
On January 21, 1865, Captain Greene relieved Captain Thornton Jenkins as commander of the steam sloop Richmond, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, off Mobile Bay. For an unspecified time, Greene commanded the First Division of the squadron. In early to mid April, Richmond participated in the capture of the city of Mobile, Ala.
On April 22, Richmond departed Mobile, enroute New Orleans; the next day, she crossed the bar at the South West Pass, and Greene anchored her above the Quarantine. Proceeding north the next morning, Greene anchored at 12:30 to repair an engine. He was there at 2 p.m. when the Confederate ram William H. Webb (q.v.) came down river.
On May 2, Captain Greene led an investigation into the damage caused to building in New Orleans from shots fired at the Webb as it passed the city.
On May 15, Captain Greene had assumed duties as senior officer commanding Naval Forces, New Orleans, replacing Captain George Emmons (q.v.). On May 26, Captain Greene represented the U. S. Navy, and Major General Ed. R. S. Canby the U.S. Army at the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi army and navy. Captain Greene was relieved as senior officer at New Orleans by Commander John Downes on June 1.
After the war, Captain Greene served on ordnance duty at Portsmouth Navy Yard from October 1865 to October 1866. He commanded the flagship Powhatan, Pacific Squadron, from December 1866 to January 1868; on July 24, 1867, he was promoted to Commodore.
After home leave from January to May 1868, Commodore Greene served on the Board of Visitors, Naval Academy in May and June, the assumed command of Pensacola Navy Yard in October, serving in this position until June 1870. From June 1870 until November 1871, he was awaiting orders, and was transferred to the Retired List on November 1, 1871. He was promoted to Rear Admiral on the Retired List on May 24, 1872.
Rear Admiral Greene died in Jaffrey, NH, on August 30, 1887.
He married, October 17, 1849, Mary Minot (1822-1890), daughter of William and Mary Morse Ainsworth of New Hampshire.
Admiral Greene's Civil War papers, 1863-1864, are at the New York Historical Society.
Sources: Peck, p. 692; Callahan; Benedict, 2:794, 796; Camp, 140; Registry of Officers; Cabot, 2:821-822; Cogar 1:72-73; Eicher, 266; Wilcox, 703; Hamersly 1870, 52; ORN, 17:691, 704, 711-712, 714, 722-723, 726, 728, 731, 733, 739-752, 754-757, 761, 763-766, 21:618-620, 663, 671, 687, 22:21, 25, 39, 41, 50, 56-57, 65-66, 122, 128-129, 144, 165-167, 172, 189, 213-214, 233, 27:215; Neeser, 2:246-247; CWNC iv:121