Blakeley, Johnston, CAPT

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Last Rank
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1814-1814, USS WASP (Sloop/18 guns)
Service Years
1799 - 1814
Line Officer

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Home Country
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Blakeley, Johnston, CAPT.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Seaford, County Down, Ireland; and Rockrest, SC
Last Address
Lost At Sea (USS Wasp 1814)

Casualty Date
Oct 09, 1814
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Not Specified
North Atlantic Ocean
War of 1812
Location of Interment
Buried at Sea, North Atlantic Ocean
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
In the Line of DutyHistorical Sailors
  1814, In the Line of Duty [Verified]
  1814, Historical Sailors [Verified]

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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US NavyNorfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), Portsmouth, VA
  1800-1802, USS President
  1803-1803, USS John Adams (1799) - (Frigate)
  1803-1804, USS Congress
  1804-1804, USS John Adams (1799) - (Frigate)
  1804-1805, USS Congress
  1805-1807, USS Hornet (1813)
  1808-1809, Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), Portsmouth, VA
  1810-1811, USS ESSEX (Sail Frigate)
  1811-1813, USS Enterprise (Sloop/12 guns)
  1813-1814, USS WASP (Sloop/18 guns)
  1814-1814, USS WASP (Sloop/18 guns)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1801-1805 First Barbary War (Libya)
 Colleges Attended 
University of South Carolina
  1796-1799, University of South Carolina
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Congressional Gold Medal4
  Oct 09, 1814, Johnston Blakeley (1781-1814) aka "Blakely"1
  Jul 18, 1970, USS Blakely (DE-1072/FF-1072)2
  Oct 09, 2012, General Photos
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Captain Johnston Blakeley, USN

Johnston Blakeley was born in 1781 in Seaford, County Down, Ireland and came to America with his parents at the age of two. Soon after his family settled in Charleston, S.C., Blakeley's mother and brother died; and his father moved to Wilmington, N.C. At nine, Blakeley was sent to New York in the care of his father's old friend, a merchant named Hoope. In 1796, he began his studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 1797, Blakeley inherited from his father rental properties which gave him income to continue his education, but that ended in 1799 when the uninsured buildings burned down. In 1800, he succeeded in acquiring a midshipman's warrant, and his first sea duty came in the frigate President under Capt. Richard Dale. In 1801 and 1802, he made an uneventful cruise to the Mediterranean Sea to keep an eye on the Barbary pirates. Upon his return, he was reassigned to the frigate John Adams, sailing for the Mediterranean on 22 October 1803. During that deployment, he saw action off Tripoli bombarding the harbor forts and shipping. The most notable event of the cruise was the destruction of the 20 gun Tripolitan cruiser Meshouda. John Adams returned home in the fall of 1803 and he was reassigned to the frigate Congress. However, he returned to John Adams when she had to return to the Mediterranean to replace the lost Philadelphia. Arriving off Tripoli on 7 August 1804, she participated in the second set of engagements against the pirates during the summer of 1804. Blakeley transferred to Congress during the fall of 1804 and served in her until she returned to the United States in the summer of 1805. Successive assignments in Hornet, at the Norfolk Navy Yard, and in Essex occupied his time between 1805 and 1811. On 10 February 1807, Blakeley was commissioned as a lieutenant. In 1811, he was given his first command, Enterprise. When War of 1812 began, he cruised the east coast during the first year. Initially unsuccessful in taking British prizes, his luck improved later in the cruise when he concentrated on the waters of the New England coast. In July 1813, he received a promotion to master commandant and was offered command of the newly constructed, 22 gun sloop of war Wasp. He hastened to Newburyport, Mass., to complete outfitting his new command, commissioning her in 1814. Getting underway on 1 May, he captured several merchantmen in the western approaches to the British Isles before encountering his first enemy warship on 28 June. At a point some 225 miles west of Plymouth, England, Wasp fell in with the 21 gun sloop of war HMS Reindeer. The contest lasted a mere 19 minutes while the two ships exchanged severe cannonades of grape and solid shot. Blakeley's crew repulsed several boarding attempts and finally carried the enemy warship. Reindeer was destroyed by fire; and Blakeley, after repairs at L'Orient, France, resumed his guerre de course on British seaborne trade. He took three more prizes in August then met HMS Avon, an 18-gun brig, on 21 September. After maneuvering into a position in which he had Avon under his lee bow, Blakeley opened fire at about 2130. Avon returned fire for about 30 minutes then appeared to cease fire. Blakeley halted his gunners, demanding Avon's surrender; but the enemy resumed fire. After several broadsides, Avon once more fell silent. Blakeley repeated the call to surrender, and the battered hulk had to comply. At that point, the appearance of three British ships forced Blakeley to abandon his prize and escape. Wasp then resumed the war on British shipping. He made three more known captures, the last of which was the eight-gun brig Atalanta that he sent into Charleston, S.C. The last contact with Wasp occurred on 8 October when he spoke to the Swedish brig Adonis off the Azores. Apparently, Wasp went down with all hands in an Atlantic storm. Johnston Blakeley was awarded the thanks of Congress, a gold medal, and a promotion to captain, all posthumously, for his last cruise. In addition, the state of South Carolina voted him a sword and delivered it to his widow.

USS Blakely (DE 1072) (1970-1991) was the first ship to be named in honor of both (Blakeley) Blakely's: Captain Johnston Blakeley and grandson Vice Admiral Charles A. Blakely.

Captain Johnston Blakeley
Congressional Gold Medal

Description: Johnston Blakeley (October 1781 - October 1814) was an officer in the United States Navy during the Quasi-War with France and the War of 1812. After service in President during the Quasi-War with France and command of Enterprise early in the War of 1812, Master Commandant Blakeley was appointed to command of the newly built sloop-of-war Wasp. In 1814, he made a very successful cruise which included the capture of HMS Reindeer. Wasp was last heard of 9 October 1814 and is believed to have foundered in a gale. Blakeley received the thanks of Thanks of Congress, a gold medal, and posthumous advancement to Captain for his last cruise.

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