Balch, George, Jr., RADM

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Last Rank
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1882-1883, South Pacific Squadron (1866 - 1872)
Service Years
1837 - 1883
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Rear Admiral Upper Half

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This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Balch, George, Jr., RADM.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Shelbyville, Tennessee
Last Address
He is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetary.

Date of Passing
Apr 16, 1908
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
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 Military Association Memberships
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS)Historical Sailors
  1865, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) - Assoc. Page
  1883, Historical Sailors [Verified]

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Rear Admiral George B. Balch

George Beall Balch (8 January 1821 – 18 April 1908) was an admiral in the United States Navy who served during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.

Born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, Balch was appointed Acting Midshipman in 1837 and was assigned to the sloop "Cyane," of the Pacific squadron. He served in the Mexican War and was executive officer of Plymouth during Commodore Matthew C. Perry's expedition to Japan. During the Civil War he took part in many engagements. Rear Admiral Balch served as superintendent of the Naval Academy (1879–81) and for a short period commanded the Pacific Fleet.  He retired in January 1883 and died at Raleigh, North Carolina.
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Rear Admiral George B. Balch, USN, (1821-1908)  George Beale Balch was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, on 3 January 1821. Appointed as a U.S. Navy Midshipman from the state of Alabama in late 1837, his assignments during the next dozen years included several ships, some of them serving with the African and Mediterranean Squadrons. He also took part in combat operations along the Mexican east coast during 1846-1847 and had two periods of duty in Washington, D.C., the last at the Naval Observatory. 

Balch was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in August 1850. In 1851-1855 he was an officer on the sloop of war Plymouth in the Far East. In April 1854, during that tour, he was wounded in action at Shanghai, China. After briefly serving in the Great Lakes' gunboat Michigan in 1855, Lieutenant Balch was assigned to the Washington Navy Yard, D.C. for nearly two years. He went back to sea in Plymouth in 1857, when she was part of the Home Squadron, transferring to the sloop of war Jamestown later in the year. From late 1858 until October 1860 he served in the sloop of war St. Mary's on the Pacific Squadron. 

As the political crisis of 1860-1861 developed into Civil War, Lieutenant Balch was ashore, at the Naval Academy and the Naval Observatory. From mid-1861 to mid-1862 he was commanding officer of the steam sloop Pocahontas, an active blockader along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia, and received promotion to the rank of Commander during this time. He spent most of the rest of the Civil War in command of USS Pawnee, which was also employed along the Confederacy's south Atlantic coast. 

While back at the Washington Navy Yard in 1865-1868, Balch was promoted to Captain. He commanded USS Contoocook (renamed Albany 1n 1869) during 1868-1870, then returned to the Nation's Capital for several assignments during the 1870s and in mid-decade was Governor of the Naval Asylum, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After attaining the rank of Rear Admiral in June 1878, Balch was Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, at Annapolis, Maryland (1879-1881), then commanded the Pacific Station until retired from active duty in January 1883. Rear Admiral George B. Balch died at Raleigh, North Carolina, on 16 April 1908. He is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetary. 

The Navy has named two destroyers in honor of Rear Admiral George B. Balch: USS Balch (Destroyer # 50, later DD-50), 1914-1935; and USS Balch (DD-363), 1936-1946. 

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Mexican-American War
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The Mexican–American War, also known as the Mexican War, the U.S.–Mexican War or the Invasion of Mexico (Spanish: Intervención estadounidense en México, Guerra de Estados Unidos-México), was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the United Mexican States from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory in spite of its de facto secession in the 1836 Texas Revolution.

After its independence in 1821 and brief experiment with monarchy, Mexico became a republic in 1824. It was characterized by considerable instability, leaving it ill-prepared for conflict when war broke out in 1846. Native American raids in Mexico's sparsely settled north in the decades preceding the war prompted the Mexican government to sponsor migration from the U.S. to the Mexican province of Texas to create a buffer. However, Texans from both countries revolted against the Mexican government in the 1836 Texas Revolution, creating a republic not recognized by Mexico, which still claimed it as part of its national territory. In 1845, Texas agreed to an offer of annexation by the U.S. Congress, and became the 28th state on December 29 that year.

In 1845, James K. Polk, the newly-elected U.S. president, made a proposition to the Mexican government to purchase the disputed lands between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. When that offer was rejected, American forces commanded by Major General Zachary Taylor were moved into the disputed territory of Coahuila. They were then attacked by Mexican forces, who killed 12 U.S. soldiers and took 52 as prisoners. These same Mexican troops later laid siege to an American fort along the Rio Grande. This led to the war and the eventual loss of much of Mexico's northern territory.

U.S. forces quickly occupied Santa Fe de Nuevo México and Alta California Territory, and then invaded parts of Central Mexico (modern-day Northeastern Mexico and Northwest Mexico); meanwhile, the Pacific Squadron conducted a blockade, and took control of several garrisons on the Pacific coast farther south in Baja California Territory. The U.S. army, under the command of Major General Winfield Scott, captured the capital, Mexico City, marching from the port of Veracruz.

The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war and specified its major consequence: the Mexican Cession of the territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México to the United States. The U.S. agreed to pay $15 million compensation for the physical damage of the war. In addition, the United States assumed $3.25 million of debt owed by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Mexico acknowledged the loss of Texas and thereafter cited the Rio Grande as its national border with the United States.

The territorial expansion of the United States toward the Pacific coast had been the goal of US President James K. Polk, the leader of the Democratic Party. At first, the war was highly controversial in the United States, with the Whig Party, anti-imperialists, and anti-slavery elements strongly opposed. Critics in the United States pointed to the heavy casualties suffered by U.S. forces and the conflict's high monetary cost. The war intensified the debate over slavery in the United States, contributing to bitter debates that culminated in the American Civil War.

In Mexico, the war came in the middle of political turmoil, which increased into chaos during the conflict. The military defeat and loss of territory was a disastrous blow, causing Mexico to enter "a period of self-examination ... as its leaders sought to identify and address the reasons that had led to such a debacle." In the immediate aftermath of the war, some prominent Mexicans wrote that the war had resulted in "the state of degradation and ruin" in Mexico, further claiming, for "the true origin of the war, it is sufficient to say that the insatiable ambition of the United States, favored by our weakness, caused it." The shift in the Mexico-U.S. border left many Mexican citizens separated from their national government. For the indigenous peoples who had never accepted Mexican rule, the change in border meant conflicts with a new outside power.
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Jun 27, 2010
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Appointed as a U.S. Navy Midshipman from the state of Alabama in late 1837, his assignments during the next dozen years included several ships, some of them serving with the African and Mediterranean Squadrons. He also took part in combat operations along the Mexican east coast during 1846-1847 and had two periods of duty in Washington, D.C., the last at the Naval Observatory.

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  91 Also There at This Battle:
  • Le Roy, William Edgar, RADM, (1832-1880)
  • McKean, William Wister, CAPT, (1814-1862)
  • Najera, Daniel, CPO, (1998-Present)
  • Nichols, Edward Tattnall, RADM, (1836-1885)
  • Schenck, James Findlay, RADM, (1822-1869)
  • Stribling, Cornelius Kinchiloe, RADM, (1812-1869)
  • Turner, Daniel David, CAPT, (1805-1850)
  • Wood, William Maxwell, CAPT, (1829-1871)
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