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Encyclopedia > Paul Hamilton
U.S. Navy collection portrait of Paul Hamilton.
U.S. Navy collection portrait of Paul Hamilton.

Paul Hamilton (1762-1816) was the 3rd United States Secretary of the Navy, from 15 May 1809 - 31 December 1812.

Paul Hamilton was born in Saint Paul's Parish, South Carolina, on 16 October 1762. During the American War of Independence he served actively in military roles in the southern states, fighting under Gen. Marion. He participated with Col. Harden in the capture of Fort Balfour. Following the war, he was a planter and public figure. Hamilton served South Carolina in many public offices including state Representative (1787), state Senator (1794), Comptroller (1800), and Governor (1804).

In 1809, President James Madison selected Hamilton to become the third Secretary of the Navy. His term in office included the first months of the War of 1812, during which time the small United States Navy achieved several remarkable victories over British warships. Hamilton was a proponent of military preparedness, especially sea fortifications. Although he wanted to strengthen the Navy, he found the Congress hostile and the President indifferent to his ideas. However, he was responsible for the Naval Hospitals Act of 1811. Secretary Hamilton resigned at the end of 1812 and returned to South Carolina, where he died in Beaufort on 30 June 1816.

Three Navy ships have been named in honor of Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton: USS Paul Hamilton (DD-307), 1920-1931, USS Paul Hamilton (DD-590), 1943-1970, and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60), 1995-present.

Preceded by:
James B. Richardson
Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by:
Charles Pinckney
Preceded by:
Robert Smith
Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by:
William Jones

This article includes public domain text from the Naval Historical Center.

  Results from FactBites:
Paul Hamilton (214 words)
Paul Hamilton, born in St. Paul’s Parish, S.C. 16 October 1762, fought under Generals Gates, Marion, and Harden in the American Revolution.
Paul Hamilton (DD–307) was launched 21 February 1919 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., San Francisco, Calif.; sponsored by Miss Justin McGrath; and commissioned 24 September 1920, Lt. Comdr.
Paul Hamilton decommissioned 20 January 1930 and was scrapped in 1931.
Paul Hamilton Papers - About (993 words)
Hamilton volunteered and served at the siege of Savannah, Ga. (Sept. - Oct. 1779) and the Battle of Camden, S.C. (Aug. 1780).
Hamilton's first legislative office came with his election to the South Carolina House of Representatives, from the Parish of St. Paul, for the 7th General Assembly (1787-1788).
Paul Hamilton died 30 June 1816 at Rhodes plantation outside of Beaufort, S.C., and was buried in a private graveyard on Whale Branch plantation in Beaufort District, S.C. Sources:
  More results at FactBites »



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