Horatio Bridge
Commodore (rank)
Commodore is a military rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral or counter admiral as an equivalent .It is often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6, but is not always...

 Horatio Bridge
(1806 – March 1893) was a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 officer who, as Chief of the Bureau of Provisions, served for many years as head of the Navy's supply organization. Appointed by his former college mate, President Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States and is the only President from New Hampshire. Pierce was a Democrat and a "doughface" who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. Pierce took part in the Mexican-American War and became a brigadier general in the Army...

, Bridge held this post under various administrations, including the whole period of the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...


He also had the distinction of being the first man in the Navy to employ the idea of comprehensive fleet supply. Under his direction, the systematic supply of Navy vessels on the Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and Gulf
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 coasts during the Civil War was established and carried out with conspicuous success.

Early life and education

The son of a judge, Bridge was born at Augusta, Maine
Augusta, Maine
Augusta is the capital of the US state of Maine, county seat of Kennebec County, and center of population for Maine. The city's population was 19,136 at the 2010 census, making it the third-smallest state capital after Montpelier, Vermont and Pierre, South Dakota...

. He received his early education in private schools and at Hallowell Academy. Bridge was graduated from Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College , founded in 1794, is an elite private liberal arts college located in the coastal Maine town of Brunswick, Maine. As of 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowdoin 6th among liberal arts colleges in the United States. At times, it was ranked as high as 4th in the country. It is...

 in the class of 1825, which included among its members Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in the city of Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials...

 and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline...

. According to a newspaper item of 1893, it was Horatio Bridge’s appreciation of Hawthorne’s early writings, and his faith in this man of genius, that, to use Hawthorne’s own words, "was responsible for my being an author". One of his earliest books, The Snow Image, was dedicated to his friend and benefactor, Horatio Bridge.

The Commodore himself wielded a graceful pen, and besides contributions to periodicals was the author of The Journal of an African Cruiser, which was edited by Hawthorne, and Personal Recollections of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Legal and naval careers

After graduation from Bowdoin College, he studied law at Northampton Law School; was admitted to the bar, and practiced his profession at Augusta and Skowhegan
Skowhegan, Maine
Skowhegan is the county seat of Somerset County, Maine, United States. As of the 2000 census, the town population was 8,824. Every August, Skowhegan hosts the annual Skowhegan State Fair, the oldest continuous state fair in the United States...

 (then Milburn), Maine. After ten years of practice, he found law distasteful to him and entered the U.S. Navy as a purser
The purser joined the warrant officer ranks of the Royal Navy in the early fourteenth century and existed as a Naval rank until 1852. The development of the warrant officer system began in 1040 when five English ports began furnishing warships to King Edward the Confessor in exchange for certain...

 in 1838. After several long cruises in Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an, and Pacific
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 waters, he was called to Washington and appointed Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Provisions and Clothing.

He handled with great skill the responsible duties of this office. Of the skill and ability which he showed in its management, Senator James Grimes
James Grimes
James Grimes may refer to:*James W. Grimes, American statesman*James Grimes , former Canadian international...

 testified in a debate in 1865: "No Bureau of this government has been more admirably and accurately managed then the Bureau of Provisions and Clothing." To this, Senator John P. Hale
John P. Hale
John Parker Hale was an American politician and lawyer from New Hampshire. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1843 to 1845 and in the United States Senate from 1847 to 1853 and again from 1855 to 1865. He was the first senator to make a stand against slavery...

, added; "I think a great reason, and a very important one, is because there is at the head of that Bureau an honest, vigilant, and faithful man".

During Bridge's tenure as head of the Bureau, he made many significant innovations in the Navy's supply system. Some of the more important ones were:
  • Advertising for competitive bids became mandatory except for personal services, and except in the case of emergency.

  • Preserved meats, pickles, butter, cheese, and desiccated vegetables could be bought without formal advertising and sealed bids.

  • A requirement was written into the statutes which specified that "the Chief of the Bureau, also known as the Paymaster General, be appointed from the list of Paymasters of the Navy of not less than ten years standing". This meant that for the first time it was legally impossible for the Paymaster General to be a civilian.

  • In 1862, the agitation against the rum
    Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels...

     ration became so pronounced that on September 1 of that year, it was finally eliminated and as a compensation, men’s pay was raised five cents a day. It has been said that the Act was responsible for the origin of the old Navy song: "They raised our pay five cents a day, and took away our grog forever".

According to a Navy press notice, Bridge resigned his position as Chief of the Bureau in 1869. However, shortly thereafter he accepted the position as the first Chief Inspector of Clothing, which he held until the passage of the law debarring all Navy officers from active duty after reaching the age of sixty-two. He was detached from duty after serving afloat and ashore for fifty-five years.

Family life

Commodore Bridge was married to Charlotte Marshall of Boston when he was forty years old. They had one daughter who died at the age of five. To appease his sorrow, his friend Hawthorne wrote him: "... I trust you will be able to feel that though it is good to have a dear child on earth, it is likewise good to have one safe in heaven. She will await you there and it will seem like home to you now. Affectionately, Nath". While he seldom visited his home town, he kept the affection and respect of his townspeople to a most unusual degree. His friends there remembered him as a remarkable old man, whose clear mind and strong memory would have done credit to a man in the prime of life. He was also noted for his military bearing and elastic step. Concerning his fine character, the Kennebec Journal
Kennebec Journal
The Kennebec Journal is a seven-day morning daily newspaper published in Augusta, Maine. From 1998 to 2009, it was owned by Blethen Maine Newspapers, a subsidiary of The Seattle Times Company. It was then sold to MaineToday Media. The newspaper covers the capital area and southern Kennebec...

said: "Commodore Bridge was a man of sterling principles and rugged honesty, with a strong mind and a warm heart; a gentleman of the old school in all that means, of broad culture and with a genial polished manner".

Last years and legacy

Upon final retirement, on March 1, 1871, he went to his country home, "The Moorings", at Athens, Pennsylvania
Athens, Pennsylvania
Athens is a borough in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, two miles south of the N. Y. State line on the Susquehanna and Chemung rivers. Population in 1900, 3,749; and in 1910, 3,796. The population was 3,415 at the 2000 census...

, where he spent the rest of his life. Here, according to The Athens News, he was an exemplary Christian and for many years had been an earnest and devout member of the Episcopal Church. Following Bridge’s death in March 1893, he was buried in Athens.


Two US Navy ships have been named in his honor: USS Bridge (AF-1)
USS Bridge (AF-1)
The first USS Bridge was the lead ship of her class of stores ships for the United States Navy, and served in both World War I and World War II- Early career :...

 and USS Bridge (AOE-10).

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.