Samuel Francis Du Pont, an American naval officer, grandson of Du Pont de Nemours, born at Bergen Point, N. J., Sept. 27, 1803, died in Philadelphia, June 23, 1865. He entered the navy as midshipman Dec. 19, 1815, was promoted lieutenant in 1826, and commander in 1843. Ordered in 1845 to the Pacific in command of the frigate Congress, Commodore Stockton's flag ship, he reached Monterey (1846) just as the Mexican war began. Transferred at once to the command of the sloop of war Cyane, he did much active and gallant service on the California coast. At the capture of Mazatlan under Commodore Shu-brick, in November, 1847, he headed the line of boats which entered the main harbor, and in February, 1848, landed at San Jose with a force of sailors and marines, marched three miles under fire, and defeated a large body of Mexicans, relieving Lieut. Heywood's little garrison, closely besieged and about to surrender. He became captain in 1856, and was sent on special duty to China in 1857, in command of the steam frigate Minnesota, returning in 1859, after a cruise to Japan, India, and Arabia. Placed in command of the Philadelphia navy yard Jan. 1, 1861, he rendered important services at the breaking out of the civil war.
He was appointed flag officer in the following September, and assigned to the command of the South Atlantic blockading squadron. On Nov. 7 he attacked and captured, after a severe battle of four hours, the forts at Hilton Head and Bay Point, defending Port Royal harbor, S. C. His squadron, led by the flag ship Wabash, steamed thrice in an elliptic course between the forts, firing at each in turn; this skilful disposition saved his wooden ships from material injury. In August, 1862, he became rear admiral upon the creation of this rank in the United States navy. On April 7, 1863, Admiral Du Pont made a very gallant though necessarily unsuccessful attack with ironclads upon Fort Sumter. He was relieved from his command in the following July. He died of disease originated by his cruise in the East Indies. During the intervals of more than 25 years of sea service, Admiral Du Pont was constantly employed on important professional duties. He was the author of a treatise on the use of floating batteries for coast defence, which has been republished and highly commended in England.