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John McIntosh Kell
Born 1823
Died October 5, 1900(1900-10-05)
Place of birth Darien, Georgia
Place of death Griffin, Georgia
Allegiance  United States of America
 Confederate States
Service/branch  United States Navy
 Confederate Navy
Years of service 1841–1861 (USN)
1861–1865 (CSN)
Rank Lt. Commander (US)
Lt. Commander (CSA)
Commander (CSA)
Commands held CSS Savannah
CSS Richmond
Battles/wars Opening of Japan
Mexican-American War
American Civil War
 • Battle of Cherbourg
 • Action off Galveston Light

John McIntosh Kell (1823 – October 5, 1900) was an officer in the Confederate navy during the American Civil War. During the civil War, Kell was First Lieutenant and Executive Officer of the commerce raider CSS Alabama.

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

Kell was the son of John and Margery Spalding Baillie Kell of Darien, Georgia he spent his childhood at Laurel Grove Plantation and with his great uncle Thomas Spalding, whose family owned a large part of Sapelo Island.

Career[edit | edit source]

Kell was appointed midshipman at the age of 17 in the United States Navy on Sept. 9, 1841. He would serve in the Mexican War, was a member of the expedition of Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan in 1853 and Master of the flagship USS Mississippi on the cruise home. When Georgia seceded from the Union in early 1861, Lieutenant Kell resigned from the United States Navy and was the first Naval officer to render his services to the Confederate States.[1]

John McIntosh Kell on CSS Alabama

In April 1861, he commanded the Georgia state gunboat CSS Savannah; but received a Confederate States Navy commission as First Lieutenant the following month and sent to New Orleans. He then served as executive officer of the CSS Sumter under the command of Captain Raphael Semmes during Sumter's commerce raiding voyage during 1861–62.

First Lieutenant Kell was Semmes' Executive Officer on CSS Alabama throughout her career, and was present when she was sunk by USS Kearsarge in June 1864. He was rescued by the British yacht Dearhound and taken to England. Promoted to the rank of Commander in that month, he commanded the ironclad CSS Richmond in the James River Squadron in 1865.

After the war[edit | edit source]

After the end of the Civil War, Kell returned home to Georgia and became a farmer. Later years, he served as Adjutant General of Georgia. He wrote his memoir, Recollections of a Naval Life Including the Cruises of Confederate Steamers "Sumter" and "Alabama" near the end of his life, It was released in 1900.[2] John McIntosh Kell died in October 5, 1900 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Griffin, Ga.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]


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