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Thomas A. Budd
Born (1818-04-28)April 28, 1818
Died March 22, 1862(1862-03-22) (aged 43)
Place of death Mosquito Inlet, Florida, United States
Allegiance Flag of the United States.svg United States
Service/branch Flag of the United States Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1829–1862
Rank USN lt rank insignia Lieutenant
Commands held

Thomas A. Budd (April 28, 1818 - March 22, 1862) was a United States Naval officer.

USS Peacock in ice, 1840

USS Peacock in 1840 while exploring the Antarctic

Budd entered the navy as a midshipman in 1829, was promoted to passed midshipman in 1835, and earned the rank of lieutenant in 1841.[1] Budd was acting master of the USS Peacock during Captain Charles Wilkes United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842). He later joined the expedition flagship, USS Vincennes, as master.[2][3] Numerous features were named for Budd during the expedition, including Budd Coast in Antarctica, Budd Inlet, a part of Puget Sound, and Budd's Harbor, later called Washington Harbor, in Sequim Bay, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.[2][4]

In the late 1840s, he joined the California Line of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company as commander of the California, serving the line during the peak of the California Gold Rush. In 1848, under his command, the California became the first American steamship to navigate the Straits of Magellan.[1] He was solicited to join Commodore Matthew C. Perry in his Japan Expedition, but resigned before its departure[5] in 1853.[1] He later moved to Buffalo, New York where he entered into an exchange and brokerage business with Nathan Thayer.[5] In Buffalo, he occasionally contributed articles to the newspaper, Courieron.[3]

Politically, he was a democrat and he opposed abolitionism.[3] At the start of the Civil War, Budd offered his services to the Union and was placed in command of the gun boat USS Penguin. The Penguin was initially a part of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, but joined the Potomac Flotilla on August 19, 1861. In October she shifted to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. He participated in the bombardment of Hilton Head in November. During that battle, the Penguin was disabled, and Budd ordered that a tug tow the ship into range so that it could continue to bombard the harbor.[5] In December 1861, Budd assisted escaped slaves around Edisto Island, South Carolina while supporting activities in that area while under the command of Percival Drayton.[6] He was killed in a skirmish at Mosquito Inlet on the east coast of Florida near Smyrna on March 22, 1862.[5] He was buried in Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery.[7]

Budd was married and had children.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Delgado, James P. To California by sea: a maritime history of the California gold rush. University of South Carolina Press, 1996. p71
  2. 2.0 2.1 Blumenthal, Richard W., ed. Charles Wilkes and the Exploration of Inland Washington Waters: Journals from the Expedition of 1841. McFarland, 2009. p85, 277
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Death of Capt. Thomas A. Budd, Evening Courier and Republic (Buffalo, New York) April 1, 1862, page 2, accessed May 18, 2017 at
  4. see also Reynolds, William. The Private Journal of William Reynolds: United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842. Penguin, 2004. p173-185, Wilkes, Charles. Narrative of the United States' Exploring Expedition: During the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Vol. 1-4. Whittaker, 1845.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Death of Capt. Budd, The Buffalo Commercial (Buffalo, New York) April 1, 1862, page 3, accessed May 18, 2017 at
  6. Tomblin, Barbara. Bluejackets and Contrabands: African Americans and the Union Navy. University Press of Kentucky, 2009. – via Project MUSE (subscription required) p68-69
  7. Roll of Honor, The Buffalo Commercial, (Buffalo, New York) May 31, 1900, page 8, accessed May 19, 2017 at

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