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Shufeldt, Robert Wilson 1822-1895

Naval officer; born in Red Hook, N. Y., Feb. 21, 1822; entered the navy as midshipman in 1839; and became lieutenant in 1853. In the following year he resigned and took service with the merchant marine. He was in charge of a surveying party on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and at the beginning of the Civil War commanded a steamship plying between New York and Havana. Soon afterwards he was [180] appointed United States consul-general in Havana, where he remained till 1863, when he re-entered the navy with the rank of commander. He participated in the operations in Charleston Harbor, and after the war commanded the Hartford, of the East India Squadron, and the Wachusett of the Asiatic Squadron. In 1870-71 he spent some time surveying on both the Tehuantepec and Nicaragua routes; in 1879-80 was sent on a special commercial mission to Africa and the East Indies; was arbitrator for the United States and British governments to settle the Liberian boundary disputes; negotiated a treaty with the kingdom of Korea for the better conservation of American interests; and as special agent of the United States government at Peking in 1881 he secured the treaty that opened Korea to the commerce of the world. He became rear-admiral May 27, 1883; was retired Feb. 21, 1884; and was influential in his last service in bringing about the creation of the new navy and the designing of the first steel cruiser, as president of the naval advisory board. In recognition of the beneficial effects of his official acts in connection with Korea, he was for some time the guest of that government after his retirement. He died in Washington, D. C., Nov. 7, 1895.

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