Rear Admiral James Edward Jouett (February 7, 1826 – September 30, 1902) was an officer in the United States Navy during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and the American Civil War (1861-1865). His father was Matthew Harris Jouett, a notable painter, and his grandfather was Revolutionary War hero Jack Jouett.
Born near Lexington, Kentucky, Jouett was appointed Midshipman on Sept 10, 1841. He served on the African coast in Decatur with Matthew C. Perry and in the John Adams during the Mexican War.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Jouett was captured by Confederates at Pensacola, Florida but was soon paroled. He then joined the blockading forces off Galveston, Texas, distinguishing himself during the night of November 7 and 8, 1861 in the capture and destruction of Confederate schooner Royal Yacht. Jouett later commanded Montgomery and R.R. Cuyler on blockading duty, and in September 1863 took command of Metacomet.
In the Battle of Mobile Bay, August 5, 1864, his ship was lashed to Admiral David Farragut’s flagship Hartford as the gallant ships entered the bay. Monitor Tecumseh was sunk by an underwater “torpedo,” but the ships steamed boldly on, inspired by Farragut’s command: “Damn the torpedoes! Four Bells! Captain Drayton go ahead! Jouett full speed!” Metacomet was sent after two Confederate gunboats, and in a short chase Jouett riddled Gaines and captured Selma.
Jouett had various commands ashore and afloat after the Civil War, taking command of the North Atlantic Squadron in 1884. In 1889, he commanded a naval force which forced the opening of the Isthmus of Panama, threatened by insurrection. Rear Admiral Jouett retired in 1890 and lived for most of his remaining years at “The Anchorage,” near Sandy Springs, Maryland. The Rear Admiral was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Three ships in the United States Navy have been named USS Jouett for him.