Cronk, Charles Warner, Chief Engineer, NY US Navy

Charles Warner Cronk was born November 13, 1835 to Hiram CRONK, a cabinetmaker, and Martha SUTTON in Poughkeepsie, NY, the 6th of 10 children.

He married Margaret DeMore, also of Poughkeepsie, on July 26, 1857 in Franklindale, New York. Their first child, Mary, my great grandmother, was born in Poughkeepsie on May 6, 1858. Prior to the Civil war they also had a son, Charles (who died at age 3 in 1863 during the war), and daughter, Isadora. Following the War they had 3 more sons and another daughter.

Charles was drafted June 1863 in Orange, NY at the age of 27, the draft listing his occupation as a machinist. He enlisted in the Navy as an Acting 2nd Assistant Engineer October 10, 1863, where he served on the USS Nereus, a schooner rigged screw steamer, which joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Assigned to the critical New Inlet station in the blockade of Wilmington, NC, she continued helping seal off this important Confederate port until getting underway for the North August 17.

According to his pension record, while onboard the USS Nereus and being on watch during heavy blockading, a 100 pound Parrott rifle discharged prematurely next to him, causing deafness from which he suffered and for which he received a pension.

On October 29, 1864 he was detached and ordered to the USS coast defense Monitor Naubuc, having been promoted to Acting1st assistant engineer, until July 29, 1865.
From July 30, 1865 to June 30, 1866 he was assigned to the USS Vanderbilt. The Civil War now over, Vanderbilt sailed from Portsmouth on 14 August and put into the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 27 August to be fitted put for a cruise around Cape Horn. She left Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 25 October and arrived in Hampton Roads three days later. There, she was designated flagship of a special squadron consisting of herself, Tuscarora, Powhatan, and Monadnock. The squadron was commanded by Commodore John Rodgers and intended to increase the Pacific Squadron to a 14-ship force.
The vessels left Hampton Roads on 2 November and arrived at San Francisco, California, on 21 June 1866 after stopping at most major South American ports while circumnavigating the South American continent.
He then transferred to the USS Lancaster, which had received extensive repairs after the war at Mare Island Navy yard. It sailed in June 1866 from SF for the east coast via Panama Bay, Calleo, Valparaiso, Barbados and Nassau. In June of 1867 as Acting Chief Engineer he was ordered to the USS Shamokin, part of the South Atlantic Squadron, protecting American citizens and interests along the coast of South America, which was stationed at Montevideo, Uruguay.

He was honorably discharged on December 20, 1868, with the standing of chief engineer, ranking as captain.
His obituary: Charles W. Cronk, a veteran of the War of the Rebellion, passed away suddenly at his home at the age of 63 years, 2 months, on February 16, 1899.
Mr. Cronk was born in New York State, although he had been a resident of New Jersey for nearly twenty-five years previous to his sudden demise. He was actively engaged in the Civil War, serving in the navy in the North Atlantic, South Atlantic and Pacific as senior assistant engineer on the U.S.S. Vanderbilt, senior assistant engineer on U.S.S. Nereus, and chief engineer upon the U.S.S. Lancaster, U.S.S. Sweet Briar, U.S.S. Naubuc (coast defense monitor), and U.S.S. Shamokin, being honorably discharged at Washington on December 28, 1868 with the standing of chief engineer, ranking as captain.

Mr. Cronk was a mason of high standing, a comrade of the Augustus Van Horn Ellis Post, G.A.R. of Newburgh, and a member of the Admiral Boggs Association of Naval Veterans of Newark.

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