|Born||17 September 1800|
|Died||11 May 1874 (aged 73)|
Talbot County, Maryland
Wye House family plot outside Easton, Maryland
|Allegiance|| United States|
|Service/|| United States Navy|
Confederate States Navy
|Years of service||USN 1815–1861|
|Commands held||USS Vincennes|
James River Squadron
American Civil War
|Other work||College president and businessman|
Franklin Buchanan (September 17, 1800 – May 11, 1874) was an officer in the United States Navy who became the only full admiral in the Confederate Navy during the American Civil War. He also commanded the ironclad CSS Virginia.
Franklin Buchanan was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 13, 1800. He was the fifth child and third son of a physician, George Buchanan and Laetitia McKean Buchanan. The Buchanan side of his family arrived in the United States from Scotland. His paternal grandfather was a general with the Maryland Militia during the Revolutionary War while his maternal grandfather Thomas McKean was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
He joined the U.S. Navy on January 28, 1815 and became a midshipman; he was promoted to lieutenant on January 13, 1825, commander on September 8, 1841 and then captain on September 14, 1855.
On February 19, 1835, at Annapolis, Maryland, he married Ann Catherine Lloyd. They had nine children: eight daughters and a son.
On September 5, 1861, Franklin Buchanan joined the Confederate Navy and was given a captain's commission. On February 24, 1862, the Confederate States Secretary of the Navy, Stephen Mallory appointed Buchanan to the office of Confederate Navy James River Squadron Flag Officer and he then selected the newly built ironclad CSS Virginia to be his flagship.
Buchanan was the captain of CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) during the Battle of Hampton Roads in Virginia. He climbed to the top deck of Virginia and began furiously firing toward shore with a carbine as USS Congress was shelled. He soon was brought down by a sharpshooter's minie ball to the thigh. He would eventually recover from his leg wound. He did not get to command Virginia against USS Monitor. That honor went to Catesby ap Roger Jones.
In August 1862, Buchanan was promoted to the rank of full admiral – the only officer so honored in the Confederate Navy – and was sent to take command of Confederate naval forces stationed at Mobile Bay, Alabama. He oversaw the construction of the ironclad CSS Tennessee, of which the keel was laid in October 1862. He was on board Tennessee during the Battle of Mobile Bay with Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut's Union fleet on August 5, 1864. Wounded and taken prisoner, Buchanan was not exchanged until February 1865.
Following the conflict, Buchanan lived in Maryland and in Mobile, Alabama, until 1870, when he again took up residence in Maryland. He died there on May 11, 1874. He is buried at the Wye House family plot outside Easton, Maryland.
Three U.S. Navy destroyers have been named Buchanan in honor of Admiral Franklin Buchanan: DD-131 ( Wickes class), DD-484 ( Gleaves class), and DDG-14 ( Charles F. Adams class). The superintendent's quarters at the United States Naval Academy is also named the Buchanan House.