- William H. Hunt
Infobox US Cabinet official
name=William Henry Hunt
United States Secretary of the Navy
March 7, 1881
April 16, 1882
Nathan Goff, Jr.
William E. Chandler
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
death_date=death date and age|1884|2|27|1823|6|12
Saint Petersburg, Russia
William Henry Hunt (
June 12, 1823– February 27, 1884) was the United States Secretary of the Navyunder President James Garfieldand briefly under President Chester A. Arthur.
Charleston, South Carolina, Hunt studied law at Yale. He finished his professional training in his brothers' office in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was admitted to the bar in 1844. Hunt opposed secessionand favored the Union cause. He was nevertheless drafted into the Confederate Armyand commissioned Lieutenant Colonel. However, he managed to avoid involvement in military operations until Admiral David Farragutcaptured New Orleans.
In March 1876, Hunt was appointed Attorney-General of Louisiana, and in July of that year he was the Republican candidate for this office. Both parties claimed victory in the election, but Hunt lost the position when President
Rutherford B. Hayesrecognized the Democratic government of the State. As compensation, the President appointed him Associate Judge of the United States Court of Claims, May 15, 1878. He served in this capacity until he became President Garfield's Secretary of the Navy in 1881.
Secretary Hunt rendered invaluable service by reporting that the Navy, grossly neglected after the Civil War, was no longer able to protect Americans abroad. He appointed the first Naval Advisory Board which undertook the work of rebuilding the Navy, emasculated by public apathy and lock of funds. After Vice President Arthur succeeded Garfield in the presidency, he retired Hunt from the cabinet by appointing him Minister to Russia on 7 April 1882.
February 27, 1884, while representing the United States at Saint Petersburg, and is buried at Oak Hill Cemeteryin Washington, D.C.
Two ships in the
United States Navyhave been named USS "Hunt" for him.
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