picture of Chas. Whiting Wooster CHARLES WILLIAM WHITING WOOSTER

Rear admiral and one of the founders of the Chilean Navy.

     A North American, born in Connecticut in 1790, he was a grandson of General David Wooster, who died a hero in 1777, in the battle of Danbury, during the U.S. War of Independence.

     After fighting bravely for his mother country between 1812 and 1815, in cruiser warfare against English commerce, and shortly following the death of his young and beautiful wife, the then harbor master of New York decided to put himself at the service of Chile, a country that was then forming a naval squadron to consolidate the victories gained on land during the early period of emancipation.

     Arriving at Valparaiso 25 April 1818, he sold his brig of 270 tons and 16 guns to O'Higgins' government and in September assumed command of the frigate "Lautaro." With his ship, hastily transformed into an efficient fighting unit, he collaborated with the ship "San Martín" in the capture of the Spanish frigate "Queen Maria Isabel," at Talcahuano 28 October 1818.

     Not wanting to serve under the orders of an English commandant, while the famous British sailor Lord Thomas Alexander Cochrane commanded the Chilean naval force Wooster absented himself temporarily from the service, dedicating himself to whale hunting. He rejoined the service in 1822.

     Wooster reassumed command of the "Lautaro." In the winter of that year he participated in the failed expedition mounted by O'Higgins to attempt the recapture of Valdivia. He also had to quell a mutiny that erupted on his ship.

     In 1826, commanding the brig "Aquilles," he participated in the Liberation of Chiloé. He was promoted to Rear admiral in 1829. As a result of political events happening that year his service was terminated, and he was paid that which the Chilean State treasury owed him.

     After having married as his second wife Doña Mariana Cox, he returned to his native country, passing away in 1849 in the then prosperous and lively port of San Francisco, California.


Kenneth Jennings Wooster
woosterk@cortland.edu
27 Abdallah Avenue
Cortland, New York 13045-3302
(607) 753-3558