Francis "Frank" Cousins - Seaman

Francis Cousins, better known as Frank, was born 24 July 1839 in Paimpol, France and emigrated to the United States in 1861. In his own words [1], his US Navy career during the Civil War:

"I, Francis Cousins, came from France to the United States in 1861, shipped at New York as seaman in the U.S. Navy in January 1862 and in the spring was drafted to the "Wachusett" Capt. Missroon at Boston. On the 19th of May was taken prisoner on the James River, in a boat with ninteen officers and men, going ashore to visit the sick, the Master's Mate and one seaman were killed, the Surgeon, Chief Engineer, Pay Master and an Army Signal Officer with five men were taken prisoners, one man only escaping. I remained in prison five months, three months at Salisbury, North Carolina and two months at Belle Isle. On being released, reported at the Washington Navy Yard and was honorably discharged, but shipped again as seaman in November 1862 was drafted to the "Colorado" Com. Goldsboro at Portsmouth and was on blockade duty thirteen months off Mobile. Com Goldsboro was released by Admiral Thatcher who returned with the "Colorado" to Portsmouth where I was honorably discharged. I shipped again as seaman April 10th was drafted to the "Tecumseh" Capt Craven was on board when she went down I being the man who cut the painter off the 1st cutter, which prevented her sinking with the ship and saved the lives of two officers and ten men, [illegible] my honorable discharge from the "Wachusett" and "Colorado". I went on board the steamer "Tennessee" afterwards called the "Mobile" Capt. Girand, was made Master at Arms returned in her to New York and was transferred to the "Fort Morgan" as Quarter Master, was honorably discharged from the "Fort Morgan"."

Per his pension record, the full list of commands he was attached to are:
U.S.S. North Carolina (30 December 1861 to 24 January 1862);
U.S.S. Princeton (24 January 1862 to 12 February 1862);
U.S.S. North Carolina (12 February 1862 to 18 February 1862);
U.S.S. Ohio (18 February 1862 to 3 March 1862);
U.S.S. Wachusett (3 March 1862 to 19 May 1862);
Prisoner of War (19 May 1862 to October 1862);
Washington Navy Yard (23 October 1862 when discharged);
U.S.S. North Carolina (28 November 1862 to 5 December 1862);
U.S.S. Colorado (5 December 1862 to 10 February 1864 when discharged);
U.S.S. Tecumseh (10 April 1864 to her sinking on 5 August 1864);
U.S.S. Mobile (to 30 November 1864);
U.S.S. North Carolina (30 November 1864 to 4 January 1865);
U.S.S. Fort Morgan (4 January 1865 to 22 August 1865 when discharged).

Francis Cousins was aboard the Tecumseh during the Battle of Mobile Bay and survived her sinking by escaping in the ship's cutter with Acting Masters Charles Langley and Gardener Cottrell, gunner's mate Samuel Shinn, quarter gunner John Gould, ordinary seaman Richard Collins and landsman Peter Parker.

After the war, Cousins worked as a civilian laborer at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. He died at Portsmouth, NH on 22 June 1908.


Wife: Mary Ann Cousin nee Gallagher, married 23 April 1865
Children: William J. (born 1866); Josephine M. (born 1871); Eugene A. (born 1875); Francis J. (born 1881).

Awards & Memorials


Alternate Spellings of Name

Frank Cousin, Frank Commens, Frank Cousen, Frank Cowson, Frank Cozzens

References and Sources

[1] M1469, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Civil War and Later Navy Veterans, 1861-1910 ("Navy Survivors' Certificates"), National Archives at Washington, D.C.