Tunis August Macondough Craven entered the naval service of the United States as a midshipman on the 2d of February, 1829. He was born in New Hampshire, and was appointed from New York State, of which he was a citizen. In 1830 he was ordered to the sloop-of-war Boston, attached to the Mediterranean squadron. He remained in her until 1833, when he was granted a leave of absence for a few months. In 1834 he joined the sloop-of-war St. Louis, under Master Commandant Thomas M. Newell, on the West India station. He returned from her during the close of that year.
On the 3d of July, 1835, he was warranted as a passed midshipman, and waited orders until 1836, when he was ordered to duty in connection with the surveying of our coast. His aptitude for this kind of work induced the Navy Department to keep him in this service until 1842. At an extra session of Congress in 1841, he was promoted to be a Lieutenant, his commission bearing the date September 8, 1841. His first orders after being a Lieutenant was to the sloop-of-war Falmouth, of the Home Squadron
He was attached to this vessel until 1843, when he was ordered to the receiving ship North Carolina at New York. He remained there but a short time, when he was ordered to the Lexington. He was relieved from her in January 1844, and granted a furlough.
In 1847, he was ordered to the sloop-of-war Dale, Commander W. W. McKean, of the Pacific Squadron. He made a full cruise in her and left her in August 1849, and waited orders, until ordered to the Coast Survey in 1850 and 1851, where he remained until 1859, when he was ordered to the command of Atrato Expedition, whose duty it was to explore and the verify the surveys previously made of a ship canal near the Isthmus of Darien, to connect the waters of the Pacific and Atlantic, by the Atrato and Turando rivers.
In 1859 we find him again attached to the Coast Survey in the steamer Corwin. He left the Coast Survey in June 1859, was ordered to command the steamer Mohawk, of the Home Squadron, under Flag Officer W. J. McCluny, his station being off the coast of Cuba to intercept slave-traders. When the Rebellion broke out he was in command of her, but shortly afterwards he was placed in command of the Crusader. His services were of such value in these vessels that the Board of Underwriters of this city presented his wife with a service of plate, and forwarded to him the following complimentary letter: -
OFFICE OF THE BOARD OF UNDERWRITERS, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 19, 1861 - Dear Sir: - The Board of Underwriters of the City of New York, have observed that, while in command of the United States steamers Mohawk and Crusader, you have always evinced a desire to render such assistance to teh commerce of our country as could properly be extended in the performance of your duty,a and that on several occasions you have rendered important services to American vessels in distress in the vicinity of Key West, Florida. Appreciating these services, the Board, by a resolution, have requested me to convey to your their acknowledgment and thanks: and in doing so, permit me to add that you have their best wishes for the success and advancement in your profession, and in the service of your country at this trying hour, and that they will continue to feel a deep interest in your welfare.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. B. SATTERHWAUTE, President.
Captain. T. AUGUSTUS CRAVEN, United States Navy.
Commander Craven received his present commission April 24, 1861, and in September, 1861, he left the Crusader and took command of the new screw sloop Tuscarora, which was dispatched across the Atlantic to cruise for Rebel pirates. He returned in July, 1863, after performing much valuable service for the Union abroad. Early this year he was ordered to command of the Ericsson battery Tecumseh, and sailed on her for Hampton Roads to join Acting Rear Admiral Lee's James River flotilla. He was among the first to reach City Point; and after a somewhat lengthened stay in the James River, he was ordered to join Admiral Farragut, and in the passage of the Mobile forts his vessel was blown up by a torpedo, and he perished in a most horrible manner, no doubt having been drowned in the pilot-house.
He was an officer of rare merit, and a great favorite. Socially, he was genial and affable, and won friends in all classes. No one knew him but to love him. He was full of inventive genius and was apt and quick in anything he undertook. He was opposed to the Monitor system, in all its details, yet he would not request any other command, feeling, as he did, that they were unsafe under almost any circumstance. Commander Craven will be a great loss to our navy, and one not easily repaired. He leaves a very interesting family behind him to mourn his loss. Wherever he was known his loss will be felt. He stood number three on the list of commanders, and has served his country faithfully for over thirty-six years; nearly twenty years of this time has been at sea. He was just in the prime of his life, and full of bright promise. He has fallen a victim to the Monitor interest. Peace to his ashes.