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Rear Admiral Francis J. Higginson (1843-1931) enjoyed a naval career that spanned the Civil War and a new century. He took part in the blockade of Charleston and the bombardment of Fort Sumter in the Civil War (1861-1865). One of the high points of his career was his commission as Captain of the USS Massachusetts in 1898. The Massachusetts was the first true battleship in the United States Navy. The Naval Department ordered Higginson to sail the coal-powered ship to Cuba during the Spanish-American War (1898). His actions in the war helped to earn Higginson the rank of Rear Admiral in 1899.