Franklin Buchanan (byōōkă´nən), 1800–1874, American naval officer, b. Baltimore. Appointed a midshipman in 1815, Buchanan rose to be a commander in 1841. He was chief adviser to Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft in planning the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and was its first superintendent (1845–47). In Sept., 1861, he took the rank of captain in the Confederate navy, commanding the Virginia (formerly the Merrimack) against the Union blockading squadron in Hampton Roads (Mar. 8, 1863). Wounded in that engagement, he took no part in the battle of the Monitor and Merrimack the next day. Promoted to ranking officer in the Confederate navy, he was forced to surrender to David G. Farragut in the battle of Mobile Bay (Aug. 5, 1864).
See biography by C. L. Lewis (1929).