Commodore George Hamiltons Perkins (1835 - 1899) was born at Hopkinton (NH). After graduating from the U. S. Naval Academy Perkins entered the Navy as a midshipman. He became a career naval officer, rising to Commodore before he retired.
During the Civil War Perkins served with Captain David Farragut, who was in charge of the Western Gulf Squadron from late 1861. Perkins was one of three officers sent ashore to arrange for the surrender of New Orleans, after Farragut's fleet had successfully breached what were thought to be impregnable defenses, in April 1862.[ Perkins' subsequent Civil War actions at Mobile Bay are recorded in bronze on his memorial by sculptor Daniel Chester French. ] An oil on canvas portrait of Perkins, probably painted from Civil War era photographs by the artist Daniel Strain in 1894, hangs with portraits of Civil War heroes on the State House First Floor. Perkins presented the portrait to the State in 1895.
Following Perkins' death in 1899 the family asked the State to accept a statue of him made by the noted American sculptor Daniel Chester French (1835 - 1899). Governor and Council voted (November 22, 1899) to accept the family's offer, and to provide space for the statue on State House grounds. The architect for the memorial was Henry Bacon; the statue was cast by the Henry Bonnard Bronze Company; and the memorial was dedicated April 25, 1902. More than ten thousand persons were present for the dedication, including representatives of President Theodore Roosevelt. The memorial at that time stood more than fifty feet from the State House, so that the crowd could see the monument "in the round"; a plaque honoring the donors is attached to the rear of the monument. When the State House was enlarged for the third time, in 1910, the walls of the State House came out to the memorial. The dedication plaque is no longer visible.
For more about Commodore Perkins, see "Likenesses of War Heroes and Personages", at www.nh.gov/nhdhr/publications.