William Bainbridge Renshaw was born October 11th 1816 in Brooklyn, New York the son of United States Commodore James Rneshaw. He went into the family business and joined the Navy where he was appointed a midshipman December 22nd 1831. Renshaw served for the next twenty years on an assortment of ships and outposts.
At the beginning of the Civil War Renshaw was appointed Commander on April 26th 1861, and assigned the steamer the USS Westfield. He was attached to Union Admiral David G Farragut’s squadron, and was part of the Mortar Flotilla on the Mississippi River in 1862. The end of 1862 found Renshaw in charge of the Union ships preforming blockade duty on the port of Galveston, Texas. During the Second Battle of Galveston on January 1st 1863 Renshaw refused to surrender his ship the USS Westfield; which had ran aground on a sandbank. He set her on fire to keep the Confederates from capturing it. The fire caused an explosion and Renshaw died during it.