Walke, Henry (wôk) [key], 1808–96, American naval officer, b. Princess Anne co., Va. Walke was appointed a midshipman in 1827, served in the Mexican War, and was later made a commander. In wisely removing the garrison at Pensacola, Fla., to New York early in 1861, he technically violated orders, but a court-martial sentence of admonishment was lightly carried out. Walke's subsequent service on the Mississippi River was outstanding. His gunboats supported Ulysses S. Grant in that general's first Civil War battle, at Belmont, Mo. (Nov., 1861), and as commander of the Carondelet he had an important part in the victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, Island No. 10, Fort Pillow, and Memphis. Promoted to captain (July, 1862), he commanded the Lafayette, an ironclad ram, in the Vicksburg campaign. From Sept., 1863, to the end of the war, Walke commanded the Sacramento in a search for Confederate cruisers in the Atlantic. He retired (1871) as a rear admiral.
See his Naval Scenes and Reminiscences of the Civil War (1877), illustrated with his own drawings.