b. 12/03/1839 Sunderland, England. d. 26/09/1917 Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 07/11/1861 Galveston Bay, Texas.
Born on March 12, 1839, in Sunderland, England, Bell's family moved to Newcastle upon Tyne in the mid-1840s. He began his maritime career at age fourteen and over the next seven years sailed the Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caribbean Sea, Indian Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea. While docked in New York City on May 12, 1861, just after the onset of the American Civil War, Bell enlisted in the United States Navy. In July, he joined the USS Santee as an able seaman but was quickly promoted to coxswain due to his sailing experience.
Served as pilot of the U.S.S. Santee when that vessel was engaged in cutting out the rebel armed schooner Royal Yacht from Galveston Bay, 7 November 1861, and evinced more coolness, in passing the 4 forts and the rebel steamer General Rusk, than was ever before witnessed by his commanding officer. "Although severely wounded in the encounter, he displayed extraordinary courage under the most painful and trying circumstances.
BURIAL LOCATION: ELSWICK CEMETERY, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND.