John Gunnell Talbot was an officer in the United States Navy.
Born at Danville, Kentucky, Talbot was appointed a midshipman in 1862 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy on 12 June 1866.
He was serving as executive officer of Saginaw when that steamer grounded on a reef off Ocean Island in the mid-Pacific on 29 October 1870 and broke up. Lieutenant Talbot and four men volunteered to go to Honolulu, the nearest port, 1,500 miles away, for help. The men began the voyage in an open boat on 18 November and reached Kauai, Hawaii, on 19 December.
However, as the party attempted to get through the heavy surf to shore, their boat capsized.
Lieutenant Talbot and three others drowned while attempting to swim through the rough breakers to shore. The lone survivor, William Halford, reported the wreck of Saginaw, and her crew was saved.
The first United States Ship Talbot (Torpedo Boat Number 15) was named for him. This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.