William Henry Boardman

William Henry Boardman

Birth
Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 10 Aug 1898 (aged 21)
Fajardo, Fajardo Municipality, Puerto Rico, USA
Burial Body lost at sea, Specifically: Casket lost at sea while being transferred to supply ship for voyage back to the U.S.
Memorial ID 117894054 · View Source
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William H. Boardman was the only U.S. Naval Academy cadet (as midshipmen were then known) out of 123 that served on ships actively engaged in combat operations who was killed in the Spanish American War. During the war, he served aboard the cruiser USS Newark and later on the monitor USS Amphitrite. Boardman was one of 7 officers and 28 sailors in a landing party from USS Amphitrite that went ashore at Cape San Juan, Puerto Rico on the night of August 6, 1898. Their orders were to secure, relight and defend the Cape San Juan lighthouse and 60 women and children from the neighboring town of Fajardo that were accepted in protective custody by the Amphitrite's captain at the request of Fajardo civic leaders. The civilians were in danger of a Spanish reprisal for their allegiance to the Americans who ultimately defended them and held the lighthouse against an attack by 200 Spanish troops in the Battle of Fajardo. Boardman and three sailors under his command were the first men to enter the darkened lighthouse. Finding the lighthouse deserted, Boardman directed the men to lay aside their loaded weapons as they prepared to climb the spiral staircase to the light. He was mortally wounded when his revolver fell from its faulty holster, struck the marble floor and fired into his groin. Initially the ship's surgeon believed Boardman's injury was a flesh wound. He was rowed back to the Amphitrite that night and passed away two days later aboard his ship. Sadly, Cadet Boardman's body could not be returned to his grieving mother for burial in Massachusetts. A suitable casket for the voyage to return his remains could not be found in San Juan and Boardman's mother obtained permission from the Navy Department to send a metallic casket there. Her son's remains were being taken from shore in a small boat to a supply ship for transport home when the boat capsized and the metal casket went to the bottom of the Caribbean Sea off Palomino Island, Fajardo. A memorial tablet to Cadet Boardman, who ranked at the top of his class, was erected by his classmates at the U.S. Naval Academy.


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  • Created by: John Donne
  • Added: 30 Sep 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 117894054
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Henry Boardman (1 Nov 1876–10 Aug 1898), Find a Grave Memorial no. 117894054, ; Maintained by John Donne (contributor 47286829) Body lost at sea, who reports a Casket lost at sea while being transferred to supply ship for voyage back to the U.S..