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ADM George Dewey

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ADM George Dewey Famous memorial

Birth
Montpelier, Washington County, Vermont, USA
Death
16 Jan 1917 (aged 79)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Plot
Bethlehem Chapel-Crypt, West #2
Memorial ID
278 View Source

US Navy Admiral. He is best remembered for his stunning victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. Born the third of four children, his father was a physician and one of the founders of the National Life Insurance Company in 1848. He attended primary school in the nearby town of Johnson, Vermont. At age 15, he went to the Norwich Military School (known today as Norwich University) and studied there for two years. He then entered the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1854, graduating 5th in his class of 14 in June 1858. He was assigned to one of the best ships of the Navy, the steam frigate USS Wabash, the new flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron. In 1861, when the American Civil War broke out, he served in the Mississippi River campaign, fighting at the Battles of Fort Jackson and Saint Philip, two fortified Confederate garrisons on the Mississippi River, in April 1862. Later that same month, the Union Navy captured New Orleans, where he served as an executive lieutenant on the USS Mississippi. In May 1863 the Union fleet sailed up the Mississippi River to Port Hudson, Louisiana and after fierce fighting, they were repulsed and so they laid siege to the garrison for 48 days before the Confederated surrendered. For his actions during the initial battle, he was highly complimented by his immediate superiors and by Admiral David Farragut himself, who appointed him executive officer of the Agawam, a small gunboat Farragut used frequently as for dispatches and his personal reconnoitering. In late 1864, after some service in the James River in Virginia, he was made executive officer of the first-rate wooden man-of-war USS Colorado, which was stationed on the North Atlantic blockading squadron. For his tactical skills at the 2nd Battle of Fort Fisher in January 1865, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-commander. He remained in active service after the Civil War and became the executive officer of the USS Kearsarge, famous for its sinking of the CSS Alabama during the latter part of the Civil War, near the port of Cherbourg, France. A year later, he was assigned to the naval yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. From 1867 to 1868 he served as the executive officer of the USS Colorado and was also of the vessels at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis from November 1867 until August 1870. This duty included commanding the famous frigate USS Constitution which was berthed at Annapolis as a training ship. From 1868 to 1870 he served as an instructor at the Naval Academy. In 1873 he was given command of the USS Narragansett and spent nearly four years on her, engaged in the Pacific Coast Survey. After finishing that tour, he returned to the US and was ordered to Washington, DC, and assigned as lighthouse inspector while being promoted to the rank of commander. In 1881 he was sent to East Asia where he commanded the USS Juanita and was promoted to the rank of captain two years later. While enroute, he became ill and was hospitalized in Malta with an abscess of the liver, complicated by a severe case of typhoid. He remained there for over a year, and at times his doctors doubted that he would live. In the spring of 1882, he finally left the hospital but was too weak to resume his duties and for two years he traveled from one spa to another in an effort to regain his health, which he did in 1884. He was given command of the USS Dolphin, one of the first four ships of the original white squadron, which consisted of steam powered ships with steel hulls that formed the basis of the modern US Navy. In 1885 he undertook another tour of sea service, and for three years was in command of the USS Pensacola, familiar to him from his Civil War days at the New Orleans battles, now the flagship of the US Navy's European squadron. In 1893 he returned to Washington DC and resumed the life of a bureau officer, being attached to the lighthouse board, and remained there until 1896, when he was commissioned a commodore, and transferred to the Board of Inspection and Survey. In 1897 he returned to sea duty and was assigned to the Far East as commander of the Asiatic station at Hong Kong and began making war preparations as tensions between the US and Spain accelerated. With his ships fully supplied, he left Hong Kong on April 25, 1898 for Mirs Bay in Chinese waters. The following day, he was notified that the US had declared war on Spain and to proceed to the Philippine Island, which was owned and controlled by Spain. On April 30, 1898 he arrived at Manila Bay and early the following morning, he ordered the attack on the Spanish Pacific fleet by saying the now famous words, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." Within 6 hours, the American fleet had sunk or captured the entire Spanish Pacific fleet under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasaron and silenced the shore batteries at Manila, with the loss of only one life on the American side. On August 13, 1878 he aided US Army General Wesley Merritt in taking formal possession of Manila. In 1899 he returned to the US where he received a hero's welcome, with a two-day parade in New York City's September 1899 welcome home celebration. As part of the ongoing "Dewey mania" that pervaded the US, his image was used in association with the promotion of many products including Hershey chocolate, where his image was used on promotional items, and slot machines, where his image was used on several manufacture's gambling devices know widely as "Deweys". A special military decoration, the Battle of Manila Bay Medal (commonly called the Dewey Medal), was struck in honor of Dewey's victory at Manila Bay. Since his own image appeared on the obverse of the medal, he wore his medal reversed, out of modesty. He was one of only four Americans in history (the other three being Admiral William T. Sampson, Admiral Richard E. Byrd and General John J. Pershing) who were entitled to wear a US Government issued medal with their own image on it. In early 1900 he became a candidate for President on the Democratic ticket. After several public relations problems, he withdrew from the race in May 1900 and endorsed then-President William McKinley. Later in 1900, he was named president of the newly established General Board of the Navy Department, which was the Navy's major policy‑making body. By Act of Congress he was promoted to the special rank of Admiral of the Navy in 1903 with his date of rank retroactive to 1899, and he was permitted to remain on active duty past the mandatory retirement age, until his death. In September 1913 he wrote and published his autobiography. He died at the age of 79, having served 59 continuous years with the US Navy. His final rank was Admiral of the Navy which often referred to as a six-star admiral (disregarding the fact that the insignia of the rank had only four stars) and he is the only person to ever hold this rank. His awards include the Civil War Campaign Medal, the Battle of Manila Bay Medal, the Spanish Campaign Medal, and the Philippine Campaign Medal. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Dewey was named in his honor.

US Navy Admiral. He is best remembered for his stunning victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War. Born the third of four children, his father was a physician and one of the founders of the National Life Insurance Company in 1848. He attended primary school in the nearby town of Johnson, Vermont. At age 15, he went to the Norwich Military School (known today as Norwich University) and studied there for two years. He then entered the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1854, graduating 5th in his class of 14 in June 1858. He was assigned to one of the best ships of the Navy, the steam frigate USS Wabash, the new flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron. In 1861, when the American Civil War broke out, he served in the Mississippi River campaign, fighting at the Battles of Fort Jackson and Saint Philip, two fortified Confederate garrisons on the Mississippi River, in April 1862. Later that same month, the Union Navy captured New Orleans, where he served as an executive lieutenant on the USS Mississippi. In May 1863 the Union fleet sailed up the Mississippi River to Port Hudson, Louisiana and after fierce fighting, they were repulsed and so they laid siege to the garrison for 48 days before the Confederated surrendered. For his actions during the initial battle, he was highly complimented by his immediate superiors and by Admiral David Farragut himself, who appointed him executive officer of the Agawam, a small gunboat Farragut used frequently as for dispatches and his personal reconnoitering. In late 1864, after some service in the James River in Virginia, he was made executive officer of the first-rate wooden man-of-war USS Colorado, which was stationed on the North Atlantic blockading squadron. For his tactical skills at the 2nd Battle of Fort Fisher in January 1865, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-commander. He remained in active service after the Civil War and became the executive officer of the USS Kearsarge, famous for its sinking of the CSS Alabama during the latter part of the Civil War, near the port of Cherbourg, France. A year later, he was assigned to the naval yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. From 1867 to 1868 he served as the executive officer of the USS Colorado and was also of the vessels at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis from November 1867 until August 1870. This duty included commanding the famous frigate USS Constitution which was berthed at Annapolis as a training ship. From 1868 to 1870 he served as an instructor at the Naval Academy. In 1873 he was given command of the USS Narragansett and spent nearly four years on her, engaged in the Pacific Coast Survey. After finishing that tour, he returned to the US and was ordered to Washington, DC, and assigned as lighthouse inspector while being promoted to the rank of commander. In 1881 he was sent to East Asia where he commanded the USS Juanita and was promoted to the rank of captain two years later. While enroute, he became ill and was hospitalized in Malta with an abscess of the liver, complicated by a severe case of typhoid. He remained there for over a year, and at times his doctors doubted that he would live. In the spring of 1882, he finally left the hospital but was too weak to resume his duties and for two years he traveled from one spa to another in an effort to regain his health, which he did in 1884. He was given command of the USS Dolphin, one of the first four ships of the original white squadron, which consisted of steam powered ships with steel hulls that formed the basis of the modern US Navy. In 1885 he undertook another tour of sea service, and for three years was in command of the USS Pensacola, familiar to him from his Civil War days at the New Orleans battles, now the flagship of the US Navy's European squadron. In 1893 he returned to Washington DC and resumed the life of a bureau officer, being attached to the lighthouse board, and remained there until 1896, when he was commissioned a commodore, and transferred to the Board of Inspection and Survey. In 1897 he returned to sea duty and was assigned to the Far East as commander of the Asiatic station at Hong Kong and began making war preparations as tensions between the US and Spain accelerated. With his ships fully supplied, he left Hong Kong on April 25, 1898 for Mirs Bay in Chinese waters. The following day, he was notified that the US had declared war on Spain and to proceed to the Philippine Island, which was owned and controlled by Spain. On April 30, 1898 he arrived at Manila Bay and early the following morning, he ordered the attack on the Spanish Pacific fleet by saying the now famous words, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." Within 6 hours, the American fleet had sunk or captured the entire Spanish Pacific fleet under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasaron and silenced the shore batteries at Manila, with the loss of only one life on the American side. On August 13, 1878 he aided US Army General Wesley Merritt in taking formal possession of Manila. In 1899 he returned to the US where he received a hero's welcome, with a two-day parade in New York City's September 1899 welcome home celebration. As part of the ongoing "Dewey mania" that pervaded the US, his image was used in association with the promotion of many products including Hershey chocolate, where his image was used on promotional items, and slot machines, where his image was used on several manufacture's gambling devices know widely as "Deweys". A special military decoration, the Battle of Manila Bay Medal (commonly called the Dewey Medal), was struck in honor of Dewey's victory at Manila Bay. Since his own image appeared on the obverse of the medal, he wore his medal reversed, out of modesty. He was one of only four Americans in history (the other three being Admiral William T. Sampson, Admiral Richard E. Byrd and General John J. Pershing) who were entitled to wear a US Government issued medal with their own image on it. In early 1900 he became a candidate for President on the Democratic ticket. After several public relations problems, he withdrew from the race in May 1900 and endorsed then-President William McKinley. Later in 1900, he was named president of the newly established General Board of the Navy Department, which was the Navy's major policy‑making body. By Act of Congress he was promoted to the special rank of Admiral of the Navy in 1903 with his date of rank retroactive to 1899, and he was permitted to remain on active duty past the mandatory retirement age, until his death. In September 1913 he wrote and published his autobiography. He died at the age of 79, having served 59 continuous years with the US Navy. His final rank was Admiral of the Navy which often referred to as a six-star admiral (disregarding the fact that the insignia of the rank had only four stars) and he is the only person to ever hold this rank. His awards include the Civil War Campaign Medal, the Battle of Manila Bay Medal, the Spanish Campaign Medal, and the Philippine Campaign Medal. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Dewey was named in his honor.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 25 Apr 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 278
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/278/george-dewey: accessed ), memorial page for ADM George Dewey (26 Dec 1837–16 Jan 1917), Find a Grave Memorial ID 278, citing Washington National Cathedral, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave.