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George Dewey. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105269).

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Dewey, George (26 December 1837–16 January 1917), naval officer, was born in Montpelier, Vermont, the son of Julius Yemans Dewey, a prominent physician and insurance company president, and Mary Perrin. His mother died when Dewey was just five years old. After study at Norwich University, Dewey entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1854. The rambunctious plebe accumulated 113 demerits during his first year at the academy, but he graduated in 1858, fifth in his class of fifteen. After a cruise in the Mediterranean on the new frigate ...

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Robley D. Evans With Isoroku Yamamoto, right, 1907. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103788).

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Evans, Robley Dunglison (18 August 1846–03 January 1912), rear admiral, was born in Floyd County, Virginia, the son of Samuel Andrew Jackson Evans, a country physician, and Sally Ann Jackson. At age eleven, following his father’s death, Evans moved to Washington, D.C., to live with his uncle. There he attended public schools and developed an interest in the sea. At age thirteen Evans moved to Utah to establish residence in that state and from there gained an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, which he entered on 20 September 1860. Resisting family pressure to join the Confederacy at the outbreak of the Civil War, Evans continued his studies and graduated with the class of 1864, whose graduation was accelerated to 1863 to meet the exigencies of the war. At age seventeen he was commissioned acting ensign....

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Gridley, Charles Vernon (24 November 1844–05 June 1898), naval officer, was born in Logansport, Indiana, the son of Franklin Gridley, a businessman, and Ann Eliza Sholes. Gridley’s mother was more active than his father, who suffered poor health. Her work as a nurse during the Civil War was acknowledged by Generals ...

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Kempff, Louis (11 October 1841–29 July 1920), naval officer, was born in Belleville, Illinois, the son of Friedrich Kempff and Henrietta (maiden name unknown). After attending the local schools in Belleville, Kempff entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in September 1857. He completed the course of instruction in the spring of 1861, just as the U.S. Navy expanded during the first few months of the Civil War. Assigned to the sailing sloop ...

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Alfred Thayer Mahan Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-3124).

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Mahan, Alfred Thayer (27 September 1840–01 December 1914), naval officer and author, was born in West Point, New York, the son of Dennis Hart Mahan, a professor of military engineering and dean of faculty at the U.S. Military Academy, and Mary Helena Okill. Raised in a household run on two guiding principles, strict military obedience and a stern literalist and fundamentalist form of Episcopalianism that emphasized constant prayer, Mahan did not have a happy childhood. In his autobiography, ...

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Richard W. Meade. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1656).

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Meade, Richard Worsam, III (09 October 1837–04 May 1897), naval officer, was born in New York City, the son of Richard Worsam Meade II (1807–1870), a and Clara Forsythe Meigs. After attending the College of the Holy Cross and Mount St. Mary’s College, Meade entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1850. Graduating fifth in his class in 1856, he was promoted to passed midshipman that year. Commissioned lieutenant (1858), he served aboard the ...

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Remey, George Collier (10 August 1841–10 February 1928), naval officer, was born in Burlington, Iowa, the son of William Butler Remey, a merchant and county official, and Eliza Smith Howland. George entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1855 and graduated fourth in a class of twenty in 1859. Among his classmates were ...

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William Thomas Sampson Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-95429).

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Sampson, William Thomas (09 February 1840–06 May 1902), naval officer, was born in Palmyra, New York, the son of James Sampson, a day laborer, and Hannah Walker. An excellent student, Sampson did not have the means to attend college but in 1857 received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy from Congressman Edwin Barbour Morgan. Sampson ranked first in his class for three consecutive years and graduated in 1861. As a passed midshipman he was assigned to duty at the Washington Navy Yard, after which he reported to the sloop ...

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Schley, Winfield Scott (09 October 1839–02 October 1911), naval officer, was born in Richfields, Maryland, the son of John Schley and Georgianna Virginia McClure, prosperous farmers. Following the death of Schley’s mother in 1848, the family moved into the nearby town of Frederick. Schley attended school there and at St. John’s College in Annapolis before gaining an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1856. An affable and natural leader, Schley graduated in 1860, eighteenth in a class of twenty-five, and was assigned to the frigate ...

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Selfridge, Thomas Oliver, Jr. (06 February 1836–04 February 1924), naval officer, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Oliver Selfridge, an officer in the U.S. Navy, and Louisa Cary Soley. A midshipman in the class of 1854 at the U.S. Naval Academy, Thomas, Jr., was the first officer to receive a graduation diploma under the present-day system adopted by that institution in 1850 whereby cadets no longer spent three years at sea after their second year at Annapolis, shortening enrollment from seven years to four....

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Montgomery Sicard. Seated center, with officers of the USS Miantonomot. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-D4-20037 B).

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Sicard, Montgomery (30 September 1836–14 September 1900), naval officer, was born in New York City, the son of Steven Sicard, a merchant, and Lydia Hunt. His mother was the sister of U.S. Supreme Court justice Ward Hunt. Steven Sicard died in 1840, and the family moved to Lydia Sicard’s home town of Utica, New York. Montgomery entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1851 and graduated with the class of 1855....

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Charles Dwight Sigsbee Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-D4-21000).

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Sigsbee, Charles Dwight (16 January 1845–19 July 1923), naval officer, was born in Albany, New York, the son of Nicholas Sigsbee and Agnes Orr. Although his family history did not include any naval service, Sigsbee sought admittance to the U.S. Naval Academy. With the help of ...