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Full text of "A concise life of Admiral George Dewey, U. S. N"

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BookJl..5.LL.4-. 



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Title 



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409181 «PO 






A CoiNCi5E Life of 









CoNa3E LiPE or 

L George Dewe/ 



U-5-N 




The Dewey Family. 

Admiral George Dewey is a Greeu Mountain Boy in the best 
sense of that phrase — so proud a title in tlje minds and hearts of the 
people of Vermont. He was born sixty-two years ago — December 
26, 1837, in Montpelier; but the greater part of his boyhood was 
spent on the ancestral farm among the verdant hills of Berlin 
township a few miles from the city. Here lay his grandfather's 
farm and the farms of other relatives, forming a little community 
about the crossroads called West Berlin — good farms, worth much 
money, as property was valued in those days in that rich region of 
dairying and agriculture. Down the glens ran brooks, filled with 
trout, to feed an impetuous little stream called DogEiver — a stream 
that meanders through Dewey's early history, and witnessed many 
boyish adventures that foreshadowed the man he was to be. 

The admiral's grandfather was a man of sturdy race, the first 
American ancestor of which, Thomas Dewey, came to the New 
World, from Sandwich, in Kent, England, in 1G3:3. The family is 
said to have been of French Huguenot stock, originally — refugees 
in England from the religious persecutions of the previous century; 
and the surname Dewes, still sometimes seen, is supposed to be 

Copyright, 1899, by W. J. Lawrence. 



'Z LIFE OF DEWEV. 

identical with theirs. The party to which this earliest immigrant 
belonged was led by the Rev. John Warham, and at first settled in 
Dorchester, Massachusetts, where he was a Freeman of the colony ; but 
three years later the pastor, Thomas Dewey, and others of the con- 
gregation moved to Windsor, Connecticut — an exodus involving 
a long march through a perilous wilderness, equivalent in those 
daj's to what now is called "going West," and indicative of energy 
and pluck in all that undertook it. 

While he lived there, and for ten or eleven j'ears before his death 
in 1648, his next neighbor was Matthew Grant, the direct ancestor of 
General U. S. Grant. 

It is interesting to find how these two men, so similar in their 
characteristics and deeds, came from sources that were, so to say, 
cast in the same mold, developing like characters by the same stress 
of circumstances and influences, to be transmitted to descendants in 
similar measure, and with similar products. 

Windsor, now a quiet, picturesque village, forming a quaint rural 
suburb to Hartford, was in those days the outpost of civilization, 
and almost submerged in a forest swarming with Indians. The 
most powerful of these were the Pequots, against whose hostilitj^ it 
was necessary to fortify the heart of the settlement bj' the building 
of a stockade, within which the people might take refuge. This 
was called at that time "The Palisado," the English form of the word 
"palisade" not j'et having become naturalized; and old Windsor's 
common or "green" is called the Palisado to this day. 

Some of the settlers, however, dwelt outside this protection, and 
among tliem were Grant and Dewey — watchful for their neighbors 
as well as themselves, and training their sons into capable Indian 
fighters. 

One of these sons of Thomas Dewej^ the original ancestor, was 
Josiab, who was born at Windsor, and lived there until IGCy'i, when 
he moved with his wife to Northampton and then to Westfield, 
Massachusetts. He was the sergeant of the local militia, whose arms 
were never far from them in that region of hostile redmen. Finally he 
moved to Lebanon, Connecticut, where the family was one of the 
pioneers and was destined to take deep root. 

He died in 17o"2, leaving a son of the same name, Josiab Dewey. 
Jr., who is known to have been, for a time, in charge of one of the 
western outposts against French and Indian inroads. He married 




THE DEWEV FAMILY. 3 

at NorthamptoD in IGOO, and 

his son William was born in 

1691 at Westfield, and died in 

1759. He went back to his 

grandfather's place of resi- 
dence, Lebanon, Connecticut, 

where there was born to him 

Simeon Dewey, who spent his 

life there, and married, but 

died comparatively young in 

1757. His son (there we^e 

others, but we are tracing 

only the line of descent which 

leads to our hero) was another 

"William, who, at the close of 
the Revolutionary war, moved 

with his family to Hanover, jji^ j y. dewkv, 

New Hampshire, then re- Fatiier of the Admiral. 

garded as a part of Vermont. 

His son Simeon was the admiral's grandfather — Captain Simeon 
Dewey, born at Hebron, Connecticut, in 1770, who married Prudence 
Yeamans in 1794. When the time came to strike out for himself he 
chose to settle in Berlin, Vermont, four miles from Montpelier, the 
capital, where he prospered and survived to the age of ninety-three. 
Among his sons was one, Juhus Yeamans, born in 1801, who 
turned to books rather than to the ax and plow of the farmer of 
three-quarters of a century ago, and became exceptional among his 
fellows by that ambition. While still very young he began to 
teach school in Montpelier, but only as a means to further schooling 
for himself. By that thrift which so often accompanies and makes 
most serviceable the natural energy of the New Englander, the 
young schoolmaster was saving money in order to educate himself 
as a physician. This he succeeded in doing, was graduated from the 
University of Vermont, and became the most prominent practitioner 
and one of the leading citizens of the capital of Vermont. 

At the age of twenty-four young Dr. Dewey went to his home 
neighborhood for a wife and married the beautiful Mary Perrin, 
his boyish sweetheart. That neighborhood then, as now, was prac- 
tically divided between the Deweys and the Perrins, and two lines 



4 LIKE OK DEWEY. 

of good stock and common tradition and interest were united by 
this local and friendly marriage. 

They at once made their residence in Montpelier, and there were 
born their four children, Charles, Edward, George and Mary. This 
"George." third in the family, whom curiously his father used 
always to call by the pet name "little hero," is the admiral with 
whose praise the end of the century is ringing— and our subject. 

Let us look for a few moments at the father and mother and their 
forbears, whose characters have contributed to produce a man like 
Admiral George Dewey, for such a man is fir greater than merely 
a skillful seaman or a bold fighter. He dues and must possess a 
lofty regard for duty, a strong sense of responsihility, a comprehen- 
sion of the power of discipline which hegins with self-control, and 
a broad and far-seeing vision, in order to accomiilish the results that 
Admiral Dewey has attained, outside of and beyond the mere bold- 
ness of a sea fight against unknown odds. It is worth our while to 
examine the breeding as well as to trace the training to which this 
force of character and the man's splendid achievements are due. 

"The Battle of Manila," it has been said with discernment, "was 
not a nuishroom growth of the night before, but the fruit of a life- 
time of faithful preparation for the performance of a high duty for 
which the time might and might not come. Study and foresight 
and care so brought results that on the evening of the first Sunday in 
May, whose morning opened the gates of the Orient to the Occident, 
good Parson Lewis, in the commodore's home church, read the col- 
lect of thanksgiving for victory at sea." 

Of the mother of the admiral, who died when he was still a lad, 
not much need be said. She was of the best type of bright-minded, 
warm-hearted New England women, growing somewhat stately, as 
her social position and wealth advanced, but respected and beloved 
by every one for her kindliness of heart and good deeds— a lady 
whom her children remember with admiration and gratitude as well 
as love. 

Incidentally it may be remarked that the Dewey family has 
alwaj's maintained a dignified degree of "style." Mrs. Dewey 
always drove about Montpelier in a low-hanging barouche, on whose 
horses silver-plated harness clanked. When the townspeople saw 
the barouche approaching, they said, lialf in awe, half -jesting, "Here 
comes the Prince of Wales' carriage." 



THE DEWEY FAMILY. 



This boy, however, losing his mother in childhood, seems to have 
been the special pet of his father, and to have resembled him in his 
characteristics. Dr. Julius Dewey was known everywhere for his 
strong sense of duty and integrity. He was universally trusted. 
No one can look at the broad, honest face with its high forehead, 
firm mouth and square chin, without feeling that it is the counte- 
nance of a man who would do his duty fearlessly; and no one can 
look at the kindly eyes, with a twinkle even in the little wrinkles about 
their corners, without recognizing the cheery 
humor which was perhaps the strongest 
characteristic of the man. The doctor was 
always for looking on the 
bright side of things, 
and this good cheer was 
worth more, no doubt, to 




MARY DEWEY, 

The only sister. 



EDWARD DEWE-S, 
Brother of the Admiral. 

his patients than were his 
medicines. He had excel- 
lent judgment, and pros- 
pered until he soon became 
one of the wealthy men of his town. At the 
age of fifty he had saved a considerable for- 
tune, and in order to invest it to good advan- 
tage he formed the National Life Insurance Compan}-, which is now 
the most important corporation in central Vermont, and is still a 
source of wealth to the family. Until his death in 1877 he was its 
president. Then his son Charles became its presiding officer, and 
another son, Edward — the eldest of the family — became and remains 
a leading director. 

The family home was a pretty frame cottage which stood ^n 



CHARLES DEWEY, 
The oldest brother. 



6 LIFE OF DEWEV. 

Main Street, directly opposite the fine statehouse, or Capitol of the 
State of Vermont; and here George and the other children were 
born. A few years ago this cottage was moved to a new and very 
beautiful site beneath the elms of State Street, and was somewhat 
rebuilt; but it is the same house, inwardly, in which the admiral 
first saw the light. In its place, on the old property opposite the 
statehouse, stands the present handsome residence of Mr. Charles 
Dewey, the admiral's brother. 

The family life in that cottage was a good one for children that 
were meant to become good citizens and worthy men. It was a 
God-fearing home. Dr. Dewey was a deeply religious man, wor- 
shipping according to the forms of the Episcopal denomination. He 
was the founder of Christ Church, in Montpelier, where the future 
admiral v/as baptized and went to Sunday-school and service each 
Sabbath day; and there, when only five years old, he wonder ingly 
attended the funeral of the good mother, whose grave is the green- 
est in the Dewey burial lot upon Montpelier's beautiful hillside 
cemetery. 

One of the habits of the household was the Sunday evening sing- 
ing at home after church, led by the doctor himself; for he was fond 
of all music, and possessed an excellent voice. Thus by inherit- 
ance as well as early training the admiral comes by that excellent 
voice and fondness for music which is remembered of him by all 
his classmates and shipmates. He was one of the best singers at the 
military school in his boyhood, and learned there to play upon the 
guitar, to the delight of his friends at home, when he brought it 
back with him on his vacations; and he was a member of the cadet 
choir at the Naval Academy. 

It is not surprising also to learn that Dr. Dewey was fond of 
poetry, and that Burns, the balladist of rural life and the most 
cheerful of philosophers, was his favorite. Cowper was another 
poet often read. 

Another more striking quality was surely inherited by our great 
admiral — combativeness in a good cause. The Deweys have ever 
been a fighting race. The earliest ancestors were compelled to be 
constantly on their guard against Indians. The gravestone of that 
Thomas Dewey who "dyed April 27 ano 1090: in the 52 yeare of his 
age" shows that he was a cornet in the militia. His son, Josiah, 
was a sergeant in the train -bands that were ready any instant to go 



THE DEWEY FAMILY. 7 

after raiding redskins in the Connecticut Valley. "William 
Dewey, the admiral's great-grandfather, was a corporal in the 
Continental army, and fought ^rnder Gates at Saratoga. His wife 
was a granddaughter of Captain George Dennison, who fought 
under Oliver Cromwell and later came to America to fight Indians. 
Rev. Jedediah Dewey, another of the strain, was the famous fight- 
ing parson of Bennington, Vermont, associated with Colonel 
Ethan Allen, and was indicted along with Allen during the tem- 
pestuous times preceding the Revolution. His son, Elijah Dewey, 
raised a company of Green Mountain Boys, and fought under Gen- 




BIRTHPLACE OF ADMIRAL GEORGE DEWEY, MONTPELIER, VT. 



eral Stark at the battle of Bennington, while his wife served in the 
commissary department — she cooked dinner for the soldiers." 

It is said, in fact, that over sixty persons related to this line of the 
family are known to have served in the American forces during 
the Revolutionary war. As for the War of 1812 the present writer 
is not informed ; but doubtless a long list of family names might be 
compiled from the rosters of the troops which defended the northern 



S LIKE OF DEWEV. 

froutier — tbeir own homes, in fact, from that inroad by the British 
from Canada, which was turned hack at Plattsburg and on Lake 
Champlain. 

In the Civil war, while the admiral was serving in the navy, his 
elder brother Edward was a captain in the army; and his son, the 
admiral's nephew, is also a naval officer. 



IL 

Boyhood. 

It is plain that it may most truly be said of Admiral Dewey: 
"He is a born fighter." This characteristic, indeed, is the one that 
seems to be most strongly remembered by the townspeople and 
schoolmates of his younger years. 

He was a healthy, sturdy youngster, always out of doors and fond 
of every sort of active sport and adventure above everything else. 

Both his brothers were considerably older, and already busy with 
school or work, so that he was left much to himself in his play, as 
a little boy, when his sister, two years younger, Avas his untiring 
companion and slave, never happier than when she was permitted to 
go fishing with him, and bait his hook; and many a weary mile the 
two children trudged together. If they were wanted and were not 
within call it was pretty safe to say that they were wading the shal- 
lows of the brawling and beautiful Winooski, or imagining them- 
selves in wonderful adventures along its shelving banks. 

One day, relates an old lady of Montpelier, she was calling upon 
Mrs. Dr. Dewey, who naturally wished to show her boy; and she 
vividly remembers how presently there was dragged iuto the parlor 
a little man with very black eyes, whose bare and sturdy legs were 
still shilling with the water of Winooski 's bright rapids, and how 
he tried to hide the tattered straw hat behind him as he bashfully 
endured the process of introduction. 

Of course to a youngster of this mold the summer days on grand- 
father's farm at Berlin were happier than any even in the rural vil- 
lage. Near the farm runs a hill-stream named Dog River, which 



BOYHOOD. 9 

dwindles to an insignificant creek in dry weather, but in the 
spring, or when heavy rains come, "booms" as Western people say, 
into a broad and powerful toi-rent, as the boy was soon afterward to 
learn by experience as well as by observation. 

The best -loved sjiot in this little river was a certain bend with 
gravelly banks known as the Pearl Beds, because there, in times 
past, excellent pearls had been taken from the mussels that inhabit 
the stream. Here was the lad's favorite fishing ground ; and Avhether 
hecaught much, or how often he fell in, nobody cared. It was there, 
perhaps, he took his first lessons in swimming, an accomplishment in 




MARY AND GEORGE. 



which he became very expert and which served him and others in 
good stead later on. One would suppose that, naturally, somehow, 
sailors would be swimmers, but this is by no means the case; and 
the man who has not learned it in boyhood is likely to go through 
life without becoming good abit, even when that life is mainly spent 
on the water, which sailors seem to fear more than landsmen. 



10 LIFE OF DEWEY. 

The "swimming-hole" of the Montpelier boys was in a bend of 
the Winooski or Onion River, not far from George's home; and 
there he was foremost in daring. He once remained under water so 
long in diving in competition with others that every one thought 
him gone, and some men near by rushed in and dragged him out. 
But he was not drowned — only holding his breath to the last gasp; 
and the first explosion brought the anxious, spluttered words: *'Did 
I beat him?" He once saved one of his schoolmates from drowning. 

Skating, of course, was a pastime that no Vermont boy would 
miss, and the Montpelier fellows had a way of spicing it with that 
danger so dear to the hearts of romantic youth, by playing a game 
they called "skating the rag." 

"This sport," writes Mr. W. E. Johnson, "consisted in making a 
big hole in the ice on the Onion River. The boy who skated nearest 
the hole was 'it.' George Dewey was generally 'it.' Ofttimes he 
plunged into the hole and came home soaking wet. Colds and fever 
which followed made the old doctor much trouble. One day the old 
man brought home a big pair of coarse high boots reaching above 
his knees, so that 'George would not get his feet wet.' As a boy, 
George was proud, and wearing those big coarse boots was a dire 
punishment. 

" 'I don't want to wear those boots, pa,* pleaded George, almost 
in tears; but he had to put them on, whereupon the town boys be- 
gan to call him 'Boots.' This made the lad's distress unbearable. 

"L. B. Coves, a i)laymate of Dewey's, who was an eyewitness to 
the affair, tells me how the man of Manila disposed of the obnox- 
ious boots. 'Old man Appleton used to have a potash factory on 
the river bank. There we boys used to go to warm our feet by the 
hot brick cone in the middle of the room. One night, when we were 
warming our feet and incidentally tormenting George about his 
boots, he coolly took them off and tossed them into the middle of the 
cone. 'I smell something burning,' exclaimed the old potash- 
maker, rushing up; but he was too late. The boots were wholly 
destroyed, and George went home through the snow in his stocking 
feet." 

His most serious adA'enturo in boj'hood, however, is the one 
Montpelier folks still chuckle over and call his "first voyage." 
When George was about eleven jears old his father and some 
other Montpelier families pastured their cows along Dog River, 



BOYHOOD. 



11 



rather too far for the boys to walk daily and bring them back. One 
spring day George, with a chum named Will Redfield^ and some 
other boys, went after them in Dr. Dewey's buggy; but when they 
came to the ford, about a mile below the place shown in the picture 
of the Pearl Banks, on page 15, they found the stream so swollen 
by a freshet as to present decided dangers to any one attempting to 
cross it. Most of the boys demurred, and refused to venture, but 
Dewey said : 




DEWEY'S FIRST CRUISE. 



"Those cows must be got and I'm going to try it, anyhow." 
This nerved Will Redfield up to the point, and the two made the 
passage safely, though not without trouble. 

The cattle were gathered in haste, and the two boys started home, 
driving the herd before them. When they reached the river it was 
even higher and swifter than before. It is amazing what depth and 
power these mountain brooks will suddenly assume. It was now 



12 LIFE OF DEWEV. 

truly dangerous to attempt to cross, and success was doubtful; but 
the boy's pluck was equal to the occasion, whether or not the same 
may be said of his judgment. 

The horse was slowly forced into the torrent, Dewej' driving and 
his young mate holding on beside him as best he could. The 
water grew deeper and swifter. It whirled through the spokes far 
above the hubs, leaked up into the wagon box, and pushed with all 
its might against the horse's limbs. An unlucky stone lifted ti e 
wheel a trifle, and gave the water just the needed leverage. An 
instant later the buggy was afloat, its top had torn loose and gone 
adrift, and the horse, with the bojs clinging to him as best they 
could, was struggling to reach the bank. Almost au eighth of a 
mile was' passed, however, stumbling and floating down stream, 
with the torrent, before the horse could find a foothold, and the half- 
wrecked vehicle could be dragged ashore. 

The story goes that when George got home his father was away, 
and he concluded the best thing to do was to go straight to bed 
without his supper. His father soon came into the room and Viegan 
to upbraid the boy for his recklessness. "What does this mean?" 
began the father, trying to look angry. "Pa, you ouglit to be 
thankful that I wasn't drowned," sobbed the urchin from under the 
bedclothes. 

The hill crowned by the noble Capitol used to be a favorite 
playground, before the j)avk improvements put a stop to boys' sports 
there. To young George's imagination its heights represented the 
Alps, and he wanted to ])la5' the part of Hannibal. This was after 
he had finished "Robinson Crusoe" and he and Mary had played, until 
the}' were played out, the characters of "Crusoe" and "Friday" on 
the islets and sandbars of the Wiuooski. Then one day his brother 
gave the boy a copy of the "Life of Hannibal." and a new field of 
imitation was opened to the lad's lively imagination and indomitable 
zeal for doing something. 

The village historians say that it was winter when tliis book 
opened a new world to the eager lad, and snow lay thick on the steep 
slope behind the statehouse, upon which had frozen a crust like 
glass. "To ten-yeai'-old Hannibal," to quote a reminiscence, "here 
was a Jungfrau ready to hand and well-nigh as formidable. Orders 
were at once issued to sister Mary, in this instance the army and all 
the appurtenances thereof, who cheerfully left her 'Child's Life of 



BOYHOOD; 



u 



Queen Bess' and the cozy iireside to follow her captain over the 
Alps — no mean undertaking — and afterward to pay for her loyalty, 
poor little soul, by a week in bed. History does not mention what 
happened to George." 

It is not improbable that to the influence of this book on the im- 
pressible mind and imagination of a boy, ardent, forceful and ad- 
venturous by nature, is due the strong bent toward the military life 
which he presently showed, and which determined to a great extent 




THE STATE HOUSE, MONTPELn':R. 

his schooling and his later career. It is said that he never lost an 
occasion to organize his friends into companies and play marching 
Hannibal's army over the Alps, until he got too large to do so with 
the dignity that is so precious to every right-minded lad. 

One more reminiscence of these boyhood days must suffice, lest the 
tale of this little lad, who was by no means a prodigy or a model, 
should grow tedious; but this recollection is interesting as showing 
the alertness (f m'nd aud iuiagination without which no man can 
succeed, that George possessed, and also his disposition and ability 
to become a leader in whatever engaged his attention. 



14 LIFE OF DEWEV. 

One hears various accounts of the theatricals that the children 
used to have in Dr. Dewey's barn, which sometimes took the form 
of acting little plays of heroism or romance, and sometimes es- 
sayed "nigger minstrelsy." In every case young "Dod," as his in- 
dulgent father called him, was manager and leading actor com- 
bined, with his sister Mary as the leading lady, whenever she could 
not beg off. This sister is now living in Montpelier and is the widow 
of Captain George P. Greeley, who served as surgeon of a New 
Hampshire regiment throughout the Civil war. For a curtain they 
hung a buffalo robe; and there was no lack of "action" in the per- 
formances, which were the delight of the school-children of the vil- 
lage. The Rev. Mr. Wright, now a prominent clergyman of Mont- 
pelier, was one of these, and tells how on one occasion the "leading 
lady" of that time being absent, Mary, who had not prepared herself 
as an understudy, was dragged forward from the retirement of a 
back seat in the audience. Her plea that she didn't know the part 
was of no avail. She was compelled to try; and as George fired off 
his pistol at an awkward crisis, Mary got through her part creditably, 
and the play was wholly satisfactory to an enthusiastic audience, 
who had never learned to make fun of barn-storraers. 

This pistol-shooting, according to Dr. Wright, proved to be an 
effective drawing card, and attracted crowds; but it was too realis- 
tic a sort of drama for the neighbors, and Dr. Dewey put an end to 
histrionic displays which were likely to increase his surgical prac- 
tice and set fire to his premises. 



III. 

Schooldays. 



It is perhaps unfortunate, but true, that the things best remembered 
of the future admiral's school life are his fights. His older brothers 
say he was a perfect little gamecock. George was never a bad boy 
—a malicious or mean boy; but he had inherited from his father a 
quick temper, he had boldness and courage in a high degree, and a 
country boy's full measure of health, strength and vivacity. He 
was small for his years, but would face a larger, bullying boy, 



SCHOOLDAYS. 



15 



with utter fearlessness ; and in general wanted it understood that in 
fighting he was better than any one else anywhere near a match to 
him. This came to be acknowledged among the boys, after consid- 
erable practice; and a blow he had learned to deliver straight on the 
nose is said to have been especially dreaded. His brother Charles 
relates how once he stalked up to a lad twice his size, with the 
remark: 

*'I want you to understand I can lick you." 




PEARL BEDS ON DOG RIVER. 



"I know it, Dod," was the answer; "but don't do it!" 

Many's tbe time he has pounded some big bull}'' who was "pick- 
ing on" a weak boy at school. Yet it must be confessed that he 
was ringleader in the reprehensible, but in those days common prac- 
tice, of abusing any new school-teacher that couldn't prevent it. 

The boy was sent, as soon as he was old enough, to the village 
grammar school. As to what happened there many stories are re- 
lated ; but the best account known to this biographer is that by Mr. 
William Johnson in Tite New Voice, which runs as follows: 

"In the early Montpelier days it was the custom of the schoolboys 



16 LIFE OP^ DEWEY. 

to throw the master out in the snowbank. If the attempt failed 
there was no more troul)le during the term of school. If it suc- 
ceded, it was accepted as a ' vote of lack of confidence' on the part of 
all concerned, and was followed Ijv tlie teacher's resignation. 

" Voung Dewey was usually the leader of the 'opposition' in these 
cases, and the assault on the dominie was generally successful. One 
\\ inter when old George Reed was the school committeeman, three 
wilVereut teachers were pitched into the snowpile, and no more 
teachers were to he found to attt^niptthe job. Finalh' Reed himself, 
who was something of an athlete, opened the school in person. 

"His opening address was short. but pointed. He said : 

" 'Boys,- you have thrown out thrue of my teachers this Avinter, 
and no\v lam going to see if you will throw me out. Whenever 
3'ou get ready just come along and 'we ^vill have it out.' 

"The 'opposition' was a little dismayed at iirst; but in a few days 
under George's leatlership they rallifil i\>v the assault. Rf»^d 
straight wa}' proceeded to 'slam the l)oys aiiumd" in tlie most ap- 
proved fashion. After the defeated lads had retreated to their seats. 
Reed seized a few of the leaders hy the coat collar, jerked them out 
on the floor, and 'snapped their heels in the air just to keep his hand 
in,' he saiil. The boys hung to their desks, but the teacher tore desk 
and all from their fastenings. Reed was not much on 'book larnin' 
but he finished that term with the profound respect of the boys. 

''Z. K. Paugborn, for thirty years editor of the Jersey City 
Journal^ was another teacher of the Moutpelier school who was not 
vanquished. At that time George Dewey was but eleven years 
old, and his father was school committeeman. After the first day's 
experience, Pangborn went to the doctor and reported that his son 
was already gettiag obstreperous. 

" 'If you can't manage that eleven-year-old boy you'd better re- 
sign your position,' replied the doctor grimly. 

"Pangborn provided himself with a rawhide and awaited develop- 
ndents, resolved to give a good account of himself. The second day 
the first skirmish was fought. Next door to the schoolhouse was an 
old church where the boys were wont to ring the bell at unseemly 
hours. After school, 'Dod,' as captain, formed the boys into two 
brigades. One, he ranged in ambush behind a fence; the other, 
which he led in person, was hidden in the church belfry. All the 
'troops' were armed with well-frozen snowballs. 



SCHOOLDAYS. 



17 



"As the teacher came out, the hattery in the belfry opened the en- 
gagement with a volley. At a signal from young Dewey, the re- 
serves from behind the fence opened up, surrounded the enemj^ and 
the engagement became general. The battle was close and sharp. 
At one time'Dod' was astraddle the teacher's neck. Some of the 
boys were roughly haudled, but the schoolmaster was soon forced to 
beat a hasty retreat. 

"Pangborn was mortified at his defeat, and determined to make 




WHERE YOUNG DEW ICY FIRST WENT TO SCHOOL. 



one more attempt. Instead of leaving town, he appeared at the 
school the next day. It was not long before trouble was renewed. 
The insurgent leader, Dewey, stood up and made this address to the 
teacher : 

" 'We now propose to give you the best licking that you ever had 
in your life. ' 

"With these words, Dewey led the attack, striking out with his 
fist. The teacher replied with his rawhide, which staggered the 
leader a bit. The reserves, consisting of the big boys, then came up 
and were confronted with the teacher's rapid-fire battery, with 



18 LIFE OF DEWEY. 

hickory cord wood as ammunition. One boy was knocked insensi- 
ble; others were cut and bVuised, while Dewey was so savagely 
pounded that he had to be helped home with one band in a sling. 

"The wounded leader, assisted by the boys, went down the street, 
flinging defiance to Pangborn, who walked down the other side to 
present his case. Dr. Dewey heard both sides, tied up his wounded 
son's bruises, and thanked the teacher for the job. There was no 
more trouble at that term of school." 

Young Dewey was undoubtedly a wild boy, but he was not a bad 
one, and he loved his father and respected his superiors, according to 
his lights. After Mr. Pangborn had thrashed him George became 
an obedient subject, and began to like his "dominie" so well that 
when the teacher moved to Johnson, in the same State, and opened 
a private school (now become a State Normal School), young Dewey 
asked, and was allowed, to go with him. He learned a great deal 
from this sturdy gentleman. 

It is said that as a boy the admiral was not fond of books, and 
that he has never become what is called a bookish, or even a well- 
read man, outside of his profession, to which he has given all the 
mental energy he cared to expend in the way of stud}-. 

However that may be, he seems to have been convinced of the 
value of the education his father was anxious to provide for him; and 
when he was fifteen years old he willingly went to the Norwich 
Military School, then as now (though since moved to Northfield) the 
foremost school for boys in Vermont, outside the fine State Univer- 
sity at Burlington. 

The choice of this school is said to have been a compromise, how- 
ever, between himself and his father. George wanted to go to sea, 
in the merchant service or anyhow. His father opposed this idea 
vigorously, and as a compensation let the boy go to a military 
school with a view to preparing for West Point. The result only 
regulated, instead of eradicated his original notion. The taste of 
military life he got there simply confirmed him in the desire to shape 
his course toward the navy instead of the army. He talked this 
plan over one day with a schoolmate, George Spalding, only to find 
that Spalding was nourishing the same ambition. So the two be- 
came friendly rivals in the race for Annapolis. 

i\Ieanwhile young Dewey's old love of settling questions and es- 
tablishing his position and other facts by fisticuffs varied the monot- 



CADET LIFE. 19 

ony of his schoolwork by occasional en counters, and more than 
once, as a result, was he made a spectacle for the school, by being 
obliged to pace, sentry-like, around a certain tree on the campus as 
punishment for fighting. 

He studied, nevertheless, and kept his eye on the navy. His 
father objected and opposed his plans, and Spalding's mother was 
equally discontented with her son's designs. Both, however, had 
friends in Senator Job Morrill and Senator Foote, and finally the 
latter gave Spalding the appointment for the j'ear 1854 and made 
Dewey alternate. Then Spalding's mother, having exhausted argu- 
ment, turned to entreaty ; and her tears conquered. Spalding de- 
cided not to go, and Dewey went down for examination, his father 
having relented. He passed, and at the age of seventeen entered the 
class of 1854 at the United States Naval Academy. "And so it 
came about that the Rev. George B. Spalding preached a war ser- 
mon, in Syracuse, New York, upon the occasion of his old school- 
mate's victory." 

In order to carry out his plan Dewey did not take the entire 
course or graduate at the Norwich University. But that institution 
lat^y gave him its degree of B.S., as of the year he would have 
graduated ; and subsequently honored him with its unique degree of 
M. M.S.— Master of Military Science. This university counts three 
rear-admirals among her alumni; and she has furnished to the two 
arms of the service not only a larger proportion of her matriculants, 
but actually a larger number of men, than any other college in the 
service. Well may the admiral say, as he has said, "The results 
have shown the excellent training young men have received there," 



IV. 

Cadet Life. 

The training which George Dewey had received in Vermont, 
both physically and mentally, made itself felt at Annapolis, where 
he at once took a creditable place in his class and bettered it as the 
course advanced. 



20 TJFE OF DEWEY. 

He was then a slender but not tall young fellow, with rather high 
ciaeek bones anil a piercing black eye. Of that eye of his, whose 
glance directed the battle in Manila harbor, an old townsman said 
in 1885, when Dewey went back to Montpelier a captain, "By gin- 
ger, I b'lieve the Captain could look through a stun post!" Not a 
sternpost — Dewey looked at those the other day — but a stone post, 
for in Montpelier all the hitching posts are of granite. 

Of his regular duties in the classroom and drillroom little need 
be said. Out of all that entered in his j'ear onlj^ fourteen stayed 
through the course. He was not only one of these, but stood fifth 
on the class roll at graduation. This means that he must have been 
both able and diligent. 

Dewey found the 3'oung men at Annapolis as sharply divided as 
elsewhere on the great questions between North and South, then 
agitating the country so fiercely and so soon to tear it asunder — more 
po, for all were high-strung young citizens, and those from the 
South represented the most aristocratic and autocratic families; but 
with most mistaken judgment the leader of the Southern faction 
picked out this new cadet from the Green Mountain State as the one 
to "have some fun with" among the Freshmen. 

Dewey restrained himself, and did not even resent being called a 
Yankee — he was rather proud of the fact, even though the term was 
not presented to hira in that way; but when the Southerner sneered 
at him for a "doughface" there was trouble. 

It doesn't seem, now, a very terrible epithet. We might imagine 
it to be some uncomplimentary reference to paleness of complexion 
or an infantile roundness of features that a man might very well 
pass over with contempt. But at that time the meaning was very 
different and highly opprobrious to an earnest patriot. 

Before the civil war, and while the controvers}' over Northern 
dignities and Southern rights was heating the nation to the flaming 
point, a small class of men existed in the North who believed in sub- 
serviency to the demands of the Southerners for the sake of quiet — a 
class whose idea of peace at any price was repugnant to honorable 
men of both sides, who conceived that there were principles at stake, 
toward which every man of good sense and patriotism and manli- 
ness must take a distinct attitude. These lukewarm people, and es- 
pecially the Northern politicians disposed to undue compliance with 
the pretensions of the slaveholders that were threatening the Union, 



CADET LIFE. 21 

were dubbed "doughfaces. " It was applied to certain Southern sym- 
pathizing congressmen as far back as 1838, and had been revived. 
Lowell wrote in the "'.Biglow Papers" : 

"Fer any office, small or gret, 
I couldn't ax with no face, 
Without I'd been thru dry and wet, 
Th' unrizzest kind o' doughface." 

It is plain that Dewey couldn't endure that such a terra as that 
should be applied to him unanswered ; and he did repel it promptly. 
This only incited the Southerner to bait him further and say worse 
things of and to him. The direct consequence was a knock-down blow 
in the taunter's face, and a battle in which the strong young Ver- 
monter — who had been the "gamecock" of Montpelier — came off 
decidedly the victor. Some time afterward another malcontent 
hurled an inkstand at the new freshman's head in the reading 
room; whereupon the future admiral knocked that cadet down 
also and bruised him sorely. This Southerner, however, did not 
let the matter end there, as a fair fighter would do, but sent a chal- 
lenge to mortal combat according to the "code," suggesting pistols 
at close range. 

Whether young Dewey had kept up pistol practice since his 
dramatic exercises in his father's barn is doubtful. Probably not. 
It is likely he was entirely unskilled with the weapon, and the chal- 
leuger knew it. But Dewey accepted promptly, all the same; the 
seconds were chosen and the ground prepared ; but at this point 
brother students, realizing the serious nature of the affair, informed 
the authorities, and the would-be duelists "were arrested and com- 
pelled to behave themselves. Otherwise it is quite likely this biog- 
raphy would be compelled to stop here. 

There is no reason to suppose that either of the cadets made any 
attempt to dodge the authorities and at a later time complete their 
interrupted quarrel. Nothing would be more unlikely in the case of 
our hero, at least; for the distingui^shing characteristic of the man, 
as a naval officer, has been nis strong sense of discipline — a matter 
in which he could never have excelled unless he had been willing to 
subject himself wholly to the regulations and authorities of the serv- 
ice. Beyond this, it is known that after a time the quarrel was 
healed, and the would-be enemies became fast friends, respecting as 
well as loving one another 



22 LIFE OF DEWEV. 

When Dewe}' graduated he stood fifth in his class at the academy 
— a standing attributable to his fine knowledge of seamanship rather 
than to excellence in the more academic branches of his education. 
But if he did not learn as much of books there as he might, he ac- 
quired a training that was to be of the most vital service to him — 
the sense of self-reliance and self-discipline. He had always been 
self-confident and boyishly daring. He learned to exercise judgment 
for others as well as for himself, and to maintain self-control what- 
ever happened. "Whoso governs himself is greater than he that 
taketh a city," is a maxim of ancient wisdom. This man did 
both— truly lie is "great!" 

As midshipman he first took a practice cruise in the ship Sara- 
toga, going into Southern waters, and spending some time at Key 
West; and here ho became popular among his shipmates, and 
respected, too, for his knowledge of a ship's was's, and his care in 
attending to his duties and tasks as a cadet officer. 

This caused him to be selected by his superiors for assignment to 
one of the best ships of the old navy — the steam frigate Wabash, 
then (isr)'.t) commanded by Captain Barrow's, who was a Virginian, 
and who shortly afterward resigned to enter the service of bis State 
and the Confederac}', where his experience was at once utilized in 
the capture of the Norfolk Navy Yard and the fitting out of the ram 
Virginia (or Merrimac) which did such havoc in Hampton Roads 
until met by the little Monitor. 

The Wabash cruised in the Mediterranean, and the cadet officers 
aboard of it had their first taste of European life; for it was a part of 
the policy of commanders to let their 3'oung men go ashore as often 
as permissible, and see the cities of the old world accessible to them, 
often taking trips inland. Thus Rome and Athens and other cities 
were visited, and knowledge broadened. Among the noted places 
Midshipman Dewey visited was Jerusalem, while the frigate lay at 
Jaffa; and great larks it was for the middies, riding across the 
desert on camels where now one travels in such a commonjilaco way. 

It is a pleasing incident of this trip that in the ancient city young 
Dewey took pains to buy for his beloved grandfather, on the old 
hill farm in Vermont, an olive-wood cane. He sent it home at the 
first opportunity; and it is said that the old gentleman valued this 
cane so highly that he asked for it on his deathbed, so that it lay 
within reach of his feeble band when he passed away. 



CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES. 23 

George was assigned to keep the ship's log of this cruise, doing it 
in a handwriting which is more beautiful, it must be confessed, than 
the chirograph}' of the present busy admiral; and its manuscript 
pages are among the most highly prized possessions of his family. 
A curious coincidence is, that the first vessel of war the Wabash 
encountered on that cruise was a Spanish corvette, with which the 
frigate exchanged the courtesies of the sea. 

Two years were thus passed, and then Dewey came home and pre- 
sented himself at the academy for promotion. He passed the exami- 
nation so well that he not only received the desired advancement, but 
was raised two numbers, making him third in his class. This was 
in 18G0, and he was then given a leave of absence, and returned to 
his home at Montpelier, "on waiting orders, " to enjoy a well-merited 
vacation. 



Civil War Experiences. 

The vacation was to be short. The country was in turmoil. 
War had been threatening between the Northern and Southern 
States. The instant Fort Sumter was fired upon young Dewey ap- 
plied for active service, and received a commission as lieutenant 
(passing over the lower grade of master, equivalent to the present 
lieutenant junior grade), on April 19, 18G0, eight days after the fir- 
ing upon Sumter; and he immediately left his home to join the 
side-wheel steam sloop of war Mississippi, then commanded by 
Captain Melancthon Smith, and attached to the squadron in the Gulf 
of Mexico, where the United States had just taken possession of 
Ship Island off the mouth of the Mississippi River as a naval base. " 

This vessel, together with many others, was engaged in the block- 
ade of the mouths of the Mississippi River, but it was considered 
to draw so much water as to make it impossible for it to cross the 
bar. Moreover, there was for a long time a strange neglect of the 
strategic advantage and duty of sending a suitable naval expedition 
into the Mississippi, and taking possession of this great highwa}', 



u 



LIFE OF DFWEY. 



ment, that 
anything ef- 
fective was 
hegim to be 
(lone; and by 
that time the 
Confederates 
had formed 

immensely strong defenses al 
along the lower river. The 
plan, which was put into 
operation in the spring of 
18G2, proposed a naval ex- 
pedition, commanded by 
Flag Officer Farragut, in- 
tended to reduce the forti- 
fications near the mouth 
of the river, and to ca])- 
ture New Orleans, to bo 
followed b}- an army under 



which might, in the early 
days of the civil war, have 
been done very easily, since 
the Confederates had been 
equally slow in recognizing 
the vast importance of this 
"backbone of the Confeder- 
acy," and in fortifying it or 
preparing to defend New Or- 
leans, Yicksburg and other 
important river towns. 

It was 'not, however, until 
the end of 
18G1, when 
Com mander 
David D.Por- 
ter urged ac- 
tion of this 
kind upon the 
Nav}' Depart- 




LIEITENANT DEWEY. 1861. 



CIVIL WAR EXl'ERIENCES. 25 

General B. F. Butler, which should then take possession of that 
city and region, after which the war vessels would proceed up 
the river, reduce the forts along its banks and co-operate with the 
gunboats already commanding the upper part of the valley, and 
later with the Union armies operating in Tennessee and northern 
Mississippi. 

This plan was ultimately carried out, but it required more time, 
cost of life and material, and hard fighting than were anticipated; 
and it gave j'oung Dewey a "baptism of fire" such as falls to the lot 
of few officers of the navy anywhere. 

The first obstacle to be overcome was the crossing of the bar at 
the mouth of the Mississippi River, in the Southwest Pass, where 
many days were consumed in dragging across the sand the large 
vessels whose draught was too great for the depth of the channel. 
With no ship was greater difficulty experienced than with that in 
which Dewey was now the executive officer, or lieutenant next in 
command to the captain. It was necessary to take out of her all her 
guns, coal, and most of her stores — lighten her almost to complete 
emptiness; and then, after days of ingenious devices and hard tow- 
ing, she was ultimately dragged across. 

She was not as large as the Hartford (Farragut's flagship), the 
Brooklyn, Richmond or Pensacola, frigates carrying from twenty- 
four to twenty-six guns each, since she had only twelve guns; but 
she was associated with them in the foremost place of dauger. She 
was the only side-wheeler of the fleet, and like all the rest was sim- 
ply a wooden vessel, whose only semblance to armor was acquired 
temporarily by hanging her iron anchor-cables in loops over the 
sides— advice suggested for all the vessels by Farragut, and after- 
ward notably employed bj^ the Kearsarge in her momentous duel 
with the Alabama off the harbor of Cherbourg, France. 

The defenses of the river consisted of two immensely strong forts, 
Jackson and St. Philip, on the banks nearly opposite one another 
and about midway between the mouth of the river and New 
Orleans. Farther up there was also a series of strong waterside bat- 
teries at Chalmette, near the site of the celebrated battle of New 
Orleans, in ISU, and some lesser batteries here and there, the whole 
mounting as many and as good guns as the ships could bring to 
bear. In addition to this the Confederates had established a line of 
obstructions across the river below the forts, consisting of huge 



2G LIFE OF DEWEY. 

chaius supported upon a line of anchored bulks and rafts; a great 
number of fire rafts intended to be ignited and floated down against 
the advancing fleet; and a number of ironclad floating batteries, 
rams and gunboats protected by cotton-bale walls, which were sup- 
posed to be very formidable. On the whole the defenses were such 
as it was supposed no naval expedition would try to attack, much 
less succeed in reducing. It is probable that no fleet alone could 
have overcome this opposition, had it not been aided by Porter's in- 
genious idea of a preliminary bombardment which should weaken 
the enemy's works and demoralize his men. This effect was ac- 
complished by the novel introduction of mortar boats — a flotilla of 
twenty-one schooners, each bearing a mortar that spouted a thirteen- 
inch shell. They were anchored under protection of the banks and 
forest some distance below the forts, and for many daj's rained upon 
them such an accurate, incessant and awful fire as to half destroy 
the fortifications, and kill, utterly exhaust or unnerve, a large part of 
the garrisons. 

At the end of this preliminary bombardment a concerted attempt 
was made to run past tlie forts and the Confederate vessels gathered 
near tliem. This was begun about half-pa^t two in the morning of 
April 24, 18G2, the fleet moving forward in three divisions, the first 
under command of Captain Thoodorus Bailey in the Cayuga, fol- 
lowed closely by the Pensacola (afterward under Dewey's command), 
and that by the Mississippi, in which he was executive lieutenant, as 
has been said. These big ships were compelled to keep near the 
west bank where the current was less strong and the water deeper ; 
but this brought them right under the muzzles of the guns of Fort 
St. Philip, which had been little damaged by the mortar boats, and 
where every gun and every rifleman was ready to hurl destruction 
into the daring craft, and a perfect torrent of fire illuminated the 
night, each jet sending red-hot shot or bursting shells jigainst the 
frail bulwarks or through the rigging. 

"On, on tliey steamed"— to quote the words of a writer in the 
Review of lierieirs, "a slow, stately procession that knew no check, 
until the ilames of the broadside guns leaped into the very ports of 
the batteries and the shot struck in midair. So close were they tliat 
the gunners hurled curses at each other across the narrow sjiace of 
black water. 

"On the hi'di l)ridge of the side-wheeler, in the midst of belching 



CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES. 



27 



smoke and flame, stood Dewey, guiding the Mississippi as calmly as 
though he were going up New York Bay on a still afternoon in 
Indian sunmier. He was perfect master of himself. 

" 'Do you know the channel, Dewey?' Captain Smith asked anx- 
iously, and more than once as he paced from port to starboard. 
The lieutenant was very young, only twenty-four, and the situation 
would have tried a veteran. 




ON BOARD THE MISSISSIPPI. 



" 'Yes, sir,' replied Dewey, with confidence every time. But he 
admitted afterward that he expected to ground any moment." 

The same magazine publishes a reminiscence of the day by Chief 
Engineer Baird, United States Navy, who was one of the steamer's 
officers on that terrible night: 

"I can see him now in the red and yellow glare flung from the 



28 LIFE OF DE\VEV. 

caimou-months. It was like some terrible thunder-storm with 
almost incessant lightning. For an instant all would be dark and 
Dewey unseen. Then the forts would belch forth, and there he was 
away up in the midst of it, the flames from the guns almost touch- 
ing him, and the big shot and shell passing near enough to him to 
blow him over with their breath, while he held firmly to the bridge 
rail. Every time the dark came back I felt sure we would never see 
Dewey again. But at the next flash there he stood. His hat was 
blown ofi^ and his eyes were aflame. But he gave his orders with 
the air of a man in thorough command of himself. He took in every- 
thing. He saw a point of vantage and seized it at once." 

That the testimony of this comrade — whose own coolness and 
courage must have been very great to allow him to note these things 
in the midst of such excitement and peril — ^is not overdrawn, is 
shown by the warm words of his commander, Smith, who said in his 
official report of the battle: 

"I have much pleasure in mentioning the efficient service rendered 
by Executive Officer George Dewey, who kept the vessel in her sta- 
tion during the engagement, a task exceedingly difficult from the 
darkness and thick smoke that enveloped us from the fire of our ves- 
sel, and the burning gunboats." 

But the story is yet only half told, for it fell to the Mississippi to 
perform one of the most thrilling and important services of the day. 

The Confederates had afloat there an iron-covered ram called 
Manassas — a cigar-shaped craft, almost wholly submerged and look- 
ing more like a great fish whose back showed round above the 
waves, having a smokestack for a dorsal fin, than like anything 
else; but the fish's nose was a sharp iron prow, designed to pierce 
the hull, beneath the water line, of an enemy's ship. 

This ram had been greatly feared, and showed that she deserved 
it. She had rushed down the river at the first advance of the fleet, 
and darting boldly among them, had struck at everything in her 
way. Appearing sudilenly from behind the Pensacola, when that 
vessel was slowing up opposite Fort St. Philiji to enable her men to 
fire more effectivelj' into the faces of the garrison, she had made a 
rush for the Mississippi; but Dewe^- was on the alert, and steered 
his helm so as to avoid her prow and escape all but a glancing blow 
that did him no very serious damage. Then, her upper structure 
])ierced with his shot, but her machinery uninjured, the ram contin- 



CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES. '^-9 

ued ou her destrncttive errand, acd nearly destroyed both the Brook- 
lyn and Hartford before she was driven away. Then she turnsd 
and ran up the river, in chase of Bailey's ships, which were leading 
the way so triumphantly toward New Orleans, and Farragut sig- 
naled to the Mississippi to run her down and smash her at all haz- 
ards. Now came the test of the 3'oung lieutenant's seamanship, and 
it stood it; the Annapolis training and the middy's cruising experi- 
ence stepped to the front above bookish science. The sailor and 
fighter were required at the moment, with a clear head and a stout 
heart. The emergency called for practice, not theory ; and the man 
of action was there, knowing instantly and surelj" what to do. He 
comprehended without deliberation the right order to give, and a 
moment later the Mississippi was rushing toward the foe. But he, 
too, was on the alert; and just as the Union vessel was to override 
him, dodged the blow by a quick t:n-n of the helm and ran ashore, 
where the crew swarmed out and deserted the stranded hulk. 

Commander Smith sent a boat's crew to set fire to it; and when 
they had returned ho riddled it with shot until the half-consumed 
wreck went afloat, drifted a while and then sank beyond further 
harm or harmfulness. 

Having got past the forts the Mississippi swept up the river with 
the leading ships, until they came to the Chalmette batteries, where 
Dewey's guns spoke with the others in silencing those extensive for- 
tifications and sending their garrisons on the run; and then the fine 
old ship was sent back with some others to a waiting position near 
the forts, to protect the landing of Butler's troops. 

Such was Dewey's first battle; and it showed that the heart which 
had made him stand up to bullies on the school sward, and fight 
hard and long, was equal to these deadlier combats where all the 
forces of gunnery were arrayed against one another. 

For the remainder of that year all that Farragut's flieet attempted 
to do was to patrol the lower river — ^an annoying and dangerous 
duty, for the banks swarmed with sharpshooters, lying in wait 
among the trees to pick off every Union man whom they could get 
a shot at. Here and there, also, an interval of quiet, would give the 
Confederates an opportunity to erect a concealed batter}-, the reduc- 
tion of which would be speedil}' accomplished, but never without 
injury and loss of life on the part of the attacking ships. They had 
also a way of running two or three field guns up behind the natural 



30 LIFE OF DEWEV. 

breastworks afforded by the levee, and unexpectedly opening fire 
upon some ship passing unsuspiciously near the shore, or lying at 
anchor in fancied safety. 

At Port Hudson, Louisiana, the Confederates had been constructing 
and strengthening their second line of defense of the river valley 
during all this time, until they considered it impregnable. The 
national forces had been unable to prevent this; but when the 
spring campaign of 1863 began it was so important for the river to be 
opened, and for the naval and land forces below to be able to co-op- 
erate with Foote's flotilla of gunboats and Grant's army above Vicks- 
burg, that Farragut resolved to attempt to run by the Port Hudson 
batteries, if he could not demolish them. The whole fleet was 
arranged for this attempt on March 14, 18(i3, at midnight, when 
Dewey saw fiercer fighting and more personal danger than he had 
known before, even when almost in the flame of the guns of Fort 
St. Philip, and more than he ever saw again or is likeh' to see. 

Port Hudson was and is a small town on the east bank of the 
great river, a few miles below Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at a point 
where the river makes a bend and the channel winds among islands 
and shoals that cause the i)assage there to be a subject of anxiet}' to 
pilots even in daylight and in time of peace. 

In the spring of 1803 a crescentic series of powerful fortifications, 
having a concentric field of fire, bordered the outside of the bend. 
The gunners were aided at night b}'' the illumination of the water 
afforded by setting fire to huge beacons and rafts of pine knots; and 
bad the assistance of submarine torpedoes in the channel and of sev- 
eral armed vessels and rams which together made the attempt of an 
enemy's fleet to attack or run by the place seem utterly foolhardy — 
in view of the fact that only wooden ships were at hand in which 
to make the overbold trial. 

Nevertheless Flag-Oflicer Farragut, with the full consent of his 
captains, prepared to try it. The fleet, led by the admiral's flag- 
ship, the famous Hartford, stole up the river in midnight darkness 
and quiet, and were not discovered until opposite the forts, when 
a rocket rose from the shore, and a gun spoke, instantly answered 
from the Hartford. 

Following the flagship, so closely that it was with difficulty she 
avoided colliding with her, came the Richmond, her guns blazing 
incessantly; and then came the Monongahela, the Kineo and the 



CIVIL WAR EXPERIENCES. 31 

Mississippi — the last still in charge of George Dewey as executive 
officer, under Melancton Smith as commander. All these ships were 
fighting furiously while the shore-guns, sometimes only fifty or 
sixty yards away, were replying as fast as they could he worked. 
The roar of cannon was incessant, and the flashes of the guns, to- 
gether with the rose-red flight of the shells from the distant mortar 
boats, made a combination of sounds and sights that can hardly be 
imagined. 

Into this mingled beauty and horror of war the young officer, on 
the high bridge of the Mississippi, coolly and skillfully guided his 
vessel, which was pervious to every ball that came from the 
enemy's works. It would be difficult to prepare a situation much 
more dreadful or perplexing. "To add to the horrors of the night," 
writes an eyewitness, "while it contributed toward the enhance- 
ment of a certain terrible beauty, dense clouds of smoke began to 
envelop the river, shutting out from view the several vessels and 
confounding them with the batteries. It was very difficult to know 
how to steer to prevent running ashore, perhaps right under a Con- 
federate battery, or into a consort. , . . So thick was the 
smoke that we had to cease firing several times . . . and the 
battle of Port Hudson has been pronounced by officers and seamen 
who were engaged in it, and who were present at the passage of 
Fort St. Philip and Fort Jackson, as the severest in the naval his- 
tory of the civil war." 

The Hartford got past and sailed on; but an accident to her 
machinery compelled the Richmond to try to turn around and es- 
cape before it was too late. She did so successfully; but when at 
the center of the semicircle of batteries the Mississippi, close behind 
her, ran aground, and instantly there was concentrated upon her the 
whole of the enemy's fire. This deadly work continued for half an 
hour, the Confederates pouring a perfect shower of shot and shell, 
which riddled her hull, ruined her upper works and smashed her 
machinery. All this time the fated vessel was replying with such 
vigor that more than two hundred and fifty shots were sent ashore 
in spite or. the frightful punishment the vessel was getting; and the 
executive officer directed the shooting as coolly as before. 

Then Captain Smith, seeing that there could be no hope of saving 
the ship, ordered every man to leave her. 

"But before 3'ou go spike the guns," shouted Dewey; and he saw 
that the order was obeyed. 



';^Ji£iaL:m'.jim^., j 





OLYMPIA— FLAGSHIP OF THE ASIATll 

The Olympia is an unarmored protected cruiser, havinji a displacement of 5 | 

prepared for action, 21I4 feet. She is practically a sister ship of tin ; 

than either, reaching 21 686 knots anTiour on her official tn | 

imum of i epairs during her constant and arduoi 1 

flag officer and his personal staff, a 1 




UADRON IN THE BATTLE OE MANILA. 

ns Her length is ,40 feet; her breadth, 53 feet; and her mean draft, when 
.mbia and ?he Minneapolis, but exhibits a slightly greater speed 
he was built at a cost of $i.7q6,ooo and has required a min- 
vice. She requires 34 offlcers, exclusive of the 
r complement of men numbers 416. 



34 LIFE OF DEWEV. 

The boats were then manned, the wounded (there were surpris- 
ingh" few, considering the punishment received) were transported to 
the Union gunboat Genessee, which had approached to render as- 
sistance ; the men were mostly landed in safety on the west bank, 
and a journey was made to and from the Richmond to place 
wounded men and oflficers on that vessel. 

All of this time the fire of the batteries continued, and Captain 
Smith and Lieutenant Dewe}- stayed on board and directed opera- 
tions. A man was next sent to set fire to the fore storeroom, and 
did so; but before his blaze got well started, three of the enemy's 
cannon-balls came through that part of the ship and let in water 
enough to drown the flames. Then other fires were started else- 
where in the cabins and hull, and the last boatload waited to see 
that they got well a-going, for it was not intended that the Con- 
federates should profit bj' the capture of a good ship. 

"Are you sure it will burn, Dewey?" asked the captain, when 
none but the two remained on the shell-swept decks; and in reply 
the gallant j^oung lieutenant went again to the cabin, reported the 
fire blazing effectually', and exhibited burned coat tails to show 
how true was his statement. Then both officers leaped into the last 
boat, and made their way through a storm of cannon balls and 
rifle bullets to the friendly shelter of the Richmond, a mile below. 

Lightened of weight by the fire and by the removal of some three 
hundred men, the ship presently lifted her keel from the treacherous 
mud and floated down the river, firing her still shotted guns and 
exploding one by one the shells that la}' upon her decks, until she 
became almost as dangerous to the Richmond and other Federal 
vessels near which she drifted as she would have been had an ac- 
tive foe been guiding her helm. 

Standing on the deck of the Richmond, Dewey watched the good 
old ship that had won such historic renown in all the oceans of the 
globe, rmd had been the scene of so momentous a year of his life, 
drift, blazing and glorious, fighting to the last with invisible ene- 
mies and guided by unseen hands — a sort of furious spirit of a ship, 
expiring in a terrific explosion as the fire reached her magazines, 

Dewey, like every one else, lost everything he possessed in the de- 
struction of his ship. 

He was highly complimented, however, not onh' by Porter and 
other of his more ininiediate superiors, but b}' Farragut himself. 



CIVIL WAR EXPERIENXES. 35 

who now appointed him executive officer of the Agawam — a small 
gunboat, which the admiral made frequent use of as a dispatch 
boat, and for his personal reconnoitering. This little vessel was fre- 
quently fired at, by concealed sharpshooters or temporarj" batteries, 
as has been explained ; and a story has been told of one such occa- 
sion which illustrates both the service and the men. 

Once, when Farragut was aboard and had sailed close up to the 
levee to examine something he was interested in, the enemj^ sud- 
denly ran up a couple of field guns and opened a point-blank fire. 
Farragut saw Dewey duck at a passing shot, and remarked to him : 

"Why don't you stand firm. Lieutenant? Don't you know you 
can't jump quick enough?" 

A day or so after the admiral dodged a shot. The lieutenant 
smiled and held his tongue; but the admiral had a guilty con- 
science. He cleared his throat once or twice, shifted his attitude, 
and finally declared : 

"Why, sir, you can't help it, sir. It's human nature, and there's 
an end to it!" 

In July of that year these covert attacks brought about a sharp 
little fight at Donaldsonville, Louisiana, in which Captain Abner 
Read, commander of the Monongahela, was killed and his executive 
officer severely wounded. Dewey was present, and was so conspic- 
uous for gallantry that he was recommended for promotion on the 
strength of it; and meanwhile he was given command temporarily 
of this fine frigate. 

In the latter part of 18G4, after some service in the James River 
under Commander McComb, Lieutenant Dewey was made executive 
officer of the first-rate wooden man-of-war Colorado, which was 
stationed on the North Atlantic blockading squadron under command 
of Commodore Henry Knox Thatcher. 

The blockade was an exceedingly important part of the plan of 
the war, and it was no reflection upon an officer's courage or effi- 
ciency to be appointed upon it. On the contrary, that service called 
for the highest ability, not only in vigilance and activity, but in 
quickness and coolness in an emergency. 

The blockade was never made so perfect that no vessels could pass 
through, but it became nearly so toward the close of the war, and 
this was a matter of international importance as well as bellig- 
erent value in stopping the Confederates from receiving the for- 
eign supplies upon which they so largely depended. 



36 LIFE OF DEWEV. 

"Large numbers of blockade runners were captured or driven 
ashore and wrecked. The profit on a single cargo that passed either 
way in safety was very gieat, and special vessels for blockade run- 
ning were built in England. The Confederate government enacted 
a law providing that a certain portion of every cargo thus brought 
into its ports must consist of arms or ammunition, otherwise vessel 
and all would be confiscated. This insured a constant suppl)'. 
, . . Clothing and equipments, too, for the Confederate 
armies came from the same source. ... To pay for these 
things, the Confederates sent out cotton, tobacco, rice, and the naval 
stores produced by the North Carolina forests." 

Strenuous efforts were constantly made to shut off this trade and 
communication, which made the traders of Great Britain and other 
European nations practically allies of the confederacy, and such offi- 
cers as Lieutenant George Dewey had shown himself to be were 
needed, especially in the North Atlantic division, which covered 
such ports as Wilmington, where blockade running flourished. 

It was to close the port of Wilmington, as much as to reduce the 
only coast fortification left to the South, that a powerful expedi- 
tion, in which thenav}' was to co-operate with the army, was organ- 
ized against Fort Fisher, at the mouth of Cape Fear River, in the 
early winter of 1804-5. An attack delivered at Christmas proved 
a failure, and the land forces were largely withdrawn for service 
elsewhere. The navy remained, however, and in the middle of Jan- 
uary made a second attack, assisted by some soldiers under Terr}-, 
who were reinforced by marines and sailors from the ships. 

This was one of the hardest fought engagements on land and sea 
of the civil war; and it resulted in a Federal victorj', in which the 
navy, afloat and ashore, carried off the piiucipal honors. 

The Colorado, being a wooden ship, was placed in the line outside 
the monitors and other armored vessels; but as might have been ex- 
pected Dewey managed to get for her a full share of the fighting. 

"Toward the end of the second engagement, when matters were 
moving the right way, Admiral Porter signaled Thatcher to close in 
and silence a certain part of the works. As the ship had already 
received no inconsiderable damage, her officers remonstrated. But 
Dewey, who, in addition to dash and bravery, had now acquired 
marked tactical ability, was quick to see the advantage to be gained 
by the move. 'We shall be safer in there,' he said quietly, *and the 



PEACE AND PROMOTION. 37 

work can be taken in fifteen minutes.' It was. The New York 
Times, commenting upon this part of the action, spoke of it as 'tho 
most beautiful duel of the war.' When Admiral Porter came to 
congratulate Commodore Thatcher the latter said generously : 
" 'You must thank Lieutenant Dewey, sir. It was his move.' " 
Nevertheless Thatcher was promoted to be a rear-admiral and 
tried to take Dewey with him as his fleet captain when he w^ent to 
supersede Farragut at Mobile Bay. This was not permitted, but 
Dewey was promoted to be a lieutenant-commander. 



VL 

Peace and Promotion. 

After the close of the civil war Lieutenant-Commander Dewey 
remained in active service, and was sent to the European station as 
executive officer of the Kearsarge — the famous old ship that had 
sunk the privateer Alabama. After a year of this, he was as- 
signed to duty in the navy yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 
and there met the lady who became his wife. 

The story of the courtship was told by his sister, Mrs. Mary 
Greeley, now dwelling in Montpelier, to the representative of The 
New Voice, of New York, as follows: 

" 'Let me show you a sweet picture — one that very few people ever 
see,' she said softly, as she drew from its hiding-place a small 
photograph. It was a copy of another picture, and a bit dim, but 
it revealed a madonna face of peculiar loveliness. 'That,' she 
said, her eyes swimming with tears — 'that is Susie, George's wife. 
There are some things that are sacred, you know. That is one of 
them." 

"I had not the heart, " says the writer, "to press her with questions 
about the matter. I knew the story of the picture already. The 
family seldom mention it outside the home circle. Thirty-two 
years ago, Lieutenant Dewey was stationed at Portsmouth, and 
there met Susie Goodwin, daughter of New Hampshire's 'war gov- 
ernor,' a Democrat who fitted out troops for the war at his own ex- 
pense. Lieutenant Dewey and Commander Rhind, of the Narra- 



38 



LIFE OF DEWEY, 








^^ 



^^-v^ 




gansett, for a time 
alternated in their 
calls at the Good- 
win home; but the 
commander sailed 
away, leaving the 
coast clear for the 
yonng lieutenant. 
The w e d d 1 n <^ 
took place in the 
old mansion on 
October 2-i, ISO:. 
Shortly afterward, 
George was or- 
dered away for a 
two-years' cruise 
in European wa- 
ters, leaving his 
young bride at 
Portsmouth, but 
carrying in his 
bosom her favorite 
picture. At Rome, 
a celebrated Ital- 
ian artist made 
from it, for him, 
two miniatures on ivory. One of these was afterward lost at sea. 
Later events made the other too precious to carry on an}- voyage. 
It is among the Goodwin family treasures at the Portsmouth home." 
Dewey came back from his European cruise a commander, and 
was stationed at Newport in command of the Narragansett. There 
his bride joined him, and less than three more years of wedded life 
ended the union. In 1X72 a child was born— George Goodwin they 
called him— but within a week the young mother's spirit Hew up- 
ward. This son and this picture remain to remind Admiral Dewe}- 
of liis life's sweet dream that ended in such a cloud— his first and 
only love. In 1807 George Goodwin Dewey graduated at Prince- 
ton, and is now with a mercantile establishment in New York. 
Our hero's next tour of duty was in 1807 and 1808 as executive 



SUSIE GOODWIN (MRS. DEWEY). 
Copy of tlie ivory miniature made at Rome, Italy, shortly befon 
Mrs. Dewey's death. 



PEACE AND PROMOTION. 



39 



officer of the Colorado — the same fine old vessel in which he had 
wou his honors at Fort Fisher, and now the flagship of the European 
squadron. 

Of this cruise many anecdotes have been recalled by shipmates. 
One tells how, in a gale in the Bay of Biscay, the Colorado got into 
a very dangerous situation on a lee shore, and Dewey sprang into 
the rigging and went out upon the yards, partly to lend the help of 
his arms, but mainly to encourage the men to put forth their utmost 
efforts in handling the sails so as to carry the good ship to safety. 

The admiral in command of the ship and squadron was that 
hearty old sea-dog Goldsborough, and one of Dewey's companions 
was John Crittenden Watson — the same man, who, as rear-admiral, 
relieved Admiral Dewey of his duties at Manila, when he wished 
to return to the United States in the summer of 1899. 

Some tranquil 3^ears followed the end of Dewey's cruise in the 
Colorado. For two years, from 1868 to 1870, he was an instructor 
at the Naval Academy, where he became one of the most popular, 
although among the strictest of the preceptors. His cheery quarters 
on the Sautee are well remembered. The next year he did special 
surveying work in the steamer 
Narragansett, and in 1872 was 
given command of that vessel, 
and spent nearly four years in 
her, engaged in the service of the 
Pacific Coast Survey. 

This entitled him to a period of 
rest ashore; and he was ordered to 
Washington, and made light- 
house inspector in 1870, and sub- 
sequently secretary of the light- 
house board, a service in which he 
took great interest. Meanwhile 
he had been promoted to the 
grade cf commander. 

This residence in Washington 
as a bureau officer of high rank 
gave him an extensive acquaint- 
ance, and he became one of the 
most popular men in the capital. oeorge goodwin dewey. 




40 LIFE 0¥ DEWKY. 

. He lived principally at the Metropolitan Club, the leading social 
club of Washington; and the members say that whenever he 
was on their house committee the improvement in the kitchen 
and dining room was most pleasantly noticeable. It is certain 
that he has always been extremely popular, in Washington and 
elsewhere, as a clubman and a social guest, having the ability 
CO amuse as well as to be gracefully serious in social company. 
He has always been noted, also, for nicety of dress, and for a certain 
elegance of deportment rather unexpected in a man known in 
the service to be so hard a worker and so reckless a fighter. 

In 1882 this vacation time in Washington came to an end by his 
being sent to the Asiatic station in command of the Juniata, where 
he studied the situation with care and acquired information of im- 
mense importance ten years later. The rank of captain was 
reached in 1884, and he was ordered home and given command of 
the Dolphin — one of the first four of the original white squadron, 
which formed the basis of the new and modern navy of the United 
States. The Dolphin was intended as a dispatch hoat, and was 
often used as "the president's yacht;" and it is quite likely that 
Captain Dewey's well-known qualit}^ of "good fellow" caused this 
pojjular assignment to be given him, (piite as much as it was due to 
his professional skill. 

His sense of seamanship and disci jili no was not lost, however, 
either in the social glitter or the nautical novelty of his new com- 
mand, if the following newspaper story may be credited : 

One day a sailor, who held a special position, some sort of a clerk 
or yeoman, refused to obey an order of the executive lieutenant on 
the Dol{)hin, pleading that it was outside of his line of duty. Find- 
ing remonstrance useless the officer reported this grave dereliction to 
the captain, who called the man before him. 

To have Dewey simply look hard at him, with those piercing 
bla(!k eyes, usually sufficed to bring a misbehaving Jacky to terms; 
but this man was unmoveil. 

"What!" said the captain, "you still refuse to obey? Do you not 
know that tliat is mutiny? Your oath on your enlistment bound you 
to obey your superior officers, regardless of what they required in 
the line of service. Think of it." 

The man was silent and inmiovable. A moment later the captain 
ordered up a file ot marines, stood the recalcitrant sailor on the far 



PEACE AND PROMOTION. 41 

side of the deck, bade the marines load their guns, and took out his 
watch. 

"Now, my man," said he; "you have just five minutes in which 
to obey that order." 

He began to call off the minutes — one — two — three — four 

The yeoman turned and fled to the place w^here he had been or- 
dered, and he has been earnest ever since in advising his fellows not 
to "monkey with the Old Man." 

His relations with his men have always been stern, yet kindly. 
They have everywhere admired and respected and trusted him, even 
although he did not elicit the affectionate regard some commanders 
are able to evoke. The loyalty and trust borne toward him by 
every man in the squadron was one of the elements that most 
strongly contributed to his success at Manila. The New York Sun 
contained, recently, a story told of his methods of discipline. 

"We hadn't been to sea with him long," said the narrator, refer- 
ring to a European cruise, "before we got next to how he despised 
a liar. One of the petty officers went asb.ore at Gibraltar, got 
mixed up with the soldiers in the canteens on the hill, and came off 
to the ship paralyzed. He went before the captain at the mast the 
next morning. He gave Dewey the 'two-beers-and-sunstruck' yarn. 

" 'You're lying, my man,' said Dewey. 'You were very drunk. 
I myself heard you aft in my cabin. I will not have my men lie to 
me. I don't expect to find total abstinence in a man-o'-war crew. 
But I do expect them to tell me the truth, and I am going to have 
them tell me the truth. Had you told me candidly that you took 
a drop too much on j'our liberty, you'd have been forward by this 
time, for you, at least, returned to the ship. For lying you get ton 
days in irons. Let me have the truth hereafter. I am told you are 
a good seaman. A good seaman has no business lying. ' 

"After that there were few men aboard who didn't throw them- 
selves on the mercy of the court when they waltzed up to the stick 
before Dewey, and none of us ever lost anything by it. He'd have 
to punish us in accordance with regulations, but bo bad a groat way 
of ordering the release of men he had sentenced to the brig before 
their time was half-worked out." 

In 1885 Captain Dewey undertook another tour of sea service, and 
for three j^ears was in command of the Pensaeola(familiar to him 
in the New Orleans fights), now flagship of the European squadron. 



42 I>IFE OF DEWEV. 

Returning to Washington in ]S93 he resumed the life of a bureau 
officer, being attached to tbe lighthouse board, and remained there 
until ISOG. when he was commissioned commodore, and transferred 
to the board of inspection and survey. 



VII. 

Victory. 

Commodore Dewey felt, in 1897, that his health was suffering 
in the climate and inaction of Washington, and applied for sea 
duty. It was granted to him, and he was assigned to the command 
of the Asiatic station. It has been questioned whether this suited 
this officer, who was so fond of his work. He felt certain, as did so 
many others at Washington that year, that war with Spain was im- 
minent; and it is said that he shared in the popular belief that it 
would be confined to West Indian waters, or at least to the North 
Atlantic. Hence he may have feared that duty to China was likely 
to keep him out of active participation in the conflict, for few had 
thought of the Philippines as a field of serious war. 

On the other hand, an opposite view seems to be nearer the truth. 
This view is well stated by Mr. A. S. Stickney, who was closer to 
our hero in the Philippine campaign than any other writer. 

"It has been said," he writes, "that Commodore Dewey sought 
to obtain the command of the Asiatic station because he foresaw 
the opportunity that was to come to him. In one sense this is true. 
Dewey has always been a man of action, a natural fighter. That 
he went gladly to the East Indies command, when at least two other 
flag officers could have had it if they had wanted it, and that he 
preferred taking service afloat to any kind of comfortable duty on 
shore, is true; but it was the seaman's instinct that led him, rather 
than any prophetic power. There were several questions of grave 
imi)ortance likely to come before the country, and Conmiodore 
Dewey knew that the man in command at sea is the man who is in 
a position to make opportunities for himself; while the men who 
cling to easy billets ashore must — when war clouds threaten — stand 
aroimd and wait for chances to come to them. 



VICTORY 



43 



"It was no mere chance that put George Dewey in command in the 
East; it was the logical working out of the principles of a lifetime. 
The men who had always had sufficient influence to keep them in 
time of peace in easy places in New York and Washington, while 
others did the hard work of the service at sea, discovered that all 
their influence could not give them the places of danger and of honor 
in time of war. It was a good lesson for the navy, and it should 
be remembered by every young officer." 

The Commodore hoisted his flag at Hongkong in December, 1897, 
and instantly began preparations for warlike service. 




THE ASIATIC SQUADRON IN THE HARBOR OF HONGKONG. 



As early as January, indeed, the Navy Department began to send 
him prophetic instructions, as it was doing to other commanders 
imder the foresighted and energetic administration of Secretaries 
John D. Long and Theodore Roosevelt. 

Commodore Dewey was ordered in January to retain all enlisted 
men whose terms had expired ; and a month later was told to keep 
the Olympia, instead of sending her back to San Francisco. On the 
contrary, he was instructed to assemble all his squadron at Hong- 



44 LIFE OF DEWEY, 

kong, and to fill all the bunkers with the best coal to be bought. 
At the same time the cruiser Baltimore was dispatched to him from 
this country, via Hawaii; and at Honolulu was met by the steamer 
Mohican from San Francisco, which transferred to her a shipload 
of ammunition, prudently sent far in advance of its possible use. 

Dewey's ships were scattered up and down the Asiatic coast; but 
by the end of March the whole squadron, except the antiquated 
wooden Monocacy, had been gathered in the port of Hongkong, 
their coal and stores replenished to the fullest. Then came a period 
of waiting, very tedious, not only, but accompanied by constant 
strain, and fretted b}' little news and many false rumors. 

"With much anxiety, and always on the alert all through the trying 
time of suspense, the connnodore was constantly making ready. First 
he sent the fleet paymaster over to the consignees of the English 
steamship Nanshan, and bought her as she was, with 3,300 tons of 
good Cardiff coal on board. Then he bought the Zafiro, a steam- 
ship of the Manila-Hongkong line, just as she was, with all her 
fuel and provisions, and on her was placed all the spare ammuni- 
tion, so that she became the magazine of the fleet. 

*'0n April 18th, the McCulloch came in and joined the squadron. 
She was only a revenue cutter, it is true, but she was as good as a 
gunboat, being built of steel, having 1,500 tons displacement, and 
carrying four 4-inch guns and a crew of one hundred and thirty 
men, all ready to fight. ... On the 21st, when General Woodford 
was leaving Madrid, and Sefior Polo was slij)ping out of Washing- 
ton, the Baltimore appeared, a powerful addition to the fleet, and 
bringing also her load of ammunition, so that she was doubly wel- 
come." 

As the news now daily published in Hongkong made war seem cer- 
tain, all the beautiful white vessels were repainted war-gray, 
and the last possible preparations made. All doubt was ended 
when the cable brought word of the declaration of wrt, to date from 
April 22d. and also of England's declaration of neutrality. Word 
was therefore sent to the American commander by the Governor of 
Hongkong that his vessels could no longer be harbored there. 
That was no hardsiiip, for they were as completely outfitted as they 
cared to be, and only a few miles away were the Chinese waters of 
Mirs Bay, where nobody would or could interfere with their anchor- 
age. Thither Dewey took his ships on April *^5th, leaving the 



VICTORY. 45 

MoCulloch to bring last dispatches; and the next daj- she joined 
the fleet in a hurry, taking to the commander the following fate- 
ful message from the Government of the United States : 

'^ Dewey, Asiatic Squadron: 

" War has commenced between the United States and Spain. Pro- 
ceed at once to Philippine Islands. Commence operations at once, 
particularly against the Spanish fleet. You must capture vessels 
or destroy. Use utmost endeavors. Long." 

This was on the 2Gth. At two p. m. the next day, April 27, 
Dewey's squadron was leaving Mirs Bay for the Philippine Islands, 
in search of another squadron of warships as large and as new and 
as well-armed as itself, to seek the first naval encounter of modern 
ships and with modern ordnance. 

Let us examine this fleet as it falls into column and steams out 
into that rough, typhoon-swept six hundred miles of water that sep- 
arates the Chinese coast from the Spanish archipelago. 

The flagship is the Olympia, a first-class steel cruiser of 5,870 
tons, protected by steel deck plates, steel-covered barbettes, gun 
shields and conning tower, and a cellulose belt thirty-three inches 
thick and eight feet broad. Her main battery is composed of four 
8-inch guns, her secondary battery of ten quick-fire fives, and in 
addition fourteen G-pounders, six 1-pounders, all rapid-fire, and four 
Gatlings. Captain C. Y. Gridley (now dead), commander. 

The Baltimore is a steel cruiser of the second rate, with a dis- 
placement of 4,413 tons, and a protection of steel deck plates and 
shields for all the guns and conning tower. Her armament is 
heavy, and consists of four 8-inch, and six (i-inch guns, with two G, 
two 3, and two 1-pounders, all rapid-fire, and six machine guns. 
Captain N. Mayo Dyer, commander. 

The Boston (Captain Frank Wilder) is another cruiser of the 
second rate, of 3,000 tons, a partially protected deck, two 8-inch and 
six slow-fire G-inch guns, two 6-pounders, two S-poimd, two 1- pound 
rapid-fire, and four machine guns. 

The Ealeigh is a thn-d second-rate steel cruiser of 3,213 tons. 
Her armament consists of one rapid-fire G-inch, and ten rapid-fire 
5-inch guns, with a secondary battery of eight G-pounders, four 
1-pounders and two Gatlings. Her deck and conning tower are 



46 LIFE OF DEWEV. 

protected with armor; she has a celhilose belt and steel sponsons. 
Captain J. B. Coghlan, commander. 

The Concord is much smaller — only a steel gunboat with a dis- 
placement of 1,710 tons, carr3'ing six (J-inch gnns, and a secondary 
battery of eleven machine guns, and having her deck and conning 
tower protected. Commander Asa Walker, commander. 

Next is the Petrel, a true gunboat, but very small, only Hl)-> tons, 
and carrying four 4-inch and four small machine gnns. Comman- 
der E. P. Wood, commander. 

Then there is the McCuUoch, a revenue cutter, but, as has been 
said, well enough built and armed to pass as a gunboat. Captain 
Hodgson commander. The collier Nanshan, and the storeship 
Zafiro (Lieutenant McLean), non-combatants, complete the number 
of nine vessels with which Commodore Dewey sailed to his triumph. 

The grim, lead-colored vessels fell into line, the Olympia leading, 
with the McCulloch near by to serve as a dispatch boat, and the 
Boston bringing up the rear. As night fell they were moving 
southeast over a long, easy swell at a uniform eight- knot gait, their 
positions marked in the gloom only by their lights, and everj'thiug 
quiet. All the next day the regular pace is maintained, and upon 
each ship final preparations for work are carried forward. Orders 
and remarks are constantly passing among the fleet, the colored 
lights winking out their messages at night, and flags waving them 
by daj'. The night of the 28th was very dark and rough; but the 
fleet kept steadily on, the flagship incessantly scanning the horizon 
with its great electric searchlight, but finding nothing. 

The next da}', April 21)th, work and drill continued. All the ships 
were short of officers and men; and even the few civilians aboard, 
clerks, newspaper correspondents, etc., were trained to service. 

On every vessel the iron railings were replaced by ropes, and 
everything about the deck that could be removed was stowed deep 
in the hold or thrown overboard, to prevent the flight of fragments 
and splinters, which are as much dreaded on shipboard as the shot 
itself. The rigging was "snaked" with zigzag lines, eo that if a 
heavy wire rope aloft be shot in two it will not fall upon the sailors' 
heads. Every lifeboat is wrapped in canvas to prevent its pieces 
flying, should it be struck. Everything buoyant, such as mattresses 
and life preservers, is laid on deck, where it may be quickly tossed 
to a man overboard, or will float and hel]) sustain survivors should 



VICTORY 47 

the vessel itself go down. The carpenters are busy in making wooden 
plugs for shot-holes, and in rigging cot hoists by which to lower 
the wounded below, while the surgeons prepare the hospital room 
with all the grim appliances for treating the wounded. Finally all 
the sails are brought up and laid in thick folds about exposed places, 
to shelter the men as much as possible against rifle balls, fragments 
of shell and other small missiles. Every precaution possible is made 
for safety. 

Early on Saturday morning, April 30th, the Philippine coast is 
sighted at Cape Bolinao, about one hundred miles north of Manila 
Bay, whereupon the Boston and Concord are sent several miles in 
advance as scouts. The fleet follows, skirting the green coast; 
every man is watchful and quiet, and all the decks are cleared for 
action. Toward noon the Baltimore is ordered ahead to join the 
scouts, and when she has overtaken them the three vessels cautiously 
enter Subig Bay, about thirty miles north of Manila, where it is 
thought the Spanish squadron may be lying in wait. The fleet 
slowly proceeds, stopping a moment to overhaul a fighing boat, but 
getting no information of value. Then the Boston and its consorts 
come out from Subig Bay and report that nothing is there. A halt 
is now called, and the commanders of all the vessels are summoned 
on board the flagship. 

This meeting on the eve of the momentous entrance into Manila 
Bay has been called a conference, or council of war, and to a certain 
extent it doubtless was so; but it is plain that the mind of the admi- 
ral was already made up, and that this "council," like those which 
Grant occasionally held, was not for deciding upon a plan by vote, 
but simply to communicate to his assistants a full understanding of 
the leader's intentions and instructions. It is admitted, however, 
that either here, or previously, he modified his intention of entering 
in line abreast to the formation followed — a column of ships one 
behind the other— upon arguments advanced by Flag-Lieutenant 
Brumby and other officers. When, at six o'clock, the captains re- 
turned to their several vessels, each announced to his officers and 
crew that Manila Bay was to be entered that night. 

This was a serious prospect; but it was faced by all with quiet 
confidence. Although all the American ships were modern, and 
armed, as a rule, with the best modern guns, there was not a sin- 
gle armor-clad among them. They were all practically unarmored, 



48 LIFE OF DEWEY. 

and they were going through channels which were said to be filled 
with torpedoes, to encounter, so far as they knew, a more numer- 
ous fleet, composed of old ships, it is true, hut sirmed with modern 
guns, and backed, as it was understood, by forts mounted with 
the finest and heaviest modern rifles. Let us pause a moment and 
consider what was the task before this commander and his men. 

The Bay of Manila is one of the largest and finest roadsteads and 
harbors in the world, rvmning nearly thirty miles into the eastern 
coast of the Island of Luzon. 

"Twenty-six miles from the mouth is Manila. Some two hundred 
and fifty thousand people there, the vague Spanish statistics tell us. 
It is an interesting town, low-lying, Rnd called the Venice of the 
East, because rivers intersect it. There are a new and an old town, 
the latter beautifully walled in the manner of three hundred years 
ago, with moats, drawbridges, and portcullises, altogether very pic- 
turesque, and worthy of preservation. 

"Ten miles nearer the bay's mouth, and on the same side, lies 
Cavite, a suburb of Manila, with some five thousand people, a navy 
yard, arsenal, and fortifications. At the entrance of the harbor lie 
two islands, pretty well in the middle— one large, over six hundred 
feet high, called Corregidor, one small, but over four hundred feet 
in height. Between the islands is a narrow channel with eight 
fathoms of water at the narrowest part. 

"Between Caballo and the little island of El Fraile three miles 
width of channel with eighteen fathoms of water, and known as the 
Boca Grande. On the other side, between Corregidor and San Jose 
Point, a channel known as the Boca Chica, two miles wide and of 
ample depth. Taken altogether, they are very fit and stately 
entrances to the great bay beyond. 

"There are forts on Corregidor and Caballo, as well as light- 
houses, and batteries also on El Fraile, which lies to the south- 
ward. More forts on Limbones and San Jose points, heavily armed 
with the best Krupp guns, according to the information brought to 
Hongkong, Nevertheless, they were all to be i)assed ; and as the 
ships headed for the bay they saw the great light, the guardian of 
peaceful commerce, burning bright upon Corregidor." 

The Spanish navy occupying this marine stronghold is shown in 
the following table, so far as it came into action. Several other 
gunboats were present in the hay or rivers, but did not take part. 



VICTORY. 

SPA^'ISH Fleet. 



49 



Reina Cristiaa 

Castilla 

Don Antonio de Ullo.i 
lion Juan de Austria 

Isia de Luzon 

Islade Cu.a 

Veiusco 

JIarques del Dusro.. 

General Lezo 

Arsos 



Steel cruiser. 

Wooden cruiser. 

Iron cruiser. 

Iron cruiser. 

Steel protected cruiser 

steel protected cruiser. 

Iron cruiser. 

Gunboat. 

Gunboat. 

Gunboat. 





Armament 








t'^OU 


Six t>.~-in.. luii e ;. i: 

ri.9, two -I.;. iuL.:;,4. 

Four 4.;. .J i; 

Four4.r. twuiJ.;. 

Six 4 7. 8 K. 

Six 4 7, 8 R. 

Three 6-in., two 2. 

One 6 2. t n 4 7. 

One n.o. 1 R. 


R 

i' 
1 

!•'. 
F. 

'r 

1'. 


'P 

r 


Vivo. 

.'J. i:n. V. 

F. 
F. 









1887 
1M81 



T\vi< torpedo boats and two transports, practically n^t in action. 

With this may be compared the follovviug tabulation of the Ameri- 
n fleet: 

American Fleet. 



(Jlynii)ia 

i-laitinioi'e 

Bosion 

K.ilei-li 

Coiiccird 

IVrrel 

.Mc(Julloeli,not in action 



Protected cruiser. 

Protected cruiser. 

Piir. protected cruiser 

Protected cruiser. 

Gunboat. 

Gunboat. 

Revenue-cutter. 



Four 8-in., ten 5 in., 24 Rap. Fire. 

FourSin., six 6- n., 10 R. F. 

Two 8-in., six 6 in., 10 R F. 

One t)-in., ten 5 in., 14 R. F. 

Six 6-in., 9R F. 

Fo r6-iu., 7R. F. 

Four 4 in. 



N'o.of 


■Riiilt 


ilei). 




4fir, 


1S93 


:m 


1888 


272 


1884 


2H.-1 


1892 


1.=il 


18:11 


10( 




130 


1888 



It will be seeii by these tables that Commodore Dewey proposed 
to oppose six fighting ships, excluding the McCulloch, agaiast ten, 
plus two torpedo boats. Neitiier fleet was armored, in the modern 
naval sense of the word, and their plated walls gave no moie pro- 
tection on one side than on the other. The Spanish ships, compared 
with the American, were older and of inferior types; but as they 
were to fight from an anchorage, where (it was to be supposed) 
ranges had been previously ascertained, the American superiority 
in speed and engine power did not siguif}' much. 

"The Spaniards had fifty-two classified big guns, "says an author- 
ity, "and seventy-two rapid-fire and machine guns; the Americans 
fifty-seven classified big guns, and seventy-four rapid-fire and 
machine guns. The Americans had ten 8-incb guns, while the 
largest Spanish guns were 6.2 inches. Commodore Dewey therefore 
had the advantage in weight of metal and in heavy guns, and his 
flagship, the Olympia, far outclassed anything opposed to him. On 
the other haod, Dewey had to pass through a wide channel, with 



50 LIFE OF DEWEY. 

powerful forts armed with modern guns on either side, in order to 
enter the bay. He then had to steam sixteen miles before he came 
opposite Cavite, while, from the best information received, he ex- 
pected mines to be all about him." 

We have not run ahead of our story in explaining this state of 
things, because it was the full know^ledge of these facts, and the 
theoretical superiority of the enemy they implied, which made 
every man look grave. 

As darkness fell on the evening of April 3()th every ship made 
ready for work. Battle ports were put up, chart rooms sealed, and 
every crevice where light might show was carefully closed. No 
lights were hoisted aloft or allowed on deck, except one at the stern, 
visible only from the rear, and intended as a guide to the ships 
behind as each pursued the other in the established line. It was a 
still, dark night with the half-moon hidden by gray clouds= At a 
low rate of speed and in perfect silence the procession glided into 
the bay, and the crew, with cutlasses belted on, lay down on 
mattresses thrown about the deck by the guns, to get three or four 
hours' sleep if they could. 

As midnight approached the men were awakened, called to quar- 
ters, and sat watchful at their stations. 

"The Olympia," writes Mr. J. T. McCutcheon of the Chicago 
Record, who was aboard the McCulloch, "turns in and steers directly 
for the center of tlie southern and wider channel. The Baltimore 
follows, and in regular order the rest of the fleet slide on through 
the night to the entrance. Still there is no tiring from the forts, 
and it is hoped that the daring maneuver may not be discovered. 
The excitement at this time is intense. The somber Corregidor 
and the mass of hills at the south are watched with straining eyes. 

"About this time the soot in the funnel of the McCulloch caught 
fire, and this circumstance may have revealed the movements of the 
fleet to the enemy. ... A faint light flashed up on the land and 
then died out. A rocket leaped from Corregidor and then all was 
darkness and stillness again. . . . 

"Suddenly, just at l'l:\b o'clock (Sunday morning. May 1st) a 
white puff of smoke curls out, and for the first time in the lives of 
nearly all on the McCulloch the sound of a screaming cannon ball 
is heard. It passed well clear of the McCullocli, toward which it 
was fired. . . . Then there came the sound like the crashing of 



VICTORY. 51 

thunder, and from the Boston went an 8-inch shell from her after 
gun. This was the first shot fired by the Americans." 

It was followed by an exchange of a few more shots; but the big 
guns on Corregidor Island did not open, and a few moments later 
all the ships were creeping slowly on in safety toward Cavite, about 
seventeen miles distant, and on the southeast side of the bay near 
Manila. Every one Avho could do so lay down and tried to sleep, 
gathering strength for what the morning might bring forth. 

The sudden dawn of the tropics flooded Manila Bay with light, 
and there in tlie bight beside and behind the peninsula and arsenal 
and forts of Cavite lay the Spanish squadron. Straight ahead rpoved 
the procession, every masthead and peak flinging the stars and 
stripes to the sunrise breeze, until its head had reached a range of 
about four miles from the shore batteries. Then the great guns 
opened, and in a moment tremendous projectiles and enormous shells 
were hurtling about the American ships, w-hich kept advancing in 
their regular order, though the McCulloch had been left behind to 
guard the transports, yet near enough not only to witness everything 
well, but to be exposed herself to the longest shots. 

Suddenly, just ahead of the flagship, there came a quivering 
shock, and a great column of water leaped into the air ; another 
quiver and another burst of mud and water followed, again too far 
away for harm. The dreaded mines were really there, then, and 
the fleet was upon them ; but Dewej^ had been trained under the 
man who said: "Damn the torpedoes," and neither the Olympia 
nor any other ship hesitated or moved its helm. This was all that 
was seen or heard of the much-talked-of torpedoes — if there were others 
they failed to explode; as for those in the channel at Corregidor, it 
appeared that they really had been said to be sown there, but were 
allowed to sink to the bottom in eighty feet of water. Not much 
to be afraid of there ! 

For some time no reply was made by the Americans. Then Com- 
modore Dewey remarked to his captain : 

"If you are ready, Gridley, you may fire." 

The captain was ready. The port 8-inch gun of the forward tur- 
ret rang out, and the great shell sped over the water to the Spanish 
flagship, and with it was hurled a mighty shout of defiance and 
vengeance from fifteen hundred sailor throats: 

'"'■Remember the Maine!'''' 



52 



LIFE OF DKWEV 



Tbeii up went the signal "Fire as convenient;" and the ships 
behind the Olympia opened at once. 

The Spauiards were not behindhand. From ships and forts there 
was a continuous roar, and the shells began to "strike all about the 
American squadron. One burst so near the Oh'mpia that its frag- 
ments cut the rigging, plowed a furrow in the deck, and tore the 
forward bridge where the commodore stood, with Commander Lam- 
berton, bis chief of staff, Executive Lieutenant Rees, Navigator 
Calkins (who steered the ship with the utmost nicety and coolness) 
and two aids, one of which was Albert Stickney, an ex-naval officer, 
now acting for the New York Ilerahl. 

"At 5:40," notes McCutcheon, from his post of observation, "the 
firing becomes incessant. A battery at the Mole, in Manila, and 
nearly five miles to the east, has now begun firing, and the Boston 
is occupied with shelling a fort on the mainland beyond the arsenal 
at Cavite. The Reina Cristina, w'bicb is the Spanish flagship, 
shows up black and fierce in the front of the enemy's fleet. The 

Castilla is nearly 
abreast of her, and is 
protected by large bar- 
ges, which make it im- 
possible for shells to 
penetrate below the 
v\ater-liue. T h e Don 
Antonio de Ulloa is a 
little behind the other 
vessels. From Bakor 
Bay, the naval anchor- 
age, comes the fire from 
the Don Juan de Aus- 
tria, a cruiser; the Isla 
de Luzon, and Isla de 
("uba, iirotected cruis- 
ers, and the ^larques del 
Duero. General Lezo, 
El Correo, and Yelasco. 
The latter vessels steam 
" '— back and forth from the 

ON THE BRiDOE OF THE oLVMPiA. protection of the walls. 

Battle oC Jlunila Bay. ^ 




VICTORY. 53 

"The American lleet now forms in line, and, steaming in a wide 
circle, pours shells from the port and bow guns as the vessels pass. 
Then the ships swing around, and, continuing in the long ellipse, 
turn loose the guns of the stern and starboard sides. In this way all 
the guns on both sides of the warships are kept in action part of the 
time, and the vessels are constantly moving. The fleet makes three 
complete circles, each time going into shorter range until a range of 
about two thousand, five hundred j'ards is reached. 

"iSTow the Olympia has ceased firing, and . . . withdraws, fol- 
lowed b}" the rest of the squadron. The Spanish keep on firing with 
almost as much vigor as ever. It is now 7 :45 o'clock, and the fight 
has lasted two and one-half hours. During all this time there has 
been incessant firing, and the whole sky is hazy with smoke. The 
tremendous resistance and striking courage of the Spanish is a 
revelation. A feeling of profound gloom comes over us as the 
American ships withdraw for consultation." 

The admiral's explanation of this curious maneuver, which 
aroused the astonishment and curiosity of the whole world, was 
simply that the fleet stopped fighting a little while to give the men 
and guns a rest and cooling-off spell, and to get breakfast; having 
attended to this pleasing duty and smoked a morning pipe all round, 
the ships would take hold again and finish their job. 

Undoubtedly the men needed and profited by rest and food, and 
upon the condition of the men depended all the hoped-for results. 
The commodore himself needed it. He was not robust, and at the 
time of the battle was suffering from a painful and debilitating 
attack of indigestion; yet, in his white duck suit and soft cap — ^no 
sword or pistols or fuss of any sort — he had stood on the bridge 
through all the fight, his eyes on everything and careless of the 
blaze of Spanish projectiles hurled toward him most of all. 

But it is doubtful whether illness or weariness or hunger w^ould 
ever have caused that strange pause, had there not been a more 
cogent reason — lack of ammunition. This has been revealed by JVIr. 
Stickney (heretofore mentioned), in an article in Harper'' s Magazine 
for February, 1809, in the following language: 

"When we hauled off from the fighting line at 7:30 o'clock, the 
situation had become apparently serious for Commodore Dewey. 
We had been fighting a determined and courageous enemy for more 
than two hours without having noticeably diminished the volume 
of his fire. It is true, at least three of his ships had broken into 
flames; but so had one of ours — the Boston. These fires had all been 
put out without apparent injury to the ships. Generally speaking, 
nothing of great importance had oc?urred to show that we had seri- 
ously injured any Spanish vessel. 

"On the other hand, our condition was greatlj^ altered for the 
worse. There remained in the magazines of the Olympia only 
eighty-five rounds of 5-inch ammunition, and though the stock of 



54 LIFE OF DEWEY. 

8-iiich charges was not proportionately depleted, it was reduced 
enough to make the continuance of the battle for another two hours 
impossible. When it is remembered that Commodore Dewey was 
more than seven thousand miles from a home port, and that under 
the most favorable conditions a supply of ammunition could not be 
obtained in less than a month, the outlook was far from being satis- 
factory. ... If we should run short of powder and shell, we 
might become the hunted instead of the hunters. 

"I do not exaggerate in the least when I say that, as we hauled 
oft" in the bay, the gloom on the bridge of the Olympia was thicker 
than a London fog in November. Neither Commodore Dewey nor 
any of the staff believed that the Spanish ships had been sufficiently 
injured by our fire to prevent them from renewing the battle quite 
as furiously as they had previously fought. Indeed, we had all been 
distinctly disappointed in the results of our fire. Our projectiles 
seemed to go too high or too low — just as had been the case with 
those fired at us by the Spaniards. Several times the commodore 
had expressed dissatisfaction with the failure of our gunners to hit 
the enemy. We had begun the firing at too great a distance, but we 
had gradually worked in farther on each of the turns, until we were 
within two thousand five hundred yards at the close of the fifth 
round. At tliat distance, in a smooth sea, we ought to have made 
a large percentage of hits; yet, so far as we could judge, we had 
not sensibly crippled the foe. Consequently Commodore Dewey 
hauled out into the open bay at the end of the fifth round to take 
stock of ammunition and devise a new plan of attack. 

"As I went aft the men asked me what we were hauling off for. 
They were in a distinctl}' different humor from that which prevailed 
on the bridge. They believed that they had done well, and that the 
other ships had done likewise. The Olympia cheered the Balti- 
more, and the Baltimore returned the cheers with interest. The 
gun-captains were not at all dissatisfied with the results of their 
work. Whether they had a better knowledge of the accuracy of 
their aim than we had on the bridge, or whether they took it for 
granted that the enemy must have suffered severely after so much 
fighting, I do not know ; but, at any rate, they were eager to go on 
with the battle, and were confident of victory. I told one of them 
that we were merely hauling 'off for breakfast, which statement 
elicited the appeal to Captain Lamberton as he came past a moment 
later : 

" 'For God's sake. Captain, don't let us stop now. To hell with 
breakfast!' 

"When I told the commodore that I intended to attribute our with- 
drawal to the need for breakfast, he intimated that it was not a mat- 
ter of much importance what reason I gave, so long as I did not give 
the true one. And so the breakfast episode went to the world as a 
plausible excuse for what seemed like an extraordinary strategic 



VICTORY. 55 

maneuver — one which has been the subject of more comment than 
almost any other event during the battle." 

For four hours the men and ships rested. The captains were 
called, and as each reported "no casualties" (.except eight men 
wounded on the Baltimore by an explosion of small ammunition, 
caused by an enemy's shot) gratitude was mingled with amazement. 
How was it possible in that storm of fire so few hits had been made 
by the Spaniards, and so little damage done! 

Then the incidents of the battle were discussed — how the Reina 
Cristina had boldly steamed out straight at the Olympia, with 
Admiral Montojo and his staff officers standing exposed on her 
bridge, and had faced the Yankee fire until she could stand it no 
more, then had turned back an almost helpless wreck. One 8-inch 
shell had entered her stern, smashed through her center, killing and 
wounding numbers of men, ruining structure and guns, and setting 
the whole ship in flames. The great black cruiser was now a help- 
less wreck, abandoned by her crew; and the admiral's flag floated 
from the Castilla, which was itself on fire. 

Another thrilling incident had been the dash of two torpedo 
boats. With incredible pluck their commanders had sent their little 
craft straight toward the American flagship. Dewey's attention 
was called to them bj" Mr. Stickney, when they first appeared ; but 
he was then intently watching the effect of our shells upon the Span- 
ish ships. 

"Well, you look after her," he replied; "I can't be bothered with 
torpedo boats. Let me know when you've sunk her." And so say- 
ing, he turned his back upon the lilliputian craft ahead and leveled 
his glasses on the Reina Cristina again. 

One of the torpedo boats was smothered under a rain of shots, and 
pitched head first to the bottom with all on board. The other, dis- 
abled and bloody, escaped to the beach a total wreck. So ended the 
far-heralded "terrors," upon which the Spaniards had been taught 
to rely so implicitly. 

Meanwhile details have been busy replenishing the ship's maga- 
zines from the reserve of ammunition on the Zafiro. 

Toward eleven o'clock signals are hoisted and again the fleet gets 
under way. The time has come to "finish the job." This time 
the Baltimore leads, rushing silently down toward Cavite, waiting, 
though met by a hurricane of missiles from Spanish ships and shore 
batteries, until she is close to her targets, then opening with a broad- 
side that puts an end to Montojo's flagship, whose magazine bursts 
in response, and she goes down. Then the Olympia and Raleigh 
come up, followed quickly by the others; and as each picks out its 
prey — the little Petrel especially distinguishing itself by running 
close into shallow water and smashing the smaller gunboats in the 
bay behind the arsenal point — destruction swift and sure falls upon 
the once proud squadron of Her Majesty. In half an hour evei'tj 



50 IJFE OF DEWEY. 

one is in fiames or sunk, beached or abandoned; and the Span- 
ish admiral and all his sailors who can get away are flj'ing inland. 

Half an hour more and the shore batteries are silenced, the great 
magazine of the arsenal has exploded like a volcano, and the vic- 
tory is complete. 

Dewey has obeyed orders. The Spanish fleet could not be "cap- 
tured;" but it has been utterly "destroyed." The city of Manila, 
the island of Luzon, the whole of Spain's possessions in the East 
are in his power! 

It seems earl}^ and is earl}-, for a masterly discussion of this, one 
of the greatest naval battles in the history of sea fighting; but the 
following comparison of it, by Senator J. Cabot Lodge, with the 
famous victories gained by Nelson, and especially his Battle of the 
Nile, when he crushed the naval power of Napoleon, is very 
instructive; it is quoted by permission from Harper's Magazine: 

"Nelson at Aboukir was slightly inferior to his antagonist in 
weight of metal and number of guns, and had no siiip as powerful 
as L'Orient. On the other hand, he equaled his foe in number of 
ships, while the Spaniards outnumbered Dewey two to one, and had 
l,l'.Mj men against the American l,tl7.S engaged in action. Afar 
more inijiortant difference was that while Nelson had only the 
French fleet to deal with, the Spaniards at Manila were supported 
by ])Owerful, strongly manned shore batteries, mounted with modern 
rifled guns, some of very large caliber. This last fact, too much 
overlooked, made the odds against Dewey very heavj-, even after 
the two mines had exjjloded w-ithout result. 

"Both Dewey and Nelson hunted down the enemy, and fought him 
at anchor where they found him. Nelson entered an open roadstead 
by dayligiit, began his action at sunset, and fought on in the dark- 
ness. Dewey ran past powerful entrance forts and up a deep bay in 
the darkness, and fought his battle in daj'light. Neither took the 
enemy by surprise; for Admiral Montojo's report shows that he 
had tried Subig Bay and given it up, and had then made every 
preparation possible to meet the Americans at Cavite under the 
shelter uf the batteries. Nelson practically destro3'ed the French 
fleet; but Admiral Villeneuve escaped, the next morning, with two 
ships of the line and two frigates; and there was only one Eng- 
lish ship, the Zealous, not enough for the purpose, in condition to 
follow them. Dewej' absolutely destroj'ed every Sj)anish ship, 
including the transport Mindanao, and captured the other transport, 
the Manila. He silenced all the land batteries and took Cavite. 
Aboukir had its messengers of death in the escaping French ships; 
Manila had none. Absolute completeness like this cannot be sur- 
passed. The Spaniards admitted a loss of six hundred and thirty- 
four killed and wounded in ships and forts, while the Americans 
had none killed and only eight wounded — all on the Baltimore. 
The American ships were hit several times; but not one was seri- 



AI'TER THE VICTORY. 57 

ously injured, much less disabled. This has been attributed to the 
extremely bad marksmanship of the Spaniards, and has been used to 
explain Dewey's victor}". It is easy to exaggerate the badness of 
the Spanish gunnery. They seem, as a matter of fact, to have shot 
well enough until the Americans opened upon them. The shells 
which struck the Baltimore effectively were both fired before that 
ship replied in the second round. But when the American fire began, 
it was delivered Avith such volume, precision and concentration that 
the Spanisb fire was actually smothered, and became wholly wild 
and ineiiective. The great secret of the victory was the deadly 
accuracy and rapidity of the American gunners." 



VIIL 

After the Victory. 

Commodore Dewey asked for the use of the cable to communi- 
cate his report to his government; but the Spanish authorities 
refused it, and also refused its use to the correspondents. The com- 
modore, therefore, penned a mere announcement and dispatched the 
McCiilloch to Hongkong to send it by telegraph from there. With 
her went the few lucky newspaper correspondents, and next morning 
the newspapers of tlie world were displaying the greatest "news" 
of the century in their biggest type. 

Two days later the batteries on Corregidor Island had surren- 
dered, Cavite had been abandoned and occupied by marines, word 
had been sent to the authorities of the city of Manila that so long 
as they refrained from any firing the city would not be bombarded 
without due notice; and a daj^ or two later Dewey had picked up 
the telegraph cable at Cape Bolinoa, cut it, and destroyed all com- 
munication by telegraph between the garrisons in Manila and else- 
where on the islands, and the government in Madrid. 

Meanwhile the insurgent natives, provided by grace of Commo- 
dore Dewe}'' with a leader in Emilio Aguinaldo, were investing the 
city closely upon land, while the American vessels established an 
impregnable blockade liy sea. This accomplished (and a very few 
days suflficed) Commodore Dewey began at once the attempt to induce 
the Spaniards to surrender without an}' further fighting or blood- 
shed, pointing out to them that heavy reinforcements were coming 
to him in the shape of additional and more powerful ships, and also 
in the way of land forces that soon would outnumber as well as 
outclass their own. 



58 



tJFE OF DEWEY. 



These negotiations were carried on through the medium of both the 
British, and the Belgian local consuls; but they were compli- 
cated by several outside circumstances. The Spaniards felt them- 




BX'ST OF DE^^'EY, BY OHEGLI. 
rrcsentt'd to the Pulilic Library of Montpelier by Mr. Cliail 



Dewt-y, 



selves able to hold out for a considerable time, at least; aud their 
sense of honor forbade them to give up witbout a struggle. They 
expected Spain would send relief; and Commodore Dewey himself 
was fearful that the powerful squadron of Admiral Camara might 
reach there before the monitors sidling to him from San Francisco 
could make the voyage. 

More important than this was the poorly disguised unfriendliness of 
the Germans, who had a very strong fleet in the harlior, for no 
visible purpose other than to make mischief; and it presently became 
necessary to mix a very plain and serious threat with the commo- 



AFTER THE VICTORY. 59 

tlore's remonstrance to the German admiral, before that oflBcial 
would cease to meddle and would consent to observe the courtesies 
of a blockaded port 

It was needful, also, to be exceedingly discreet in all these nego- 
tiations, in order not to commit the United States to some line of 
international policy of which the Washington government could 
not approve, and to keep out of entanglements with the arrogant 
insurrectionists, now revived under Aguinaldo, who conceived that 
the time was come when they were to have full sway. 

Finally, it was necessary to supply the ships with coal and provi- 
sions. This could only be done in ports like Hongkong or those of 
Japan, belonging to nations that had declared neutrality ; and here 
an almost insurmountable obstacle to Dewey's maintaining his control 
would have been met, had not the governor of Hongkong winked 
at certain dealings of the American transport oflBcers, who acted in 
violation of strict injunctions, yet somehow were never ques- 
tioned when the Nanshan seemed to have inexhaustible supplies of 
coal in her hold, or the Zafiro furnished provisions and delicacies 
from storerooms thought long ago to have been emptied. 

Gradually the clever diplomacy of this level-headed, quiet man, 
the steady pressure he exercised, and the force of circumstances won 
most of what he wanted. He had secretly arranged with the Span- 
ish civil and military authorities for the surrender of the city, after 
the merest theatrical farce of a show of resistance: and the surrender 
of the city took place after Merritt's army came, much as had been 
planned, though the excitability of the troops on both sides, who 
were not aware that the appearance of defense was not in earnest, 
produced more battling than the leaders on either side intended. 

This done, Dewey devoted himself to the subjugation of the other 
ports of the Philippines, such as Iloilo, and to the capture of some 
gunboats still at large. Leisure enabled him to repair many of 
the Spanish vessels lost in the battle, and to restore to usefulness 
much of the machinery in the navy yard and arsenal at Cavite. So 
he was busy, and resisted invitations to come back to the United 
States until May, 1800, when he hoisted his homeward-bound pen- 
nant on the old Olympia, and started for New York. 



60 LIF^ OP' DEWEY. 



IX. 

Honors and Rewards, 

From the momeut the battle of Manila beoame known, George 
Dewey became the popular hero of the United States, and his nanie 
anti fame svere acclaimed in every cit}' and hamlet of the laud. 

The President and the Secretary of the Navy sent to him and his 
men enthusiastic telegrams of ]»raise and thankfulness. To these 
were added hundreds of telegrams, letters, sets of resolutions and 
presents from friends and admirers everywhere. A great meeting 
was held in his old home in Montpelier, and the congratulations of 
his relatives and townsmen were sent him; but they were no more 
sincere and hearty than those of strangers. 

Almost at once Congress took np the matter, and in a fervent 
session showered public honors upon this newest ornament of the 
American navy. A vote revived the obsolete grade of admiral, 
held last h\ Farragut and Porter— his old commanders in the civil 
war; and George Dewey was promoted at a leap to the supreme 
rank in the navy of the United States. Thus was exemplified 
anew the motto of the Dewpy lamily, worn npon their ancient coat 
of arms: Corona veniet delecti — '"A crown will come to him who 
deserves it." 

In addition to this exalted iiromotion and its increased emolu- 
ments Congress voted to him, as a keepsake for the occasion, a 
jeweled sword costing ten tlionsand dollars, which was made by 
Tiffany, in New York, and is })robably the handsomest weapon 
ever worn by an American soldier. 

The gratitude and admiration of his fellow ct i-ens began imme- 
diately to be expressed in other waj's, more substantially, too, than 
by the complimentary naming after him of budding towns, parks, 
babies, pet animals, cigars, paper collars, and a thousand catch- 
penny contrivances. Subscrijitions were started in various places to 
make the admiral a present of houses— especially in Washington; 
l)ut tbe.so have n<it been carried out. Money has been liberally sub- 
scribed for a statue to be erected in the city of Montpelier, as a per- 
manent memorial at the capital of a great son of the Green Moun- 
tain State. The fund has thus far been created wholly from Ver- 
monters outside of the State, no one at home being asked or per- 
mitted to join in it. Neither the design nor tlie sculptor has yet 
been selected ; but the intention is to make a portrait statue of heroic 
size, and to place it in the portico of the capitol, opposite that of 
Ethan Allen. 

Another testimonial has lieen the most pleasing of all propositions 
to tlio adTuirai. and it secured iiis immediate approval, npon Avhich 



HONORS AND REWARDS. 61 

its success was at once secured. His brother Edward remarked, in 
relation to this matter: "He does not want a sword, because he has 
three; he does not want a house in Montpelier, because he would 
not live in it; he does not want a statue, because he isn't dead." 
What he did approve of, writing that "nothing the State could now 
do for me would give me greater pleasure," was tbe subscription of 
one hundred thousand dollars to erect at the Norwich University — • 
the military school at Northfield, Vermont, where he was trained 
for Annapolis — a building really needed, and to be known as Dewey 
Hall. This money has been raised without serious effort, and the 
corner-stone is to be laid whenever the admiral can make it conven- 
ient to be present at the ceremonies. 

Meanwhile all the great cities of the country signified their wish 
to pay him honors. San Francisco urged him to come home that 
way, and promised him a magnificent welcome that should be 
repeated in all the interior cities along the line of his travel across 
the continent. Washington and Philadelphia desired his presence 
at their peace jubilees in the spring of LS',)'.), and failing that show- 
ered honors upon Captam Coghlan, of the Raleigh, one of his fel- 
low victors at Manila. Chicago planned an enormous celebration 
of the admiral and his victory for the autumn, and has not ceased 
to insist that he shall accept the city's hospitality, Avhile New York 
arranged and has carried out, founded upon the public appropriation 
of two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, the greatest "tri- 
umph" ever given to a military hero in the United States, assuming, 
with the consent of the rest of the United States, to make itself the 
representative of the whole grateful country, and of tlie government. 

It was intended that this official, popular, and universal welcome 
should take place in the early summer, for it was supposed that the 
commander and his flagship would come directly home. Admiral 
Dewey, however, had been for some time in poor health, feeling the 
strain of his long residence and great responsibility and work in the 
tropics, and needed rest. It is also to be noted that none of the suc- 
cesses and honors heaped upon him, pleasant, grateful and higlily 
appreciated as they were, turned the head of this simple-miuded 
and truly great man, or caused him to be puffed up. On the con- 
trary, he dreaded and avoided rather than courted the public honors the 
people sought to heap upon him, and was desirous to postpone rather 
than hasten them. Consequently he announced that he intended to 
consume the summer in a slow voyage home in his historic flagship, 
resting himself and his officers at various ports by the way, and 
would reach the United States in the pleasant autumn weather. 

Pursuant to this programme, the Olympia halted first at Hong- 
kong, where the admiral dwelt for some time on shore, accepting 
the honors paid him by the governor of the colony, but avoiding 
social gayety on the plea of poor health. A brief halt was made at 
Singapore, and a longer one at Colombo, Ceylon, where the most 



62 LIFE OF DEWEY 

coruplimentary treatment was received from both the authorities and 
people of these British colonies. The Olympia then sailed direct to 
the Mediterranean, and anchored in the harbor of Trieste, at the 
head of the Adriatic. It was hardly to be expected that the Aus- 
trian Government, alwaj's closely allied with Spain, would welcome 
"the hero of Cavite" officially; but the authorities of this fine 
naval port, and the Austrian naval officers present, joined with the 
American diplomatic representatives there in paying the greatest 
possible attention to the Americans personally, and banquets and 
shore excursions testified to the admiration in which they were held. 

Thence the Olympia went to Naples, where the admiral of the 
Italian Navy welcomed Dewey with extraordinary cordiality, and 
did so much to honor him and contribute to his enjoyment and that 
of his crew that Italy came near to offending Spain by it. Tearing 
themselves away from this beautiful and hospitable city, the Olym- 
pia next halted at Leghorn, where similar honors were repeated with 
scarcely less effusion, and a stay of Severn 1 days was made. 

The next stopping place was at Yille Franche, near Nice, France, 
and thence the Olympia steamed to Gibraltar. This British fort- 
ress-colonj' at the entrance to the Mediterranean exerted itself to 
honor and please the great American admiral, whom the English 
regard as almost one of themselves, and whom they felt hound to 
treat with the utmost courtesy as representing all Great Britain; for 
the admiral had felt it wise to decline the invitation of the English 
people to come to London, and there be entertained. It is probable 
that no visitor was ever received at Gibraltar with greater hearti- 
ness than was Admiral Dewe}'. 

The end of September is now approaching, and at last the prow 
of the grand old battleship can be turned toward the Atlantic and 
home. She has long ago put off the grim war gray which she had 
worn so well in the face of shot and shell, land batteries and sea 
batteries, torpedoes and typhoons, and is shining in white and gold. 
Day and night she proudly puts aside the blue Atlantic waves, and 
presses homeward with impatient speed. At last the beloved shores 
rise sloAvly upon the horizon ahead, and the good ship springs for- 
ward with renewed eagerness. Every staff and halliard blossoms 
into flags and signals of rejoicing that her perilous exile is over, 
her work done, and that now she is coming home clothed with honor 
and victory. The starry ensign floats in litpiid folds from her stern ; 
and high above all is the broad blue banner with its diamond of 
four white stars, indicating that she carries the ranking officer, 
the most honored and beloved man in the navy of the United States 
of America — 

ADMIRAL GEORGE DEWEY. 



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