; born in Greensboro, Ala.
, Aug. 17, 1870; graduated at the United States
Naval Academy in 1889; and then took a post-graduate course in the Ecole d'application du Genie Maritime, Paris
Returning to the United States
, he served in the Bureau of Construction and Repairs of the Navy Department in 1894-95.
Later he suggested a post-graduate course for officers intending to become naval constructors, and was appointed to
plan such a course, and conducted it in 1897-98.
In the latter year he went to sea with the North Atlantic squadron as constructor.
When the war with Spain
broke out he was promoted lieutenant, and served on the flag-ship New York
on blockade duty, in the bombardment of Matanzas, Cuba
, and in the naval expedition against San Juan, Porto Rico
The action, however, which made his name a synonym for gallantry occurred at the entrance of the harbor of Santiago
, after Admiral Cervera
's fleet was positively known to be in that harbor.
Taking seven men with him, he piloted the collier Merrimac
to the narrow entrance of the harbor, and sank her across its
mouth to prevent the fleet from passing out. He and his party leaped overboard; were picked up by the Spaniards; and held prisoners for a few weeks, receiving kind treatment by order of Admiral Cervera
After the destruction of Cervera
's fleet he was ordered to Manila
to take charge of the raising and repairing of the Spanish vessels sunk by Admiral Dewey
He returned to the United States
He is the author of The disappearing gun afloat
; The sinking of the Merrimac