Naval officer; born in Frankfort, Ky.
, Aug. 24,
1842; graduated at the United States Military Academy in 1860; served in the Civil War
, being present at the passage of Forts Jackson
and St. Philip
and the Vicksburg
batteries; took part in the battle of Mobile Bay
, etc.; promoted lieutenant-commander, July 25, 1866; captain, March 6, 1887; and commodore, Nov. 7, 1897.
On June 27, 1898, he was appointed chief of the Eastern Squadron, which was originally organized for the purpose of intercepting the Spanish fleet under Admiral Camara
, which it was supposed had sailed for the United States
under orders to devastate the coast cities and to cooperate with Admiral Cervera
This Spanish fleet for several weeks was variously reported as being at the Cape Verde Islands
and at other points near the American
seaboard, and at one time it started to go through the Suez Canal
and to Manila Bay
for the purpose of attacking Dewey
After the destruction of Cervera
's fleet it was reported in the United States
that Commodore Watson
had received orders to proceed with all haste to the Spanish
coast and to begin offensive operations there.
This avowed purpose on the part of the United States government, taken in connection with the destruction of Cervera
's fleet and the surrender of the Spanish
army at Santiago
, led the Spanish
government to authorize the French
ambassador in Washington
to make overtures for peace.
He was promoted rear-admiral, March 3, 1899; was commander-in-chief of the Asiatic Station from June 15, 1899, to April 19, 1900; and was appointed president of the naval examining board, Oct. 15, 1900.