Thomas S. Rodgers

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Thomas S. Rodgers


Admiral Rodgers, center, coming aboard the Presidential yacht Mayflower, December, 1918.
Born(1858-08-18)August 18, 1858
Morristown, New Jersey
Died February 28, 1931(1931-02-28) (aged 72)
New York City, New York
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Navy Seal.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1878–1919
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Rear Admiral
Commands held Battleship Division Six, Atlantic Fleet
Battleship Division Seven, Atlantic Fleet
Battles/wars Spanish–American War
World War I
Awards Navy Distinguished Service Medal

Rear Admiral Thomas Slidell Rodgers (18 August 1858 – 28 February 1931) was an officer in the United States Navy who served during the Spanish–American War and World War I.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second largest and second most powerful air force in the world.

Spanish–American War Conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States

The Spanish–American War was fought between the United States and Spain in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana harbor in Cuba, leading to U.S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. U.S. acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions led to its involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately in the Philippine–American War.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.



Born at Morristown, New Jersey, Rodgers was a scion of one of the most famous naval families in American history. [1] His great-uncle, Commodore John Rodgers, had commanded American forces during the First Barbary War and was the senior officer in the United States Navy at the outbreak of the War of 1812. His maternal great-grandfather was Captain Christopher Raymond Perry, who fought in the Quasi-War with France and was the father of naval heroes Oliver Hazard Perry and Matthew Calbraith Perry. [1] Thomas Rodgers's father was Rear Admiral Christopher Raymond Perry Rodgers, and his older brother, Raymond Perry Rodgers, would also reach the rank of Rear Admiral. [1] At one point or another during the first 25 years of the 20th century, five members of the Rodgers family were active flag officers in the U.S. Navy. [1]

Morristown, New Jersey Town in New Jersey, United States

Morristown is a town and the county seat of Morris County, New Jersey, United States. Morristown has been called "the military capital of the American Revolution" because of its strategic role in the war for independence from Great Britain. Today this history is visible in a variety of locations throughout the town that collectively make up Morristown National Historical Park.

Kinship human relationship term; web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of most humans in most societies; form of social connection

In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist Robin Fox states that "the study of kinship is the study of what man does with these basic facts of life – mating, gestation, parenthood, socialization, siblingship etc." Human society is unique, he argues, in that we are "working with the same raw material as exists in the animal world, but [we] can conceptualize and categorize it to serve social ends." These social ends include the socialization of children and the formation of basic economic, political and religious groups.

Commodore was an early title and later a rank in the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard and the Confederate States Navy. For over two centuries, the designation has been given varying levels of authority and formality.

Following in the family footsteps, therefore, Rodgers attended the United States Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1878. [2] Details of his service during the first twenty years of his career are slim. It is known from sources, however, that he had achieved the rank of Lieutenant no later than 1894, when he served aboard Chicago. [3] During and after the Spanish–American War, Rodgers served aboard Bennington. [2] It is likely that this service included participation in the annexation of Wake Island on January 17, 1899. Promoted rapidly through the ranks following the end of the War, Rodgers served as executive officer of the battleship Maine, with the rank of Commander, from 1902 to 1905. [2] Varied service ashore and afloat led to promotion to the rank of Captain, and in 1910, Rodgers was given command of the battleship New Hampshire, the last pre-dreadnought built for the U.S. Navy. [4] [5] In 1911, he was appointed to the post of Supervisor of New York Harbor, and in 1912, Rodgers succeeded Captain Templin M. Potts to become Director of Naval Intelligence, a position largely developed by his older brother Raymond Perry Rodgers, the second holder of that office. [2]

United States Naval Academy The U.S. Navys federal service academy

The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy adjacent to Annapolis, Maryland. Established on 10 October 1845, under Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, it is the second oldest of the United States' five service academies, and educates officers for commissioning primarily into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The 338-acre (137 ha) campus is located on the former grounds of Fort Severn at the confluence of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County, 33 miles (53 km) east of Washington, D.C. and 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Baltimore. The entire campus is a National Historic Landmark and home to many historic sites, buildings, and monuments. It replaced Philadelphia Naval Asylum, in Philadelphia, that served as the first United States Naval Academy from 1838 to 1845 when the Naval Academy formed in Annapolis.

USS <i>Chicago</i> (1885)

The first USS Chicago was a protected cruiser of the United States Navy, the largest of the original three authorized by Congress for the "New Navy". One of the U.S. Navy's first four steel ships.

USS <i>Bennington</i> (PG-4) Yorktown-class gunboat

USS Bennington was a member of the Yorktown class of steel-hulled, twin-screw gunboats in the United States Navy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She was the first U.S. Navy ship named in honor of the town of Bennington, Vermont, site of the Battle of Bennington in the American Revolutionary War.

In 1913, Rodgers was given command of the U.S. Navy's newest and most powerful dreadnought battleship, New York. Shortly after bringing her into commission on April 15, 1914, Rodgers took the New York south to the Gulf of Mexico, where she served as the flagship for Rear Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher's squadron blockading Veracruz, Mexico. In 1915, Rodgers served as flag captain of Battleship Division One of the Atlantic Fleet, commanded by Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo. [6] On June 13, 1916, Rodgers was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral and served briefly with the Atlantic Fleet before going ashore to study at the Naval War College, where he would remain through 1917. [2] [7]

Dreadnought type of battleship

The dreadnought was the predominant type of battleship in the early 20th century. The first of its kind, the Royal Navy's Dreadnought, made such a strong impression on people's minds when launched in 1906 that similar battleships built subsequently were referred to generically as "dreadnoughts", and earlier battleships became known as "pre-dreadnoughts". Dreadnought's design had two revolutionary features: an "all-big-gun" armament scheme, with more heavy-calibre guns than previous ships, and steam turbine propulsion. As dreadnoughts became a symbol of national power, the arrival of these new warships was a crucial catalyst in the intensifying naval arms race between the United Kingdom and Germany. With the launch of a single ship, Dreadnought, the scales of naval power were reset overnight. As a result, dreadnought races sprang up around the world, including in South America, during the lead up to World War I. Successive designs increased rapidly in size and made use of improvements in armament, armour, and propulsion throughout the dreadnought era. Within five years, new battleships had outclassed Dreadnought. These more powerful vessels were known as "super-dreadnoughts". Most of the original dreadnoughts were scrapped after the end of World War I under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, but many of the newer super-dreadnoughts continued to be used throughout World War II. The only surviving dreadnought is USS Texas, located near the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.

USS <i>New York</i> (BB-34) battleship

USS New York (BB-34) was a United States Navy battleship, the lead ship of her class. Named for New York State, she was designed as the first ship to carry the 14-inch (356 mm)/45-caliber gun.

Gulf of Mexico An Atlantic Ocean basin extending into southern North America

The Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, largely surrounded by the North American continent. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. The U.S. states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida border the Gulf on the north, which are often referred to as the "Third Coast", in comparison with the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

World War I

Utah, Admiral Rodgers's flagship during World War I, exercises with a kite balloon in Bantry Bay, Ireland. Kite Balloon USS Utah.jpg
Utah, Admiral Rodgers's flagship during World War I, exercises with a kite balloon in Bantry Bay, Ireland.

On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany, entering World War I on the side of the Allies. As more and more American troops began to cross the Atlantic in 1918 for service on the Western Front, the Navy Department became increasingly worried about the threat posed by large German surface raiders breaking out into the Atlantic. [8] Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson, in particular, worried that if one or more of the German battlecruisers were to catch a weakly protected troop convoy, potentially thousands of American doughboys would be slaughtered. [9]

Triple Entente early 20th century alliance between France, Russia and the United Kingdom

The Triple Entente refers to the understanding linking the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente on 31 August 1907. The understanding between the three powers, supplemented by agreements with Japan and Portugal, was a powerful counterweight to the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.

Western Front (World War I) main theatre of war during the First World War

The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 1918.

Chief of Naval Operations statutory office held by a four-star admiral in the United States Navy

The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the highest-ranking officer and professional head of the United States Navy. The position is a statutory office held by a four-star admiral who is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy. In a separate capacity as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the CNO is a military adviser to the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, the Secretary of Defense, and the President. The current Chief of Naval Operations is Admiral John M. Richardson.

In response to this threat, the Navy Department decided to send a division of battleships to Berehaven, Ireland, to act as a guard force against the possibility of a battlecruiser raid. Rear Admiral Rodgers, then in command of Battleship Division Six of the Atlantic Fleet, was selected for this assignment. [10] The division departed for Ireland on August 12, 1918. [11] On October 14, 1918, Rodgers received word that German cruisers might have escaped into the Atlantic. [12] At the time, two troop convoys were approaching European waters. [12] Battleship Division Six put to sea without delay and escorted both convoys out of the danger zone. [13] Despite the prompt action of Admiral Rodgers and the ships under his command, no German warships had been in the Atlantic, and the convoys were never in any danger. [13] This false-alarm was the only raider-warning issued during Battleship Division Six's service in the warzone. [13]

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

United States Fleet Forces Command

The United States Fleet Forces Command (USFF) is a service component command of the United States Navy that provides naval forces to a wide variety of U.S. forces. The naval resources may be allocated to Combatant Commanders such as United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) under the authority of the Secretary of Defense. Originally formed as United States Atlantic Fleet (USLANTFLT) in 1906, it has been an integral part of the defense of the United States of America since the early 20th century. In 2002, the Fleet comprised over 118,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel serving on 186 ships and in 1,300 aircraft, with an area of responsibility ranging over most of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean along the coasts of Central and South America. The command is based at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia and is the navy's service component to U.S. Northern Command and is a supporting command under the U.S. Strategic Command.

At the end of the war, Admiral Rodgers returned to service in the Atlantic Fleet, commanding Battleship Division Seven. [7] For his service during World War I, he was decorated with the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Rodgers retired from the Navy in July, 1919, after 41 years of service. [2]


Admiral Rodgers died on February 28, 1931, at the Polyclinic Hospital in New York City. [2] According to The New York Times , Rodgers died suddenly, mere moments after being admitted. [2] A lifelong bachelor, he was survived by his brother, Colonel Alexander Rodgers, and a sister, identified by The New York Times as "Mrs. Louis Nielsen." [2] Admiral Rodgers was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Ulm, A.H. (27 September 1925). "Another John Rodgers Wins Naval Fame" (Fee required). The New York Times.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Rear Admiral Rodgers Dies Suddenly Here" (Fee required). The New York Times. 1 March 1931.
  3. "The Chicagos Win the Race" (PDF). The New York Times. 19 April 1893.
  4. "Missing Sailors Return to the Ship" (PDF). The New York Times. 4 October 1910.
  5. "Hostile Fleet Near in Big War Game" (PDF). The New York Times. 19 July 1911.
  6. "New York to See Best of the Navy" (PDF). The New York Times. 25 April 1915.
  7. 1 2 "Thomas Slidell Rodgers". Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  8. Jones, Jerry W. (1995). "U.S. Battleship Operations in World War I, 1917-1918": 172.
  9. Jones, Jerry W. (1995). "U.S. Battleship Operations in World War I, 1917-1918": 171.
  10. Jones, Jerry W. (1995). "U.S. Battleship Operations in World War I, 1917–1918": 183.
  11. Jones, Jerry W. (1995). "U.S. Battleship Operations in World War I, 1917–1918": 191.
  12. 1 2 Jones, Jerry W. (1995). "U.S. Battleship Operations in World War I, 1917–1918": 201.
  13. 1 2 3 Jones, Jerry W. (1995). "U.S. Battleship Operations in World War I, 1917–1918": 203.
Military offices
Preceded by
Templin M. Potts
Head of the Office of Naval Intelligence
(Director of Naval Intelligence)

January 1912 – December 1913
Succeeded by
Henry F. Bryan