William T. Sampson

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William Thomas Sampson
William Thomas Sampson.jpg
William Thomas Sampson
Born(1840-02-09)February 9, 1840
Palmyra, New York, U.S.
DiedMay 6, 1902(1902-05-06) (aged 62)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Buried
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1896-1908).svg United States of America
Service/branchFlag of the United States Navy (1864-1959).svg  United States Navy
Years of service18571902
Rank USN Rear Admiral rank insignia.jpg Rear admiral
Commands held Alert
Mayflower
Swatara
San Francisco
Iowa
North Atlantic Station
Battles/wars American Civil War

Spanish–American War

William Thomas Sampson (February 9, 1840 – May 6, 1902) was a United States Navy rear admiral known for his victory in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish–American War.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of US 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. It has 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 336,978 personnel on active duty and 101,583 in the Ready Reserve, the U.S. Navy is the third largest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 290 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of June 2019, making it the third-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force and the United States Army.

Battle of Santiago de Cuba naval battle near Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American war

The Battle of Santiago de Cuba was a naval battle that occurred on July 3, 1898, in which the United States Navy decisively defeated Spanish forces, sealing American victory in the Spanish–American War and achieving nominal independence for Cuba from Spanish rule.

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

The Spanish–American War was an armed conflict between Spain and the United States 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. The war led to emergence of U.S. predominance in the Caribbean region, and resulted in U.S. acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions. That led to U.S. involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately in the Philippine–American War.

Contents

Biography

He was born in Palmyra, New York, and entered the United States Naval Academy on September 24, 1857. After graduating first in his class four years later, he served as an instructor at the Academy, teaching physics. [1] In 1864, he became the executive officer of the monitor Patapsco of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and engaged in sweeping torpedoes off Charleston, South Carolina. He survived the loss of that ironclad on January 15, 1865, when she struck a torpedo, exploded, and sank with a loss of 75 lives.

Palmyra (town), New York Town in New York, United States

Palmyra is a town in southwest Wayne County, New York, United States. The population was 7,975 at the 2010 census. The town is named after the ancient city Palmyra in Syria.

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.

An executive officer (CCE) is generally a person responsible for running an organization, although the exact nature of the role varies depending on the organization. In many militaries, an executive officer, or "XO", is the second-in-command, reporting to the commanding officer. The XO is typically responsible for the management of day-to-day activities, freeing the commander to concentrate on strategy and planning the unit's next move. Function of Executive officers

Following duty on the steam frigate Colorado with the European Squadron, another tour as instructor at the Naval Academy, and in the Bureau of Navigation of the Navy Department, he served in the screw sloop Congress. He then commanded the Alert, the training ship Mayflower, and the Swatara while on duty at the Naval Academy.

Steam frigate

Steam frigates, also known as screw frigates and the smaller steam corvettes and steam sloops were steam-powered warships that were not meant to stand in the line of battle. The first such ships were paddle steamers. Later on the invention of screw propulsion enabled construction of steam-powered versions of the traditional frigates, corvettes, and sloops.

USS <i>Colorado</i> (1856)

The first USS Colorado, a 3,400-long-ton (3,500 t), three-masted steam screw frigate, was launched on 19 June 1856, by the Norfolk Navy Yard. Named after the Colorado River, she was sponsored by Ms. N. S. Dornin, and commissioned on 13 March 1858, with Captain W. H. Gardner, in command. She was the fifth of the "Franklin-class" frigates, which were all named after US Rivers, except for Franklin.

European Squadron

The European Squadron, also known as the European Station, was a part of the United States Navy in the late 19th century and the early 1900s. The squadron was originally named the Mediterranean Squadron and renamed following the American Civil War. In 1905, the squadron was absorbed into the North Atlantic Fleet.

During the next years, he was Assistant to the Superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory, then Officer-in-Charge of the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island. On September 9, 1886, he became Superintendent of the Naval Academy. He was promoted to Captain on April 9, 1889, reported to the Mare Island Navy Yard to fit out the protected cruiser San Francisco, and assumed command when she was commissioned on November 15, 1889. He was detached in June 1892 to serve as Inspector of Ordnance in the Washington Navy Yard and was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance on January 28, 1893. He assumed command of the battleship Iowa on June 15, 1897. On February 17, 1898, he was made President of the Board of Inquiry to investigate the destruction of the Maine. On March 26, 1898, he assumed command of the North Atlantic Squadron, with the temporary rank of Rear Admiral.

United States Naval Observatory Scientific agency in the United States

The United States Naval Observatory (USNO) is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the United States, with a primary mission to produce Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) for the United States Navy and the United States Department of Defense. Located in Northwest Washington, D.C. at the Northwestern end of Embassy Row, it is one of the pre-1900 astronomical observatories located in an urban area; at the time of its construction, it was far from the light pollution thrown off by the (then-smaller) city center. Former USNO director Gernot M. R. Winkler initiated the "Master Clock" service that the USNO still operates, and which provides precise time to the GPS satellite constellation run by the United States Air Force. The USNO performs radio VLBI-based positions of quasars with numerous global collaborators, in order to produce Earth Orientation parameters.

Newport, Rhode Island City in Rhode Island, United States

Newport is a seaside city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, located approximately 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, 20 miles (32 km) south of Fall River, Massachusetts, 73 miles (117 km) south of Boston, and 180 miles (290 km) northeast of New York City. It is known as a New England summer resort and is famous for its historic mansions and its rich sailing history. It was the location of the first U.S. Open tournaments in both tennis and golf, as well as every challenge to the America's Cup between 1930 and 1983. It is also the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport, which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and an important Navy training center. It was a major 18th-century port city and also contains a high number of buildings from the Colonial era.

Captain (naval) Naval military rank

Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The rank is equal to the army rank of colonel.

Spanish–American War

Rear Admiral William T. Sampson during the Spanish-American War Rear Admiral William T. Sampson.jpg
Rear Admiral William T. Sampson during the Spanish–American War
Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, from p. 73 of Cannon and Camera by John C. Hemment William T. Sampson.JPG
Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, from p. 73 of Cannon and Camera by John C. Hemment
General William R. Shafter (in pith helmet) and Admiral William T. Sampson landing on the beach at Aserradero, June 20, to confer with General Calixto Garcia Shafter and Sampson land at Aserradero to confer with Garcia.jpg
General William R. Shafter (in pith helmet) and Admiral William T. Sampson landing on the beach at Aserradero, June 20, to confer with General Calixto Garcia

The United States declared war against Spain on April 25, 1898; and, eight days later, Admiral Cervera's fleet sailed from the Cape Verde Islands for an uncertain destination. Rear Admiral Sampson, in flagship New York, put to sea from Key West. Sampson's early involvement in the conflict included his supervision of the Cuban blockade, which lasted for the duration of the war, as well as the bombardment of the city of San Juan on May 12, 1898. After initially being sent to blockade Havana itself, Sampson was given orders to intercept Admiral Cevera's squadron, but with only a vague notion of Cevera's current location, he was unable to actively pursue. Awaiting further information on Cevera's whereabouts, Sampson sailed east to San Juan and carried out a bombardment on May 10 that lasted several days, dealing minor infrastructural damage to the city. After this preliminary bombardment, Sampson helped lead a land-sea attack on San Juan, along with General William Shafter, taking the city. On July 1, following the successful invasion, Sampson returned to Cuba, reinforcing the blockades in Santiago and Cienfuegos.

Flagship Vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships

A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, characteristically a flag officer entitled by custom to fly a distinguishing flag. Used more loosely, it is the lead ship in a fleet of vessels, typically the first, largest, fastest, most heavily armed, or best known.

Key West City in Florida, United States

Key West is an island and city in the Straits of Florida on the North American continent. The city lies at the southernmost end of U.S. Route 1, the longest north-south road in the United States. Key West is the southernmost city in the contiguous United States and the westernmost island connected by highway in the Florida Keys. The island is about 4 miles (6.4 km) long and 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, with a total land mass of 4.2 square miles (11 km2). Duval Street, its main street, is 1.1 miles (1.8 km) in length in its 14-block-long crossing from the Gulf of Mexico to the Straits of Florida and the Atlantic Ocean. Key West is about 95 miles (153 km) north of Cuba at their closest points.

William Rufus Shafter United States Army Medal of Honor recipient

William Rufus Shafter was a Union Army officer during the American Civil War who received America's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Battle of Fair Oaks. Shafter also played a prominent part as a major general in the Spanish–American War. Fort Shafter, Hawaii, is named for him, as well as the city of Shafter, California and the ghost town of Shafter, Texas. He was nicknamed "Pecos Bill".

On May 29, Elements of Sampson's command spotted Admiral Cevera's squadron moving into Santiago harbor and the naval presence there was greatly increased to prevent Cevera's escape. On the morning of July 3, 1898, Cervera's fleet came out of the harbor. Sampson was ashore at a conference with General Shafter, making plans for a coordinated attack on Santiago. [1] Rear Admiral Winfield Scott Schley was in command of the Flying Squadron in Sampson's absence and met the Spanish fleet, completely destroying every Spanish vessel in a running sea battle lasting five hours. The next day, Rear Admiral Sampson sent his famous message: "The Fleet under my command offers the nation as a Fourth of July present, the whole of Cervera's Fleet".

Winfield Scott Schley United States Navy rear admiral

Winfield Scott Schley was a rear admiral in the United States Navy and the hero of the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish–American War.

Sampson's message omitted any mention of Schley's leadership in the battle, leading to a controversy as to who was responsible for the victory. While Sampson also arguably played a significant role in the victory, having laid down the strategic framework and determining the favorable positions of his own forces, it was of course Schley who had actually commanded the fleet during the battle. [1] Schley appealed for a court of inquiry, which he got in 1901. In the Navy, the quarrel was so divisive that the rank-and-file identified themselves as either a "Schley man" or a "Sampson man." The court of inquiry heard testimony in support of Schley by his own men and, despite some criticism of Schley, exonerated the commander of the Flying Squadron.

After the Battle of Santiago Bay, Sampson was appointed Cuban Commissioner on August 20, 1898, but resumed command of the North Atlantic Fleet in December. He became Commandant of the Boston Navy Yard in October 1899 and transferred to the Retired List on February 9, 1902.

Sampson was a companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and the Military Order of Foreign Wars. He was awarded an honorary doctorate (LL.D.) by Yale University in October 1901, during celebrations for the bicentenary of the university. [2]

Rear Admiral Sampson died in Washington, D.C., a few months later on May 6, 1902 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Awards

Note – Admiral Sampson was one of only four members of the United States Armed Forces entitled to wear a medal with his own image on it. The others were George Dewey, John Pershing and Richard E. Byrd.

Dates of rank

Namesakes

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 "William Thomas Sampson". World Book. 15. Field Enterprises. 1958.
  2. "United States". The Times (36594). London. October 24, 1901. p. 3.
  3. "Relocation". W.T. Sampson Elementary/High School. CNIC, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, USN. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  4. Callary, Edward (2016). Place Names of Wisconsin. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 244. ISBN   978-0-299-30964-0.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Francis M. Ramsay
Superintendent of United States Naval Academy
1886–1890
Succeeded by
Robert L. Phythian
Military offices
Preceded by
Montgomery Sicard
Commander-in-Chief, North Atlantic Squadron
March 28, 1898 – October 1899
Succeeded by
Norman H. Farquhar