1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dewey, George
|←De Wette, Wilhelm Martin Leberecht||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 8
|See also George Dewey on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
DEWEY, GEORGE (1837- ), American naval officer, was born at Montpelier, Vermont, on the 26th of December 1837. He studied at Norwich University, then at Norwich, Vermont, and graduated at the United States Naval Academy in 1858. He was commissioned lieutenant in April 1861, and in the Civil War served on the steamsloop "Mississippi" (1861-1863) during Farragut's passage of the forts below New Orleans in April 1862, and at Port Hudson in March 1863; took part in the fighting below Donaldsonville, Louisiana, in July 1863; and in 1864-1865 served on the steam-gunboat "Agawam" with the North Atlantic blockading squadron and took part in the attacks on Fort Fisher in December 1864 and January 1865. In March 1865 he became a lieutenant-commander. He was with the European squadron in 1866-1867; was an instructor in the United States Naval Academy in 1868-1869; was in command of the "Narragansett" in 1870-1871 and 1872-1875, being commissioned commander in 1872; was light-house inspector in 1876-1877; and was secretary of the light-house board in 1877-1882. In 1884 he became a captain; in 1889-1893 was chief of the bureau of equipment and recruiting; in 1893-1895 was a member of the light-house board; and in 1895-1897 was president of the board of inspection and survey, being promoted to the rank of commodore in February 1896. In November 1897 he was assigned, at his own request, to sea service, and sent to Asiatic waters. In April 1898, while with his fleet at Hong Kong, he was notified by cable that war had begun between the United States and Spain, and was ordered to "capture or destroy the Spanish fleet" then in Philippine waters. On the 1st of May he overwhelmingly defeated the Spanish fleet under Admiral Montojo in Manila Bay, a victory won without the loss of a man on the American ships (see Spanish-American War). Congress, in a joint resolution, tendered its thanks to Commodore Dewey, and to the officers and men under his command, and authorized "the secretary of the navy to present a sword of honor to Commodore George Dewey, and cause to be struck bronze medals commemorating the battle of Manila Bay, and to distribute such medals to the officers and men of the ships of the Asiatic squadron of the United States." He was promoted rear-admiral on the 10th of May 1898. On the 18th of August his squadron assisted in the capture of the city of Manila. After remaining in the Philippines under orders from his government to maintain control, Dewey received the rank of admiral (March 3, 1899)—that title, formerly borne only by Farragut and Porter, having been revived by act of Congress (March 2, 1899),—and returned home, arriving in New York City, where, on the 3rd of October 1899, he received a great ovation. He was a member (1899) of the Schurman Philippine Commission, and in 1899 and 1900 was spoken of as a possible Democratic candidate for the presidency. He acted as president of the Schley court of inquiry in 1901, and submitted a minority report on a few details.