DEWEY, George, American naval officer: b. Montpelier, Vt., 26 Dec. 1837; d. Washington, D. C., 16 Jan. 1917. At 17, after a preparatory course in the Northfield Military School, young Dewey was appointed a cadet at Annapolis, in the class which was graduated in 1858. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was commis sioned a lieutenant under Admiral Farragut and assigned to the sloop-of-war Mississippi. His first active experience in war was when the West Gulf squadron, early in 1862, forced a passage up the Mississippi River ahead of Farragut. A later enterprise resulted in the grounding of the Mississippi, in the middle of the night, while attempting to run the batteries of Port Hudson. Here she was riddled with shot and set afire by the enemy's batteries, so that officers and crew had to abandon her, and make their way as best they could to the other shore before the flames reached her magazine and she exploded.
Other notable engagements in which Dewey figured during the Civil War were at Donald sonville in 1863, and at Fort Fisher in the win ter of 1864-65, as an officer of the Agawam. Receiving his commission as lieutenant-com mander in March 1865, he served for two years on the Kearsarge and the Colorado, and was then attached to the Naval Academy for two years more. In 1870 he was given command of the Narragansett, and during his five years' charge of her rose to -be a commander. He was then attached to the Lighthouse Board, and in 1882 took his next sea duty in command of the Juniata of the Asiatic squadron. On reaching his captaincy, in 1884, he took charge of the Dolphin, one of the first vessels of the new navy. From 1885 to 1888 he commanded the Pensacola, then flagship of the European squadron; and this service was followed by shore duty, in the course of which he served as chief of the Bureau of Equipment at the Navy Department, and afterward on the Light house Board for a second time. In 1896 he was promoted to commodore, and made presi dent of the Board of Inspection and Survey. At the beginning of 1898, a few weeks before the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, he was placed in command of the Asiatic squadron, and was thus given the chance to distinguish himself which he so brilliantly improved.
With his squadron he left Mirs Bay, China, 27 April 1898, with orders to 'capture or destroy the Spanish squadron,(' then supposed to be in Manila Bay, under command of Admiral Montojo. The squadron entered the channel of Manila at 11:30 P.M., Saturday, 30 April, and early on Sunday morning, 1 May, sank, burned or captured all the ships of the Spanish squadron in the bay, silenced and destroyed three laud batteries, obtained com plete control of the bay, so that he could take the city, the chief port of Philippine Islands, at any time, and all without losing a single man, and having only nine slightly wounded.
On 18 August Dewey and his ships aided Gen eral Merritt in the capture of Manila. In recognition of his Manila Bay achievement, Commodore Dewey received the thanks of Congress, which awarded to him a magnificent sword, and medals to his men. As a further recognition of his achievement, Commodore Dewey was (7 May 1898) promoted to be a rear-admiral, and subsequently (3 March 1899) made admiral of the navy under an act of Congress, approved 2 March 1899, restoring that rank for the especial purpose of enabling the country to honor adequately the hero of Manila Bay. To Dewey also was granted a great honor that the government enacted a law whereby he was never to be placed on the retired list. Thus Admiral Dewey, though long past the age of 'retirement, was an active officer in the United •States navy at the time of his death. In 1914 he came into great prominence again; the publication of his auto biography revived an incident at the battle of Manila Bay 16 years before. In writing about the battle Admiral Dewey told how a shot was fired across the bow of one of the German ships to impress Admiral von Diedrichs with the fact that the American navy had estab lished a blockade and would countenance no undue activity on the part of the Germans.
'A difference of opinion about international laws had been adjusted,'' Dewey wrote, "with out adding to the sum of President McKinley's worries." A sharp attack by .Herr Erzberger in the Reichstag followed the publication and Count Reventlow, the German naval writer, published a scathing article in the Tages Zeitung. Andrew D. White, who had recently returned from being Ambassador to Germany, in speak ing of this incident said that von Diedrichs 'conceived it his duty in a vague sort of way to butt in to protect German interests.) In 1901 he was president of the Schley court of inquiry, and in the same year became presi dent of the General Board of the Navy, which position he held until his death, and in 1902 was appointed commander-in-chief of the united squadrons and fleets mobilized for extraor dinary manoeuvres. Consult Clemen's (Life of Dewey' (1899) ; (1914).