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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Badger

 

Any of several burrowing mammals widely distributed in the northern hemisphere.

Oscar C. Badger--born on 12 August 1823 in Mansfield, Connecticut—received appointment as a midshipman in the Navy on 9 September 1841 and, after a tour of duty in Independence, served in Saratoga along the Atlantic coast of Africa. While serving in the latter ship, he saw his first action in the punitive expedition that landed on the west coast of Africa in 1843 and destroyed the Berribee villages. In the sidewheel steamer Mississippi, during the Mexican War, he participated in the expedition that captured the Mexican town of Alvarado in the spring of 1847. Badger then attended the Naval School (as the Naval Academy was then called) at Annapolis, Md.; completed his course of study there; and was warranted a passed midshipman on 10 August 1847.

By 1850, he was posted to the Pacific Squadron and served successively in Supply, the frigate Savannah, and the sloop Vincennes. He returned to shore in 1853 for a tour of duty at the Naval Observatory located in Washington, D.C. In 1855, he returned to the Pacific Squadron for duty in the sloop John Adams and, that autumn, participated in an expedition to the Fiji Islands to redress wrongs suffered by members of the crews of American whalers and merchant ships at the hands of natives. The landing party destroyed the village of Vutia. To round out his pre-Civil War service, Badger was assigned in turn to Plymouth, Macedonian, Minnesota, and, lastly, to the Washington Navy Yard.

He was serving in the national capital at the outbreak of the Civil War, and took command of the screw steamer Anacostia early in that conflict. In her, he participated in a series of actions against Confederate batteries along the Virginia bank of the Potomac. During the Peninsula Campaign, he took part in the siege of Yorktown, Virginia. In 1862 , he was transferred to the western theater to superintend the arming of river gunboats. In mid-1863, he was switched to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and participated in the attack on shore batteries on Morris Island on 11 July 1863. A week later, he commanded Patapsco in an attack on Fort Wagner and, a month after that, led the ironclad in a series of operations against Forts Wagner, Gregg, and Sumter. On the night of 22 August 1863, he took command of the ironclad Montauk for another try at Fort Sumter.

Soon thereafter, Badger was appointed fleet captain, ad interim, of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and, in that office, took part in another attack on Fort Sumter while in the flagship Weehawken on the night of 1 September 1863. During that action, he was severely wounded in the leg by a flying metal splinter. He spent the remaining years of the Civil War ashore performing ordnance duty at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and serving as inspector of cannon at Pittsburgh. Sometime during 1866 he took command of the sidewheel steamer Peoria--a unit of the North Atlantic Squadron--and, in her, rendered assistance to the victims of a fire that destroyed Basseterre on St. Kitts in the Leeward Islands. In 1868, he came ashore for equipment duty at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard. He returned to sea in 1871 in command of Ticonderoga of the South Atlantic Fleet. He commanded the receiving ship Ohio at Boston in 1873 and 1874 and served again at the Washington Navy Yard between 1875 and 1878.

His last sea duty came in 1878 and 1879 when he commanded the frigate Constitution. During 1880, he was stationed in Washington for special duty. While serving at the Naval Asylum in Philadelphia, Badger was promoted to commodore in November 1881. After commanding the Boston Navy Yard between 1881 and 1885, Badger retired in August of 1885. He died on 20 June 1899.

Oscar Charles Badger--son of Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger (q.v.) and the grandson of Commodore Oscar C. Badger--born on 26 June 1890 in Washington D.C.--entered the Naval Academy in 1907 and graduated in 1911 as a member of the last academy class to go to sea after graduation as passed midshipmen rather than as commissioned officers. He served first in Minnesota (Battleship No. 22) and then in Utah (Battleship No. 31). From the latter, he led the first landing party ashore at Veracruz, Mexico, on 21 April 1914 and was awarded the Medal of Honor for the “eminent and conspicuous ... skill and courage” with which he carried out that duty.

Following successive tours in Parker (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 48) and in Maine (Battleship No. 10), he was transferred to Arizona (Battleship No. 39)--then under construction at the New York Navy Yard--and, after she went into commission, served in her until he was transferred to the American destroyer force operating out of Queenstown, Ireland, in December 1917. He served in Allen (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 66) and Porter (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 59) and was in the latter on 28 April 1918 when she made one of the few successful American attacks on a German U-boat during World War I, severely damaging U-108.

Badger received his first command in June 1918 when he took over armed yacht Sultana (SP-134) and remained in her until he assumed command of Worden (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 16) in October. For his service in the grueling antisubmarine campaign in World War I, Badger received the Navy Cross.

Following the war, Badger served as inspector of ordnance at Camden, N.J., and at Philadelphia from January 1919 until March 1921. He then assumed command of the destroyer Pruitt (DD-347) and remained in her until early 1922, when he became gunnery officer for an Atlantic Fleet destroyer squadron. Nine months later, he joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet (CINCAF). In that role, he was the first American to contact Japanese authorities in Tokyo after the devastating earthquake of 1923 and directed American relief efforts at Yokohama and the evacuation of refugees. He returned to Washington in November 1923 for duty in the fire control section of the Bureau of Ordnance. Two years later, he returned to sea as first lieutenant of the battleship Maryland (BB-46), but came back to Washington in August 1928 to head the Bureau of Ordnance’s fire control section.

In May 1931, Badger became the commanding officer of the destroyer Southard (DD-207) and, later, executive officer of the destroyer tender Melville (AD-2). In June 1933, he began a three-year assignment in the executive department of the Naval Academy. From June 1936 to May 1938, Badger served as executive officer of Indianapolis (CA-35) when that heavy cruiser transported President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the 1936 Pan American conference. Following study at the Naval War College in 1938 and 1939, Badger became secretary to the Navy’s General Board. In December 1940, he became chief of staff to Rear Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander, Atlantic Squadron. In October 1941, Badger assumed command of the new battleship North Carolina (BB-35).

He was promoted to rear admiral to date from 24 April 1942, but he continued to serve as the battleship's commanding officer until the following September when he took command of several destroyer flotillas. Called back to Washington in December to be assistant chief of naval operations for logistics plans, he attended the conferences at Quebec and Cairo as logistics advisor to the Combined Chiefs of Staff. He received the Legion of Merit for that assignment, which lasted until February 1944 when he became Commander, Service Squadrons, South Pacific Force. As such, he supervised the logistics units that supported operations in the northern Solomon Islands and in the Bismarck Archipelago, winning a gold star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit. Sometime during the summer or early fall of 1944, he became Commander, Battleship Division 7, and his command served in the screen of the Fast Carrier Task Force in the Pacific. He held that assignment through the end of the war and participated in the three-part Battle for Leyte Gulf in late October 1944, the invasion of Luzon, and in the assault on Iwo Jima. In July 1945, he commanded a striking force that bombarded the Muroran area of the Japanese home islands. On 27 August 1945, he steamed into Tokyo Bay in his flagship, the light cruiser San Diego (CL-53), leading the first contingent of American occupation forces.

Following the Japanese surrender, Rear Admiral Badger began two years as Commander, Service Force, Pacific. In that position, he supervised the return home of about four million veterans of the Pacific war. Early in 1947, he directed the disposal of the radioactive ships used in the atomic tests conducted at Bikini Atoll the previous summer. In mid-1947, he transferred to the west coast of the United States to serve as Commandant, 11th Naval District. On 19 January 1948, he was promoted to vice admiral and, the following month, became Commander, Naval Forces, Far East. In that office, he observed the gradual loss of the mainland to the Chinese communists and supervised the retirement of American forces to the port cities on the China coast.

Upon returning to Washington in September 1939, he became special advisor to the Navy Department on Far Eastern affairs. On 1 May 1950, he began his last tour of active duty as Commander, Eastern Sea Frontier, and Commander, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. He retired from the Navy in June 1952 with the rank of admiral. Following retirement, Badger continued to be active in both public and private life until he died on 30 November 1958.

Badger (Destroyer No. 126) was named for Commodore Oscar C. Badger (a cousin of Secretary of the Navy George Edmund Badger), the father of Rear Admiral Charles Johnston Badger -- the son of the commodore and the father of the admiral -- was also honored by the naming of the destroyer Charles J. Badger (DD-657) (q.v.), and the grandfather of Admiral Oscar C. Badger. The ocean escort Badger (DE-1071) honors all four men.


I

(Screw Steamer: displacement 4,784 (normal); length 326'6"; beam 42'0"; draft 18'6" (mean); speed16 knots; complement 235; armament 6 5", 6 Maxim 3-pounders)

The screw steamer Yumuri, built in 1889 at Chester, Pennsylvania, by John Roach and Sons, was purchased by the Navy on 19 April 1898 from the New York and Cuba Mail Steamship Lines. Converted to an auxiliary cruiser and renamed Badger, she was commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 28 April 1898, Comdr. Albert S. Snow in command.

Early in June, Badger began patrol duty along the New England coast between Provincetown, Mass., on the tip of Cape Cod and Bar Harbor, Maine. The auxiliary cruiser departed Portland, Maine, on the 26th to join the forces blockading Cuba. She arrived at Key West, Fla., on 1 July; remained there for two days; and then joined the North Atlantic Squadron off Havana on Independence Day 1898. After a week off that port, she moved to a new blockade station at Nuevitas located about two-thirds of the way down the northern coast of Cuba from Havana.

Her blockade patrols proved uneventful for a fortnight. Then, at about 3:40 p.m. on 26 July, she encountered three Spanish vessels-the steam tug Humberto Rodriques towing the former steamer San Fernando and the brigantine Safi--attempting to flee Nuevitas. In addition to the Spanish ensign, each ship flew the Red Cross flag while the two vessels in tow also flew the quarantine flag. Badger fired a blank round that persuaded the fleeing vessels to heave to. The auxiliary cruiser sent a boarding party on board the tug, who ascertained no justification for the use of the Red Cross and quarantine flags. Consequently, Badger took them as prizes and set out for the Dry Tortugas quarantine station, where she placed the 399 prisoners on board San Fernando and Safi, and Humberto Rodriques towed them to the blockade lines off Havana. Completing that mission, the tug's prize crew set a course for New York.

Meanwhile, Badger moved to Key West on 3 August and spent four days taking on coal and provisions. On 7 August, she got underway to resume blockade duty. The auxiliary cruiser arrived off Guantanamo Bay on the southern coast of Cuba, near the eastern end of the island, on the 9th. Hostilities ceased effectively in mid-August, and Badger departed Guantanamo on the 18th. She arrived back in New York on 23 August and moved thence to Boston, where her crew of volunteers was mustered out of the service. On 26 September, she headed south toward the Delaware capes and arrived at League Island, Pennsylvania, two days later. She underwent repairs during the three months she remained at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Badger departed League Island the day after Christmas of 1898 for Norfolk. Following additional repairs at the Norfolk Navy Yard, the ship stood down the Elizabeth River on 26 January 1899, firing a salute to Commodore Norman von Heldreich Farquhar in the receiving ship Franklin as she did so, and later anchored off Lambert’s Point, where she remained until 28 January, when moved further down the Elizabeth River into Hampton Roads. Bid a “pleasant voyage” by Nashville (Gunboat No.7) as she stood out through the mist at 10:10 a.m., and left her anchorage, Badger anchored in Lynnhaven Roads an hour and a half later, on 31 January, where she remained until upping anchor at 1:45 p.m. on 1 February, bound for Bahia, Brazil.

Badger sailed south, often utilizing sails to stretch her coal supply, and reached Bahia on 16 February 1899. Departing the Brazilian port on 21 February, she arrived at Montevideo, Uruguay, on the 27th. Standing out of Montevideo harbor on 4 March, she put in to Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, on 8 March. Three days later, on 11 March, the watch discovered the wherry missing at 4:45 a.m., as well as two men, Seaman H. Lawrence and Apprentice 2d Class A. M. Karsch, soon thereafter. Sending ashore an offer of a reward of 2₤ apiece for apprehension of the missing sailors, the ship sent a boat to search for the wherry, finding it shortly thereafter beached at the east end of the harbor; also missing were one water breaker belonging to the gig, a box of meat and a box of bread. By day’s end, Commander James M. Miller, Badger’s commanding officer, had declared the men deserters from the naval service.

That same day, more somber pursuits involved Badger; during the 12-4 watch on 11 March, permission having been granted by Governor H. Gray Wilson of the Falkland Islands, Badger sent Surgeon Oliver D. Norton, Carpenter Joseph A. O’Connor, and Chief Carpenter’s Mate Allen ashore to superintend the exhumation of the remains of the late Rear Admiral James H. Spotts, U.S.Navy, who had died there in 1882, and the placing of them in a casket for transportation back to the United States. Cemetery authorities performed the work in the presence of Badger’s party and Colonial Surgeon Dr. Samuel Hamilton, who had known Spotts personally and who verified the body as being that of the late admiral. Badger’s funeral party participated, joined by a contingent of sailors, marines, and a band, from HMS Flora and HMS Swallow, officers from the ships, the commodore commanding the British squadron, Governor Wilson, the U.S. Consul, and a body of men from the Falkland Island Volunteers.

Proceeding out of Port Stanley’s harbor during the 8-12 watch on 12 March, Badger entered the treacherous Straits of Magellan during the 12-4 watch on 14 March. On her way up the western coast of South America, Badger stopped at Valparaiso, Chile, anchoring at 6:08 a.m. on 22 March but getting underway again before the day was out, taking departure at 3:20 for Callao, Peru, ultimately dropping anchor there at 8:40 p.m. on 26 March. She sailed for San Francisco on 2 April.

Ultimately, Badger dropped anchor in San Francisco bay at 8:43 p.m. on 15 April, and moved to the Union Iron Works yard during the 8-12 watch. Two days later, Rear Admiral Spotts’ remains were turned over to his son Harry and his nephew R. F. Spotts. Departing the Union Iron Works facility late on 25 April, Badger embarked members of the Samoan Commission beginning at 9:20 a.m. on 26 April: the Honorable Bartlett Tripp, Commissioner from the U.S., and Mr. E. V. Morgan, his secretary, the Honorable C.N.E.Eliot CB, Commissioner from England, and his valet, Mr. J. Janos, and Baron Speck von Sternberg, Commissioner from Germany. At 12:40, Badger took departure from San Francisco Bay.

There, she embarked members of a British, German, and American tripartite Commission which had been set up to end a civil war in Samoa and to act as a provisional government of that island group pending the establishment of permanent political institutions. On 26 April, she set a course for Hawaii where she made a two-day stopover before continuing on to the Samoan Islands.

Badger reached Honolulu on the morning of 3 May where she dropped anchor and coaled ship. During the 8-12 watch on 5 May, the Hawaiian government extended the courtesy of a concert to the Joint High Commissioners when a tug came alongside with the government band embarked, the music enjoyed by Badger’s hard-working crew as they coaled ship simultaneous to the concert being accorded their shipboard guests. She got underway for Samoa at 3:30 p.m. on 5 May.

Ultimately, Badger anchored in Apia harbor at 7:41 a.m. on 13 May, finding the cruiser Philadelphia in port, flying the flag of Rear Admiral Austin Kautz, the collier Brutus, the British men of war HMS Tauranga, HMS Porpoise, and HMS Torch, and the German cruiser Falke.

Upon anchoring, Badger fired a salute of 13 guns. A flurry of required calls and boarding visits then ensued: a representative of Admiral Kautz, followed by the British and German consuls, visited Commander Miller and the Commission. Ensign Reginald R. Belknap, from Badger, meanwhile, returned boarding calls to Tauranga and Falke; Commander Miller visited Philadelphia. Soon thereafter, Admiral Kautz himself, accompanied by his staff, visited Badger, calling upon the Joint High Commission; Badger’s officers and crew, drawn up at quarters, received him, and upon his departure, rendered a 13-gun salute. A succession of British ships’ captains, including Commander F.C.D. Sturdee (future victor of the Battle of the Falklands in 1914), then visited the embarked commission and the ship’;s captain, The joint high commission then left the ship in Philadelphia’s barge to carry out a round of official calls; Philadelphia fired a 15-gun salute with the British, German, and U.S. flags at the yard’; later, the U.S. consul (Osborn) visited Badger . Indicative of the troubled affairs at the time, the newly arrived auxiliary cruiser received the signal: “Allow no liberty for enlisted men until further orders.” On 18 May, she sent a 15-man party, in heavy marching order, ashore under Naval Cadet E.J. Sadler, equipped with a 3-inch field gun, a Gatling gun and a Colts gun. On 19 May, chief Malietoa and a retinue of chiefs came on board to confer with the High Commissioners, during the 4-8 watch; chief Mataafa, accompanied by a retinue of chiefs, came on board for a conference during the 8-12 watch on the 20th. On 23 May, four Mataafan chiefs came on board; sent them in a ship’s boat ashore to confer with the members of the commission; afterwards the chiefs returned to their own boat alongside the ship. On 30 may, a detachment of sailors under Ensign Belknap, on Decoration Day, decorated the graves of marines and sailors at Molonu; one company of the party equipped as a firing party. Shifted to Malua on 31 May and anchored off that place during the 8-12 watch. The Samoan Mataafa and a number of chiefs came on board, and native boats came alongside, about 20 in all, to deliver up arms to the custody of the Samoan Commissioners, 1,831 rifles of various makes were received. At 1:30 that same day, the ship returned to Apia. On 1 June, during the 4-8 watch began receiving arms from the natives at 6:30; at 8 hoisted the ensigns of the three nations of the commission. During the 8-12 watch, Malietoa Tanu with chiefs came on board and interviewed the Joint Commission; receiving Malietoa rifles and ammunition. Received in all from Maleitoa adherents 1,338 rifles, and from Mataafa adherents today 5 rifles. On 2 June, received from Mataafa chiefs, I s[ch]neider rifle, one Mauser during the 12-4 watch; during the 4-8 watch received 10 Sneider, 1 Mauser, 4 Remington, and 1 Springfield from Malietoa adherents. On 3 June, sickness ashore resulted in her bluejacket and marine detachment being brought back to the ship. On 4 June, Commander Sturdee, RN,’s letter of thanks for the “commendable manner in which the American force [had] cooperated” in the joint British-American-and Native force on shore; that same day, the ship sent four privates in charge of a corporal to serve as guard at the Hotel Internationale. On 6 June, Maleitoa and his chiefs visited the High Commissioners on board the ship, Later, the ship took the delivery of five needle guns, a Springfield rifle and a Winchester, in addition to three revolvers; from Maleitoa’s adherents , surrendered at the Hotel Internationale, 3 needle guns, a double-barrelled breech-loading short gun. On 7 June, then ship received still more weaponry from Maleitoa’s adherents: 2 Springfields, 2 needle guns, one Martini-Henry rifle. On 8 June, received from Maleitoa’s people: one Springfield. On 9 June, the ship sent a guard of one corporal and four privates to the Hotel Internationale; also received more weapons. On 11 June, all guards ashore returned to their respective ships. On 12 June, Mataafa’s people sent 2 Winchesters, 2 Springfields, 2 Mausers and 3 needle rifles.On 16 June, Maleitoa’s people brought in a Colt rifle, a Mauser, a Springfield, 2 needle guns; Mataafa’s forces turned over 27 needle guns, 14 Remingtons, 3 Winchesters, 4 Springfields, 1 Martini-Henry, 5 muskets and one non-descripr rifle; more weapons on the 19th,

On 20 June, at 2 p.m., Mataafa chiefs came on board to visit the High Commission. Received from Mataafa’s adherents: 77 needle guns, 27 Remington rifles, 3 Martini-Henry, 8 Winchesters, and from Maleitoa’s people, 1 Winchester rifle. During the 4-8 watch, generally overcast and cloudy, squally with heavy showers of rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning. Light to stiff breeze from the east. At 4:15, the Malietoa chiefs came on board and a meeting of Mataafa and Malietoa chiefs was held in the wardroom of this ship at which they shook hands and rubbed noses in accordance with the Samoan custom, and made professions of good feeling toward each other. Both parties left ship about 5:30. Maleitoa’s people were still bringing weapons on board the following day (21 June).

Embarked the Samoan High Chief Leoso, wife and child, Kinasopo and Moagu and 26 men and children, also John Ah Suey, interpreter for the commission, for passage to Pago Pago during the 4-8 watch on 22 June; arrived later the same day. On 24 June, High Chief Mauoga came on board to pay his respects to the commissioners, Chief Mailo came on board later in the day and made a presentation of gifts to them as well. Ultimately, Badger stood out of Pago Pago harbor during the 8-12 watch; received two needle guns from Chief Leoso. On board for the passage to Apia were Chief Leoso and his wife, five Samoan men, one woman and two children. Later, upon arrival, discharged the pilot, discharged the pilot engaged for the trip and the interpreter, and sent the passengers ashore.

Falke sent over guns received from Mataafa’s people on 27 June, during Badger’s absence.

Took Brutus alongside on that date; coaling over successive days; hauled clear on 3 July. On 14 July,. Badger sent a marine patrol ashore; another guard ashore at the request of the high commissioners the next day; also on the 16th. The British commissioner, Eliot, left the ship with his valet and all of his belongings, on 18 July at Apia’ finally, Badger underway at 2:15 p.m. on 18 July 1899 for Hawaii, cheering ship as she stood out.

Made passage back to Hawaiian waters, often utilizing sails. Moored 5:09 p.m., 26 July. On 29 July, at 10:08 went ahead slow, bound for San Francisco, came to anchor at 6:48 a.m. on 6 August; the Honorable Bartlett Tripp, and Baron Speck von Sternberg and Mr. Morgan, the Secretary of the Commission, left the ship officially at 3:20 p.m.

On 13 May and spent a little over two months there, apparently ferrying the commissioners from island to island. The ship headed back to the United States on 18 July, repeated her stop at Honolulu between 26 and 29 July, then continued on her way east and reentered port at San Francisco on 6 August 1899.

For almost three months, Badger cruised the west coast of the United States, ranging from Portland, Oregon to Eureka, California, visitng Astoria, Oregon, up and down the coast of Oregon, off the mouth of the Columbia River, visiting San Francisco, operating off Drake’s Bay, off Santa Barbara, off Santa Cruz, off San Perdro, Bay,m pounctuating it with upkeeop at the mare Island Navy Yard and off San Diego conducting gunnery practice and training members of the California Naval Militia. On 31 October 1899, Badger was placed out of commission at the Mare Island Navy Yard. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 23 March 1900, and she was transferred to the War Department on 7 April 1900.

Robert J. Cressman and Raymond A. Mann



8 March 2006