Skip to main content

The Navy Department Library

Related Content
Document Type
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Executive Order and Message of the President to the Senate and House of Representatives on the Death of Admiral Dewey

General Order NO. 259, 17 January 1917

General Order No. 259.
Navy Department, Washington, 18 January 1917.

The following executive order and message of the President to the Senate and House of Representatives are quoted for the information of the naval service.

Josephus Daniels,
Secretary of the Navy

Executive Order
As a token of respect to the memory of Admiral George Dewey, who died at his residence in the city on yesterday, January 16, at 5.56 o'clock, it is hereby ordered that the national flag be displayed at half-mast upon all public buildings and at all forts and military posts and naval stations, and on all vessels of the United States in commission until after the funeral shall have taken place, and that on the day of the funeral the executive offices in the city of Washington be closed.

Woodrow Wilson,
The White House, 17 January 1917.


To the Senate and House of Representatives:

It is with the deepest regret the I announce to the Congress the death of Admiral George Dewey at 5.56 o'clock on the afternoon of yesterday the 16th of January, at his residence in this city.

Admiral Dewey entered the naval service of the country as an acting midshipman from the first congressional district of Vermont on 23 September 1854: was graduated from the Naval Academy as midshipman 11 June 1858; served throughout the war of 1861-1865; and 30 years later had risen to the rank of commodore. It was as commodore that he rendered the service in the action of Manila Bay which has given him a place forever in the naval annals of the country. At the time of his death he held the exceptional rank of The Admiral of the Navy by special act of Congress. During the later years of his life he was the honored president of the General Board of the Navy, to whose duties he gave the most assiduous attention and in which office he rendered a service to the Navy quite invaluable in its sincerity and quality of practical sagacity.

It is pleasant to recall what qualities gave him his well-deserved fame: His practical directness, his courage without self-consciousness, his efficient capacity in matters of administration, the readiness to fight without asking questions or hesitating about any detail. It was by such qualities that he continued and added luster to the best traditions of the Navy. He had the stuff in him which all true men admire and upon which all statesmen must depend in hours of peril. The people and the Government of the United States will always rejoice to perpetuate his name in all honor and affection.

Woodrow Wilson,
The White House, 17 January 1917.

Published: Fri Feb 06 14:47:48 EST 2015