Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Bartlett, Frank W.
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Bartlett, Frank W.

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Commodore, USN (Retired), (1856-1932)

Frank William Bartlett was born in Massachusetts on 15 August 1856. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from the state of Michigan in October 1874 and graduated as a Cadet Engineer in June 1878. For the next three years, he served in the wooden cruisers Lackawanna and Pensacola, receiving promotion to the rank of Assistant Engineer in June 1880. Following shore duty at the Boston Navy Yard, he was an engineer on board USS Kearsarge during 1883-1886. He then spent some three years as an instructor at a military academy located at Orchard Lake, Michigan. In February 1890, Bartlett reported on board the new cruiser Charleston, which was operating in the Pacific.


Passed Assistant Engineer Bartlett was assigned to the U.S. Naval Academy during 1893-96, then returned to sea in the battleship Massachusetts and the "dynamite cruiser" Vesuvius, in which he took part in anti-arms-smuggling operations off Florida in 1897-1898 and in the Spanish-American War in Cuban waters during mid-1898. Promoted to the rank of Chief Engineer soon after that conflict ended, he served at San Juan Naval Station, Puerto Rico, into 1899. In March of that year, as the Navy brought its engineer officers into the line officer series, Bartlett received the rank of Lieutenant. He again served at the Naval Academy in 1899-1901 and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in April 1901.


During the Twentieth Century's first decade, Bartlett served in the battleships Indiana and Maine and in the cruiser Chicago, was Fleet Engineer of the Pacific Squadron and had another tour at the Naval Academy. Captain Bartlett was the Engineer Officer at the Portsmouth Navy Yard from 1911 into 1916, then was employed as an Inspector of Engineering Materiel by the Bureau of Steam Engineering before, during and after the First World War. He was the Navy's senior Captain when he left active service in August 1920 upon attaining the statuatory retirement age of 64. While on the Retired List in 1924, he was advanced in rank to Commodore. Frank W. Bartlett died at Boston, Massachusetts, on 20 August 1932.


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Frank W. Bartlett recorded many interesting aspects of his service in a manuscript entitled "Naval Yarns". The text of this work, reproduced from a typescript held by the Navy Department Library, can be visited at:  Captain Frank W. Bartlett, USN: "Naval Yarns".