Lewis Ashfield Kimberly was born in Troy, New York on 2 April 1830. He was appointed a Midshipman in the U.S. Navy in December 1846 and served off Africa in the sloop Jamestown in 1847-50. He was in the Pacific on board the frigate Raritan during 1850-52, then returned to African waters in the sloops Decatur and Dale in 1853-1856. During the remainder of the decade and in the early 1860s, Lieutenant Kimberly was stationed at the Boston Navy Yard, in the East Indian Squadron with USS Germantown, and in the Mediterranean in USS Richmond. His Civil War service included duty with USS Potomac in the Gulf of Mexico in 1861-62 and extensive combat experience on board USS Hartford on the Mississippi River in 1863 and at Mobile Bay in 1864.
In early 1865, Lieutenant Commander Kimberly went to Europe with the frigate Colorado. Promoted to the rank of Commander in 1866, he commanded the receiving ship at New York in 1867-70, USS Benicia on the Asiatic Station in 1870-72 and the monitor Canonicus along the U.S. east coast in 1873-74. As a Captain, he commanded USS Monongahela on the South Atlantic Station in 1875-76 and USS Omaha in the Pacific in 1877-78. He also served at the New York Navy Yard during the early 1880s and was President of the Examining and Retiring Board in 1883-85.
Commodore Kimberly became Commandant of the Boston Navy Yard in 1885 and attained the rank of Rear Admiral in July 1887, a few months after he took command of the Pacific Station. He served there until the end of the decade and was senior officer present during the destructive hurricane that struck Apia, Samoa, in mid-March 1889. After duty as President of the Board of Inspection and Survey, Rear Admiral Kimberly retired in April 1892. He died at West Newton, Massachusetts, on 28 January 1902.
Two U.S. Navy destroyers have been named in honor of Rear Admiral Kimberly: USS Kimberly (Destroyer # 80, later DD-80) of 1918-1939; and USS Kimberly (DD-521) of 1943-1967.
This page features all our views of Rear Admiral Lewis A. Kimberly, USN.
For artworks made by Rear Admiral Kimberly, depicting aspects of the Samoan hurricane of March 1889, see: