John Ancrum Winslow, born in 1811 in Wilmington, N.C., became a midshipman in 1827. While serving at Tobasco during the Mexican War, he was commended for gallantry in action by Commodore Matthew Perry.
The outbreak of the Civil War found Winslow serving ashore as commanding officer of the 2d Lighthouse District. After Flag Officer A. H. Foote relieved Comdr. John Rodgers in command of the Western Flotilla, he requested that Winslow be sent west to assist him as executive officer. At Cairo, III., Winslow labored to fit out and man gunboats for service on the Mississippi and its tributaries. In October 1861, he assumed command of Benton at St. Louis. As that deep-draft gunboat was steaming down river to Cairo, she ran aground on a sandbar. While attempting to refloat the ship, Winslow was injured by a flying chain link and forced to return home late in the year to recover. When he was able to return to duty in the summer of 1862, Winslow was given comparatively minor assignments. He contracted malaria, became discontented, and asked to be reassigned to other duty.
Detached from the Mississippi Squadron, Winslow returned to his home in Roxbury, Mass., early in November and was confined to bed there for a month attempting to regain his health. On 5 December, orders arrived directing him to proceed via New York to the Azores where he was to assume command of screw sloop Kearsarge. Two days later, he went to New York where he embarked in Vanderbilt for passage to Fayal. However, when he reached that island on Christmas Eve, he found that Kearsarge had sailed to Spain for repairs; and he was forced to remain at Fayal until spring. When the screw sloop finally returned early in April 1863, he assumed command.
In Kearsarge, he cruised among the Azores seeking Confederate commerce raider Alabama until autumn when he shifted to European waters. At Ferrol, Spain, Winslow learned that CSS Florida, was at Brest, France, undergoing overhaul; and he promptly sailed for that port to prevent her from slipping out to sea again. While keeping track of the progress of the repair work on the Southern warship through spies, he also made runs along the coast of western Europe, checking on rumors of other Confederate raiders in the area.
In January 1864, Kearsarge returned to Cadiz for naval stores and repairs; and, while she was away from Brest, Florida put to sea on 18 February. When Kearsarge returned and learned that the quarry had escaped, she shifted to Calais, France, where CSS Rappahannock was moored. On 12 June, Winslow received a telegram informing him that Alabama was at Cherbourg. He hastened there in Kearsarge and, on 19 June, in an epic battle off that port, won a complete victory which gained him promotion to commodore.
Advanced to rear admiral in 1870, Winslow commanded the Pacific Fleet from that year to 1872. Shortly after his retirement, he died at Boston on 29 September 1873.
Cameron McRae Winslow, second eounsin of Rear Admiral John A. Winslow, was born in Washington, D.C., on 29 July 1854. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1874 and following extensive sea duty in succeeding years, then, Lieutenant Winslow served on board USS Nashville during the Spanish-American War. He was commended for extraordinary heroism when, on 11 May 1898, he commanded a boat expedition from Nashville and Marblehead which succeeded in cutting two submarine cables off Cienfuegos, Cuba, which linked Cuba with Europe. Despite withering enemy fire from point blank range which resulted in a bullet wound to his hand, Winslow retained command throughout the engagement.
Winslow commanded USS Charleston from 1905 to 1907 and battleship New Hampshire from 1908 to 1909. Promoted to rear admiral on 14 September 1911, Wins-low was Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, from 13 September 1915 until 29 July 1916 when he was retired due to the statutory age limit. Recalled to active duty in World War I, he served as Inspector of Naval Districts on the Atlantic coast until again retiring on 11 November 1919. Admiral Winslow died in Boston on 2 January 1932.
Winslow (Torpedo Boat No. 5) and Winslow (Destroyer No. 53) honored Rear Admiral John Ancrum Winslow, and Winslow (DD-359) honored Rear Admiral Cameron McRae Winslow as well.
The third Winslow (DD-359), one of eight ships in a unique class of heavily armed destroyer squadron leaders, was laid down on 18 December 1933 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 21 September 1936; sponsored by Miss Mary Blythe Winslow; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17 February 1937, Comdr. Irving R. Chambers in command.
The warship completed outfitting in October and, on the 19th, embarked upon a shakedown cruise which took her to ports in Sweden, England, France, Portugal, and Africa. Upon her return to the western hemisphere, she passed her final acceptance trials off the coast of Maine and was assigned to Battle Force, Destroyers, in the Pacific. Early in 1938, she transited the Panama Canal and joined Destroyer Squadron 9 at San Diego. Over the next three years, Winslow conducted operations in the eastern Pacific-generally between Hawaii and the west coast, from her home port at San Diego.
By 1941, events in Europe, where World War II was already in its second year, necessitated the strengthening of American naval forces in the Atlantic. Accordingly, Winslow retransited the canal in April and, after visiting Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, reported for duty at Norfolk, Va. That summer, she conducted training operations with submarines off the New England coast. Later, she also participated in neutrality patrols, particularly those directed at keeping watch over the Vichy French ships at Martinique and Guadeloupe in the French Antilles. Early in August, Winslow joined Tuscaloosa (CA-37) in escorting Augusta (CA-31) as that heavy cruiser carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Argentia, Newfoundland, to meet British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the conference which resulted in the Atlantic Charter. Then, after escorting transports carrying reinforcements to Iceland, the destroyer arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, early in November and became a unit in the screen of America's first convoy to the Orient. Convoy WS-12X, bound via the Cape of Good Hope for Singapore, departed Halifax on 10 November. Just before the convoy reached Capetown, South Africa, where the destroyers were to part company with the convoy and head for home, word arrived that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.
After leaving the convoy at Capetown, Winslow returned to the United States where she was assigned to Vice Admiral Jonas H. Ingrain's 4th Fleet, which had grown out of the South Atlantic neutrality patrols. The warship patrolled the area between Brazil and Africa, hunting German submarines and blockade runners until April 1944. On two occasions during that period, she returned briefly to the United States, in June 1942 and in October 1943, to undergo repairs at Charleston, S.C.
In April 1944, the warship began escorting newly constructed warships from Boston, via Norfolk, to the West Indies. After three such voyages, she began escorting convoys from New York to England and Ireland in August. She made five round-trip voyages across the Atlantic before putting into Charleston again in March 1945 for a four-month overhaul.
While in Charleston for alterations, she lost her torpedo tubes, traded her light, single-purpose, 5-inch guns for five dual-purpose 5-inch guns. In addition, she received 16 40-millimeter and four 20-millimeter antiaircraft guns in preparation for services in the Pacific.
However, by the end of her refresher training out of Casco Bay, Maine, hostilities had ceased. Accordingly, Winslow received orders to begin experimental work testing antiaircraft ordnance. On 17 September 1945, the ship was redesignated AG-127. She continued her experimental work with the Operational Development Force until she was decommissioned on 28 June 1950. Winslow remained in reserve, berthed with the Charleston Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet, until declared unfit for further naval service on 5 December 1957. Her name was struck from the Navy list on that same day, and she was sold on 23 February 1959 for scrapping.