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Adapted from "Rear Admiral James Kelsey Cogswell, United States Navy" [biography, dated 23 April 1951] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

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  • nhhc-topics:communications
  • nhhc-topics:ordnance and weapons
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  • nhhc-document-types:Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • nhhc-wars-conflicts:civil-war
  • nhhc-wars-conflicts:philippine-insurrection
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James Kelsey Cogswell

27 September 1847-12 August 1908

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Father and son were honored by the naming of the DL-561, USS Cogswell, in memory of the late Rear Admiral James Kelsey Cogswell, USN, and the late Captain Francis Cogswell, USN. Launched at the Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine, on June 5, 1943, the co-sponsors were Mrs. Donald C. Bingham, daughter of the late Rear Admiral Cogswell, and Mrs. Francs Cogswell, widow of the late Captain Cogswell. The destroyer was commissioned in the United States Navy on August 17, 1943, and joined the Pacific Fleet.

James Kelsey Cogswell was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on September 27, 1847, and died at South Jacksonville, Florida, on August 12, 1908. He is buried in Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee.

He was appointed a Midshipman and entered the US Naval Academy on September 25, 1863 from Wisconsin. He was commissioned Ensign on April 19, 1869, and thereafter advanced in rank to that of captain on February 4, 1904. Transferred to the Retired List of the Navy in March 25, 1904, he was promoted to Rear Admiral on the Retired List.

After leaving the Naval Academy, he served consecutively in the USS Powhatan, Ticonderoga, Monongahela, and Essex. In May 1879 he had instruction in torpedoes and was on duty in the Hydrographic Office, Navy Department, until March 1880. He served again at sea in the USS Colorado and the USS Vandalia successively. He attended the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and continued under instruction in ordnance at the Navy Yard, Washington, DC from February 1887 to November 1888, he was Inspector of Ordnance, South Boston Iron Works.

During the Spanish-American War, he was Executive Officer of the USS Marion, and later of the monitor USS Oregon. He was advanced in rank of February 11, 1901 “for eminent and conspicuous conduct in battle.” Assuming command in May 1901 of the Isle De Luzon, a Spanish vessel prize of war, he participated in the Philippine Campaign. In May 1902 he reported to the Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, and while serving as Ordnance Officer he had additional duty as Inspector of Equipment, and other additional duties with the Wireless Telegraph Station, Cape Elizabeth, Maine. In November 1903 he assumed command of the USS Cleveland. He was serving in command of the USS R.S. Southery when transferred to the Retired List of the Navy on March 25, 1904.

Rear Admiral Cogswell had received the Civil War Medal; Spanish Campaign Medal (USS Oregon); Sampson Medal and four bars (USS Oregon, Engagements at Santiago, Cuba, June 6, 16, July 2, 3, and 4, 1898); and the Philippine Campaign Medal (Isle De Luzon).

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Published: Tue Apr 20 10:15:53 EDT 2021