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Rear Admiral Joseph N. Miller, Commander, Pacific Station, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

U. S. Flagship Philadelphia,    

Honolulu,H.I., August 14, 1898.


     1.   I have the honor to submit the following report on the participation of the forces under my command in the ceremonies attending the change of sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands, which took place at noon on Friday the 12th instant.

     2.   As the report of this important event will be a matter of record in the files of the Navy Department, and as occasion may occur hereafter to refer to it to know what was done by the Naval Force on that occasion, it is made more in detail than it would otherwise be.

     3.   The force under arms from the Philadelphia and Mohican attending the ceremonies consisted of four companies of infantry, and two sections of artillery (See Appendix “A” for organization of battalion).

     4.   The Hawaiian National Guard met our force at the landing and escorted them to the front of the Executive Building, where they took position in column on the driveway leading to the front of the building, the head of the column being close to the official stand. The Hawaiian troops were in position, a battalion on each side of the head column of our men (See Appendix “B” for position of troops during the ceremony).1

     5.   The official stand was in front of the Executive Building, one side for the Hawaiian Officials, the other for the U.S.Minister2 and his Attaches, and officers of the Navy and Army. Colonel Barber3 of the 1st. New York Volunteers, was third in the line of precedence, as the ranking officer of the Army present, and next to me. The remaining officers of the Navy and Army were seated according to rank; there being in all 20 officers of the Navy present on the official stand and five of the Army.

     6.   All the officials having been seated except the President and his Cabinet,4 the U. S. Minister and his Attaches, myself, Colonel Barber, and four of the ranking Naval officers, the ceremonies commenced by the entrance on the platform from the Executive Building of the President and his cabinet, followed a moment later by the U.S. Minister and the American officials mentioned above. After all were seated, prayer was offered by the Rev. G. L. Pearson5 of Honolulu. Minister Sewall then rose and addressing President Dole, formerly communicated to him the text and purpose of the Joint Resolution of Congress Annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States.6 President Dole then formally tendered the sovereignty of the Islands, with all the public property of the Hawaiian Government, to the United States through our representative, Minister Sewall, who accepted it in the name of the United States Government. The actual ceremony of exchanging flags was then begun by the Hawaiian band playing Wawaii Ponoi,7 the national anthem, colors were sounded, and a twenty one gun salute was fired by the shore battery and by the Philadelphia and Mohican, after which the Hawaiian flag was slowly hauled down, all the spectators standing uncovered.

     7.   Minister Sewall then turned to me and requested me to perform the duty entrusted to me, of hoisting the United States flag, and upon signal from me, as had been prearranged, colors were sounded, the Flagship band played the Star Spangled Banner and the United States flag was slowly hoisted on the flagstaff of the central tower of the Executive Building, two smaller flags being hoisted at the corners of the building to provide for the possibility of the main halliards carrying away, and twenty one guns were fired by the Philadelphia and Mohican and the shore battery when the flag had reached the truck, all the spectators standing uncovered. The Hawaiian flag was hauled down, and the large U.S.flag hoisted by four men from the Philadelphia and Mohican, two from each ship, directly from the inner corner of the platform; the large flag used was a new No. 1 <line [island?]> flag, 35 X 19, furnished from the Mare Island Navy Yard and brought down in the Philadelphia for the special purpose. The two smaller ones were No.3 flags, 23X12. The hailiards used were also new and were furnished by the Flagship. After the U.S.flag had been hoisted and the salute had been fired, Mr.Sewall made a short address, and then communicated the directions of the President8 continuing the present Government officials in office until Congress should provide a form of government for the Islands.

     8.   The Chief Executive of the Hawaiian Government was then sworn in by the Chief Justice,9 followed by the members of his Cabinet, after which our men and the local troops marched to the Drill Grounds where the Military officers, including the Staff officers of the Chief Executive, were sworn in.

     9.   The battalion from the Philadelphia and Mohican then returned to the ships, escorted to the landing by the local troops. This concluded the participation of the force under my command in the change of sovereignty of these Islands.

     10.   I am much indebted to Lieutenant A.G.Winterhaulter,10 Flag Lieutenant, and to Lieutenant Philip Andrews,11 Flag Secretary, for their assistance in arranging the details of the ceremonies connected with the raising of our flag and for seeing that they were properly carried out.

     11.   I am gratified to be able to report to the Department that the ceremonies throughout were a complete success in every particular, and were rendered very impressive and dignified by the simplicity and lack of ostentation of the carefully prepared program. The battalion from the two ships presented a fine appearance, and it gives me great pleasure to congratulate the Department on the opportunity given the Navy to take such a prominent part in an important event in the history of our Country.

Very respectfully,               

J. N. Miller                

Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy,   

Commander-in-Chief,Pacific Station.




Lieut. Commander T. H. Stevens,12 U. S. N., commanding.

Ensign D. F. Sellers,13 U. S. N., adjutant.


Company A, marines, First Lieut. C. M. Perkins,14 commanding:

     From Mohican....................................  16

     From Philadelphia...............................  38


Company B, blue jackets from Philadelphia:

     Lieut. H. A. Field,15 U. S. N., commanding.....  54

Company C, blue jackets from Philadelphia:

     Lieut. F. N. Brown,16 U. S. N., commanding......  54

Company D, blue jackets, from Mohican:

     Ensign S. P. Fullinwider,17 U. S. N., commanding...  54


Lieut. Guy W. Brown, U. S. N., commanding platoon.

First section, blue jackets, from Philadelphia:

     Naval Cadet R. Morris,18 U. S. N., commanding....... 27

Second section, blue jackets, from Mohican:

     Ensign C. England,19 U. S. N., commanding........... 27

Pioneers, Carpenter J. A. Barton20.......................  9

Ambulance party, P. A. Surg. G. A. Lung,21 U. S. N., commanding.6

Signal party, chief quartermaster, Philadelphia, in charge.. 3

Band, De Witt C. Smith, bandmaster......................  15

Bugler and aide........................................   2

Color guard, chief boatswain mate, Philadelphia.........   4

Officers................................................  10

     Total.............................................. 319

Source Note: TDS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 320. Addressed below close: “The Secretary of the Navy,/Navy Department, Washington, D.C.” Document reference: “SEC NAV/45.” Docketed: “U.S.F.S. Philadelphia,/Honolulu,H.I., Aug.14,1898./Miller, J.N.,/Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy./Report on the hoisting of the/United States flag over the/Hawaiian Islands.” Appendix was not found with original document and was taken from, Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, 1898, 147.

Footnote 1: Appendix A follows the document and Appendix B has not been found.

Footnote 2: United States Minister to Hawaii Harold M. Sewall.

Footnote 3: Col. Thomas H. Barber.

Footnote 4: President of Hawaii Sanford B. Dole. Dole continued to serve as Hawaii’s chief executive after the annexation.

Footnote 5: Reverend George L. Pearson.

Footnote 6: House Resolution 259. The Joint Resolution approving the annexation the Hawaiian Islands to the United States was signed by President William McKinley on 7 July 1898.

Footnote 7: That is, Hawai’i Pono’i, or Hawaii’s Own True Sons.

Footnote 8: President William McKinley.

Footnote 9: Hawaiian Chief Justice Albert F. Judd.

Footnote 10: Lt. Albert G. Winterhaulter.

Footnote 11: Lt. Philip Andrews.

Footnote 12: Lt. Cmdr. Thomas H. Stevens.

Footnote 13: Ens. David F. Sellers.

Footnote 14: 1st Lt. Con M. Perkins, United States Marine Corps.

Footnote 15: Lt. Harry A. Field.

Footnote 16: Lt. Ford H. Brown.

Footnote 17: Ens. Simon P. Fullinwinder.

Footnote 18: Cadet Robert Morris.

Footnote 19: Ens. Clarence England.

Footnote 20: Carpenter Joseph A. Barton.

Footnote 21: Passed Assistant Surgeon George A. Lung.

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