Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

On Officers Appointed to Compose the United States Navy Board of Inquiry into the Destruction of the U.S.S. Maine

Appreciating the grave consequences apt to ensue from its decision, the personnel of the court was selected with the utmost care. Captain William T. Sampson, commanding the battle-ship Iowa, was named as president; Captain French E. Chadwick, commanding, and Lieutenant-Commander W.E. Potter,1 executive officer of the New York, were appointed members, and Lieutenant-Commander Adolph Marix was ordered as judge advocate. These officers had high professional standing, and the President2 and his cabinet believed that their findings would be accepted. Captain Sampson had served as chief of the Bureau of Ordnance and as head of the torpedo-station at Newport. He was, therefore, well qualified to determine the question whether an internal or external explosive agent had destroyed the Maine. Prior to assuming command of the New York, Captain Chadwick had occupied the office of chief of the Bureau of Equipment. He was an expert in all matters relating to coal and electricity. Lieutenant-Commander Potter was an officer of technical experience and calm judgment. Lieutenant-Commander Marix had been executive officer of the Maine, and was familiar with the details of her structure and organization.

Source Note Print: John D. Long, The New American Navy, Vol. 1 (New York: The Outlook Co., 1903), p. 142.

Footnote 1: Lt. Cmdr. William P. Potter.

Footnote 2: President William McKinley.

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