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Richmond Pearson Hobson

Richmond Pearson Hobson


U.S. Navy
Medal Of Honor, Spanish-American War

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After chasing the Fleet of Pascual Cerveza for months, Rear Admiral Sampson located the Spanish ships on May 28, in Santiago Harbor. Approach would require American vessels to pass through a dangerous, narrow and mined channel well protected by shore batteries. Unable to attack with his own ships, Sampson chose to blockade the channel and trap the enemy fleet. On the night of June 6 Richmond Hobson led 7 volunteers in guiding the old collier Merrimac beneath the enemy guns in an attempt to scuttle the 333-foot vessel in the channel. Within 500 feet of the mouth of the channel the Merrimac came under enemy fire. Despite this, and in spite of numerous direct hits on the ship, the vessel continued ahead. When the steering gear was disabled by enemy fire, momentum carried the Merrimack further towards its goal, but the charges set to destroy it were damaged. Finally the ship drifted to the shoreline, Hobson's men leaving the destroyed ship to cling through the night to a small buoy. Admiral Cerveza personally supervised the launch that captured them the following day, greeting his enemies with one word--"VALIANTE!"

Richmond Hobson entered the Naval Academy in Annapolis at the age of 15 and graduated FIRST in his class of 1889. As a Naval OFFICER, he was not eligible for the MOH at the time it was awarded to his 7 volunteers. Changing guidelines made him eligible after 1917, and his was awarded by Special Act of Congress in 1933. It was fitting as Hobson served as Congressman from Alabama's 6th District from 1907 - 1915 (as well as a Presidential elector from Alabama in 1904). World War I MOH recipient Richmond H. (Hobson) Hilton was named for Hobson when he was born in the same year as Hobson's heroic and well publicized mission.

Read the Story of Hobson's Volunteers and the Sinking of Merrimac

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