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John Edward Murphy

John Edward Murphy


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 June 6 John Murphy was 1 of 7 volunteers who, under the leadership of Richmond Hobson, guided 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!"

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

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