Charles Vernon Gridley

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Charles Vernon Gridley
Charles Vernon Gridley (USS Olympia).jpg
Born (1844-11-24)November 24, 1844
Logansport, Indiana
Died June 5, 1898(1898-06-05) (aged 53)
Kobe, Japan
Buried at Lakeside Cemetery, Erie, Pennsylvania
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1860—1898
Rank USN cpt rank insignia.jpg Captain
Commands held

USS Michigan

USS Olympia

American Civil War

Spanish–American War

Charles Vernon Gridley (24 November 1844 – 5 June 1898) was an officer in the United States Navy during the American Civil War and the Spanish–American War.

Early life[edit]

Gridley was directly descended from Thomas Gridley (1612–1653), who emigrated from England to the New England area in 1633. Gridley was born in Logansport, Indiana on 24 November 1844.[1]

Naval career[edit]

After attending Hillsdale College,[2] Gridley was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1860.[1] Reporting for duty with his class in September 1863, Gridley joined the sloop-of-war Oneida with the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and distinguished himself with David Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864.[1]

Gridley was promoted to lieutenant in 1867 and lieutenant commander on March 12, 1868.[1] From 1871 to 1875, Gridley was stationed on the only United States Navy ship based on the Great Lakes at the time, the Michigan, at Erie, Pennsylvania. While stationed in Erie, he married the daughter of Judge John P. Vincent and had three children.[3] Gridley's wife was also a cousin of Civil War hero Brigadier General Strong Vincent. Gridley was promoted to commander in 1882. Gridley also served a tour as instructor at the Naval Academy and another with the Cruiser Training Squadron.

Gridley was promoted to captain in March 1897 and took command of Olympia, Admiral George Dewey's famous flagship on June 10, 1897 in Yokohama, Japan. During the Battle of Manila Bay on 1 May 1898, Dewey gave his famous command, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," immortalizing the captain.[1]

After the destruction of the Spanish fleet and the capture of Manila, Gridley was obliged to leave his command because of his health, and died en route to the United States at Kobe, Japan.[1]

Gridley was a member of the Empire State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.


Gridley Monument in Erie, Pennsylvania

Four ships in the United States Navy have been named for him.[4]

A monument to Gridley was erected in Erie and placed in the center of a city park, which was named Gridley Park. The engraved plaque affixed to the monument is made of a metal panel retrieved from the Maine.

A seashell is depicted on the coat-of-arms of Gridley's original alma mater, Hillsdale College, in honor of his heroism at the Battle of Manila Bay.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "USS Gridley". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Gridley, Gordon (2012). "Charles Vernon Gridley". Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  3. ^ McSherry, Patrick (2011). "Capt. Charles V. "Steve" Gridley (1844-1898)". Spanish-American War Centennial site. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Named for Captain Charles Vernon Gridley". United States Navy. 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Coat of Arms". Hillsdale College. 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 

External links[edit]