Harry Shepard Knapp

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Harry Shepard Knapp
Born (1856-06-27)June 27, 1856
New Britain, Connecticut
Died April 6, 1928(1928-04-06) (aged 71)
Hartford, Connecticut
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1878–1920
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held USS Charleston
USS Florida
Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet
Battles/wars Spanish–American War
World War I
Awards Navy Cross

Harry Shepard Knapp (June 27, 1856 – April 6, 1928) was a Vice Admiral of the United States Navy, Military Governor of Santo Domingo, and Military Representative of the United States in Haiti.

Biography[edit]

Born in New Britain, Connecticut, Knapp graduated from the United States Naval Academy on 20 June 1878. After serving in screw steamer Pensacola, as cadet midshipman, and in the steam frigate Minnesota and the sloop Jamestown as a midshipman, he was commissioned as ensign on 8 July 1882. Following assignments to a number of ships and stations ashore, he was ordered to the gunboat Dorothea as executive officer at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. Outstanding service in a variety of important billets afloat and ashore was rewarded on 3 August 1908 when Knapp assumed command of the protected cruiser Charleston (C-22).

Promoted to captain in 1909, Knapp was assigned to the General Board on 8 January 1910. At about this time he served intermittently on the Joint Army and Navy Board for Defense of the Panama Canal. He was in charge of Florida (BB-30) while she was fitted out and commanded the battleship when she first commissioned on 15 September 1911. He took command of Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet on 8 November 1915. He succeeded Francisco Henríquez y Carvajal as leader of Santo Domingo in 1916.

Knapp was promoted to rear admiral on 17 March 1917 and a week before the United States entered World War I was appointed Military Governor of Santo Domingo and Military Representative of the United States in Haiti.

"Meritorious service" in this post, laboring to protect Allied shipping from German U-boats and to make the Caribbean Sea secure from enemy aggression, earned Rear Admiral Knapp the Navy Cross. Soon after the armistice, he was Naval Attaché in London with staff duties and on 4 February 1920 assumed command of U.S. Naval Forces operating in European waters with rank of vice admiral. Even after Vice Admiral Knapp was placed on the retired list effective 27 June 1920, the Navy utilized his singular abilities. This won him temporary active duty as a consultant and as quasi-diplomat. He died at Hartford, Connecticut on 6 April 1928.

Namesake[edit]

The Fletcher-class destroyer USS Knapp (DD-653) was named in his honor.

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