Albert G. Winterhalter

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Albert G. Winterhalter
Admiral Albert Gustav Winterhalter circa 1915.jpg
Admiral Winterhalter circa 1915
Born (1856-10-05)October 5, 1856
Detroit, Michigan
Died June 5, 1920(1920-06-05) (aged 63)
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1877 - 1920
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands held United States Asiatic Fleet
Spouse(s) Helen Dauvray

Albert Gustav Winterhalter (October 5, 1856 – June 5, 1920) was an admiral in the United States Navy. He was commander in chief of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet from 1915 to 1917.


Born in Detroit, Michigan, Winterhalter was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from the First Congressional District of Michigan, graduating in 1877.

In 1898, as flag lieutenant to Rear Admiral J.M. Miller, Commander in Chief Pacific Station, Winterhalter personally arranged the hoisting of the American flag at the ceremonies attending the transfer of sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. He assumed command of the gunboat Elcano in 1902 and of the gunboat Paducah in 1905. As Aide for Material in 1914-1915, he was a principal assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and an ex-officio voting member of the General Board of the Navy. He took command of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet on July 11, 1915 and ranked as a full admiral for the duration of his tour, reverting to his permanent rank of rear admiral upon relinquishing command in 1917.

Winterhalter spent much of his career in scientific posts. He was assigned to the U.S. Naval Observatory from January 1885 to November 1889, during which time he served as the United States delegate to the International Astrophotographic Congress at Paris, France, and visited the principal observatories of Europe. His report on the tour was published in 1889. He was also responsible for the Naval Observatory Exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. He was Hydrographer of the Navy from May 1908 to January 1910.

In 1916, Winterhalter conducted experiments aboard USS Washington (ACR-11) to evaluate acoustic ranging techniques. He sailed Washington on different courses relative to a lightship that was transmitting radio waves and air- and water-mediated sound waves, and found that submarine sound waves were a more reliable guide than air-mediated sound. This was the first attempt to determine distance using acoustics, and a similar technique was later used for hydrographic surveys.

Winterhalter lost an eye to an archery accident the same year he graduated from the Academy. He could speak or read eleven languages by the time he was appointed to command the Asiatic Fleet.

While stationed in San Francisco in 1896, he married Broadway actress Helen Dauvray.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[1]

Dates of rank[edit]


Further reading[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Walter C. Cowles
Commander in Chief, United States Asiatic Fleet
9 July 1915–4 April 1917
Succeeded by
Austin M. Knight