Edward Merritt Hughes

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Edward Merritt Hughes
CDR Edward Merritt Hughes.JPG
Born (1850-01-28)January 28, 1850
Lockbourne, Ohio
Died September 28, 1903(1903-09-28) (aged 53)
Yokohama, Japan
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Commander

Edward Merritt Hughes (28 January 1850 – 28 September 1903) was an officer in the United States Navy during the Spanish–American War.

Life and career[edit]

Hughes was born in Lockbourne, Ohio, the son of merchant Abram A. Hughes. He was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1866 and graduated on June 7, 1870. He passed through the grades of Ensign, Master, Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, and, on March 3, 1901, was commissioned Commander.[1]

After service in a number of ships and stations ashore, he reached the high point in his career during the Spanish–American War. He was Executive Officer of Petrel during the Battle of Manila Bay. Immediately after the action, he commanded a small boat which boarded and set fire to five Spanish ships lying in Cavite Harbor, despite reports that fuses had been set to their magazines and in the face of a large and excited armed force on shore nearby. He was advanced five numbers in rank for eminent and conspicuous conduct on this occasion.[2]

His commanding officer later wrote, "The action of Lieutenant Hughes in setting fire to the enemy's sunken ships in the face of a well armed superior, but demoralized force, was the one act of conspicuous gallantry which the battle that day afforded."[3]

Commander Hughes died in the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokohama, Japan.[4]

The destroyer USS Hughes was named in his honor.


  1. ^ Bareis, p. 78.
  2. ^ Mooney, James L., Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Washington: United States Naval History Division, Naval Historical Center, 1959, p. 389.
  3. ^ Bareis, p. 79.
  4. ^ Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the Navy of the United States and Marine Corps, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903.