John Woodward Philip

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John Woodward Philip
John Woodward Philip.jpg
Born (1840-08-26)August 26, 1840
Kinderhook, New York
Died June 30, 1900(1900-06-30) (aged 59)
New York City
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1856–1900
Rank USN Rear Admiral rank insignia.jpg Rear Admiral
Commands held Wachusett
2nd Squadron, North Atlantic Fleet
Battles/wars American Civil War
Spanish–American War

John Woodward Philip (26 August 1840 – 30 June 1900) was an officer in the United States Navy during the Civil War and Spanish–American War.


Born in Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York,[1] Philip was appointed midshipman on 20 September 1856 and graduated from the Naval Academy on 1 June 1861.

Civil War[edit]

During the Civil War, he served in Santee, Marion and Sonoma until September 1862 when he was ordered to Chippewa, attached to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. While serving in Chippewa, he was wounded during operations against Charleston, South Carolina, in July 1863. Philip served as executive officer of the steam sloop Wachusett under Commander Robert Townsend and assumed command upon Townsend's death from heat stroke in China on 15 August 1866. Later he commanded the battleship Texas from 18 October 1897 to 29 August 1898.

Spanish-American War[edit]

During the Spanish–American War, his ship, with the cruiser Marblehead, led the attack and silenced the fort on Cayo del Toro, Guantanamo Bay, on 15 June 1898. On 3 July 1898, in command of Texas, he participated in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, in which Pascual Cervera y Topete's Spanish Fleet was destroyed off Santiago de Cuba. During the battle, upon watching the burning of the Spanish cruiser Vizcaya, he famously told his men "Don't cheer, boys. The poor devils are dying." [2] He was advanced five numbers in grade on 10 August 1898 for eminent and conspicuous service in battle. From 3 September 1898 until 28 December 1898, he served as Commander of the 2nd Squadron, North Atlantic Fleet, flying his broad pennant in the armored cruiser New York.

Later career and death[edit]

Commencing 14 January 1899, he was in command of the New York Navy Yard and Naval Station, and was promoted to rear admiral on 3 March 1899. While serving in this duty, Admiral Philip died suddenly on 30 June 1900.


Two destroyers have been named USS Philip in his honor.

See also[edit]


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