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Ensign Harry H. Caldwell U.S.N.

(1873 - 1938)
Contributed by Patrick McKenna

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Ensign Harry H. Caldwell served as Admiral George Dewey's flag secretary aboard the USFS OLYMPIA. Caldwell traveled with Dewey  and Flag Lieutenant Thomas Brumby to the far east, and remained with him until the Admiral's triumphal return to the U.S. aboard OLYMPIA in 1899.

The Biography:

Harry Caldwell was born on February 5, 1873 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the fourth of five children. Graduating from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1891, Caldwell went on to serve as Admiral Dewey's flag secretary aboard the Cruiser Olympia. As the Spanish American War became imminent in 1898, Dewey moved the Asiatic Squadron to Mirs Bay. However, Caldwell remained behind to maintain communications with the U.S. It was Caldwell who received the notification that the war had be declared. Ensign Caldwell traveled to Mirs Bay where he delivered this critical piece of information to Dewey. Caldwell was present aboard OLYMPIA during the naval Battle of Manila Bay where he volunteered for and was assigned to a subdivision of the 5-inch battery.

Returning the the U.S., Caldwell witnessed the trials of the experimental submarine HOLLAND on the Potomac River on March 14, 1900, and was later granted permission to go down in the submarine as an observer. When the U.S. Navy purchased the HOLLAND, Caldwell was given its command, a position he would hold until November 25, 1902. On September 25, 1900, Caldwell led a successful simulation of a torpedo attack on the battleship KEARSARGE during war games held off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island.

Caldwell retired form the Navy in 1909 and joined the reserves, attaining the rank of commander. He returned to active duty during World War I and commanded the AMPHITRITE in New York harbor. Following the war, Harry Caldwell became a writer and editor of movies. At age 48, he married Katherine Clark. Together, they were involved in about 75 movies including "Ben Hur" and "Seventh Heaven.".


Dewey, George, Autobiography of George Dewey (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1987, originally published in 1913 by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York) ISBN 0-87021-028-9.

Hamilton, Robert A., "An interview with Harry H. Caldwell, Jr." New London Day, April 10, 2000.

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