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Commodore Dewey and Captain Gridley's Staterooms Aboard the Cruiser OLYMPIA

By Patrick McSherry

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Dewey in his stateroom aboard the cruiser Olympia
Dewey in his stateroom

Continuing aft, past the OLYMPIA's bake ovens, the visitor will find himself entering the staterooms occupied by Commodore Dewey and Captain Charles Gridley at the time of the Battle of Manila Bay. The space consists of three cabins. The central, large space could either serve as one cabin or, as was the case at the time of Manila Bay, the cabin could be divided in half by a sliding pocket door, to create a cabin for Admiral Dewey and a separate cabin for Captain Gridley. The cabin is filled with chestnut woodwork , which remains because Dewey and Gridley had not ordered it jettisoned. Each half of the stateroom has its own skylight rising to the superstructure deck, just aft of the engine hatch.

After the Battle of Manila Bay, descriptions from those who visited Dewey's cabin commented on the many baskets around the stateroom, which functioned as filing cabinets holding the many letters of congratulations and odd gifts. The baskets, with overflowing paper and oddities, seemed to overwhelm the stateroom, leaving the space appearing quite disorganized.

Dewey's stateroom on the Cruiser Olympia

The main stateroom. Note the pocket door just to the right o the column, and also the five-inch gun in the background.

Aft of this space, separated from the cabin area by a solid bulkhead are two staterooms, one for the captain and one for the admiral.  Double doors lead into these spaces. The main battery of the vessel is plainly visible in these areas also, with two five inch guns in the cabin area - one to port and one to starboard. Also, both the port and starboard staterooms also house a five inch gun. In Dewey's portion of the stateroom - the port side, there is an iron fireplace which is not original to the vessel.

Just forward of the staterooms are the ancillary spaces such as the Commodore's and Captain's bath, pantries, Commodore Dewey's flag lieutenant's office, and Captain Gridley's office (recently restored).

Dewey's berth aboard the Cruiser Olympia

Dewey's berth aboard OLYMPIA


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