Memoirs of a Naval Career, 1910: Finding Aid
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 215
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: Memoirs of a Naval Career
- Dates: 1910
- Size: 0.6 linear feet (2 manuscript boxes)
- Creator: McCalla, Bowman Hendry, 1844-1910
- Language(s) of material: English
- Abstract: Bowman Hendry McCalla was an admiral in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1865. McCalla's memoirs offer an autobiographical account his life and U.S. Navy career, spanning from his childhood days at Nazareth Hall boarding school to his retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1906.
Biography of Bowman Hendry McCalla
Bowman Hendry McCalla was born on June 19, 1844 in Camden, New Jersey to Auley and Mary Duffield McCalla. Following the death of his parents, McCalla was placed in Nazareth Hall boarding school in Nazareth, Pennsylvania at the age of thirteen. After failing in an attempt to join the Army after the outbreak of the Civil War, McCalla applied to the United States Naval Academy, where he was admitted on November 30, 1861.
McCalla graduated from the Naval Academy in November 1864 as a member of the Class of 1865. Following graduation from the Academy, he was assigned to U.S.S. Susquehanna (Side wheel steamer) of the Brazil Squadron. McCalla advanced steadily through the ranks, receiving his commission as a lieutenant on March 12, 1868 and being promoted to lieutenant commander on March 26, 1869 and to commander on November 3, 1884. Three years later, McCalla received his first command aboard U.S.S. Enterprise (Screw sloop-of-war) of the European Station. In the final year of his command, he was court-martialed for striking a sailor with his sword, receiving a three year suspension. McCalla was returned to duty a year later by the Secretary of the Navy, but would not be fully restored until 1900.
During the Spanish-American War, McCalla was in command of U.S.S. Marblehead (Cruiser : C-11). While under McCalla's command, the Marblehead was responsible for cutting the cables off Cienfuegos, Cuba, and later, landing the first battalion of Marines for the invasion of Guantanamo Bay on June 10, 1898. Two months later, McCalla was promoted to Captain. Following his command of Marblehead, McCalla assumed command of U.S.S. Newark (Protected cruiser : C-1) in 1899. Leaving American waters, Newark sailed for the Philippines to aid in putting down the Philippine Insurrection. In December 1899, McCalla received the surrender of the Philippine provinces of Cagayan and Isabela in northern Luzon. The next year, Newark, still under McCalla's command, sailed for China to take part in the expedition to relieve the American Legation at Peking under Vice Admiral Edward Hobart Seymour and the Battle of the Taku Forts during the Boxer Rebellion.
Following his return to the United States, McCalla received his last command at the Mare Island Navy Yard. On October 11, 1903, he was promoted to rear admiral, and was placed on the Retired List three years later. Bowman Hendry McCalla died on May 6, 1910 in Santa Barbara, California.
Description of Contents
Memoirs of a Naval Career, published by the author in 1910, comprises a single volume, autobiographical account of the life and U.S. Navy career of Bowman Hendry McCalla, spanning from his childhood days at Nazareth Hall boarding school to his retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1906.
The memoirs touch upon McCalla's sea service aboard U.S.S. Susquehanna, Brooklyn, Sabine, Tuscarora, Wabash, Wachusett, and Powhatan, as well as his commands of U.S.S. Enterprise, U.S.S. Marblehead during the Spanish American War, and U.S.S. Newark during the Philippine Insurrection and the Boxer Rebellion. McCalla's memoirs also touch upon his education at the Naval Academy, his shore duties as a Naval Academy instructor and at the Navy Department, and participation in the Panama Expedition of 1885. McCalla also devotes time in his memoirs to his 1890 court-martial and subsequent restoration.
In addition to focusing on his U.S. Navy career, McCalla's memoir includes genealogical information as well as a chapter devoted to proposed efficiency reforms in the U.S. Navy.
The memoirs are foldered by chapter.
Access and Use
Access is unrestricted.
Copyright and Permission
McCalla's Memoirs of a Naval Career is the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Gift of Paolo Coletta in September 1978. Accession No. 78-019.
Location of Originals
The original of McCalla's Memoirs of a Naval Career is held by the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.
Related Archival Material
Additional material pertaining to McCalla's time as a midshipman at the Naval Academy may be found in his Conduct Record in Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.
Materials Cataloged Separately
No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.
Processing and Other Information
Memoirs of a Naval Career, MS 215
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:
Johnson, Allen, ed. Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Scribner, 1933.
This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in February 2014. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in February 2014. Supersedes a finding aid written in June 1986.
These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.
Name and Subject Terms
- Brooklyn (Screw sloop)
- China -- History -- Boxer Rebellion, 1899-1901
- Courts-martial and courts of inquiry -- United States
- Enterprise (Screw sloop-of-war)
- Kearsarge (Battleship : BB-5)
- Marblehead (Protected cruiser : C-11)
- McCalla, Bowman Hendry, 1844-1910
- Newark (Protected cruiser : C-1)
- Panama Expedition, 1885
- Philippines -- History -- Philippine American War, 1899-1902
- Powhatan (Side wheel steamer)
- Sabine (Frigate)
- Spanish-American War, 1898
- Susquehanna (Side wheel steamer)
- Tuscarora (Screw Sloop-of-War)
- United States Naval Academy -- History -- 19th century
- United States Naval Academy -- Students
- Wabash (Frigate)
- Wachusett (Screw sloop)