The figurehead called "Tamanend" has, for many years, played a prominent part in the traditions of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD. The original wooden image was sent to the Naval Academy in 1866 after being salvaged from the wreck of the old ship of the line "Delaware," which had been sunk at Norfolk during the Civil War to prevent her from falling into Confederate hands. The builders of the "Delaware" intended the figurehead to portray Tamanend, the great chief of the Delawares, a lover of peace and friend of William Penn. When the wooden figurehead of the Delaware Indian Chief was brought to the Naval Academy following the Civil War, there was no indication who the statue portrayed and the midshipmen eventually settled on the nickname "Tecumseh", a nickname that lasted for over a century. At the Academy, we are no longer referring to the statue overlooking T-Court as being that of Tecumseh. We instead use Tamanend's name to reflect who the statue actually portrays.
For 40 years, the wooden figurehead kept its stern vigil in the Yard at Annapolis until the winds, sun and rain began to take their toll. In 1906 a face-lift with the aid of cement, putty and paint temporarily removed the signs of age. When the ravages of the weather again threatened, the Class of 1891 took it upon themselves to have the statue cast in bronze and presented the current bronze statue of Tamanend to the Brigade and Naval Academy. The delicate task was accomplished at the U.S. Naval Gun Factory. It should be noted that the Class of 1891 recognized the statue, the former figurehead of USS Delaware, portrayed Tamanend, not Tecumseh. The effigy was also known by various other names -- Powhatan, King Phillip, and finally Tecumseh -- a great warrior and thus heroic and appropriate to the midshipmen.
To ensure that the bronze figure would lose none of the potent power with which the midshipmen had endowed the old figurehead, the wooden "brains" and "heart" of the ancient Indian were transferred to the bronze statue.
In the spring of 1930, the statue, mounted on a pedestal of Vermont marble adorned with the Naval Academy seal, was erected on its present site from which the grim old warrior gazes eternally toward the main entrance of Bancroft Hall, the midshipman dormitory.