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George Dewey (1837)close

George Dewey, born in Montpelier, Vermont, served under David Farragut during the Civil War, then followed the standard career of a peacetime naval officer. In 1897 he was assigned command of the Asiatic Squadron, and in May 1898 he directed the action in Manila Bay that totally defeated the Spanish fleet (during which he is said to have commanded his flagship's captain, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.") Dewey stayed on for over a year to oversee the American takeover of the Philippines, then returned to a tremendous hero's welcome. He was honored with a special rank, admiral of the navy, and urged to run for US president, but he settled for presidency of the General Board of the Navy Department, serving as an adviser on naval affairs to his death.

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