ALFRED FORÉE, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Alfred Forée '67

Date of birth: 1847

Date of death: April 12, 1872

Age: ~24

Naval Academy Register

Alfred Forée was admitted to the Naval Academy from Kentucky on April 17, 1862 at age 15 years 8 months.

Naval Academy Photo Album

Loss

From Find A Grave:

While serving the United States on the U.S.S. Kansas, Forée lost his life at sea in a shipping accident while trying to save the life of his commanding officer, Commander Alexander Foster Crosman, who was thrown overboard by a raging sea near Nicatagua on April 12, 1872. Forée was a member of the Nicaragua Canal Surveying Expedition and drowned along with Crosman and four others. Six of his fellow sailors were awarded the Medal of Honor by preventing the loss of life of several of their shipmates. Forée's body was never recovered. His family erected a monument at Cave Hill Cemetery in his honor. His last words were: "Goodbye men, leave me, save yourselves."

Obituary

From records of the US Naval Academy Graduates’ Association:

Alfred Forée, graduate #790

1862, April 17, appointed an Acting Midshipman, on probation at the Naval Academy, from Kentucky. 1867, June 6, graduated. June 10, detached from the Naval Academy and placed on waiting orders. September 30, ordered to the Piscataqua, Asiatic Squadron, to report on the 1oth of October following. 1869, January 13, commissioned as an Ensign, to take rank from December 18, 1868. 1870, November 28, detached from the Delaware (Piscataqua) and ordered to Washington for examination preliminary to promotion. December 12, commissioned as a Master, to take rank from March 21, 1870. 1871, March 15, ordered to signal duty at Washington, D. C. July 8, detached and placed on waiting orders. August 3, ordered to the Kansas, North Atlantic fleet, 1872, April 12, drowned at Greytown, Nicaragua, by the capsizing of the first cutter of the Kansas, while endeavoring to rescue the crew and officers of the whale-boat of that vessel, which had capsized in the surf.

Sea service, 4 years, 8 months; shore duty, 4 years, 8 months ; unemployed, 8 months; in service, 10 years.

Alfred Forée, son of Erasmus D. Forée, was born in the town of O'Bannon, Jefferson County, Kentucky, in August, 1846, and lived there until he entered the Naval Academy at Newport, R. I., in 1862, He graduated in 1867, and was ordered to the U. S. S. Piscataqua (name of vessel afterward changed to Dela ware), at Portsmouth, N. H. He served on board of that vessel for three years, on the Asiatic Station, being promoted to Ensign and Master in the meanwhile. He returned home in the same ship, and after a short visit to his family in Louisville, Ky., was ordered to duty under instruction in signals at Fort Myer, near Washington, D.C.

In September, 1871, he was ordered to the U. S. S. Kansas, at Portsmouth, N.H. While attached to this vessel, lying off Greytown, Nicaragua, he lost his life, April 12, 1872, in going to the rescue of Commander Crossman and others who had been capsized in the surf off that port.

As soon as it was reported that the whale-boat, in which Commander Crossman had started for shore, had capsized, Lieutenant Forée volunteered to go in a cutter to their assistance. After reaching the line of breakers he tried to veer his boat from the anchor, but having parted the line, he returned to the ship for another anchor. He went again to the rescue, but again was unable to veer his boat; he then tried to veer a cask, but met with no success. Seeing the men apparently drowning before him, he determined to risk running the surf, Unfortunately, the cutter was capsized and all hands were thrown in the water. Lieutenant Forée came to the surface near the boat and seized the upturned keel; but having been hurt, it was thought, he was unable to keep his hold. He was washed away twice and each time assisted back, until finally becoming exhausted, he said, “Save yourselves, my men, you can do me no good,” and then sank.

Lieutenant For€e was bright, active, and checrful at all times. He died in the heroic attempt to save the life of his drowning shipmates.

Beloved in life, he is mourned in death by all that knew him. A tablet was placed in the Naval Academy Chapel with the following inscription:

As a memorial of the Christian heroism of
Lieut. Alfred Forée, U.S. Navy
who lost his life in the surf off Greytown, Nicaragua, Apr. 12, 1872, in a gallant attempt to rescue his commanding officer and boat's crew from drowning. this tablet is erected by his admiring and bereaved brother officers

Jas. M. Miller

Career

From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Acting Midshipman, 17 April, 1862. Ensign, 18 December, 1868. Master, 21 March, 1870. Drowned 12 April, 1872.

Related Articles

Despite Alfred's heroic actions, Alexander Crosman '55 was lost in this incident.

Memorial

The panel mentioned above is now in Memorial Hall.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

July 1867

Midshipman, waiting orders

January 1869

Ensign, Iroquois

July 1870

Master, Delaware


Others at this command:

January 1871

Master, "Present duty, station, or residence", Louisville, Kentucky

January 1872

Master, Kansas

Class of 1867 Etching Book

Midshipman Benjamin Park '67 created a book, "Shahings", that was a collection of etchings he created for his classmates. It is an interesting and entertaining collection. It is available at the University of California, and a copy is provided here.


Class of 1867

Alfred is one of 5 members of the Class of 1867 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.