From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Charles Kennedy '65

Date of birth: January 19, 1845

Date of death: November 30, 1883

Age: 38

Naval Academy Register

Charles William Kennedy was admitted to the Naval Academy from Canastota, New York on September 25, 1861 at age 16 years 9 months.

Life & Loss

From a scrapbook kept by James Henry Blake. Photograph located by researcher Kathy Franz.

From Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, 1884:

Lieutenant-Commander Charles William Kennedy. Born, Canastota, New York, January 19, 1845. Appointed an Acting Midshipman from New York, September 25, 1861. Graduated from the Naval Academy, November 22, 1864. February 1, 1865, ordered to report to Rear-Admiral Paulding, for duty at New York. March 30, 1865, detached and ordered to the Susquehanna, South Atlantic Squadron, then transferred to the Nipsic. November 1, 1866, commissioned an Ensign, December 1, 1866, commissioned a Master. October 11, 1867, detached from the Nipsic and placed on waiting orders. January 15, 1868, ordered to the Kearsarge, South Pacific Squadron. March 12, 1868, commissioned a Lieutenant. April 9, 1869, commissioned a Lieutenant-Commander, from March 26, 1869. Transferred to the Saranac. January 18, 1871, detached from the Saranac and placed on waiting orders. April 28, 1871, ordered to duty in the Coast Survey. March 30, 1874, detached from the Coast Survey steamer Hassler and placed on waiting orders. August 14, 1874, Naval Academy. Practice ship Constellation, summer of 1877. September 15, 1878, detached from the Naval Academy and placed on waiting orders. September 18, 1878, ordered to the Quinnebaug. Transferred to Wyoming. May 26, 1881, detached and placed on waiting orders. June 17, 1881, Naval Academy. June 30, 1882, detached and ordered as Assistant to Lighthouse Inspector, 11th District. Died, Las Vegas, New Mexico, November 30, 1883. Sea service, eleven years, ten months ; shore duty, nine years, two months; total service, twenty-two years, two months.

Charles died of lung disease (intercostal neuralgia), possibly contracted during cold weather duty the previous winter. He had gone to Nevada for his health. He was survived by his wife and their three children, Charles, Robert, and Nathaniel. (Information from wife's pension application; included physician affidavits from doctors in both New Mexico and Michigan, where he had family and was residing as of the 1860 census.)

His death was also reported in two contemporaneous newspaper accounts.

Other Information

Charles is buried in Michigan.

From researcher Kathy Franz: "Charles participated as a Lieutenant on the Hassler for Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz's expedition to South America including the Galapagos Islands. James Henry Blake kept logs and also this scrapbook where I found Charles' picture."


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 25 September, 1861. Graduated 22 November, 1864. Ensign, 1 November, 1866. Master, 1 December, 1866. Lieutenant, 12 March, 1868. Lieutenant Commander, 26 March, 1869. Died 30 November, 1883.

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.

January 1866
Midshipman, Susquehanna
July 1867
Master, Nipsic
July 1868
Lieutenant, Kearsarge
January 1869
Lieutenant, Powhatan
July 1870
Lieutenant Commander, Saranac

Others at this command:
January 1871
Lieutenant Commander, "Present duty, station, or residence", Lake Mills, Wisconsin
January 1872
Lieutenant Commander, Coast Survey
January 1873
Lieutenant Commander, Coast Survey
January 1874
Lieutenant Commander, Coast Survey
January 1875
Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy

Others at this command:
January 1876
Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy

July 1877
Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy
July 1878
Lieutenant Commander, Naval Academy
January 1879
Lieutenant Commander, Quinnebaug

Others at this command:
January 1880
Lieutenant Commander, Quinnebaug
January 1883
Lieutenant Commander, Assistant to Light-House Inspector


A special thank you to Kathy Franz, a historian who located Charles' cause of death.

Class of 1865

Charles is one of 4 members of the Class of 1865 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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