From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
David McDermut '47

Date of birth: March 24, 1824

Date of death: April 18, 1863

Age: 39


David was lost on April 18, 1862, when he was shot while leading a reconnaissance party ashore at Sabine Pass, Texas. He was the commanding officer of USS Cayuga (1861).

He was born in, and appointed to the Naval Academy from, New York. He is also buried in New York.

He is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 8 November, 1841. Passed Midshipman, 10 August, 1847. Master, 1 March, 1855. Lieutenant, 14 September, 1855. Lieutenant Commander, 16 July, 1862. Killed in action 18 April, 1863.

From Find A Grave:

During the Civil War, he served in Potomac and Marion before assuming command of Cayuga on December 2, 1862.

As a Lieutenant in 1856, while serving aboard the frigate Independence in the Bay of Panama, he faced a court martial on four charges. He was found not guilty of three, but guilty of the fourth (sleeping on watch). He was sentenced to a public reprimand by the commander in chief of the U.S. Naval Forces in the Pacific Ocean. (Details located by researcher Kathy Franz.)


USS McDermut (DD 262) and USS McDermut (DD 677) were named for David; the latter ship was sponsored by Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, widow of the 28th President of the United States.

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.

September 1842
Midshipman, Frigate Columbia

January 1843
Midshipman, Frigate Columbia

October 1843
Midshipman, Frigate Columbia

January 1844
Midshipman, Frigate Columbia

January 1846
Midshipman, Sloop Vincennes
January 1847
Midshipman, Sloop Vincennes
January 1848
Midshipman, Columbus, 74
January 1849
Passed Midshipman, leave of absence
January 1850
resigned, November 26, 1849
January 1855
Passed Midshipman, Frigate Independence

January 1856
Lieutenant, Frigate Independence
January 1857
Lieutenant, Frigate Independence
January 1858
Lieutenant, leave of absence
January 1860
Lieutenant, Store Ship Relief
September 1861
Lieutenant, Sloop Marion

Others at this command:
September 1862
Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, Sloop Preble
January 1863
Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, Gunboat Cayuga

Class of 1847

David is one of 32 members of the Class of 1847 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.