From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
David Wemple '63

Date of birth: June 21, 1843

Date of death: December 24, 1864

Age: 21

Naval Academy Register

David Duane Wemple was admitted to the Naval Academy from Wisconsin on September 24, 1858 at age 15 years 3 months.


From Find A Grave:

David was a son of Peter Douw Wemple and Eliza (Davis) Wemple. The Wemple's had four sons serve in the Civil War.

David was killed aboard the U.S.S. Juanita when a 100 pound Parrott Rifle he was standing behind burst at the breech, wounding him severely. The gun was being fired against Fort Fisher.

The following is a portion of a letter David wrote to his parents on December 14, 1864:

Dear Father and Mother, We are on our way to Wilmington where we will most likely have a fight and perhaps a bad one. Of course all of us must stand our chances in the fight, of being killed or wounded, and consequently I will. Should the fortunes of war deprive me of this life I would simply say that I will go willingly for the dear, dear old flag that protects me. I should prefer living to see this rebellion put down and our dear country once more enjoying peace and quiet, but if it is necessary I am willing to go now, and beg you all to give me up willingly for our country and mourn not my loss, but rather rejoice that I died in a glorious cause - Our Country! Let not my loss decrease your patriotism but let it increase it and willingly sacrifice all for our country and flag.

Three of his brothers served during the war; one of them was killed in action in March 1863.

He is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall, and is buried in Wisconsin.

From The Manchester Weekly Times and Examiner on January 14, 1865, written by David D. Porter:

…without being molested by the enemy, I regret to have to report some severe casualties by the bursting of 100-pounder Parrott cannon, One burst on board the Ticonderoga, killing six of the crew, and wounding seven others; another burst on board the Yantic, killing one officer and two men; another on the Juanita, killing two officers, and wounding and killing ten others; another on the Mackinaw, killing one officer and wounding five other men; another on the Quaker City, wounding two or three men; and another on the Susquehanna, killing and wounding seven men. I think the bursting of the guns (six in all) much disconcerted the crews of the vessels where the accidents happened, and gave one and all a great distrust of the Parrott 100-pounder; and as subsequent events proved, they were unfit for service, and calculated to kill more of our men than those of the enemy.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Acting Midshipman, 24 September, 1858. Ensign, 25 November, 1862. Lieutenant, 22 February, 1864. Killed 24 December, 1864.

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 1861
Acting Midshipman, Second Class, Frigate Potomac

Others at this command:
September 1862
Midshipman, Frigate Potomac
January 1863
Ensign, West Gulf Blockading Squadron

January 1864
Ensign, Iron-clad Steamer Roanoke

Class of 1863

David is one of 14 members of the Class of 1863 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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