From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Edward Williams '53

Date of birth: 1834

Date of death: January 24, 1870

Age: ~35

Lucky Bag

The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.


1853 Williams 1.jpg

Edward was lost on January 24, 1870 when USS Oneida was sunk following a collision with a British merchant steamer while departing Yokohama harbor, Japan. One hundred twenty-four other officers and men were also lost. He was the commanding officer.

A detailed account of the event is available here.

He was from Boothbay, Maine.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 9 September, 1847. Passed Midshipman, 10 June, 1853. Master, 15 September, 1855. Lieutenant, 16 September, 1855. Lieutenant Commander, 16 July, 1862. Commander, 25 July, 1866. Lost on the Oneida, 24 January, 1870.

From Together We Served:

  • 1847-1850, USS St. Mary's (1844)
  • 1850-1851, USS Plymouth (1844) - (Sloop of War)
  • 1851-1852, USS Saranac (1848) Sloop of war
  • 1853-1853, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  • 1854-1855, USS Dale (Sloop of War)
  • 1855-1855, USS JAMESTOWN (Sloop-of-war)
  • 1855-1857, USS JAMESTOWN (Sloop-of-war)
  • 1858-1858, NAVSTA Boston
  • 1858-1860, USS Dolphin (12 gun schooner)
  • 1861-1861, USS Mississippi (1841) Sidewheel steamer
  • 1862-1862, West Gulf Blockading Squadron/South Atlantic Blockading Squadron
  • 1862-1863, USS Paul Jones (1862)
  • 1864-1865, Boston Navy Yard
  • 1865-1866, NRD Boston
  • 1866-1867, New York
  • 1867-1869, Boston Navy Yard
  • 1869-1870, USS Oneida (1861) Screw sloop


From the Marysville Daily Appeal, 24 March 1870, via the records of the US Naval Academy Alumni Association:

The Officers of the Oneida. Below we give sketches of some of the officers who perished in the ill-fated Oneida:

COMMANDER EDWARD P. WILLIAMS Of the unfortunate officers who lost their lives by he sinking of the Oneida Commander Edward P. Williams alone achieved reputation during the late rebellion, although nearly all the others participated in the various naval engagements and were able and gallant men. Commander Williams was born at Castine, Me., in 1827, and was appointed from that State to the naval service on the 9th of September, 1847. On leaving the Naval School, he was ordered to duty on board the sloop St. Marys, on which be remained until 1850, when he was ordered to the sloop Plymouth, and made his first cruise on her. From this vessel he went to the steam frigate Saranac, and in June, 1852, was ordered to the Naval Academy. On the 10th of June, 1852, he received his warrant as passed midshipman, and as such served on board the sloop Dale until 1855, when he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, his commission bearing date of September 16th of that year. At the outbreak of the rebellion Lieut. Williams was ordered to the Atlantic seaboard, and took an active part in the engagement on the Ogechee River. At the lauding of the Union troops at Pocataligo upon him devolved the duty of covering the expedition, which he performed well. Subsequently he was ordered to the squadron operating against Charleston, and distinguished himself in the numerous engagements that took place between the rebel batteries on Morris Island and the Federal fleet. At this time he held the rank of Lieutenant Commander, to which be had been commissioned on the 16th of July, 1862. He was one of the leaders in the famous night attack upon Fort Sumter, which was repulsed by the garrison with heavy lots to the Federals in killed, wounded and prisoners. Among the latter was Lieutenant Commander Williams, who remained in prison at Columbia, S. C., for over a year. On his exchange be was assigned to shore duty, on which he remained until the 9th of February, 1869, when he was ordered to command the ill-fated Oneida. On the 25th of July, 1866, he was commissioned a Commander, which rank be held at the time of his death. He was in all respects an able, gallant officer, and his manner of meeting death was as heroic as his life.

Related Articles

William Stewart '61, John Phelan '66, Charles Brown '67, James Cowie '67, Charles Copp '68, James Hull '68, William Uhler '68, George Bower '68, and George Adams '68 were also lost aboard Oneida.

Class of 1853

Edward is one of 9 members of the Class of 1853 on Virtual Memorial Hall.