HUGH W. MCKEE, LT, USN
Hugh McKee '66
Date of birth: April 23, 1844
Date of death: June 11, 1871
The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.
Hugh Wilson McKee was admitted to the Naval Academy from Kentucky on September 25, 1861 at age 17 years 5 months.
Biography & Loss
McKee was born in Lexington, Kentucky to a military family. His father, William R. McKee, was a US Army colonel who had been killed in action commanding the Second Kentucky Regiment in the Battle of Buena Vista during the Mexican–American War.
Hugh McKee was appointed to the Naval Academy 25 September 1861 and graduated in 1866. His early duty stations included service in the Practice Squadron and aboard the USS Rhode Island, flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron. In 1867-1869, he was assigned to the steam frigate Franklin and steam sloop of war Ticonderoga, both operating in European waters. McKee was promoted to ensign in March 1868.
McKee had attained the rank of lieutenant by March 1870, and was serving in the Asiatic Squadron as an officer of the USS Colorado. He was mortally wounded 11 June 1871, while leading a company of bluejackets over the walls of a Korean fort on Ganghwa Island close by the Inchon beaches during the United States expedition to Korea. Fifteen sailors and Marines received the Medal of Honor for their actions during the battle including William F. Lukes, Alexander McKenzie, Samuel F. Rogers, and William Troy, who attempted to save McKee, as well as Frederick Franklin, who assumed command of McKee's company until relieved.
McKee died on board the USS Monocacy at 5:45 p.m. that afternoon and his body was sent to his ship, the Colorado, the next day. His remains were later sent to Shanghai and from there to the United States. He was interred at Lexington Cemetery. He never married and had no descendants.
Hugh is buried in Kentucky.
He is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall under the heading "Korea Expedition 1871."
Midshipman, 25 September, 1861. Graduated June, 1866. Ensign, 12 March, 1868. Master, 26 March, 1869. Lieutenant, 21 March, 1870. Killed in attack upon Corea, Japan, 11 June, 1871.
Three ships were named in honor of Hugh:
- USS McKee (Torpedo Boat No. 18), was a Dahlgren-class torpedo boat from 1898 to 1912
- USS McKee (DD 87), was a Wickes-class destroyer during World War I
- USS McKee (DD 575), was a Fletcher-class destroyer during World War II, sponsored by his cousin.