From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

James Cowie '67

Date of birth: 1849

Date of death: January 24, 1870

Age: ~20

Lucky Bag

The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.

Naval Academy Register

James Walker Cowie was admitted to the Naval Academy from Iowa on February 25, 1863 at age 14 years 11 months.


James 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.

A detailed account of the event is available here.

He has a memory marker in Washington, D.C.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Acting Midshipman, 25 February, 1863. Graduated 6 June, 1867. Ensign, 18 December, 1868. Lost on board the Oneida, 24 January, 1870.


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:

ENSIGN JAMES W. COWIE was born in Scotland, and was appointed to the position of midshipman at the Naval Academy, then at Newport, in February, 1863. The class of which he was a member shortly after became merged in the date of 1863, and there he was widely known and respected. Mr. Cowie was a fine seaman, excelled in professional duties and all his aspirations were allied to the service. He was a young man of genuine wit, kindly in bit nature and decisive in action. His course at the Naval Academy was highly commendable, and his dry drollery served to relieve the monotony of tedious and unwholesome hours. No one who knew him will forget his inimitable power of the ridiculous or his character as an impersonator of curious traits. Mr. Cowie was justly beloved and had an auspicious future. Latterly he resided in Washington. Mr. Cowie, like Mr. Brown, was connected with the most prominent events of his time at the Academy, and there every one will appreciate the serious character of hit lots to the service of the country.

Related Articles

Edward Williams '53, William Stewart '61, John Phelan '66, Charles Brown '67, Charles Copp '68, James Hull '68, William Uhler '68, George Bower '68, and George Adams '68 were also lost aboard Oneida.

Class of 1867

James is one of 5 members of the Class of 1867 on Virtual Memorial Hall.