JOHN R. PHELAN, LT, USN
John Phelan '66
Date of birth: September 24, 1846
Date of death: January 24, 1870
The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.
John Rogers Phelan was admitted to the Naval Academy from Pennsylvania on April 17, 1862 at age 15 years 8 months.
John 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 Pennsylvania.
Midshipman, 17 April, 1862. Graduated June, 1866. Ensign, 12 March, 1868. Master, 26 March, 1869. Lost on the Oneida, 24 January, 1870.
Memorial Hall Error
John's tombstone has his rank as Lieutenant; suspect posthumous promotion.
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.
Fourth Class Midshipman, Naval Academy
Third Class Midshipman, Naval Academy
Others at this command: LCDR Marshall Campbell '56, MIDN 2/c Benjamin Edes '65, MIDN 1/c Charles Kennedy '65, MIDN 2/c George DeLong '65, MIDN 3/c George Totten '66, MIDN 2/c Hugh McKee '66, MIDN 3/c John Talbot '66, MIDN 3/c Lyman Spalding '66, MIDN 3/c Alfred Forée '67, MIDN 4/c Charles Brown '67, MIDN 4/c James Cowie '67, MIDN 4/c Jonathan Wainwright '67, MIDN 4/c Sydney Simons '67, and MIDN 1/c James Wight '71.