From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Phelan '66

Date of birth: September 24, 1846

Date of death: January 24, 1870

Age: 23

Lucky Bag

The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.

Naval Academy Register

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.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

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; posthumous promotion?

Related Articles

Edward Williams '53, William Stewart '61, 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 1866

John is one of 5 members of the Class of 1866 in Memorial Hall.