From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Kelly '57

Date of birth: unknown

Date of death: August 5, 1864

Age: unknown

Lucky Bag

The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.


John was lost on August 5, 1864 when USS Tecumseh (1863), a monitor, was sunk by a mine during the Battle of Mobile Bay. He was the ship's executive officer.

"John W. Kelly"—unable to find his middle name—was born in Ireland and appointed to the Naval Academy from Pennsylvania. He is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Acting Midshipman, 31 January, 1853. Midshipman, 10 June, 1857. Passed Midshipman, 25 June, 1860. Master, 24 October, 1860. Lieutenant, 18 April, 1861. Lost on Tecumseh, 5 August, 1864.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

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.

January 1855

Acting Midshipman, Third Class, Naval Academy

Others at this command: Acting MIDN Edward Lea '55, MIDN Hudson Garland '55, Acting MIDN Thomas Buchanan '55, Acting MIDN Charles McDougal '56, and Acting MIDN James Moseley '56.

January 1857

Acting Midshipman, First Class, Naval Academy

Others at this command: Acting MIDN Alexander MacKenzie '59, Acting MIDN Charles Swasey '59, Acting MIDN Cornelius Schoonmaker '59, and Acting MIDN Roderick Prentiss '59.

January 1858

Midshipman, Steam Frigate Mississippi

Others at this command: LT John Sproston '52.

January 1860

Midshipman, Steam Frigate Mississippi

Others at this command: LT John Sproston '52.

September 1861

Lieutenant, Sloop St. Mary's

January 1863

Lieutenant, Frigate Sabine

January 1864

Lieutenant, Iron-clad Steamer Tecumseh

Class of 1857

John is the only member of the Class of 1857 in Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.