From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Nathaniel Moseley '84

Date of birth: April 1, 1862

Date of death: September 18, 1887

Age: 25

Naval Academy Register

Nathaniel Stockwell Moseley was admitted to the Naval Academy from California on March 22, 1880 at age 18 years 0 months.


Photo courtesy of the Naval Academy's Nimitz Library, via researcher Kathy Franz.

From The Los Angeles Times on September 21, 1887:

Astoria (Or.), Sept. 20. The United States Government surveying steamer McArthur, which has been surveying Shoal Water bay arrived this morning with her flag at half mast, and bearing the body of Ensign N. S. Moseley. He and a draughtsman started ashore in a sail boat on Sunday to get mail at Oystervllle. When halfway across a heavy squall struck the boat, which capsized, throwing the occupants into the water. They clung to the boat and were exposed in the ice-cold water nearly four hours. Finally the two men righted the boat and managed to reach shore in an exhausted condition, and were conveyed to the steamer McArthur. Ensign Moseley soon after was attacked with a violent congestive chill and died in a short time. The deceased was aged 25. He leaves a wife and child at Stockton, Cal. The remains will be embalmed and sent to San Francisco by the next steamer.

Nathaniel's wife's name was Claudia. He is buried in Stockton, California.


He was one of several dozen midshipmen who were involved in a hazing incident in 1881.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Cadet Midshipman, 4 June, 1880. Graduated 4 June, 1884. Ensign, 1 July, 1886. Died 18 September, 1887.

In June 1884 he was ordered to the ship Hartford.

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.

February 1885

Naval Cadet, Hartford

January 1886

Naval Cadet, Iroquois

Others at this command:

February 1887

Naval Cadet, Steamer Hassler

Others at this command:

Memorial Hall Error

Nathaniel is not listed with his classmate in Memorial Hall. This oversight was discovered by researcher Kathy Franz.

Class of 1884

Nathaniel is one of 2 members of the Class of 1884 on Virtual 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.