From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William Reily '47

Date of birth: 1830

Date of death: September 21, 1854

Age: ~34

Lucky Bag

The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.


1847 Reily 1.jpg

William was lost sometime after September 21, 1854 when USS Porpoise (1836) disappeared between Formosa and China.

He was born in Washington, D.C. and appointed to the Naval Academy from Maryland. Year of birth (1830) is approximate.

From Cybrarygoddess:

He married Ellen T. Roche in March 1853.

They had a son, William Van Wyck Reily, born December 1853 in the District of Columbia.

2nd Lt. William Van Wyck Reily was killed with Lt. Col. George A. Custer’s battalion at the battle of Little Bighorn in June 1876.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 9 February, 1841. Passed Midshipman, 10 August, 1847. Acting Master, 11 December, 1852. Lost in Porpoise, 21 September, 1854.

Related Articles

William's son, William Reily '75, whom he never met, was killed in the battle at Little Bighorn. The son was named for his classmate and shipmate, William Van Wyck '47.

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 1842

Midshipman, Frigate Congress

Others at this command: MIDN Joseph Smith '47 and MIDN Thomas Eaton '47.

January 1844

Midshipman, Frigate Congress

Others at this command: MIDN Thomas Eaton '47.

January 1846

Midshipman, Steamer Princeton

Others at this command: MIDN William Van Wyck '47.

January 1848

Passed Midshipman, Schooner Bonito

January 1849

Passed Midshipman, leave of absence

January 1850

Passed Midshipman, Sloop Falmouth

Others at this command: PASSED MIDN William Bridge '47.

January 1852

Passed Midshipman, Store Ship Supply

Others at this command: PASSED MIDN Sylvanus Bliss '47.

January 1855

Passed Midshipman, Brig Porpoise

Others at this command: PASSED MIDN Sylvanus Bliss '47, PASSED MIDN William Bridge '47, and PASSED MIDN William Van Wyck '47.

Class of 1847

William is one of 31 members of the Class of 1847 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.