Captain W. H. H. Southerland, USS New Jersey

Born in New York City in 1852, at the age of 12 he volunteered to join the Union Navy toward the end of the Civil War.  In 1867 he re-enlisted as a naval apprentice and in June of 1868 got an appointment to the Naval Academy.  After graduation in 1872 he served 3-years on the sloop Tuscarora, achieving promotion to Ensign while surveying for the interoceanic canal, landing a party in Panama, taking deep-sea soundings in the North Pacific and Behring Sean, and then landing  a party in Honolulu during the trouble attending the accession of King Kalakaua in the Samoan Islands.  He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1884.  From 1875 to 1877 he worked in the department of mathematics at the Naval Academy.  He was on the old Kearsarge and Plymouth on North Atlantic Station from 1879 to 1881.  He next served on Hydrographic duties from 1881 to 1884.  In 1885 was assigned to the Dolphin in 1885, and to the Brooklyn in 1885-1886 cruising to China.  In 1889 was assigned to the Naval Intelligence Office for two years, then to the office of the Secretary of the Navy.  In April of 1907 he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Inspection and Survey which lead to his choice as Commanding Officer of the USS New Jersey.  After completing the cruise around the world he was appointed to Rear Admiral and given command of 2nd Division, Atlantic Fleet in March 1911. He commanded the naval forces in the Nicaragua Expedition.  In 1912 he became Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet and in March 1913 took up duties on the General Board.  He retired on July 10, 1914, the last Civil War  naval veteran on active service.  He was one of the few to rise from enlisted man to Admiral during he course of his career.  He died in Washington D.C.,  January 30, 1933.



autograph card of captain southerland

This is a "business card" size autograph from W. H. H. Southerland while he was in command of the USS New Jersey.  Officers in command of the ships of the fleet, especially those just returning from the cruise around the world, were in high demand for signing autographs.





This card is from a series that was made to give out for free with delivery of the newspaper.  Most of the cards I have collected were from the Lincoln Daily Star, this one showing Captain William Southerland with the USS New Jersey.  The photograph is copyrighted by Enrique Muller.



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