U.S. Naval Academy Class Rings

Graduates Remembered

Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves Berry

Admiral Berry
Captain Albert Gleaves Berry

The first class representative is Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves Berry from the class of 1869. On April 6, 1939, his daughter, Miss Mary Lillian Berry, donated Admiral Berry’s ring to the United States Naval Academy Museum. The ring was manufactured by Black, Starr & Frost, one of the oldest operating jewelry houses in the United States. His ring features an anchor stamped center stone and engraved “Albert G. Berry Class ’69. U.S.N.A.” on the inner band.

Albert Gleaves Berry was born on September 16, 1848 in Nashville, Tennessee to William Tyler and Mary Margaret (Tannelhill) Berry. Midshipman Berry graduated 70th out of 74 midshipmen in June 1869.[1] Graduates started their service designated “Passed Midshipman” for up to two years before promotion to Ensign. Included among Berry’s early assignments was a tour on the training ship Sabine andthen flagship of the European Stations, Franklin. Berry earned the rank of ensign on July 12, 1870, just over a year after graduation. Within two years, Ensign Berry was promoted to Master while serving in South Atlantic Station aboard the Lancaster and Wasp.

Midshipman Albert Berry

Following torpedo instruction in Newport, and assignments on the training ship Monongahela and receiving ship Passaic out of Washington D.C., Lieutenant Berry wed Lillian Reed Merriman in September 1881.[2]The couple would go on to have two children, Mary Lillian and LCDR Albert Gleaves Berry Jr., USNR (USNA 1914). He continued his shore tour in D.C., learning the ins and outs of ordnance and working in the Signal Office. From September 1883 to September 1886, Lieutenant Berry served on the Trenton and Palos in the Asiatic Squadron. Prior to taking on the executive officer position aboard the Amphitrite Berry picked up Lieutenant Commander. The Amphitrite saw service in the North Atlantic during the Spanish American War. After attending the Naval War College, Berry was the commissioning commanding officer of the armored cruiser USS Tennessee (ACR 10). The Armored Cruiser Squadron, Pacific Fleet, cruised off the west coast of the United States through August 1908. This Squadron consisted of the USS Washington under the command of Captain Theodore Porter, the USS Tennessee under the command of Captain Albert G. Berry, the USS California under command of Captain V. L. Cottman and the USS South Dakota, which was almost completed with officers yet to be assigned. The squadron commander, Rear Admiral Charles H. Stockton, chose Berry’s Tennessee to serve as his flagship.

Rear Admiral Berry’s legacy continued through his cousin Admiral Albert Gleaves (USNA 1877) and son LCDR Albert Gleaves Berry Jr (USNA 1910). Berry died on May 12, 1938 in Coronado, California at the age of 89. He was buried in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery along with his wife Mrs. Lillian Reed Berry and daughter, Miss Mary Lillian Berry.


[1] United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, Inc., 2013 Register of Alumni, (Chesapeake, VA: Harris Connect, 2012), A5.

[2] William B. Cogar, Dictionary of Admirals of the U.S. Navy, Volume 2: 1901 to 1918, (Annapolis, MD, 1991), 24.