U.S. Naval Academy Class Rings

Graduates Remembered

Captain Alexander Sharp

Midshipman Alexander Sharp

Class of 1875 representative Captain Alexander Sharp’s class ring was donated to the Naval Academy Museum by his son Vice Admiral Alexander Sharp Jr. USN, (USNA 1906) on September 3, 1937.[1]

Captain Sharp was born November 8, 1855 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the son of a navy paymaster and nephew to Civil War general and President Ulysses S. Grant.[2] On June 21, 1870, Alexander Sharp was nominated to the United States Naval Academy from the District of Columbia. Sharp entered the service when the Navy was fighting for its survival. Antiquated ships, slow promotion lines, and non-citizen crewmembers majority plagued the US Navy. Nevertheless, Cadet Midshipman Sharp graduated 16th of 32 cadet midshipmen on June 20, 1875.[3]

Captain Sharp went on to participate in the Spanish American War as commanding officer of the USS Vixen, a 182 foot long patrol boat mounted with four six-pounders and four one-pounders. The Vixen operated on the Cuban blockade ferrying prisoners, working communications, and assisting in bombardments of Santiago.[4] LCDR Sharp later commanded the cruiser USS Chattanooga (C-16), which assisted in the retrieval of John Paul Jones body in 1906 from Cherbourg France to his final resting place at the Naval Academy.[5] He was awarded the Legion of Honor for his leadership. Sharp took part in the Great White Fleet’s circumnavigation in 1907-1908 while commanding the battleship USS Virginia (BB-13). He died while on active duty on February 9, 1910 from typhoid fever. He was 55 years old and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery Section 2, Site 1153.

References

[1] United States Naval Academy Museum card file of Curator James Cheevers, retrieved January 7, 2014.

[2] Patrick McSherry, "Lt. Alexander Sharp, Jr 1855-1910," The Spanish American War Centennial Website, accessed January 14, 2014, http://www.spanamwar.com/sharp.htm.

[3] United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, Inc., 2013 Register of Alumni, (Chesapeake, VA: Harris Connect, 2012), A6.

[4] Patrick McSherry, "Lt. Alexander Sharp, Jr 1855-1910," The Spanish American War Centennial Website, accessed January 14, 2014, http://www.spanamwar.com/sharp.htm.

[5] "Arlington National Cemetary Explorer," Arlington National Cemetary, accessed December 8, 2015, http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/ANCExplorer.