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Charles Vernon Gridley

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Charles Vernon Gridley (November 24, 1844 – June 5, 1898) was an officer in the United States Navy during the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War. After attending Hillsdale College, Gridley was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1860. Reporting for duty with his class in September 1863, Gridley joined the sloop-of-war Oneida with the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and distinguished himself with David Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864. Gridley was promoted to Lieutenant in 1867 and lieutenant commander on March 12, 1868. From 1871 to 1875, Gridley was stationed on the only United States Navy ship based on the Great Lakes at the time, the Michigan, at Erie, Pennsylvania. While stationed in Erie, he married the daughter of Judge John P. Vincent and had three children. Gridley's wife was also a cousin of Civil War hero Brigadier General Strong Vincent. Gridley was promoted to commander in 1882. Gridley also served a tour as instructor at the Naval Academy and another with the Cruiser Training Squadron. Gridley was promoted to captain in March 1897 and took command of Olympia, Admiral George Dewey's famous flagship on June 10, 1897 in Yokohama, Japan. During the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, Dewey gave his famous command, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," immortalizing the captain. After the destruction of the Spanish fleet and the capture of Manila, Gridley was obliged to leave his command because of his health, and died en route to the United States at Kobe, Japan.
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