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Winfield Scott Schley

Schley, Winfield Scott (slĪ) [key], 1839–1911, American naval officer, b. Frederick co., Md. After serving with Union naval forces in the Civil War, he held various naval posts. In 1884 he commanded the third, and successful, relief expedition to rescue the arctic explorer Adolphus W. Greely. Schley was promoted to the rank of commodore in 1898 and in the Spanish-American War commanded the "flying squadron," ordered to seek out the Spanish under Admiral Pascual Cervera. There was some ill feeling between Schley and William Thomas Sampson, who had been advanced to chief command. When the battle of Santiago was fought and the Spanish fleet destroyed, Sampson was absent and Schley had command, thus giving rise to a bitter controversy over the credit for the victory. Schley was made a rear admiral and resigned from the navy in 1901. A court of inquiry, requested by Schley to investigate charges leveled against him of negligence and misconduct in the battle of Santiago, was generally adverse toward him but recommended that no action be taken. He wrote The Rescue of Greely (with J. R. Soley, 1895) and also memoirs, Forty-five Years under the Flag (1904).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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