Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Frank H. Newcomb (10 November 1846 - 20 February 1934) was a Commodore in the United States Revenue Cutter Service. Commodore Newcomb was most famous for his heroic actions at the Battle of Cardenas during the Spanish American War.
Newcomb was born in Boston, Massachusetts.
First Lieutenant Frank Newcomb was in command of the USRC Hudson when the Spanish American War broke out. Newcomb's ship entered the war as a US Navy auxiliary. Hudson had been retrofitted with two six-pounders and a small machine gun. She was more of a tugboat than a combat vessel.
On May 11, 1898, in one of the first actions off the coast of Cuba, Captain Frank Newcomb distinguished himself and his ship in the Battle of Cardenas. The US Navy torpedo boat USS Winslow and the USRC Hudson had been shelling Spanish positions. Winslow had been hit multiple times. Half her compliment was dead and her Captain gravely wounded.
Newcomb ordered Hudson to tow Winslow out of harms way. Under heavy fire, she did just that, despite nearly floundering on shoals trying to fast a rope to Hudson. Without a doubt, Newcomb's actions saved USS Winslow from destruction and possible capture.
Three members of Winslow 's crew received Medals of Honor for their actions. Because of the United States Revenue Cutter Service's status at the time, President William McKinley felt that Newcomb could not be nominated for a Medal of Honor as he was an officer of the United States Revenue Cutter Service. Instead, Congress instructed that a special Gold Medal be struck for First Lieutenant Frank H. Newcomb on May 3, 1900 in Public Law 31 Stat. 717. It was the only such medal struck during the Spanish American War. At the time, it was thought to be an honor equivalent to the Medal of Honor.
Commodore Newcomb died in Los Angeles, California. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with his wife Rose Prioleau Newcomb. There was a United States Navy destroyer named after Commodore Newcomb, USS Newcomb.
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