Admiral Hobson

(Richmond Pearson Hobson)


Richmond Hobson was born in Hale County in Alabama, and at the age of nineteen he graduated first in his class from the U.S. Naval Academy. Although disliked by his classmates for his abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, he enjoyed school and after graduation was made a cadet battalion commander. He served in Chicago for some time before continuing his training, which allowed him to rise to the rank of assistant naval constructor in 1891.

Richmond Hobson
During the Spanish-American War, Hobson served under Admiral William Sampson in New York, arriving in the Caribbean in June 1898. He was given orders to sink the American Merrimac, thereby blockading the channel near Cuba and trapping the Spanish warships inside, but his plan was not altogether successful and he was imprisoned in Cuba. While there, he became a hero of the press for his perceived suicide mission, and after his release he was celebrated as a national idol. In 1933, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Hobson soon took up a career as a Democratic U.S. Representative from Alabama, and after retiring from Congress he became active in the prohibition movement, authoring several books on the subject and founding the International Narcotic Education Association. In 1934 he was advanced to Naval Constructor with a rank of Real Admiral. He passed away three years later and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Key events during the life of Richmond Hobson:

Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.
Appointed Assistant Naval Constructor.
Served during the Spanish-American War.
  Failed to successfully sink the Merrimac and was imprisoned in Cuba.
  Released during a prisoner exchange.
Served as a U.S. Representative from Alabama.
Awarded the Medal of Honor.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Hobson and the Merrimac  in  America First—100 Stories from Our History  by  Lawton B. Evans
Hobson's Brave Deed  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
Hobson and the Sinking of the Merrimac  in  Historical Tales: Spanish American  by  Charles Morris
Heroes of the Merrimac  in  The Story of Mexico  by  Charles Morris

Image Links

Lieutenant Hobson on the Merrimac
 in The Story of Mexico

Short Biography
William McKinley President of the United States during the Spanish American War. He was assassinated in office.
George Dewey Highest ranking Naval Officer in U.S. Hero of Battle of Manila Bay in Spanish American War.
Jose Marti Leader of the Cuban independence movement in the years before the Spanish-American.
James K. Polk U.S. President who followed the policies of Andrew Jackson. President during the Mexican-American War.