Edward Buttevant Barry was born at New York City, 20 October 1849, the son of Paymaster Garrett Robert (United States Navy) and Sarah Agnes (Glover) Barry. He married Mary Wycliff Clitz 7 April 1875 and they had one daughter. He died on 27 November 1938, at Baltimore, Maryland, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
He received appointmen to the United States Navy by virtue of being the son of an officer, 21 July 1865; he attended the United States Nval Academy, July 1865-June 1869.
He was promoted to Commander, 9 March 1900; Captain, 31 March 1905; Rear Admiral, 1 February 1909; and was transferred to the retired list, 13 January 1911.
He served in the Spanish-American War and was Supervisor, United States Navy Auxiliaries, Atlantic Coast, New York, December 1907-April 1909; Commander, 2nd Division, 1st Squadron, USS West Virginia, Pacific Fleet, May 1909-November 1910; Commander, USS West Virginia, Pacific Fleet, November 1910-January 1911.
1911: Rear Admiral Edward Barry , Commander of the US Pacific Fllet was forced to resign after an alleged liaison with a cabin boy.
REAR ADMIRAL IS FORCED FROM NAVY
Barry Relieved from Duty after Conference of Fleet Officers
Prosecutor Called In
SAN FRANCISCO, January 15, 1911 – Rear Admiral Chauncey M. Thomas, Commander of the Second Squadron of the Pacific Fleet, today relieved Rear Admiral Edward B. Barry as Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, in pursuance of orders received from the Navy Department in Washington. Barry has requested immediate retirement from the service under the rule of more than forty years’ service.
The cause of Admiral Barry’s desire to leave after having held the post of fleet commander for only a few months is the subject of much gossip. Stories reflecting seriously upon the character of the retiring admiral are being circulated, and naval officers in port have taken cognizance of them. There is an intimation in these stories that the admiral has been forced to retire.
In speaking of these rumors, Admiral Barry said: “It is not true that I have been forced to retire. Other men have asked for immediate retirement. The reason that have caused to me do this are partly public and partly private. The man who is triumphantly vindicated under such circumstance is as much a loser as if the charges were proven to be true. I believe that by requesting immediate retirement I can save the navy a scandal.”
The stories concerning Rear Admiral Barry reflect on his moral character. According to reports published here, the admiral sent his request for relief to Washington following a conference with the staff and line officer on board the West Virginia on Tuesday night. At this conference, it is reported, the suggestion was made that a loaded revolver be sent to the admiral’s cabin, but this suggestion lost on a vote. The officers present then took an oath of secrecy on condition that Admiral Barry forwards his resignation to Washington at once.
Instead of resigning, Barry requested retirement. After that fact became known the subject matter of the conference leaked out until all the sailors of the fleet were talking.
Rear Admiral Thomas held a conference with District Attorney Fickert, but no definite course of action was decided upon.
“My office is investigating the stories regarding Rear Admiral Barry, but I am not preparing to say what action we shall take. Even in case of an offense committed within San Francisco Bay, there is a question as to whether the county courts have jurisdiction. I have consulted with Rear Admiral Thomas, but there is nothing definite so say at this time.”
Rear Admiral Barry as a native of New York and is 62 years old. He entered the navy in 1865 and saw twenty-eight years of service at sea. He has been in command of various vessels and took part in the South Atlantic and Cuban blockade in 1898. He was present in the attack on Maranzas, Cuba, at Ponce, Puerto Rico. He was supervisor of the Naval Auxiliary Service from 1908 to 1909, when he was appointed Commander of the Second Division of the Pacific Fleet. He is a member the University Club of New York and the Army and Navy Club of Washington.
SAYS ADMIRAL BARRY WAS FORCED TO QUIT
San Francisco Newspaper Declares His Officers Demanded His
Resignation on Grave Charges
Admiral Weeps in Street
Says Enemies Have Falsified –Is a New Yorker with a Long and Distinguished Record
SAN FRANCISCO, January 15, 1911 – Charges that Rear Admiral Edward Buttevant Barry, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, had been forced to seek to be retired from active service in the navy have been circulated here since that officer on Wednesday sent a telegram to the Navy Department asking that he be retired almost two years ahead of his age limit.
The Chronicle this morning printed in unmistakable terms the substance of the reports, making the gravest charges against the Admiral. He comes from New York where he is related to prominent families.
It is said by the Chronicle that the other officers on board the flagship, the armored cruiser West Virginia, have been aware for months of the charges made against the Admiral, and have practically ostracized him. It was noticeable at the reception here two months ago to the officers of the visiting Japanese warships that the officers of the West Virginia had little to do with the Admiral and spoke to him only when necessary. There was comment on it at the time and reports began to come out that there was serious trouble on the ship and a feeling that the squadron commander should leave the navy.
According to the account, matters came to a head last Tuesday, when petty officers made a report in relation to the Admiral to the superior offices on the ship. A general meeting of the commissioned officers was held in the wardroom that night, it is said, and the charges were discussed. Some of the younger officers were urgent that a pistol be sent to the Admiral with the suggestion that he use the weapon to end the scandal. Counsels of the older men prevailed, and it was decided to send the Admiral a note urging him to resign as the only honorable way to avoid court-martial.
He refused to resign, and the officers then drew up a statement of the charges and addressed it to the Navy Department. The paper was locked in the safe of the ship’s commander, to wait two days, and then be sent if the Admiral had not resigned in the meantime.
Admiral Barry is said to have spent Wednesday in his cabin. None of the commissioned officers would go near him. One of the yeomen afterward told the crew that the Admiral had wept and made a confident of him. When the Admiral emerged, it is declared, discipline was absent, as the crew ignored his presence. He finally decided to heed the ultimatum of the officers. They understood that he was to resign, but instead he telegraphed to the department asking retirement which would give him half pay for the rest of his life. The request was granted promptly by the Washington authorities.
Admiral Barry today denied the printed charges and declared that they were made out of whole cloth by his enemies, but refused to say why he sent a telegram request to be retired. He finally came ashore early this morning and went to St. Mary’s Church to mass. The printed account was shown to him, but he refused to make any other comment other than to state that the acquisitions were false. He was evidently greatly wrought up, for he shed tears as he walked up to church, and he was pale when he emerged after the service. He walked back to the waterfront and boarded his ship. The vessel soon left harbor to engage in coal tests. She will return tomorrow.
BARRY RETIRED. DENYING STORIES
Rear Admiral’s Pennant Is Hauled Down on Cruiser West Virginia
May be Court Martial
Officer, While Not on the Active List, Still Member of the Navy Body
SAN FRANCISCO, January 16, 1911 – Rear Admiral Edward B. Barry today hauled down his pennant and relinquished command of the Pacific Fleet to Rear Admiral Chauncey Thomas. The ceremony was marked by all the formalities prescribed by the regulations but peculiar and grave circumstances to which report ascribe Rear Admiral Barry’s sudden request for retirement, robbed the occasion of the spontaneous and personal features which custom always made a part of such incidents.
The West Virginia, Admiral Barry’s flagship, returned from a twenty-four hour coal test run shortly after noon and an hour later his two-starred pennant came down. After receiving the orders detaching him from the command of the fleet, Rear Admiral Barry made a short speech to the assembled officers and men expressing a warm feeling for the West Virginia and regret at leaving the cruiser.
Instead of immediately going ashore, as is customary, the officer retired to his cabin, where he waited until nightfall, when he stepped into the motor launch awaiting him and he was taken to the naval landing.
While he was waiting in his cabin, Rear Admiral Barry received a reporter, to whom he denied in general and emphatic terms the stories which have been published concerning the reasons for his unexpected retirement from the navy.
“I have retired partly from public reasons and partly from private reasons,” he said. “I cannot understand these stories. It is not an unprecedented thing for an admiral to request immediate retirement. I did so under a navy regulation which permits it after forty years of service.”
The Rear Admiral’s manner led reporters to believe that he cannot be in his right mind.
The application of Rear Admiral Barry for retirement has been approved by President Taft and he has been transferred to the retired list of the navy.
This action was taken before the publication of the allegations that officers of the flagship West Virginia contemplated charges against the admiral reflecting upon his moral character.
Not until the complaining officers of the West Virginia have been heard until the Navy Department be in a position to determine whether there shall be any proceedings in the case of Rear Admiral Barry. It is should be decided in the affirmative, the mere fact that the accused officer has retired would not shield him from punishment in the case of a court martial resulting in conviction.
Under the regulations, which specifically define the punishment of each offense, a person convicted in such case, if an officer, would be liable to the severe penalty of confinement not to exceed fifteen years and expulsion from the naval service, cutting off all retired pay.
BARRY LEAVES SHIP; OFFICERS IGNORE HIM
Accused Rear Admiral Gives Up Command of Pacific Fleet and Retires From Navy
Navy Department Sends for a Report on the Incident, but no Court-Martial Expected
SAN FRANCISCO, January 16, 1911 – Rear Admiral Edward Buttevant Barry formally give-up command of the Pacific Fleet and retire from active service in the navy today. He was succeeded in command of the fleet by Rear Admiral Chauncey M. Thomas.
The occasion was a painful one because of the grave charges that suddenly caused Admiral Barry last week to ask by telegraph for retirement. Admiral Barry was calm and collected and gave no visible sign that he was concerned over the stories that had been printed of him. All of the other officers concerned in today’s ceremonies, however, were apparently nervous and under a strain. The usual ceremonies were carried out, but there was none of the personal features that usually attended the farewell of an officer with such a dignified record as his.
The West Virginia, the flagship, returned from a twenty-four hour coal test run shortly after noon and an hour later his two-starred pennant came down. After receiving the orders detaching him from the command of the fleet, Admiral Barry made a short speech to the assembled officers and men, expressing warm feeling for the West Virginia and regret at leaving the cruiser.
Instead of immediately going ashore, as is customary, the Admiral retired to his cabin, where he waited until nightfall, when he stepped into a motor launch and was taken to the naval landing. No officers honored him as he went over the side, although the crew was drawn up and cheered him. There were no salutes by other warships.
While he was waiting in his cabin, Admiral Barry received a body of newspapermen and made a statement in which he said: “I have retired partly from public and partly from private reasons.” He declared that he could not understand the stories printed about him and declared that his whole religious training has been contrary to such things as were charged gains him.
“It is not an unprecedented thing for an Admiral to request immediate retirement,” he went on. “I did so under a regulation which permits it after forty years of service, and the navy has granted my request. I intend to go to Mare Island tomorrow to see a very dear friend and tomorrow night I will leave for New York. I have made New York my home although since my wife died I have not been much in any place. I have a married daughter in the East, but my son is dead.”
He objected to a statement, which he called cruel, that his officers had made no denial of charges against him, and said: “To make such a denial about another one must have known his every act, from the time he was a new-born babe.”
The Admiral then read a letter from a sailor on the West Virginia in which the writer expressed sympathy with the Admiral and a belief that the charges were false.
“That confronts me,” he said. “That is very gratifying.”
Again the Admiral repeated his denial that there was any truth in the charges. So painful was the impression that he made upon the newspapermen that they all expressed pity for him.
In assuming command of the Pacific with the California as his flagship, Admiral Thomas took over Admiral Barry’s executive staff with the exception of his secretary and Flag Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander Victor Blue was made Chief of Staff, continuing the pace he occupied under Admiral Barry.
Navy Department Action in the Barry Matter to Be Determined by
Strength of Officer’s Case
WASHINGTON, January 16, 1911 – Not until the complaining officers of the West Virginia have been hard from will the Navy Department be in a position to determine whether there shall be any proceedings in the case of Rear Admiral Barry.
It if should be decided in the affirmative, the fact that the accused officer has voluntarily retired would not shield him from punishment in the case of a court martial resulting in conviction.
Under the regulations which specifically define the punishment for each offense, a person convicted in such case, if an officer, would be liable for severe penalty of confinement not to exceed fifteen years and expulsion from the naval service, cutting off all retired pay.
There is no record of the trial of a naval officer under these conditions, though many sailors have suffered conviction.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: January 20, 1911
Referring to the charges made against Rear Admiral Edward Barry, as a dear friend and as one who has known him intimately and who is fully acquainted with the facts of his private life, I consider the truth of the charge as absolutely beyond belief.
No man, after a record of forty-five years like Admiral Barry’s could give the lie to all the actions of his past life, barring, of course, mental weakness.
Edward Barry has not been merely a most admirable officer. The few who are acquainted with the facts of his person life know him to be a gentleman of the most sincere, unaffected and modest goodness. He has undergone trials which, to him, as an officer and a man, must have been exquisite torture, and heroic fortitude, gentleness and patience, practicing most exemplary temperance in all things.
That he should be willing to sacrifice his good name to prevent a dreadful scandal in the navy, knowing himself to be innocent, is in perfect harmony with the heroes of virtue of his character and manliness, and I beg you to publish this letter in justice to a man of rare nobility. HENRY B. BINSSE, Newark, New Jersey, January 17, 1911.
January 22, 1911 – The sensational circumstances surrounding the resignation of Rear Admiral Edward B. Barry as Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet have aroused official Washington from top to bottom. It is state there that for months officers on board the flagship West Virginia have been aware of serious allegations made against the Rear Admiral and have ostracized him.
The charges were first made public in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy Bekman Winthrop states that Admiral Barry had retired voluntarily and that no charges had been filed against him. He denied any knowledge of special reasons whereby the Admiral should retire at this particular time. Admiral Barry has been succeeded by Rear Admiral Chauncey Thomas as Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Thomas is now in command of the Second Division under Admiral Barry.
Rear Admiral Barry who succeeded Rear Admiral Giles B. Harber as Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet last fall, is a New Yorker born and bred and for years has been one of the best known officers in the Navy. He was born in New York October 20, 1849, his father being Garrett Robert Barry, and his mother Sarah Agnes Glover Barry. He was educated at the Lespinasse School and St. Xavier College in New York and at the United States Naval Academy.
TAFT MAKES BARRY RESIGN
Admiral Accused by Brother Officers Not Allowed to Retire
WASHINGTON, January 27, 1911 – By direction of the President, Rear Admiral Edward B. Barry, former Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, today submitted his resignation “for the good of the service,” as Secretary of the Navy Meyer expressed it. It was immediately accepted. The enforced resignation is the outgrowth of charges affecting the moral character of the naval officer.
Secretary Meyer announced today that on instructions from the President, he telegraphed last night to Admiral Barry asking him to resign. The resignation severing the officer’s connection with the American Navy was received today, and his name was at once stricken from the list of naval officers. The act naturally terminated his salary from the Government.
In response to a telegraphic request Admiral Barry was placed on the retired list of the Navy on January 14. The officers of the cruiser West Virginia, Admiral Barry’s flagship, were not satisfied with retirement, however, and insisted upon his resignation. The Secretary of the Navy called on Captain Orchard of the West Virginia for a formal statement, meanwhile ordering Admiral Barry to remain in San Francisco until further orders.
Captain Orchard’s report was received by the Navy Department several days ago, when it was submitted to President Taft, and the enforced resignation of the officer followed.
Admiral Barry was born in New York and was graduated from the United States Naval Academy in the Class of 1869. In the Spanish War he took part in the blockade of Havana, the attack on Matanzas and in the search for the Spanish Fleet in Bahama Channel. He convoyed the Maria Teresa around the eastern end of Cuba and was at Havana when the United States flag was raised there in January 1899. He was promoted to the grade of Rear Admiral in 1899.
SCANDAL ROUTS ADMIRAL BARRY
Secretary of the Navy Demands Resignation
Officers of the West Virginia Not Satisfied With Retirement
Insisted Upon Barry’s Resignation on Account of His Conduct
WASHINGTON, January 27, 1911 – By direction of the President, Secretary of the Navy Meyer asked Admiral Barry for his resignation. It has been received and accepted today for “the good of the service,” according to an announcement from Secretary Meyer. The enforced resignation it the outgrowth of charges affecting the naval officers moral character.
The resignation severs the Admiral’s connection with the American Navy after forty-five years of active service.
In response to his telegraphic request, Admiral Barry was placed on the retired list of the Navy on January 14. Later, however, reports began to emanate from San Francisco that Admiral Barry’s retirement was forced by a demand that he resign on account of alleged scandalous conduct.
Officers of Admiral Barry’s flagship, the cruiser West Virginia, were not satisfied with retirement but insisted upon his resignation. Captain Orchard of the West Virginia was asked for a formal statement and when this report was received several days ago, and sent to the President, Secretary Meyer telegraphed last night to Admiral Barry asking his resignation.
REAR ADMIRAL BARRY DEAD AT AGE OF 89
Ex-Head of Pacific Fleet One of 3 Oldest Annapolis Graduates
BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 27, 1938 – Rear Admiral Edward B. Barry, U.S.N., retired, who relinquished his command of the Pacific Fleet under the shadow of a scandal, dropped dead today after returning to his home from church services. His age was 89.
A native of New York, he was one of the three oldest surviving graduates of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.
Admiral Barry took command of the Pacific Fleet in 1910. In the next year he resigned his command after officers of his flagship, the West Virginia, questioned his moral conduct. He denied the substance of the charges. At the time he had served some forty-five years with the Navy and was eligible for retirement.
He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday.
REAR ADMIRALBARRY BURIED
WASHINGTON, November 29, 1938 – Funeral services were held here today for Rear Admiral Edward B. Barry, U.S.N. resigned, who died Sunday in Baltimore. Burial was at Arlington National Cemetery.
BARRY, MARY W J W/O E B
- DATE OF DEATH: 06/26/1906
- BURIED AT: SECTION S/D O SITE LOT 1831
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
- WIFE OF EB BARRY, CAPT USN
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
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