Rear Admiral LUCE Stephen Bleecker

Rear Admiral LUCE Stephen Bleecker[1]

Male 1827 - 1917  (90 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name LUCE Stephen Bleecker 
    Prefix Rear Admiral 
    Born 25 Mar 1827  Albany, Albany, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Census 4 Jun 1900  Newport, Newport, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    • (age 70; U.S. Navy, retired; married 46 years; renting a home on Francis Street.)
    _UID BA710F0370E770439564022B1510E0FF71AA 
    Died 28 Jul 1917  Newport, Newport, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 3
    Buried Aft 28 Jul 1917  Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Address:
    Saint Marys Episcopal Churchyard 
    Notes 
    • Born in Albany, New York, Stephen B. Luce was one of the Navy's outstanding officers in many fields, including strategy, seamanship, education, and professional development. He is best known for being the founder of the Naval War College. Luce married Elizabeth Henley in 1854, who was a grand niece of Martha Washington, wife of President George Washington. Their children included daughter Caroline (1857-1933), who became the wife of Montgomery M. Macomb, a Brigadier General in the United States Army.

      Luce entered the Navy, at the age of 14, on October 19, 1841 as a midshipman. He was instructed at the Naval School in Philadelphia until the newly instituted United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland was opened in 1845. He graduated from the Academy in 1848 and was warranted as a passed midshipman to date from August 10, 1847. He was promoted to lieutenant on September 15, 1855.

      Luce served with the Atlantic coast blockaders during the American Civil War, and commanded the monitor Nantucket at the siege of Charleston, South Carolina. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in 1862. He was assigned to the US Naval Academy in Newport, RI from January 1862 to October 1863. In 1862, while serving as head of the Department of Seamanship at the U.S. Naval Academy, he prepared one of the first seamanship textbooks used by the Academy. During the war he also commanded the USS Sonoma (1862), USS Canandaigua (1862) and USS Pontiac (1864).

      He was promoted to commander in 1866.

      After the Civil War, Luce organized the Navy's apprentice training program to prepare seamen and petty officers for fleet duty. He was promoted to captain in December 1872 and served at the Boston Navy Yard until 1875. He commanded the USS Hartford from November 1875 to August 1877. From August to December 1877 Captain Luce was inspector of training ships. From January 1878 to February 1881 he commanded the training ship USS Minnesota.

      He was promoted to commodore, in 1881 and commanded the US Navy Training Squadron in Newport from April 1881 to June 1884.

      While in command of the Training Squadron, Luce developed and implemented the apprentice training program - the first formal program for training enlisted sailors for service in the Navy. Luce's plan was to have bright and healthy young men (in the age range of 14 to 17 years old) serve a three year apprenticeship with the Training Squadron during which they received an academic education as well has hands on training to learn various seamanship skills.

      The "boys", as the apprentices were officially referred to, were typically enlisted by their parents until they would reach the age of 21 whereupon they could decide if they wished to extend their service in the Navy. Previously, the Navy had taken recruits with no prior experience and all training of enlisted sailors was "on the job". The problem with this approach was that many recruits lacked the discipline and skills necessary to be useful to the Navy. Luce's vision from the apprentice program was to develop sailors who were fully trained and accustomed to navy life prior to joining the fleet. The program ended when the United States entered the First World War in 1917 as the Navy needed to train sailors rapidly for service during the war.

      From July to September 1884 Luce commanded the North Atlantic Squadron with the USS Tennessee as his flagship.

      Based on Luce's urgings and exhaustive reports, the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, was established 6 October 1884 with Luce as its first president. In 1885 he was promoted to rear admiral and in 1886 he was succeeded as president by Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, whose writings had greatly influenced the Navy's decision to establish the War College.

      Luce was also instrumental in starting the U.S. Naval Institute and its publication, Proceedings. He served as the Institute's president from 1887 to 1898.

      From June 1886 to February 1889 Luce commanded the North Atlantic Squadron with the USS Richmond as his flagship. This was his last assignment at sea before retiring, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 62, on 25 March 1889.

      Despite being retired, Luce continued his interest in the improving the efficiency of the Navy. He returned to the War College in 1901 and served for nearly a decade as a faculty member. He finally retired in November 1910 at the age of 83.
    Person ID I79678  Noyes Family Genealogy
    Last Modified 24 Mar 2015 

    Father LUCE Vinal,   b. 22 Oct 1782, Tisbury, Dukes, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Oct 1856, Washington, District of Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years) 
    Mother BLEECKER Charlotte,   b. 15 Feb 1789, Albany, Albany, New York Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Dec 1858, Washington, District of Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years) 
    Married 13 Apr 1815  Albany, Albany, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Family ID F43870  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family HENLEY Eliza,   b. Aug 1831, , , Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married 7 Dec 1854  Washington, District of Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Children 
     1. LUCE Caroline L.,   b. 25 Jul 1857, Washington, District of Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Feb 1933, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years)
     2. LUCE John Dandridge Henley,   b. 1 Oct 1855, Washington, District of Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jan 1921, Fall River, Bristol, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 65 years)
     3. LUCE Charlotte Bleecker,   b. Jun 1859, Washington, District of Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Oct 1946  (Age ~ 87 years)
    Last Modified 17 Oct 2018 
    Family ID F31126  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 25 Mar 1827 - Albany, Albany, New York Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 4 Jun 1900 - Newport, Newport, Rhode Island Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 28 Jul 1917 - Newport, Newport, Rhode Island Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - Address:
    Saint Marys Episcopal Churchyard - Aft 28 Jul 1917 - Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island
    Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce
    Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce

  • Sources 
    1. [S2692] Internet-Wikipedia, Stephen Luce.

    2. [S4602] Census-1900-RI-Newport-Newport, Roll T623_1505; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 220.

    3. [S6820] Book-Quarterdeck and Bridge: Two Centuries of American Naval Leaders.

    4. [S3808] Internet-Find A Grave, Find A Grave Memorial #43512060.