Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: John

Last Name: Murphy

Birthplace: IRL

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Home of Record: NY
Middle Name: Edward

Date of Birth: 03 May 1869

Date of Death: 09 April 1941

Rank or Rate: Lieutenant

Years Served:
John Edward Murphy

•  Spanish-American War (1898)


John Edward Murphy

Lieutenant, U.S. Navy

Medal of Honor Recipient

Spanish-American War

Lieutenant John Edward Murphy (3 May 1869 - 9 April 1941) was a U.S. Navy officer who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during the Spanish-American War.

John Edward Murphy was born in Ireland on 3 May 1869. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy from New York and served in the battleship USS Iowa (BB-4) as a Coxswain during the Spanish-American War. Coxswain Murphy was one of eight volunteer crew members of the collier USS Merrimac (1898), which Rear Admiral William T. Sampson ordered sunk to block the entrance of Santiago Harbor, Cuba. On the night of 2 June 1898, during the attempt to execute this mission, Merrimac's steering gear was disabled by enemy gunfire, and she sank without obstructing navigation. Her crewmen were rescued by the Spanish and made prisoners of war. After the Battle of Santiago de Cuba destroyed the Spanish fleet, a month later, Murphy and his shipmates were released. For their part in this operation, all eight men were awarded Medals of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy

Citation: In connection with the sinking of the U.S.S. Merrimac at the entrance to the harbor of Santiago de Cuba, 2 June 1898. Despite heavy fire from the Spanish shore batteries, Murphy displayed extraordinary heroism throughout this operation.

On 15 June 1898, while he was still in Spanish custody, Murphy was promoted to the warrant officer rank of Boatswain. In October 1898, Murphy was assigned to the battleship USS Oregon (BB-3), which soon went to the Asiatic Station. He reported for training duty on board USS Pensacola (1859) in September 1901 and several months later began similar service in USS Constellation (1854). In the summer of 1903, he was assigned to the armored cruiser USS New York (ACR-2) in the Pacific Squadron. Murphy was promoted to Chief Boatswain on 15 June 1904. For his last tour, he served in USS Buffalo (1892), also in the Pacific, and was placed on the retired list on 1 August 1905.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant John Edward Murphy died at age 71. He is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, CA. His grave can be found in the Officer's Section, Grave 363.

Honoree ID: 1926   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image