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First Name: George

Last Name: Melville

Birthplace: New York County, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Wallace

Date of Birth: 10 January 1841

Date of Death: 17 March 1912

Rank or Rate: Rear Admiral

Years Served:
George Wallace Melville

•  American Civil War (1861 - 1865)


George Wallace Melville
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

George Wallace Melville was born on 10 January 1841 in New York County, NY.

Melville was educated by the Brothers of the Christian Schools and later graduated from the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute. He began his naval career as a Midshipman, and went up through the ranks as Master, Lieutenant Commander, Commander, Commodore, and, finally, Rear Admiral.

During the Civil War, he served as Engineering Officer on the USS Wachusett. Later he was Chief Engineer on the USS Tigress which brought home the 19 survivors of the ill-fated Polaris Expedition, which tried to find a route to the North Pole. The Expedition's commander, Captain Charles Francis Hall, had been poisoned with arsenic. Hall's expedition was chronicled by fellow explorer and Philadelphian, Elisha Kent Kane.

In 1879, Melville explored the Arctic. He recounted his adventure in the work "In the Lena Delta" (1884). In that year, he was Chief Engineer on the USS Thetis, a ship which saved the survivors of the Adolphus Greely Expedition. He was the first Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering and a founder of both the Naval Surface Warfare Center and the Naval Postgraduate School.

Death and Burial

Rear Admiral George Wallace Melville died on 17 March 1912 in Philadelphia, PA. He is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Honoree ID: 2850   Created by: MHOH




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