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First Name: Louis

Last Name: Nulton

Birthplace: Winchester, VA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: McCoy

Date of Birth: 08 August 1869

Date of Death: 11 November 1954

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1889-1933
Louis McCoy Nulton

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1889

•  Spanish-American War (1898)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)


Louis McCoy Nulton

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Louis McCoy Nulton was born on 8 August 1869 in Winchester, VA, to Annie Clark Nulton and Colonel Joseph Nulton, a prominent Virginian who commanded Confederate troops during the American Civil War and subsequently commanded for many years the Old Second Virginia Regiment, National Guard. Appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1885 at the age of 16, he graduated seventh in the class of 1889 and served his initial sea duty as a passed cadet aboard the protected cruiser USS Chicago.

His early assignments included service aboard the battleship Texas, followed by duty as Executive Officer of the auxiliary cruiser USS Panther, as Ordnance Officer of the battleship USS Ohio, and as Executive Officer of the battleship USS Wisconsin. He served twice as an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy and one tour as Commandant of Midshipmen; he also compiled one of the technical dictionaries used at the Academy.

His first command was the gunboat USS Nashville in 1913, followed by the armored cruiser USS Montana. In 1914, while commanding Montana, he led landing parties ashore during the U.S. occupation of Veracruz. In 1918 he was given command of the Atlantic Fleet battleship USS Pennsylvania, and served as Pennsylvania's Captain when it escorted President Woodrow Wilson to and from the Paris Peace Conference.

Service as a Flag Officer

He became Commandant of the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 22 September 1920 and was promoted to Rear Admiral the following year. In late 1921, he unsuccessfully tried to save the partially completed battlecruiser USS Constitution from being scrapped by accelerating its construction schedule using funds he had illegally transferred from the construction and repair of other vessels, and by lobbying for Constitution's conversion into an aircraft carrier.

He was sent to sea in 1923 as Commander of Battleship Division Three (USS New York, Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada). He was Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy from February 1925 to June 1928. In spring 1928, he was again ordered to sea as Commander Battleship Divisions, Battle Fleet (COMBATDIVS), with the temporary rank of Vice Admiral, flying his three-star flag aboard the battleship West Virginia from 26 June 1928 to 20 May 1929.

He was promoted to the temporary rank of four-star Admiral as Commander Battle Fleet (COMBATFLT) on 21 May 1929, succeeding Admiral William V. Pratt, who had been elevated to Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet (CINCUS). As COMBATFLT, Nulton was the second most senior officer afloat, and selected the battleship USS California as his new flagship as a compliment to that state. On 9 January 1930, Pratt sailed from New York as a delegate to the London Naval Conference, leaving Nulton to act in his stead from the date of Pratt's departure until his return in May 1930. As acting CINCUS, Nulton commanded the combined fleets during the winter maneuvers in the Caribbean. Relieved by Admiral Frank H. Schofield on 24 May 1930, Nulton reverted to his permanent rank of Rear Admiral and was assigned as Commandant of the First Naval District. He retired from the Navy on 1 September 1933 upon reaching the statutory age for retirement.

Nulton was advanced to four-star Admiral on the retired list with date of rank 16 Jun 1942, as highest rank held on the active list.


He was awarded the Navy Cross for exceptionally meritorious service as Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy and later as Commanding officer of USS Pennsylvania.

As Commander of the battleship divisions of the Pacific Fleet in 1929, he was commended in a letter from President Herbert Hoover for "attaining the highest merit in battle efficiency of any division of its class."

A collection of Nulton family genealogical material and memorabilia from Nulton's naval career is archived at the Handley Regional Library in Winchester Virginia.


He married the former Minnie Clark Evans on 5 September 1895 and they had two daughters. In retirement, he and his wife resided in Winchester, VA, from 1933 to 1946.

Death and Burial

Admiral Louis McCoy Nulton died on 11 November 1954 at his home in Maysville, KY. He is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD.

Honoree ID: 614   Created by: MHOH




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