CAPTAIN N. M. DYER, WHOSE RETIREMENT WILL OCCUR TODAY
Capt. Dyer commanded the U.S.S. Baltimore in Gen. Miller's Iloilo Expedition
CAPTAIN N. M. DYER, WHOSE RETIREMENT WILL OCCUR TODAY
Capt. Nehemiah Mayo Dyer, who commanded the cruiser Baltimore during the battle of Manila bay. May 1, 1898, will be placed upon the retired list today by operation of law.
The retirement of Captain Dyer is of especial Interest to the residents of Baltimore, and in fact Maryland, who on September 12, 1899, expressed their recognition of the gallant fight made by their cruiser namesake on that memorable May Day morning by presenting the Captain with a magnificent sword. It was a gala day in Baltimore, the population seemingly turning out en masse to do honor to the Captain. The patriotic spirit was intensified by the fact that September 12 was also Defenders' Day, the anniversary of the battle of North Point, when American militia repulsed British regulars in 1814.
In honor of the occasion of Captain Dyer's visit and the presentation there was an imposing parade of military and civic organizations which was reviewed by the Captain at the City Hall. The spectacle is one long to be remembered by the thousands of Baltimoreans and strangers who witnessed It. The whole city was carried away In a harmonious desire to show its appreciation of the service rendered by the cruiser Baltimore with Dewey's fleet.
The sword presentation occurred at City Hall, the speech having been made by Mayor Malster. From the window of the Mayor's office could be witnessed a novel sight the human flag composed of 3,600 boys and girls wearing red, white or blue blouses and arranged to resemble the Stars and Stripes.
The speeches of both Mayor Malster and Captain Dyer were vigorously applauded, especially when Captain Dyer referred to Admiral Dewey, giving him unstinted praise. When the Captain had finished another exciting scene occurred. The whole sea of humanity which had stood listening and cheering alternately pushed forward and almost engulfed the "Captain In the jam which clamored to shake his hand.
In the evening a banquet was tendered the Captain at the Hotel Rennert by well-known Baltimoreans. Rear-Admiral Schley, who also was an honored guest, shared the praise expressed In the toasts, and with his usual magnanimity declared that Captain Dyer's name would live forever. Others present paid appreciative respect to Rear-Admiral Schley by referring to the other heroes present.
The sword Is one of the finest weapons of its kind in the country. It cost $300, the scabbard being finished in gold and the blade Is of Damascus steel. On the scabbard are representations of the coats of arms of the United States and of Maryland, the Battle and Washington Monuments and the cruiser Baltimore, and on the sword hilt are symbolic representations of the arms of the naval service. The scabbard has a service and a fatigue belt.
Captain Dyer, a native of Massachusetts, began his services In the navy in 1861, when he became a volunteer master's mate. May 18, 1863, he was promoted to acting ensign for gallant and meritorious service, and appointed to command the Eugenie, afterward called the Glasgow, blockading off Mobile, Ala. January 12, 1884, he was promoted to acting master in consideration of gallant services. He went to Mobile soliciting orders and was assigned to the Metacomet July 19, 1864, in which vessel, as the consort of the Hartford, he took part In the passage of the forts and capture of the Confederate fleet, receiving the surrender of the Selma In person. Subsequently he was ordered to the Hartford, Admiral Farragut's flagship, and when she returned North in December, 1864, he was appointed to the command of the Rodolph, with which he co-operated with the forces under General Granger during the winter of 1864-65 in their operations against Mobile. In the advance against the defenses of that city In the spring of 1865 the Rodolph was sunk by a torpedo in Blakely river April 1, 1865. Twenty-one days later Mr. Dyer was made acting volunteer lieutenant, and upon the surrender of the Confederate fleet under Commodore Farrand in the Tombigbee river May 10, 1865, Mr. Dyer was selected to command successively two surrendered vessels, the Black Diamond and the Morgan. He served on several other vessels until after the close of the Civil War, when he was assigned to the Bureau of Navigation on special duty and where he remained until May, 1868. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the regular navy March 12, 1868, and subsequently ordered to the Dacotah, of the South Pacific Squadron. December, 1868, he was commissioned lieutenant-commander and placed In command of the Cyane, on the Alaska coast,, where he remained until 1870.
In the same year while In command of the Ossipee off the Mexican coast a sailor was blown overboard during a hurricane. Commander Dyer, who was taking observations, sprang Into the sea and rescued the unfortunate, for which act he received a medal.
He served in various capacities on land and sea until July, 1897, when he was made captain and placed in command of the Baltimore. Upon his return from Manila he was assigned to the Boston Navy Yard, where he remained until February 1, 1900. He has been recently on waiting orders.
The Baltimore Sun, 19 Feb 1901, Page 8