Charles Grymes McCawley (1827 - 1891)

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Death: Died
Managed by: Doug Robinson
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Immediate Family

About Charles Grymes McCawley

Charles Grymes McCawley (January 29, 1827 – October 13, 1891) was the eighth Commandant of the Marine Corps and served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.


Born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McCawley was appointed a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps on March 3, 1847. He took part in the Battle of Chapultepec and the capture of Mexico City during the Mexican-American War. (It is this battle which is commemorated in the Marine Hymn's words, "From the Halls of Montezuma....")

He was brevetted first lieutenant September 13, 1847, for gallantry in those actions. In the Civil War, he aided in the capture of Port Royal, South Carolina, November 7, 1861 and led a detachment of 200 Marines to reoccupy the Norfolk Navy Yard, May 1862. He subsequently commanded Marine detachments during operations in Charleston Harbor against Forts Wagner, Gregg, and Sumter. For gallant and meritorious conduct during the boat attack on Fort Sumter, September 8, 1863, he was brevetted major.

In 1876, he was appointed colonel commandant, the highest post in the Marine Corps, and served in that position until he retired in 1891. In 1883, Colonel McCawley chose Semper Fidelis, Latin for 'Always Faithful', as the official Marine Corps motto. Colonel McCawley died at Philadelphia, October 13, 1891.


Son of Mary E. (1809–1881) and Marine captain James McCawley (1797–1839). Charles G. McCawley's son Charles L. McCawley also received a commission in the Marine Corps and went on to receive the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and to modify the enlisted Marines sword.


Two ships in the United States Navy have been named USS McCawley in his honor.

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Colonel Charles McCawley (USMC)'s Timeline

Age 64