About Frank Hamilton Newcomb
Frank Hamilton Newcomb (10 November 1846 - 20 February 1934) was a Commodore in the United States Revenue Cutter Service. Commodore Newcomb was most famous for his heroic actions at the Battle of Cárdenas during the Spanish-American War.
Newcomb was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Before joining the Revenue Cutter Service, he served in the navy from 1863 to 1865.
At the time the Spanish-American War broke out, First Lieutenant Frank Newcomb was in command of the USRC Hudson, which then entered the war as a U.S. Navy auxiliary. Hudson had been retrofitted with two six-pounders and a small machine gun, but was more of a tugboat than a combat vessel.
On May 11, 1898, in one of the first actions off the coast of Cuba, Captain Frank Newcomb distinguished himself and his ship in the Battle of Cardenas. The U.S. Navy torpedo boat USS Winslow and the USRC Hudson had been shelling Spanish positions. Winslow had been hit multiple times. Half her complement was dead and her Captain gravely wounded.
Newcomb ordered Hudson to tow Winslow out of harms way. Under heavy fire, she did just that, despite nearly foundering on shoals trying to fast a rope to Hudson. Without a doubt, Newcomb's actions saved USS Winslow from destruction and possible capture.
Three members of Winslow 's crew received Medals of Honor for their actions. Because of the Revenue Cutter Service's status at the time, President William McKinley felt that Newcomb could not be nominated for a Medal of Honor as he was a Revenue Cutter Service officer. Instead, Congress instructed that a Gold Medal be struck for First Lieutenant Frank H. Newcomb on May 3, 1900 in 31 Stat. 716 (56th Congress). At the time, it was thought to be an honor equivalent to the Medal of Honor. His officers were awarded silver medals, and the crew bronze.
Commodore Newcomb died in Los Angeles, California. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with his wife, Rose Prioleau Newcomb.
The United States Navy destroyer USS Newcomb (DD-586) was named in his honor.