US Navy Archive of Admiral Bowman H. McCalla
US Navy Archive of Admiral Bowman H. McCalla

Archive of Decorated U.S. Navy Admiral Bowman H. McCalla To Sell At Centurion Auctions

The Military Archive of Decorated U.S. Navy Admiral Bowman H. McCalla brought to market by Centurion Auctions. This extensive military grouping of Admiral McCalla's personal items is being offered as lot 15096 of the February 27th, 2016 Militaria & Firearm Auction.

This Important Military Archive of Admiral Bowman McCalla includes:

  • US Naval Captain's bicorn hat made by Joseph Starkey, London and case.
  • 54x80" linen Two Star Rear Admiral flag No. 4 labeled Mare Island July. 1905 which McCalla flew during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. As commander of Mare Island Naval Shipyard McCalla was instrumental in the fire and rescue efforts after the quake for which he received much gratitude from the citizens of San Francisco.
  • Coletta, Paolo. "Bowman Hendry McCalla: A Fighting Sailor". Washington DC: University Press of America, 1979.
  • 37" M1852 unmarked US Naval cutlass.
  • 37" M1852 US Naval cutlass with engraved blade made in Toledo 1837. The blade on this sword is slightly bent from when a shell fragment impacted then Captain McCalla's leg during the Boxer Rebellion. Coletta, Paolo. "Bowman Hendry McCalla: A Fighting Sailor". Washington DC: University Press of America, 1979. p. 119.
  • 36x22x22" oak Naval Captain's trunk with lock and keys.
  • Large framed oil on canvas portrait of Admiral McCalla in uniform by Robert Wagner (1872-1942). Painting size 38x54", frame size 48x64". Several small paint losses to painting.
  • China 1900 Relief of Pekin Victoria medal and ribbon engraved to McCalla.
  • China 1900 Military Order of the Dragon medal and ribbon engraved to McCalla No. 527.
  • China 1900 Imperial Order of the Dragon medal and ribbon.
  • Armored Cruiser California 1904 launch medal.
  • 1903 San Francisco national Encampment naval pin and ribbon.
  • 1904 San Francisco IOOF encampment pin.
  • 1904 San Francisco California Commandery enameled pin.
  • GAR pin and ribbon.
  • Spanish and American War pin with etched portrait of the Marblehead attached to McCalla's calling card.
  • 2.75" Denver 1905 GAR National Encampment medallion.
  • 70g engraved 1904 silver bar declaring McCalla an honorary member of the Brotherhood of Boilermakers with velvet case and letter.
  • McCalla's Civil War USS John Adams cruise journal May 27th to September 18th, 1862.
  • 1900 wedding invitation addressed to McCall for the Royal Japanese Wedding of Prince Yoshihito and Princess Kujo Sadako.
  • 12x15" coat of arms on vellum.
  • 18x21" framed photo of McCalla in uniform.
  • 2.5x3.5" framed Civil War era photo of McCalla in uniform.
  • 5x7" framed photo of McCalla in uniform.
  • 6.5x8" framed photo of McCalla in uniform.
  • 8x10" oval framed photo of McCalla in uniform.
  • 10.5x13" framed photo of McCalla.
  • 1/4 plate tin type of McCalla with his parents.
  • CDV of the dog Buster aboard the USS Enterprise 1888.
  • 10.5x8.5" framed photo of a Cornell Vs. Columbia football game.
  • 21.5x15" framed map of Guantanamo 1881 with notation.
  • 21x15.5" framed photo of the USS Marblehead.
  • Two 12" framed family photos.
  • Scrapbook of press clippings.
  • A copy of Flags of Maritime Nations.
  • A copy of Arctic Experiences.
  • A copy of The Navy As I Have Known it by Sir Edmund Fremantle.
  • A copy of Bowman Hendry McCalla: A Fighting Sailor by Paolo Coletta. Some pages from Experiences During the Boxer Rebellion by J.K. Taussig including the title page signed by the author.
  • Prussian eagle uniform device used as wall hanging.
  • Spanish War Cross mounted for wall hanging.

This archive was acquired / Acquired by consignor, directly from the Great-Grandson of Admiral McCalla. The consignor purchased this archive in 1991, as McCalla’s Great-Grandson was selling off many of the items he had inherited upon the passing of his mother.

This public auction is open to everyone. Those interested may register and participate by floor, live telephone, Internet or absentee bidding. Please visit the February 27th 2016 Auction page for Details and Registration information. Please contact the gallery if you have any questions related to the Archive of Admiral McCalla or the auction.

Admiral Bowman H. McCalla (June 19th, 1844 - May 6th, 1910) is known to have been a focused, driven, courageous, and respected leader. His biography describes him as a "Fighting Sailor". McCalla was a go-to officer, who could always be trusted and relied upon to accomplish the mission. And as an Officer who would bravely lead his men in to any situation. 

From his initial appointment as a Naval Midshipmen in 1831 to his retirement in 1906, McCalla served a long, distinguished Naval career. One in which he would be tasked with critical military roles in most conflicts of his time.

In the spring of 1885, during the Panama crisis of 1885, McCalla led an expeditionary force of 750 seamen and marines which landed at Panamato protect American treaty rights when the revolution there threatened to block transit across the isthmus.

As commanding officer of USS Marblehead, September 11, 1897 to September 16, 1898, he took part in the blockade of Cuba and was responsible for the cutting of submarine cables linking Cienfuegos with the outside world, thus isolating the Spanish garrison there, in May 1898. In June 1898, he led the invasion of Guantánamo Bay. To this day, McCalla Hill, near Guantanamo Bay is named for Admiral McCalla.

While in command of Newark during the Boxer Rebellion two years later, he was cited for conspicuous gallantry in battle as he led a force of sailors from Tientsinto Peking. McCalla's force of 112 men spearheaded an international column, under British Admiral Sir Edward Seymour, which was attempting to fight its way to the aid of foreign legations under siege at Peking. In the course of the battle at Hsiku Arsenal, McCalla, along with 25 of his force, was wounded; five were killed.

On April 18th, 1906 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the coast of California. The quake destroyed more than 80% of San Francisco, crippling the city and causing panic among the people. At this time, McCalla was Commanding Officer at Mare Island Naval Station. McCalla, along with other military leaders near this horrific event, realized this was a dire situation and thousands were in immediate need of assistance, they assumed complete control of San Francisco. Together, they spearheaded the relief efforts and restored order to a city in chaos.

McCalla fell ill and passed away suddenly at his home in Santa Barbara, CA on May 6th 1910, with his wife Elizabeth and 3 daughters at his side. He was cremated and buried at Arlington National Cemetery. 

In his name, 2 U.S. Navy Warships have been christened: First, in 1919, was the USS McCalla (DD-253) a Clemson-class destroyer and then in 1942 the USS USS McCalla (DD-488), a Gleaves-class destroyer

His biography, "Bowman Hendry McCalla: Fighting Sailor", written in 1979 by Paolo Enrico Coletta and available for purchase on Amazon.

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