Captain George Frank Elliott,U.S.M.C.
(November 30, 1846 – November 4, 1931)
Contributed by Robert Pendleton
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Captain George Frank Elliott commanded Company
C of the First Marine Battalion
(Reinforced) which saw action at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the
Spanish - American War of 1898.
George Frank Elliott was born at Utah, Alabama on November 30, 1846. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York from 1868 to June 1870 when he completed a prescribed two-year course of study. He was honorably discharged and in October of 1870 was appointed second lieutenant of Marines by the President of the United States.
Second Lieutenant Elliott’s first tour of duty was at the Marine Barracks, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, District of Columbia. In 1871 he was transferred to the Marine Barracks, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Seavy Island, Kittery, Maine. He later served with the Marine Guards on board U.S.S. VERMONT, U.S.S. FROLIC, and U.S.S. MONONGAHELA. In 1877 he was transferred to the Marine Barracks, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia. During a strike of railway employees of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad he was detached with a Marine Guard in order to protect and defend the property of the railroad. At the conclusion of that duty he returned to Norfolk Navy Yard where, in 1878, he was promoted to first lieutenant.
First Lieutenant Elliott was transferred to the Marine Guard on board the U.S.S. ALLIANCE In 1880 to 1882. He served at the Marine Barracks, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts from 1882 to 1884. He was then transferred to the Marine Barracks, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia in 1884. In 1885 he was with the Marine battalion sent to the Isthmus of Panama. In 1892 he was promoted to captain.
In 1894 he was transferred to the U.S.S. BALTMORE as Fleet Marine Officer when the ship was sent to China to guard American Interests during the war between Japan and China.
In June of 1895, Captain Elliott was transferred to the Marine Barracks, New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York. In April of 1898 he was serving at the Marine Barracks, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts and was transferred on April 18, 1898 to the First Marine Battalion (Reinforced) then forming at New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York. On April 22, 1898 the First Marine Battalion (Reinforced) commanded by Lt. Colonel Robert Watkinson Huntington was transferred to Admiral Sampson’s North Atlantic Fleet on board the U.S.S. PANTHER.
Captain Elliott distinguished himself in action against Spanish infantry and Cuban irregulars at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during continuous combat action from 11 through 14 June, 1898. He was in command of the Marines and Cuban Mambises that were victorious at the Battle of Cuzco Well. For his eminent and conspicuous conduct during the Battle of Cuzco Well he was advanced three numbers in his grade.
In 1899 he was transferred to the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Washington, District of Columbia and there was promoted to Major in March of 1899. In August of that same year, he was ordered to command the Second Marine Battalion for duty in the Philippines (along with the reorganized First Marine Battalion of Spanish – American fame). He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in September and from October 1899 to January 1900 he commanded the First Brigade of Marines (comprised of the First and Second Battalion of Marines). During this time, the brigade was in combat at Novaleta, PI.
On his return to the United States, he was transferred to the Marine Barracks, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia until 1903. He was then transferred to the Marine Barracks, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, District of Columbia and promoted to the rank of colonel in March of 1903.
In October 1903, he was appointed Brigadier General Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, relieving Major General Charles Heywood as 8th Commandant.
On December 1903 he was ordered to command the Provisional Brigade of Marines organized for service in Panama following the Panamanian revolt against Colombia. On February 15, 1904 he relinquished command of the Brigade and resumed his duties as Commandant on the 25th.
On May 21, 1908, he was appointed Major General Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. Then, on November 30, 1910 he was placed on the retired list having attained the statutory retirement age.
Commandant George Frank Elliott died on November 4, 1931 just six days before his 86th birthday. He and his wife, Annie M. Elliott (1857 – 1932) are interred at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.
Marines in the Spanish-American War, 1895 – 1899, Anthology and Annotated Bibliography, History and Museum Division, United States Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. 1998.
Who’s Who in Marine Corps History, United States Marine Corps History and Mueum Division, Quantico, Virginia.
First Marine Battalion (Reinforced) ROSTER, Captain George Frank Elliott, Commanding Co. C, compiled by Robert M. Pendleton, 2005-6, unpublished manuscript.
Marines Signaling Under Fire at Guantanamo, Captain Elliott called out: “Where’s a signalman? Who’s a Signalman Here,” Stephen Crane, Correspondent, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Battle of Cuzco Well, June 14, 1898.