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A Brief Biography of

Captain Francis H. Harrington, U.S.M.C.

Contributed by Robert Pendleton
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Capt. Francis Harrington commanded Company F (Artillery) of the First Marine Battalion (Reinforced) which saw action in Cuba during the war.

The Biography:

Francis H. Harrington was born in Washington, D.C., ca. 1843.

He was commissioned Second Lieutenant of Marines on 8 December 1864, and was first assigned to Marine Barracks, Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia until 1865. This was followed by service at Mare Island, California from 1865 to 1867. In 1867, Harrington went to sea serving on the famous U.S.S. KEARSARGE, on which he was commissioned a 1st lieutenant in 1869. This was followed by service at the Marine Barracks back at the Washington Navy Yard (1871), the Marine Barracks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (1872), service on the U.S.S. JUNIATA (1873-1876), the Marine Barracks at Norfolk, Virginia (1876 to 1880), Marine Barracks, Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia (1881), training ship U.S.S. SARATOGA (1881-83), Marine Barracks, Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia (1883-85), Panama Expedition (April and May, 1885),

On May 4, 1885, Harrington was promoted to captain. This was followed by service at Marine Barracks, Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia (1885-87), service on the U.S.S. PINTA (1889-92), Marine Barracks, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts (1892-96).

In 1896 he was stationed at Marine Barracks, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, District of Columbia. On 21 April 1898, the eave of the Spanish-American War, Captain Harrington was detached and assigned to command Company F (Artillery), First Marine Battalion (Reinforced) at Marine Barracks, Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York.

The battalion arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba aboard the U.S.S.PANTHER in the early afternoon of 10 June. Company F (Artillery) comprised of three officers, one 1st Sergeant, four Sergeants, four Corporals, one Drummer, one Trumpeter, and 92 Privates disembarked the following morning. This company, along with the battalion staff, five other companies, and Cuban insurgents, would battle Spanish Infantry and Cuban loyalists from 11 June through 14 June to win control of Guantanamo Bay.

On 6 August, the First Marine Battalion departed Guantanamo Bay aboard the U.S.S. RESOLUTE and headed for Manzanillo, on the Northeast coast of Cuba, under orders to capture the city. However, after having put the city under a naval bombardment beginning the 12th of August, the French consul came out in a small boat on 14th and notified the force commander that a peace protocol had been signed and to cease all hostilities.

The U.S.S. RESOLUTE returned to Guantanamo Bay on 15 August where it was coaled and took on 300 ill U.S.Army troops of the 34th Michigan Volunteer Infantry which were to be landed at Montauk Point, Long Island. The ship departed Guantanamo Bay at 8 a.m. on Thursday, 18 August and landed the Army troops at Montauk Point on 23 August. The ship continued its voyage arriving at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine on Friday, 26 August. The battalion disembarked the next day and marched to Camp Heywood, Seavey Island, Kittery, Maine, on the north side of the harbor (opposite Portsmouth).

On 21 September the First Marine Battalion broke camp at Seavey Island bade farewell to Colonel Huntington and boarded a train for Boston. They left Boston and arrived at Providence in time to board a scheduled boat for New York City.

On Friday, 23 September 1898, at Marine Barracks, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Huntington’s First Marine Battalion was disbanded and the majority of the Marines returned to their original duty stations.

Virtually all of the Marines of Company F (Artillery), including Private Wilfred Langley, returned to Marine Barracks, Washington Navy Yard under the command of Captain Francis H. Harrington.

Upon their arrival Harrington's Company F (Artillery), representing the members of the First Marine Battalion and escorted by the Marine Band, marched under a downpour and passed in review for President McKinley who gave them a hearty welcome. They marched on to the Navy Yard and there they were given a final grand reception.

Harrington continued to serve at the Marine Barracks, Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia  until  October 13, 1900 to present (1902). when he was tranferred to Marine Barracks, Mare Island, California, where he was still serving in 1902.

Harrington died in 1906, with the rank of colonel, and is buried on Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington DC.


Records of Living Officers of the U.S.Navy (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1902)

Register of the Commissioned, Warrant and Volunteer Officers of the Marine Corps and Others, to January 1, 1865 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1865.)

Sacks, Margaret Farrow, The Diary of Wilfred Langley, Private, U.S.M.C.,

1951 Roster of Richard J. Harden Camp No. 2, Department of the District of Columbia, United Spanish War Veterans"contributed by Tom Buckley  (grandson of Camp member Joseph Dvorak of the U.S. Marine Corps) (info. on burial and date of death)

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