Robley Dunglison Evans served in the U.S. Navy from the American Civil War to the Spanish-American War, attaining the rank of rear admiral. In 1907-1908 he commanded the Great White Fleet on its worldwide cruise from the Atlantic Ocean through the Straits of Magellan to the Pacific Ocean.
Evans was born on 18 August 1846 in Floyd County, Virginia.
He was ordered to active duty in September 1863
and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy
in the class of 1864.
American Civil War service
In the attacks on Fort Fisher, North Carolina during the Second Battle of Fort Fisher, he exhibited great gallantry under fire on 15 January 1865. He led his landing party of U.S. Marines through heavy fire to charge the Confederate States of America defenses. Evans continued to fight even after his fourth wound, drawing his pistol and threatened to kill any man who attempted to amputate his leg in surgery when he was evacuated.
”Fighting Bob” Evans
Evans held numerous important sea commands during the 1890s. In 1891 and 1892, commanding Yorktown
on the Pacific Station
, he won great acclaim for his firm and skillful handling of a tense situation with Chile
, becoming known as "Fighting Bob" Evans.
Spanish-American War service
During the Spanish-American War
he commanded the battleship Iowa
in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba
Robley Dunglison Evans was named president of the Board of Inspection and Survey
from February 1901
to April 1902
The Great White Fleet
Rear Admiral Evans commanded the Great White Fleet
in its passage in 1907 and 1908 from the Atlantic Ocean
through the Straits of Magellan
to the Pacific Ocean
, where he was relieved of command because of ill health.
Post Navy service
He died in Washington, D.C.
on 3 January 1912
Honored in ship naming
, USS Evans (DD-78)
, launched 30 October 1918
, and USS Evans (DD-552)
, launched 4 October 1942
, were named in his honor.