Remey was born at Burlington, Iowa, 10 August 1841, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1859. Initially assigned to Hartford on the Asiatic Station, he returned to the United States with the outbreak of the Civil War and served in Marblehead during the Peninsular Campaign, March–July 1862; and, afterward, in the blockade of Charleston. In April 1863 he assumed duties as Executive Officer in Canandaigua and during attacks on Fort Wagner briefly commanded Marblehead. From 23 August to 7 September, he commanded a battery of naval guns on Morris Island, and on the night of 7–8 September led the second division of a boat attack on Fort Sumter. The division made shore, but was smashed by gunfire. Remey and the surviving members of his party were forced to surrender. Following 13 months of imprisonment at Columbia, S.C., Remey was exchanged and returned to duty, serving in De Soto until the end of the war.
In 1866 he saw service off the west coast of South America and in 1870–71 participated in the Tehuantepec Survey Expedition. After commanding Enterprise and service in the Mediterranean, he was appointed captain, 1885, and 4 years later assumed command of Charleston (C-2), flagship of the Pacific Squadron.
Commandant of the Portsmouth Navy Yard at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, he was ordered to take charge of the Naval Base Key West, whence he directed the supply and repair of all naval forces in Cuban waters and organized supply lines to Army forces in Cuba. After peace returned, Rear Admiral Remey resumed duties at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. In April 1900, he assumed command of the Asiatic Station and for the next 2 years guided the ships of that station through the diplomatic and military chaos that was China. He then returned to the United States and served for a year as Chairman of the Lighthouse Board before retiring 10 August 1903. Rear Admiral Remey died at Washington, D.C., 10 February 1928.