Military Wiki
Charles McCawley
8th Commandant of the Marine Corps (1875-1891)
Born (1827-01-29)January 29, 1827
Died October 13, 1891(1891-10-13) (aged 64)
Place of birth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Place of death Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1847-1891
Rank Union army col rank insignia.jpg Colonel
Commands held Commandant of the Marine Corps
Battles/wars Mexican-American War
Battle of Chapultepec
Civil War
Fort Wagner
Relations Charles L. McCawley son

Charles Grymes McCawley (January 29, 1827 – October 13, 1891) was the eighth Commandant of the Marine Corps and served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.


Born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McCawley was appointed a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps on March 3, 1847. He took part in the Battle of Chapultepec and the capture of Mexico City during the Mexican-American War. (It is this battle which is commemorated in the Marine Hymn's words, "From the Halls of Montezuma....")

He was brevetted first lieutenant September 13, 1847, for gallantry in those actions. In the Civil War, he aided in the capture of Port Royal, South Carolina, November 7, 1861 and led a detachment of 200 Marines to reoccupy the Norfolk Navy Yard, May 1862. He subsequently commanded Marine detachments during operations in Charleston Harbor against Forts Wagner, Gregg, and Sumter. For gallant and meritorious conduct during the boat attack on Fort Sumter, September 8, 1863, he was brevetted major.

In 1876, he was appointed colonel commandant, the highest post in the Marine Corps, and served in that position until he retired in 1891. In 1883, Colonel McCawley chose Semper Fidelis, Latin for 'Always Faithful', as the official Marine Corps motto. Colonel McCawley died at Philadelphia, October 13, 1891.


Son of Mary E. (1809–1881) and Marine captain James McCawley (1797–1839). Charles G. McCawley's son Charles L. McCawley also received a commission in the Marine Corps and went on to receive the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and to modify the enlisted Marines sword.


Two ships in the United States Navy have been named USS McCawley  in his honor.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps. This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Brig. Gen. Jacob Zeilin
Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
Succeeded by
Maj. Gen. Charles Heywood

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