Dogs Playing Poker, Capt. Casey edition

Happy National Bulldog Day!

This 1891 photograph via the Detroit Photographic Company shows Captain Silas Casey III (USNA 1860), skipper of the cruiser USS Newark (C-1), sitting in his well-furnished stateroom with his Old English Bulldog sleeping quietly on the floor.

Casey doubled down on being a dog lover as shown by his taste in art as the picture behind him is an illustration used for the “No Monkeying” brand of cigars, which depicts two bulldogs playing poker with a monkey, from a lithograph by Emile Steffens.

A better view of the stateroom is Lot 3000-F-14 at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, which still shows the dogs playing poker image on the bulkhead.

U.S. Navy protected cruiser, USS Newark (C-1), the cabin, possibly Captain’s Cabin. Note the dogs playing poker illustration and the spittoon

Laid down by William Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia, Pa., on 12 June 1888, the brand-new 4,000-ton/311-foot cruiser was commissioned on 2 February 1891, with Casey in command, and was the first modern cruiser in the U.S. Fleet. The above images were likely taken around the time of her commissioning. 

Active in the Spanish American War– the warship bombarded the port of Manzanillo on 12 August 1898 and on the following day accepted its surrender then after the Battle of Santiago, she participated in the final destruction of Admiral Cervera’s fleet through the bombardment of the burned hulks– she went on to serve in the Philippines. She spent her last days as a station ship at Guantanamo Bay and then as a quarantine hulk for the Naval hospital in Providence/Newport until scrapped in 1926. USS Newark (C-1) unofficial plans, published in the Transactions of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, 1893. Published in the Transactions of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, NH 70105.

For reference, Casey was the son of the well-known Civil War Maj. Gen. Silas Casey, Jr., author of the three-volume System of Infantry Tactics manuals that were in use by the Army for a generation. During the Civil War, the younger Casey was very busy. He served aboard the USS Niagara in the engagements with the batteries at Pensacola; aboard the USS Wissachicken with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron including engagements with Fort McAllister; and on USS Quaker City with the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron against Charleston and Fort Fisher.

After commanding Newark, Capt. Casey served a stint at Annapolis then went on to serve as rear admiral commanding the Pacific Squadron, 1901–1903, before retiring.

He passed in 1913, aged 71, no doubt with a dog somewhere near.

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