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PVT Hermann W. Kuchmeister
U.S. Marine Corp.

Find A Grave: Hermann Wilhelm Kuchneister
"On this site lived U.S. Marine Corps Hermann W. Kuchmeister, awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for Heroism and Gallantry for cutting transatlantic cables, Cuba to Spain, under fir of the enemy. He was severely wounded at Cienfuegos, Cuba on May 11, 1895 but continued to work until ordered to stop.

He exemplified the meaning of the Medal of Honor Award. 'The deed must be such that if the person had not performed the heroic deed, no one could fault him.' He died February 11, 1923 and is interred in Winthrop Cemetery."
- Winthrop Historical Commission sign

Hermann W. Kuchmeister - U.S. Marine Corp., Spanish American War - received the Medal of Honor for bravery. Born in Offenbach, Germany, he emigrated to the United States at age 15 along with his father, a widower. He was orphaned eight years later at the start of the Spanish American War - 1898. He joined the USMC and assigned to the cruiser USS Marblehead. His ship was sent to Cuba and ordered to cut the main undersea cable from Cienfuegos, Cuba to Spain. A long boat was put over the side a call was put out for 10 volunteers to handle the boat, grapple up and cut the cable. A great number of the crew volunteered requiring the officer commanding to pick the ten. He did so but passed over Kuchmeister, who insisted he be allowed to go reminding the officer that he was considered the best shot of the ship and would be needed to give cover fire, to which the officer agreed.

The volunteers rowed to within about 50 feet of shore, grappled up the cable and cut it in two places, all while under heavy fire from Spanish troops onshore. PVT Kuchmeister kept up continuous covering fire, wounded twice - the second time a grievous wound to his mouth and jaw. Hew was ordered to cease fire and forced to lie down in the boat by the commanding officer. He was taken aboard the USS Marblehead deck and thinking he was dead, laid out on the deck until someone detected movement and he was rushed to sick bay. He survived and was taken to Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital and then to Chelsea Naval Hospital where he spent a year recovering, Here he met his wife to be and settled in Winthrop, living on Lewis Avenue. He received an appointment for Teddy Roosevelt to the U.S. Customs Service and a junior clerk and rose through the ranks to head the Boston Office of the Customs Service.

Hermann Wilhelm Kuchneister
- Wikipedia

USS Marblehead (C-11)
- Wikipedia

Private Hermann W Kuchmeister's account of the Cienfuegos Cable Cutting Expedition
- The Spanish America War Centennial Website

Memorial location: Lewis Ave. near Main St.

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