MULLAN, DENNIS W., Commander United States navy, was born in Annapolis, Anne Arundel county, November 10, 1843. He is the son of John and Mary A. (Bright) Mullan. His father was a man characterized by urbanity, justice, and charity, who, for a number of years, held the position of post- master of the United States naval academy and city councilman of Annapolis, and who was filling those offices at the time of his death in December, 1863. The earliest known ancestor on the paternal
side was John Hogan, who emigrated from Ireland to Marion county, Kentucky, in the latter part of the eighteenth century. James Bright, a maternal ancestor, came from England to St. Mary's county, Maryland, toward the end of the seventeenth century.
Mrs. Mullan's influence was quite strong for good on every phase of her son's life. In youth his health was excellent. He was fond of study, reading with special avidity history and the lives of great men, particularly those who figured in the early history of America and aided in forming the government. After studying in the Annapolis schools and spending the years from 1854 to 1856 in attendance on courses at St. John's college, he entered St. Mary's college, Kentucky, where he was graduated in 1860. In 1872 he received the honorary degree of A.M. from St. John's college. On leaving St. Mary's, the wish of relatives determined his choice of a profession, in which the records and lives of our naval officers gave him the first strong impulse to strive for success. He was appointed midshipman from Kentucky, September, 1860. Under the pressure of war, his class was graduated from the naval academy in 1863. He was appointed ensign October 1, 1863, and was attached to the steam sloop Monongahela, West Gulf blockading squadron, under Admiral Farragut, from 1863 to 1865. He served in attacks on various batteries on the coast of Texas, and at the battle of Mobile Bay, August 5, 1864. He also participated in both attacks upon Fort Morgan, being present at its surrender, and afterward served on the steamer Malvern, North Atlantic station, in 1865. After the war he served on the Mohongo in the Pacific station, 1865-67, and on the De Soto in the North Atlantic station, 1867-68. He was commissioned lieutenant February 21, 1867, and was commissioned a lieutenant-commander, March 12, 1868. While attached to the De Soto he was selected by Commodore S. Boggs to command the steamer Glasgow, then at the Pensacola navy yard, to cooperate with him in suppressing an expedition against Mexico, then fitting out in New Orleans. From 1868 to 1871, he served on the Monocacy on the Asiatic station, and was present at the two attacks upon the batteries on the river Salee, in Korea, on June 1 and 10, 1871. In 1872-73, he was attached to the receiving ship Independence at the navy yard. Mare Island, California, then to the Saco on the Asiatic station from 1873 to 1876, when he was assigned to navigation duty at Norfolk navy yard, 1877-78. Lieutenant-Commander Mullan was executive officer of the Adams in the Pacific from 1879-81, and while attached to the Adams he was detailed to accompany the staff of General Baquedano, the Chilean commander-in-chief, in all his operations against Lima, Peru . He was present at all the engagements at Chorrillos, Miraflores, and other places near Lima, and made a report of these operations to the navy department. In 1895 he was presented with a medal from the Chilian Government, as a memento of having been a participant in the engagements named. By special act of congress he was allowed to accept this honor. He was promoted to commander, July, 1882, and was in command of the seven iron-clad vessels at City Point, James River, from 1884-87. On October 1, 1887, he was ordered to command the U. S. S. Nipsic and went via the straits of Magellan to the Pacific station. At Punta Arenas in these straits, he rendered assistance to one John Davidson, an American sea captain, who had been imprisoned by the Chilean authorities at that place. For this service Commander Mullan received the thanks of both the navy and state departments at Washington. He was in command of the Nipsic at Samoa, during the troublous times with the Germans there, and gave protection to the American correspondent, John C. Klein, of the San Francisco "Examiner" and the New York " World," whom the Germans wished to be sent on board the German man-of-war, Adler, their flagship, there to be tried by court martial for alleged offenses. He was in command of the Nipsic during the great Samoan hurricane of March 16, 1889, and this vessel was the only American ship saved. The city council of Annapolis voted him thanks for his conduct at the Samoan Islands; and the legislature of Maryland, at its session of 1890, presented him with a gold chronometer watch, in appreciation of his conduct during the political complications and the great hurricane at those islands. Commander Mullan, on his return from the Pacific, was on leave of absence for some months, after which he was ordered to duty as light-house inspector of the eighth light house district, with headquarters at New Orleans, 1890-94. In 1894-96, he was in command of the two vessels Mohican and Marion, on the Pacific station. In 1896 and 1897 he was in command of the navy yard and station at Pensacola, Florida, and was retired in July, 1901, under the act of congress allowing an officer of the navy to retire after forty years of service. Since his retirement he has resided in Annapolis.
On July 25, 1876, he was married to Ada R. Pettit, of San Francisco, California, by whom he has two sons, both of whom are living. Commander Mullan is a Democrat and a Catholic. For recreation he turns to hunting, music, study and reading. He takes great interest in athletics. Life has taught him to "advise diligent study and investigation. The study of history I would encourage as well as the study of lives of prominent men. The study of our own constitution is of prime importance, and is too often neglected in public schools. English and Roman histories should be placed in the hands of the young."