Civil War Wiki
James H. Sands
Personal Information
Born: July 12, 1845(1845-07-12)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: October 26, 1911 (aged 66)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Navy
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Rear Admiral
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Unit: Superintendant of the United States Naval Academy
Commands: {{{commands}}}
Battles: American Civil War
Awards: twice advanced in grade for gallantry
Relations: {{{relations}}}
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Rear Admiral James Hoban Sands (12 July 1845 – 26 October 1911) was an officer in the United States Navy during the American Civil War and eventually became Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy.

Naval career[]

Son of Rear Admiral Benjamin F. Sands, he was born in Washington, D.C.. Sands was appointed Acting Midshipman in the United States Naval Academy on 25 November 1859. During the American Civil War, he served in Tuscarora, Juniata, and Shenandoah and, in the years which followed, in USS Hartford and Richmond.

Ordered to the Naval Observatory in 1869, he returned to sea duty, on the Asiatic Station, a year and a half later. From October 1873 to April 1875, he served in the Hydrographic Office. Duty in Minnesota and Iroquois followed; and, in 1884, he returned to Washington, D.C., for duty at the Washington Navy Yard.

During the 1890s, he commanded Monongahela; served as equipment officer at the Boston Navy Yard; commanded Columbia and Minneapolis; and served as Governor of the Naval Home Squadron at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Detached from the latter in 1901, he became a member of the Retirement Board and assumed its presidency in 1902. Commissioned Rear Admiral the same year, he served as Commandant of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, League Island, Philadelphia, from May 1902 to April 1903; commanded the Coast Squadron until 1905; then assumed duty as Superintendent of the Naval Academy. Further duty on the Retirement Board and as President, Naval Examining Board, followed; and, in July 1907, he transferred to the Retired List.


Rear Admiral James Hoban Sands died in Washington, D.C. on 26 October 1911.


Sands was a devout Roman Catholic and his influence was effective in creating a tolerance for Catholics and others of various faiths at the Naval Academy and within the military services. Sands was married to Mary Elizabeth Meade, who came from a famous Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, family and she became a convert to the Catholic faith.

They had one son and two daughters. The son, William Franklin Sands, became United States Minister to Guatemala, and the two daughters, Clara and Hilda, became Religious of the Sacred Heart.


Two ships were named USS Sands for Sands and his father, Benjamin F. Sands:

  • Sands (DD-243/APD-13), a Clemson-class destroyer, commissioned in 1920
  • Sands (T-AGOR-6), an oceanographic research ship, placed in service in 1965

He had 6 children. William Franklin, Rosa Virginia, (James?) Henry, Marion, Clara, and Hilda.

See also[]

List of Superintendents of the United States Naval Academy


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

Template:Start box Template:S-aca |- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Willard H. Brownson |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Superintendent of United States Naval Academy
1905-1907 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
Charles J. Badger |- |}