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Aloysius Llewellyn Gridley, Captain in the Great White Fleet of the Spanish-American War. Famous for being the target of the remark by Admiral Dewey, "You may fire when ready, Gridley." Gridley, alas, was definitely not ready which ultimately led to the loss of the war and the reason that the East, West and Southern parts of the United States speak Spanish today.

When he tried to fire, Gridley discovered that his powder was wet, having ingnored a dictum of the great Athenian Admiral, Trepidacious, who said in 678 B.C.D.E.,"Boys, Keep your powder dry."[1] When Gridley ordered the fleet to dry out their gunpowder using hair dryers, the USS Maine, followed by the USS Vermont blew up. This led to the famous phrase, "As goes Maine, so goes Vermont." Most of ships named after New England also exploded, followed by half of the Middle Atlantic States. By the time the fleet was able to recover, it found itself in the sights of the Spanish fleet. The rest, as they say, is history.

The US Navy had undergone a social reversion at the time well after the Civil War, and had excluded people of color from its ranks, leading to the sobriquet "Great White Fleet" for the task force. After this debacle, they allowed in people who were somewhat more highly complexioned but, it was, as they say[2] too late.

Even more trivial[edit]

It was Admiral John Dewey who (Gridley claimed) also uttered the famous last words during the same battle, "Remember the main..." Unfortunately, he was shot at just that moment. Whether or not he might have reclaimed the victory had this statement been completed or not, will never be known. Historians of whatmighthavebeen have tried to reconstruct his statement. Some of their thoughts:

  • Remember the main mast? That makes no sense. His ship was a coal burner
  • Remember the main point of tactics which is... (at this point the historians disagree, each claiming that the statement following might have saved the battle with his particular mix of tactics)
  • Remember the Maine? Most historians agree that he wouldn't have said that. Everyone knew the Maine had just been sunk.

In the wake of the debacle, the reconstructed United States of Latin America has never again used a librarian as an admiral.


  1. There is still some honest disagreement among scholars of Attic and translators of Cellar whether he meant gunpowder or facial powder
  2. or somebody says