(1841–1920) career naval officer, born in Belleville, Illinois. Kempff first saw service early in the Civil War when he took part in the blockade of Charleston, South Carolina, and the battle of Port Royal (1861). He subsequently rose in rank and responsibility, and as a commanding officer took part in the bombardment of Servell's Point and the reoccupation of the former U.S. Navy yard at Norfolk, Virginia (1863). He was executive officer aboard the USS Connecticut on blockade duty off the coast of North Carolina (1863–64). Most significant was his role during the China Relief Expedition (1900), when he commanded the flotilla supporting U.S. ground operations. He distinguished himself during the fighting and by his refusal to join with allied forces in firing on fortresses at Ta-ku, a decision which some criticized but for which he was commended by the navy. Kempff, a rear admiral, retired in 1903 after forty-six years of continuous naval service.
From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence.