Francis John Higginson (1843-1931) commanded one of the first true United States battleships, the USS Massachusetts. In 1898, the Massachusetts played an important part in the Spanish-American War. The Massachusetts took part in the blockade on Cuba and stayed for peacekeeping duty in Puerto Rico until August 1898. Higginson was promoted to rear admiral in 1899. He wore these Navy decorations on each shoulder as a sign of rank toward the end of his long and successful naval career.