Monday, August 9, 2010

The Hartford

Today's picture is of the Hartford, which was Admiral David Farragut's flagship in the Civil War. Farragut was one of the most distinguished naval officers in the Civil War. During the Battle of Mobile Bay, he was leading union ships into confederate waters, which were heavily mined. The crew was becoming timid because of all the mines (called torpedoes at this time). He then issued his famous command, "Damn the Torpedoes, full speed ahead".

I am sure you read Nate's insolence in yesterday's comment. I am thinking about throwing down the gantlet on him. Since dueling is no longer practiced, I will have to think of a suitable challenge before throwing it down. I will no longer tolerate his insolence, and his constant attempts to undermine my authority on this blog. I considered issuing a one day picture embargo, but felt that would be unfair to everyone else. Rest assured, this week I will device a suitable challenge and end this insanity once and for all.


  1. I am going to enjoy this weeks TALL SHIPS.

    As far as the duel goes, how about Banana Cream pies at 10 paces.

  2. Loved the picture of the Hartford and the story that went with it, and relieved there is no Nate-inspired picture embargo (yet).

  3. I wonder, if you added up the rental costs of the trencher, z-lift, etc. and showed them to Mrs PJM if they would add up to the cost of a tractor? Or at least a down payment.

    Love tall ships. Had plans to be in NY Harbor on July 4th, 1976. That would have been so cool. Anybody ever taken a Windjammer tour? That also would be cool. Too old and brittle, now, though.

  4. He then issued his famous command, "Damn the Torpedoes, full speed ahead."

    Actually, no, he did not say this, it is the stuff of legends. He was, at this point, old and quite feeble. He was lashed to the crows nest after insisting to go up there for a better view. In the din of battle one one would have heard him below.

    Reports of this "quote" did not come out until he was dead, again arising suspicion. Nice story, no truth in fact.

  5. BS,
    You give little basis for your claim that he did not say this. It is reported that he DID say this in Edward Shippen's book in 1883, Naval Battles, and I am unaware that this has been discredited. Also see the book Admiral Farragut, written by Captain A. T. Mahan, of the US navy, and edited General James Grant Wilson. This was written in 1897. Below is an excerpt from the book:

    The Hartford was now too near the Brooklyn to go clear by a simple movement of her helm. Backing hard, therefore, the wheels of the Metacomet, while turning her own screw ahead, her bows were twisted short round, as in a like strait they had been pointed fair under the batteries of Port Hudson; then, going ahead fast, the two ships passed close under the stern of the Brooklyn and dashed straight at the line of the buoys. As they thus went by the vessel which till then had led, a warning cry came from her that there were torpedoes ahead. "Damn the torpedoes!" shouted the admiral, in the exaltation of his high purpose. "Four bells! Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!" The Hartford and her consort crossed the line about five hundred yards from Mobile Point, well to the westward of the buoy and of the spot where the Tecumseh had gone down. As they passed between the buoys, the cases of the torpedoes were heard by many on board knocking against the copper of the bottom, and many of the primers snapped audibly, but no torpedo exploded. The Hartford went safely through, the gates of Mobile Bay were forced, and as Farragut's flag cleared the obstructions his last and hardest battle was virtually won. The Brooklyn got her head round, the Richmond supporting her by a sustained fire from her heavy broadside; and, after a delay which allowed the flag-ship to gain nearly a mile upon them, the other ships in order followed the Hartford, "believing," wrote the admiral in his dispatch, "that they were going to a noble death with their commander-in-chief."

  6. PJM, I did extensive research on the topic decades ago, in the primary sources. The admiral was 63/4 (born in 1801) years old at the time and in ill health.

    Shippen's book was written 17 years after Farragut's death. CPT Alfred Thayer Mahan, while a noted naval theorist, as you note his piece was written 27 years after the admiral's death and I believe was simply parroting Shippen. I do not have the Official Naval Records of the ACW here in my office but I am sure there is no primary source evidence to support the claim. Indeed the Naval ORs, if I recall correctly state that the Captain of the USS Hartford did not want him up there because he was too feeble, he went up anyway (being an admiral) and the captain order him lashed to the mast so he wouldn't fall out. It was only after his death that a crew member (on the main deck!!) said he recalled the admiral's words.

    Not trying to start a big debate here so that is all I have to say.

  7. An eye-witness says he remembers the Admiral saying it, so am not sure on what basis you claim "no truth in fact". A story coming out after someone's death in NO WAY indicates that it is not true. Often it is only after someone dies that their stories are fully compiled. Many stories of Lincoln only came out after he died.

  8. PJM....Just to change the subject.....Are there any pictures of the Bon Homme Richard around? My 5-great grandfather served as midshipman on it. I've always admired John Paul Jones.

  9. Adm Farragut lived a while longer, until 1870, heading up the European Squadron. He died at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard , while on a visit to the shipyard commander.

    Today local elementary school children have somehow been taught that "John Paul Jones died there". The public relations staff have a heck of a time trying to convince them, that their teachers are wrong.

    I don't know if they even correct them on it anymore :)

  10. I cannot over stress how entertaining I find your blog. It is 4:30 AM Monday morning and I couldn't sleep very well so I'm at the computer -- laughing my fool head off !

    You could be my deceased husband incarnate. He had only a little Kubota tractor with the rabbit and the turtle. It would turn over on its side if you ran over a rock with one wheel. We live on a VERY rocky hill. I finally forbad him to work with it without someone to help hold the tractor upright. Not that that did any good!

  11. I love the internet and I love blogs and things that are put on them.
    What I do find annoying and get angry about is the negativity of some peoples comments. Especially by people who are not regular posters. I don't mind corrections to information but the post only contained negative feedback which I think is pointless.
    PJM i loved the photo today and love this subject. If the information is correct or not it is very interesting and does inspire further research on my part as do alot of your images.
    Keep up the good work and thank you for taking time each day with this site and others to keep me entertained.


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