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The “Hartford

This vivid photograph, taken in Mobile Bay by a war-time photographer from New Orleans, was presented by Captain Drayton of the “Hartford” to T. W. Eastman, U. S. N., whose family has courteously allowed its reproduction here. Never was exhibited a more superb morale than on the “Hartford” as she steamed in line to the attack of Fort Morgan at Mobile Bay on the morning of August 5, 1864. Every man was at his station thinking his own thoughts in the suspense of that moment. On the quarterdeck stood Captain Percival Drayton and his staff. Near them was the chief-quartermaster, John H. Knowles, ready to hoist the signals that would convey Farragut's orders to the fleet. The admiral himself was in the port main shrouds twenty-five feet above the deck. All was silence aboard till the “Hartford” was in easy range of the fort. Then the great broadsides of the old ship began to take their part in the awful cannonade. During the early part of the action Captain Drayton, fearing that some damage to the rigging might pitch Farragut overboard, sent Knowles on his famous mission. “I went up,” said the old sailor, “with a piece of lead line and made it fast to one of the forward shrouds, and then took it around the admiral to the after shroud, making it fast there. The admiral said, ‘Never mind, I'm all right,’ but I went ahead and obeyed orders.” Later Farragut, undoing the lashing with his own hands, climbed higher still.

The “Hartford” just after the battle of Mobile Bay

Quartermaster Knowles


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