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Jack-tars of the old navy: the pivot-gun of the “Wissahickon” and its crew A glance at these seasoned men ranged alongside the 9-inch pivot-gun of the sloop-of-war “Wissahickon” gives us an idea of the appearance of the men of the old navy. The face of the gun-captain standing near the breach of his gun shows that he is a sailor through and through. There are very few landsmen pictured here. The old Jack-tar, standing fourth in the right row, who has turned his cap into a ditty bag, harks back to the fighting days when steam had hardly been thought of. He is a survivor of the War of 1812, and remembers the days of Bainbridge, of Decatur, Stewart, and Biddle. Even the younger men have no look of the volunteer about them; they are deep-sea sailors, every one. The “Wissahickon” was one of the Federal cruisers that had put out in search of the Confederate commerce-destroyers. She was in the fleet of Admiral Farragut at New Orleans and ran the batteries at Vicksburg. Late in 1862 she was in Carolina waters and in January, 1863, participated in the first attacks on Fort McAllister. She was in Admiral Dahlgren's fleet during the stirring operations in Charleston harbor and returned to South Carolina waters toward the close of 1864, where she captured numerous prizes, enriching her officers and crew. The sailors on few of the Federal vessels had a more varied and adventurous experience of the war than did those of the “Wissahickon,” and the faces in the picture, both old and young, are those of men ready at any and all times for a fight or a frolic on their beloved ship.

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