TRIPLE DEADEYE FROM FARRAGUT’S FLAGSHIP USS HARTFORD

$2,250.00

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Item Code: 1196-13

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This 8-inch iron-bound wood deadeye, used in pairs to tighten ship shroud lines, is in very good condition and comes with a 1975 notarized letter from the collector who obtained if 1957 when the USS Hartford was dismantled for salvage after sinking at its berth at the Norfolk Navy Yard in November 1956. It was a rather inglorious end to the famous ship, but this is a rather fitting relic: Farragut had climbed into the Hartford’s shrouds to get above the smoke of battle at Mobile Bay in August 1864.

Launched in 1858 and commissioned in 1859, the vessel was a screw sloop of war and served first in the East India Squadron before being ordered home when the Civil War broke out. The ship arrived in Philadelphia in December 1861 and sailed in late January 1862 as Farragut’s flagship in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. It was in heavy fighting at Forts Jackson and St. Philip as Farragut pushed up the Mississippi to take New Orleans in April, the ship avoiding being rammed by a Confederate ironclad and set on fire by a fire raft, all while dueling with Confederate guns in the forts. This was followed by the taking of Baton Rouge and Natchez, but an attempt to take Vicksburg was abortive in May and again in late June, though Farragut successfully passed Confederate batteries both at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, helping to cut Confederate supply lines. In August 1864 Farragut turned his attention to Mobile, where he led his fleet through a Confederate minefield, against Confederate ships and three forts on shore to secure Mobile Bay, closing the last major Confederate port on the Gulf east of the Mississippi. Two legends in particular grew up around the battle. The first was Farragut’s order, “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead” or something to that effect. The second was Farragut climbing into the Hartford’s rigging to get above the smoke of the guns and gain a better view of the battle, much to the concern of his officers. We show a small section of perhaps the most famous painting of the action as Farragut stands in the shrouds and Confederate ironclad Tennessee passes close by.

After the war the Hartford served in the Asiatic Squadron, on the North Atlantic Station, and finally cruised the Pacific from 1884 to 1887, when it was decommissioned at Mare Island, used for sea training until 1890 and then laid up until 1899 when it was recommissioned after a five-year rebuild. It was decommissioned for good in 1926 and remained at Charleston until moved to Washington in 1938 to be part of a naval museum, a plan shelved in 1945, after which the ship was towed to Norfolk and allowed to deteriorate to the point of sinking in 1956.  [sr] [PH:L]

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