Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Hartford

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Hartford

USS Hartford was launched 22 November 1858 by the Boston Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss Carrie Downes, Miss Lizzie Stringham, and Lt. G. J. H. Preble; and commissioned 27 May 1859, Captain Charles Lowndes in command.

After shakedown out of Boston, the new screw sloop of war, carrying Flag Officer Cornelius K. Stribling, the newly appointed commander of the East India Squadron, sailed for Cape Hope and the Far East. Upon reaching the Orient, USS Hartford relieved USS Mississippi as flagship. With the outbreak of the Civil War, USS Hartford was ordered home to help preserve the Union. 

USS Hartford arrived 20 February at Ship Island, Miss., midway between Mobile Bay and the mouths of the Mississippi. Several Union ships and a few Army units were already in the vicinity when the squadron's flagship dropped: anchor at the advanced staging area for the attack on New Orelans. 

USS Hartford dodged a run by ironclad ram Manassas; then, while vainly attempting to avoid a fireraft, grounded in the swift current near Fort St. Philip. When the burning barge was shoved alongside the flagship, only Farragut's gallant leadership and the disciplined training of the crew saved USS Hartford from being destroyed by flames which at one point engulfed a large portion of the ship. 

On the night of 14 March, Farragut in USS Hartford and accompanied by six other ships, attempted to run by these batteries. However, they enconhtered such heavy and accurate fire that only the flagship and Albatross, lashed alongside, succeeded in running the gauntlet. Thereafter, USS Hartford and her consort patrolled between Port Hudson and Vicksburg denying the Confederacy desperately needed supplies from the West. Returning to New York December 13, USS Hartford decommissioned for repairs a week later. Back in shape in July 1865, she served as flagship of a newly-organized Asiatic Station Squadron until August 1868 when she returned to New York and decommissioned. Recommissioned 9 October 1872, she resumed Asiatic 'Station patrol until returning home 19 October 1875. In 1882, as Captain Stephen B. Luce's flagship of the North Atlantic Station, USS Hartford visited the Caroline Islands, Hawaii, and Valparaiso, Chile, before arriving San Francisco 17 March 1884. She then cruised in the Pacific until decommissioning 14 January 1887 at Mare Island, Calif., for apprentice sea-training use.

From 1890 to 1899 USS Hartford was laid up at Mare Island, the last 5 years of which she was being rebuilt. On 2 October 1899, she recommlssioned, then transferred to the Atlantic coast to be used for a training and cruise ship for midshipmen until 24 October 1912 when she was transferred to Charleston, S.C., for use as a station ship. Again placed out of commission 20 August 1926, USS Hartford remained at Charleston until moved to Washington, D.C., 18 October 1938. On 19 October 1945, she was towed to the Norfolk Navy Yard and classified as a relic. USS Hartford sank at her berth 20 November 1956. She was subsequently dismantled. 

For a complete history of USS Hartford please see its DANFS page.