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Joseph Marthon
Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy
Massachusetts State Flag
Born at Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 14, 1839, he died at Shanghai, China, while on active duty, on November 19, 1891. 

His private memorial in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery, below an engraving, reads:

"In the main top of the flagship Hartford with Farragut. 
God loves a shining mark."

His wife, Elizabeth Doak Marthon, born at Seasport, Maine, May 23, 1841, died at Saratoga Springs, New York, September 14, 1905, is buried with him.

NEW YORK, September 6th, 1880

In regard to the truth of the statements made by various people at different times, whether Admiral Farragut was, or was not, lashed to the rigging of the United States flag-ship Hartford during the battle of  the 5th of August, 1864, passing the forts at the entrance of Mobile Bay, my position placed me in a situation to be able to see and know as much in that respect as any one at that time. I was in charge of the howitzer placed in the maintop of the Hartford, was at my station, and used the gun while in range of Fort Morgan in passing.

The admiral climbed into the port main-rigging, and stood on the upper sheer ratline (about five or six ratlines up). Captain Drayton sent a quartermaster with a piece of lead-line to lash him to the shroud to prevent him faf injury. After a short time the smoke grew more dense; when the admiral cast off the lashing, climbed up to the futtock-rigging, taking the lashing with him, where he lashed himself and remained during the action, and till we passed well up the bay, when he came into the top and I went up to the main topsail-yard. Just then a heavy north-west squall of wind and rain struck us, making it very dark, and the order was given to anchor.

As the squall slowly passed off I reported each ship as they came in sight coming up the bay, and catching sight of black smoke, thought it must be the ram Tennessee heading up the bay. For a short time, owing to the darkness of the squall and rain , I was in doubt as to her movements, but soon noticed she was steaming against the wind by the way the smoke left the smoke-stack, as nothing of her was visible. I said
                  to the admiral, ½ The ram is coming for us." For a few moments he was in doubt for , he believed the ram would either go outside and attack the vessels on blockade, or else go under the guns of the fort, and compel the admiral to make another attack on him or stand a night attack from the ram. When I convinced the admiral the ram was coming he said, " I did not think old Buck was such a fool." He then went on deck, and orders were given to up anchor, get under way, and ram the enemy at full speed. The ram, after a good fight, surrendered.

My station was in the maintop, right over the head of the admiral, only a few feet distant, for the admiral without any trouble reached his hand through the lubber's hole, and pressed the pilot's foot, to attract the pilot's attention on one or two occasions. My attention was called to tho admirals position by his hailing the top in a low tone of voice, just before the Tecumseh, was sunk, asking, where this water w as coming from." Upon looking about I found that the water-breaker, placed in the hole of a coil of rigging I was sitting on, had been capsized by a piece of shell knocking a hole in the top, and the water was running down on the admiral's head. I informed him of the fact. He replied, " I noticed it is not salt."

A revision and extension of a letter of December 5th, 1877, to Mr. Loyall Farragut.

DATE OF DEATH: 11/19/1891

DATE OF DEATH: 09/15/1905

Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson

Joseph Marthon Gravesite PHOTO

Joseph Marthon Gravesite PHOTO
Photos (c) Michael Robert Patterson, September 1999

Updated: 18 August 2001  Updated: 29 December 2001 11 December 1999  Updated: 17 September 2005

Joseph Marthon Gravesite PHOTO June 2003
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003