John H. Knowles Papers, 1864-1914: Finding Aid
Published in 2008
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 382
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: John H. Knowles Papers
- Dates: 1864-1914
- Size: 0.08 linear feet
- Container Summary: 2 folders containing 28 items
- Creator: Knowles, John H., 1830-1895
- Language(s) of material: English
- Abstract: The collection consists mostly of Knowles's discharge papers and documents relating to a widow's pension for Mary A. E. Knowles. Knowles, a quartermaster aboard the U.S.S. Hartford during the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864, is reputedly the man who lashed Admiral David G. Farragut to the ship's rigging at the request of Captain Percival Drayton, who feared Farragut might lose his balance or be wounded and fall. After the Civil War, Knowles served aboard training vessels at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Biographical Sketch of John H. Knowles
John H. Knowles was born in South Kingston, Rhode Island on August 30, 1830. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1855. During the Civil War, he served as a quartermaster aboard the U.S.S. Hartford (screw sloop-of-war), the flagship of David G. Farragut, commander of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. At the Battle of Mobile Bay, when Farragut climbed the Hartford's rigging to obtain a better view, Captain Percival Drayton became concerned that his commanding officer might be wounded or lose his balance and fall. Knowles is the man Drayton reputedly sent aloft to lash Farragut to the rigging. Knowles spent his latter years at the U.S. Naval Academy, serving aboard the academy's training vessels. He died in Annapolis on April 9, 1895.
Description of Contents
The collection spans the dates 1864 to 1914, and consists mostly of Knowles' discharge papers and documents relating to a widow's pension for Mary A. E. Knowles. With the exception of the U.S.S. Hartford, all the ships mentioned were training ships at the U.S. Naval Academy. Four items relate to Knowles' attempt to claim bounty money for vessels destroyed at New Orleans during the Civil War.
Knowles' discharge from the U.S.S. Phlox (side wheel steamer) on March 17, 1874 describes his numerous tattoos. In a letter dated November 1, 1895 to Mary A. E. Knowles concerning her widow's pension, Captain John Crittenden Watson writes, "Your husband was an honored shipmate of mine and one of the heroes of the Civil War." Watson served aboard the Hartford at the Battle of Mobile Bay and retired with the rank of rear admiral.
Included among the documents is a cabinet card of Knowles preparing to repel boarders and the decorative metal clasp for a ribbon or medal.
- Papers, 1864-1914
- Photographs, Ephemera, and Realia, 1874-1886, undated
Access and Use
Access is unrestricted.
Copyright and Permission
The John H. Knowles Papers are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Morris Snyder on September 11, 1984. Accession No. 84-24.
Related Archival Material
John H. Knowles' military personnel file may be available at the National Archives and Records Administration.
Materials Cataloged Separately
No materials have been removed from this collection.
Processing and Other Information
John H. Knowles Papers, MS 382
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
This collection was processed by Jennifer A. Bryan in 2008. Finding aid written by Jennifer A. Bryan in 2008.
Name and Subject Terms
- Knowles, John H., 1830-1895
- Knowles, Mary A.E.
- Military discharge -- United States
- Military pensions -- United States
- United States. Navy -- Recruiting, enlistment, etc