Bartholemew Diggins, Medal of Honor Recipient

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Black and white photographic portrait of Medal of Honor recipient Bartholemew Diggins, wearing medal, for service during the Civil War.
Diggins was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service during the Battle of Mobile Bay, 1864.
On August 5, 1864, Rear Admiral David Farragut commanded a Union fleet of fourteen wooden ships and four Monitors past Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay to attack the Confederate fleet positioned there. Farragut famously climbed the mast of the U.S.S. Hartford and had himself secured with ropes to better view the battle. Out of the Union Monitors, only the Tecumseh was lost in the Confederate minefield at the mouth of the bay. Once in position, Farragut’s ships engaged the Confederate flotilla and the formidable ironclad, C.S.S. Tennessee. Farragut was eventually successful in capturing the well-armored Tennessee and subsequently engaged Fort Gaines and Fort Powell through the month of August, eventually forcing Fort Morgan to surrender. The battle was considered an important Union victory, depriving the Confederacy of its last significant Gulf port east of Texas although the city of Mobile itself was not taken.
The inscription on reverse states that Diggins served on the U.S.S. Hartford, as late ordinary seaman in the U.S. Navy, and received a Medal of Honor for "gallant and meritorious conduct in the presence of the enemy, he having been commended by name in the official report of the officer commanding the gun division in which he served on the U. S. S. Hartford, on the 5th of August, 1864, in the action against Fort Morgan and the enemy's vessels in Mobile Bay, having served with credit in all the engagements in which the Hartford participated during the years 1862, 1863 and 1864, and was four times wounded. Medal awarded Nov. 12, 1891."
Diggins was born in Ireland and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Official Citation:
Rank and organization: Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1842, Baltimore, Md. Accredited to: Maryland. G.O. No.: 391, 12 November 1891. Citation: On board the flagship, U.S.S. Hartford, during action against rebel forts and gunboats and with the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. Despite damage to his ship and the loss of several men on board as enemy fire raked her decks, Diggins, as loader of a gun, remained steadfast at his post throughout the furious 2-hour battle which resulted in the surrender of the rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan.
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 7 1/4 in x 5 3/8 in; 18.415 cm x 13.6525 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Medal of Honor
related event
Civil War
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Naval
Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Portraits
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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