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Dahlgren - TB-9 - History

Dahlgren - TB-9 - History


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Dahlgren

John Adolphus Dahlgren, born 13 November 1809 in Philadelphia, Pa., was appointed a midshipman 1 February 1826, and early became interested in the problems of ordnance. He developed the famous Dahlgren gun, perfected howitzers for use afloat and ashore, organized the Naval Gun Factory, and wrote several significant books on ordnance. From the outbreak of the Civil War until July 1862 he served as Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard where President Lincoln often conferred with him. He then became Chief of the Bureau of Ordinance and on 7 February 1863 was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral. In command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron (7 July 1863-17 June 1866), he participated in the bombardment of Fort Wagner and cooperated with Sherman in the capture of Savannah and Charleston. After a tour of duty in command of the South Pacific Squadron (1866 1868), he returned to Washington again as Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. Rear Admiral Dahlgren resigned this job a year later to return to the command of the Navy Yard and Gun Factory. He died in Washington 12 July 1870.

(TB-9: dp. 146; 1. 161'4"; b. 16'4"; dr. 4'8"; s. 80
k.; cpl. 29; a. 4 1-pdr., 2 18" tt.)

Dahlgren, torpedo boat No. 9, was launched 29 May 1899 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored b, Mrs J. V. Dahlgren, daughter-in-law of Rear Admiral Dahlgren; and commissioned 19 June 1900, Lieutenant M. H. Signor in command.

Assigned to the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet, Dahlgren operated out of Portsmouth, N.H., and Newport, R.I., developing tactics for her new type of ship and training crews until 20 October 1900 when she returned to Portsmouth and was placed out of commission for repairs and alterations.

In partial commission from 7 June 1902, she sailed to Newport 13 June for an overhaul until 18 November 1902. The next day she was placed in full commission and reported to New Suffolk, L.I., to assume duty as a station ship until 28 October 1903. She again went out of commission 22 December 1903 at New York Navy Yard.

Assigned to the Naval Training Stations at Newport and New York during 1906, Dahlgren was placed in reduced commission 13 December 1906 and reported to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. Changing her base to Charleston, S.C., 16 October 1908, she continued to serve in torpedo developmental operations until placed in ordinary 14 March 1914.

After being fitted for minesweeping, Dahlgren was placed in full commission 1 April 1917 and served on escort and harbor entrance patrol at Norfolk until 6 December 1917. Renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 4, 1 August 1918, she arrived at Philadelphia Navy Yard from Norfolk 27 January 1918, and there was placed out of commission 11 March 1919. She was sold 19 July 1920.


What did your Dahlgren ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Farmer and Stenographer were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Dahlgren. 28% of Dahlgren men worked as a Farmer and 10% of Dahlgren women worked as a Stenographer. Some less common occupations for Americans named Dahlgren were Machinist and Teacher .

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations in 1940

Top Female Occupations in 1940


It was launched 29 May 1899 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine sponsored by Mrs. J. V. Dahlgren, daughter-in-law of Rear Admiral Dahlgren and commissioned 16 June 1900, Lieutenant M. H. Signor in command.

Assigned to the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet, Dahlgren operated out of Portsmouth, N.H., and Newport, R.I., developing tactics for her new type of ship and training crews until 20 October 1900 when she returned to Portsmouth and was placed out of commission for repairs and alterations.

In partial commission from 7 June 1902, she sailed to Newport 13 June for an overhaul until 18 November 1902. The next day she was placed in full commission and reported to New Suffolk, L.I., to assume duty as a station ship until 28 October 1903. She again went out of commission 22 December 1903 at New York Navy Yard.

Assigned to the Naval Training Stations at Newport and New York during 1905, Dahlgren was placed in reduced commission 13 December 1905 and reported to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Norfolk. Changing her base to Charleston, South Carolina, 15 October 1908, she continued to serve in torpedo developmental operations until placed in ordinary 14 March 1914.

After being fitted for minesweeping, Dahlgren was placed in full commission 1 April 1917 and served on escort and harbor entrance patrol at Norfolk until 5 December 1917. Renamed Coast Torpedo Boat No. 4, 1 August 1918, she arrived at Philadelphia Navy Yard from Norfolk 27 January 1918,"and there was placed out of commission 11 March 1919. She was sold 19 July 1920.


Dahlgren - TB-9 - History

History of Belle Rive and Dahlgren, Illinois And Surrounding Territory

Prepared by Continental Historical Bureau of Mt. Vernon, Illinois
December, 1960

[*Enhanced with a few graphics!]

These adjoining communities were located in Jefferson Co. (Belle Rive) and Hamilton Co. (Dahlgren).

You will find the following surnames on these pages.
Even if your surname is not listed you will enjoy reading these delightful stories and biographies!

As will be noted by the reader, a large portion of this book is made up of biographies of people who settled the area. It is the desire of this Bureau to give credit to people who supplied biographical information of their ancestors for this reason, we have inserted the names of such persons at the beginning of the biographies.

Great care has been given in the research of historic information for accuracy and authenticity but due to the fact that there is a possibility that errors might have been made in information supplied us, or that typographical errors may have been made in printing, this Bureau cannot and will not assume responsibility as to the authenticity of all of the contents of this work

Thanks to Susan E. Ross, the complete Index is now available. Click here!

James Hopkins B-1
Joseph Yates B-1
Charles W. Horton B-2
William S. Chaney B-3
Belle Rive Methodist Church B-5
Robert B. Karn B-7
James Richardson B-8
Robert L. Allen B-9
Nancy Ann Rawls B-10
John Cochrane B-11
Theophilus Cook B-12
Belle Rive Free Will Baptist Church B-14
The Wilbanks Stand B-14
John Quincy Boudinot B-17
James Atwood Allen B-19
Marshall Huel Cross B-20
Jesse Laird B-22
Charles A. Baker B-23
L. D. Davenport B-23
Steven F. Grimes B-24
Hiram (Hyde) Fisher B-25
Angus DeBelle Rive B-25
The Slaying of Patrick Ross B-26
Elder Bird G. Green B-29
Belle Rive Baptist Church B-32
Walter P. Estes B-32
Mrs. Arthur Cook Reporting D-1
David Usry D-1
Nathan Garrison D-2
Roland Robert Cross, M. D. D-3
Daniel Jines D-4
Benjamin Auxier D-5
How Dahlgren got its name D-5
Church of the Nazarene D-6
Dahlgren Church of Christ D-6
St. John Nepomucene D-7
Dahlgren Methodist Church D-9
Dahlgren Missionary Baptist Church D-10
Chester Judd D-11
David Frank Whited, M. D. D-13
Joseph A. Zahn D-15
John Dale D-16
Joseph Shelton D-18
Nelson Zellers D-19
John Lowry, Sr. D-21
John A. Lowry D-24
William Shelton Lowry D-25
Lovilla [1850-1860 Census here!] L-1, L-8
Richardson Hill - Thomas Hillman RH-1
Richardson Hill - Frank Brake RH-5
Sugar Camp Baptist Church SC-1
Sugar Camp - David Risley SC-6
Sugar Camp - John Martin SC-7
Richard S. Compton SC-8
Supplemental Info. re. Patrick Ross SC-9

Back to Hamilton County


During the Civil War

In 1861, Dahlgren's superior at the Navy Yard resigned to join the Confederate navy, and President Abraham Lincoln wanted to name commander Dahlgren to the post of Commander of the Washington Navy Yard. By law, however, that position could only be held by an officer with a rank of captain or above. Lincoln successfully persuaded Congress to pass a special act legalizing Dahlgren's appointment to the yard, and, in July 1862, Dahlgren was promoted to the rank of captain and made chief of the Bureau of Ordnance . Then in February 1863 Dahlgren was promoted to Rear Admiral and took command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron . In 1864, he helped William Tecumseh Sherman secure Savannah, Georgia .

Dahlgren's son Colonel Ulric Dahlgren was killed during the Civil War in a cavalry raid on Richmond, Virginia , while carrying out an alleged assassination plot against Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Cabinet. The plot is known as the Dahlgren Affair . The admiral was deeply troubled by his son's death and role in this event. Despite Radical Republican associations, John Dahlgren's younger brother Charles G. Dahlgren (1811�) was a strong proponent of slave ownership and was a Confederate Brigadier General , Commander of the 3rd Brigade, Army of Mississippi, which he personally funded.


A Disturbing Rumor

In any event, about 2 am on February 29, Custer’s command crossed Robertson’s River at Banks’ Mill Ford and rode south toward Standardsville. The movement of the Union cavalry did not go unnoticed. Shadowing the column was Lt. J.N. Cunningham of the 1st Virginia Cavalry.

To keep word of the raiding party from spreading, the Union troopers seized all men they encountered. From them, Custer heard the disturbing rumor that Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry division was bivouacked near Charlottesville to recruit men and gather forage for the horses.

Indeed, as soon as Maj. Gen. Jeb Stuart heard Union cavalry had crossed the Rapidan, he rode to Brig. Gen. William Wickham’s headquarters at Montpelier. He found only part of the brigade in bivouac, because many men had not returned from their furloughs. With most of the 1st Virginia Cavalry on picket duty, Wickham had only the 2nd Virginia and Company K of the 1st, about four hundred men in all. Assuming Custer’s objective was Charlottesville, Stuart led the brigade in that direction.

When he reached the Rivanna River, Custer sent one squadron of the 1st U.S. Cavalry up the river, and one of the 5th Cavalry down it. This latter force under Capt. Joseph Ash rode directly into the camp of Stuart’s Horse Artillery.

Stuart, in fact, had four batteries under the command of Capt. Marcellus Moorman in bivouac a couple of miles from Charlottesville. The Confederate artillery park was practically defenseless. Not only did it lack cavalry or infantry support, but the cannoneers had no muskets and only a few pistols.


Dahlgren Township, Minnesota

DAHLGREN Township, settled in 1854, organized April 5, 1864, was named Liberty in 1863. On May 9, 1864, the name of the town was changed to Dahlgren. This was done at the suggestion of the state auditor in honor of our distinguished admiral and because the name Liberty had already been appropriated by another town in the state. (History of the Minnesota Valley).

John Adolphus Bernard Dahlgren, of Swedish parentage, was born in Philadelphia, November 13, 1809, and died in Washington on July 12, 1870. He became a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy in 1837 and was assigned to ordnance duty in 1847 in Washington. Admiral Dahlgren introduced important improvements in naval armament, including inventing the Dahlgren gun. On July 18, 1862, he was appointed chief of the bureau of ordnance and the on February 7, 1863 became a rear admiral, gaining renown for his service through the Civil War.

Today, Dahlgren Township is in Carver County, Minnesota. According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 35.9 square miles, of which 35.5 square miles is land and 0.4 square miles or 1.22% is water. The primary land use in Dahlgren Township is commercial agriculture around dairying, livestock and cash grain farming.

As of the census of 2010, the population was 1,331, there were 494 households in the township.


Just history.

Kilpatrick and his 3rd Division staff, March 1864 Photo Credit- Library of Congress

In 1864 the American Civil War was still raging. The capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia, was still tantalizingly close to Union forces, but as of yet out of reach. There on an island in the James River was Belle Isle, a holding pen for Union prisoners. Like most Civil War prisons, it was not a fun place complete with disease and overcrowding. Since prisoner exchanges had been called off in June of 1863, the number of prisoners at Belle Isle grew to staggering proportions. There were thoughts that a raid on Belle Isle could not only free Union soldiers from abominable conditions and death by disease, but free up fresh troops for a raid on Richmond. This was the brainchild of Major General Benjamin F. Butler, but the Confederates got wind of the attack and his force was turned back before reaching their goal.

Against this back drop, enter a report in the New York Tribune that reporter Charles Dunham had exposed a plot to assassinate President Lincoln by the evil Confederate Colonel George Margrave. The fact that George Margrave was entirely fictitious as was besides the point. It made good copy. Naturally, this report was greeted with concern at the highest levels of government. Put these two things together in the mind of ambitious Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, and you get the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid on Richmond.

Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick was dubbed a “boy general”, and his men had little to no respect for the reckless commander. He was not shy about committing soldiers’ lives to obtaining his goals usually through frontal assaults, which were regarded by other officers as “for no good purpose whatsoever”. So much though that he earned the nickname “Kill Cavalry”. Called a “danged fool” by Major General William Sherman, Kilpatrick was still in command and put out word that he believed a raid on Richmond led by him would succeed. Word was passed along and possibly with the help of a Republican Senator, Kilpatrick was invited to a private meeting with the president. Lincoln must have liked the idea, so Kilpatrick was shunted to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to work out the details. Ostensibly, the objectives of the raid were threefold: sever Confederate lines of communication with their capital, free the Union prisoners at Belle Isle and get word of Lincoln’s recent amnesty proposal behind enemy lines.

Kilpatrick got command of 4,000 men and enlisted the help of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren. Dahlgren was the son of a prominent rear admiral, and had just returned to active duty after losing a leg at Gettysburg. Kilpatrick would attack from the north and Dahlgren would come at it from the southwest. As a diversion, Brigadier General George Custer would attack the Confederate left. However, Dahlgren was not just part of a pincer movement on Richmond. He had been given secret orders and an address to visit which Kilpatrick marked with “approved” in red ink then signed. Unfortunately, the raid was a flop as Kilpatrick failed to stop an approaching train from warning the city. Dahlgren did not make it to that address or even Richmond. He was killed near King and Queen County Courthouse on March 2, 1864. His body was found by a 13 year old boy, William Littlepage, who rifled through his pockets looking for valuables. What he found was a packet of documents, which he turned over to his teacher Edward Halbach. Halbach read the documents with disbelief.

In the orders was outlined the plan to meet up with Kilpatrick’s forces and “destroy and burn the hateful city” of Richmond. A second set of orders were even more explosive as they outlined plans to kill the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, and the Confederate Cabinet. The exact wording was as follows:

“We will try and secure the bridge to the city, (one mile below Belle Isle,) and release the prisoners at the same time. If we do not succeed they must then dash down, and we will try and carry the bridge from each side. When necessary, the men must be filed through the woods and along the river bank. The bridges once secured, and the prisoners loose and over the river, the bridges will be secured and the city destroyed. The men must keep together and well in hand, and once in the city it must be destroyed and Jeff. Davis and Cabinet killed.”

This went up the chain of Confederate command and was then released to the press on March 5, 1862. People were appalled. Despite the fact that the Civil War was the bloodiest and nastiest war fought up to that point, the thought of assassination was past the pale. It was considered against the rules of war, which had been conducted with honor and as a “gentleman’s affair.” Northerners were skeptical and generally believed the Dahlgren papers were a forgery. Dahlgren’s father declared them completely false as his son would not be involved in such and they hadn’t even bothered to spell his name correctly. However, privately some in the Union hierarchy, such as General George Meade, though they were valid. The Richmond Examiner spoke for all of the south in their indignant rage saying, “The depredations of the last Yankee raiders, and the wantonness of their devastation equal anything heretofore committed during the war.”

It is plausible to believe in light of the accusations by Charles Dunham, Stanton and the others in the Cabinet may have entertained a similar assassination plot against Jefferson Davis. However, it is not known how seriously they took the Dunham accusations. It is also a mystery why they would put such a delicate operation in the hands of a commander who was known to be reckless. Also, there is a question as to why Dahlgren did not destroy the orders after reading them. It was put down to Dahlgren’s inexperience. Again, why would you put such a controversial matter in the hands of an inexperienced commander?

In any case, the War Department claimed the papers were forgeries. Union spy, Elizabeth Van Lew, used her contacts to secretly exhume Dahlgren’s body from Oakwood Cemetery and spirit it away so it could not be mistreated by the Confederates. This prompted accusations that Dahlgren had “risen or been resurrected,” according to the Richmond Examiner. Kilpatrick vehemently denied he had been a party to the secret orders and that they had been changed after he signed his name. He lost command of his division and was put in charge of a brigade. In the larger lens of the civil war, this affair is probably what sent John Wilkes Booth into a plot to kidnap President Lincoln. This plan morphed into the assassination plot, which culminated in Lincoln’s death April 14, 1865.


You've only scratched the surface of Dahlgren family history.

Between 1956 and 2004, in the United States, Dahlgren life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1956, and highest in 1997. The average life expectancy for Dahlgren in 1956 was 53, and 81 in 2004.

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Dahlgren ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.


The History Blog

It has taken 158 years but it is now possible to stare down the freshly-cleaned barrel of one the Dahlgren guns from the USS Monitor. The ironclad Monitor engaged the Confederate ironclad Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimack, on March 9th, 1862. It went down in history as the first battle in history between ironclad battleships. Less than a year later, the Monitor sank in a storm off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

The wreck was discovered in 1973 and over the decades a few individual pieces were retrieved — the signal lantern, the anchor, personal effects — but in 2002, the Monitor‘s 120-ton gun turret was raised from the wreck site. It contained two XI-inch Dahlgren guns and their carriages.

The Dahlgren guns are 11 feet long and weigh almost eight tons. They were cast at the West Point foundry in 1859 and were originally on another warship before being transferred to the Monitor. A hundred and forty years at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean had caked it inside and outside with concretion, a rock-hard combination of corrosion materials, sediment and sea life.

A century and a half in salt water damaged the metal in other ways as well, making the metal brittle. To gradually desalinate them, protecting them from the flash oxidation that would rust them out if they were dried out and ensuring their long-term preservation, the guns were immersed in 4,300-gallon tanks of water and sodium hydroxide at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia. Full desalination was elusive, however, because the full depth of the bore was still lined with concretion inches thick.

Concretions are usually removed from the surface of artifacts with power tools or dry ice blasting, but it’s not possible to reach all the way into the bore of a massive cannon. Drilling equipment would be necessary, but without knowing the precise length of the bore, the drill would either not be able to clean the full interior or it would go too far and cut a groove into the back of the bore.

/>Conservators studied patent drawings and ordnance records to determine the bore’s length, but there were discrepancies in the measurements for the XI-Inch Dahlgren. In order to ascertain whether the Monitor‘s guns matched the dimensions from the ordnance drawings or the patent drawings, researchers used a simple hardware store laser tape measure and a digital level to take top-to-bottom measurements of the bore of another XI-Inch Dahlgren made at the West Point foundry in 1861. The data gathered was not perfectly precise, but it was good enough to identify the test gun as matching the 1851 Board of Ordnance drawing with a bore length of 131.2″.

On Tuesday, February 25th, conservators deployed a bespoke drill and bit designed to remove the concretion from the bore of the gun.

After some measurements, adjustments and leveling by the conservation staff, Farrell guided the drill forward on its track, inching it into the gun’s barrel. The drill produced a deluge of black water and some large chunks of marine concretions, giving material culture specialist Hannah Fleming plenty to hammer through — literally. She took a hammer and chisel to some chunks more than a foot long, looking for anything that wasn’t rock.

After about three hours of drilling and chiseling, she hadn’t found anything of note, but one small item caught some of the museum staff’s eye.

…Two decades after the ironclad sank, former crew member Francis Butts wrote that as the Monitor was going down, he stuffed his coat and boots into one of the guns and a black cat into the other. There is no other evidence to support that account, and the museum has not found any signs of a coat or boots, let alone a cat.

When Fleming found something that was hard and not rock, there was a fleeting thought that it may be a remnant of cat. It ended up being a piece of crab.

Here’s Butts’ account which, to quote Bart Simpson’s review of the Krusty autobiography, strikes me as self-serving with many glaring omissions.

I occupied the turret all alone, and passed buckets from the lower hatchway to the man on top of the turret. I took off my coat—one that I had received from home only a few days previous, (I could not feel that our noble little ship was yet lost,) —and rolling it up with my boots, drew the tompion from one of the guns, placed them inside and returned the tompion. We had a black cat on board, which then sat on the breech of one of the guns, howling one of those hoarse and solemn tunes which no one can appreciate, unless filled with the superstitions which I had been taught by the sailors who were afraid to kill a cat. I would almost as soon have touched a ghost, but I caught her and placing her in another gun, replaced the wad and tompion, but could still hear that distressing yeowl. As I raised my last bucket to the upper hatchway no one was there to take it. I scrambled up the ladder and found that we below had been deserted. I shouted to those on the berth deck to “Come up—the officers have left the ship and a boat is alongside.”

The skeletal remains of two sailors were discovered in the gun turret when it was raised in 2002, so Mr. Butts’ last man standing claim has been tragically and conclusively disproved. The two sailors were buried at Arlington National Cemetery in 2013.

The second Dahlgren gun is being bored this week. Here’s hoping there’s no feline in that one either.

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