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You are at stop #5 on the Civil War tour

The two cannons on the Trinity Main Quadrangle were two of 18 that made up the main armament of the 1858 steam-powered sloop-of-war, the U.S.S Hartford. U.S.S. Hartford was the Union flagship of Admiral Farragut who won the surrender of New Orleans in 1862 and the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864. Farragut is famous for his order: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

The cannons were brought to the Trinity campus in 1950 to commemorate all students of the college who died in the Civil War.  The donation commemorated the 105 Trinity men who served in the Union and Confederate forces. John Lawson, a black sailor on The Hartford at the Battle of Mobile Bay, received the Congressional Medal of Honor for continuing to move ammunition to these canon even though seriously wounded. The 1950 creation of a Civil War Memorial at Trinity followed the 1949 dedication of Memorial Field House which commemorated 70 Trinity men who sacrificed their lives during World War II. In 1950, President Funston urged the City of Hartford to donate the two cannon which had been stored with other U.S.S. Hartford artefacts in the city armory since 1898.

The cannons were placed facing east overlooking the playing fields, directly above the lower long-walk, and behind the statue of Bishop Brownell. In 1994 the Navy League refurbished and borrowed the cannons to mount on authentically designed carriages for display in Groton, Connecticut to celebrate the second U.S.S Hartford, an attack submarine.


  • “Trinity’s Tribute to Its Civil War Veterans” : Peter J. Knapp, “Trinity’s Tribute to Its Civil War Veterans,” Trinity Reporter 25 (September 1995): 81.
  • Knapp, Trinity College in the Twentieth Century, A History : Peter J. Knapp and Anne H. Knapp, Trinity College in the Twentieth Century, A History (Trinity College 2000.)
  • John Lawson, Medal of Honor : Website of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Accession Number LC-USZ62-118553. John Lawson, Medal of Honor, Battle of Mobile Bay, August, 1864
  • The Hartford Courant, 13 February 1994 : The Hartford Courant, 13 February 1994, Launching of the U.S.S. Hartford attack submarine at Groton
  • Trinity College News Clippings 1949-1950 : Trinity College News Book, June, 1949-March, 1950, Trinity College Archives, Trinity College, Hartford.
  • “USS Hartford (IX-13),” NavSource Online : Ron Reeves and Wolfgang Hechler, “USS Hartford (IX-13),” NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive, n.d.