|Photo #: NH 79916
First-Class Fireman Joseph E. Vantine, USN
Halftone reproduction of a photograph, published in "Deeds of Valor", Volume II, page 44, by the Perrien-Keydel Company, Detroit, 1907.
Joseph E. Vantine was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courageous action hauling hot fires in the fireroom of USS Richmond after it was hit by a 6-inch shot during the attack on Port Hudson on 14 March 1863.
US Naval Historical Center Photograph
|Historical and Biographical
Encyclopedia of Delaware
by James McCarter and Benjamin Jackson
Aldine Publishing and Engraving Co.
( Wilmington: 1883)
|Joseph E. Vantine,
New Castle, Delaware, son of William and Sarah (Johnson) Vantine,
was born in Philadelphia, Pa., March 29, 1835.
The Vantine family had its origin in Holland. William Vantine was
born in Philadelphia in 1810, and received his education in that city
in both the English and German languages. From his youth he was engaged
in boating on the Pennsylvania Canal. During the war of the Rebellion,
the family did faithful and abundant service in the Union cause. Although
he had completed his fifth decade, William Vantine enlisted, and served
three years in the United State army, giving also three sons to the
service. He had in earlier life supported the Whig party; he died
a stanch adherent to Republican principles. Mr. Vantine was a member
of the I.O.O.F. [International Order of Foresters] in Philadelphia.
His death occurred in 1870. His wife, Sarah Johnson, to whom he was
married in Philadelphia, was of English descent. Their children are:
I. Joseph E.; II. Mary (Mrs. John Robinson), of Philadelphia, deceased;
III. Samuel, served in the war of the Rebellion, resides in Ohio;
IV. Jane (Mrs. Samuel Saunders) of Philadelphia, deceased; V. William,
veteran of the late war, resides at the Soldiers' Home, Hampton Roads,
Va.; VI. Sarah (Mrs. Andrew Glover, Philadelphia, deceased; VII. George
W., of New Castle, Del. Mrs. Vantine died in Philadelphia; she and
the family were members of the M.E. Church.
After obtaining an education in the public schools of Philadelphia,
Joseph E. Vantine spent some time with uncle, on an oyster boat. At
the age of sixteen, he entered the shops of William Merrick, in order
to learn the business of blacksmithing. Seven years later, his apprenticeship
being ended, he assumed the position of fireman on the U.S. ship Minnesota,
and spent three years in Chinese waters.
During the war of the Rebellion, the vessel was ordered home. Mr.
Vantine then enlisted, and served through the war as first-class fireman
on board the U.S. war ship Richmond. He was one of those whose
service, being not only of the hand, but also of the willing and ingenious
mind, was more than doubly valuable. He originated the plan of arming
war vessels by suspending chain cables about their most vulnerable
parts, which was used with such telling effect by Admiral Farragut
upon his victorious fleet. Mr. Vantine received a medal for drawing
the fires from under the boilers on the boat after a shell had struck
it in the battle of Mobile Bay, in token of the gratitude of the U.S.
After receiving his discharge at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, September
10, 1864, Mr. Vantine became engineer in the iron works of Morris,
Tasker & Co., Philadelphia, and resided in that city until the company
transferred him to the plant at New Castle, in 1873. He held his position
there until 1895, when a paralytic stroke disabled him for work, and
he has ever since been confined to his house.
Mr. Vantine has always been a warm supporter of the Republican party,
but has never sought office. He is a member of the Farragut Veterans'
Association, and Marshal of the honor Legion, both of Philadelphia.
He is Past Commander of Post No. 5, G.A.R., of New Castle, and was
for one year department commander. He is a member of St. John's Commandery
and Chapter, F. &A.M., and of the Blue Lodge, Wilmington; also of
the I.O.O.F., of the same city.
Joseph E. Vantine was married in Philadelphia in 1855, to Catherine
Lyman, a native of that city. Their children were: I. William; II.
Julia; both reside in Philadelphia, where Mrs. (Lyman) Vantine died.
He was again married, March 15, 1878, to Susan A., daughter of Henry
and Mary (Willis) Jordan, born near Newport, Del. Mr. Jordan was a
farmer, and served in a Delaware regiment during the war of the Rebellion.
He was a member of the M.E. church; he died in Delaware. The children
of Mr. and Mrs. Vantine are: I. Mary R., a graduate of the New Castle
High school, and a teacher of that town; II. Robert H., at home; III.
Sarah S. Ethel A., Henrietta and Henry died in infancy. Mr. Vantine
with his family, is a member of the Baptist church, which he formerly
served as clerk. His services to the State and Church, as well as
his personal qualities, have won for him general respect and esteem.
VANTINE, JOSEPH E. Rank and Organization:
First Class Fireman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1835, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited
To: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863.
The President of
the United States
in the name of
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Richmond in the attack on Port
Hudson, 14 March 1863. Damaged by a 6-inch solid rifle shot which
shattered the starboard safety-valve chamber and also damaged the
port safety valve, the fireroom of the Richmond immediately filled
with steam to place it in an extremely critical condition. Acting
courageously in this crisis, Vantine persisted in penetrating the
steam-filled room in order to haul the hot fires of the furnaces and
continued this action until the gravity of the situation had been