Rockwell Loveland - Seaman

Rockwell Reuben Loveland was born 9 June 1838 in New Haven, Ohio, and enlisted on 28 November 1863 at the Cario, IL Naval Rendezvous as an seaman for a one year enlistment contract [1]

Loveland was attached to the U.S.S. Black Hawk on 29 December 1863 per his rendezvous index card [2]. Allegedly per the 1892 book "Genealogy of the Loveland family in the United States of America from 1635 to 1892", Rockwell Loveland volunteered to join the Battle of Mobile Bay and was attached to the U.S.S. Tecumseh.

..."R. Rockwell Loveland was raised a farmer; prepared himself to teach at Hillsdale College, Michigan, and was a successful teacher of the Ballville school near Fremont, Ohio. Soon after the War of the Rebellion was inaugurated he enlisted in the gunboat service on the Mississippi river. He served aboard the flagship Black Hawk, was in the famous Red river expedition and other struggles to gain the mastery of the Mississippi.

When Commodore Farragut organized his fleet to capture Mobile our subject asked permission, and obtained it, to volunteer in this expedition. He served aboard the monitor Tecumseh. During this terrible battle one or more torpedoes exploded under her and she went down in a moment. "Lashed to the mast of his ship the noble-hearted Farragut saw amid the roar of the battle the struggling men of the Tecumseh, and, amid the grave anxieties about the great issues touching his fleet, found time to hail the captain of the Metacomet to know if he could send a boat to save them. A boat was sent and the pilot and nine of the ship's company were saved. The commodore of the Hartford seeing the boat without a flag, and knowing nothing of its object, and mistaking it for one of the enemy's, trained one of his hundred pounders upon it, and was about to pull the latch string when one of the ship's company caught his arm, saying 'For God's sake don't fire it is one of our boats!' Two officers and five men escaped in one of the Tecumseh's boats which was towing alongside, and four others swam ashore to the fort, where they were made prisoners, so that twenty-one were saved out of a complement of over one hundred souls." Rockwell was rescued from the fragments of the wreck in an insensible condition and taken, after the battle, to the hospital in New Orleans, where after a long sickness and much suffering, he recovered from the shock. After the battle he was reported among the missing, and much anxiety was felt by his relatives and friends on his account, which was not allayed until his return from the war. He related that the last recollection he had of the action was his being up in the air about forty feet clinging to a portion of the monitor. He was probably one of the nine rescued by the captain of the Metacomet. He continued in the service until the close of the war, and was welcomed home as one returned from the dead."...

However the facts presented above cannot be verified so far outside of Loveland having served on the Black Hawk, his enlistment on 28 November 1863 and his discharge on 26 November 1864. Loveland is not mentioned in any battle report regarding the recovery of surviving Tecumseh crew members. Only the Black Hawk is on his rendezvous index card and she was nowhere near Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864 or ever part of Farragut's fleet for that matter. No one with the surname of Loveland appears on the reconstructed Tecumseh muster roll, nor on the index of patients admitted to New Orleans at any date in 1864 nor of Naval Hospital Pensacola where the wounded from the Battle of Mobile Bay were actually taken to [4].

Quite frankly until a Navy-produced document turns up saying otherwise, I'd file the Loveland allegations as a sea-story.



Awards & Memorials


Alternate Spellings of Name


References and Sources

[1] Return of the United States Naval Rendezvous, Cario, Illinois, for the week ending November 28, 1863

[2] NARA T1099. An index to rendezvous reports during the Civil War, 1861-1865.

[3] Loveland, J. B. "Genealogy of the Loveland family in the United States of America from 1635 to 1892, containing the descendants of Thomas Loveland of Wethersfield, now Glastonbury, Conn", 1892

[4] Hospital Tickets and Case Papers, compiled 1825-1889. ARC ID: 2694723. Department of the Navy, Records of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Record Group 52. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.