Vantine::Joseph E. Vantine
Joseph E. Vantine
1835- about 1904
Awarded Congressional Medal of Honor
10 July 1863

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
Joseph E. Vantine
Historical and Biographical
Encyclopedia of Delaware

by James McCarter and Benjamin Jackson

Aldine Publishing and Engraving Co.
( Wilmington: 1883)
pp. 508-509
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. government.

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.

The President of the United States
in the name of
The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
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.

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 lessened.