USS Hartford, a sailing Sloop-of-War, was just years-old when the American Civil War (1861-1865) broke out. She was powered by steam-and-sail and could managed a top speed of 13.5 knots in ideal conditions. A crew of 310 managed her systems and armament centered on 20 x 9" Dahlgren smoothbore guns backed by 2 x 20-pounder Parrott rifled guns and 2 x 12-pounder guns. The Boston Navy Yard handled her construction and she was launched on November 22nd, 1858, seeing formal commissioning on May 27th, 1859.
Hartford became one of five sloops-of-war laid down during 1857.
For the early part of her career, USS Hartford was assigned to the East India Squadron from her but recalled stateside when the "War Between the States" broke out. From then on, Hartford was present at several of the major battles in the South where her firepower was put to good use. She was present at the Battle of New Orleans during 1862 and then supported the Vicksburg Campaign from 1862 to 1863. In 1864, the warship played a role in the Battle of Mobile Bay (Alabama). These three Union victories were important to the Union cause during the Civil War and marked turning points in their respective campaigns - tightening the noose around the Confederacy with each claim. Eventually, the important ports of Louisiana and Mobile were under Union control and the fall of Vicksburg opened the Mississippi River to more Union traffic.
In the post-war period, USS Hartford entered a period of decommissioning as she required repair work. She then served as flagship of the Asiatic Squadron before seen another decommission order. From 1890 until 1899, Hartford was at rest at Mare Island (California) while being rebuilt to help extend her sailing career. In October of that year the warship was recommissioned and sent to Atlantic waters to serve new naval recruits before being berthed at Charleston, South Carolina from 1912 onward. She was decommissioned once more in 1926 and relocated to Washington, D.C. waters in 1938 in the hopes that she would form an important component of a planned museum championed by then-President Franklin Roosevelt. The museum was never realized and its plans ended with the President's death.
From there, Harford was relocated to the Norfolk Navy Shipyard and fell apart under the abuse of the elements. She sank where she rested in November of 1956 and was deemed a complete loss.