Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division • Washington

USS Barton (DD-599)

Born in Philadelphia 7 April 1853, John Kennedy Barton graduated from the Academy in 1873. He served as Engineer-in-Chief and Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering with the rank of Rear Admiral. He retired 23 December 1908. Rear Admiral Barton died in Philadelphia 23 December 1921.

(DD 599: dp. 1620; l. 347'9"; b. 36'1"; dr. 17'4"; s. 36 k.; cpl. 276; a. 5 5", 10 21" tt.; cl. Benson)

The first Barton (DD-599) was launched 31 January 1942 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Miss Barbara Dean Barton, granddaughter of Admiral Barton; and commissioned 29 May 1942, Lieutenant Commander D. H. Fox in command.

Barton departed the east coast 23 August 1942 and steamed to the Pacific, arriving at Tongatabu, Tonga Islands, 14 September 1942. During October she participated in the Buin-Faisi-Tonolai raid (5 October) and the Battle of Santa Cruz (26 October). On 29 October she successfully rescued 17 survivors of two downed air transports near Fabre Island.

Against great odds on 13 November Barton, in company with Rear Admiral D. J. Callaghan's landing support group, took part in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Barton commenced firing on the Japanese ships at approximately 0148. After launching four torpedoes she had to come to an emergency stop to avoid a collision. While she was practically dead in the water, two enemy torpedoes found their mark. The first torpedo struck her forward fireroom and, a few seconds later, a second torpedo struck her forward engine-room. Within seconds, Barton broke in two and sank, carrying with her an estimated 90 percent of her valiant crew. Forty-two survivors were rescued by Portland (CA-33) and Higgins boats from Guadalcanal.

Barton received four battle stars for her service during October and November 1942.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation