Rev John L. Lenhart

Rev John L. Lenhart

Pennsylvania, USA
Death 8 Mar 1862 (aged 56–57)
Virginia, USA
Burial Tottenville, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, USA
Plot Section 2 Block 14 Plot 15 Leng & Davis Listing # 679
Memorial ID 19642941 · View Source
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Born in Pennsylvania, Rev. Lenhart moved to Tottenville, Staten Island, in 1856. He acquired property on Amboy Rd. where he maintained a residence until his death. He was a methodist minister though he had no affiliation with nearby Bethel Church. He became one of the early naval chaplains in 1847, serving three years in the U.S.S. Brandywine. After several more tours of duty, he became chaplain on the U.S.S. Cumberland in 1860. He was killed on 3/8/1862 when his ship was rammed by Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (formerly the U.S.S. Merrimack) during the action known as "the battle of Hampton Roads". This was the early part of the battle which would become arguably the most famous in history, in which the two armorclad vessels, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (Merrimack) would clash. The reverend's ship, a 24 gun steam sloop, was attacked first because the confederates believed that rifled cannon, more powerful and accurate than the old smoothbores were on board. The ship did, in fact, have a 70 pounder rifled pivot gun on the stern. Witnesses said that The Cumberland put up as valiant a fight as any ever seen, but her own volleys just bounced off of the Virginia's sides while confederate fire and being rammed destroyed her. It was said that the hole put in the hull was large enough to drive a carriage through. When Confederate flag officer Franklin Buchanan of the Virginia finally hailed them and demanded surrender, Lieutenant George Morris yelled across to him "No, damn you, I will never surrender!" The Cumberland lurched back to port and quickly sank, but the ship's colors were still flying atop her mast. Of 376 men on board, 121 were dead or missing. 80 more were wounded, creating a staggering 55 percent casualty rate. Her companion ship, the USS Congress, was also sunk in the frey. "Hot shot", which were solid cannon balls heated to red hot were fired into her and the ship, already heavily damaged by artillery, was destroyed by fire. Chaplain Lenhart stayed with his men as the Cumberland sank, becoming the first of his rank to die in battle, and the only one to die until Pearl Harbor in 1941. He was 56 years old. It is unclear whether his body was recovered, so his body may not be at the site of his monument.

John Lenhart (19642941)

Suggested edit: Just to let you know Lenhart is not buried in Bethel, this is just a memorial the towns people erected to him and this is the second one because his first one was damaged in a fire at the church. His first headstone was moved a couple blocks away to be used as a stepping stone for getting out of carriages in front of the cemetery superintendents house. It was recently was moved back next to the new stone further back in the cemetery. Will add new photo when I can get a one. Thanks, Vicky
Contributor: Bethel Cemetery (48846027) •

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  • Maintained by: Mr D. J. Leonard
  • Originally Created by: Tony Cossean
  • Added: 31 May 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 19642941
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev John L. Lenhart (1805–8 Mar 1862), Find a Grave Memorial no. 19642941, citing Bethel Methodist Churchyard, Tottenville, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, USA ; Maintained by Mr D. J. Leonard (contributor 50691035) .