John McFarland was quartermaster and helmsman of Admiral David Farragut’s flagship Hartford at the Battle of Mobile Bay.

He entered the Navy at Boston, Mass., 24 December 1861 as seaman on Ohio, later transferring to Hartford Admiral David Farragut’s flagship in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. Rated captain of the forecastle, he had the station at the ship’s wheel in every engagement in which Hartford participated.

During the Battle of Mobile Bay 4 and 5 August 1864. McFarland left his sickbed to take up station, keeping Hartford’s wheel throughout the fierce engagement. He was commended by his commanding officers for his fortitude and intelligence and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallant and meritorious service.

The circumstances and date of his death are unknown.