During the 1880s, he alternated tours of duty afloat and ashore through and serving in such ships as Benicia, Saranac, Marion and Shenandoah before teaching steam engineering at the Naval Academy from 1882 to 1886. He then served in Essex and Palos during a three-year tour on the Asiatic Station before returning to the Naval Academy for another tour of duty as an instructor from 1889 to 1893.
After supervising the fitting out of the gunboat Castine and cruiser Columbia, he became a chief engineer on 15 January 1895. He served in the Pacific Fleet in Mohican and Bennington until detached to shore duty in 1897.
Barton returned to the Asiatic Station in 1900 and served in the cruiser Newark and the battleship Kentucky before becoming fleet engineer in 1903. Relieved shortly afterward, he again taught at the Naval Academy until l905 and then did graduate work in engineering.
In 1907, Barton became Head of the Department of Steam Engineering at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and on 21 December 1908 assumed the title of Engineer-in-Chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Steam Engineering. Two days later, however, he was detached to return home due to illness and was simultaneously transferred to the Navy's retired list as a rear admiral.
From January 1909, Admiral Barton held a post on a Naval Examining Board and also served in the Civil Service Commission. He died at the Naval Hospital at League Island (Philadelphia) on 23 December 1921.