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David Glasgow Farragut

Hero of Decisive Naval Strategies Designed to Split Confederacy

David Glasgow Farragut was one of the Union’s great naval heroes of the Civil War. He was past 60 when he won the decisive Battle of Mobile Bay. When one of his lead ships struck a mine and blew up and disaster threatened, he commanded his men to “Damn the torpedoes (mines), full speed ahead.” Farragut was born July 5, 1801, at Stony Point, Tennessee, the son of a Scottish mother and a Spanish sea captain who had settled in Tennessee. On the death of his mother when he was 8, he was adopted by David Porter, a U.S. warrant officer who got young Farragut a berth on a naval vessel as a midshipman. At age 12, he saw action in the War of 1812. He played a minor role in the Mexican War of 1846-48. In 1855 he was promoted to captain and in 1859 was placed in command of the sloop Brooklyn. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Farragut was placed in command of Union naval forces with the job of clearing the Gulf of Mexico of Southern shipping and breaking the Confederate blockade of the Mississippi River. The strategy of forcing open the Mississippi River from New Orleans north was designed to split the Confederacy at the river with Gen. U.S. Grant pushing down from the north by land. Farragut took New Orleans and battered into surrender the shore gun emplacements along the river banks, thus making it possible for General Grant to bring an end to the long siege of Vicksburg. Farragut was acclaimed by the American public as a hero of the Civil War and promoted to the rank of admiral. He died August 14, 1870 at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546