"Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead!"|
With these legendary words, naval officer David G. Farragut led the Union fleet past Confederate mines (then called torpedoes) and to victory at the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864. From the rigging of his flagship, USS Hartford, Farragut directed the clash with the ironclad CSS Tennessee, as shown in this painting of the battle.
Earlier in the Civil War, Farragut gained national prominence by capturing New Orleans after a fierce battle with Confederate forts and ships. President Lincoln had assigned him command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. Lincoln believed Farragut was one of the best appointments he made during the entire war.
Congress created three new naval ranks, including Full Admiral, especially for David G. Farragut. Admiral Farragut was the son of Jorge Farragut, a Spanish-born mariner and hero of the American Revolution.
Vinnie Ream Hoxie, a young female sculptor, carefully researched the life of Farragut and produced Washington DC's first statue of a Civil War hero. The statue was dedicated on April 25, 1881, the nineteenth anniversary of Farragut's capture of New Orleans. The ten-foot figure and the four mortars were cast form the propeller of the Admiral's flagship, USS Hartford.