In August 1864, Admiral David Farragut led his Union fleet past the mine-laden blockade of Mobile Bay with the cry "Damn the Torpedoes!" His move secured the Gulf of Mexico for the North, and crowned a naval career that lasted more than five decades. Farragut entered the navy while barely in his teens, fighting in the War of 1812. Before he was twenty-five, he sailed in the Mediterranean, Tunis, and the Gulf of Mexico, and fought pirates in the West Indies. The following decades offered few opportunities for military men to distinguish themselves in battle; poor timing, along with a sour relationship with his commander, denied Farragut a chance for promotion in the Mexican American War. By 1860, Farragut was living in Norfolk, nearly sixty years old, his career stalled behind those with more formal education and higher social standing. He moved north to New York when Virginia seceded from the Union, and with the onset of war, Farragut's loyalty, long experience, and independence finally earned him the command of the expedition to take the port of New Orleans. His success in April 1862 won the thanks of the President and an appointment as the leading officer of the navy. Lincoln was said to have considered Farragut's appointment the best of the war.
David Glasgow Farragut
1801 - 1870
Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print
(carte de visite), circa 1864
8.4 x 5.5 cm (3 5/16 x 2 3/16 inches)
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C.