|David Glasgow Farragut|
|Date & Place of Birth|| July 5, 1801|
Campbell's Station, Tennessee
|Parents|| Jorge Farragut|
|Spouse|| Susan C. Marchant (m. September 24, 1823, d. December 27, 1840)|
Virginia Loyall (m. 26-December 26, 1843)
|Date & Place of Death|| August 14, 1870|
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
|Place of Burial||Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York City|
|Education||Appointed midshipman, 1810|
|Branch of Service||United States Navy|
|Years of Service||1810–70|
|Highest rank awarded||Vice Admiral|
|Commands held||Western Gulf Blockading Squadron|
|Battles participated in|| Forts Jackson, St. Philip|
|Post-war career|| Promotion to Admiral (1866)|
Commander, European Squadron
Farragut was born at Campbell's Station, near Knoxville, Tennessee, on 5 July 1801, the son of Jorge and Elizabeth Shine Farragut. His father was a ferry operator and Revolutionary War veteran who had emigrated from Spain to serve the American cause. Appointed a midshipman in the US Navy on 17 December 1810, he saw his first sea service off the coast of the United States in the frigate Essex in 1811, and soon after his arrival he was adopted by Captain David Porter, who had changed his birth name from James to David. The next year he was made the prize master of Alexander Barclay, one of the British vessels taken by Essex. Farragut, then at the age of twelve, took her safely to Valparaíso. He was in the Battle between Essex and the British ships Phoebe and Cherub off Valparaiso harbor in 1814. In March of the next year he was ordered to USS Independence to cruise in the Mediterranean, and remained with the Mediterranean Squadron until 1820, after which he served with the Mosquito Fleet in the West Indies until 1823.
Failing a preliminary examination for a lieutenancy in 1821, he tried again and passed, receiving the rank of Lieutenant in August 1825. He attained the rank of Commander on 7 September 1841; Captain in 1855; and was commissioned Rear Admiral on 16 July 1862. The rank of Vice Admiral was created for him by the President on 31 December 1864, and on 25 July 1866, by Congressional Act, he was commissioned Admiral, the first officer of the US Navy to hold this rank.
Farragut's first command was USS Ferret, a schooner, in 1823-24, at the age of 22. In 1825 he was attached to Brandywine, assigned the duty of convoying the Marquis De Lafayette home to France after his visit to the United States. He served on the Brazil Station until late 1837, first as executive officer of USS Delaware, and later in command of Boxer and Decatur. While in command of the sloop Erie at Vera Cruz he witnessed the bombardment by French Naval forces of the castle of San Juan de Ulloa in 1838. At that time he called special attention to the importance of horizontal shell fire.
In 1841 he was again ordered to Brazil Station, returning two years later. In April 1844 he was made executive officer of the receiving rhip at Norfolk, Virginia, USS Pennsylvania, and remained at the Norfolk Navy Yard until after the Mexican War broke out in 1846. He was given command in March 1847 of Saratoga, and thereafter saw service on the blockade of Tuxpan.
Variously employed on ordnance, court-martial and Navy Yard duties at home from 1848 until 1854, during which period he worked for eighteen months on a book of Ordnance Regulations, he was sent to the Pacific Coast to establish the Navy yard at Mare Island, California. He served as its Commandant from 1854 to 1859, and the next year commanded Brooklyn in the Gulf of Mexico. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was called upon to choose between his native state and the federal government, and upon declaring his allegiance to the Union was given command of the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron in January 1862.
Ordered to "proceed up the Mississippi River and reduce the defenses which guard the approaches to New Orleans.... and take possession of it under the guns of (his) squadron," his passage of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, the defenses of New Orleans, in his fleet of wooden ships on 24 April 1862, was a grand achievement in naval warfare at the time when superiority of forts over ships was asserted everywhere. His most brilliant victory came on 5 August 1864, when commanding his fleet from USS Hartford, Farragut entered Mobile Bay, Alabama in two columns, with ironclad monitors leading and a fleet of wooden ships following. When the lead monitor Tecumseh was demolished by a mine, the wooden ship Brooklyn stopped, and the line drifted in confusion toward Fort Morgan. As disaster seemed imminent, Farragut gave the orders "Damn the torpedoes! Four bells! Captain Crayton, go ahead! Joucett, full speed!", which had been changed over time as the famous "Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!" He swung his own ship clear and headed across the mines, which failed to explode. The fleet followed and - after a successful battle with the ram Tennessee and the gunboat Selma - anchored above the forts which, now isolated, surrendered one by one.
He was thanked by Congress for his great victories and the rank of Vice Admiral was created for him by President Lincoln.
In 1867, in command of the European Squadron, he made an extended good will tour in the Franklin, flagship, and after his return to York the next year his health failed. He performed his last official service, that of taking charge of the Naval Ceremonies in Honor of Mr. George Peabody, whose body had been brought to the United States on the British ship Monarch. He died the next year while on a visit to Portsmouth, New Hampshire on 14 August 1870, after fifty-nine years of Naval Service.
Farragut was married in 1823 to Miss Susan C. Merchant of Norfolk, Virginia, who died on 27 December 1840. His second wife was the former Miss Virginia Loyall, also of Norfolk, to whom he was married on 26 December 1843. Their son, Loyall Farragut, graduated from the US Military Academy, West Point, New York, and resigned in 1869.
|License:||Some of this work is in the Public Domain because it is a work of an agency under the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the U.S. Code|
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