David Glasgow Farragut
was born on July 5th, 1801, but lost his parents at an early age, and was adopted by David Porter. Farragut served as a midshipman, and later served in the war of 1812, where he won prize capture of a British ship. Until the outbreak of the war, he served routine, and standard duties, with little distinguishing marks.
On April 18, 1861, the day after Virginia seceded from the Union, Farragut picked up and left his home in Norfolk Virginia. After this display of loyalty to the Union, the Navy charged him with the awesome duty of capturing New Orleans. Farragut some how slipped past the guns at Fort Jackson, and Fort Saint Phillip. On April 25, 1862, Farragut arrived at the city, and it was captured five days later. His success was emphatic, and gave the North a much needed confidence boost. His victory also served a strategic importance, opening the Mississippi to the North, and scaring off the European recognition that the North severlly feared. Promoted to Rear Admiral, Farragut served as the first man in this office.
On August 5, 1864, Farragut pursued a similar goal to his previous victory. He sailed south to Mobil, Alabama, and slipped past the defenses and sunk the Confederate Warships in the area. Although the city itself was not captured until April 1865, Farragut effectively closed the Confederacy's last major Gulf port. During a critical moment of this assault, when one ship's captain hesitated out of fear of Confederate mines, Farragut shouted, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Between 1865 and 1870, Farragut was twice promoted, becoming the U.S. Navy's first four-star admiral, passing away at the age of 69 on August 14, 1870.
Bibliography: Farragut, Loyall, The Life of David Glasgow Farragut (1879); Lewis, Charles L., David Glasgow Farragut, 2 vols. (1941, 1943); Mahan, Alfred Thayer, Admiral Farragut (1892; repr. 1970).