Farragut Park

David Glasgow Farragut (July 5, 1801 – August 14, 1870) was a flag officer of the United States Navy during the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and admiral of the Navy. He is remembered in popular culture for his order at the Battle of Mobile Bay, usually paraphrased: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"

Farragut was born to Jorge and Elizabeth Shine Farragut at Lowe's Ferry on the Holston (now Tennessee) River a few miles south east of Campbell's Station, near Knoxville, Tennessee, where his family lived. His father operated the ferry and was a cavalry officer in the Tennessee militia. Jorge Farragut (1755 – 1817), a Spanish merchant captain from Minorca, son of Antonio Farragut and Juana Mesquida, had previously joined the American Revolutionary cause after arriving in America in 1776. Jorge Farragut married Elizabeth Shine (b.1765) from North Carolina and moved west to Tennessee after serving in the American Revolution. David's birth name was James, but it was changed in 1812, following his adoption by future naval Captain David Porter in 1808 (which made him the foster brother of future Civil War Admiral David Dixon Porter and Commodore William D. Porter).

David Farragut entered the Navy as a midshipman on December 17, 1810. In the War of 1812, when only 12 years old, he was given command of a prize ship taken by USS Essex and brought her safely to port. He was wounded and captured during the cruise of the Essex by HMS Phoebe in Valparaiso Bay, Chile on March 28, 1814, but was exchanged in April 1815. Through the years that followed, in one assignment after another, he showed the high ability and devotion to duty that would allow him to make a great contribution to the Union victory in the Civil War and to write a famous page in the history of the United States Navy.

In command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, with his flag on the USS Hartford, in April 1862 he ran past Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip and the Chalmette, Louisiana batteries to take the city and port of New Orleans, Louisiana on April 29 of that year, a decisive event in the war. His country honored its great sailor after New Orleans by creating for him the rank of rear admiral on July 16, 1862, a rank never before used in the U.S. Navy. Before this time, the American Navy had resisted the rank of admiral, preferring the term "flag officer", to separate it from the traditions of the European navies. Later that year he passed the batteries defending Vicksburg, Mississippi. Farragut had no real success at Vicksburg; one makeshift Confederate ironclad forced his flotilla of 38 ships to withdraw in July 1862.

While he was a very aggressive commander, Farragut was not always cooperative. At the Siege of Port Hudson the plan was that Farragut's flotilla would pass by the guns of the Confederate stronghold with the help of a diversionary land attack by the Army of the Gulf, commanded by General Nathaniel Banks, to commence at 8:00 am on March 15, 1863. Farragut unilaterally decided to move the timetable up to 9:00 pm on March 14, and initiated his run past the guns before Union ground forces were in position. By doing so, the uncoordinated attack allowed the Confederates to concentrate on Farragut's flotilla and inflict heavy damage on his warships.

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Farragut Park, Washington D.C.

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