David Farragut was born April 5, 1801, near Knoxville, Tennessee. He entered the navy at the age of nine and was in command of his first ship at age 12!
In April of 1862, Farragut’s leadership helped demoralize Confederate spirit when his Union Naval forces steamrolled Fort St. Phillip and Fort Jackson in Louisiana and soon took the largest city in the Confederacy—New Orleans. Farragut’s naval units destroyed crucial Confederate batteries at Vicksburg and Port Hudson in 1863. In 1864, Farragut’s units took Mobile Bay, the last Confederate naval port on the Gulf of Mexico, despite the mines and torpedoes that stood in their way. His quote, “Damn the Torpedoes,” has been immortalized in military history. Farragut later led victories at Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines in Virginia. As a result of his success, Farragut was named Rear Admiral in the US Navy—a rank never before used. He died in 1870 in New Hampshire. Today, a section of downtown Washington DC is named in his honor.