Farragut, David Glasgow

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Farragut, David Glasgow

(făr`əgət), 1801–70, American admiral, b. near Knoxville, Tenn. Appointed a midshipman in 1810, he first served on the frigate Essex, commanded by David PorterPorter, David,
1780–1843, American naval officer, b. Boston. Appointed a midshipman in 1798, he served in the West Indies and in the war with Tripoli. In 1803 his ship, the Philadelphia,
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, his self-appointed guardian, and participated in that ship's famous cruise in the Pacific in the War of 1812. Farragut commanded his first vessel in Porter's Mosquito Fleet, which operated (1823–24) against the pirates in Gulf and Caribbean waters. In the Mexican War he had minor commands on blockade duty. The navy yard at Mare Island, Calif., was established by Farragut in 1854, and he was commandant there till 1858. On Virginia's secession Farragut, a Union sympathizer, moved from Norfolk, where he had made his home ashore, to Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. Yet his Southern connections placed him under suspicion, and he did not receive an important assignment until Jan., 1862. Then the Dept. of the Navy gave him command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, with orders to ascend the Mississippi River and reduce New Orleans. By Apr. 18, 1862, Farragut's fleet, consisting of 17 vessels and a mortar flotilla under David Dixon PorterPorter, David Dixon,
1813–91, American admiral, b. Chester, Pa.; son of David Porter. He served under his father in the Mexican navy before he was appointed (1829) midshipman in the U.S. navy. He held his first command, the Spitfire, in the Mexican War.
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, had reached forts Jackson and St. Philip, situated on opposite sides of the Mississippi just below New Orleans. When the mortars failed to reduce the forts, Farragut decided to try to get by them in the dark. This action was accomplished on Apr. 24, with the loss of only three vessels. The Confederate flotilla was then defeated in a hot engagement, and on Apr. 25, Farragut anchored at New Orleans. The forts surrendered on Apr. 28, and on May 1, Union troops under Gen. Benjamin F. ButlerButler, Benjamin Franklin,
1818–93, American politician and Union general in the Civil War, b. Deerfield, N.H. He moved to Lowell, Mass., as a youth and later practiced law there and in Boston.
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 entered the city. Farragut's attempt to reduce Vicksburg in May–June, 1862, failed. But in Mar., 1863, he successfully ran two ships past the batteries at Port Hudson and by thus controlling the Mississippi between that point and Vicksburg contributed to Ulysses S. Grant's ultimate success in the Vicksburg campaignVicksburg campaign,
in the American Civil War, the fighting (Nov., 1862–July, 1863) for control of the Mississippi River. The Union wanted such control in order to split the Confederacy and to restore free commerce to the politically important Northwest.
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. Farragut had succeeded in stifling Confederate blockade-running in the Gulf of Mexico, except at its chief source, Mobile, and he moved on that port in 1864. Mobile Bay was strongly defended by forts Gaines and Morgan, a double row of torpedoes (mines), and a Confederate flotilla commanded by Franklin BuchananBuchanan, Franklin
, 1800–1874, American naval officer, b. Baltimore. Appointed a midshipman in 1815, Buchanan rose to be a commander in 1841. He was chief adviser to Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft in planning the U.S.
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. Farragut, disregarding the torpedoes (with the famous cry "Damn the torpedoes"), forced these defenses and defeated Buchanan for his crowning victory on Aug. 5, 1864. The forts surrendered shortly afterward, and though the city itself did not fall until Apr., 1865, blockade-running was effectively ended there. Farragut was easily the outstanding naval commander of the war. He was the first officer in the U.S. navy to receive the ranks of vice admiral (1864) and admiral (1866).


See biographies by his son Loyall Farragut (1879), A. T. Mahan (1892, repr. 1970), C. L. Lewis (2 vol., 1941–43), and C. Martin (1970).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Farragut, David Glasgow


Born July 5, 1801, in Stony Point, Tenn.; died Aug. 14, 1870, in Portsmouth, N.H. American admiral (1866).

The son of a Spanish sailor, Farragut was adopted by an American naval officer. He joined the navy in 1812 and fought in wars against Great Britain (1812–14) and Mexico (1846–48). At the outbreak of the Civil War, Farragut sided with the Union and was given command of a small squadron on the Mississippi River. In April 1862 his squadron fought its way past forts at the river’s mouth, defeated the Confederate fleet, and assisted in the occupation of New Orleans. In 1863 he commanded a fleet that supported combat operations on the upper Mississippi. In August 1864, Farragut’s fleet was victorious at the battle of Mobile Bay, in Alabama, capturing the last Confederate port.

With General U. S. Grant, Farragut was one of the most popular heroes of the Civil War. Farragut was given the rank of viceadmiral in 1866.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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