An American naval officer who led Union assaults against Mobile Bay and New Orleans in the Civil Way, David G. Farragut became a midshipman at the age of nine. After the death of his parents, he was adopted by David Porter, under whom he served on the frigate Essex in the War of 1812. Between 1815 and 1861, Farragut moved between sea and shore duty.
When the Civil War erupted, he was a senior officer with a long, but undistinguished career. A resident of Norfolk, VA, he left for New York the day after Virginia seceded from the Union. After bypassing defending forts to capture New Orleans, Farragut used the same tactic against forts in Mobile Bay to attack and destroy Confederate warships defending Mobile. At a critical moment in the campaign, the captain of one of his ships hesitated out of fear of Confederate mines. Farragut responded with his famous, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."