Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!

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statue of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut in the middle of Farragut Square in Washington DC.

(photo courtesy of US National Park Service)

This statue of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut forms the centerpiece of Farragut Square in Washington, DC. Farragut was a renown naval commander, with many of his accomplishments occurring during the Civil War. Although he was from Tennessee, he stayed loyal to the Union.

He was the first Admiral in the US Navy.

Among his famous accomplishments was running the Confederate defenses of Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. As Farragut led his fleet into the Bay, a lookout on the bow saw clusters of primitive sea mines, then known as ‘torpedoes,’ floating just beneath the surface of the water.
“Torpedoes ahead!” the lookout shouted.
Upon hearing this warning, Admiral Farragut, leading his fleet of Union ships aboard his flagship, USS Hartford, bellowed out his famous order, “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!”
The statue is cast in bronze which came from one of the bronze propellers of his flagship. The sculptor was Vinnie Ream, the first woman ever to receive a commission from the Federal Government to sculpt a statue.

 

Source: Testament to Union: Civil War Monuments in Washington, DC by Kathryn Allamong Jacob. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/