Monday, September 10, 2012

What famous Admiral was born in Tennessee?

Who'd have thought that the landlocked state of Tennessee would have produced on of this country's most famous generals? 

David Glasgow Farragut was born near Knoxville, Tennessee in 1801.  He was appointed as a midshipman in 1810, and the served in the Pacific during the War of 1812.  After, Farragut commanded his first vessel in David Porter's Mosquito Fleet, and he fought pirates in the Gulf and in the Caribbean.  In the Mexican War, he was involved in blockade duty.

Farragut established the naval yard at Mare Island, California, and he was commandant there until 1858.  He was living in Norfolk at the time of Virginia's secession from the Union.  He was a Union sumpathizer, so he moved to the state of New York.  As you can imagine, though, his southern ties aroused suspicion, and he was not given an important assignment in the War Between the States until January 1862.  Then, the Department of the Navy gave him command of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, with orders to ascend the Mississippi River and take on New Orleans.  By April 18, 1862, Farragut's fleet consisted of 17 vessels and a mortar flotilla.  Farragut reached the twin forts of Jackson and St. Philip which were on opposite sides of the Mississippi just south of New Orleans.  He defeated a Confederate flotilla and anchored at New Orleans.  The forts surrendered on April 28, and Union troops entered the city on May 1.

Farragut attempted to reduce Vicksburg, but he failed.   However, he did control the Mississippie between Port Hudson and Vicksburg, and his operations contributed to U.S. Grant's ultimate takeover of the city.

He succeeded in stifling Confederate blockade running int he Gulf of Mexico, except at Mobile, and he attacked that port in 1864, despite the fact that it was defended by two forts, a double row of torpedoes (or mines), and a Confederate flotilla.   He defeated Franklin Buchanan, the leader of the Confederate flotilla.  The forts surrendered shortly afterward, and blockade running ended, though the city did not fall until April 1865.         

Farragut was the first officer in the U.S. navy to receive the ranks of vice admiral and admiral. 


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