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Four Bells Full Speed
Photograph - Color Photo
On August 5, 1864, Admiral Farragut won a great victory over the Confederate navy in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Mobile was then the Confederacy's last major port open on the Gulf of Mexico. The bay was heavily mined (tethered naval mines were known as torpedoes at the time). Farragut ordered his fleet to charge the bay. When the monitor USS Tecumseh struck a mine and sank, the others began to pull back. Farragut could see the ships pulling back from his high perch, where he was lashed to the rigging of his flagship, the USS Hartford. "What's the trouble?", he shouted through a trumpet from the flagship to the USS Brooklyn. "Torpedoes!" was shouted back. "Damn the torpedoes!" said Farragut, "Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!" The bulk of the fleet succeeded in entering the bay. Farragut triumphed over the opposition of heavy batteries in Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines to defeat the squadron of Admiral Franklin Buchanan.
Original image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
August 1st, 2013
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