Admiral David G. Farragut


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, August 29, 1863

This site presents an online archive of all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These papers will take you back in time to the days the war was being fought. It give details of the attitudes and issues of the day, as they happened.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


David Farragut

David Farragut

Draft Editorial

Draft Editorial

Soldier's Letter

A Soldier's Letter

The Hartford

The "Hartford"

Black Soldier's Funeral

Black Soldier's Funeral

Prisoners in New Orleans

New Orleans Prisoners

Draft Resistance

Draft Resistance

Fort Wagner

Bombardment of Fort Wagner


Dumfries, Virginia

Balck Troops at Fort Wagner

Black Troops Before Fort Wagner




VOL. VII.—No. 348.]



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1863, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


WE publish on this page a portrait of REAR-ADMIRAL FARRAGUT, the hero of the day, from a photo-graph just taken by Mr. BRADY.

DAVID GLASGOW FARRAGUT was born near Knoxville, Tenn., about the year 1803, and is now sixty years of age. His father was an officer in the army, well known to and much esteemed by General JACKSON. When only nine years of age little David determined to be a sailor, and was taken by Commodore PORTER on board the Essex a midshipman. He shared the fortunes of that famous craft in her memorable cruise in the Pacific, and took part in the battle off Valparaiso. A person who is familiar with the facts tells the following story of the boy's behavior on that occasion :

He was ordered by the Commodore, while the contest was at its height, to go below and bring up some friction-tubes that were needed for the guns, While descending the wardroom ladder the captain of the gun directly opposite was struck full upon the face by an I8-pounder shot. He fell back against FARRAGUT, and they both tumbled down the hatchway. The man was a stoat, heavy fellow, and it was fortunate for the young midshipman that his full weight did not fall upon him as they reached the deck. As it was, the lad was severely stunned ; and recovering, as if awakening from a dream, he ran upon deck. Commodore PORTER, seeing him covered with blood, inquired,

"Are you wounded?"

"I believe not," was the reply.

" Then where are the tubes?" asked the Commodore.

The words brought him to his senses, and he immediately went below and got them.

When at last it was determined to surrender the brave little brig the Commodore sent FARRAGUT to throw overboard the signal-book, in order that the enemy should not come into possession of our code, it being reported that the signalmaster could not be found. After a protracted search the lad discovered the book upon the sill of one of the ports, and at once threw it overboard. A few minutes afterward the recusant signal-master appeared, and excused himself for being absent from his post by stating that he had been over the side to extricate the book from the wreck, where it had lodged; but the falsehood cost him dearly.

During all this time young FARRAGUT bore himself like a man, never shedding a tear until he saw the American colors hauled down, and then he sobbed like a child.

From this heavy grief he was soon aroused, however, by hearing an English middy exultingly shout to his men, "Prize-oh, boys ! here's a fine grunter, by Jove !" He knew the young reefer alluded to a young porker that had been petted by himself and all the sailors, and had helped to beguile away many a weary hour; therefore he energetically laid claim to the animal. " But," said the Englishman, "you're a prisoner, and your pig too." "We always respect private property," said FARRAGUT, and he seized the squealing bone of contention, asserting that he should retain possession until compelled to yield to superior force. Here was sport for the older officers, who called out, "Go it, little Yankee; and if you can thrash 'Shorty' (a sobriquet for English middies) you shall have your pig." "Agreed," said FARRAGUT; and the lads went at it in pugilistic style. "Shorty" soon failed to come to time, and the victor walked off with the pig under his arm. He afterward remarked that he felt, in mastering the young Englishman, that he had wiped out the disgrace of being captured.


On another occasion he was placed in command of a prize-vessel, when only thirteen years of age. The original captain of the prize became very turbulent and threatened to interfere with the navigation of the ship. FARRAGUT reported him accordingly to the Essex, upon which the man excused himself by saying that he only meant to "frighten the boy."

"Ask him, Sir," replied FARRAGUT to his captain, "how he succeeded."

The boy resumed command of the prize and took her safely into port.

At the close of the war young FARRAGUT was sent to school, and thence into the navy. His life, for the next forty years, was the usual routine of a sailor's life in peace-time, with its alterations of sea and shore duty, furlough and foreign station, He spent some time in South America, and, it is believed, took part in some of the revolutionary

contests which are indigenous to that continent. He married, too, his wife being a Southern lady, and settled at Norfolk, Virginia, where he purchased some little property. The rebellion found him living there, surrounded by Southerners whose sympathies were all with the rebels. How he left Norfolk the following extract from the Times tells:

On the 18th of April he left Norfolk, just the night before the Navy-yard was burned, and no better proof of his loyalty can be given than the fact of the premeditated attack upon the Navyyard at Norfolk being kept a secret from him. The morning before leaving Norfolk he was expressing very decidedly his opposition to the course of the Southern people, when he was told by some of the leading men and naval officers, residents of the place, that he could not remain there with such sentiments, "Then

I will go where I can live with just such sentiments," was his reply; and he accordingly went home and notified his family that they must get ready to leave for New York in a few hours. He arrived in Baltimore to learn that the track had been torn up the day before, and had great difficulty in getting a passage for himself and family in a canal-boat. This was accomplished, however, after a few hours' delay, and they managed to arrive safely at New York. He immediately sought a cottage at Hastings, upon the Hudson, in which to place his family, removed from the excitement of the times, so that he could be assured of their safety when he was called upon to go forth and battle for his country. With that same freshness of feeling and devotion that he possessed when a midshipman on board the Essex he obeyed the call. Had Admiral FARRAGUT remained in Norfolk one day longer he would have been imprisoned, as was the fate of one Union officer, to whose disgrace be it said, that, after remaining a few hours in prison, he yielded to the Southern coercionists and joined their navy. The Admiral says he does not deserve so much credit for his prompt action in this matter, as, having had so much experience in the revolutionary countries of South America, he was well posted as to what might be expected from revolutionary times.

We believe that his anger at the loss of the Merrimac was freely expressed to every one he met, and that he told the Government that he (FARRAGUT) could have saved her, and would have done so had he received orders, even if the effort had cost the whole town of Norfolk. There is only too much reason to believe that one man of FARRAGUT'S nerve might have saved us the Merrimac and the Navyyard, the consequences of which upon the course of the war can hardly be overestimated. For some months after the outbreak of the war Captain FARRAGUT was without a command, partly because the Department had no vessels. At length, when the expedition against New Orleans was resolved upon, he was selected to lead it. He entered the Mississippi River early in March, 1862.

 On 17th April PORTER's mortar-fleet began the bombardment of Forts Philip and Jackson, and on 24th Commodore FARRAGUT, with his entire fleet, ran past the forts, encountering a fire almost unparalleled in severity, a fleet of gun-boats, including several iron-clads, fire-rafts, obstructions and torpedoes innumerable. An idea of the brilliancy of the exploit may be formed from the fact that some French and English officers, who had been to New Orleans, laughed outright at the bare notion of running the batteries, and indulged in characteristic sneers at the insanity of the project. Commodore GOLDSBOROUGH first heard the news from a newspaper correspondent, who boarded the Minnesota at Fortress Monroe, on his way north with dispatches. The conversation is said to have run somewhat in this wise :

REPORTER. "Commodore, I have the pleasure of informing, you that Commodore FARRAGUT has run past Forts Philip and Jackson with his fleet, and taken New Orleans."

COMMODORE. "Run past the batteries? REPORTER. "Yes, Sir."

COMMODORE. "It's not true, Sir-it's a lie ! It couldn't be done." (Next Page)


Admiral David Farragut

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