Eye-witness Report Quotes

"Damn The Torpedoes!"

Context: With New Orleans captured in 1862 and much of the Mississippi River now in Union hands, Admiral Farragut is ordered to destroy Mobile's defenses, from where blockade runners are operating. The port is protected not only by Fort Morgan and the island of Fort Gaines, but also by the most powerful ram of the Confederate fleet, the Tennessee. From his wooden flagship, the Hartford, commanded by Captain Percival Drayton (1812-1865), with James Edward Jouett (1826-1902) as lieutenant commander, Farragut has four monitors and a half dozen other ships in his fleet, as he sets out at 5:30 A.M. on August 5, 1864. Suddenly the Tecumseh is sunk by a torpedo and the Brooklyn, afraid of a similar fate, comes to a stop. Then Admiral Farragut is reported to have shouted:

Damn the torpedoes! Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead!
Jouett, full speed!