Battle of Mobile Bay

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On August 5th, 1864, Rear Admiral David Farragut led the Union navy into Mobile Bay, Alabama, to face a smaller Confederate fleet under the command of Admiral Franklin Buchanan and neutralize three forts surrounding Mobile Bay to complete the Union blockade of the Gulf of Mexico. The battle would prove pivotal in the Union victory, as well as President Abraham Lincoln's re-election three months later. The Union fleet, under Farragut, used sheer power and numbers to decimate the Confederates.

The Union fleet consisted of four ironclad monitors, two gunboats, twelve wooden warships, and a contingent of five-thousand infantry. While the Union assault was ready two days earlier, Farragut insisted that the fleet hold position and wait for the USS Tecumseh, a monitor that had been held up in Pensacola. Farragut, in full knowledge of the superiority of his fleet, almost ordered the assault early, but the Tecumseh arrived on time to begin the assault. In order to achieve maximum combat effectiveness, Farragut had the twelve wooden ships lashed together in pairs; this way, if one warship's engines were disabled, it's partner could easily continue its course. The monitors would form a column to lead the assault, followed by a double-column of the wooden ships on the port side of the monitors, away from the action. This way, any heavy fire would be received by the heavily armored ironclads, protecting the delicate wooden ships.

On entry into the bay, it was discovered that the entrance of the bay was protected by mines. The USS Tecumseh, leading the charge, took heavy damage from the mines and sunk as a result of the damage. Seeing this, the USS Brooklyn, leader of the wooden column, slowed its progress. When asked by Farragut, the ship responded that torpedoes (mines) blocked the passage. Admiral Farragut is famously quoted as responding with the phrase "Damn the torpedoes!" Whether he actually said this or not is still in question, but Farragut, in a cunning gamble,...
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