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several times although she had quite lost all sense of

His whole career should be taught every American schoolboy, for when that schoolboy becomes a voter he should have learned the lesson that the United States, while it ought not to become an overgrown military power, should always have a first-class navy, formidable from the number of its ships, and formidable still more from the excellence of the individual ships and the high character of the officers and men. Farragut saw the war of 1812, in which, though our few frigates and sloops fought some glorious actions, our coasts were blockaded and insulted, and the Capitol at Washington burned, because our statesmen and our people had been too short-sighted to build a big fighting navy; and Farragut was able to perform his great feats on the Gulf coast because, when the Civil War broke out, we had a navy which, though too small in point of numbers, was composed of ships as good as any afloat.

several times although she had quite lost all sense of

Another lesson to be learned by a study of his career is that no man in a profession so highly technical as that of the navy can win a great success unless he has been brought up in and specially trained for that profession, and has devoted his life to the work. This fact was made plainly evident in the desperate hurly-burly of the night battle with the Confederate flotilla below New Orleans--the incidents of this hurly-burly being, perhaps, best described by the officer who, in his report of his own share in it, remarked that "all sorts of things happened." Of the Confederate rams there were two, commanded by trained officers formerly in the United States navy, Lieutenants Kennon and Warley. Both of these men handled their little vessels with remarkable courage, skill, and success, fighting them to the last, and inflicting serious and heavy damage upon the Union fleet. The other vessels of the flotilla were commanded by men who had not been in the regular navy, who were merely Mississippi River captains, and the like. These men were, doubtless, naturally as brave as any of the regular officers; but, with one or two exceptions, they failed ignobly. in the time of trial, and showed a fairly startling contrast with the regular naval officers beside or against whom they fought. This is a fact which may well be pondered by the ignorant or unpatriotic people who believe that the United States does not need a navy, or that it can improvise one, and improvise officers to handle it, whenever the moment of need arises.

several times although she had quite lost all sense of

When a boy, Farragut had sailed as a midshipman on the Essex in her famous cruise to the South Pacific, and lived through the murderous fight in which, after losing three fifths of her crew, she was captured by two British vessels. Step by step he rose in his profession, but never had an opportunity of distinguishing himself until, when he was sixty years old, the Civil War broke out. He was then made flag officer of the Gulf squadron; and the first success which the Union forces met with in the southwest was scored by him, when one night he burst the iron chains which the Confederates had stretched across the Mississippi, and, stemming the swollen flood with his splendidly-handled steam-frigates, swept past the forts, sank the rams and gunboats that sought to bar his path, and captured the city of New Orleans. After further exciting service on the Mississippi, service in which he turned a new chapter in the history of naval warfare by showing the possibilities of heavy seagoing vessels when used on great rivers, he again went back to the Gulf, and, in the last year of the war, was allotted the task of attempting the capture of Mobile, the only important port still left open to the Confederates.

several times although she had quite lost all sense of

In August, 1864, Farragut was lying with his fleet off Mobile Bay. For months he had been eating out his heart while undergoing the wearing strain of the blockade; sympathizing, too, with every detail of the doubtful struggle on land. "I get right sick, every now and then, at the bad news," he once wrote home; and then again, "The victory of the Kearsarge over the Alabama raised me up; I would sooner have fought that fight than any ever fought on the ocean." As for himself, all he wished was a chance to fight, for he had the fighting temperament, and he knew that, in the long run, an enemy can only be beaten by being out-fought, as well as out-manoeuvered. He possessed a splendid self-confidence, and scornfully threw aside any idea that he would be defeated, while he utterly refused to be daunted by the rumors of the formidable nature of the defenses against which he was to act. "I mean to be whipped or to whip my enemy, and not to be scared to death," he remarked in speaking of these rumors.

The Confederates who held Mobile used all their skill in preparing for defense, and all their courage in making that defense good. The mouth of the bay was protected by two fine forts, heavily armed, Morgan and Gaines. The winding channels were filled with torpedoes, and, in addition, there was a flotilla consisting of three gunboats, and, above all, a big ironclad ram, the Tennessee, one of the most formidable vessels then afloat. She was not fast, but she carried six high-power rifled guns, and her armor was very powerful, while, being of light draft, she could take a position where Farragut's deep-sea ships could not get at her. Farragut made his attack with four monitors,--two of them, the Tecumseh and Manhattan, of large size, carrying 15inch guns, and the other two, the Winnebago and Chickasaw, smaller and lighter, with 11-inch guns,--and the wooden vessels, fourteen in number. Seven of these were big sloops-of-war, of the general type of Farragut's own flagship, the Hartford. She was a screw steamer, but was a full-rigged ship likewise, with twenty-two 9-inch shell guns, arranged in broadside, and carrying a crew of three hundred men. The other seven were light gunboats. When Farragut prepared for the assault, he arranged to make the attack with his wooden ships in double column. The seven most powerful were formed on the right, in line ahead, to engage Fort Morgan, the heaviest of the two forts, which had to be passed close inshore to the right. The light vessels were lashed each to the left of one of the heavier ones. By this arrangement each pair of ships was given a double chance to escape, if rendered helpless by a shot in the boiler or other vital part of the machinery. The heaviest ships led in the fighting column, the first place being taken by the Brooklyn and her gunboat consort, while the second position was held by Farragut himself in the Hartford, with the little Metacomet lashed alongside. He waited to deliver the attack until the tide and the wind should be favorable, and made all his preparations with the utmost care and thoughtfulness. Preeminently a man who could inspire affection in others, both the officers and men of the fleet regarded him with fervent loyalty and absolute trust.

The attack was made early on the morning of August 5. Soon after midnight the weather became hot and calm, and at three the Admiral learned that a light breeze had sprung up from the quarter he wished, and he at once announced, "Then we will go in this morning." At daybreak he was at breakfast when the word was brought that the ships were all lashed in couples. Turning quietly to his captain, he said, "Well, Drayton, we might as well get under way;" and at half-past six the monitors stood down to their stations, while the column of wooden ships was formed, all with the United States flag hoisted, not only at the peak, but also at every masthead. The four monitors, trusting in their iron sides, steamed in between the wooden ships and the fort. Every man in every craft was thrilling with the fierce excitement of battle; but in the minds of most there lurked a vague feeling of unrest over one danger. For their foes who fought in sight, for the forts, the gunboats, and, the great ironclad ram, they cared nothing; but all, save the very boldest, were at times awed, and rendered uneasy by the fear of the hidden and the unknown. Danger which is great and real, but which is shrouded in mystery, is always very awful; and the ocean veterans dreaded the torpedoes--the mines of death--which lay, they knew not where, thickly scattered through the channels along which they were to thread their way.

The tall ships were in fighting trim, with spars housed, and canvas furled. The decks were strewn with sawdust; every man was in his place; the guns were ready, and except for the song of the sounding-lead there was silence in the ships as they moved forward through the glorious morning. It was seven o'clock when the battle began, as the Tecumseh, the leading monitor, fired two shots at the fort. In a few minutes Fort Morgan was ablaze with the flash of her guns, and the leading wooden vessels were sending back broadside after broadside. Farragut stood in the port main-rigging, and as the smoke increased he gradually climbed higher, until he was close by the maintop, where the pilot was stationed for the sake of clearer vision. The captain, fearing lest by one of the accidents of battle the great admiral should lose his footing, sent aloft a man with a lasher, and had a turn or two taken around his body in the shrouds, so that he. might not fall if wounded; for the shots were flying thick.

At first the ships used only their bow guns, and the Confederate ram, with her great steel rifles, and her three consorts, taking station where they could rake the advancing fleet, caused much loss. In twenty minutes after the opening of the fight the ships of the van were fairly abreast of the fort, their guns leaping and thundering; and under the weight of their terrific fire that of the fort visibly slackened. All was now uproar and slaughter, the smoke drifting off in clouds. The decks were reddened and ghastly with blood, and the wreck of flying splinters drove across them at each discharge. The monitor Tecumseh alone was silent. After firing the first two shots, her commander, Captain Craven, had loaded his two big guns with steel shot, and, thus prepared, reserved himself for the Confederate ironclad, which he had set his heart upon taking or destroying single-handed. The two columns of monitors and the wooden ships lashed in pairs were now approaching the narrowest part of the channel, where the torpedoes lay thickest; and the guns of the vessels fairly overbore and quelled the fire from the fort. All was well, provided only the two columns could push straight on without hesitation; but just at this moment a terrible calamity befell the leader of the monitors. The Tecumseh, standing straight for the Tennessee, was within two hundred yards of her foe, when a torpedo suddenly exploded beneath her. The monitor was about five hundred yards from the Hartford, and from the maintop Farragut, looking at her, saw her reel violently from side to side, lurch heavily over, and go down headforemost, her screw revolving wildly in the air as she disappeared. Captain Craven, one of the gentlest and bravest of men, was in the pilot-house with the pilot at the time. As she sank, both rushed to the narrow door, but there was time for only one to get out. Craven was ahead, but drew to one side, saying, "After you, pilot." As the pilot leaped through, the water rushed in, and Craven and all his crew, save two men, settled to the bottom in their iron coffin.

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