National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
President Lincoln considered his appointment of David Glasgow Farragut as commander of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron the best one he made during the Civil War. Sailing in the flagship USS Hartford on April 24, 1862, Farragut led his fleet of seventeen vessels in a successful run through the Confederate defenses, engaged and defeated the enemy ships, and captured New Orleans.
Then, on August 5, 1864, as Farragut's fleet of four ironclads and fourteen wooden vessels steamed down the narrow, torpedo-lined channel to capture Mobile Bay, the ironclad Tecumseh struck a mine and sank. Shouting "Damn the torpedoes!" Farragut forged ahead of the hesitant fleet. The Confederate warships were dispersed, and by month's end the harbor defenses had surrendered. This was the major victory of Farragut's naval career and earned him the rank of vice admiral.