The Sword of Admiral David Farragut

  • American Civil War
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

David Farragut was a US Naval Officer who had the distinction of being the first Rear, Vice and later Full Admiral of The US Navy. He joined the service as a Midshipman (at the age of 9!), in 1810. He distinguished himself during The War of 1812. He also served in various engagements against Pirates threatening US interests in the Caribbean. He also served as Ordnance Inspector for a period. He retired in 1858 - but offered his services to The North at the start of the American Civil War in 1861. Given the task of organizing and implementing the massive blockade of The South by the US Navy, he successfully deprived The South of much need foreign supplies and sank much of the Southern Fleet. Aware that The Confederacy needed to be "split" in half to achieve victory, he devised the plan to to such by taking a Fleet into the Gulf of Mexico and attacking The South's main supply lines at Mobile Bay (Alabama) and New Orleans (Louisiana).

 

It was at Mobile Bay, under heavy fire from ships, coastal batteries and "floating" torpedoes - he uttered the immortal line, "Damn The Torpedoes - Full Speed Ahead!" His actions helped shorten the war by several years. As a Naval Officer of some renown, he no doubt had many "gift" swords presented to him. His actual service blade was a standard Model 1852 Naval Officers Sword. Somewhat plain, it features a 28-inch blade. Traditionally non-edged and only pointed, it also featured a brass half-hilt basket with cut brass oak leaves and the USN insignia. The grip would be wood wrapped in leather and bound by wire. The protective hand guard is in the "D" pattern. The scabbard would be plain steel wrapped in leather (to help prevent rusting). This blade is kept at The USN Academy Museum, Annapolis Maryland. Another known blade, was a Presentation blade given to him in 1864 by The Union League. Another Model 1852 sword, this version is gold plated. It features an ornate grip, guard and handle. Of particular note is the unusual full standing Eagle mounted on the pommel. This blade is kept at The Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.