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    Americans have long been fascinated by the Civil War, marveling at the size of the battles, the leadership of the generals, and the courage of the soldiers. Since the war's start over 150 years ago, the battles have been subjected to endless debate among historians and the generals themselves. The Civil War was the deadliest conflict in American history, and had the two sides realized it would take four years and inflict over a million casualties, it might not have been fought. Since it did, however, historians and history buffs alike have been studying and analyzing the biggest battles ever since.

    After the first year of the Civil War, the Confederacy was faced with a serious problem. While the South had enjoyed some stunning victories on land, they had been all but cut off from the world at sea. The more industrialized North had realized that in case of an extended war, the best way to defeat the Confederacy was to starve it of supplies. The rebels started the war with no real navy to speak of, and so the federal government quickly set up a blockade of all Southern ports and river mouths. By depriving the South of revenues derived from its main export, cotton, the North seriously injured the Southern economy.

    While the Confederates tried to rely on blockade runners, the Union Navy assigned many ships the task of tracking them down and stopping them, and by the last year of the war, blockade running had been all but strangled. Several major ports had fallen to the Union, and the rest were tightly blockaded. The blockade runners had also suffered from attrition, so much so that by the end of the war, more than 1,100 of the ships had been captured and another 355 had been sunk or run aground.

    Meanwhile, the North managed to have spectacular success jointly coordinating operations between the Army and Navy, thanks in large measure to the leadership of officers like David Farragut. While generals like Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman received the lion’s share of the credit for Union victories, especially in the Western Theater, naval forces were instrumental in the capture of New Orleans and Vicksburg, as well as at Fort Donelson and Fort Henry, and Farragut was immediately recognized for his service. Congress made him the nation’s first Rear Admiral in history in 1862, and Farragut would also go on to become the first man in the history of the US Navy to attain the rank of Admiral.

    Despite his experiences throughout the Civil War, Farragut’s name has become almost universally associated with a famous quote attributed to him during the Battle of Mobile Bay, when his flotilla encountered mines while trying to subdue the Confederacy’s last major open port. After one of the ships hit a mine and sank, the others began to pull back, only for Farragut to urge his forces forward, yelling, "Damn the torpedoes!" The ensuing victory earned Farragut another promotion in rank, and by the time Farragut died in 1870 at the age of 69, he had served in the US Navy for nearly 60 years, ensuring that he would forever be remembered as one of his country’s most important naval officers.

    Admiral David Farragut: The Life and Legacy of the American Civil War’s Most Famous Naval Officer chronicles Farragut’s upbringing and how it prepared him for his important service in the Civil War.You will learn about Farragut like never before.

    ©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

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