Mine Field

"In August 1864, Admiral Farragut led the attack on Mobile Bay, to give the Union forces control over a large slice of Confederate territory. The bay was well defended by mines, forcing any approaching ships to sail close to Fort Morgan, the Confederate fortress that dominated the channel. The Confederate ironclad, the Tennessee, also covered the approaches. Farragut's first ship, the Tecumseh, eager to attack the Tennessee, incautiously crossed the minefield and was blown up. Then the Brooklyn faltered, and in an instant the lines of ships were in disarray, with the tide sweeping them closer to the guns of Fort Morgan. 'Damn the torpedoes, go ahead!' shouted Farragut, swinging his own ship, the Hartford, clear of the Brooklyn and heading straight across the minefield. They heard the mine cases clatter against the hull of the Hartford, but none exploded, and the rest of the attacking force sailed into Mobile Bay after Farragut. In a very short time the Tennessee and the shore forts had surrendered."

[The line later become immortalized as: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"]

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