Last Stand at Mobile

By John C. Waugh

McWhiney Foundation Press, 2001
117 pages

This short book takes a fresh look at one of the most stirring naval engagements of the Civil War, Union Admiral David Farragut’s dramatic storming of  Mobile Bay in August 1864. And it recounts the decisive land battles six months later in the final days of the Civil War that forced the surrender of Mobile City itself, one of the last remaining Confederate bastions.

The book tells how Farragut, lashed high in the rigging of his flagship, the USS Hartford, leads his armada of 14 men-of-war and gunboats and four ironclad monitors past the guns of Fort Morgan through a lethal minefield into the bay where he fights the CSS Tennessee, the most deadly ironclad ever built and floated by the Confederacy.

It is a riveting, thunderous, smoke-filled scene, famed in American memory for one of the most famous utterances of any war — Farragut’s stirring command to his flotilla, “Damn the torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead.”

It and the key land battle that follows are recounted here in all of their fire and drama.