Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Battle For New Orleans

Who was David Glasgow Farragut?

Born in Tennessee in 1801, Farragut was the son of a Spanish immigrant—from the Island of Majorca—who had arrived in time to serve as a privateer captain during the American Revolution. Farragut also had a second, foster family in the Dixon family, one of the most renowned members being naval officer Admiral David Dixon Porter. Even so, few people expected the dramatic rise of Farragut, which took place in 1862.

Promoted to Commodore, Farragut was made commander of the flotilla preparing to attack New Orleans. According to the federal census of 1860, the Crescent City had about 168,676 people, of whom 13,385 were slaves, making it by far the most populous, as well as the most prosperous, place in the Confederate States. The Confederates knew an attack was coming. They had significantly reinforced Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip, sitting on opposite sides of the Mississippi River, and a fleet of gunboats was under construction. Even so, New Orleans was significantly undermanned because so many soldiers had been siphoned off to join Johnston’s army before the Battle of Shiloh.

Admiral David Farragut led the flotilla of Union ships against the city of New Orleans.


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