The Lesson of the Rebellion to Monarchs—The Strength of the United States—The U. S. Naval Service—The Last War—State of the Navy in 1861—Admiral Farragut Represents the Old Navy and the New—Charlemagne's Physician, Farraguth—The Admiral's Letter about his Family—His Birth—His Cruise with Porter when a Boy of Nine—The Destruction of the Essex—Farragut in Peace Times—Expected to go with the South—Refuses, is Threatened, and goes North—The Opening of the Mississippi—The Bay Fight at Mobile—The Admiral's Health—Farragut and the Tobacco Bishop.

The course and character and result of the Rebellion taught many a great new lesson; in political morals and in political economy; in international law; in the theory of governing; in the significance of just principles on this earth. Perhaps all those lessons, taught so tremendously to the civilized world, might be summed in one expression; the Astounding Strength of a Christian Republic. For, whichever phase of the Rebellion we examine in considering it as a chapter of novelties in the world's history, we still come back to that one splendid, heart-filling remembrance;—How unexpected, how unbelieved, how inexhaustible, how magnificent beyond all history, the strength of the United States!

"There goes your Model Republic," sneered all the Upper Classes of Europe, "knocked into splinters in the course of one man's life! A good riddance!" And reactionary Europe set instantly to work to league itself with our own traitors, now that the United States was dead, to bury it effectively. But the Imperial Republic, even more utterly unconscious than its enemies, of what it could suffer and could do, stunned at first and reeling under a blow the most tremendous ever aimed at any government, clung close to Right and Justice, and rising in its own blood, went down wounded as it was, into the thunder and the mingled blinding lightning and darkness of the great conflict, unknowing and unfearing whether life or death was close before. As its day, so was its strength. As the nation's need grew deeper and more desperate, in like measure the nation's courage, the conscious calmness, the unmoved resolution, the knowledge of strength and wealth and power, grew more high and strong, and whereas the world knew that no nation had ever survived such an assault, and knew, it said, that ours would not, lo and behold, the United States achieved things beyond all comparison more unheard of, more wonderful, than even the treasonable explosion for whose deadly catastrophe all the monarchists stood joyfully waiting. They were disappointed. And ever since, they know that if the Rebellion was not the death-toll of Republics, it was the death-toll of many other things, and ever since, all the kings are setting their houses in order.

There were three great national material instrumentalities which the Free Christian People of the United States created in their peril, being the sole means which could have won in the war, and being moreover exactly the means which England and Europe asserted that we were peculiarly unable to create or to use; they were: the Supply of Money; the Army on the land, and the Fleet on the sea.

Of these three, the story of the fleet has a peculiar interest of its own. The United States Navy was always a popular service in the country, for the adventurous genius and inventive faculties of our people, developed and stimulated by its successful prosecution of commerce, had easily dealt with the naval problems of fifty years ago. In the war of 1812, the superior skill of our shipbuilders and sailors launched and navigated a small but swift and powerful and well managed navy, and the single common-sense application of sights for aiming, to our ship-guns, in like manner as to muskets, gave our sailors a murderous superiority in sea fights which won us many a victory.

But in times of peace, a free nation almost necessarily falls behind a standing army nation in respect of military and naval mechanism and stored material and readiness of organization; and accordingly, after forty years of little but disuse, our navy, as the muscles of an arm shrink away if it is left unmoved, showed little of the latest improvements in construction and armament, and indeed there was very little navy to show at all. At Mr. Lincoln's inauguration, the whole navy of the United States consisted of seventy-six vessels, carrying 1,783 guns; and of these, only twelve were within reach, so effectively had Mr. Buchanan's Secretary of the Navy, Toucey, dispersed them in readiness for the secession schemes of his fellows in the cabinet. And even of those twelve, but a few were in Northern ports. The navy conspirators had no mind to have a southern blockade brought down on them, and so took good care to send our best ships on long fancy voyages to Japan or otherwhere—and to clap on board of them certain officers whose loyalty and ability they wished to put out of the way. Thus General Ripley found himself, to his indignation, over in Asia when the explosion took place.

It was from this beginning—practically nothing—that the energy and skill of American inventors and seamen created a navy beyond comparison the strongest on the face of the earth, reaching a strength of 600 ships, and 51,000 men; which effectively maintained the most immense and difficult blockade of history; which performed with brilliant and glorious success, enterprises whose importance and danger are equal to any chronicled in the wonderful annals of the sea; which fully completed its own indispensable share in the work of subduing the rebellion; and which revolutionized the theory and practice of naval warfare.

In this chapter of the history of the navy the most famous name is that of Admiral Farragut, not so much in consequence of any identification with the mechanical inventions of the day, as because his past professional career and his recent brilliant and daring victories, have linked together the elder with the younger fame of our navy, and have done it by the exercise of professional and personal courage and skill, rather than by the ingenious use of newly discovered scientific auxiliaries. The hardy courage of unmailed breasts always appeals more strongly to admiration and sympathy, than that more thoughtful and doubtless wiser proceeding which would win fights from behind invulnerable protections.

A friend of the writer was, during the Rebellion, investigating some subject connected with the history of medicine. In one of the books he examined he found mention made of Charlemagne's physician, a wonderfully skilful and learned man, named Farraguth. Our famous Admiral was then in the Gulf of Mexico, engaged in the preparations for the attack on Mobile which took place during August of that year. So odd was this coincidence, that its discoverer wrote to the Admiral to ask whether he knew any thing of this mediæval doctor, and received in reply a very friendly and agreeably written letter, from which some extracts may here be given without any violation of confidence, as giving the most authentic information about his ancestry.

"My own name is probably Castilian. My grandfather came from Ciudadela, in the island of Minorca. I know nothing of the history of my family before they came to this country and settled in Florida. You may remember that in the 17th century, a colony settled there, and among them, I believe, was my grandfather. My father served through the war of Independence, and was at the battle of the Cowpens. Judge Anderson, formerly Comptroller of the Treasurer, has frequently told me that my father received his majority from George Washington on the same day with himself; and his children have always supposed that this promotion was for his good conduct in that fight. Notwithstanding this statement * * * * I have never been able to find my father's name in any list of the officers of the Revolution.

"With two men, Ogden and McKee, he was afterwards one of the early settlers of Tennessee. Mr. McKee was a member of Congress from Alabama, and once stopped in Norfolk, where I was then residing, on purpose, as he said, to see me, as the son of his early friend. He said he had heard that I was "a chip of the old block"—what sort of a block it was I know not. This was thirty years ago. My father settled twelve miles from Knoxville, at a place called Campbell's Station, on the river, where Burnside had his fight. Thence we moved to the South, about the time of the Wilkinson and Blennerhassett trouble. My father was then appointed a master in the Navy, and sent to New Orleans in command of one of the gunboats. Hence the impression that I am a native of New Orleans. But all my father's children were born in Tennessee, and as I have said in answer to enquiries on this subject, we only moved South to crush out a couple of rebellions.

"My mother died of yellow fever the first summer in New Orleans, and my father settled at Pascagoula, in Mississippi. He continued to serve throughout the 'last war,' and was at the battle of New Orleans, under Commodore Paterson, though very infirm at that time. He died the following year, and my brothers and sisters married in and about New Orleans, where their descendants still remain. * * * *

"As to the name, Gen. Goicouria, a Spanish hidalgo from Cuba, tells me it is Castilian, and is spelled in the same way as the old physician's—Farraguth."

Admiral David Glascoe Farragut was born at Campbell's Station, in East Tennessee, in 1801. While only a little boy, at nine years of age, his father, who had been a friend and shipmate of the hardy sea-king, Commodore Porter, procured him a midshipman's berth under that commander, and the boy, accompanying Porter in the romantic cruise of the Essex, served a right desperate apprenticeship to his hazardous profession. His first sea-fight was the short fierce combat of Porter in the Essex, on April 13th, 1812, with the English sloop-of-war, Alert. No sooner did the Alert spy the Essex, than she ran confidently close upon her weather quarter, and with three cheers opened her broadside. Porter, not a whit abashed, replied with such swift fury that the Englishman, smashed into drowning helplessness, and with seven feet of water in his hold, struck his colors in eight minutes, escaping out of the fight by surrender even more hastily than he had gone into it.

In that desperate and bloody fight in Valparaiso harbor, when the British captain Hillyar, with double the force of the Essex, and by means of a most discreditable breach of the law of neutrality, made an end of the Essex, Midshipman Farragut, twelve years of age, stood by his commander to the very last. When those who could swim ashore had been ordered overboard, Porter himself, having helped work the few remaining guns that could be fired, hauled down his flag, and surrendered the bloody wreck that was all he had left under him, for the sake of the helpless wounded men who must have sunk along with him. Farragut was wounded, and was sent home with the other officers of the ship, on parole; and Porter, in his report to the Secretary of the Navy, made special and honorable mention of the lad, and mentioned with the appropriate regret of a just and brave man, that the boy was "too young for promotion." Probably not another living man on the face of the earth had so early and so thorough a baptism of blood and fire, and bore himself through it so manlike.

Commodore Porter had been so much interested in the youth that he gave him the means of pursuing an education in general studies and military tactics. But Farragut's vocation was the sea, and as soon as the war was over he got another ship. Peace is the winter of soldiers and sailors; when they sit still and wait for the deadly harvest that brings them prosperity. The times were as dull for Farragut as for the rest, and for forty-five years he was sailing about the world or quietly commanding at one or another station, and at long intervals rising by seniority from one grade to another. In 1825 he became lieutenant, in 1841 commander, in 1851 captain. When the rebellion came he was sixty years old, had been in the service forty-eight years, and to the country at large was utterly unknown. This is not strange; for throughout all his youth and manhood he had had no opportunity to show the heroic qualities which when a boy of twelve he had proved himself to possess even then in such manly measure.

He was living at Norfolk; was a native of the South; and his second wife, with whom he was now living, was from a Norfolk family. It was therefore taken for granted that Farragut would go with the South, and when he frankly avowed his patriotism, he was met with astonishment and then with threats. They told him it would probably be unsafe for him to remain in the South, with such sentiments. "Very well," he replied, "I will go where I can live with such sentiments." Accordingly, he left Norfolk for the North on the night of April 18, 1861, the very night before the rebels there fired the navy-yard. He established himself for a time near Tarrytown, on the Hudson river. The very air was full of suspicion in those days, and Captain Farragut being unknown to the people in the vicinity, and walking about in the fields alone a good deal, a report got out at one time among the neighbors that he was one of a gang that had arranged to cut the Croton Aqueduct and burn down New York.

Farragut's very first appointment was that to the command of the naval part of the New Orleans expedition, for which his orders reached him January 20, 1862, and on Feb. 3d, in his famous flag-ship, the Hartford, he sailed from Hampton Roads for Ship Island.

The opening of the Mississippi river has passed into history. Of all the series of strange and novel and desperate combats which accomplished the task, the passage of the forts and the capture of New Orleans was beyond comparison the most dangerous and difficult, and its success was the most brilliant. The services which succeeded this were less showy, but included much that was excessively laborious, and that was dangerous enough for any ordinary ambition; and from beginning to end the whole task required not only high courage, indefatigable activity, incessant labor, and the ordinary professional knowledge of a sailor, but an invention always ready to contrive new means for new ends, prompt judgment to adopt them if suggested by others, wisdom and tact in dealing with the rebel authorities, and patience in waiting for the co-operation of the military forces or the development of the plans of the government. In carrying his fleet past Port Hudson and Vicksburg, in helping Grant to cross the river and take the latter place, in all his operations, whether alone or with the land commanders, Admiral Farragut gave proof of the possession of all these qualities.

The "Bay Fight" at Mobile, and the resulting capture of Forts Powell and Gaines, was another scene as terrible as New Orleans, and still more splendidly illuminated by the perfect personal courage of the Admiral, who has already gone into history, song and painting, as he stood lashed in the rigging of the old Hartford, clear above the smoke of the battle, and, even when he saw the monitor Tecumseh sunk—the very ship he had been waiting for for months—yet ordered his wooden fleet straight forward despite forts, gunboats, ram and torpedoes, and won a second victory of that most glorious sort only possible to the high, clear and intelligent courage of a leader who is both truly heroic and truly wise.

The fame which the Admiral earned in the war has been in some measure paid him, in the testimonials of admiration and respect which he has received both at home and abroad. It would require a book to give account of the greetings and the thanks he has received from his own countrymen; and on the official voyage which he has made since the war to the principal ports of Europe, as the representative of the naval power of the United States. The civilities and attentions conferred upon himself and his officers, were not solely that formal politeness which one nation observes to another, but were in large measure the more enthusiastic acknowledgment which men pay to lofty personal qualities.

Admiral Farragut is a man of remarkably pure and vigorous health, and though no longer young, is more elastic, vigorous and enduring than most young men. His health and strength are the just recompense for a cleanly and temperate life. He seems to have that sort of innate or constitutional abhorrence for every unclean thing, which has characterized some great reformers. There is a pleasant story of a rebuke once administered by him in a most neat and decorous, but very effective manner, to a tobacco-smoking bishop, which conveys a good lesson. At dinner with Farragut, and after the meal was over, the Bishop, about to select a cigar, offered the bunch to the sailor. "Have a cigar, Admiral?" said he. "No, Bishop," said the Admiral, with a quizzical glance, "I don't smoke—I swear a little, sometimes."

We regret that the limits of our sketches do not allow us to do justice to those wonderful, inspiring, romantic scenes by which our navy gained possession of New Orleans and Mobile. But if one wants to read them in poetry, terse and vivid, with all the fire of poetry and all the explicitness of prose, we beg them to read the "River Fight," and "Bay Fight," of Henry Brownell, who was in both scenes as a volunteer officer. There he will find Homeric military ardor baptized by Christian sentiment.

Full red the furnace fires must glow,
That melts the ore of mortal kind;
The mills of God are grinding slow,
But ah, how close they grind!
To-day the Dahlgren and the drum
Are dread Apostles of his name,
His kingdom here can only come
In chrism of blood and flame.

John A. Andrew

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