In 1863, Farragut supervised the Union ships operating along the Gulf coast. He also moved against a number of targets along the Texas coastline, capturing Galveston and Corpus Christi. In addition, he helped the Union take Port Hudson, a rebel fortress that stood near Vicksburg. Farragut occasionally requested permission to attack Mobile Bay, which had become the only port on the coast still open to Confederate blockade-runners (ships that attempted to slip past the Union naval blockade to deliver supplies to the South). But other military plans always seemed to have a higher priority. Farragut did not receive orders to move on Mobile Bay until mid-1864.
On August 5 of that year, Farragut led a fleet of fourteen ships and four special warships known as monitors into Mobile Bay. He knew that the mission was a dangerous one. After all, Confederate defenses in the bay included Fort Morgan, three gunboats, an armored vessel called the C.S.S. Tennessee, and an underwater minefield. As Farragut's fleet cruised into the bay, the gunfire between the Union and Confederate forces became so heavy that smoke drifted across the water in thick clouds. Farragut finally lashed himself to a mast high above the deck of the Hartford so that he could see what was going on.
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